Having tackled the fast-food industry, the war on terror, and product placement with his last several works, Morgan Spurlock takes on the less overtly political topic of male grooming in Mansome. Featuring interviews with experts, ordinary joes, oddities, and celebrities (Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, Judd ApatowJohn Waters, etc.), the lighthearted film tackles the full spectrum of masculine appearance maintenance in contemporary society. It’s a very broad topic and Spurlock only manages to skim the surface, but what Mansome lacks in real insight, it makes up for in sheer entertainment.

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Year-end top 10 lists can get pretty mind-numbing, as you see the same titles crop up again and again and again… and again, but filmmaker John Waters has set himself apart by both by posting his a bit early and by, oh yeah, being John Waters. You wouldn’t seriously expect the man who gave us Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Hairspray to just name War Horse and The Artist like everrrrrrryone else, would you?

No, Waters’ tastes tend toward more unconventional choices, like Kaboom, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (seriously), with Pedro Almodovar‘s The Skin I Live In topping the list. Read the top 10 after the jump.

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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The Top Ten Films of 2009, According to John Waters

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I’m fairly sick of lists by this point every year, and this year, with all the roundups of the past decade, the listmania is way out of hand. But this is one I can get behind. I like it in part simply because it was penned by John Waters, the long-standing champion of bad taste. I like it more because there are a few entries I hadn’t much considered before, and that is the only purpose I see in any year-end list.

As I’ve said before, I don’t need to read a dozen roundups that reinforce my own ideas of what the best movies were; I want to see lists that make me reconsider other stuff. The list Waters came up with might do that for you. Given his tastes and the films he’s made over the decades, none of these choices are terribly surprising, but they’re definitely fun to read. Check it out after the break. Read More »

Cool Stuff: Complete Crazy4Cult 3D Art Preview

As you probably know by now, Gallery 1988 will be holding their third annual pop culture art show Crazy4Cult 3D from July 16th (TONIGHT!!!) to August 8th in Los Angeles. Gallery1988 has given us permission to run an exclusive preview of some of the cool artwork which hasn’t been seen yet, that will be available at the show. After the jump we’ve included over 30 pieces of the awesome art you’ll see at the show. If you’re interested in buying any of the original art — make sure you’re there! If you want to order any of the prints, you can email Gallery 1988 at gallery1988@aol.com or call them at 323 937 7088.

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10 Things You Should Know About Hairspray 2

Over the past couple months, MTV has had a lot of coverage of the announced Hairspray sequel. I thought that since we haven’t reported on the film since the project’s earliest announcement, that now is a good time to bring together all the facts:

1. John Waters has written a crazy treatment for the sequel called Hairspray 2: White Lipstick.
2. Hairspray director/choreographer Adam Shankman and songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are also set to return
3. The story will look at Tracy’s entering the late ’60s era of music, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the British invasion. “We’re trying to track, in a comedic way, the historical elements,” Shankman told EW.
4. Tracy (Nikki Blonsky) is hated because she’s now famous but doesn’t lose weight.
5. Link (Zak Efron) gets a mop-top Beatles hairdo and tries to masquerade himself as a member of the British Invasion in an attempt to remain hip. The hair causes three pimples to spawn on his forehead, which he has “an ongoing dialogue” throughout half the movie. He also somehow accidentally experiments with acid. Shankman later said that Link’s drug storyline probably won’t make it into the final film.
6. Edna (John Travolta) gets hooked on diet pills, actually loses weight, but sees her husband (Christopher Walken) lusting after fat women. Shankman told MTV, “she finally breaks down and runs over to a snack table. Just within one number, she gets fat again; gaining 20 pounds at a time. [Her fat] pops out, and by the end of the song she’s completely at her old weight again.”
7. Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) will likely not appear in the sequel due to the introduction of a new villain.
8. Someone gets drafted into war, but it isn’t Link.
9. New Line/Warner Bros has yet to official announce any actors/actresses for the sequel, but they have said that they hope to keep most of the original cast.
10. The film is tentatively scheduled to hit theaters in mid-July 2010.

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Here is a round up of stories that just didn’t make the /Film front page, or what we like to call…. Page 2!

Toy Story Mania Entrance

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3DOrlando United has photos of the exterior and queue area of Disney’s new Toy Story Mania. I love the mini-replica of Pixar Studios.

David Chase, creator of “The Sopranos,” has signed on to write, direct and produce his first feature film for Paramount Pictures. [Variety]

Warner Bros has released a new poster (seen right) and trailer for Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D. [Apple]

Natalie Portman has walked out of new film ‘Wuthering Heights‘. [monstersandcritics]

There are only 13 directors in film history who’s films have grossed more than $1 billion at the box office (domestically). Michael Bay did it in seven. So did James Cameron. [shootfortheedit]

Before we take a trip back in time, JJ Abrams’ Star Trek actually begins sometime after 2002′s Star Trek: Nemesis, as Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) returns from Romulan space. [TrekMovie]

The Dark Knight: HBO First Look’ will premiere on Thursday, July 10 at 10:45 p.m. Like all of HBO’s recent behind-the-scenes special, The Dark Knight first look will run 13 minutes. [comics2film]

CC2K takes a look at an unproduced script for a prequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit and finds that it’s not all bad.

Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster will topline Christian Alvart’s sci-fi thriller Pandorum. [variety]

New Batmobile

Take a first look at the new Batmobile which will debut in Batman #676. Yeah, I like the the tumbler better. [io9]

Empire EncountersThe November 1980 issue of Warren Presents: Empire Encounters Comix offers the promise of spoilers for “Star Wars 2!” Boba Fett leading stormtroopers? A Rebel assault on “Vader’s stronghold?” Han Solo and Chewbacca captured by the Empire? [John Booth]

Lionsgate has picked up the rights to the comic book “Deal With the Devil” and has set writer Kyle Ward to adapt. [THR]

Our friends at LatinoReview have seen an unfinished cut of Hellboy II: The Golden Army and says it “was a joy to watch even without the eye candy.”

The Sandcrawler Times
has a look at a bunch of new WALL-E products from Thinkway Toys.

NYTimes reports that the negative Indiana Jones review which leaked last week was actually from “a theater executive who saw the film at an exhibitors’ screening this week.” And that “Theater executives may have an incentive to play down a movie’s prospects after such a screening, to get better terms.”

Check out the trailer from the WALL-E video game. [fanboy]

Watch the movie trailer for Noise starring Tim Robbins on FirstShowing.

Johnny Knoxville and Parker Posey are attached to star in John Waters‘ Christmas film Fruitcake. [THR]

Senator Entertainment has greenlit Samuel L. Jackson thriller Unthinkable with Gregor Jordan (The Informers) attached to direct with production starting Sept. 2 in Michigan. [variety]

The new Knight Rider series won’t be based on that terrible terrible pilot. Thank God! Oh wait, that still doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. [screenrant]

How could anyone hate E.T.? Annalee Newitz lists Nine Reasons Why She Hates the Spielberg film. [io9]

Taiwan version of the Juno posterI love this Taiwan version of the Juno poster. [impa]

FSR has posted the Ten Movies You Need to See Before Going to Vegas.

American Teen is being given a new soundtrack. Lets hope they don’t suck things up. Please, whatever you do – keep Phantom Planet’s Do The Panic! [theenvolope]

The X-Files: I Want to Believe movie trailer will be released Monday night. [collider]

David O. Russell
‘s risque political comedy Nailed has been put on hold while shooting in South Carolina because of a “cash crunch” that’s causing problems with SAG, IATSE and the Teamsters. Co-stars Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal (the pic also stars James Marsden, Catherine Keener, and Tracy Morgan) “are waiting to see if the movie will continue. [Nikki Finke]

LatinoReview is reporting that John Singleton is looking at Bruce Willis for the role of Col. John “Hannibal” Smith for the upcoming big screen version of The A-Team.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says California must increase tax incentives to movie and television studios as a way to keep them from moving their productions out of state. [THR]

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation will have an Los Angeles premiere at the Mann’s Chinese on Wednesday, May 14th at 7:30 pm. If you ever have the chance to see this film, DO IT! [PRNewswire]

Richard Burgi (Hostel: Part II, pictured inside) plays a sheriff in Platinum Dunes’ Friday the 13th remake. [bloody-disgusting]

EXCLUSIVE: 20 Minute Sneak Preview of Hairspray

Hairspray PosterLast night I was lucky enough to be invited to a very special presentation of Adam Shankman’s Hairspray at Dolby Laboratories. I must admit, I’m not a fan of musicals, or at least I haven’t been in the past. Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge! was my first positive experience in the genre. And Dreamgirls became one of my favorite films of last year (although not in my top 10). I’m very critical of the genre, and I sometimes wonder it’s value in contemporary times. That said, New Line has definitely created something magical with the New Hairspray. Read on.

The screening room in the Dolby Labs is a wooden modernized art deco design, with a small stage, curtain, and stadium seating. While I sat in my seat waiting for the presentation I looked around wondering where the speakers were. I didn’t see a single speaker, ANYWHERE. And you would expect a place like Dolby would have a jacked up sound system. And you would be correct. I later discovered while exiting the screening room that the entire wall is a speaker. What seems to be wallpaper is actually that mesh speaker material. The sound was quite incredible.

Hairspray director Adam Shankman came out and introduced himself. He claimed that this film was “the best experience” he’ll ever have. He talked about how everyone in the cast signed on because they really wanted to do this movie. Adam said that Michelle Pfeiffer supposedly calls herself Dr. No, because she never says yes to movie offers anymore. He talked briefly about the original John Waters film, and how Waters told him “You have to do your own thing.”

“Which is a very sweet thing to say to the guy who made Cheaper By The Dozen 2,” joked Shankman. “Which I did completely as a favor.”

Shankman is an incredible speaker. He talks and you listen as the stories pour out of his mouth and fill the room.

The lights then went down and we saw a 20 plus minute preview of the film which Shankman called a “Franken Trailer.” It consisted of pieces of songs, pieces of scenes, montage segments that seem like they should be part of a theeatrical trailer, and more. We were warned that parts of the cut were not completely finished, although you wouldn’t have noticed at all from the footage.

The footage began with newcomer Nikki Blonsky, who plays the lead character – Tracy Turnblad in the film, waking up to get to school. She misses the bus and is forced to hitch a ride. The whole thing is done in this wonderfully music number which is perfectly cut. You can see the love and time that must have gone into the story-boarding and choreography of this sequence.

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The next segment followed Tracy and her best friend Penny Pingleton, played by Amanda Bynes, as they rushed home to catch the Corny Collins show on television. Tracy tries to convince her mother, played by John Travolta in a female fat suit, into letting her audition for the tv show. She of course says no, but her father, played by Christopher Walken says yes. If there is one trepidation I have about the footage I viewed, it would be the over the top performance of Travolta. His part seemed so out of place, and more like a gimmick than anything else. Walken is, well, Walken. You can never go wrong with him, even in the worst film.

harispray3.jpgWe then see Tracy at the tryout, where she blows away Corney Collins, played by James Marsden. There is so much going on in this film. It’s so colorful, and over the top. The dance numbers are what you would expect from an old Hollywood musical. For example, the next one they showed involved Tracy and her mother leaving a thrift store. I’m not exactly sure about the context but the pair start dancing and singing in the street where 30 or so random people join in for a big dance number.

We also got a glimpse of Queen Latifah (who plays Motormouth Maybelle) at a record store party. Tracy’s mom shows up an embarrasses her but is quickly appeased by the offer of food. The preview ended with a montage of slips from throughout the film, in trailer fashion.

When the footage ended, the whole screening room broke out in applause. I can’t stress to you how great some of this footage was. Shankman really went for it, with confidence, and without holding back.

The director again thanked the crowd and thanked New Line for green-lighting the film when other musicals weren’t doing so well. I can only assume he meant Rent.

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A reception was held in the lobby with food and wine. I was able to speak with the producer Neil Meron, who actually admitted that he wasn’t completely happy with the 20+ minute preview reel. He claims that the preview footage doesn’t do the film justice, and he wished that New Line would have let them show the whole thing. Usually such a statement could be dismissed as hype, but I got the feeling that Meron’s feelings were authentic. He seemed really pleased with the result.
harispray5.jpgI also discovered that the film’s lead, Nikki Blonsky, was a complete newcomer. She has done nothing before this. The casting director discovered Nikki on MySpace. So expect to hear a lot about that leading up to the movie’s release. If it weren’t for the recent Jennifer Hudson/Dreamgirls performance I’d probably be praising Nikki, who seems to be perfect for the role of Tracy.

I also learned that Marissa Jaret Winokur (from the musical cast), Rikki Lake (from the John Waters film), and newcomer Nikki Blonsky (from the Shankman film) had just recorded a version of “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” for the soundtrack release.

I asked Shankman if John Waters had seen any of the footage yet, and he told me that not only had Waters seen the movie, but he loved it. So take that for what it’s worth.

One thing is for sure, Hairspray is one to watch this Summer, let’s just hope if doesn’t get buried between all the Threequels being released. Hairspray hits theaters on July 20th 2007.

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