Last week I decided against linking to Jeffrey
Politico story about David Zucker‘s
American Carol because the basic plot — a documentarian
named Michael Malone [read: Moore] finally sees
the conservative light in the way Ebenezer Scrooge got beyond being
a selfish miser — sounded sickening to me. Three or four graphs
into Ressner’s story and I was muttering, “I don’t know want to
know about this…I’ve read enough.”
Jon Voight as George Washington and Kelsey Grammer as Gen. George
S. Patton in An American Carol
But people here and there started writing about Zucker’s film
anyway, the latest being
It seems obvious why Vanity Fair asked the esteemed Patricia Bosworth to write “a five-decade trajectory” piece about Paul Newman for the current issue. They obviously know the poor guy is on the ropes so they’ve decided to tribute him now instead of wait for the sad farewell and then give the go-ahead for a good-old-Paul piece.
I wonder why VF editor Graydon Carter didn’t contact Oregonian critic Shawn Levy to write the article, given Levy’s extensive research on a forthcoming Newman biography over the last couple of years. I’m told Levy has dug up some fascinating new material, including stuff about Newman’s formative early-on experiences.
Eight days ago Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes and Edgar Wright visited Laser Blazer, easily one of the two or three best DVD stores in Los Angeles (and certainly the cleanest and friendliest), to sign copies of the 3-disc Spaced: The Complete Series box set. The DVD packagecame out 7.22. Okay, so I’m slow. A day doesn’t pass when I haven’t missed something.
Why doesn’t Wild Bunch make this trailer available with English subtitles? Why isn’t there a bi-lingual Guerilla trailer? What’s the deal with Gregg Goldstein‘s mention in the Hollywood Reporter about “four indie offers being on the table” and still no distrib deal? The possibility that Steven Soderbergh‘s epic (which has had 14 minutes trimmed since Cannes) may not even play commercially until ’09 is ridiculous. What kind of a plastic, quarter-inch-deep moviegoing culture are we to have convinced distributors that buying Che rights is a sucide move?
“A few weeks ago I was in Las Vegas playing blackjack,” director Rod Lurie has written on the Huffington Post. “Two white-guy soldiers who were a couple of days away from being re-deployed to Iraq sat at the table with me. After a few minutes of conversation I asked them who they were voting for. They both said they were voting for Obama.
“When I asked them why, they very simply and honestly told me they want to vote for the guy that will get them out of Iraq. I think this year we will see, for the first time, the active-duty military voting for the Democratic candidate.” — from a piece called “Why The Military Is More Liberal Than You Think.”
Tom O’Neil‘s 7.30 slapdown of Frozen River star Melissa Leo (for pulling rank after arguing with director Courtney Hunt) has resulted in three friendly rebukes — one from myself, another from Thelma Adams and a third from Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone. Undaunted, O’Neil shoots right back, sticks to his guns, gives no quarter.
A terrible-quality bootleg video of the Wolfman trailer that was shown at Comic-Con. Some guy in the audience apparently shot it with a cell-phone camera. That aside, the vibe feels right and the content seems promising.
The latest p.c. ding against Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, which won’t hit screens until ’09, is that it has a “toothless firefly” character who, according to Defamer’s description, “seems to have fluttered in accidentally from the set of Song of the South 2: Cajun Vacation.”
Here are two earlier You Tube videos — clip #1 and clip #2 — that explain other problems related to racial cliches and/or pigeonholing. Between this and the revolting Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Disney is seeming more and more bunkered down and 20th Century clueless about everything.
It’s not just the right-wing
spear carriers who are slamming me, incorrectly, for allegedly
advocating a Sen. Joseph McCarthy-esque response
to Jon Voight‘s 7.28
Washington Times op-ed piece trashing Barack
Obama. A liberal friend has taken me to task for this
also. Obviously the McCarthy thing has gotten some traction, so
let’s review the basics and examine what I actually said and
The paragraph that led to the freak-out
read as follows: “[Voight is] obviously entitled to say and write
whatever he wants. But it’s only natural that industry-based Obama
supporters will henceforth regard him...
I’ve “known” (i.e., been phone-chatting with) director
Rob Cohen since the early ’90s, and have always
found him bright, affable, witty, open. He’s a Harvard University
grad and a very good gabber. I remember what a
terrific job he did seven years ago on The Fast and The
Furious, and how he recaptured that old Sam
Arkoff-ian, American International Pictures B-movie vibe,
and particularly how he fought to end it on a note of justice
rather than legality.
But everything Coen has done since has been (and it pains me to
say this) either cheesy or bloated or forced or otherwise
problematic. And now comes his latest, The Mummy: Tomb of the
Dragon Emperor, which, to go by a couple of friends who’ve
seen it and particularly by
N.Y. Daily News columnists Rush & Molloy went with a story today about a $250 million lawsuit against Scientology bigwigs (including Tom Cruise), filed by ex-church member Peter Letterese over harassment tactics used against him when he resigned. The catchy aspect is that Letterese is using the RICO statute as a weapon. As R & M explain, he’s “calling the church a ‘crime syndicate‘ and wants it broken up under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law, just as the feds have broken up Mafia families.”
Uploaded 14 days ago on Flickr, forwarded last night by Oregonian critic Shawn Levy. “This is an actual photo — not Photoshopped — of a second-run Portland movie theater, the Cinemagic, changing its marquee over from Hancock to TDK. As the fellow who sent it to me said, ‘Sometimes it’s better to work right to left.’”
The Journal Sentinel‘s Duane Dudekreported yesterday that Woody Allen‘s next film, the Larry David-Evan Rachel Wood relationship thing, will be called Whatever Works. Allen called it a “a blackish comedy.” I think it’s fair to say that the title doesn’t imply this in the slightest. Generically speaking, of course.
In a piece that’s largely about Dorothy
Fadiman‘s Stealing America:
Vote By Vote (opening Friday at NYC’s Quad Cinemas and
spreading out in August), Politico‘s Jeffrey
RessnerquotesIon Sancho, a Florida-based election supervisor
who was involved in the Florida recount situation during the 2000
presidential race, as saying that Pennsylvania and
Indiana are expected to be “problem areas” (i.e.,
states with potential incidents of vote fraud) in the coming
“Pennsylvania and Indiana are jurisdictions with partisan election
administrations, and that’s one of the things that the film tries
to illustrate,” Sancho tells...
After seeing and loving Tropic Thunder I figured
Pineapple Express (which opens one week before
Thunder, on 8.6) couldn’t be quite as funny, despite the
many months of advance praise. I trusted the buzz about
James Franco being a revelation, but that “meh”
Variety review by Justin Chang
lowered the expectation factor a notch or two. I finally saw it
last Monday night at the Grove, in any event, and about 20 or 30
minutes in I said to myself, “Wow, this is a wee bit funnier than
Ben Stiller‘s movie.”
Due respect to The Envelope‘s Tom
I don’t think it’s fair to characterize an argument or
miscommunication between Frozen River star Melissa
Leo and first-time director Courtney Hunt
as evidence of Leo having had a “diva fit.” It’s fine to argue,
misread, blow off a little steam. If above-the- liners
don’t argue now and then during a shoot it’s
probably an indication that the film will be mediocre.
O’Neil’s ire was triggered by Leo’s account of the argument in a
q & a between herself and Us critic Thelma Adams in
With the exception of Heath Ledger‘s performance, which they love, Lorenzo Semple, Jr., and Marcia Nasatir, a.k.a. the “Real Geezers,” have come down pretty hard on Chris Nolan‘s mega-hit. “There seems to be an attempt to say we’re living in some kind of fascist state,” says Nasatir. “The Joker seems to rule supreme the same way Osama bin Laden does…I think the director intended it to remind us of what happened to the twin towers…[but] the reason I think it’s such a success, tragically, is because of the death of Heath Ledger.”
“So I got back to my apartment and I had an epiphany,”
says to the N.Y. Observer‘s Spencer
Morgan in his
second hangin’-with-the-Goot column.
Morgan explains that Guttenberg had been reading Roman history
about “how Mark Antony had accidentally led a ship
carrying 150 soldiers to an island where they found, to their
surprise, 500 enemy soldiers. But instead of allowing his men to
flee, Antony burned the ship. And then they won because they had
“So I sat on my bed, and across from me was my pile of meaningless
phone numbers of women that I’ve met,” he said. “This is 4 in the
morning, Wayne Dyer and everybody says 4 in
Update: I stilll say that the new John McCain
ad suggests that Britney Spears and Paris
Hilton, who represent two-thirds of the dumbest, emptiest
and most repulsive celebrity trifecta in the history of western
civilization, are endorsing the trashing of Barack
Obama. Others are
saying the ad equates their shallow celebrity status with
Obama’s, but that is not what this ad implies. At the very
least the ad is ambiguous enough to suggest that Spears and Hilton
(both of whom are known or believed to be conservative-minded) are
in cahoots with the McCain campaign. Here’s the link to the
Prostitute intrigues are fairly popular these days among younger
cable viewers, to judge by the existence of Showtime’s Secret Diary of a
Call Girl, HBO and Darren Star‘s
forthcoming Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, Rod
Lurie‘s Hillary Jones (a
Showtime drama “about a woman who works as a vice cop in Los
Angeles during the week and as a legal prostitute in Nevada during
the weekend”) and the
recent talk about Ashley Dupre (the service-provider of former
New York governor Eliot Spitzer) getting some kind
of a reality TV deal.
And so The Frisky‘s “Amelia” has taken this recent flurry
Two days ago — 48 hours! — the Patrick Goldstein-Peter
Bart jousting came to a temporary end with this
posting from Goldstein, which I think is well said: “If Bart
read my piece more carefully, he might have noted that I
praised Paramount Pictures production chief John
Lesher for the quality of his films [while he was running
Vantage]. The problem was that Vantage lost money
on most of those movies. Because of its lack of fiscal
responsibility, Vantage won’t have a chance to make many more of
L.A. Times blogger/columnist Patrick Goldstein; Variety editor
“Barack Obama has enjoyed leads in the vast majority of national tracking polls, which is, of course, terrible news for the Obama campaign. Now, I’m all in favor of far less attention being paid to tracking polls, but if they must remain a fixture, no one should have to tolerate the media assigning artificial constructs to these metrics that set out to prove that leading in a poll is a disadvantage. If someone in the press knows precisely where Obama’s numbers should be at this very moment, they need to reveal their sources, or quit pretending to be so damned sure about it.” — HuffPost’s Jason Linkins in a 7.29 posting titled “Resisting The Conventional Wisdom On Polls: It’s Possible!”
“What I am thinking about is, I am not thinking. I am tremendously focused. I have reduced the universe to the state of non-existence. Only me and the wire. Except my concentration carries no horse blinders. I have to feel, see, taste, hear, touch, and smell everything to the utmost, so I can catch any sign of threat before any threat appears.” — Man on Wire star Phillipe Petitspeaking to Roger Ebert about wire-walking between the World Trade Center towers eight times in 1974.
I’m sorry, but I have a problem with these plastic shoes. Just like I had a problem with clogs, Birkenstocks, etc. The fact that outdoor wagon vendors sell them at the Grove (along with their cheap cell-phone covers and cheap-ass watches) says it all. They seems to be favored by women. I haven’t seen any real men wearing them, but there’s always the first time.
Variety says it’s being negotiated and Nikki Finke says it’s a done deal. The bottom line is that Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards, his Cinema Paradiso-flavored, moderately wackazoid World War II movie, will almost certainly be a Universal release.
Some people live in perpetual ecstasy over box-office numbers, to the extent that they sometimes get so fired up about the rightness of their readings that they summon the wrath of the God of Abraham to punish those they disagree with. I read their stuff with some interest, but not all that much. At root, it’s a dweeb thing.