The scamps who claim a second office at Lake Street Screening Room (a.k.a. the Chicago Film Critics Association) have weighed in with their nominations for 2012's best films, and The Master, with ten nods, is in the lead. Buzz for Paul Thomas Anderson's opus has been building out of Chicago since an advance 70mm screening at the Music Box in August.
A.A. Dowd and I are both CFCA members. It's worth noting that, unlike various groups on the coasts, the Chicago critics make their picks electronically, so no one knows what anyone else is choosing. That certainly affects strategizing to some degree. Still, it seems there's broad support for performances I would've deemed long shots, like Denis Lavant's protean work in Holy Motors, as well as turns so far inexplicably omitted from the year-end dialogue. (As a waterboarding CIA analyst, Australian actor Jason Clarke goes through the greatest character arc of anyone in Zero Dark Thirty.) We can't have everything: The documentary choices seem to have gravitated toward the more-promoted releases (I threw the bulk of my points behind This Is Not a Film, even though it may not, strictly speaking, be a documentary), and I didn't agree with the acclaim for Sundance sensation Beasts of the Southern Wild, which garnered nine nominations.
But on the whole, this is an excellent roster. The press release follows the jump; winners are scheduled to be announced Monday.
Ian McKellen gave a hint, but just a hint, of what he’ll do after he finishes shooting The Hobbit trilogy next year, when he'll finally put Gandalf to rest. “I know what I’m gonna do,” he told me, “and I can’t really talk about it. Contracts aren’t signed. But I think I’m gonna do something on U.K. TV. I think I’m gonna be doing another movie. And I know I’m gonna be acting in the United States. That will be this time next year. I should be working in America, onstage.” McKellen says his website will be updated “the minute contracts are signed.” Until then, there’s the small matter of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opening tomorrow, which we discussed in this week’s Time Out Interview. Another outtake from our conversation touched on his gay-rights activism:
You’ve said that, when you were younger, there was nowhere to be romantic as a gay person outside of people’s houses. What’s it like now for you when go into a gay bar or another gay setting?
Well, I’m very happy for everybody who’s there, as long as it’s not a ghetto situation. I hope people are having happy lives outside. Sometimes I go to gay clubs and think, Hmm, I wonder how many of these boys are out to their families or out at work or out at college or whatever, and whether this isn’t just a respite from their normal situation of being rather hidden. But I always get such a lovely welcome from gay people when they congregate together. It’s such a contrast that they can talk to other gay people openly. And I visit schools quite a lot and talk to kids. I always get a very positive response from quite young people and people in their early teens who can’t understand why anyone should be worried about this.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens December 14. Read our review here.
Great movie posters, like great trailers, blur the line between advertising and art. Some skillfully lay out the attractive components of an upcoming movie. Others aim for abstraction, looking to capture the essence of a film. And then there are the one-sheets that work simply as stand-alone aesthetic triumphs.
All of these varieties are represented on the list below, my choices for the ten best movie posters of 2012. In a year of lazy Photoshop monstrosities and splashy star-powered mosaics, these were the 27'' x 41'' triumphs most deserving of your bare wall space. Click on each thumbnail to get a full look at the image.
10. Blue Like Jazz (Review)
More romantic than the film it's advertising—a rightfully forgotten crisis-of-faith indie—this gorgeous design puts the eponymous color to good use.
9. Bachelorette (Review)
Brilliantly blocked and framed, this playful freeze-frame hints at the naughtiness audiences expect, while supplying each member of its girls-night-out ensemble an expressive action pose. FYI: I have not seen the movie.
8. V/H/S (Review)
There's actually a whole gallery of posters for Magnet Releasing's horror anthology—including five nifty, comic-book-style alternates—but I prefer the ingenious simplicity of the main one.
7. Frankenweenie (Review)
Disney commissioned a whopping 20 variations to sell Tim Burton's stop-motion Frankenstein homage. This is the best of the bunch: It boasts a dramatic, pleasingly symmetrical design that evokes the Universal Horror canon as well as—if not better than—the movie itself.
6. Man on a Ledge (Review)
You practically get vertigo staring at this horizontal marvel of perspective, which forgoes vanity shots of the cast in favor of a dynamic expression of the film's premise.
5. The Imposter (Review)
It's a simple concept, perfectly executed—and one that teases the fascinating identity masquerade the movie takes as its subject.
4. The Man with the Iron Fists (Review)
Violent, colorful and surreal, this hand-drawn beaut—one of several retro posters created for the RZA directorial debut—looks like an instant classic. Why do I feel as though it will outlive any memory of the actual movie?
3. The Master (Review)
Given the multiple interpretations The Master has inspired, this Rorschach-themed design seems apropos. Mostly, however, it's just strikingly strange—again, like the movie.
2. The Cabin in the Woods (Review)
Even more so than the movie's Rubik's Cube–evoking main poster, Cabin's Escher-inspired alternate captures the genre-bending nature of the film without telling us anything about its twisty plot. The retro color scheme and layout also mirror the filmmakers' affection for '70s Fangoria fare.
1. Holy Motors (Review)
Eye-grabbing and iconic, this poster is simplicity done right—though I won't deny a certain resemblance to the ad for Uncle Boonmee.
The Jay Cutler Brand is in crisis. Although he’s at the helm of the winning Chicago Bears, Cutler holds the dubious distinction of being the second-most-disliked player in the NFL, according to a recent poll by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research. ESPN pundits deride him for the smallest infractions, and social media users roast him online.
This negativity is hurting Brand Cutler, and several PR professionals say it could affect his earning potential—and his legacy. “Athletes are brands, much more so than in the past,” says Gregory Lee Hendricks, an executive at Chicago sports and entertainment marketing firm Matter. He says Cutler needs to define his brand and manage it accordingly. But there’s a problem, Hendricks says: “I don’t know what Jay’s brand is.”
For more of this story and other Chicago sports essays, visit chicagosidesports.com.
This New Year's Eve, we've got tickets to give away! Enter our online giveaway to put your name in the hat for free tickets to one of these three great New Year's parties:
- Charles Bradley at Lincoln Hall: R&B crooner Charles Bradley is joined by his Extraordinaires for a concert at Lincoln Hall. Tickets include a couple of drinks, passed appetizers and a complimentary music download. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave (773-525-2501, lincolnhallchicago.com). 10pm.
- Paul Oakenfold at the Castle: What used to be the Vision and Excalibur megaclub complex has undergone a huge remodel to become the Castle. Platinum ticket-holders (you, maybe?) will be treated to an exclusive set from DJ legend Paul Oakenfold. The Castle, 632 N Dearborn St (312-266-1944). 9pm.
- CheekyChicago at the Dana Hotel: With a hip turn on the classic winter white party, CheekyChicago is taking over Vertigo Sky Lounge. Sounds from DJ Winston Wolf will help you greet the New Year—as will cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and sky-high city views. Vertigo Sky Lounge, 2 W Erie St (312-202-6060, vertigoskylounge.com). 9pm.
To enter: Click here. The contest runs from Dec 11-Dec 18, and you'll have a chance to tell us which party you want tickets to. Good luck!
You saw our gloriously goofy cover for our feature on the Chicago run of the Tony award-winning musical The Book of Mormon, and now, for your viewing pleasure, we present a behind-the-scenes video of the creation of that cover. Check it out to see what exactly goes into the planning and shooting of a Time Out cover–there's more to it than you think!
Vikings' runningback Adrian Peterson, the league's leading rusher, established Vikings dominance early, with a 51-yard run during the game's opening drive. Peterson concluded the drive with a Vikings touchdown. Three minutes later, Peterson ran in a second touchdown. That score was made possible by Peterson's teammate Brian Robinson, who intercepted a Jay Cutler pass, and ran the ball back 44 yards. AP pillaged the Bears' defense early, stealing over 100 rushing yards by the end of the first quarter alone. By the second half, the Bears' defense managed slow AP's assault, though damage had already been done. He finished the game with 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Every one of these events is recommended by our critics, and every one is free. Enjoy!
Life, in some form
Marissa Lee Benedict works with yeast to convert honey into mead in an installation that explores the potential of various generative processes. Brittany Ransom houses insects in various stages of metamorphosis in six steel sculptures, amplifying their sounds throughout the gallery.
Chicago Artists’ Coalition, 217 N Carpenter St (312) 491-8888. Opening reception Fri 6pm; Free.
Changes at Beauty Bar
Chicago has always maintained a strong connection to its roots in house music and the sounds that helped create it. Celebrating the past and present of this music, Loves Records (a subsidiary of Chicago house label Fresh Meat) hosts, and its A&R head, Samone Roberts, spins this vinyl-centric night with guests from across the house and techno spectrum. For this installment, Roberts enlists two of the city's top disco-house champs, Zernell (currently based in L.A. when not touring the world with his potent edits and disco cut-ups) and the Black Madonna, who shares space with Zernell on the latest 12" release from Chicago label Stripped & Chewed.
Beauty Bar, 1444 W Chicago Ave (312) 226-8828. Fri 9 pm; Free
Holy Fuck Comedy Hour
Holy fuck is right. Have you seen the lineup for this night of sketch, magic, character studies and all-around tomfoolery? It includes many of our favorite local comedians.
Annoyance Theatre. 4830 N Broadway (773) 561-4665. Fri 11:59 pm; Free.
Reconsidering an Icon
This year's Chicago Architectural Club Chicago Prize Competition invited designers to propose solutions to the dilemma facing Bertrand Goldberg's old Prentice Women’s Hospital, which is threatened with demolition. The three winning entries appear alongside proposals from eleven emerging local architecture studios.
224 S Michigan Ave (312) 922-3432. Sat/Sun 9:30 am- 5 pm; Free.
Small Ordinary Shop
Play your part in Eat, Drink and Buy Local Week. Known as the people's Macy's, the Small Manufacturing Alliance pop-up supports artisans who produce locally made goods. At the city's cultural epicenter, expect to find an assortment of merchandise including terraria, jarred preserves and original stained-glass artwork.
Chicago Cultural Center. 78 E Washington St (312) 744-6630. Sat/Sun 11am-5:30pm; Free.
If you've ever harbored an aching desire to go running across America in the name of multiple sclerosis research, then the MS Run the US 2013 relay is just for you. The coast-to-coast event requires each endurance-runner participant to run 140 miles (20-30 miles a day). The run is split into 22 legs, one for each of the 22 participants. The race starts in Los Angeles in April and ends in New York in September. Not for the faint of heart, the MS Run for the US is looking for 14 Chicago-area runners to help do the Midwest stretch. For more information, check out the website: www.msruntheus.com