Forget Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino's most mind-bending onscreen offering of the year has to be this Japanese ad for what appears to be a dog-shaped cell-phone speaker, in which the director converses with an (actual) talking dog, declares "I am Tara!" in what even my ear can detect is atrocious Japanese, and busts out some non-Kill-Bill-worthy kung fu moves.
Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are set to meet for the first time tonight* and, with apologies to the latter, I think we all know who's The Kurgan in this scenario and who's the nameless immortal extra about to have her head cut off. So who does this make The Highlander? It's hardly a dispositive case, but here's one possibility. *Correction: Contradicting my source material, Michael Goldfarb claims the two women met in Alaska in 2008. He does not, however, dispute in any way the possibility that Sarah Palin is The Kurgan.
The Washington Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) conducted our end-of-the-year awards balloting over the weekend, and the big winner was Up in the Air, which took Best Film, Best Actor (George Clooney), and Best Adapted Screenplay. An Education did well, too, with Carey Mulligan taking Best Actress.
The protagonist of Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, Ryan Bingham, is a hatchet man for hire. The Omaha company that employs him, which goes by the Orwellian name Career Transition Counseling (CTC), rents him out to other companies to fire employees they don’t have the courage to fire themselves. He flies about the country, touching down briefly in Kansas City or Tulsa or Miami, to walk into offices he has never visited and tell workers he has never met that they are being let go.
The fashion's industry's escalating feminization of masculinity is usually Michelle's beat, but this morning I encountered an example of truly remarkable proportions (a pun, as you'll see).
Roger Friedman reports: Soon, everyone —I mean, everyone — will be able to bet on the boxoffice, and make or lose lots of money on the outcome. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Howard Lutnick is right now beta testing something called The Cantor Exchange. You can find it here. Lutnick already operates the Hollywood Stock Exchange, where players trade “virtual” shares of everything including stars, directors, films, etc. It’s all innocent fun. CX, as it will be known, is a different story. Cantor is awaiting regulatory approval before it launches officially.
The biggest film of the year opens this week, though you may be forgiven if you haven’t heard about it, as it has committed the unpardonable sin of being in Chinese. John Woo’s historical epic Red Cliff is the most expensive and highest-grossing film ever made in China, and that nation’s most emphatic statement to date that it intends to compete with Hollywood and Bollywood for a share of the global cinema market.
A landmark cinematic event in 280 words, or one for every $500, 000 of weekend box office: Senior year. How’d you get so old so fast? Oh, good. Cullen’s here. I’m 109. Maybe I shouldn’t be dating such an old man. Bella. Jacob. Hello, biceps. I’m just filling out. The Volturi are a very old, very powerful family. Don’t hate the truck. Ow, paper cut. Jasper hasn’t been away from human blood as long as the rest of us. I love you. Love you. You just don’t belong in my world, Bella. You don’t want me. That changes things.
Ever on the lookout for ways to shrink the party’s tent still further, a few of the masterminds at the Republican National Committee are pushing a resolution to establish an ideological purity test for prospective GOP candidates.
Nate Silver makes the sharp observation that all the public hand-wringing by red state Democrats about how they won't vote for the health care reform bill in its current form may not do them much good with their voters: Take a look, for instance, at some evidence from Montana, where we have a bit of a controlled experiment. In Montana, a purplish-red state, there are two Democratic senators -- Max Baucus and Jon Tester -- each of whom have ultimately decided to support the Democrats' health care reform plans.