The currents flowing between Will Smith and Charlize Theron in Hancock “are reminiscent of the heat generated by Gable and Harlow, say, or Bogart and Bacall. It turns out that there’s a bond between these two (which I won’t reveal), and the rest of the movie, which includes some superb comic invention as well as scarily turbulent scenes, grows out of it. Hancock suggests new visual directions and emotional tonalities for pop. It’s by far the most enjoyable big movie of the summer.” — from David Denby‘s New Yorker review, dated 7.7.08.
I’ve been sitting on this recording of Rob Reiner talking last Thursday to Pete Hammond during the L.A. Film Festival. It’s well worth it for the story he tells toward the end about Albert Brooks doing a mime bit on Johnny Carson‘s Tonight show back in the late ’70s or early ’80s, and a lesson Reiner learned about how funny is funny even if the audience doesn’t laugh. Because they will eventually.
Rob Reiner , Pete Hammond
From a new Vanity Fair spread about Hollywood’s New Wave. I know two of these guys — Amanda Seyfried, 22, co-star (along with Meryl Streep) of Mamma Mia!, and Kristen Stewart of Into the Wild, Adventureland and What Just Happened?. But I’m just not that into Emma Roberts (Wild Child) or Blake Lively (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Okay, I haven’t heard of them.
Seyfried, Roberts, Lively, Sterwart.
“If Michael Moore, Oliver Stone or, God forbid, some effete French director had crafted a feature film that was a thinly disguised political broadside portraying Americans as recumbent tubbos who moved around on sliding barcaloungers with built-in video screens and soft drinks always at the ready, don’t you think there’d be some sort of notice taken?”
So asks Hitsville’s Bill Wyman, the former arts editor for NPR and Salon. His point is that Pixar has done exactly this with WALL*E and that reviewers have barely acknowledged it. Many who have admitted that WALL*E has this social criticism aspect have done so...Read More »
One day after Bill Clinton‘s “Obama needs to
kiss my ass before I’ll enthusiastically campaign for him” quote
up by news services, Clinton and Barack Obama
talked on the phone and had a “terrific” conversation, according to
Pickler AP story filed an hour or so ago.
OBAMA: All right, Bill. How do we do this?
CLINTON: Well, are you ready to kiss my ass on Main Street?
CLINTON: I mean, that would work.
OBAMA: I’ve got a campaign to win, Bill. I need your help. You don’t like me, I can take you or leave you personally and who gives a shit? What do you want?
CLINTON: I want my reputation back. I was Elvis, the first black president. And I want a speech...
Drew McWeeny‘s combo-review piece on The
Dark Knight and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, posted this morning at 7:38
am, is too sprawling and wind-baggy. He’s a first-rate writer
but it wore me down. That said, here’s the best graph in the whole
piece — a tribute to Aaron Eckhart‘s Harvey Dent
performance in the Chris Nolan film.
Eckhart “deserves some praise as well for the way he brings Dent to life, and for finding a way to play earnest without becoming overbearing,” Drew says. “Dent’s a more difficult role than the Joker in many ways because there aren’t as many big emotions you can play. He’s a decent, upstanding man who believes in doing things right, in prosecuting criminals instead of fighting them on a street level, and little by little, he’s actually making a difference.
Eckhart, in short,...
It is a profoundly good and nourishing thing to find love and peace with a partner, and so here’s to David Poland having apparently tied the knot in Bermuda over the weekend. Mazel Tov and best wishes! A good thing to do for a fellow in his mid 40s. And may his first child be a masculine child. Poland is good with kids; I’ve seen him in action.
When I was sick with possible blood poisoning a year and a half or two years ago Poland left a “get well” phone message, so it seemed okay and symmetrical to send him a “congratulations and good for you” e-mail a few months ago when I heard he was moving in a marital direction. Poland being Poland, he ignored it. Nice yellow tie, though.Read More »
An hour-long chat with Hellboy II director Guillermo del Toro at the Four Seasons early Sunday evening, from roughly 6 to 7 pm.
We talked a little bit about the film, but mainly we discussed The Hobbit (the first part will be more Guillermo, the second more Tolkien/Jackson), the creation of “Bleak House” (his creative hideaway studio he built about five blocks away from the regular family home), his amazing 12 year-old daughter, relations with his father, the conservative tendencies and judgments of video-game producers, his admiration for the “Shadow of the Collossus” video game (engaging storyline, super-intelligent game play), the current doings of Cha Cha Cha, a discussion of “Read More »
Last night Collider‘s Steve Weintraub
fuming that Variety‘s Diane Garrett
and her editors
didn’t credit him for breaking a story “last week” that
Legendary Pictures is developing some kind of sequel/prequel to 300
that Frank Miller is writing, Zack
Snyder will direct and Warner Bros. will distribute.
Garrett posted Sunday night that “another 300 has been rumored from the start, but last week Snyder and the original producing team stoked a frenzy online when they talked about it at the Saturn Awards.” The online frenzy,
The Quantum of Solace teaser. Reactions?
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Ray Bennett
raved about Mamma Mia! from London, where it’ll open
next Friday (7.4). How does a dedicated sourpuss and Europop/ABBA
hater cast doubts and aspersions without having seen the film?
Obviously he can’t and shouldn’t. The watchword should always be
“try to be fair.” The sourpuss can, however, sniff the air for
girly-girl fumes, for hints of vapidity or plasticity or anything
that feels like excessive fizz.
The word “fun,” for example, has been known to strike fear in the hearts of ardent film lovers. “Fun,” as we all know, is a code word that usually means the kind of shallow exuberance best appreciated by women and gay guys. Bennett’s statement therefore that “no matter how many blockbusters...
It was reported earlier today that Bill Clinton has told confidantes that in order to get his full support in the presidential campaign Barack Obama will have to apologize, beg and grovel like nobody’s business. Clinton was quoted as saying, in fact, that Obama will have to “kiss my ass” in order to make things right.
Bill Clinton, George McGovern
Clinton apparently resents having been tarnished by the Obama campaign for having played the race card, which of course Clinton absolutely did when he compared Obama’s win in the South Carolina primary to Jesse Jackson’s two previous wins there in the ’80s...Read More »
What…another Dark Knight reviewer doing cartwheels over Heath Ledger‘s Joker? Is this getting tedious or just repetitive? We get it already. Brilliant demonic channeling. The guy’s going to win a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Warner Bros. will almost certainly run a full-on Oscar campaign on his behalf. Now can we talk about something else, please? I feel like I’m getting beaten over the head here.
Ledger “presents himself as The Joker in a role that defines a career,” writes Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet. “It is unimaginable it would come to the point that a film based on a comic-book character could actually have such an impact on one person. On...Read More »
“Curmudgeonly, cantankerous, cigar-chomping Hellboy is a cross between a ’40s noir detective and a burning fireplace,” writes Variety‘s John Anderson, “but he’s also cool enough to make Hellboy II: The Golden Army the hipster’s hit of the summer. It’s certainly a more deliberately (and successfully) funny movie, thanks largely to Ron Perlman, who returns with the rest of the cast, and without whom an onscreen Hellboy would have been almost unthinkable.
“Yes, Catholic imagery has always run rampant through helmer Guillermo del Toro‘s movies, including Pan’s Labyrinth, which he made in between the two Hellboy entries, but he’s really an...Read More »
Eight or nine days ago the New York Observer‘s Sarah Vilkomerson wrote one of the funniest observation-and-reporting articles I’ve read in ages called “You’ve Got Mail (You Never Open).” And I only happened upon it last night over dinner. Funny because it’s true, because it’s my life — because the urban under-45 onliners, one gathers, have become a nation of mail denialists.
“I don’t have a fundamental fear or anxiety that makes me avoid the mail,” Mark McMaster, a 29-year-old senior account manager at Google, tells Vilkomerson. “It just seems relatively uninteresting, and probably most importantly, doesn’t arrive when it’s relevant. I don’t want a bill to tell me...Read More »
A convincing report of stepped-up secret covert actions against Iran by the Bushies, as written by New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh in a piece called “Preparing the Battlefield.” The neocons have only a few months left to try and hurt I’m-a-dinner-jacket. It’s a kind of prelude or warm-up, some believe, to the big Israeli bombing of Iran that will happen (if it happens) sometime after the Democratic and Republican conventions. One imagines that $4.40 a gallon will seem like a fond memory if and when such hostilities commence.Read More »
The obvious movie analogy to the “my middle name is Hussein!” movement (good citizens symbolically showing support for Barack Obama and flipping off the righties who’ve tried to use the exotic Middle-Eastern sound of this name to stir fear among rural dumb-asses) is, of course, the “I’m Spartacus” scene in Spartacus (1960). Moving then, moving today.
To emphasize the analogy I tried to find a good-quality letterboxed clip of this third-act moment in Kirk Douglas and Stanley Kubrick‘s film. Then I was distracted by this beautiful Pepsi ad that ran on the Oscar show four or five years ago and forgot all about the Obama aspect. I love the...Read More »
Websites started kicking “nuke the fridge” around roughly three weeks ago, and Newsweek‘s Periscope columnist Sarah Ball has just had a go at it. It refers to Harrison Ford hiding in that refrigerator in Indy 4 to escape the effects of a nuclear blast, etc. The main reason the term hasn’t seemed all that vital to get into from this end is that it doesn’t seem all that different or distinct from “jump the shark.”
Sean Connery’s fridge moment in Thunderball.
The latter, of course, refers to suddenly being old news — having lost one’s place (position, toe-hold, whatever) in the media-culture firmament — due to some sudden,...Read More »
A chance encounter this evening with Guillermo del Toro, director of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, at West L.A.’s Laser Blazer — 6.28, 7:50 pm. We spoke about a scheduled junket interview sometime on Sunday, 6.29, about our fathers, about some Blu-ray transfers looking too much like digital data and not enough, he feels, like film.
It’s been a long while — two or three months, at least — since I’ve seen Alex Gibney‘s Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson (Magnolia/HDNet, 7.4), which I mostly enjoyed and fully respected. David Carr‘s story about it in the 6.29 N.Y. Times has jarred my memory somewhat. And yet mainly I’m reminded that my primary impression of Thompson’s life can be summed up in four words: “Wow, what a waste.”
Hunter S. Thompson sometime in the mid to late ’60s, to judge by his hairline.
The “wow” part — Thompson’s productive years from the mid ’60s to mid ’70s — is what 90% of Gibney’s film is about. The largely...Read More »
I wish I could help it, but every time a woman (or a group of women) registers astonishment at something another woman has said by saying “oh…my…god!” I feel hugely repelled. In real life, in a TV series, in a film…anywhere. Chalk on a blackboard times ten. So I’m naturally concerned about a moment in the Mamma Mia trailer in which Amanda Seyfried tells her friends she has three possible dads coming to her wedding and she doesn’t know which is the actual sire, and…you know the rest. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Fingers crossed. It opens on 7.18.
That carefully lit silhouette shot of the old flower woman outside of Stanley and Stella’s place gets me every time. That and Alex North‘s haunting, half-eerie music, especially towards the end when “maybe you wouldn’t be so bad to interfere with” comes up.
Three thoughts came to mind on Thursday when I read
various accounts about some
passionate mucky-muck involving CBS News Baghdad correspondent
Lara Logan, a married US State Department
contractor named Joe Burkett and CNN international
correspondent Michael Ware.
The first two thoughts were (a) this is private material and nobody’s business so why don’t they leave her alone? and (b) passion is as passion does, and is no big deal.
Logan has been a feisty and...
We’re a few days away from a full six months having passed in
the year 2008, and so it’s time to briefly assess the best,
worst and in-betweens. It’s understood I’ll be leaving a
few off that I should (and will) be adding to this or that category
once the outraged responses come in, but these are the films that
popped out when I sorted them all through. I’ve only mentioned
63 films here. There have been at least nine, I
believe, that deserve to be called creme de la creme, but
maybe I’m forgetting one or two.
Best So Far (in order of excellence): A tie between WALL*E and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (the latter technically being an ’07 film even though it opened on January 23), The Bank Job, The Visitor, Shine a Light, Iron Man, Young @ Heart, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, Son of Rambow. (9)
Thursday’s tracking predicted that WALL*E would $50 to
$60 million this weekend. Well, it made $23.1
million last night and is looking at
$66,441,000 by Sunday night. Handicappers will
have to consider next weekend’s numbers (remember that woman at my
Disney lot screening who said she was bored?) for a long-range
projection, but it’s sure to at least end up in the $200
million-plus realm. A friend went to a commercial
screening early yesterday afternoon and saw “plenty of kids but
also a lot of adults on their own.”
Wanted — Jesus wept! — did $18,700,000 last night and will end up with $52,500,000 for the weekend. It was supposed to do somewhere over $30 million but not more than $40 million, according to Thursday’s tracking. Just goes to show that among younger males, the appetite for brutish ultra-violent degeneracy is...
Wanted gets a 75% positive from the Rotten Tomatoes creme de la creme? Even the 64% rating on Metacritic is offensive. I suffered through this film; it gave me convulsions; I thought once about going to the head and throwing up. The Oregonian‘s Shawn Levy and New York‘s David Edelstein are good fellows who know their stuff, but what had they eaten or drunk before seeing it? After?Read More »
ABC News guy Jake Tapper reported last night that Barack Obama will travel to Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, France and England in mid-July. The Iraq-Afghanistan portion of the trip will be in the company of a congressional delegation. Cue the Middle American xenophobes waiting to take offense.
Saturday update: The NY Times‘ Jeff Zeleny is reporting that Obama’s Middle East itinerary will include Jordan and Israel. He also says that the Iraq and Afghanistan visits will be part of a “separate trip” — presumably a reference to these visits being part of a congressional delegation tour. Zeleny is reporting no additions to Germany, France and Britain as far as the western Europe stopovers are concerned.
Gavin O’Connor‘s Pride and Glory is finally out of the distribution woods. Former New Line honcho Bob Shaye’s decision early this year to bump this exceptional New York cop film into ’09 is now null and void with Warner Bros. having just slotted a 10.24.08 release. It’s an exceptional film (I saw it in mid-April) and never should have been bumped in the first place. The question now is how wide or vigorous a release will it receive? How much of a p & a investment? How committed will the p.r. people be?