We always begin this column by mentioning the new releases of the week but it might just be easier to say "EVERYTHING" and be done with it. Hollywood wants you to gorge on showbiz this weekend so they're releasing three movies about movies (HUGO, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, THE ARTIST) as well as two family films (ARTHUR CHRISTMAS, THE MUPPETS) and two Best Actor Oscar hopefuls (RAMPART, THE DESCENDANTS). With this many new well-received movies in play (all seven are well into the red i.e. "fresh" at rotten tomatoes) chances are great that audiences will flock to Breaking Dawn Part 1 instead. Sigh.
TEN BEST THINGS ABOUT THIS THANKSGIVING WEEKEND AT THE MOVIES
10 "Shall I be her? Who? Marilyn!"
If you like the magic trick of famous people pretending to be other famous people as much as Oscar voters do (it's their all time favorite party trick!) you'll want to see Michelle Williams coo and shimmy and sing and suffer as Marilyn Monroe in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Consider it a warm up for the other Best Actress Oscar-seeking transformation: Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.
09 Silence is Golden
Any movie whatsoever can provide an enforced couple of hours of silence if you need a break from arguing politics with your relatives. Pick a movie, any movie.
08 Misery Loves Company
If you like wallowing in depression during the holidays (no judgments) but you'd prefer to do it with more visual imagination and Off-Hollywood artistic ambition than Bella and Twilight or Michelle as Marilyn (while doped up) can muster, do not miss Lars von Trier's MELANCHOLIA "a beautiful movie about the end of the world" with a sensational performance by Kirsten Dunst as a bipolar bride. She's so depressed that she doesn't even seem interested in sleeping with Alexander Skarsgård. No anti-depressants can cure depression that large but maybe a planet hurtling towards earth to kill us all will shake her from her stupor.
Gay films, Sex Therapy and The Artist AFTER THE JUMP...
NOW IN THEATERS
Writer/director Alexander Payne (Sideways) is back after a long hiatus with THE DESCENDANTS. The dramedy finds a wealthy Hawaiian landowner (George Clooney) totally at sea with the women in his life (his wife is in a coma, and his daughters are hard to handle) while attempting to find his footing on land as the family prepares to sell their unspoiled prime real estate. It's a certain player in this year's Oscar race.
Less certain is whether Academy voters will go for a second round with those dancing penguins in HAPPY FEET TWO.
Meanwhile, mopey terrible-role-model Bella "I'm nothing without a man!" Swan is back to marry her vampire in THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1 but don't make me talk about it. Let's illustrated Bella's return with a photo of Miss Piggy as "Bella Swine" because the world would be a better place with more Muppets (next week!) and less Twilight. Breaking Dawn supposedly has a 35 minute wedding sequence and I swear to god the next person who tells me they thought the brilliant Rachel Getting Married was boring or that the hilarious bridal shower toasts in Bridesmaids went on too long is getting karate chopped. "Hiiii-yaaaaa."
May Oscar winning out filmmaker Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Gods and Monsters) survive his years with Bella & Edward and return to making good movies with more progressive sexual politics soon.
On the topic of Bridesmaids, have you watched the "line-o-rama" feature on the DVD/Blu Ray? It's crazy to to soak in all that discarded improv comedy. Even Rose Byrne can do it! Who knew she had that performance in her?
NATALIE, CLEOPATRA, TILDA, TINK & GLINDA, AFTER THE JUMP...
Will you get out this weekend and support newly out Zachary Quinto who stars in MARGIN CALL? Vote with your wallets! Eventually out gay actors headlining movies won't be a big deal at all but it has to start somewhere and it needs to start soon. (Imagine how great it would be to see Cheyenne Jackson, Jonathan Groff and whoever comes out next getting the supersizing their careers deserve?) MARGIN CALL was just nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Ensemble and also stars Kevin Spac... oops, does he cancel 'out' the voting with your wallets? Never mind!
The must-see movie of the weekend is the indie drama MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (pictured left). It's about a girl who escapes from a cult in New York's Catskills. It's just fantastic and Elizabeth Olsen -- yes, she's the baby sister of the infamous Olsen Twins -- may be heading towards a Best Actress Oscar nomination. In an atypical way it's a perfect film for Halloween. It has none of the cheapness of a typical "scary" movie but it's incredibly menacing and uncomfortably sticky; you'll still be haunted by it weeks later.
Also Opening: The imaginatively titled PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 has also arrived if you'd like a third round. It seems likely to make a mint again since, as a wise woman recently wrote:
"Whether they’re “good” or “bad” is irrelevant—what matters is that they’re effective. You could make the case that they’re monotonous on purpose—they know they have a Pavlovian audience that’s trained to scare on cue. You could make the case that they’re monotonous on purpose—they know they have a Pavlovian audience that’s trained to scare on cue."
Finally, Alexander Dumas's legendary story THE THREE MUSKETEERS which is no silver screen virgin gets the deluxe 3D remake rethink reboot. It's already been memorably jabbed by critics "more dumbass than Dumas" and its studio (Summit) has been jabbed by Milla Jovovich (the leading lady and the director's wife) who thinks they haven't promoted it enough.
If you grew up loving The Muppets (and who between, say, 30 and 50 didn't?) will you be horrified or charmed by the new MUPPETS movie? Has a backlash already begun?
More, AFTER THE JUMP...
Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.
Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.
Petition Urges Marriage for Sesame Street's Ernie and Bert [tr]
A petition urging the creators of Sesame Street to marry Ernie and Bert is receiving quite a bit of attention.
The Washington Post reports:
For years, viewers have speculated that Bert and Ernie, the lovable Sesame Street pair who share a bedroom, are gay. The show’s creators have failed to indulge those speculations, even after some said Bert came out on the show’s Twitter page, a video circulated that was said to prove their homosexuality, and parody articles were written about the duo quietly coming out in favor of same-sex marriage.
Jonathan Capehart adds: "Children look for reflections of themselves in the world around them. If a gay kid takes a gander at Bert and Ernie and feels a pang of familiarity, that’s great. Whether the fuzzy fellas get married or not, at least that gay kid will be seeing a positive image that will bolster his budding self-image. And there’s no harm in that."
The campaign, of course, also has the attention of NOM, which asks (without using the right-wing term lifestyle), "Do Muppets have an orientation?" Will NOM try to "protect" marriage from Muppets?
Check out the subtext-laden video referred to above, as well as the famous 'cookies in bed' segment, AFTER THE JUMP...