Today on indieWIRE, Eric Kohn reviews 'The Beaver' and 'Passion Play,' Nigel M. Smith gives us a peek into Adrien Brody's bizarre career moves, Caryn James posts funny things she saw on TV, Sidney Poitier remains a class act, and more.
- Our lead critic reviewed two films today, 'The Beaver'' and 'Passion Play,' consequently allowing the headline above to write itself. "Cinematically speaking, 'The Beaver' is fundamentally simplistic; it only works because the cast deliver the goods in a few understated scenes. Whenever Killen's script aims higher -- such as the uneven hints of media satire when Black conducts interviews as the beaver with Matt Lauer and Jon Stewart -- its philosophical core starts to become thin," Kohn writes about Jodie Foster's new film. He isn't as kind when it comes to 'Passion Play,' the new film that star Mickey Rourke publicly labeled "a terrible movie" last month: "The reality is that 'Passion Play' has a few good ideas that simply don't hold together. More of a miscalculation than an outright dud, it takes the form of a wildly surreal Western fantasy, something that Chilean madman Alejandro Jodorowsky ('El Topo') could have executed with more rigorous invention."
- Adrien Brody has been busy lately. He starred in a 'Predator' movie, sued to prevent the release of a low-budget Italian horror B-picture he was in, and played the protagonist in a movie about a guy who gets trapped in a car. To top it all off, there's his performance as a substitute teacher in 'Detachment,' Tony Kaye's new film that recently premiered at Tribeca. In case you still aren't satisfied with Brody's post-Oscar ascension to replace Nicolas Cage as the world's most versatile actor who will pretty much take any role offered to him, check out 'A Matador's Mistress.' Apart from the obvious draw of being a film titled 'A Matador's Mistress' (miraculously, it's not an adaptation of a Harlequin romance novel), you get to see Brody play, dress, and do his best to speak like legendary bullfighter Manolete. See the trailer on Small Screens ...
- Late-night comedians have had a lot of material to go around this week. Caryn James offers clips of Stephen Colbert's Osama-is-dead celebration and his stern warning of the "Summer of Osama Fin Laden." James also features Will Ferrell's manic dedication to shave Conan O'Brien's beard off on television (spoiler alert: he succeeds).
- The Godfather of Soul was born today in 1933. Shadow and Act celebrates with a quick post asking the status of his long-delayed biopic. Is Spike Lee still attached?
- Christopher Campbell at Spout adds to last night's celebration of Sidney Poitier at the Film Society of Lincoln Center by placing it into the context of Teacher Appreciation Week in the U.S.