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Steve Buscemi

This tag is associated with 17 posts

Doghouse Empire.

In the interstices of the Interwebz between Buscemi Eyes and Grumpy Cat, meet Chuci, the Pekinese-Poodle hybrid that looks strangely like Steve Buscemi. All the news that’s fit to print, y’all.

Keep Your Lid On.

Nah, it stayed a hat and no, I didn’t chase it. Nothing more foolish than a man chasin’ his hat.”

Donny’s Trip Abroad.

I’ve heard reports that the full movie is so-so. Nonetheless, by way of Open Culture, the Coens’ short contribution to the 2006 Paris, Je T’Aime anthology, Tuileries with Steve Buscemi, is now online. It was new to me.

Take Oasis, Karl Hungus Bathing.

“‘In the movie, they play it like it’s a drama,’ said Forkan…’There’s no mugging for the camera. Everything has this level of seriousness. In the “Oath of the Horatii” they’re talking about the future of Rome. In the film they’re talking about a rug that got peed on, but they’re as serious about that as the characters in the painting were. I liked that level of drama in these images that were also loaded with humor.’

Hey, I know that guy – he’s a nihilist. From the Twitter archives, artist Joe Forkan discusses his Lebowski cycle with the LA Times. (A gallery is available here.)

A Plague of (Mr.)Pink-Eye.

The girls with kaleidoscope eyes? She’s got Bette Davis eyes? Nope, worse, chicks with Steve Buscemi eyes — Oddly nightmarish at times. (As seen at Quiddity and on the Twitter machine.)

Evil Twin Theory.

And now to the third and final film of last Friday’s quality triple-feature, Miguel Arteta’s solidly entertaining Youth in Revolt, based on the novel by C.D. Payne. (I haven’t read this book, but judging from its Wikipedia entry and a la A Single Man last week, it sounds quite different.)

As I said back over in the Daybreakers review, my view of all three of these back-to-back-to-back movies is pretty similar — Each accomplishes what it aspires to do pretty well. If you like clever, gory, unabashed B-movies, you’ll enjoy Daybreakers. If you warm to the tics (and foibles) of Terry Gilliam unleashed, you’ll probably like The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. And if you find Michael Cera and his awkward attempts to score inherently amusing, you’ll probably dig Youth in Revolt.

So, yes, this is another film in a long line of them where Cera, deeply uncomfortable in his own skin as usual, is trying to figure out What Women Want. (And, by that, I mean that, as in Superbad, he’s frantically trying to lose his virginity once more, and, as in Juno, he may or may not succeed.) The wrinkle this time is that Cera has willfully concocted his own Tyler Durden to help him out — a lascivious, mustachioed, (creepily) blue-eyed Frenchman named Francois Dillinger. In other words, imagine Cera playing both his and the Jonah Hill role in Superbad. Or, to go back to the source, just pretend George Michael had another cousin other than Maeby, and he was Gob’s kid.

So that’s the basic gist. Cera’s Nick Twisp has a few other hurdles to navigate — his mom (Jean Smart)’s worthless trucker boyfriend (Zach Galifanakis), his dad (Steve Buscemi)’s refusal to fund him, his neighbor (Fred Willard)’s general strangeness, his increasing problems with the law (as represented by cop-for-life Ray Liotta). But, mainly, he’s just trying to get to know his new girlfriend Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) a bit better. And, to do that, he’ll have to get past her uber-Christian parents (M. Emmet Walsh and Mary Kay Place), the considerable shroom collection of her older brother (Justin Long), the many impressive qualities of her other squeeze, Trent (Jonathan B. Wright), and all the long-distance problems involved. At least Nick has Francois aiding and abetting him in his shenanigans and providing that alpha-male tang when needed. But, as Nick fast discovers, there’s a reason the real Dillinger died in a hail of lead.

I know Michael Cera is verging on over-exposed right now, and I’ve also heard from several corners that people are tiring of him. Ok, fair enough. I kinda felt the same way going in, and I even skipped Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Year One. But it didn’t take long before Cera won me over again. The guy’s got impeccable comic timing, and nobody — not even Anthony Michael Hall in his prime — does awkward teen quite as well. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World aside, I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be able to milk this character — he’s getting a bit long in the tooth at this point — but he’s darn good at it. And, at least with Francois, he gets to play outside his usual sandbox for awhile.

In the end, the occasionally bawdy, mostly good-natured Youth in Revolt reminded me less of Superbad or Juno than it did the John Cusack/Savage Steve Holland teen-classics of the ’80s, Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer. (This may be partly because, like the former, Youth in Revolt goes for the hand-drawn animated credit sequence.) And, you know what, Cusack pretty much always played the same guy back then too — you could argue he’s still doing it now. So let’s cut Cera a break already. After all, if we keep pushing him, he may up and pull a Francois and burn down the banana stand again later this year

Vicious Mood Swings.

Right around the midpoint of Steve Buscemi’s uneven, ultimately disappointing Interview, the first of three American remakes of films by the slain Dutch director Theo Van Gogh (the other two will be directed by Stanley Tucci and John Turturro), Buscemi’s beleaguered, world-weary, and increasingly drunk journalist bemoans the state of his notes for his article on Sienna Miller’s catty, self-entitled celebrity-of-the-moment: “This tape is just ten minutes of us bickering at each other!” Uh, Steve, it’s more like 85 minutes. A very brief scene at the opening notwithstanding, the entire movie consists of this eponymous interview, meaning that Buscemi and Miller are bickering, cajoling, pleading, seducing, and threatening each other for the entire film’s run. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing — I came in to the movie expecting a theaterish two-person character study (with possible archetypal overtones about the overlapping worlds of media and entertainment): Add one pompous reporter, one self-infatuated actress, and simmer. But, while the beginning is engaging, the ending is decent, and the film is well-made and well-acted throughout, Interview lost me in the middle going. These two characters turn on a dime too quickly too often: They go from at each other’s throats to in each other’s arms and back over and over again, and it just doesn’t feel plausible. This is mainly a fault of the writing, which — while clever — also feels stilted and unnatural. Buscemi the actor and director comes up aces here, but Buscemi the writer (along with David Schecter) frankly could’ve used a later deadline.

The plot, in a nutshell, has already been described: Pierre (Steve Buscemi) is a hard-drinking, pill-popping political journalist who, as the result of being on the outs with his editor, has been assigned a celebrity puff piece in New York on the same day Very Important Indictments are being handed down in DC. (As we discover in the film’s opening moments, he also has a shell of a brother wasting away at a mental hospital. Based on later revelations, this inclusion may be important, or it may just be a red herring — I chalked it up to a need to humanize Pierre before we watch him rant and rave his way through the rest of the evening.) The celebrity in question is Katya (Sienna Miller), the It Girl of the hour for her sexual escapades and breast reduction surgery as much as for her horror film and soapy TV drama (neither of which Pierre took the trouble to screen beforehand. He considers the subject matter — and the subject — beneath him.) The official interview, at a trendy downtown restaurant, starts and ends badly. But, on the way home, an accidental bump on the head, perhaps precipitated by Katya’s winning smile, gets our two antagonists bottled up in her spacious Tribeca loft, where the “real” interview begins to unfurl…

The remainder of this epic interview consists of seventy or so minutes of intensive, convulsive, verbal wrestling within this deluxe apartment in the sky: Buscemi’s snake to Miller’s mongoose (or is it Buscemi’s mongoose to Miller’s snake? Either way it’s bad — I don’t know animals.) Their sparring is intermittently entertaining, to be sure, but it zigs and zags too often to feel anything close to real. And, while Buscemi and Miller both do excellent work in the roles as written, other parts of the story just don’t hold up. At one point, Buscemi becomes fascinated with some morbid paragraphs he finds (surreptitiously) in Katya’s diary. But, frankly, it’s the type of gloomy woe-is-me fluff everybody had written at some point in a journal, and it doesn’t really make sense that it’d pique his interest so. And to help explain away the reason why neither Pierre or Katya disengage from this disastrous conversation much earlier, they’re given an unwieldy, simplistic Freudian connection — he looks like her wayward dad (her dad is John Waters?), she reminds him of his deceased daughter — that comes off as groan-inducing more than anything else. The last few beats of the movie help bring the story into focus, but by then the damage is done — I’d stop thinking of either character as real people, or as anything other than writerly conceits. For all intent and purposes by then, the Interview was over.

Slaughter, Infidelity, Donuts.

In the movie bin, Homer J. Simpson gets stuck between a rock (Iraq?) and a hard place in the trailer for The (long-awaited) Simpsons Movie; Edward Norton (brandishing a surprisingly lousy accent) and Naomi Watts struggle with a loveless marriage by way of W. Somerset Maugham in the trailer for The Painted Veil (also with Liev Schrieber, Toby Jones, and the always lovely Dame Diana Rigg); and Wilbur the pig picks up a “spin” doctor with a way with words in a new Internet-only teaser for Charlotte’s Web (Between Julia and Buscemi, it seems like the voice-work is going to be really distracting.)

Charlotte Sometimes.

The new trailer for Charlotte’s Web, which I’m pretty sure is the first honest-to-goodness book I ever read, is now online…although, back then, Charlotte sounded nothing like Julia Roberts. (Official Site.)

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