Somewhere Out There I Write a Letter to Sofia Coppola

Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning share some nice moments in Sofia Coppola's SOMEWHERE.

Somewhere out there a great film awaits Sofia Coppola.  In some parallel universe she’s directing a masterpiece.  But not here.  Not yet.

Somewhere is a film that just is what it is…which is a film about nothing.  Even in interviews, the oft-maligned auteur admits in no uncertain terms that the film is really about nothing.  It’s just about the mood…the moment.  And like all of Sofia Coppola’s films, it grows on you as it languidly progresses.  You get used to the cadence and the ennui, the repetitive imagery, the sometimes uncomfortably sustained shots (oh, imagine what she could do with neo-noir or psychological horror) that ultimately signify the vapid nature of isolating stardom and luxury.  And when the bored movie star (Stephen Dorff, scruffy but agreeable) is temporarily interrupted from his nothingness by his bright and mostly cheery young daughter (Elle Fanning), you get a muted fuzzy feeling, melancholy somewhat, and little bits of humor, embarrassment and do-nothingness fun contribute to a glazed, dreamy atmosphere where you like what you see, you get the feeling, and the mood is alright, baby.  But there’s nothing there.

Which brings me to this…which I touched on in some recent exchanges at Jason Marshall’s excellent Movies over Matter blog and have decided to elaborate on here:

Sofia! Stop writing your own scripts! I know, in the brutal irony of the biz, you won an Oscar for your writing…but you are a natural-born director.  With your screenplays you are stuck going around in circles just like your main character’s Ferrari in the opening shot of your new film.  In the end, he’s driving in a straight line seemingly getting as far away from Hollywood as he can.  I hope that is symbolic of you doing the same thing. Continue reading

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Robbie Gil Live at The Tin Angel

Straight from New York as part of his East Coast tour, Robbie Gil will be playing at The Tin Angel in Old City, Philadelphia (at 20 South 2nd Street).  He’s set to take the stage at 8:30pm on Thursday night, January 27th, 2011.  Be there or be square.

As any New York City independent music scene fan with true grit knows, a Robbie Gil show is not to be missed, and it’s a special treat to have him playing the streets of Philadelphia.

Check out past Spotlights on Robbie Gil’s live shows and his newest album, Save Yourself.

For more details and tour dates, check out Robbie Gil’s official site.  To purchase tickets for Thursday night’s Philly show, check out the website for The Tin Angel.

Robbie’s CD’s are available for purchase at his shows, through iTunes or on the web at cdbaby.com.

Written by David H. Schleicher

A Box of Kittens for Christopher Nolan

Cheer up, Mr. Nolan!  You may have been royally snubbed by le Academie (yet again!) and robbed of a Best Director nomination…but they did nominate your film and your screenplay…and we’d like to offer you a consolation prize:

A box of kittens!

A Box of Kittens for Christopher Nolan

Alas, perhaps you would’ve been happy with a pin wheel.

The 83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations were announced this morning, and there were zero surprises when it came to the 10 Best Picture nominees.

In the world of snubs, there was no love for Christopher Nolan – The Director (though they love what he produces and writes), Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore and early favorites Shutter Island and The Ghost Writer were totally shut out, though (aghast!) Alice and Wonderland and The Wolfman even managed to secure technical nods.

Though clearly this is a two-horse race between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, here are your 10 Best Picture Nominees:

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

Check out the full list of nominees at the IMDB.

Written by David H. Schleicher

State of the Union Drinking Game V. 2011

President Obama looks over the speech one last time to see if they can fit in any more allusions to Graham Greene or Terrence Malick to make Dave happy.

In the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changing.

It’s amazing what the other party regaining power in Congress and one rousing and comforting speech in the wake of a tragedy can do for a guy’s approval ratings.  After quoting everything from the Bible to the trailer for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in his Tuscon Speech (which served as a Hail Mary pass that will be left hanging in the air until 2012), Obama looks to get back down to it with his highly anticipated and much ballyhooed State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, January 25th and 9pm EST.

Gone are the days of crazy-eyed blinking Pelosi, and now sitting next to Biden and his comb-over behind the President will be Sooki-colored blubbering Boehner.  Apparently out on the floor those kooky tea partiers, blue dogs, and bleeding hearts will be mixin’ it up, sittin’ all up in each others’ pieces singin’ kumbaya.  Ah, political theater.  Ain’t it grand?

All eyes will be on the Prez, and there ain’t nuthin’ to do in times likes these but get your drink on. Continue reading

The 5th Annual Davies Awards in Film

A Look Back at 2010:

In 2009, Hollywood went to war and for the most part blew us away if not with the actual quality of their output, with their audacity at least.  In 2010 they took a deep breath and dove back into the shadows and dark alleys of the mind.  It was the year of the Neo-Noir Renaissance.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 (2nd movement) is probably one of the most recognizable and widely used pieces of classical music.  Filmmakers have returned to it over and over again – Tom Hooper just did for the excellent closing montage to The King’s Speech.  But I feel this piece of music represents clearly what the 2010 year in film was all about:  dark, brooding, steady, prone to dramatic swells, often formulaic, but very well crafted.  Tell me you don’t see a bit of the same madness in Carlos Kleiber conducting that we saw in Scorsese, Nolan and Aronofsky directing in 2010.

Unlike most years, it started off like gangbusters with two masters delivering wildly entertaining larks that owed as much debt to their own past efforts at they did to Hitchcock:  Martin Scorsese’s “in your face” Shutter Island and Roman Polanski’s more subtle and refined The Ghost Writer.  The trend towards neo-noir continued and reached its zenith in the summer with two polarizingly opposite films:  Debra Granik’s independent and devilishly simple Winter’s Bone and Christopher Nolan’s wickedly complex mega-blockbuster Inception.  Even some of the heavy-hitters at the end of the year, like Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan or The Coen Brothers’ True Grit owed some debt to noir.

Overall, it was a solid, consistent year for films and a nice way to kick-off a new decade of cinema.  There was nothing earth-shattering or revolutionary, but there were plenty of reasons to be entertained in 2010… Continue reading

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Why, yes, Mr. Hitler, I do object.

Character driven historical dramas used as vehicles for acting showcases have long been the bread and butter of many an Oscar campaign.  The King’s Speech is one such throw-back picture, harkening to a simpler time when entertainment was good and pure.  It’s 100% by-the-numbers bread and butter…but it’s that really good bread, you know the kind that is crusty on the outside and warm and tender inside, and the butter, it’s like that really fancy kind infused with garlic and stuff. 

It’s the dawn of WWII in England, and the royals are still reeling from the Wallis Simpson scandal.  After his brother abdicates the throne, King George VI (Colin Firth – not looking, but certainly acting the hell out of the part) reluctantly takes charge while cowering in fear of a life-long stutter.  With the help of his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter, still damn good when not stuck in Tim Burton films) he finds an unlikely speech therapist in the Australian Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush in his wheelhouse) to help him overcome his stammering.  Continue reading

And now for 2011

Happy New Year from The Schleicher Spin!

Thanks to all those fellow bloggers and writers who made 2010 such a memorable one at The Spin with their comments and insights:  Sam Juliano, John Greco, DeeDee, Jason Marshall, Dianne Glave, CCYager, Aiden R., John Lehman, Jake Cole, Prakash, Chris Tate, The Olson Brothers, Bob Collins, The Scarlett Spider and all the others who have taken the time to give The Spin a whirl in the ever-increasing blogosphere.

Highlights from 2010:

Stay Tuned in 2011 for:

  • The 5th Annual Davies Awards in Film – Shocking surprises guaranteed!  Who will win Best Picture? Worst Picture?  The suspense is spinning out of control!
  • Reviews of The King’s Speech and Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists.
  • I will (probably for quite some time) be tackling Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
  • And of course…expect wall to wall coverage of the most anticipated motion picture in the history of The Spin:  Terrence “T-Bone” Malick’s The Tree of Life – guaranteed to open…finally…on 5/27/2011.