Stepping just outside of his element yet again (or maybe not?), Be Kind Rewind-cum-Green Hornet auteur Michel Gondry directs a bunch of Bronx teens discussing their lives and loves while riding the bus on the last day of school.
Director Michel Gondry turns 46 today. Enrique Iglesias is turning 34. Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni is 58. Author Thomas Pynchon is turning 72. Model Josie Maran is 31. Advertising exec Richard Kirshenbaum is 48. Alex Van Halen is 56. Earth, Wind & Fire's Philip Bailey turns 58. Ted Sorensen, best known as JFK's speechwriter, is 81. Actress Melissa Gilbert is turning 45. Socialite Nina Griscom is 55. And Don Rickles, or "Mr. Warmth," is 83 today. A few of the people celebrating their birthdays this weekend—including Rosario Dawson, Emma Bloomberg, and Billy Joel—after the jump.
Gucci celebrated the launch of its Tattoo Heart Collection on Wednesday, a line of products that benefits UNICEF. Rihanna, who is the new face of the campaign, was joined Gucci creative director Frida Giannini at a snowflake lighting ceremony at the Grand Army Plaza, which was followed by an event at Gucci's flagship and dinner at the Plaza's Oak Room. Guests included Madonna, Penn Badgley, Blake Lively, Adrian Grenier, Monet Mazur, Timbaland, Mary J. Blige, Erin Wasson, Becki Newton and Chris Diamantopoulos, Kelly Rutherford, Patricia Field, Charlotte Ronson, Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, Jessica Joffe, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Mamie Gummer, Eleanor Ylvisaker, Bethenny Frankel, Anja Rubik, Hal Rubenstein, Magnus Berger, Joe Zee, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and Maggie Betts. [Style.com, NYO, PMc, Wireimage]
In its bid to top the deceptively simple "I"m a Mac/I'm a PC" ad campaign of its rival, Microsoft went big, hiring auteur Michel Gondry to direct a commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld alongside Bill Gates (update: we've been informed that though Gondry shot at least one commercial for this campaign, this particular ad was crafted by director Bryan Buckley). For his involvement, Seinfeld was handsomely compensated to the tune of $10 million — a big number, but small potatoes compared to the whole ad campaign's rumored $300 million budget. For that kind of cash, you might expect the end result to be an orgy of CGI with all participants covered in a thick sheen of liquid gold. However, Microsoft had something considerably quieter and more head-scratching in mind. Take a look at the lackadaisical proceedings and then try to physically restrain yourself from bolting out the door to buy a PC. That is what's being advertised, isn't it? [Microsoft]
Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to buff the image of its startingly unpopular operating system, Windows Vista. Nothing so far has worked. Don't worry, Apple and Linux fans — Microsoft is not doing anything threatening, such as actually improving the software.Instead, the company is paying aging comedian and (reformed?) Mac enthusiast Jerry Seinfeld $10 million to be the product's spokesmonkey. At least one of the ads looks like it was shot against a Brooklyn backdrop by Michel Gondry, the french auteur beloved by white people. Who's responsible for this sudden rush to be hip? This sounds like the work of Alex Bogusky, the studvertiser at Mac-worshipping ad firm Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Guess Gondry won't be touring Apple stores to promote his next film. (Photo by AP/Franka Bruns)
- The East 64th Street townhouse that Jocelyne Wildenstein and her ex-husband, Alec, lived in for years, has been sold for $42.5 million. The buyer of the 29-foot-wide manse, which features a ballroom and a pool in the basement, remains a mystery, although the prime suspect is Leonard Blavatnik. [NYO]
Another year, another round of nominees who paid up to $475 to be considered for a Webby have been awarded their publicity prizes. The long-running promotional gambit started by early Valley PR pro Tiffany Shlain, now under new management, does give awards to "special honorees" whom I presume don't have to pay. Those deemed "special" provide big names for media coverage and a draw for award winners to shell out for tickets to the awards gala. This year, Stephen Colbert is the biggest name, having won "Person of the Year" for his achievements in promoting himself online when he was unable to do so on air during the TV writers' strike. Michel Gondry got the nod for "Film and Video Person of the Year" for convincing YouTubers to promote his movie Be Kind, Rewind. And Will.i.am's treacly Yes We Can video garnered the musician "Artist of the Year." Who didn't win? Any of the engineers who, you know, build the Web. (Photo by AP/Matt Rourke)
When it comes to imaginative and inventive indie auteurs, you can have your Spike Jonzes and your David O. Russells and your Vincent Gallos. But us? We're sticking with Amanda Bynes! Thanks to the copious research of one delightfully outraged YouTube user, it has come to light that the plot of Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind was lifted lock, stock, and barrel from an 8-year-old episode of Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show.
It seems only fair that if we devote an end-of-day linkdump item to a clip of director Michel Gondry supposedly solving a Rubik's Cube with his feet in under two minutes, that we give more than equal time to a video that endeavors to painstakingly debunk his fraudulent puzzle-whupping heroics, even if it was fairly obvious how the feat was accomplished in the first place. We especially enjoyed the Zapruder-quality analysis of the "limping" man in the doorway, whose tragic inability to walk backwards in a more natural fashion unraveled the entire illusion.
· This is the best video about a director interacting with a puzzle we've seen since a behind-the-scenes clip on The Island DVD showing Michael Bay standing over a toppled Jenga tower at a wrap party and screaming, "Why didn't you fucking tell me the fucking thing would fall over if I pulled that block out, you little piss-ant!" at a nearby PA. [via BoingBoing]
· Defamer PSA: If you're thinking about drinking and driving tonight (and we know you are, because this is LA), you might want to avoid this section of Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills. At least the cops are giving you some advance warning.
· RAIN: CAN IT HAPPEN TO US?
· Hurty Elbow has compiled a gallery of Borats who don't really look like Borat.
· You're really not going to want order creamy salad dressing ever again after reading this, so just skip it.
· Doesn't this story make you nostalgic for the summer, when it seemed every day brought a story of wild animals loose on aircraft?
• Grab some kimchi and head over to the Korean Film Festival, which kicks off tonight at the Anthology Film Archives. Don't expect any glimpses into the next Tarantino flick, though—the Festival is light on gunslinging blockbusters and long on black-and-white period pieces. [Flavorpill]
• Eternal Sunshine director Michel Gondry sticks his quirky little head into the Apple Store in Soho to discuss his new movie. Dozens of Tisch students scurry home to edit their grad school final projects on their MacBooks shortly thereafter. [Paper]
• Numerous fancy-pants restaurants around the city take part in Share Our Strength's Restaurants for Relief Night, with a certain percentage of sales going to Gulf Coast rebuilding efforts. Nothing says "Never Forget" like washing down coddled eggs dipped in black-truffle pur e with a nice glass of Pinot at Per Se. [New York Magazine]