Apologies for the Becket obsession, but I’ve just found an mp3 file made from two of the better Peter O’Toole rants in the film.Read More »
Taken at the conclusion of a sit-down interview last night with Children of Men cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki at Westwood’s W hotel — Tuesday, 1.30.07, 8:40 pm. Lubezki’s work in this Alfonso Cuaron film (particularly those three extra-long unbroken shots, which became the stuff of instant legend as soon as the film started to screen) is, I feel, monumental. I’ll post the audio interview plus a write-around up later this afternoon.
“Younger viewers live their lives pushing the envelope, breaking
rules and bending rules,” Manhattan ad exec Shari Anne
tells The Envelope‘s Scott Collins.
“As long as the Oscars are perceived to have a certain
rigidity, they’re not going to be relatable to young
people.” Adds [publicist Howard]
Bragman: ‘The problem with the shows is that they
lack any kind of spontaneity or buzz factor.’”
Collin’s piece suggests/contends that the show may get higher ratings if Borat‘s Sacha Baron Cohen is given two or three minutes worth of microphone time. This is because his “ribald acceptance speech at the Golden Globes…was perhaps the only buzz-worthy moment in a night...
Nikki Finke is reporting that last Saturday night, at a swanky dinner party thrown by movie producer Leonard Goldberg in honor of Viacom honcho Sumner Redstone, that Redstone passed along a Dreamgirls post-mortem that had originated with Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey. Redstone told the gathering that Brad explained that the reason Dreamgirls wasn’t nominated for a [Best Picture] Oscar was because “everyone hates David.” As in Geffen, the producer of Dreamgirls.”Read More »
After hearing yesterday of his
death, I tried to recall a vivid movie memory pertaining to
Sydney Sheldon, the very successful screenwriter,
TV producer, Broadway producer and hack romance-novel
author. I thought and thought, and the only thing that punched
through was a moment from 1977, when I was watching The Other
Side of Midnight — a somewhat grotesque soap-opera about an
ambitious hottie (Marie France Pisier) climbing
her way to wealth and privelege through a series of relationships
with ambitious and/or powerful men — in a small theatre in
I’m speaking of the pseudo-legendary ice-bucket scene between Pisier and Raf Vallone, playing an Aristotle Onassis-like tycoon, and a moment when a naked...
Pete Hammond (l.), Dreamgirls director Bill Condon (r.) at last night’s tribute to Condon at Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre — Monday, 1.29.07, 8:25 pm
Santa Barbara Film Festival director Roger Durling, Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson outside the Lobero Theatre prior to the show — Monday, 2.1.07, 7:35 pm
For anyone heading to the 57th Berlin International Film Festival (February 8 thru 18), here’s a programming rundown. One note of concern ; Gregory Nava‘s Bordertown, the Jennifer Lopez drama about the scores of unsolved Juarez-El Paso female murders, is skedded to be shown. This turkey has been looking for a distributor for eons and finding no love. Lopez movies are almost always mawkish, straining, off-balance. Didn’t she say she was looking to quit movies a while back? That awful Bronx accent she accentuates in the trailer for El Cantante is beyond grating — it rivals Lorraine Bracco‘s in Medicine Man.Read More »
I had only one medium-sized problem with the rough version of Resurrecting the Champ, which director Rod Lurie showed me several weeks before it played at Sundance ’07. The problem was Samuel L. Jackson‘s decision to play the lead character, a homeless guy with a secretive past, with a “whinny” voice — a raspy-reedy emission that feels like the polar opposite of Jackson’s usual sonorous, street-cat tenor-baritone thing.
Jackson in Resurrecting the Champ; Brando in The Godfather
The performance itself is solid and emotionally on-target, but I felt two ways about the whinny — it reminded me of Marlon Brando‘s voice after he gets shot in The Godfather (“We didn’t have enough...Read More »
In a piece timed to ride the marketing back of Number 23 (New Line, 2.23), the Joel Schumacher creeper about a face-painted wackjob obsessive played by Jim Carrey, industry journalista Kim Masters has written about Carrey’s career “crash” in the new Radar, which will hit the stands in about two weeks. Radar‘s publicist won’t show me the article, but it’s at least partly about the big-studio plug-pullings of Used Guys and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, both of which Carrey had intended to star in.
“Whatever Little Miss Sunshine is about, it isn’t about anything bad,” Oscarwatch.com’s Sasha Stone wrote yesterday morning, echoing Richard Corliss‘s just-posted views in Time. “It’s all good. It deals with the goodness of humanity underneath it all; it has an idealist’s view of people. It is the only one of the five [Best Picture nominees] that does.
“The country needs to vote for Little Miss Sunshine
because to do anything else opens the door to the truth. We
can’t handle the truth, not right now, not when we don’t
really know what’s coming next.
Armond White‘s N.Y. Press review of
Becket is more than a little similar to an
appraisal I wrote last year….odd. Easily the most single-minded
Manhattan- maverick critic (at times almost peculiarly so), White
is an absolute must-read because of his occasional grand-slams —
reviews that pinpoint not only the artistic dimension but the
agenda of certain films, like when he called Billy Elliott
“a balletomane chickenhawk fantasy.”
“Ostensibly the story of King Henry II appointing his confident Thomas a’ Becket to be Archbishop of Canterbury and then reneging on his bequest — a decision that historically split England’s religious affiliation — Becket is mostly fascinating as a love story between two men,” he
“Going into the Sundance Film Festival, word was not good,”
writes Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk
Honeycutt. “Coming out of the festival, you realize how
little value this ‘word’ actually possesses. All that acquisition
frenzy wasn’t because of the high altitude. Sundance audiences’
thunderous ovations for every movie are getting to be a joke, but
in many cases they were deserved.”
And yet Honeycutt seems content to half-breeze through his own festival experience, resigned for the most part to providing cursory descriptions of the films he saw that, with a couple of exceptions, affected him in some kind of thoughtful, jolting, semi-arousing way. But no grappling or wrestling, no laying down of the Honeycutt law.
“If anything epitomizes Sundance 2007, it is the acknowledgment not...
“We are in another of those historical moments, with grim
death gargling at you around every corner and people being
slaughtered like sheep. Of course, Academy voters
could heed the incendiary Zeitgeist and vote for Babel, a
film about international chaos, or Letters from Iwo Jima,
depicting the last days of a losing war. The Queen shows a
head of state stubbornly resisting the popular will, and The
Departed is a chic bloodbath.
“Or, surveying this bleak terrain, the Academy membership might turn to the one feel-good movie nominated for Best Picture. Voting for a comedy that celebrates life — eccentric but essentially loving family life √É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Ç¨¬ù would be an affirmation of what Hollywood has done since its Golden Age: try to make America forget what makes it gloomy, and bring it a...
And The Winner Is… blogmeister Scott Feinberg has written a very thoroughly thought-out, fairly persuasive explanation why Little Miss Sunshine is going to win the Best Picture Oscar. I love this little film but I’d personally rather see Babel or The Departed take it. Both are more exciting to watch and think about later.Read More »
“This year, producers and actors went for Little Miss Sunshine, directors liked The Departed, and the Globes went with Babel. So the Bagger can confidently say, with all the authority of his one year of experience, that The Win in best picture is up for grabs.
“If Little Miss were to sneak past the best the studios and their specialty divisions had to offer, it would be yet another message that the longshot is sometimes the best shot. Everything that was wrong about this film turned out to be the right. Too many cooks came up with something audiences loved and at least some factions of the Academy find compelling.” — from David Carr‘s riff about Sunday night’s SAG Awards and what that ceremony (possibly) foretells.
“Can we stop this before you go ahead any further? We can’t have this kind of language in this film, to this degree.” — Warner Bros. honcho Alan Horn to Departed producer Graham King, having gotten a very clear idea from early dailies that no brakes were being applied whatsoever on the use of salty street patois (“ya muthah fucked me,” etc.). (Quote passed along by King during Sunday’s “Movers & Shakers” panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.)
“You are not entitled,” Bill Condon
tells N.Y. Times reporter Laura
Holson about winning an Oscar, “an honor he won in 1999
for writing Gods and Monsters and for which his
Chicago script was nominated,” she writes. Winning the
fabled gold statuette “is a gift,” he adds. “That sense that you
deserve it is wacky.”
“We were never going to win [the Best Picture Oscar], even if we were nominated,” Condon says, laughing. “The money we would have spent on the campaign, the insane amount of money we saved…people spend like drunken sailors, you know.” In Patton, George C. Scott says to an audience of soldiers,...
It may be too late and it may be a futile notion, but it’s time for all good people to rise up and band together in order to stop Eddie Murphy from winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. If anyone wants to launch a website to help amplify this feeling and (who knows?) maybe trigger a turnaround of opinion, I’ll contribute $100 bucks…seriously. He’s the one bad guy in the bunch who, I feel, really doesn’t deserve to win. Surely others feel this way?
I’ve seen that bored-indifferent, man-am-I-rich, leave-me-alone look on Murphy’s face too many times, and I’d be tickled if the Oscar camera could catch him scowling when Mark Wahlberg or Alan Arkin win instead. He may have the Oscar in the bag, but I keep hearing he’s not very well liked in the industry and that...Read More »
Sorry, but I ‘m not getting whatever it is I’m supposed to get. The juiice isn’t seeping in; I’m not feeling the tingle. The spots aren’t that clever or witty or “cinematic.” They’re decent, servicable, not terrible, etc., but all they do is make you wonder how much Jones was paid.Read More »
At yesterday’s “Movers & Shakers” (i.e., producers) panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein asked Little Miss Sunshine producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa to comment about the Academy’s grossly unfair decision to exclude them from the official group of three who, if LMS wins the Best Picture Oscar, will be allowed to go up onstage and receive a statuette, despite theirBerger and Yerxa being the film’s “real” ground-floor producers.
Yerxa gave a soft-pedalled response, saying that the Producers Guild, which approved Yerxa and Berger as one of the LMS producers, and the Academy “are not fully conversant.” Berger was more emphatic: “We produced this movie. Whatever the Academy may say or determine, we produced this movie.”
I don’t mean to sound like a rabbit-hole cineaste who only processes life in terms of movies and images, but this N.Y. Times photo of Iraqi soldiers dealing with captured gunmen during a sandstorm is like something Vittorio Storaro would have crafted if he was working on a feature about the Iraq conflict. Those burnished orange-sandy hues look like they were rendered with a color filter. Quite beautiful.
Filmmakermagazine has put up a Sundance video podcast by the great Jamie Stuart, a guy who delivers so much more than just your typical smart-ass, here’s-what-happened diary-type deal that it’s not funny. Make no mistake — Jamie Stuart is the Stanley Kubrick/Alfonso Cuaron/Richard Lester/Sergei Eisenstein of impressionistic short-video film festival pieces.Read More »
“What I do know is that Sundance has become a very big
machine in which it has become increasingly
difficult for modestly scaled films without stars, without
powerful brokers and backing and manufactured buzz to attract
attention,” writes N.Y. Times critic Manohla
Dargis in a
Especially, I would add, when front-line newspapers like the N.Y. Times overlook — i.e., fail to pay attention to — certain modestly scaled but high-quality films that don’t have stars, powerful backing & manufactured buzz…like John Carney‘s Once.
Manohla may not have deliberately bypassed Once — perhaps she simply never got around to seeing it — but given the
Observed during Saturday’s backstage-at-the- Lobero luncheon that followed the Directors’ Panel: a reapprochement between formerly feuding collaborators Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo Arriaga. Inarritu went up to the sitting Arriaga and gave him a hug; Arriaga reciprocated with a couple of comradely slaps on the back. Then they left the room together and stood alone out on the brick patio, shooting the shit for nearly ten minutes, no evident tensions whatsover. I thought to myself, “This would make a historic photo…the duelling amigos back together again”…but a voice told me to stay away.Read More »
It’s over…Little Miss Sunshine is going to win the Best Picture Oscar. The SAG Awards made this quite clear — done deal, finito, no further discussion. The Departed never punched through (except for the fait accompli of Martin Scorsese winning the Best Director Oscar), Babel had some headwind out of the Golden Globes but no longer (or am I wrong? …I’m willing to consider a Babel win…just tell me how it happens)), and The Queen and Letters From Iwo Jima were never really in the game.Read More »
What a boring cavalcade of tedium the SAG Awards were tonight. No shockers, no mild surprises, the same people won who’ve won before…the same old heroin. The Best Ensemble Cast award went to Little Miss Sunshine…terrific, bolstering chances that LMS might actually take the Best Picture Oscar. The oppressiveness of Helen Mirren winning yet again for Best Actress makes her the Mao Zhedong of the ’06 Oscar race. Forest Whitaker, who won Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland, is Zhou Enlai (or Chou En-lai, if you prefer). Jennifer Hudson for Best Supporting Actress…I guess the Dreamgirls fall-off hasn’t hurt her. Eddie Murphy won for Best Supporting Actor…same deal. Down with Murphy. I say, and up with Mark Wahlberg or Alan Arkin.Read More »