Friday, February 27, 2009

More Jonas Than You Deserve

Talking about the Jonas Brothers today on the ray-dee-oh and on the podcast.

Couple more Jonas Bros tidbits for you to enjoy.

This is great article on the JoBros phenom from Details. Talking about how they were spotted, their Christian Rock connection and how they share the same managing team as Miss Britney.

This is a snarky little item on why those Chasity Rings might not mean what we think they mean.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Show of Shows (Oscar Reactions)

Now that's how you do a show people!

Could it be the best Oscars ever? Certainly in my memory.

Started off slow, took a bit to warm up to Hugh Jackman and the musical number had me worried at the beginning, but I came around with the “how come comic book movies never get nominated?" number. A funny tacky mess, hard to hate.

(Anne Hathaway kissing Jackman but playing Nixon with the cheek jowl shake...great)

The producers of the show did what they promised. It had the nightclub feel. They used the legacy of awards as a strength. Calling on old winners to handout awards. Even the fact that the front row was closer to the stage meant you had a more intimate experience. If you’re like me and you watched it in HD, you could see the stars in the front rows reacting to the show on stage, tearing up as they were introduced.

The concept of having Oscar winners handing out awards was brilliant. Nice to see the star power on stage, and it made the proceedings feel more personal. When the former winners introduced the nominees it felt as if they were speaking from the heart, from actor to actor. Also interesting to see who spoke to who. Christoper Walken introducing Michael Shannon…one intense actor to an other.

The idea of illustrating the film process was a good one but they didn’t all gell.
Screenwriting was great, made the point and was funny with Steve Martin and Tina Fey. Some others like Set Design or Editing were flat…but it’s hard to be perfect.

Was the show perfect? No, still there’s a noticeable dip in the energy level around the one hour mark. Small awards like short documentary feature and animated short don’t help either.

But again, although the show was quite theatrical it was the strength of film that came shining through. This was film on film. Using clips of movies to illustrate clips from other movies. Call them meta-montages. Documentaries on documentaries. In most cases the montages worked…and were fun to watch. Also in the montages of 2008 weren’t elitist. Rambo and Mummy 3 and Indiana Jones 4 and more.


  • Phililippe Petit racing down for the “Man on Wire” best doc award and his “believe in magic line”.
  • Ben Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix spoof.
  • The short animated film winner Kunio Kato “Sank You Academy” “Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto"
  • Danny Boyle’s “Tigger” happy hop. He looked like a mad professor and seemed so happy for everyone the entire evening. Great last line about Mumbai “You dwarf even this guy”

The “musicals are back” number with Beyonce and Hugh…sounded like my ipod having a seizure. That was a bridge too far for Hugh. And if musicals are back then why did a bunch of decades-old classics make up most of the songs?

But Still...
All in all, from the homemade musical to the Judd Apatow/Seth Rogan skit …there was a refreshing feel of relevance about the Oscars.
It was about celebrating the best..but also celebrating film in all it's tacky buttery popcorn glory. This was not a snob story. It was a night to have a party about movies, and get people watching them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oscars Picks - Or if you think I'm finding hyperlinks for all thoses movies you're crazy

19 out of 24 Right!
Wall-E and Viola Davis led me wrong. Should have listened to my own advice and stuck with Slumdog. Still, happy I listened to logic and stuck with Sean Penn. Hope you did good with your Oscar Pool.

Without Further Ado:

Best Picture
Will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should win: Milk
More artful, more meaning, no dance number, but those crowd scenes...that death scene...fine stuff.

Best Director
Will win: Danny Slumdog Boyle
Should win: Christopher Nolan....oh wait that's right....grumble mutter...
Ah Gus Van Sant.

Best Actor
Will win: Sean Penn
Should win: Sean Penn (see previous comment)

Best Actress
Kate Winslet:
Should win: Anne Hathaway.
Except for Melissa Leo the rest don't much for me in this category, but I loved Rachel Getting Married so much. I don't think Anne was the best actress in it, but she's the one that's nominated...

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Heath Ledger
Should win: Do we really need to discuss this?

Best Supporting Actress
Will win: Viola Davis in an upset.
Should win: Wow this is a tight one. Amy Adams was great in Doubt. More mannered than Meryl Streep I think. Viola Davis was also amazing, in a can't take your eyes off her performance. Heck I liked Taraji in Benjamin Button. But in the end...this one I give to Marisa Tomei. What a brave performance. Put as much on the line as Rourke I'd say.

Best Art Direction
Will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Should win: Duh...The Dark Knight. Come on, tell me that film wasn't perfectly realized? Although B.Button was awfully pretty.

Best Doc Feature
Should win: Man On Wire
Will win: Man on Wire. That movie is almost life changing.

Best Doc Short
Will win: Smile Pinki
Should win: Smile Pinki, for the name alone! (Okay I'm guessing)

Best Animated Feature
Will win: Wall-E
Should win: Wall-E. A walk in the park for the robot who has a soul. Although to my surprise not everyone in the animation community agrees.

Best Film Editing
Will win: Slumdog Millionaire (snowball effect methinks...)
Should win: The Dark Knight (let my geek flag fly)

Best Original Score
Will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should win: Slumdog Millionaire (A R Rahman did a fantastic job. Could have an effect on future scores.)

Best Cinematography
Will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should win: The Dark Knight (i see a trend)

Best Sound Mixing
Will win: Wall-E
Should win: Wall-E . This movie is wall to wall sound created by a Hollywood legend, same guy that invented the sound of lightsabers. And he's the voice of Wall-E too. (Ben Burtt)

Best Sound Editing
Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win: Okay, let's be a honest, I don't have a strong opinion about who did the best sound editing job. But again, snowball effect for this one me thinks.

Best Costume Design
Will win: The Duchess
Should win: The Duchess. Don't mess with the big dresses folks. And they were huge in this one. Although there should be a separate award for hair.

Best Makeup
Will win: The Dark Knight
Should win: As amazing as the Joker was....Hellboy 2 had some amazing creatures, really pushing the whole field forward. Three words: Angel of Death.

Best Short Film - Animated
Will win: Presto
Should win: I haven't seen the rest but Presto's a hoot. Classic stuff.

Best Short Film - Live Action
Will win: The Pig
Should win: Haven't the foggiest.

Best Original Screenplay
Will win: Wall-E
Should win: I want to say In Bruges just because of the originality of the material. But Wall-E deserves and will win because this is the robot's "we-couldn't-nominate-you-for-best-picture" consolation prize.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should win: Slumdog Millionaire . It is a very well constructed film, especially considering the source material.

Best Visual Effects
Will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Should win: Benjamin Button. Even though the Dark Knight is in this category, I did quite like Button and it wouldn't have worked unless the effects weren't flawless.

Best Foreign Language Film
Will win: Waltz with Bashir
Should win: Same, Bashir all the way. Go see this, either to rethink how to approach documentaries, or rethink the Middle East conflict.

Best Original Song
Will win: Jai Ho.
Should win: Come on, how can you not pick the Bollywood number. Jai Ho! Jai Ho! Peter Gabriel's song is nice but it can't compete.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dance Dance Dance

For no reason at all except that it made me happy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oscar Crib Notes

(pretty poster by Saul Bass)

I'll be on CBC Radio's The World This Weekend this Saturday talking about all things Oscars.Here's a couple things rattling around in my brain as i prepare.

-->The Slumdog Secret?
Inspired by an interview with director Danny Boyle but it feels true.
Slumdog Millionaire is a movie that starts with money, but ends with love. Could that be why it's the movie of the moment as we slip into the Great Recession?

-->Rourke vs Penn.
Oy this is a hard category to call. The actors (SAG) gave the trophy to Penn. So common sense dictates that large voting block will do it again, thereby giving Penn, the Oscar for best Actor.
But...Rourke is the the man of the moment. It feels like the room WANTS Rourke to win as another blogger has said. My brain says Penn, but my heart says Rourke. If I was betting, I'd bet Rourke.

(But if you ask me who is the better actor, movie to movie, I'd say Penn. Mickey Rourke is amazing in the Wrestler but it feels like his own life story is doing the heavy lifting. If Rourke didn't have such an amazing real-life arc, would the role still work? Meanwhile, Penn undeniably loses himself in the world of Harvey Milk. He is Milk. There is no Penn on that screen. Randy the Ram is a great character, but the Oscar should go to director Aronofsky for casting Mickey in the first place.)

-->Best Actress.
Could the Kate Winslet backlash be in effect? The Reader haters are coming out into the light. Hmm every show needs an upset...wouldn't it be nice if it was her?

-->Slumdog Backlash?
Well, yes and no. There is a backlash , a sizable one at this point. But enough to derail the Slumdog Oscar train? No way.

-->The Show
Should be a fun year to watch. Producers are promising to mix things up. As a recent convert to the Golden Globes broadcast, I'm hoping for a looser show with some zest. And I can't wait to see Wolvie dance.

Bruce is Back - Get Ready for Pontypool

Bruce McDonald
is a director who has paid his dues and then some.
He gave us Highway 61 and Hard Core Logo.
He's also directed a lot of TV, everything from "Ready or Not" to "Lexx." In short he's a working Canadian filmmaker.

I had a chance to interview him a while back during "Home Movie Day". If I recall he was presenting some of his own Super 8 films. Anyone who has seen a McDonald film knows he's in love with the medium, in all its many formats. Digital, super8, black and white...heck I'm sure he tried pixelvision at some point.

For a while now it seemed his love of processing film, mutating it, tranforming it one way or another seemed to get the best of him. The stories were smothered in effects.

Well forget all that. Pontypool is a return to form. It's a great little post-modern take on the zombie genre. A whip smart thrill ride that doesn't have gore for brains.

In the small Ontario town of Pontypool strange things are happening. We are in the basement of an old church, converted into an AM Radio station. It's the last stop on the line for once great radio star Grant Mazzy. Now it's Mazzy in the Morning with a mix of small town traffic and gossip. He's an ol' school talk radio jock butting heads with his producer Sydney who doesn't think the Howard Stern shtick cuts it in the sticks.

But then, Ken the eye in the sky, the traffic man who pretends to be flying a chopper while really parking his car on a big hill, phones in a report. An explosion? A riot. A mob. Terrible things are happening. Reports filter in as the 3 person crew in the radio station try to get a handle on the situation. Soon the picture shifts from creepy to downright disturbing.

What I love (yes I said love) about this movie is the economy of story used here. Just about everything you see and hear takes place in the radio station. Like an old radio drama itself, the audio drives the story, your mind fills in the blanks. As the situation worsens we see little of the chaos outside, but the sounds, those shrieking sounds are enough.

It's an old trick, but it works. And then there's the source of the chaos.


I wont spill it all, but what makes this zombie movie different is the idea, the seed. Something is turning people into animals, echo boxes, little babies and worse. And that something seems to be spreading with Words. It's conceptual conception. A virus of the mind, not germs and cells. If you've read The Raw Shark Texts, you might have a handle on the kind of metaphorical mind games author Tony Burgess is playing around with.

Have you ever stopped to look at a word, and once you look at it, or say it you realize just how strange it is? The longer you look the less sense it makes. That's what happens here, the fragility of our language is the link, or possibly the source. Language is cracking, failing... but what do you do when calling for help, might let the bogeyman inside?

Lots of meat to chew on in this one. Great performances. Stephane McHattie is a ball as Mazzy, a worthy addition to the long line of DJs on film. (Little bit of Bruce there, under Mazzy's cowboy hat I think.)

Coming to Canada in March and the U.S. later this spring.
Be sure to catch this one if you can.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meet the new Lindsay Lohan

As Lindsay squanders her career posing, partying and arguing with her girlfriend, Isla Fisher's stealing her turf. Meet Hollywood's new fav redhead. Starring this week in Confessions of a Shopaholic Isla has really come into her own. You may remember her as the nympho from Wedding Crashers. In Shopaholic she's got Lindsay's Mean Girls combination of innocence and charm. Sure she's sexy too but but she's also a great comedic actress showing a knack for slapstick (maybe there's a little Lucille Ball hiding in that red.)

Anyway a great performance that makes watching this predictable Cinderalla story a breeze. Keep an eye on'll be seeing a lot more.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Muse Music

Amazing, inspiring talk from TED by author Elizabeth Gilbert.
Writers and this vid.
It's about the creative process, Tom Waits and talking to the air.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The New Cat & The International

This week's review/podcast will certainly be The International because I just saw it and there's lots to talk about.

More later but I will say, it's not the movie you think it is (or the way they're marketing it) but I'm quite confident it's better than you expect.

*minor spoiler*

There's a lot of nice, old school touches displaying a smart approach to spycraft and police work.

I'll just point out one amusing moment. In horror movies, audiences are often given a jolt, a fake scare when a cat jumps out of some room where the killer is expected.

There are no cats here, but there's a great bit around gunfight where a cellphone is the source of surprise. It's frightening and funny at the same time quite believable. A nice little grace note and one of many. Could cellphones replace cats as the new scare cliche? I wonder.

What I Listen To....

Sorry it's been a little while since the last update.
To catch everyone up to date:

Coraline - Fantastic Tale with intelligent use of 3-D, leave the kids at home and go see it.

He's Just Not That Into You - Slightly better than average rom-com, weakened by too many characters. But that Ginnifer Goodwin...keep an eye on her.

Nurse. Fighter. Boy. - Very pretty. Very Slow. Lost Interest.

Now about that listening material.

Besides pimping my own podcast (search for "glasner on film" on iTunes) I get a lot of inspiration and material from other able podcasters/radio shows.

The Treatment

To call Elvis Mitchell a film critic doesn't seem right. His body of knowledge extends far beyond film. Yet it's film where his passion is often focused. Each week he sits down for one on one interviews with directors, actors, writers...he does his homework and gets the goods. It's rare I don't come away with an insight. For example, a recent interview with Sally Hawkins revealed: a) What an amazing actor she is, where "Poppy" stops and Sally begins...
b) Why Mike Leigh really does deserve an Oscar nomination for screenwriting.

The Business

How the entertainment biz works. For an industry that's short on frank talk, you can find it in regular supply here.

Creative Screenwriting Podcast

Features, long interviews with the writers people are talking about. There's a lot of bad self-help screenwriting podcasts with advice on how to hone your elevator pitch...this isn't one of them.

The most recent podcast featured a battle royale of screenwriters, SIX of the Oscar nominated screenwriters talking on stage.

The Moth
True tales told before a live audience. Great source of storytelling. The most recent episode featured a story by a firefighter that is one of best stories bar-none I've heard this year. Amazing, compact and fascinating bit of theatre.