Being John Malkovich

Top 10 life lessons from John Cusack

Article: Top 10 life lessons from John Cusack

Photo Credit: Listal

John Cusack’s entire career is something of a life lesson: you don’t need to be conventionally macho to become a leading man. Even in the golden age of muscled-up testosterone, the eighties, Cusack found success in offbeat roles while seeding a career with far fewer rough patches than, say, Sylvester Stallone’s. This month, Sundance Channel is showing two of Cusack’s very best, SAY ANYTHING and HIGH FIDELITY; in those movies and others, Cusack has much to teach us.

It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

Article: It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

A lot of people have way more free time on their hands than they used to (for very poignant reasons), plus there are more ways to watch movies than ever before, so the nostalgia pit has been beckoning with a treacherous appeal of scary new magnitude. And there are plenty of classic indies that lend themselves to watching them over and over for nuances — or just for their culty essence. But I’m here to urge you to stay away! Don’t get addicted to viewing old indies!

It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

Article: It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

A lot of people have way more free time on their hands than they used to (for very poignant reasons), plus there are more ways to watch movies than ever before, so the nostalgia pit has been beckoning with a treacherous appeal of scary new magnitude. And there are plenty of classic indies that lend themselves to watching them over and over for nuances — or just for their culty essence. But I’m here to urge you to stay away! Don’t get addicted to viewing old indies!

Buy yourself some movies, will you?

Article: Buy yourself some movies, will you?

Time to jingle those piggy banks and see what shakes loose — if you’ve ever wanted some of the best of contemporary and classic films for your very own, here’s your chance. Barnes & Noble is offering all of Criterion Collection’s movies at 50% off, including such faves as HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, 12 ANGRY MEN, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, THE THIN RED LINE, THE 39 STEPS, RUSHMORE and the miniseries CARLOS. Most titles are available on beauteous Blu-ray.

Spike Jonze's short film I'M HERE

Article: Spike Jonze's short film I'M HERE

In his feature films, Spike Jonze has successfully melded his singular sensibility with other equally distinctive voices (Charlie Kaufman in BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION, Maurice Sendak and Dave Eggers in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE). But for a taste of pure, unadulterated Jonze — to really appreciate the deadpan high concepts, the absurdist melancholy, the skewed sense of enchantment — turn to his music videos and short films.

Written and directed by Jonze (and financed by Absolut Vodka), the half-hour I’M HERE, the high point of a strong opening shorts program, follows in the venerable tradition of sci-fi stories about robots who discover the contradictions of the human heart. Sheldon (Andrew Garfield) is a sad-eyed android librarian in an unfriendly Los Angeles where the robots lead an underclass existence and seem fated for a lonely obsolescence. (He and his fragile fellow bots certainly look like last century’s models: boxy heads, Lego-like appendages, protruding wires.)

Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years

Article: Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years

Spike Jonze planned his upcoming release of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE very well. He seems to be all around us. For starters, the latest issue of Wholphin includes three short Maurice Sendak-based pieces he directed. They’re very DIY (as in not very good) but they’re cute and kooky and serve a purpose, namely, to get us all amped up for the real, long-awaited, much-anticipated thing itself, in theaters Friday.