One of the year's best films arrives this weekend in the form of Hot Tub Time Machine, a delightfully inane, raunchy comedy that puts the movies it will inevitably be compared to – last year's The Hangover, for instance – to shame. Elsewhere:
The weekend forecast calls for cloudy skies and scattered showers, but you can always take refuge at the city's indie theaters, where Peter Jackson's Lovely Bones makes its long-awaited debut and former Saturday Night Live star Chris Rock investigates the lifestyles of the rich and follically fashionable.
January is traditionally a time for Hollywood studios to empty their storage lockers, tossing out the trash (like last winter's Bride Wars) and dusting off movies previously unreleased due to scheduling conflicts. No matter. The city's indie theaters remain a premier destination for cinephiles in search of top-flight documentaries (What's the Matter with Kansas?), cheerfully twisted fantasies (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and Oscar front-runners like The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man.
You’ve got to admire Terry Gilliam even when his madcap experiments shatter the test tubes. The former Python is the ultimate independent filmmaker. He has worked within the studio system before, often frustrating the moneymen, but you get the feeling he’d rather burn the negatives than conform to their whims. He is not, as they say, a company man.
The Oscars have arrived, and with them the inevitable slew of so-called expert predictions. And though I find myself naturally curious, I must admit that my anticipation of Sunday evening’s ceremony has been subdued by lingering disappointment with some of the nominations. Put simply, my heart’s not entirely in it.
WALL*E should have been earned a nomination for best picture, as should The Wrestler. (A win for either would have suited me just fine.) Woody Allen’s strongest contribution in years was largely overlooked. And Bruce Springsteen, in the midst of a creative surge as strong as any in his career, managed to write a song for a movie (again, The Wrestler) without so much as a hint of recognition. Go figure.
It’s time for the Up-lifting Triumph vs. Tragedy Smackdown. Oscar night is nigh.
Sure, Oscar loves its incurable diseases, cripples and the mentally handicapped. Will the lead actor playing an assassinated gay martyr win? The young talent who died tragically before his time of a drug overdose?
In the one of the best episodes of the HBO series, “Extras”, Kate Winslet played a far-fetched very bawdy version of herself on the set of a film about the Holocaust. The fictionalized Kate Winslet – in full costume as a nun in habit -- boldly admits she’s going for Oscar: