Nicole Kidman

Today at Sundance — Day 4: Jane Campion’s TOP OF THE LAKE and Park Chan-Wook’s first English film

Today at Sundance — Day 4: Jane Campion’s TOP OF THE LAKE and Park Chan-Wook’s first English film

Today in Park City, we’ve got the premiere of a Sundance Channel original that’s already generating plenty of buzz, plus Nicole Kidman in Chan-Wook Park’s first English language film. Check ‘em out, plus more premieres below!

TOP OF THE LAKE 9:00A Egyptian Theatre
12 years old and 5 months pregnant, Tui Mitcham walks into a freezing lake … then disappears. Detective Robin Griffin returns home to investigate, but it’s not a simple missing persons case. In this breathtaking but remote mountain town, there are evil forces as powerful as the land itself. Jane Campion (THE PIANO) directs Sundance Channel’s own TOP OF THE LAKE, an all-new original series premiering first at the Sundance Film Festival.

New York Film Festival preview: LIFE OF PI, FLIGHT and more

New York Film Festival preview: LIFE OF PI, FLIGHT and more

The 50th New York Film Festival is bookmarked by two films in which disasters lead to personal awakenings. The opening movie on September 28 is Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI, a 3D adventure tale about an Indian boy’s antics with various wildlife after a shipwreck sets them adrift on the ocean. The closing night attraction is Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT, about a pilot, played by Denzel Washington, who saves a plane — if not necessarily his life — from crashing.

Further proof that TV is the new film

Further proof that TV is the new film

It’s old news that the increased presence of high-profile film stars in TV land is just another not-so-subtle sign of the recession in action: Those usually used to a fat paycheck from the film studios have had to think out of the box — or rather, right into it, as have 2012 Emmy nominees Glenn Close of Damages, Kathy Bates of Harry’s Law and Steve Buscemi of Boardwalk Empire, to name just a few. But their presence is also a sign of another larger shift in the entertainment media landscape, one that has also been in development for a while now: The boundaries between the kind of content on TV and in film may be disappearing altogether.

LOVE LUST – Gimme some air

LOVE LUST – Gimme some air

When Faye Dunaway graced the screen in BONNIE AND CLYDE, you knew you were on the wrong side of the tracks. You got the same feeling once Melanie Griffith took off her black wig in SOMETHING WILD, or when Carrie Anne-Moss confidently strutted in THE MATRIX. These women got what they wanted. Men were around, but our attention and the camera’s gaze were directed on fairer – though not necessarily gentler – sex. Muscles and guns, stubble and sneers are a dime a dozen. Watching a woman break the rules, and make her own, is a breath of fresh air. In short, bad girls are oxygen.

TO DIE FOR out now on blu-ray

TO DIE FOR out now on blu-ray

My all-time favorite Buck Henry film, Gus Van Sant’s TO DIE FOR, is now out on blu-ray. Perhaps Nicole Kidman’s greatest comic/ironic performance, she strikes the perfect balance as Suzanne Stone, the overly ambitious, small town weather woman who dreams of stardom and comes to realize her pizza-slinging husband is a massive hindrance. So she does what any aspiring career woman would do: she enlists some disaffected teenagers to kill him. And it’s actually both dramatic and funny. The entire film, in fact, is an exercise in tone perfection, and that’s really, really hard to do.

The film is a balancing act between the ridiculous with the believable. Characters are…

Diane Arbus' top 10 most famous portraits

Diane Arbus' top 10 most famous portraits

Before 2003, the world hadn’t seen a major exhibition of Diane Arbus’ work in almost thirty years, during a traveling exhibition in the 1970s, and given the overwhelming response to “Diane Arbus Revelations” (2003-2006), the world was long overdue. Filmmaker Steven Shainberg (SECRETARY) took note and in 2006 relased FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus and Robert Downey Jr. as Lionel Sweeney, a fictionalized version of one of Arbus’ portraiture subjects. Since Arbus dwelled in a bizarre, fantastical and on-the-fringe world, it’s only fitting that an imagined story of her life is as close to a real ‘biopic’ as we’re likely to get. Get ready for Sundance Channel’s Sunday night screening (October 16th at 7:55p) with some her most famous photographs…

Bad boys and even badder girls: what's playing this week on Sundance Channel

Bad boys and even badder girls: what's playing this week on Sundance Channel

Nicole Kidman as photographer Diane Arbus in FUR
Last week we gave you a little taste of what’s in store for Kubrick fans this month on Sundance Channel with EYES WIDE SHUT and BARRY LYNDON. We keep your appetite whet this week with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and another dose of Ryan O’Neal as bad boy BARRY LYNDON. Stay satisfied with Gretchen Mol, who bears is all in THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE. Then LOVE COMES LATELY (based on the short stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer) proves that you don’t have to be young to be young at heart – or have a bed-shaking sex life. And Robert Downey Jr. and Nicole Kidman take sex to a whole new – and hairy – level…

How to do sad and simple

How to do sad and simple

RABBIT HOLE is John Cameron Mitchell’s new film starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as Becca and Howie, grieving parents who just want to stop the ache. Have you seen it? There may be someone in your life who says to you, “There is no way in hell that I’ll see that sad sad sad sad movie.” (Someone said that to me.) But I say, “Hey, in your movies, you got big you got little. You’ve got amusement park rides – most big budget movies today — and you’ve got Sofia Coppola. Can’t you have sad too, with all the happy out there?” What’s more, I like the way in which this film is so simple. And I don’t mean basic.

Here comes the most depressing batch of holiday films in history!

Here comes the most depressing batch of holiday films in history!

Looking to Hollywood to brighten your Christmas season with laughs and good cheer? You’d have a better time renting old Hammer horror flicks.

The last month of the year has become less of a venue to trot out cinematic smiles and eggnog than to appeal to the dark side of the audience while also groveling for awards and recognition.

It’s a bleak time in the movie cycle, and I have no problem with that—in fact, I detest cheap sentiment—but I sometimes find myself dreading the December depressathons, even if they’re admittedly better for you than feelgood rom-coms and cutesy cartoons.

Stagecoach Music Festival: A Great Time in the Bowels of Humanity

Stagecoach Music Festival: A Great Time in the Bowels of Humanity

My sister and I at The Oakridge Boys
I spent this week in the bowels of humanity. No — literally! I toodled on out to Palm Springs for the Stagecoach country music festival — Coachella’s redneck sister — with my pal Theano and my little sister Emily. And none too soon.

See, here’s the deal with being single in NYC. You can find your physical type, and you can find your mental type — and never the two shall meet. Trust. I’ve tried. So, being a (physical) lover of very large manly men (and you try finding big manly guys who know how to fix a tire in NYC), I decided why not just wallow in a sea of my physical type and while I’m at it — get to see Merle Haggard, The Oakridge Boys, Sugarland, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, and a whole lot of sweaty cowboys?

Joan Rivers Rocks my World

Joan Rivers Rocks my World

Joan and Melissa Rivers (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Post Oscar hangovers are never fun… Trust. I’ve been covering them for 10 years! But this year was different. Not so bad. Even though – let’s be honest, seven days into a nine day journey, you are ready to run for the hill. And by hills, I mean Appalachian, Eastern Hills. Except for the fact that I came back from Rainy LA to monsoon-y New York. I mean… Okay, okay. I got two good days of beautiful Spring weather before my boots were soaked and once again I had to forsake fashion for Tretorn rain galoshes.

Shacking up for the Oscars: Botox, Boytoys and Big Parties

Shacking up for the Oscars: Botox, Boytoys and Big Parties

Actresses Marcia Gay Harden and Susan Sarandon at the 2004 Oscars. Woof.

So. My liver finally recovered from Sundance – just in time for the Oscars! Oh Yeah! And without the altitude to help… Well: the upside is: less High Altitude Flatulence (you know who you are!!!!) but the downside is: the alcohol content in California is considerably more potent than Utah (note to self: no more Dark & Stormy’s!).

NINE

NINE

Overly fussy moviegoers who are disappointed that director Rob Marshall’s lush musical NINE doesn’t live up to Fellini’s 8½ is ridiculous and, frankly, irrelevant criticism. It should be noted that Marshall, who has a background in choreography and an Oscar-winning film (CHICAGO) under his belt, didn’t set out to remake a Fellini, but to adapt “Nine,” the Broadway musical. However, even without precedent, NINE holds its own ground.