The Costello Show – Though he’s never stopped working, Elvis Costello returns to S.B. after 16 years

Elvis Costello at 55: his face still framed by black plastic specs, this season he has turned to a late-period-Dylan moustache and a series of wide-brimmed hats. In his albums, concerts and Sundance Channel chat-and-music show “Spectacle,” he continues to indulge, celebrate and expand his encyclopedic knowledge of music. He’s the Englishman who knows more about America’s musical culture than we do. In interview, he seizes the question and tussles with it for minutes, though at the end, he admits to being distracted. Costello had just got off the phone, having heard that John Ciambotti, the bass player from Clover — who backed Costello on his 1977 debut LP — had passed away. The interview went ahead, with Costello covering everything from his show and resurrecting old tunes to his thoughts on the latest “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie.

There have now been two seasons of “Spectacle.” Did being the interviewee for so many years help in becoming an interviewer?

No, I think it helped to be truthful, to be in the same location as the subjects. I really think that the success or otherwise of the conversations hinged largely on the fact that the people had a degree of trust simply because they knew that I knew what they do, even if our methodologies turned out to be different. The other (thing about the show is) they are not set up to really promote a new product the way a chat show is. Because the host in this case is not a comedian but somebody who … I mean, I can appreciate the humor in certain situations as much as the next person; but it doesn’t matter to me if the conversation becomes serious or reflective or emotional. And we get to also speak for a fairly long period of time and then try and edit the best bits into something like an hour. And all of those things put us, I would say, at some advantage to most of the discourse on television. So I don’t put too much thought into my own technique.

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At Last, Shorts Weather — 10 films nominated for the Oscars come to the Arlington in two screenings

 "French Roast," above, is among the shorts nominated for an Academy Award and being screened this week at the Arlington Theatre. Below is a scene from "Logorama," the story of a psychotic bankrobber loose in the streets of Los Angeles, in a world made entirely out of corporate logos.

“French Roast,” above, is among the shorts nominated for an Academy Award and being screened this week at the Arlington Theatre. Below is a scene from “Logorama,” the story of a psychotic bankrobber loose in the streets of Los Angeles, in a world made entirely out of corporate logos.
So you’re sitting watching the Oscars. You’ve seen a majority of the nominated films, or at least heard of them, and have your own opinions over who should or should not get that golden bald man statue. And then they come to the short films. Chances are you have never heard of any of them, and even after the winners are announced, they are not coming to a multiplex near you anytime soon. Until now, that is.

Metropolitan Theatres has finally secured the rights to bring the touring program of Oscar-nominated shorts to Santa Barbara, showing at the Arlington starting today and running through the rest of the month. Two programs will be offered: A live-action selection and an animated selection, topping out at 90 minutes. Because the nominated shorts are a shorter total runtime, three additional films that did not make the Academy cut will be added (including a Pixar short).

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The only way is up — Pete Docter of Pixar speaks about his helium-filled adventure ‘Up’

Pixar continued its string of hits in 2009 with the poignant, swashbuckling and often hilarious “Up.” As consistent as the films have been, so too have the filmmakers, as three years of interviewing the directors has shown. Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton and another one of Pixar’s original crew, Pete Docter (“Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.”), are all affable, talkative, friendly creators who never seem to tire of answering questions about their films. Docter grew up in Minneapolis, but he knows Santa Barbara from visiting his grandparents here, and he’ll return once again to screen “Up” and take part in the Festival’s screenwriter and director panels this weekend.

In “Up”, Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) attaches thousands of balloons to his house and goes in search of Paradise Falls to fulfill a promise to his deceased wife. He has a stowaway, Russell, an eager boy scout, and a later meeting with a boyhood hero, Muntz (voiced by Christopher Plummer).

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Time to Shine

Sandra Bullock may finally be having her time in the sun. After the critical and popular success of “Speed” and “While You Were Sleeping” in 1994 and 1995, the actress has never been off our marquees, from thrillers and romantic comedies. But the big awards have eluded her, until now.

11 Amazing Days, 10 Starry Nights.

This year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival almost throws down a gauntlet with that slogan: we’ve got so many must-see events, we dare you to get to them all! And we know. We’ve seen those people in line, heck sometimes we’ve been them, too: the hardened determination, the 1,000-yard stare of the film addict. More stories, more inspiration, more celluloid, more tributes, more buzz, more, more, more!

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