The highly acclaimed film Beasts of the Southern Wild had its premiere last night at the Joy Theater, with director Benh Zeitlin and stars Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis (above). Read Ken Korman's recent cover story about the making of the film here.)
Beasts won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival (for the best film by a first-time director). Most reviews are calling it one of the best movies of the year, capped off by A.O. Scott's review this afternoon in The New York Times:
Discovering this movie is like stumbling into a bar and encountering a band you’ve never heard of playing a kind of music that you can’t quite identify. Nor can you figure out how the musicians learned to play the way they do, with such fire and mastery. Did they pick it up from their grandparents, study at a conservatory, watch instructional videos on the Internet or just somehow make it all up? Are you witnessing the blossoming of authenticity or the triumph of artifice?
Those are interesting questions. They are also irrelevant, because right now you are transported by an irresistible rhythm and moved by a melody that is profoundly, almost primally, familiar, even though you are sure you have never heard anything like it before.
Beasts of the Southern Wild opens in New Orleans July 4.
It's just five days until the premiere of the Louisiana film event of the year,
Beasts of the Southern Wild Arachnoquake, the SyFy original movie in which New Orleans is nearly destroyed by giant albino spiders from beneath the earth.
Spoiler: Looks like St. Louis Cathedral and much of the CBD don't make it:
How can we properly salute such a cinematic achievement and wise use of Hollywood South tax credits? With a pizza-and-beer screening at Pizza Nola Saturday night, of course. And you're invited.
Canal Street is the hub of public transportation in New Orleans. In fact, most of my Public Transit Tuesdays and non-Gambit bus excursions have me crossing Canal Street at some point. Also, if you're ever lost on a bus adventure, you'll be halfway home if you can find your way back to Canal Street. Sadly, this doesn't work for the RTA's demon seed, the Kenner Loop. The Canal streetcar demographic can't be explained, as it's full of tourists, locals, students, working people and the unemployed. That inexplicable demographic is one of the best parts of riding the Canal streetcar, as you never know who you'll meet. The only depressing thing about riding the Canal Streetcar is that it makes you long for the New Orleans that was...
This fine use of Hollywood South tax credits stars Tracey Gold (Growing Pains) and Edward Furlong (Terminator 2), and Entertainment Weekly has the first trailer, which is well worth your time if you want to see St. Louis Cathedral blow up and the CBD on fire due to GIANT ALBINO MUTANT SPIDERS.
Another day in New Orleans at Lacross Adventures and Sightseeing turns into mayhem when an Earthquake opens fissures and golf-ball sized Albino spiders come crawling out from beneath the streets. Paul Lacrosse, his Dad Roy and his sister Petra are the only ones who realize that the Natural Shale Gas deposits that range from Louisiana all across the Southern U.S., have been exposed by the ongiong Earthquakes, and have released a fire-breathing long dirmant [sic] species of spider-and these spiders are extremely aggressive. Now it's up to the Lacrosse family to pull out all of the stops, along with the National Guard, to find a weakness in this new breed of terror.
Back in December, Pizza Nola mentioned throwing a viewing party if anyone is interested in hanging out, eating pizza and watching GIANT ALBINO MUTANT SPIDERS in a movie with lines like "It’s time to show Daddy Longlegs how we roll on the bayou.” Anyone in?
How did you prepare for your role?
Well, we worked with the person it actually happened to, so it’s not like we had to go out and search, because we were working with the person the story existed with. So we had the director, who was basically telling us how it all happened and what she experienced.
Did you work with a dialect coach or anything?
I worked with Sam Chwat, who is a wonderful dialect coach out of New York City who just died this year, sadly, and I’ve known him for over 30 years. I worked with him and worked with a local lady (Francine Segal). I worked with her and there was a woman from my hometown that was from Poland. She was an inspiration for me because there wasn’t a lot of time or money, so I was taking help from wherever I could get it.
12:30 p.m. May 17 update: Michael Caine says via Twitter that the report is "completely false" and that "Everyone who has published this story has been tricked. Its completely untrue."
Purveyors of the world's finest news, The New York Post reports that inimitable (and often imitated) actor Sir Michael Caine was locked overnight in an attic while filming in New Orleans recently.
Caine reportedly took a break from filming Louis Leterrier's Now You See Me, about a crack team of bank-heisting illusionists, and fell asleep in a makeshift dressing room on location.
Clearly this could have all been avoided had he blown the bloody doors off.
Franco, who is shooting a movie here and staying on "Charters" Street, has taken to the cluttered HuffPo salt mine to write about his recent French Quarter ghost tour with "Nana (my trusty hair woman, raised in Japan) and Iris (my production consultant, raised in Mexico)." First, though, he has a note about economic development:
Our driver told us that there are more restaurants in New Orleans now than before Katrina. I don't know what that means exactly, but I guess some business is coming back.
When the tour gets to the Lalaurie Mansion, there is, of course, Nicolas Cage content:
We also visited a strange mansion that at one point was owned by Nicolas Cage. It was the site of horrific medical/carnival experiments on slaves in the vein of Human Centipede. About 200 years ago, the mansion belonged to a rich socialite with red hair. A fire broke out during one of her parties, and the fireman who answered the call discovered a chamber that smelled so bad it brought them to their knees, retching. Inside were living and dead victims of a variety of mutilations: amputations, limbs exchanged between people, sexes switched (meaning dicks were sewn onto women), skin flayed in designs to turn the victims into "human caterpillars" and other grotesque monstrosities. The house is still occupied, but it has not had a single owner for more than a five-year period.
Nana was a little disappointed by the tour; she wanted more of a haunted house experience.
Confidential to Nana: There's always this, just a couple blocks away. Far, far more terrifying.
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