Baz Luhrman‘s Australia (20th Century Fox) will open down under on 11.13.08, and in this country on 11.26.08. No one I know has seen it yet, but two Australian cinemas are pre-selling tickets. One reports a duration of 170 minutes; the other reports 177 minutes. It hasn’t been officially rated or timed so both could be incorrect, but someone clearly knows something.
A “Conversations With History” talk with Studs Terkel, the Chicago-based author, columnist historian, actor, and broadcaster who was born in 1912, died earlier today. He told it straight and blunt and with great flavor, had done and seen incredible things, and came to know everything and meet almost everyone. A great man, a great life. What it must have been to have been 18 years old at the start of the depression, and what a great book he wrote from it — Hard Times, published in 1970.Read More »
The traffic around West Hollywood is murder due to Santa Monica Blvd. having been shut down for tonight’s Halloween festivities. I was in car hell for over two hours because of this. I recognize that the West Hollywood Highway Patrolmen didn’t stop traffic just to mess with me alone, but it was nonetheless awful. I guess I’ll wander around tonight and take pictures.
West Hollywood resident Danny Lindsey in front of Holloway Cleaners on Santa Monica Blvd. — Friday, 10.31.08, 2:25 pm
I love checking in on Vulture’s “Oscar Futures” chart every Friday, despite always having disagreements with one or two calls. That Gran Torino trailer, for example, hasn’t translated into a down-arrow cycle in my realm or that of anyone else I know. I disagree also with their Anne Hathaway judgment, although I chuckled at the sly way they try to stick it to her: “This category is getting pretty competitive,” they write offhandedly. “Was [Hathaway] really as good as everybody thought two weeks ago?”
“Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight.” — Paul McCartney, “I’m Looking Through You,” Rubber Soul.Read More »
Achtung — Spoiler Warning!: New York critic David Edelstein today described the documentary Dear Zachary as “another dead-child saga, among the most enraging I’ve ever seen, and while it’s fine and heartfelt and I commend it to those of you with strong constitutions, it is the film that has finally broken me. Folks, I can’t take this anymore. I know children suffer and die in this cruel world; I know we can never be too vigilant on their behalf. But the number of movies [with this theme] is simply disproportionate.
“Come awards season, dead children seem to factor in every other prestige picture, immeasurably ratcheting up their emotional stakes. In the past weeks, we’ve had Rachel Getting Married (which earns its...Read More »
I won’t be saying anything about Doubt until the end of next week or thereabouts, but the big acting revelation for me and several others I spoke to at last night’s AFI Fest screening is the supporting performance by Viola Davis, who plays the mother of one of the students in an urban Catholic school. She absolutely kills in one very intense scene with costar Meryl Streep, and I can’t even find an online photo of her performing in this scene. Davis goes to the front of the line in the Oscar Balloon right now, dammit.
Fandango’s Harry Medved has sent out a release about vigorous advance ticket sales for Twilight (Summit, 11.21). According to a “current Fandango survey of over 5000 moviegoers interested in buying Twilight tickets,” (a) 95% of the respondents are female, and roughly 58% of these are under-25; (b) 92% of respondents say they’ll see Twilight on opening weekend (duhhh), and (c) 85% say they plan to see the film more than once. Can you imagine sitting next to a group of under-25 women who’ve just seen Twilight in a bar after they’ve all had two glasses of wine? The giggling, the shrieking…good God.Read More »
This 10.27 Celeb Bitch post — four days ago! — appears to confirm that Seth Rogen has indeed slimmed down big-time for filming on Stephen Chow‘s The Green Hornet, which Rogen and Evan Goldberg are co-writing. He’ll revert back to his au natural form after shooting ends, of course. I knew guys who looked like Rogen when I was in my 20s, and now they look like sumo wrestlers with a drinking problem.
My latest theory is that movies that use numbers in their titles in a fun/escapist/frolicsome vein (like Ocean’s 11, Three Men and a Baby, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) tend to succeed in a marketing sense but those that adopt an emotionally sincere, verging-on-solemn approach (like Four Feathers, The Number 23, Seven Pounds) send out uh-oh signals that make people a little bit wary. There are exceptions, of course. Sergeants Three, a lighthearted Rat Pack remake of Gunga Din, isn’t remembered fondly by anyone. And I’m not aware of Lina Wertmuller’s Seven Beauties having suffered for its title.
New Seven Pounds poster found on Alex Billington’s firstshowing.net.
A slight tightening of the Presidential election numbers has kicked in due to the laziest, dumbest and most sheepish portion of the electorate going “hmm, gee, I don’t know.” Otherwise voters are dug in, polls are static (except for two — Fox News and Mason-Dixon — that fivethirtyeight’s Nate Silver says are off on their own beam), the new N.Y. Times/CBS News poll says that 59 percent of voters believe that Sarah Palin is not prepared for the job (up nine percentage points since the beginning of October), and I’m still picking up worried/on edge/unsettled vibes from this and that Obama supporter.
Good. Nobody...Read More »
Originally posted on 9.7.08 during the Toronto Film Festival: As far as it goes, Kevin Smith‘s Zack and Miri Make A Porno is smooth and winning, largely due to Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks‘ engaging, alive-in-the-moment performances as longtime pals and roommates who discover, to their surprise, that they’re in love with each other while making a low-grade, hand-to-mouth porn film.
Call this one definitely better (and certainly more smoothly shot and cut) than Clerks II, heads and shoulders above Jersey Girl, a bit funnier than Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, livelier and more entertaining that Dogma, almost as intimate and touching as Chasing Amy, much better than Mallrats and not as good as the original Clerks.
Within his...Read More »
Doubt director-screenwriter John Patrick Shanley and mystery partner at AFI Fest/Doubt after-party at Hollywood Roosevelt hotel — Thursday, 10.30.08, 10:55 pm.
The Vistor producer Michael London, star and likely Best Actor nominee Richard Jenkins at Arclight Cinema following post-screening q & a.
Doubt after-party at Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, marred only by lack of ventilation. I was feeling damper and stickier by the minute. I got through it by telling myself that Rudolph Valentino, John Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin must have felt even stickier when they attended parties at the Hollywood Roosevelt in the 1920s, when there was no a.c. at all.
“The question now,” as N.Y. Times media columnist David Carr wrote today, “is how many people will be left to cover it.” Print people, he means. Yes, I too read this story online. I never read the print version of the Times, although, as I’ve said repeatedly over the last four or five years, I would be very saddened to live in a world in which you couldn’t buy the print edition. As I do six or seven times a year when I’m in a sentimental, old-fashioned mood.Read More »
Clint Eastwood‘s Changeling, going wide this weekend, is running 74, 37 and 19 — very heavily skewed towards older women, at least $20 million. The Haunting of Molly Hartley is at 43, 28 and 5. Rock n Rolla, going wide ,also has a 34, 22 and 1…nothing. Kevin Smith‘s Zack and Miri Make a Porno is running at 66, 33 and 13. Younger males, of course. Looking to be one of the better Weinstein Co. openings in a long while.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa opens on 11.7, and is now at 90, 38 and 9. Over-25 women with kids. Pretty good business. Role Models is at 44, 35 and 5….decent. Soul Men is at 59, 32 and 3. Quantum of Solace (Sony, 11.14) is at 70, 53 and 15 — very strongly male, both older and younger.
DIsney’s Bolt, opening on 11.21, is at 58, 28 and 3. Twilight, sure to be a big hit with under-25 women, is running at 44, 39 and 8.Read More »
Apparently this is the final, decided-upon poster for Valkyrie (MGM/UA, 12.26) for the U.S. market. It’s a fairly riveting image — strong, exciting, tells you it’s a solid thriller — but let’s be frank and acknowledge that one reason it’s working is that it’s pushing familiar buttons. My first thought was “kinda Reservoir Dogs-y.” Then Ocean’s 11 came to mind. Not that there’s anything wrong or unwise about that. These are two very popular films.
As I understand it, David Fincher was asked by Empire to write down his favorite films of all time, and to do so without thinking about it too much — just scribble ‘em down! So as an exercise, I grabbed a notebook and did the same thing. I wish I’d been a little more foreign, a little more ’90s indie, a little more ’30s, ’40s and ’50s…but this is what happened. Live with it. I could have written down another 150 without blinking. Here are the two lists:
About a month ago Josiane Balasko‘s Cliente, about a 51 year-old businesswoman (Nathalie Baye) paying for the no-muss, no-fuss sexual services of a younger man, opened in France. This struck me right away as a good idea for an American remake. Especially with a classy, high-pedigree actress of a certain age — Kristin Scott Thomas or Meryl Streep, let’s say — in the lead role.
Over and over I’ve walked the aisles of Gelson’s and Ralph’s in the evening and seen women in business suits pushing their carts, alone and guarded and yet, you can tell, quietly hurting for something else besides this. Perhaps resigned to not having a relationship but not willing to turn themselves off to the extent that they have no life except...Read More »
I’m sorry but my Space Elvis idea (i.e., a script I wrote ages ago) is better: Elvis was kidnapped by aliens in August 1977 just before he died, and flown back to the aliens’ home planet. He was restored, cleaned up, de-drugged, probed, kept in a large home (facsimile of Graceland) for 32 years, and then returned to earth in 2009 as the same 42 year-old he was before only much thinner and full of vim and vigor and ready to rock out. Except nobody believes he’s the real Elvis (naturally) so the only gig he can get is performing as an Elvis impersonator.
AICN’s Quint recently spoke about Bubba Nosferatu to...Read More »
A day after speaking with Errol Morris about Standard Operating Procedure on or about 4.11.08, I wrote a piece titled “Morris Should Sell Obama.” The idea was to re-boot Morris’s brilliant spots for John Kerry in ’04, which focused on “real people” (mostly Republicans) who’d voted for Bush in 2000, but were going for Kerry that year.Read More »
Three days ago a funny New Yorker piece by David Sedaris about undecided voters appeared. “For as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters,” it begins. “Who are they?” the news anchors ask. ‘And how might they determine the outcome of this election?’
“Then you’ll see this man or woman — someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. ‘Well, Charlie,’ they say, ‘I’ve gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind!’ Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense...Read More »
I’m attending the big Doubt screening at tonight’s AFI Fest kickoff, but because it’s being digitally projected I was asked — told — not to review it until I see it on a clean 35mm print in Manhattan sometime late next week. That’s the aesthetic exactitude of the film’s producer, Scott Rudin, talking.
In line with this, Variety‘s Anne Thompson has reported that Rudin “was so appalled at the way the digital projection looked on the curved giant Cinerama Dome screen that he made sure the film will show on three flat screens at the Arclight.”
Correct again. That ultra-curved...Read More »
An “editor friend” recently sent Variety‘s Anne Thompson a note about from the first long-lead screening of Sam Mendes‘ Revolutionary Road: “The word from me is wow!….very powerful,” the guys starts off.
“[It's a] two-hander for Leo and Kate, all grown up now as a married couple, unhappy but still in love. They go at it fiercely and you can sense the real-life bond that lets them really go for it, all defenses down.
“It’s powerful and also beautifully written and filmed. [American Beauty director] Sam Mendes doing suburban angst again, but this time in the 1950s. I daresay it may be a modern classic. The screenplay race this year is unusually light on adaptations, so this being an adaptation of the Richard Yates novel, I’d look for a nomination.”Read More »
The Weekly World News is reporting that the Alien has switched his endorsement from Barack Obama to John McCain, which they call “a shocking reversal with major implications for the U.S. presidential election.” Both political camps “are buzzing about the implications,” the newspaper reports, “as the Alien has correctly predicted the winning president in every election for the past 28 years.”