A friend sent me a list of scripts, and I’m wondering which (if any) seem the most intriguing to readers. (1) Casino Royale by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade, second set of revisions by Paul Haggis (12.13.05); (2) Believe it or Not! by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (5/6/05); (3) The Last Kiss by Paul Haggis (10.31.03); (4) Night At The Museum by Scott Frank (2.4.5); (5) The Martian Child by Seth E. Bass & Jonathan Tolins (3.14.05); (6) The Astronaut Farmer by Mark & Michael Polish (6.16.05); (7) Steven Soderbergh and Terrence Malick’s Che; (8) Cabin Fever 2 by Adam Green (9.20.04); and (8) 300 by Snyder/Johnstad (11.22.04). If these scripts aren’t vital reading, which ones are?Read More »
Sir Carol Reed made three masterpieces in a row in the mid to late ’40s — The Fallen Idol, Odd Man Out and The Third Man And what does he win his Oscar for? Oliver (1968), a mediocre big-studio musical that seems a little less each time you reflect upon it. (Forwarded by reader Jeremy Fassler.)Read More »
“I was fortunate enough to meet Paddy Chayefsky at the Carnegie Deli very near the end of his life. I asked him if he had any idea, when he wrote Network, how life would follow art. He said that his original script had been twice as cynical but he had been forced to dilute it to get it made. When he asked why I was so interested, I told him I worked in TV news. ‘Oh wait’, he said, ‘just wait.’” — Christopher Dalrymple, Digital Verite.Read More »
The deadline for the Oscar ballots to be filled out and received happened exactly fourteen minutes ago — 5 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday, 2.28. Please, please…give us a surprise in one of the major categories.Read More »
I suggested a continuation of David Carr‘s
“Carptebagger”/Red Carpet column a few days ago, and now it looks like Carr is giving the idea some thought. “Although his ‘Carpetbagger’ movie awards season blog is supposed to go dark after the Oscars, Carr said that he might consider continuing to blog for the Times as an add-on to his regular media column. He told us that blogging has taught him spontaneity and gave him more confidence with his writing.” — Zack Barangan writing about Carr’s visit last weekend to some kind of NYU blogging class.
Toughest Job on Oscar Night Award contenders, from a piece in Time magazine: (a) Jennifer Aniston’s publicist: Has Jen seen Brangelina’s sonogram? Will she attend the shower? Red carpet chatterboxes have many rude questions for this presenter. Wells comment: Those fearless vampire killer questions asked of tabloid victims like Aniston, Brangelina and Tomkat are beyond sickening. (b) Isaac Mizrahi: the grabby E! co-host must keep his hands in his pockets, and off of starlets. Wells comment: More brash tittie feels…go for it, Isaac…make it a lifelong signature thing. (c) Dolly Parton’s stylist: O.K., we’re not sure she has one, but heck, fitting a gown on this buxom Best Song nominee for Transamerica‘s Travelin’Thru would be a real achievement. Wells...Read More »
Guy goes to see The Pink Panther with his mom, laughs in a weird and too-loud way, audience members complain, and the guy gets thrown out. This is frontier justice, and if I were there I’d probably support the eviction. If you can’t keep it together in a movie theatre, you’re going to tick people off, and being handicapped is no excuse. This is where the DVD solution comes into play.Read More »
I failed to mention in an earlier riff about Warner Home Video’s All The President’s Men double-disc special edition DVD that it contains three brilliant mini-documentaries by Los Angeles-based documentarian Gary Leva, and that two of these are especially valuable and noteworthy because they’re serious looks at the state of U.S. journalism today rather than typical celebrate-the-movie puff pieces. They’re basically about how journalism has gone downhill since the days of Watergate and, by implication, how attempts to muscle journalists under the Bush administration are just as bad if not worse today than they were under the Nixon administration in the early ’70s. “Woodward and Bernstein: Lighting the Fire,” which runs 18 minutes, is an...Read More »
Here‘s a gripping piece by N.Y. Times writer Juan Forero (it ran last Sunday, 2.26) about 32 year-old Rachel Boynton‘s just- opened documentary Our Brand of Crisis (Koch Lorber), a behind-the-scenes look at how U.S. campaign strategists (including James Carville) helped the faltering campaign of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada during a run for president of Bolivia in 2002. Boynton asks “whether Mr. Carville and company, in selling a pro-globalization, pro-American candidate, can export American-style campaigning and values to a country so fundamentally different from the United States,” Forero writes. “I wanted to make clear that this is a story that does not happen just in Bolivia but all over the world,” Boynton tells him. “I’m much...Read More »
“If Crash wins the Best Picture Oscar, it won’t just take home a statuette [but will] claim a new title: the most indefensible Best Picture winner since 1956′s tax shelter spectacle Around the World in 80 Days,” says Matt Zoller Seitz on his “House Next Door” blog. “Yes, I admit, the movie’s more primally exciting than, say, American Beauty or A Beautiful Mind or The English Patient, and more superficially ‘edgy.’ But it’s also dumber and meaner and uglier, an Importance Machine that rolls over you like a tank.” Wow…no one I’ve read has slammed Paul Haggis‘s film quite as heavily. I’d love to hear Seitz argue his point with unbridled Crash admirer Roger Ebert.Read More »
Does the crocodile grab hold of the bungee jumper and drag him under and presumably eat the poor guy in this “Crocodile Bungee” short? I’ve watched it six times and I don’t see any evidence of the bungee jumper bouncing above in the aftermath but…no! It’s bullshit, according to Snopes.com….fake footage put together by some guys working on a Foster’s TV ad.Read More »
Sidney Lumet‘s Find Me Guilty (Freestyle, 3.17) isn’t just about the rebirth of Lumet’s career (at age 82!) and that of his star, Vin Diesel. It’s also a kind of Damon Runyon-esque joyride — an ethnic-Italian, New York-attitude sociopath movie for those who wink at the bad guys and chuckle when they manage to maneuver their way around the law.
Vin Diesel as Jackie DiNorscio in Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty (Freestyle, 3.17)
Maybe I’m jaded or I’ve just been Godfather-ed and Soprano-ed into submission, but I bought into most of it and felt pretty much delighted with the care that went into the making of it, and the final ambiguity of it. I was also a bit troubled by it. And yet fascinated.... Read More »
Sidney Lumet’s Find
Me Guilty (Freestyle, 3.17) isn’t just about the rebirth
of Lumet’s career (at age 82!) and that of his star, Vin Diesel.
It’s also a kind of Damon Runyon-esque joyride — an ethnic-Italian,
New York-attitude sociopath movie for those who wink at the bad
guys and chuckle when they manage to maneuver their way around the
Maybe I’m jaded or I’ve just been Godfather-ed and Soprano-ed into submission, but I bought into most of it and felt pretty much delighted with the care that went into the making of it, and the final ambiguity of it. I was also a bit troubled by it. And yet fascinated.
Vin Diesel as Jackie DiNorscio in Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty (Freestyle, 3.17)
Guilty is unquestionably a...Read More »
Warner Home Video’s DVD of The New World (due 5.9.06) will offer the shorter 132-minute version that was put into theatres in mid January, which I imagine will disappoint Manohla Dargis and other fans of the 149-minute version that critics and NY/LA audiences saw in November-December. The only extras, I’m told, will be a 60-minute “making of” documentary plus the theatrical trailer.
Jacques Audiard‘s The Beat That My Heart Skipped, which was curiously ignored by the Oscars as a Best Foreign Language Feature nominee, won eight Cesar awards last Satuday night in Paris, including ones for Best Film and Best Director. Audiard’s podium speech included a salute to James Toback, whose 1978 film Fingers was the remake inspriation for Heart. Best Actor prize went to Michel Bouquet in The Last Mitterrand . Variety reports that “demonstrators outside Paris’ Chatelet Theater came inside, took to the stage and refused to budge, holding up the start of the televised ceremony by 20 minutes to mixed reactions from heckling tuxedo-clad attendees.”Read More »
“Your analysis of David Grubin‘s LBJ doc is dead on,” says Overnight co-director Tony Montana. “He’s absolutely my favorite president. No one knows what he went through and how hard he tried. He demonstrated a higher threshold for dealing with adversity than any president I’ve ever aware of. I recently picked my favorite docs for Hot Dog magazine and that film was my number one choice, ahead of Steve James‘ Hoop Dreams. (Here‘s an interview with Montana in an issue of 78 magazine that hit newstands last week.)Read More »
I’m working on setting up a Reader Response page on each and every article and WIRED item that goes up, so that each and every letter in response to whatever will be fully viewable to everyone. Coming in a couple of weeks, give or take. I’m also going to set up a Trailer of the Week thing in which the weeks’ best trailer-teaser will be highlighted in a prominent box or frame somewhere on the main page, with some kind of smart critique with links. (This will basically replace the defunct Trailer Trash.) Nothing revolutionary, but…Read More »
Film critic TV guys Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper echoed the sentiments of HE reader “III Rathbun” on Sunday’s (2.26) show in saying they’d love to see legendary director Robert Altman let fly with his core feelings about the mainstream Hollywood establishment when he accepts his career Oscar on Sunday, 3.5. I’ll never forget my asking Altman about the Los Angeles riots of ’92 when I ran into him at the Cannes Film Festival in their immediate wake. Knowing I was reporting for Entertainment Weekly, he said, “This subject is too important to be discussed in your magazine.” How could I argue?Read More »
What changes in the style and tone of Oscar telecast is David Thomson precisely suggesting? He’s basically saying make it looser and goosier…like the MTV Awards. “I’d…give Oscars for the best deal, the best promotion campaign, the most outrageous agent of the year,” he wrotes. “I’d give a chutzpah award — while the term chutzpah is still understood. All because people are in love with the business more than the story. I’d cut the show in half. I’d make it a dinner party again, instead of an awkward theatrical event.” Thomson would also make the awards for the technical CGI compositions a much bigger deal since the under-30s understand and spect this side of things. Movies as well the Oscar awards “need to be wild,...Read More »
Fuck the perfect gown..fuck the wow factor…fuck designer- grovelling. All right, it’s dishonest of me to say this because I like watching the hot ladies on the red carpet as much as anyone else, but who will be the actress of distinction and character who wears something coolly stylish but different? Who holds back and maybe wears something that doesn’t indicate a desperate attempt to make a big impression with Isaac Mizrahi and win praise from the fashion writers and choice placement in the trashy supermarket magazines in their post-Oscar issues? Something a bit masucline…a touch of 1930s bisexual Marlene Dietrich? It’s been a gay year, right?Read More »
This is three-week-old news, but DV Republic is claiming
that the great Harry Belafonte (whom I met during
the junket of White Man’s Burden, and whose
come-what-may candor I found enormously appealing)
was disinvited from funeral services for Coretta Scott
King because of the attendance of President George Bush,
according to “reliable
sources.” Belafonte’s been a tough critic of Bush policies in
recent weeks, and apparently was kept from the funeral “in
deference to Bush’s comfort.” Belafonte was one of
the first big-time celebs to join forces with Martin Luther King in the early ’60s, and “not only contributed his celebrity to the cause, he marched shoulder to shoulder with Dr. King, and...
It’s really spooky about how the rule of three — celebrities always seeming to leave the earth in trios within the same two- or three-day period — keeps happening. I was on the verge of saying it hadn’t occured last weekend with the deaths of Darren McGavin and Don Knotts, but now comes the news of Dennis Weaver‘s passing in Connecticut last Friday. The three actors were all in their early ’80s and had their greatest triumphs on television in the ’50-s, ’60s and ’70s. Weaver called his Sam McCloud character, based on an Arizona lawman played by Clint Eastwood in Don Siegel‘s Coogan’s Bluff, and whom he played in his own soft-pedalled way on McCloud series from ’70 to...Read More »
I was looking at this Ramey pix micro-shot (top left) this morning of Dyan Cannon, giving what looks like the finger to the guy shooting this photo of her and Jim Carrey at a Laker’s game. (I may be wrong…it’s a small image.) It led me, in any event, to this Christian website story about Cannon having become “an evangelist to the Hollywood community” with her Saturday night “God’s Party with Dyan Cannon & You,” at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City. Visitors “range from Hollywood insiders to people from all across the incredible diversity of the L.A. community,” with Cannon imprinting her personality “on this unique blend of southern revival meeting and Kathryn Kuhlman-like healing...Read More »
In June, Warner Home Video will finally cough up a DVD of one of the most intriguing late-’60s era films ever made: Richard Lester‘s brilliant, wonderfully textured, time-jumpy Petulia (1968). (WHV has it on the DVD market in England right now.) It’s about an impulsive, airy-fairy wife (Julie Christie) half- cheating on her stiff-necked husband (Richard Chamberlain) with a vulnerably grumpy divorced surgeon (George C. Scott) whom she’s deeply in love with…as far as it goes. Shot in San Francisco during the flower-power summer of ’67, Petulia mixes antsy energy with a bittersweet tone of regret about slipped-away love.
A Senses of Cinema essay by Peter Tonguette says that Petulia...Read More »
Well, whoop-dee-doo…Universal production chief Stacey Snider made a firm call on Sunday to become chief executive and co-chairperson of DreamWorks…as if everyone was on pins and needles wondering if she’d stay with Universal. (Hah!) Snider will share the same creative and corporate authority that DreamWorks founders David Geffen and Steven Spielberg hold, and will report directly to management genius Brad Grey, the chairman and CEO of Paramount, which bought DreamWorks in December for $1.6 billion. The Snider thing was a Geffen move, of course. Hiring Snider was Geffen basically giving NBC/Universal’s owner General Electric (and its...Read More »
If someone wants to give me free-of-charge a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player, a big stack of high-def DVDs and a really good high-def widescreen TV, I’m an instant fan. But having seen demon- strations of both Sony’s Blu-Ray high-def player and its Toshiba-manufactured HD-DVD competition, I can honestly say that the difference between them and how DVD’s look right now on my big Sony flat-screen is noticable, yes, but not stunningly so. High-def is very cool, but it doesn’t quite make you wet yourself. The only ones who will shell out for these goodies are rich industry elitists (producers and directors like Mike DeLuca, Rod Lurie, Bennett Miller) and money-to-burn tech-heads of a certain age looking to impress girls and friends. In short, a micro-sized sliver of the buying public.Read More »
No question that the Criterion Collection’s high-def transfer of Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar 1966) is one of the most beautiful ever seen. But I don’t get the website claim that says the image is “presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1.” Looks more like 1.75 to 1 to me, and damn close to 1.85 to 1. Consider the shot below (top) of the opening image from Warner Home Video’s DVD of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, as it appears on my own TV. This, according to the info provided by WHV, is a 1.66 to 1 image, and my trained eyes have understood the same for years. The bottom shot is from Criterion’s Balthazar disc, and if you look back and forth between the...Read More »