Earlier: A 24-slide powerpoint presentation from Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, focusing on Obama’s strengths in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Georgia Nevada and California.Read More »
Starting Out in the Evening director Andrew
Wagner depicts the relationship between novelist Leonard
Schiller (Frank Langella) with an admiring student (Lauren Ambrose)
and his wayward daughter (Lili Taylor) “with some delicacy —
perhaps too much delicacy,”
writes New Yorker critic David Denby. Someone who was
vaguely irritated with this film….finally!
“Schiller is meant to be a survivor of the New York Jewish literary renaissance of the 1950s and 60s, but the movie, for all its considerable intelligence, dries out his temperament too much. Anyone who remembers that vanished tribe of New Yorkers knows that, even in their later years, they made a joke now and then and were given to malice and desire as well as to bouts of intellectual severity.
“After a while,...
“I saw There Will Be Blood again Friday here in bluer-than-blue New York City. They showed the preview for Stop Loss and you could feel a palpable sense of dread and disconnect in the audience. The room which had been so buzzy and excited before this, just went dead. Luckily the Kung-Fu Panda cell-phone announcement came on next and brought everyone back to life. Seriously.” — HE reader “tophertilson.”Read More »
Red Carpet District‘s Kris Tapley has posted a rundown of the big award-related dates in January. Here’s my edited version with the who-cares? events removed:
1.6.07: BFCA hosts the Critics Choice Awards (live on VH1). 1.8.08: DGA feature film nominees announced (Directors Guild of America). 1.10.08:: DGA documentary nominees announced. 1.10.08: WGA screen nominees announced (Writers Guild of America). 1.12.08: AMPAS nominations polls close, end of Oscar voting. 1.13.08: Golden Globe Awards — probably no TV, phone reporting, webcasts. 1.16.08: Leave for Sundance Film Festival. 1.22.08: Oscar nominees announced at he crack of dawn. 1.25.08: Return from Sundance Film Festival. 1.27.08: SAG Awards (Live on TNT, except on west coast).
The Benazair Bhutto “Zapruder tape” is a little hard to sort out. I had to watch it three times before spotting the assassin. You need to watch the other one too, which also has sounds of gunshots and an explosion.
The visuals of the Ray Ban-wearing assassin and the sound of gunshots strongly suggest that Ms. Bhutto didn’t die by hitting her head on a lever of her car’s sunroof during the attack, as Pakistan government spokespersons have claimed in a stab of almost Duck Soup-like surrealism. The N.Y. Times reports that yesterday Pakistani newspapers “covered their front pages with photographs showing a man apparently pointing a gun at her from just yards away. ”
Bill Clinton talked up Mike Huckabee a day or two ago in Sergeant Bluffs, Iowa, and said he wasn’t surprised by Huckabee’s rise. He “seems to be the only one who can give a speech, tell a story, or tell a joke,” Clinton said. “It’s pretty dour crowd on the other side, and Mike’s pretty funny.”
In other words, the electoral Dating Game principle — the standard that gave us two terms of George Bush — is alive and thriving. Give us a president we can enjoy having a beer with, and who excues personal charm and can make us laugh. This doesn’t explain Hillary Clinton‘s popularity, I realize.
What do we do with this? We think we’ve got a really good film here and we’re
dead with the leave-us-aloners, just like with every other sand
movie. What other options do we have? The lifestyle-holics don’t
want to know about anything remotely connected to Iraq. It’s a
settled issue and the paying public is a bunch of ADD iPhone
escapist junkies. Don’t want to be a pessimist but we’re screwed,
we’re toast and there’s no way out. Or is there?
Wait…can we get some traction by selling it as a Ryan Phillipe-Abbie Cornish love story that...
Nothing fills me with such spiritual satisfaction as my annual naysaying of New Year’s Eve — the refusal to (a) attend a New Year’s Eve party or take part in any mass celebration thereof, or (b) to enjoy myself if I weaken and attend some kind of New Year’s Eve soiree regardless. I hate the idea of celebrating renewal by way of a clock, and especially in the company of those who make a big whoop-dee-doo about it.
My all-time best New Year’s Eve happened in Paris on the 1999-into-2000 Millenium year — standing about two city blocks in front of the Eiffel Tower and watching the greatest fireworks display ever orchestrated in human history.
And then walking all the way back to Montmartre with thousands on the streets after the civil servants shut the subway down at 1 a.m. That couldn’t have happened eight years ago. Must be a mistake.
Politico‘s Jeffrey Ressner on the year’s top ten political movies — No End in Sight, The Lives of Others, Breach, Sicko, In the Valley of Elah, The Kingdom, A Mighty Heart, Persepolis, Charlie Wilson’s War and The Bourne Ultimatum. Of these, my personal favorite is The Lives of Others, which I keep processing as a fall of ’06 film and not an early ’07 release (which of course it was). The second best, hands down, was In the Valley of Elah — the most neglected top-drawer film of the year.Read More »
Two days ago Red Carpet District‘s Kris Tapley said I was “back on the ‘Oscar prognostication should be about spotlighting quality‘ thing again.” No — last Thursday’s post was about how the Oscar race is about the debate — pushing and ragging on this and that contender and what the various views and convictions that emerge say about who and what we are — and not the winners, which nobody except Oscar queens ever remembers.Read More »
This okay but unexceptional
Chicago Tribune piece about great movie endings
reminds me that no matter what you may or may not think about
There Will Be Blood as a whole, the ending — the final
line, I mean — is almost certainly the year’s best.
The second best ending, of course, belongs to No Country for Old Men — the combination of that final line (“Then I woke up”), the cut to a silent and meditative Tess Harper across the kitchen table, and then back to Tommy Lee Jones…beat, beat, cut to black.
The year’s third-best ending — I’m not being facetious — was delivered by the Farrelly Brothers‘ The Heartbreak Kid. Ben Stiller‘s character, realizing he’s...
Not a misprint, misunderstanding, misnomer or mis-anything: Woody Allen‘s Barcelona-based film, due in ’08′s late summer or early fall, is really going to be called Vicky Christina Barcelona — one of the most atrocious titles ever conceived by a first-rank film maker, regardless of subject matter, theme, metaphor or what-have-you.
This on top of VCB being Allen’s third Johansson pic
over the last four is, I suspect, giving even his most ardent
admirers, particularly in the wake of the disastrous
Scoop, an uncertain feeling.
The romantic triangle pic (Spanish painter Javier Bardem and two American expats played by Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) may, for all I know, turn out to be one of Allen’s very best. I just know it’s facing an uphill...
Eight miles high…back in the early afternoon.Read More »
“Whether it precedes a biographical film or a historical drama, ‘based on a true story’ has come to convey several, often contradictory, ideas simultaneously to wary filmgoers: The events about to transpire on screen really happened, to the very people you’re about to see, at the same time, and to the same end.
“Except, of course, when they didn’t happen and the people didn’t exist and we scrambled the time frame and changed the ending. (Hey, we said ‘based on.’) This is our story, we’re sticking to it, and we’ve left the fact-checking to picky historians, outraged family members, alert critics and Wikipedia.” — from Ann Hornaday‘s 12.28 L.A. Times piece called “New rules for ‘based on a true story.’”
The lip-synching is off here and there and they should have found someone who sounds more like Mel Gibson, but otherwise this 12.29 WGA strike video is pretty good. I laughed out loud three times. The Frank Morgan/Wizard of Oz finale is best, followed by the Star Trek: Wrath of Khan bit.
“From Wall Street’s perspective, we estimate the impact of
accepting the [writers'] proposal is largely
Stearns wrote in a
report last week.
If the AMPTP gave the striking WGA everything its negotiators are asking for, the world-renowned banking, brokerage and investment firm estimates that “the $120 million figure would carry an average impact of less than 1% on annual earnings per share for the media companies.
“That does not factor in any concessions by the writers’ side (the WGA), where the principal issue is a desire for a piece of ad dollars from new-media distribution. The potentially small financial impact suggests that studios (Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers) are more concerned about setting a...
Anytime I hear anyone say “Eye-rack,” it’s hard to avoid thinking that he/she is perhaps a bit of a rube…no offense. Xenophobic, midwestern or southern, doesn’t quite get it, a football fan, possibly Republican or in the military. I used to think the correct pronunciation was “Eehr-rahq” until I met a French director who’d been to the region and said that world-traveller types pronounce it “Uhhr-raq.” I don’t say it that way to this day (it sounds affected), but “Eye-rack” is impossible. It’s almost embarassing to bring it up, but so many people seem to pronounce it this way.Read More »
I guess some of us aren’t fully appreciating what a huge
crossover hit Juno has become, so interested parties are
pointing this out by comparing Juno‘s numbers with the
four biggest indie hits of recent times — Little Miss Sunshine,
Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and
Sideways — which also became Best Picture nominees.
Juno grossed $3.285 million on 998 screens last night (i.e., Friday the 28th), Sideway‘s best Friday gross was $1.69 million on 1694 screens, Crouching Tiger‘s best Friday gross was $2.3 million on 693 screens, Brokeback Mountain‘s best Friday gross was $2.019 million on 1196 screens and Little Miss Sunshine‘s best Friday gross was $2.028 million on 1430 screens.
The logic is that since Juno is connecting with paying customers in a bigger way than these other four, it deserves...
Back in Boston with a gentle reminder: There Will Be Blood is having a midnight sneak in various blue cities across the map. I wonder how it’ll play in Redville. I actually have my suspicions. A friend predicted earlier today it won’t enjoy good word-of-mouth among the plebes and will taper off once all the ubers have all seen it.Read More »
More trains and automobiles today, so no more action until later this evening, if that. Meanwhile a question for anyone who’s given the matter any thought — what films due to open in the first quarter of ’08 are HE readers most anticipating other than Cloverfield? I can’t think of a single one other than Sundance premieres. Anyone?Read More »
“I fully anticipate this will be a film that will be
hard for many people to choke down,” Ain’t It
Cool’s “Moriarty”/Drew McWeeny has written about There
Will be Blood. “Daniel Plainview, the character played by
Daniel Day-Lewis, is one of the most flawed and
disturbing ‘heroes’ in film history.
“But it’s obvious that Paul Thomas Anderson fell in love with the character as he was writing him, flaws and all, and decided to follow him to whatever end occurred, not worrying about making it safe or whether or not we’ll ‘like’ Plainview.
There Will be Blood “is unapologetic. It is clear-eyed in its purpose. In a way, it shocks me how direct the storytelling is. This is not a film like El Topo where you’re going to argue...
“Forget Fight Club and Se7en. If you’re looking for the real reason to consider David Fincher a major-league American director, all the evidence is right there in Zodiac. [This] is at once an epic true-crime police procedural and a genuinely chilling study in the nature of unfulfilled obsession. I should know: I’ve seen it three times already.” — from Toronto Star critic Geoff Pevere‘s 10 Best of the Year piece (“Skepticism was a Convincing Force,” 12.28). I’ve seen Zodiac seven times — four times in a theatre, the regular DVD once, and the Director’s Cut DVD twice. I’ll be posting an audio chat with Fincher on Wednesday or thereabouts.Read More »
A Manhattan-based online correspondent** has
pointed out that There Will Be Blood‘s $100k
per theatre average this weekend in two theatres “puts it up
there with some of the Disney animated movies, Dreamgirls
and Brokeback Mountain, all which ended up making over $70
“It looks like there’s far more initial demand to see the movie than either Magnolia or Punch Drunk Love, although they also opened in more theatres.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean Blood might get a Best Picture nom but it certainly seems that the buzz created by the early praisings has generated exceptional interest and that other movies aren’t proving to have the same strength. (Like Sweeney...
People have been screwing up their No Country for Old
Men capsule plot descriptions in a small but important way for
weeks now. The Age‘s Chris Mathieson, in
12.26 interview with Javier Bardem, provides
the latest example.
He starts with the usual: “When antelope hunter and Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across a drug deal gone wrong, he finds a succession of bodies and a bag containing several million dollars,” blah blah. Then the wrongo. Matheison says that Moss dooms himself and his wife, his young wife, Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald), to a fugitive existence “once he takes the money.”
Nope. Moss and Carla Jean could have moved to Prague and started...
N.Y. Times reporter Michael Cieply is
pretty much what Variety‘s Anne Thompson
also reported, which is that all signs indicate that the WGA
strike will keep the Golden Globe awards from being broadcast by
NBC on 1.13, and that at best the show will be an internet webcast
as far as the outside world is concerned.
“Panicked at the prospect of having to confront strikers as they walk up the red carpet, celebrities have sent what Hollywood publicity executives describe as a near-unanimous signal: If striking writers show up, the stars will not,” Cieply writes.
“NBC, so far, is planning to forge ahead with its telecast” — hah! — “according to a person involved with the...