Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Making Fetch Happen: 'Mean Girls' 10 Years Later

Startling to think that ten years ago Lindsay Lohan was the still a promising redhead on the verge of breaking out, Tina Fey was still mostly unknown outside of Saturday Night Live, Rachel McAdams hadn't yet made three (3!) time travel romantic fairy tales and Mean Girls was just starting to enter the pop cultural lexicon.  Ten years later, times have changed, and the three main ingredients that made this particularly sassy and smart teen comedy pop the magical way that it did have each branched out into completely different directions but the movie is still just as smart and fun and sassy as ever.  As Heathers was in the 1980s and Clueless in the 1990s, Mean Girls is the ultimate defining teen comedy of the 2000s.  Mean Girls borrows heavily from Heathers, but still manages to be its distinctive own beast and its exploration of high school hierarchy is still bracing, super quotable and majestically funny.  It's hard to believe its been ten years since we were first introduced to Cady Heron, Regina George, Ms. Norbury, Janis Ian, Damian, Gretchen Weiners, Karen Smith, Aaron Samuels, Shane Oman and the odd lots of Cool Asians, Nerdy Asians and Mathletes.

Map of North Shore High: Where do you fit in?

Monday, April 28, 2014


Taut and compactly-sized, Steven Knight's new film Locke stars Tom Hardy as a man whose life begins to unravel during a particularly stress-laden drive on a British highway.  The eighty-five minute morality play-- a one man show, nearly real-time affair-- sounds on the outset like a stage-driven chamber piece that may outstay its welcome a few miles in.  Certainly the idea of  someone yammering on his Bluetooth doesn't exactly lend itself for entertaining or particularly interesting drama.  Yet, thanks to inventive filming and a commanding lead turn, Locke is an invigorating and alert piece of filmmaking, one where the contrivances are certainly there and made aware, but quickly forgotten due to its human connection to real world stress and anxiety-- which to be fair, quite often takes place independently and behind the wheel of a car.

On one hand, Locke poses itself as a companion piece of sorts to recent ultra-confined one man (or woman) movies like Buried (2010), which saw Ryan Reynolds trapped in a coffin, Phone Booth (2003), which saw Colin Farrell trapped in a, well, duh, and Gravity (2013) where Sandra Bullock floated in deep space.  Yet, what separates Locke is that it's crafted and shaded with everyday human struggle.  No alien premise or absurd set of circumstances pivot Ivan Locke (Hardy) down this particularly dark British highway except for the small, but pivotal professional and personal choices of his own doing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014 Cannes Film Festival Line-Up

Grace of Monaco- directed by Olivier Dahan (USA/France)- out of competition

Adieu au Language (Goodbye to Language)- directed by Jean-Luc Godard (France)
The Captive- directed by Atom Egoyan (Canada)
Clouds of Sils Maria- directed by Olivier Assayas (France/Germany)
Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days, One Night)- directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Belgium)
Foxcatcher- directed by Bennett Miller (USA)
Futatsume No Mado (Still the Water)- directed by Naomi Kawase (Japan)
The Homesman- directed by Tommy Lee Jones (USA)
Jimmy's Hall- directed by Ken Loach (UK/Ireland)
Le Meraviglie- directed by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy)
Leviafan- directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)
Maps to the Stars- directed by David Croenberg (Canada/USA)
Mommy- directed by Xavier Dolan (Canada/France)
Mr. Turner- directed by Mike Leigh (UK)
Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales)- directed by Damián Szifron (Argentina)
Saint Laurent- directed by Bertrand Bonello (France)
The Search- directed by Michel Hazanavicius (France)
Timbuktu- directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
Winter Sleep- directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey)

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