Scott Feinberg, auteur-administrator of andthewinneris. blog.com, had a recent chat with Little Miss Sunshine‘s Alan Arkin, whose grandpa with the heroin habit and the “fuckin’ chicken” is an absolutely un-ignorable Best Supporting Actor contender. (And so is Steve Carell‘s performance. We should all support Carell. No matter how good he is in Evan Almighty he’s going to get killed next year for just being in the damn thing so be nice to him now.) I tried talking to Arkin myself but it didn’t work out. He was excellent in Keith Gordon‘s Mother Night.Read More »
It’s very easy to snarl “no taste!”, “oh, my God!” or “how could he do this!”…but showing a mock-profound lack of taste and sensitivity is where cutting-edge comedy is today. We all know this; we laugh at this. Comedians who don’t play some variation of this game do so at their own peril. The truth? When I read about Bill Maher‘s Steve Irwin-stingray get-up I went right to Google and found it. I’m now leaving to check out the Halloween parade on Santa Monica Blvd. in hopes of finding another one. I’m sorry to offend.
This Paula Froelich or Bill Hoffman-authored item in the N.Y. Post‘s “Page Six” about George Hickenlooper‘s Factory Girl is warm urine in a bucket. First, it’s not a “troubled biopic” — it’s an 8 on a scale of 10 (or was when I saw it) and is shooting extra scenes right now so it can elevate up to the level of a 9 or better — big deal. Movies that don’t quite nail it 100% during principal do this all the time; it doesn’t mean squat.
I saw an early cut several weeks ago (have Froelich or Hoffman had the pleasure?) and can say with more than a little authority that Factory Girl has a...Read More »
“As dull as Phil Angelides‘ campaign has been,
I believe that he would better represent the interests of more
Californians than Schwarzenegger could ever hope to,” Alec
wrote on The Huffington Post two days ago.
“Schwarzenegger is not a leader. Like Bush, he is
a front man for a group of powerful interests and he is
reading from a script.”
And yet Baldwin has decided not to narrate a documentary by director-writer Dan Cox and co-writer Jerry Decker because he feels it pushes certain back issues — Arnold’s father’s Nazi associations, for one — too forcefully. “The makers of Running With Arnold hammer Schwarzenegger over his...
Here for the record is a list of “The Friends of United 93” — myself plus Toronto Star critic Peter Howell (who gave it 5 points on MCN’s Gurus of Gold chart), Sasha Stone (7 points), Lou Lumenick (8 points), Anne Thompson (9 points) and Susan Wloszczyna (10 points). There are no friends of United 93 among Tom O’Neil‘s “Buzzmeter” forecasters at The Envelope. Joiners?
Cast of United 93 during filming in England
“Sure, a welder’s unfortunate error is a completely plausible explanation for the conflagration, but we won’t completely rule out the possibility that God Himself sparked the blaze, hoping that an unanticipated setback of this scale might help the producers of a movie inspired by one of His favorite Bible stories reach their goal of making The Most Expensive Comedy Story Ever Told.” — Defamer‘s Mark Lisanti on yesterday’s fire at Universal Studios, possibly (no callbacks yet) on Stage 27 where the “ark” set for Evan Almighty has been constructed.Read More »
There’s no such thing as entirely “normal” behavior these days.
The world of 2006 is ten times loonier than, say the world of 1956.
Egoistic oddballs, twitchy eccentrics, depressives,
Courtney Love, people with hair-trigger tempers
and substance-abuse problems. I can honestly claim to know at least
two women who would stand a good chance of being rounded up and
thrown into Bedlam if
they were suddenly time-tripped back to Charles
In such an environment, an escapee from a local mental hospital wouldn’t seem all that curious, much less threatening. Unless he was homidical and foaming at the mouth, he’d be seen as just one more nutter with ongoing issues. And so the idea of making a movie about a couple of characters trying to identify which person...
Tom Cruise wasn’t blown out of the Paramount water last summer by Viacom chief Sumner Redtone…well, he was, but the decision to evict apparently originated with kvetching from Sumner’s wife, Paula. That’s one of the semi-intriguing reveals in Bryan Burroughs‘ Redstone profile in the December issue of Vanity Fair:
“Paula, like women everywhere, had come to hate
him,” Redstone declares. “The truth of the matter is, I
did listen to her, but I make business decisions myself.”
“And in terms of business, Redstone claims he felt Cruise was actually costing Paramount money. Cruise’s production company, which the actor operates...
Focus Features asked for the usual exit-polling to be done
regarding last weekend’s opening of Phillip
Noyce‘s Catch a Fire. Viewers exiting L.A.’s AMC
Palisades Center and Pacific Sherman Oaks Galleria, Baltimore’s
Muvico Egyptian 24, Houston’s AMC Studio 30, Seattle’s AMC Pacific
Place and Kansas City’s AMC Studio 30 were polled and the
usual ironies prevailed.
Everyone who saw it liked it quite a lot, but not enough people saw it overall. So who or what do we blame? The material, obviously — nobody wanted to see an ’80s apartheid movie. I half-felt that way when I went to see it the first time, but I came away enthused. Everyone’s been having the same reaction, it seems. You just have to see it.
Catch a Fire “died” last weekend — a gross of $2,023,397 for the three-day weekend on...
“Sacha Baron Cohen is one of the few British
Jews to venture successfully into the comedy of
shock,” writes New Yorker critic Anthony
one of the oddest Borat reviews I’ve read so far.
“[The] defense of Borat as an unwitting scourge of the
reactionary — unearthing Midwestern beliefs no less
parochial than those he left behind in Kazakhstan — is sound as far
as it goes. But the movie goes further. It is equipped, like an
F-15 Eagle, to engage multiple targets at once.”
And here’s where the curious umbrage kicks in. I can’t quite figure where Lane is really coming from deep down, but he isn’t very pleased with what Cohen’s up to, that’s for sure.
“Big Picture” column is about the non- battle in today’s media
culture between the pornography of self-exposure vs.
modesty and reticence, and how two of the fall’s
best films — Flags of Our Fathers and The Queen —
“honor” the latter.
Really? I didn’t get the idea that Queen director Stephen Frears was “honoring” Queen Elizabeth II at all. The film doesn’t appprove or disapprove of her insulated cluelessness in the wake of the August 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales — it’s saying that the old-school sensibilities of Elizabeth Windsor and those of her generation no longer permeate the culture, and this was an event that made this...
The usual simplistic knee-jerk responses have flooded in since last night’s summary and posting of a link to Michael Fleming ‘s piece about Steven Soderbergh‘s plan to shoot back-to-back Che Guevara films as of May ’07. I ran a response in “comments” this morning, but just so everyone sees it…
I gave this a think-through last night and came to the rudimentrary conclusion that The Argentine and Guerilla combined are are going to resemble parts I and II of Lawrence of Arabia — the promise, the dream and the mixed glory in the first section, and the bitterness, madness and despair that manifests in the...Read More »
Variety‘s Michael Fleming is reporting that Steven Soderbergh and Benicio del Toro are finally, finally about to begin shooting their long-delayed Che Guevara biopic, for Chrissake. Both of them. And both, for the most part, to be shot in Spanish…hooray for that! (For a while there I thought the linguistic tradition of Richard Fleischer, Jack Palance and Che would make a comeback.)
Soderbergh will shoot the two films — The Argentine and Guerrilla — in Mexico and various South American locations, including Bolivia. Del Toro will play Guevara; Javier Bardem, Franka Potente and Benjamin Bratt have been...Read More »
“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” — Julius Caesar (Act II, Scene II, 32-37)Read More »
USA Today‘s Suzie Woz flew to Toronto to watch John Travolta in a drag fat-suit sing and prance around to “You Can’t Stop The Beat”, a musical number in Adam Shankman‘s Hairspray. “It’s good,” Travola told her. “The effect that I caused is fun and all, but it’s a lot of work, man.” The film costars Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Nikki Blonsky. The filmic re-do of the Broadway musical (based on the ’88 John Waters film) will continue to shoot through early December, and is slated to open next July.
John Travolta as the “generously proportioned” Edna Turnblad — the role created by Divine in the non-musical original film and by Harvey Fierstein in the Broadway show
“I’m the guy who wrote you a few weeks ago after seeing
Ed Zwick‘s Blood Diamond, and I wanted to
add that I actually think the film has a good chance of being
pretty successful,” reader John Robie wrote
earlier today. “Although I wasn’t very high on it, it very well
could get good word-of-mouth from people who will be persuaded into
thinking it’s an important film.
“Blood Diamond is in the realm of The Last Samurai, which had a lot of support from mainstream filmgoers. A lot of my friends who don’t go to movies often and who tend to stay away from critical hits like Babel really liked Samurai a lot. Some even list it as one of their favorite films. I know, I know — I need to stop hanging with people like that.
“Point is, Zwick knows how to make movies that average folks think are works of...
Letter to Clint
Some feel that journalists aren’t supposed to make before-the-fact suggestions. They’re supposed be good sheep and just eat the grass that’s in front of them ….baahh! But I’ve got one anyway, and I think it sounds pretty neat. I mentioned it to a fairly big wheel at Paramount the other day and he thought it was pretty cool also, so please give it a think-through.
My dad, a Marine Lieutenant who fought all through the battle of Iwo Jima, saw Flags of Our Fathers last weekend. He didn’t like it that much. The combat footage was bulls-eye, he said, but he didn’t care for the cutting back and forth between the battle and the war-bond tour. I was sorry to hear this on some level. I felt the same way but I thought his reactions might nudge me into a fuller appreciation of some kind. Lamentably, we were pretty much on the...Read More »
New tracking data arrrived this morning, and it contains good
news for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit
Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Fox, 11.3). It’s
tracking better than those recent press stories have
indicated, I mean — 40 general awareness, 39 definite, 10
first choice. Room to grow but that’s fairly decent for an
800-screen starter. Flushed Away is 59, 27 and 5….better.
The Santa Clause is running 87, 33 and 9 — still the
strongest of the bunch.
Babel goes into the top 15 markets (San Diego, SF, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Washington, Montreal, Philly, etc.) this Friday, and then a national (1200 screens) release on 11.10. Awareness is still building and will be accumulating over the next 10 days until it achieves, in the arcane jargon of the trade, “maximum weight drop.”
As noted previously, Stranger Than Fiction...
The ridiculously drawn-out Becket saga (thanks to those ass-dragging dilletantes at MPI Home Video) is at an end, thank fortune. Peter O’Toole‘s Oscar campaign team — i.e., the Miramax publicists pushing his Best Actor candidacy for Venus — will be comforted to know that this 1964 multi-Oscar nominated film, in which O’Toole arguably gave the finest performance of his career as King Henry II, will open at Manhattan’s Film Forum on 1.26.07 and then L.A.’s Nuart on 2.9.07.
O’Toole’s Venus performance must sink or swim based on its own merits, of course, but reminding Academy voters what a brilliant, world-class performance he gave 42 years ago (plus the fact that he was flat-out robbed of the Best Actor Oscar when My Fair Lady‘s Rex...Read More »
L.A. Times columnist Claudia Eller has written a fairly glowing, nicely observed profile of Paramount Vantage chief John Lesher, who’s used his talent relationships (i.e., nurtured during his many years as a hot-shot Endeavor agent) to build the former Paramount Classics into a formidable producer and distributor that’s easily on the level of Fox Searchlight and Focus Features. Here’s hoping that Paramount Vantage’s Babel, which goes wide on 11.10 into 1200 theatres, does as well en masse as it did last weekend.Read More »
New Line Cinema appears to have pulled back fairly radically on its Little Children bookings. The Oregonian‘s Shawn Levy is reporting that Todd Field‘s Cheever-esque drama is “getting a very scattershot release from its distributor and, frankly, may be in trouble. It was meant to open in Portland on 11.3, but that date has been pulled and no new date has yet been announced.”
We all know Children hasn’t done much business, or been given much of a chance to, I should say. Since opening on 10.6.06 it’s only been booked into 32 theatres, and has taken in a total of $801,000, according toRead More »
A Mystic River-ish childhood anecdote from Little
Children director-writer Todd Field, passed
along to Oregonian critic Shawn Levy and
posted on his “Mad About Movies” blog:
“I remember coming home one day on my bicycle along this gravel path, and this Ford Falcon pulled up, this white Ford Falcon with two guys in it, and they said ‘Come ‘ere kid, come ‘ere.’ And you know when you’re near trouble, at any age. And I knew they were bad, and I knew they were gonna get me in that car, and I knew that no one was every gonna see me again and they would do bad things to me and I would be dead. And I was screaming and tried to get away, and my bike fell in the gravel and they started chasing me, and lo and behold the next-door...
For the two-month shoot of Borat (20th Century Fox, 11.3), Sacha Baron Cohen “was in character from early in the morning until night,” reports Time‘s Joel Stein. “The crew shot so much footage that director Larry Charles is trying to sell the unused parts to HBO as a series. Even when the cops came, Baron Cohen never dropped character. It’s an impressive, perhaps insane, performance: Johnny Knoxville with a sense of humor, Andy Kaufman with a desire to please, Peter Sellers set loose on the public instead of David Niven. “It’s like Marlon Brando‘s performance in On the Waterfront,” says Charles. “Before that, everything was stylized, the John Barrymore school. After that, you couldn’t act in the old style anymore. I believe that Sacha’s performance does the same thing.”Read More »
Newsweek‘s Devin Gordon does his part to help devalue originality while bumming out readers in the bargain by saluting…well, not quite…acknowledging with muted respect the increasing popularity of prequels, a slightly re-energized indication of Hollywood’s boundless tediousness. The latest include, in no particular order: Casino Royale, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Halloween (young Michael Myers), Friday the 13th (young Jason Voorhees) and Hannibal Rising (young Hannibal Lecter). I need to find a hole to get sick in.
On Saturday morning Breadly Moore wrote in and said he’d seen Saw III on Friday and that he was “stunned to find it booed at the very end by the full house.” (Not scattered boos, in other words.) He said it “made [him] happy” to hear this since he figured the type of people that enjoy these films would swallow any tripe the producers decide to shovel down their throats.” I was stunned by this news myself. Has anyone heard of audiences booing or sneering Saw IIIthis weekend? If so, what did the beef seem to be, other than the general fact they didn’t like it? What, I wonder, can a horror-gore film possibly do to earn boos?Read More »
Richard Donner showed up at ComicCon last summer to talk about the forthcoming “ Superman II — The Richard Donner Cut” DVD (Warner Home Video, 11.28), and now that it’s only a month away from delivery I’m wondering if there’s much interest out there among the HE smarty-pants regulars, or if the dismay some felt about Bryan Singer‘s Superman Returns (which I still think is a solid film in a spiritual sense, even if I came to the conclusion it was a bit too long after seeing it a second time) has diminished interest or what.
The new DVD will contain Donner’s original cut, which was never released because the totally nutty Ilya and Alexander Salkind fired him and got Richard Lester to finish it. It’ll include footage shot but not used (Donner showed a new...Read More »
During our Friday lunch Michael Sheen, who’s played British Prime Minister Tony Blair not only in The Queen but also in an ’03 British TV movie called The Deal, said that a “plan” is afoot between himself, Queen director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Peter Morgan to make a third Blair film.
This will be about Blair’s downfall due to his alliance with President Bush, his pitching the weapons-of- mass-destruction b.s. to the British people, and sending British troops to fight in the invasion of Iraq. It will begin with President Clinton‘s parting advice to Blair as the former leaves office to buddy up with Bush and find common ground. Out of this were sewn the seeds of Blair’s demise.Read More »
Nikki Finke has
reported that among the 11.10 openers, Marc
Forster‘s Stranger Than Fiction is tracking much
better than Ridley Scott‘s A Good Year.
Ironic given the unmistakable fact that Year is a somewhat
better film — not a great one, but certainly better written, better
assembled, and more in touch with itself and how to best say what
Year isn’t a comedy, like I said a few days ago, but a light mood piece about nurturing those things in one’s life that need nurturing. One of those tonic-for- the-soul movies about slipping out the back door and being a little bit happy at times, it left yours truly in a pleasant, sitting-outdoors-as-the-summer-sun-sets,...
This has been
kicking around for some time, but just for the HE record and in
case somebody hasn’t read this on Defamer or elsewhere, there are
indicators that strongly suggest Sacha Baron
Cohen‘s Borat character is based on a real-life Turkish
guy named Mahir
Cagri, whose doofus-level web page attracted internet
notoriety six or seven years ago.
Make your own assessment, but Cagri’s Wikipedia page says that “chief similarities between Mahir and Borat include facial hair and taste in formal wear. Borat also shouted out Mahir’s catchphrase ‘I like sex‘ to the crowd at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon and at a Savannah Sand Gnats baseball game...