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John Cusack discusses the lasting appeal of Edgar Allen Poe

While making the rounds last week doing press for “The Raven,” Bullz-Eye’s Bob Westal had the chance to sit down with John Cusack to discuss the actor’s new film, his recent star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and other projects in development. But perhaps the most interesting tidbit in the interview is his explanation of why late American poet Edgar Allen Poe has remained so contemporary for all these years:

“I think he’s this classic sort of archetype for all of the shadow parts of ourselves that we don’t want to admit out loud or you’re not supposed to admit in polite company or society. You know, all of these terrors and fears and phobias and anguishes and torments, and also this kind of grave, deep love of language and poetry. I think he’s a genuine genius and he spoke to the language of the subconscious and he was a great poet and artist. A great storyteller; a wild creator of different genres and hybrids of genres and mash-ups of genres. He was a pretty talented man, and he was also just wired way too tight, so it was a volatile mix.”

Be sure to check out the full interview with Cusack at the Bullz-Eye Blog for more on “The Raven,” the possibility of a “Say Anything” sequel, and his upcoming role as Richard Nixon in Lee Daniel’s “The Butler.”

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

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Box Office Recap: ‘Think Like a Man’ still on top


Despite making 46.5 percent less than it did last weekend, “Think Like a Man” remains on top of the charts, so I see no reason not to reuse this picture. After grossing nearly $34 million last weekend, “Think Like a Man” dropped to $18 million. This should be evidence enough that it was a very slow weekend at the (domestic) box office, parentheses required as “The Avengers” made its debut in 39 foreign territories, scoring $178.4 million.

Total domestic revenue dropped 30 percent as compared to a year ago, when “Fast Five” raked in $86 million. “Think Like a Man’s” $18 million is the lowest weekend gross for a number one movie since “New Year’s Eve” made $13 million in December.

Coming in second with $11.4 million was swashbuckling stop-motion comedy “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” followed by “The Lucky One.” In fourth was “The Hunger Games,” which is still going strong in its sixth week, beating out all new releases save “Pirates!”

In fifth was “The Five-Year Engagement,” which made a disappointing $11.2 million. Heading into the weekend, the Judd Apatow-produced romantic comedy was expected to be “Think Like a Man’s” biggest competition. The film brought the writing team of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the same pair who wrote “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “The Muppets,” who also starred and directed, respectively. Few of Apatow’s flicks have had such poor opening weekends. Most of the Apatow films “The Five-Year Engagement” beat out are highly unremarkable (does anybody remember “Drillbit Taylor?”). The lone exception being “Walk Hard,” which was critically acclaimed but never found an audience while in theaters.

The highly predictable “Safe,” directed by Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans”) and starring Jason Statham (every Jason Statham movie), came in an equally predictable sixth with $7.7 million.

In seventh and last among new releases with $7.2 million was “The Raven,” which starred John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. Good. That’s all I have to say about that. I’m disappointed in each and every one of you who helped support this abortion.

Here are the results for this week’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. Think Like a Man, 2/2,015, Sony, $18 million, $60.9 million.
2. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, 1/3,358, Sony/Aardman, $11.4 million.
3. The Lucky One, 2/3,175, Warner Bros., $11.3 million, $40 million.
4. The Hunger Games, 6/3,572, Lionsgate, $11.25 million, $372.5 million.
5. The Five-Year Engagement, 1/2,936, $11.15.
6. Safe, 1/2,266, Lionsgate/IM Global, $7.7 million.
7. The Raven, 1/2,203, Relativity/Intrepid, $7.3 million.
8. Chimpanzee, 2/1,567, Disney, $5.5 million, $19.2 million.
9. The Three Stooges, 3/3,105, $5.4 million, $37.1 million.
10. The Cabin in the Woods, 3/2,639, Lionsgate/MGM, $4.5 million, $34.7 million.

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See Thriller live

Ever since his death, many fans have been gobbling up Michael Jackson music and everything else associated with him. He’s one of the biggest entertainment icons of the 20th century, and in death he’ll be just as popular as Elvis. The sales figures since his death for his music are incredible, and his family is cleaning up.

But there’s more than just the music. You’ll start seeing all sorts of adaptations of his music. If you’re in London and looking for West End shows, you’ll see you can snap up Thriller tickets for a show which is based on Michael’s epic music video. Check out the video above for a preview.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of Hollywood movies come out of this, and whether the representatives of his estate will be licensing out his music for movie soundtracks. Michael Jackson’s music helped to define a generation, and I’m sure there’s a ton of music producers will be salivating to get his music into their movies. But, there’s always the issue of cost, and demand sets the price, so we may not see much at all as the estate has tons of options and they don’t want to over saturate the market.

In any event, get ready to see lots of Michael Jackson in the coming years.

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Hidden Netflix Gems – Red Road

Hidden Netflix Gems is a new feature designed to help readers answer that burning question, “What should I watch tonight?” It will be updated every Saturday before the sun goes down.

After taking home the Best Live Action Short Film Oscar in 2005 for Wasp, Andrea Arnold made her stunningly assured feature film debut with Red Road, another grim, realistic portrait of unfortunate souls. Fair warning: this is definitely not a feel-good movie. However, if you’re in the mood for something dark, sad and challenging, you could scarcely do better.

Jackie (Kate Dickie) is a single woman working as a closed-circuit surveillance operator in Glasgow, Scotland, where there are apparently cameras on nearly every street corner. Jackie’s rather creepy and mostly dull job is to watch the monitors and report any criminal acts or emergencies to the proper authorities. For a good portion of the film’s beginning, we are thrust into the tediousness of Jackie’s everyday life with little dialogue and no exposition, a refreshing departure from the average movie’s need to explain everything right away. Red Road has rightly been compared to the work of Michael Haneke in this regard, and the element of voyeurism at work here especially recalls two of his best films – Funny Games and Cache – but Arnold has more empathy for her characters and, seemingly, less nihilism in her heart than the great and revered Austrian filmmaker.

The inciting incident of Jackie’s story comes when she glimpses the face of Clyde (Tony Curran), a man who has apparently wronged her in the past, for which mysterious act he has been imprisoned until now. After doing a bit of research, Jackie finds that Clyde has been released early and is now living on the titular “Red Road,” which houses a preponderance of ex-cons looking for a second chance. The idea of redemption for past wrongs is, in fact, the central theme of the film, along with the necessity of moving forward in life, as beautifully illustrated in the final scene.

As the film progresses, though, Arnold wisely leaves the audience guessing as to the exact nature of its protagonists’ shared history. Jackie becomes immediately obsessed with Clyde, to the point that she neglects her duties on the job in order to stalk him from afar, leading to a violent attack she might have prevented if not preoccupied. At first, the red herring we are given to believe is that perhaps Clyde raped Jackie at some point, but as they begin to actually interact in person, he shows no signs of recognizing or remembering her. This central mystery unfolds perfectly, with just the right amount of intrigue to hold the audience in suspense without ever resorting to predictable cliches.

Red Road is truly a remarkable and complex film that eschews easy black-and-white morality in favor of a more nuanced and intelligent approach to its characters and story. When Clyde’s past offense is finally revealed, it is suitably awful and impossible for Jackie to ever completely forgive, yet he is never made out to be a simple villain; likewise, while Jackie has every right to be as self-destructively angry and vengeful as she is, we are never invited to view her as a saint, or her mission as a morally righteous one. The result is a bold and uncompromising film that may not be for everyone, but is nonetheless one of the very best debut features of the past decade.

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The Nifty Fifties DVD Giveaway

The 1950s marked the introduction of cultural and technological changes (i.e. Rock ‘n Roll, TV sets) that reverberated into the themes and acting styles of this era. Many stars made their debut in the ’50s, while others continued their rise in stardom, including Sidney Poitier, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Marilyn Monroe and Gregory Peck. With Mill Creek Entertainment’s “The Nifty Fifties” DVD set, you can enjoy all these stars and more with over 65 hours of movies from the era.

To help get the word out about this release and Mill Creek’s many other Cheap DVD Packs, Premium Hollywood is giving one lucky winner a copy of the “The Nifty Fifties” DVD set. Additionally, we’re offering a 25% discount code that can be used on their official site. Just enter 50PACK25 when checking out before May 31, 2012 to save even more.

Click here to enter for your chance to win, and then be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on new contests and giveaways.

CONTEST ENDS: May 16th

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