Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Endless Love has awakened something in me. Not a long dormant passion for an introverted high school classmate, or a sudden desire to break into the zoo after dark. A question about movies — more accurately, about movie criticism. The same question you would ask yourself if you fell drowsy in the middle of Citizen Kane, or welled up during the emotional climax of Just Friends. The question I ask myself now, as I recount the 103 straight minutes of asphyxiating laughter that I endured during a screening of Shana Feste’s would-be romantic drama: What makes a good movie?
We assign deference to some films, disgust to others — a lucky few of us make a living this way. But what, precisely, are we reviewing? A film’s mission or its execution? The product onscreen or the experience of watching it? All factors come into play when considering whether or not a movie “works.” But on rare occasions you’ll get a film that offers no common ground in its meeting of these standards. You’ll get Endless Love, which strives for dramatic sincerity, winds up with underwritten idiocy, and provokes in its viewers an unrestrained, absurdist revelry — the kind of joy you’d otherwise be forced to seek in a third viewing of The Lego Movie. Laughter at the ill-conceived antics and befuddling dialectical patterns of our central teen couple — a Mars native Gabrielle Wilde and her gaping mouthed beau Alex Pettyfer. Elated bemusement at the younger generation’s propensity for chaotic disrobing and didactically organized dance parties. Unprecedented ecstasy at the Mafia movie intimidation tactics of an overprotective dad (Bruce Greenwood) and the brain-dead disregard of a supportive one (Robert Patrick). As a comedy, Endless Love is unstoppable.
I can only hypothesize that it was not Feste’s intention to roll us in the aisles. I have no cold proof that her resolution in paving every nook in her Georgia-set remake with another farcical stone — Wilde’s instantaneous evolution from wordless ingénue to sexually aggressive spirit walker, Patrick’s loving caution-to-the-wind attitude regarding any situation that has to do with a girl, Rhys Wakefield’s “black sheep” character forming an odd amalgamation of Pauly Shore and Charlie St. Cloud — was not one of Wolf of Wall Street-like satire, or reappropriation in the vein of Spring Breakers. Here are two movies that earned scorn from viewers who read them literally, and in turn vehement defense from those who peered through the exaltation of cocaine and firearms into the filmmakers’ ironic intentions.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
To the latter community, one to which I subscribe, I ask: if we’re readily willing to dive deeper for Martin Scorsese and Harmony Korine, shouldn’t we grant Feste this benefit? If we’d defend the authenticity of the splendor we recognized in their movies, why am I inclined to write off the very same when present in this year’s Valentine’s Day cannonball? Why do I eagerly laud the merit in Leonardo DiCaprio directing Quaalude-charged tribal chants and relinquishing subhuman treatment upon anyone short a Y-chromosome, while instinctively shafting the invaluable merriment in Pettyfer’s goofily deliberate declaration that he likes to read into the category of happy accident?
But an even more precise question (one I was challenged to entertain by a friend and film critic far wiser than I am), and this time to the former community: does it matter? Did it matter to all those offended by gunplay and intrusive nudity that Korine set out to demonize youth culture and its omnipresent hedonism? Did considering his intentions make the endgame any less a visceral nightmare? If not, does it matter if Feste poured her soul into the machination of a timeless love story, only to produce a riotous cinematic episode that treads genre parody as expertly as anything from the golden age of the Zucker brothers? Does it matter that she didn’t intend for Wilde and Pettyfer’s sex scene to come off as super-hoke, for every mention of cancer to feel like soap opera send-up, or for Robert Patrick’s vindication of his son’s passion for menagerie trespassing to elicit the biggest laugh of a movie yet in 2014?
So long as I consider the power of cinema, I’ll never be sure if it matters. I’ll never be sure of the answers to any of these questions. But no matter where I find myself standing on this issue down the line, I had far too much fun at Endless Love — and entertained far too many questions on the nature of cinema and the way we react to it — to call it a movie that people shouldn’t see.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
Former boxing champion Mike Tyson has been forced to scrap a series of press appearances in London after U.K. immigration officials banned him from entering the country due to his 1990s rape conviction. The retired sportsman-turned-actor was due to promote his new autobiography, Undisputed Truth, in the city this week (beg09Dec13), but a change in British immigration laws means anyone who has been sentenced to more than four years in prison is barred from entry.
Tyson served half of a six-year sentence for the 1992 conviction.
As a result, The Hangover star has instead headed to Paris, France to salvage the European promotional trip, which was expected to include a London book signing and a question-and-answer session with fans in a boxing ring.
A spokesman for the book's publishers HarperCollins says, "There was a change in the U.K. immigration law in December 2012 of which we were unaware."
Tyson, who also has previous convictions for assault, cocaine possession and driving under the influence, has yet to comment on the change of plans.
Meanwhile, the immigration change has also put his 2014 U.K. stage production of his one-man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, in jeopardy - the sports icon, 47, was due to begin a touring production of his Broadway hit in March (14). Producers and director Spike Lee have yet to issue a statement about how the law will affect their plans.
Much like the somber melodies that float throughout its 105-minute runtime, Inside Llewyn Davis will remain lodged in your head weeks after you and the film first meet. With Oscar Isaac's "Fare thee we-e-ell..." ringing daintily in your ears, you'll shuffle out from the grasp of the Coen Brothers' wonderland of gray, but you won't soon be able to relieve yourself of what is arguable the pair's best film yet. Llewyn's is a story so outstandingly simple — he's a man who's s**t out of luck, and not especially deserving of any. He wakes up, loses his friend's cat, plays some music, and wishes things were better. And yet his is the Coens' most invigorating and deftly human tale yet.
Llewyn Davis makes the bold, but practical, choice of never insisting that we love its hero. He's effectively a jackass, justifying all the waste he has incurred with the rudeness he showers on the majority of those in his acquaintance. But Llewyn Davis isn't the villain here, either. The villain is the industry, and all the uphill battles inherent to its machinations. The villain isn't Llewyn's substantially more successful contacts — an old pal Jim (Justin Timberlake) and new fellow couch-surfer Troy (Stark Sands), but the listening public that prefers their saccharine pop to his dreary drips of misery. The villain isn't Llewyn's resentful old flame Jean (Carey Mulligan), no matter how many volatile admonitions she might shoot his way, but the act of God surrounding their unwitting adherence to one another. And it's not even the cantankerous and foul Roland Turner (a delightfully hammy John Goodman), but the endless, frigid open road of which each man is a prisoner (if the film has one flaw, it's that this segment carries on just a bit too long, but that might very well be the point). The villain is the cold.
Call it all a raw deal. But the real dynamism isn't in the challenges that happen outside Llewyn Davis, but in the determined toxicity brewing inside as he meets each and every one.
But this isn't the Coen Brothers' Murphy's Law comedy A Serious Man — we don't watch a chaotic pileup of every imaginable trick that the devil can manage to pull. Llewyn is steady throughout, not burying Llewyn deeper but keeping him on the ground, with the fruit-bearing branches forever out of his reach. In its narrative, Llewyn Davis is as close to natural life as any of the filmmakers' works to date. Perfectly exhibited in a late scene involving a trip to Akron, Llewyn isn't a cinematic construct, but the sort of person we know, so painfully, that we are very likely to be... on our bad days.
Still, working in such a terrific harmony with the grounded feel of Llewyn himself, we have that Coen whimsy in their delivery of 1960s New York City — rather, a magic kingdom painted in the stellar form of a 1960s New York City. And not the New York City we're given by the likes of Martin Scorsese or Woody Allen. Closer, maybe, to Spike Lee or Sydney Lumet, but still a terrain unique to moviegoers. A New York that's always recovering from a hostile rain, and always promising another 'round the bend. One that flickers like a dying bulb, with its million odd beleaguered moths buzzing around it against the pull of logic. There is something so incredibly alive about the Coens' crying city; this hazy dream world's partnership with half-dead, anchored-to-earth portrait like Llewyn is the product of such sophisticated imagination at play.
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
And to cap this review of one of the best features 2013 has given us, it's only appropriate to return to the element in which its identity is really cemented: the music. Without the tunes bobbing through the story, we'd still likely find something terrific in Llewyn Davis. But the music, as beautiful as it is, is the reason for the story. As we watch Isaac's hopeless sad sack drag himself through Manhattan's winter, past the helping hands of friends and into the grimaces of strangers, as we struggle with our own handfuls of nihilistic skepticism that any of this yarn is worth the agony (or that our attention to its meandering nature is worth the price of a ticket), we are given the rare treat of an answer. Of course it's all for something. Of course it's all about something. It's about that beautiful, beautiful music.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Allan Bregg / Splash News
For those who live in cities with an active film industry, spotting idle celebrities wearing wigs and looking bored while smoking cigarettes is just another Thursday. But sometimes, even locals can be caught off guard.
When a Hollywood back lot won't suffice, you have to go straight to the source for old-timey looking buildings. New Yorkers got a bit of a surprise when a block of lower Manhattan was transformed into 1900s Americana — complete with dirt and hay covered streets, and all signs of modernity removed. And to think, they were JUST getting used to those shared Citibike racks, now they have to deal with horse buggies and street urchins.
Turns out this transformation is thanks to Steven Soderbergh, who's filming his new Cinemax series, The Knick, starring Clive Owen — so much for Soderbergh's retirement. Set in downtown New York, the new drama is about "Knickerbocker Hospital and the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff, who push the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics." Also, Owen is set to play a doctor hooked on liquid cocaine. Let's hope he doesn't go method for this one. The series is set for release in sometime next year. So if you're in the city, head over to Orchard Street between Delancey and Grand in the Lower East Side to catch a glimpse of the filming or just for some vicarious time travel on your lunch break. If you wear a bonnet, perhaps you could pass for one of the 300 extras on set.
Carsten Windhorst/WENNDespite becoming the first band since The Beatles to top the U.K. charts with their first five albums, the music world appeared to collectively shrug its shoulders at the weekend when Keane announced that they were taking a break after sixteen years together. One of many inoffensive piano-rock outfits to emerge in the wake of Coldplay's success, the East Sussex trio enjoyed huge success on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid-'00s. But they also became an easy target for the cooler indie fraternity, most notably with Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno, who famously joked that frontman Tom Chaplin's stint in rehab was more likely to be for port addiction than cocaine, and Noel Gallagher, who claimed that "whatever direction the band take, they will always be s***." But did they really deserve the 'Most Boring Band In The World' tag? Here's a look at five arguments in their defense."Is It Any Wonder"Inspired by their disillusionment over the Iraq War, "Is It Any Wonder" proved that Keane weren't always overwhelmingly polite. Recorded whilst battling a drink and drugs problem, Chaplin has never sounded so impassioned on a squalling indie-rock anthem which channelled U2 at their chest-beating stadium rock finest.Perfect SymmetryTo the surprise of everyone, Keane ditched their signature sound for third album, Perfect Symmetry, and instead looked to the widescreen '80s synth-rock of Tears For Fears, Simple Minds and David Bowie for a perfectly-executed pastiche which also produced their career-best single, "Spiralling.""Stop For A Minute"One of the more surreal collaborations of recent years, this lead single from 2010's Night Train E.P. saw one of the most quintessentially English bands of the '00s hook up with Somali-Canadian rapper K'Naan for a wholly unexpected venture into hip-pop."Early Winter"Not exactly a Keane song, although they did later give away their cover as a free download, the gorgeous soft-rock heartbreak of Gwen Stefani's "Early Winter" suggests that its writer and the brains behind the band, Tim Rice-Oxley, may have the more fruitful solo career."Dirtylicious"Recorded for Radio 1's famous Live Lounge series, Keane proved they weren't averse to the odd bit of suggestive R&B with this inspired mash-up of Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty" and Destiny’s Child's "Bootylicious."
Mumford & Sons
Mandolin-toting folk band Mumford & Sons fist-bumped their way out of the soft, fuzzy place in our hearts, getting kicked out of an Atlanta strip club last week. Maybe the Grammy went to their heads?
Oh, how the wholesome teeny-poppers have fallen. Watch, as Taylor Hanson cusses out a heckling fan – sorry, “b***h” - mid-croon.
Back in 2006, fans of the nicest band in rock were shocked as moonfaced posh boy and Keane frontman Tom Chaplin confessed publicly to bingeing on rubbish TV, cocaine and – fittingly – after-dinner standby: port. There’s hope for good boys everywhere, though: he’s since swapped the hard stuff for golf.
No roundup of nice boys gone bad would be complete without a Bieber shout-out. So what’s the Bieb done to push his chipmunked-faced Canadian background further into the shadows of our minds now? Bieber wore all black (and shades inside) to play crotch-grabbing hype man to Floyd Mayweather at the Vegas Alvarez fight, alongside fellow Cash Money pottymouth, Lil Wayne. Curioser and curioser…
We guess this means our hopes for our tweenaged sisters lie in the so-far, so-good One Direction?
More:What Was Up With The Dog In ‘Breaking Bad’’s ‘Ozymandius’ Episode?One Direction’s Harry Styles Vs. Teen Nip-SlipMMM-Pop: Taylor Hanson Gears Up For Baby No.5.
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
George Burns/Harpo Productions
In her recent interview with Oprah, Lindsay Lohan admitted to lying about cocaine use. Though she had previously told Piers Morgan that she'd only used the drug four to five times, she admitted to Oprah that the number was closer to 10-15. An anonymous friend of the former child star has now said that this too was an underestimation. The friend remembers Lohan using the drug that many times in a week. Though this is hardly a credible source, Lohan has lied a lot in the past, and many question how accurate her numbers are. It's also interesting to see how the story parallels Lance Armstrong's Oprah appearance.
The cyclist appeared on the show to admit to doping, something that he'd lied about many times in the past. His Oprah confession was larger in scope than Lohan's, and so was his lie. After the interview, many of his information was questioned, such as the time period during which he used the drugs. Though both celebs can be commended for their desire to come clean, neither could quite get past their lies. Watch clips from both interviews below.
More:Super Fetch News: Lindsay Lohan Docu-Series Is Coming To OWN In 2014Oprah's Lindsay Lohan Interview: The 6 Craziest MomentsFree At Last! Lindsay Lohan Leaves Rehab
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
George Burns/Harpo Productions
Lindsay Lohan sat down with Oprah Winfrey August 18 for an in-depth interview on Oprah's Next Chapter. It's the latest salvo in her campaign — after the release of The Canyons and her hosting of Chelsea Lately — to prove to the world that she is steady and employable. But her sitdown was still full of some wild revelations, particularly about her drug use, that might make an insurer think twice. Here are the six craziest moments from the interview.
1. She Wanted to Go to Jail
Yes, her two weeks in prison went just according to plan. "I think it was just to have some peace and just have no choice but to just sit and be," Lohan told Winfrey.
2. Yes, She's an Addict, But Not That Bad of One
LiLo cops to being an addict, but only when it comes to alcohol. And chaos! Yes, she says she's addicted to chaos, which by most accounts appears to be true. However, when it comes to harder substances, she says she only did cocaine 10-15 times. And even then she's quick to clarify that she only snorted cocaine, saying "I've never injected anything other than B-12 shots." When you have to clear the air by saying something like that, it really is time to look in the mirror.
3. She Proves She's Bought All the Oprah-isms Imaginable
"spiritual" and "ready to get honest." 'm really in touch, whether it's prayer or meditation... there are so many powers greater than me in the world.
Proving that she's watched a lot of Dr. Phil, Iyanla, and Oprah's own "Remembering Your Spirit" segments, LiLo was a veritable platitude dispenser. All the self-help descriptions of herself were there: she's "spiritual" now, "ready to get honest," "really in touch," and is aware that "there are so many powers greater than me in the world."
4. She has no idea where her money went.
Just a few suggestions about where to look: legal fees, bondsmen, court-imposed fines, bottles of Dom Perignon '53.
5. Oprah Forbids LiLo from Going on a European Meditation Retreat
Because those Franciscan monks are such party animals with their Vow of Silence and all.
6. She Defends Her Parents!
Michael & Dina Lohan are prime contenders for the title of "Worst Celeb Parents Ever," but Lindsay thinks you should cut them a break. "I hate the bad rap that people give my parents. Because they are just parents, really, at the end of the day trying to stand up for their daughter and themselves." Okay.
Did you watch?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
More: REVIEW: Lindsay Lohan Plummets Face First Into the Irredeemably Awful ‘The Canyons’ What’s Paul Schrader’s Advice for Lindsay Lohan’s Next Director? How Did Lindsay Lohan Do Guest-Hosting ‘Chelsea Lately’?
From Our PartnersStars Pose Naked for 'Allure' (Celebuzz)20 Grisliest TV Deaths of 2012-2013 (Vulture)
A representative for Phil Collins has spoken out to distance the star from allegations his nephew has been linked to a headline-grabbing drug-smuggling scandal. The former Genesis star's relative, Philip Austin Collins, son of his brother Clive Collins, is currently behind bars in Peru after being arrested last year (12) on drug charges.
The 38 year old was detained after he was allegedly found onboard a yacht packed with cocaine bound for the U.K.
He hit headlines again this week (beg12Aug13) when two young women, from Britain and Ireland, were arrested in the country on drug-smuggling charges and police are investigating allegations they are linked to the gang behind Philip Austin Collins' bust.
A representative for Phil Collins has now spoken out in a bid to distance the star from the story, which has become headline news in the U.K.
The spokesman tells Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, "This has nothing to do with my client so there is no comment to be made."
Celebrated singer/songwriter Jj Cale has died at the age of 74. The musician passed away at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, California on Friday (26Jul13) after suffering a heart attack, according to an announcement on his personal website.
Born John Weldon Cale in Oklahoma, he adopted the name JJ Cale to avoid being confused with John Cale of the Velvet Underground and helped create the Tulsa Sound, a musical style which combined blues, rockabilly, and country.
He became famous in the 1970s, when Eric Clapton covered his songs After Midnight and Cocaine and the pair collaborated on 2006 album The Road To Escondido, which won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2008.
Cale released 14 studio albums but enjoyed greater success as a songwriter than a singer, penning popular tracks for Tom Petty, Carlos Santana and Johnny Cash.