Take 5, week of 10/19/12: The Oscars Race, Paranormal Problems & more

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Nathan Foster, News Director

1. A wrench was thrown into the Oscar race this week, as Best Actor-contender Joaquin Phoenix declared the whole Oscars / awards season scene to be “total, utter bull****.” Joaquin is considered a frontrunner for his role as tormented-WWII-vet Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” Reaction around the internet and from various “awards experts” has been varied, with some calling this “an award tanking quote,” and others saying that it actually helped his chances of securing a nomination.

I would tend to agree that this will most likely help Phoenix, not hurt him. “The Master” already had a good month on the rest of the “Oscar bait” field and this only brings the film back into the conversations of Hollywood. Phoenix is also not without precedent in his actions. There is a long history of actors’ apathy towards awards, from George C. Scott who refused his nomination for “Patton,” to Mo’nique for “Precious,” who did no campaigning at various film festivals and still managed to win the award.

2. We’re within two weeks of Halloween, so you know what that means: a new, crappy horror movie out every weekend for the next few weeks. There have been two major releases already this month, the anthology-style film “V/H/S,” and the Ethan Hawke-starring “Sinister.” However, both of those movies will have no where near the levels of financial success that is expected of the fourth entry of Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity” series, due today. The series has become the definition of a dead horse, with the same plot and cheap scares occurring in every movie, though this won’t stop $30 million dollars worth of people from going to see it this weekend.

These movies (and seemingly every other release) highlight a growing bubble that is about to burst with the genre: the found footage approach. What was once fresh and scary in movies like “The Blair Witch Project” has become tired. However, the trend likely won’t stop soon as found footage films have one huge pro that outweighs any cons: they’re cheap to produce. If this type of movie is going to be the dominant type of scary-movie for years to come then directors and writers needs to find new approaches, or be slain like so many teens “who will be right back.”

3. For the first time since 2007, we can finally follow the continuing adventures of Sylvester, Cathy, Rufus and Gwendolyn. That’s right, R. Kelly announced that he is picking up on production of “Trapped In the Closet,” his seminal “hip-hopera.” Kelly was able to secure financing through IFC and will be releasing these new chapters on the IFC channel and IFC.com. Below is a trailer previewing the new installments.

4. After last week, I really don’t want to talk about this anymore but, I can’t help it. On Thursday, NBC cancelled freshman-sitcom “Animal Practice,” with the final episode to be aired on Nov. 14. As I read those words, my excitement rose as I thought about my favorite community college sitting in the back pocket of NBC’s programming, ready to return, until I learned that the show NBC was bringing back is not “Community” but… “Whitney.” Sigh. Thanks, Peacock, you’re still the worst. On the bright side, at least I’ve got “New Girl.”

5. SONG OF THE WEEK: Poetic Justice, Kendrick Lamar & Drake

This song off Kendrick Lamar’s upcoming major label debut, “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,” (which leaked in its entirety this week) is a great showcase for the up-and-coming rapper’s creative flow and features a good guest spot from Drake. The album is due out next Tuesday and should not disappoint.

Nathan Foster brings you the latest news and highlights of pop culture, from the cinema to the music stage, from Hollywood to Broadway.