“I sometimes feel sorry for the good friends of mine that made it too quickly in their careers and got too soft and rich and complacent to develop the panoply of skills to shepherd their own dreams along. Unless they do catch up fast they will surely and sadly miss the next big, wonderful, entrepreneurial phase of this industry. [Because] it’s common knowledge that the coming reality in the not-too-distant future is going to let us all work and play inside of a brand new paradigm.” — Director-writer-actor Mike Binder in a 1.29 piece for TheWrap.comRead More »
“Sometimes there’s a [kind] of blockbuster whose grosses can’t be predicted by even the wisest of box-office sages,” writes Vulture‘s Lane Brown.
“For example, who could possibly have anticipated Paul Blart: Mall Cop‘s explosive $39 million opening weekend? Certainly not Sony Pictures, who admitted in yesterday’s LA Times that they barely thought it’d make half that. And now, as their movie Segways speedily toward $100 million, it’s finally helped give a catchy name to all films with outsize profits and similarly awfulsome premises: Blarts.
“How does one identify a Blart? Sometimes they feature the Rock as an NFL star who unexpectedly becomes the father of an 8-year old and must, for some reason, perform ballet...Read More »
Celebrating the first-ever HE post from 35,000 feet! American Airlines’ Gogo “air” is pretty fast, I must say. We’re somewhere over New Mexico, my laptop is jammed up against the seat in front of me, and the American stewardesses are graciously selling turkey and cheese sandwiches for $10.Read More »
Waiting to leave on an American flight to JFK, in sometime around 9:45 pm. But there’s an in-flight online option for $11.95! First time I’ve ever seen this offered to coach. Great.Read More »
It’s no secret that Wayne Kramer‘s Crossing Over (Weinstein Co., 2.27), which I saw last night, has had a difficult (some would say agonized) post-production history. The integrity of Kramer’s vision violated up the wazoo, all kinds of re-editing and arguing about which cut works better, Sean Penn ‘s footage being cut from the film over his discomfort with an Iranian honor-killing subplot, etc.
Generally speaking a film that goes through this much grief and second-guessing ends up feeling muddled and compromised all to hell. I’m not saying that Crossing Over is a masterwork — it’s not. It uses a familiar strategy — five or six story lines woven into a social-issue tapestry — in an attempt to be an illegal-immigrant...Read More »
Nikki Finke posted a story yesterday afternoon about Eat Pray Love, an adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s spiritual-seeker book (a kind of lah-lah travelling pants Siddhartha) that’ll be produced by Sony after getting jettisoned by Paramount. The thing that caught my eye was Finke calling Julia Roberts, who’s set to star under director Ryan Murphy, a “has-been actress.”
Roberts has been low-flaming it over the last two or three years (certainly since the middling response to Closer), but until just now I hadn’t applied the word “over” to Roberts’ career. But maybe it is. No one had specifically said so before yesterday. It’s up to the HE crowd now. How done is Roberts? And is it necessarily a tragedy that she had her 13 or 14 years in the sun — late ’80s to early 21st Century — and then decided to downshift for whatever personal reason?Read More »
Speaking to Reuters’ reporter Alex Dobuzinskis about the hard-times downsizing of Hollywood’s two trade papers (and the much-discussed possibility that the Reporter‘s print version may be gone a year from now), Variety president and publisher Neil Stiles said he “doubts his paper’s award ads will migrate to the web because studios get more punch from print,” Dobuzinski writes.
Variety Group publisher Neil Stiles
Or, to put it another way, an issue of Daily Variety “hangs around in...Read More »
“The Dark Knight was not a great movie,” Marshall Fine explains to the fan boys who wanted it nominated for Best Picture. “It was only half a good movie. It was not as good as Batman Begins. It was not as consistently entertaining as Iron Man.
“There’s a solid 90-minute movie buried within the 150-minute slog that is The Dark Knight. And even that wouldn’t have been worthy of an Oscar nomination.
“Personally, I’m still trying to figure out why so many people got so worked up about this bloated, self-important movie. It kind of blew, in the same way that Spider-man 3 kind of blew.
“Sure, it was dark and broody. And then, for a change of pace, it was darker and broodier.
“The Dark Knight had more prelims than a Don King undercard. You...Read More »
London Times reporter Tim Teeman reported yesterday that an “ambitious plan to pump ‘significant” profits from the film Slumdog Millionaire back into the Mumbai slums where the film is set has been revealed by Danny Boyle, the film’s director.
“Boyle said investors, who are set to benefit from millions in box office profits, were planning to meet in London next week to discuss how much money to put into a special fund and how best to distribute the cash. ‘We want to set it up as soon as possible,’ Boyle said. ‘What absolutely mustn’t happen is that the money disappears, or people think this is a p.r. stunt.’”Read More »
Lively jib-jab hokum about Brangelina and the Oscars (and the expectation that the numbers for next month’s Oscar telecast will be in the toilet) from seasoned entertainment writer Tim Appelo. We all have wallowing moments. Not everything we write can be Pulitzer-level. Appelo is a good fellow — he’s forgiven.Read More »
Falco Ink was mistaken about the asker of the “frostbite” question (“If you had to sacrifice one body part to frostbite at Sundance, what would it be?”) that was satirized by director-writer Armando Iannucci (In The Loop) in the Guardian and linked to this morning. It wasn’t “international” journalist Gaynor Flynn but L.A. Times staff writer Richard Rushfield .
Rushfield did in fact interview Iannucci and Loop costars James Gandolfini and Mimi Kennedy at Sundance. Here‘s the L.A. Times video in question. AndRead More »
Last Friday (1.23) Notes on a Season columnist Pete Hammond, HitFix awards blogger and editor Gregory Ellwood, Hollywood Reporter and Gold Rush blogger T.L. Stanley, Feinberg Files blogger Scott Feinberg and Gold Derby maestro Tom O’Neil sat down to discuss the nominations for the 81st Academy Awards. Where are the friggin’ embed codes? I hate it when they don’t provide these.Read More »
Any list of the worst movies ever nominated for Best Picture that doesn’t include Dr. Doolittle, Around The World in Eighty Days, and The Greatest Show on Earth just isn’t paying attention. Many other Best Picture nominees from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, I’m sure, belong in this category.
Sorry but I don’t agree with a fair-sized portion of this list. Just because Ordinary People beat out Raging Bull for Best Picture doesn’t mean it’s a bad film — it actually works very well for what it is and what it shoots for. I loved most of what Million Dollar Baby delivered — it’s easily one of Clint’s all-time best...Read More »
During last night’s Clint Eastwood tribute at Santa Barbara’s Arlington theatre — a two-hour chat that started about 25 minutes late. 45% of the discussion covered Eastwood’s beginning years in the ’50s and ’60s, 25% to 30% focused on the early ’70s and his beginnings as a director, and 25% was devoted to his output of the ’80s, ’90s and 21st Century.
(l. to r.) In Contention‘s Kris Tapley, L.A. Times/Feinberg Files columnist Scott Feinberg, Santa Barbara Film Festival director Roger Durling at Eastwoood reception at Cafe Luck.
Feinberg, Eastwood height...
I was cupping my ears when Clint Eastwood spoke last night about his Nelson Mandela biopic-slash-sports drama, which will begin filming in March with Morgan Freeman in the title role and Matt Damon as rugby player/coach Francois Pienaar. And I didn’t hear Clint say that the title will be The Human Factor, which is what the IMDB thinks it will be.
Eastwood said it might simply be called Mandela or — this is much better — Playing the Enemy, which is the name of John Carlin‘s book about...Read More »
The Guardian has posted a diary-like Sundance recollection by In The Loop‘s Armando Iannucci. Excerpt: “Next day, I team up with James Gandolfini and Mimi Kennedy, two of the U.S. cast. They play a Pentagon general and a US state department politico doing their not-very-best to stop a war happening. Mimi is hilarious and James is always charming and generous, and very patient with the press.
“Which is just as well. The first interviewer is from the L.A. Times. That’s an important newspaper so we all have to be on our best behavior. The reporter places a small mobile phone on a tripod. We look at each other, and get ready for the smart and incisive questioning. We are asked, ‘If you had to lose one body part to frostbite, what part would it be?” Somewhere out in the digital...Read More »
“This is an experiment. We’re trying to figure out what it’s going to mean to us as editors and reporters.” — San Francisco Examiner‘s David Cole speaking in a 1981 KRON news report about a then-primitive technology.Read More »
Clint Eastwood didn’t arrive at this evening’s tribute event with any pomp or airs. A friend simply drove him up and dropped him off a block south of Santa Barbara’s Arlington theatre. Clint walked up the sidewalk and into a cluster of fans waiting behind metal barriers. Realizing he’d boxed himself in, he climbed over the temporary fence (with the help of said fans) to cheers and guffaws. This just happened about 25 minutes ago. I hope someone took a shot.Read More »
If Milk is in the midst of a come-from-behind, last-race-at-Hollywood Park surge that will overtake Slumdog Millionaire, it’s news to me. And this the first time I’ve heard of any symbolic linkage between a Milk win and the Brokeback Mountain loss that happened three years ago. Nothing can ever erase that injustice, that homophobic gravy stain upon the Academy’s rep.Read More »
Gov. Rod Blagojevich “says, ‘walk a mile in his shoes.’ Well, if I were innocent and I were in his shoes, I would have taken that witness stand and I would have testified and I would have told you why I was innocent. The governor didn’t do that.” — comment about today’s action that removed the Illinois governor from office.Read More »
A Blu-ray Straw Dogs will be available via Amazon.uk on 3.9.09. The 100% believable way Dustin Hoffman says the above (which could have sounded horrible in the wrong hands) is one reason why he’ll always have my respect. He says it with such amazement in his voice, such immense pride. He’s nothing less than profoundly happy. Elated, almost.... Read More »
Clint Eastwood and his latest film Gran Torino are being honored tonight by the Santa Barbara Film Festival. (It’ll be my last SBFF event as I need to return to L.A. tomorrow morning.) It led me, in any case, to some quick surfing and this S. James Snyder Time piece that ran on 1.26. Three days ago!
“At some point this week, Gran Torino will pass the $100 million mark, easily surpassing the box-office receipts brought in by not only some of the Oscar front-runners (Slumdog Millionaire now totals $56 million, Milk $21 million) but also Eastwood’s last Oscar winner, Million Dollar Baby.
“‘It’s an...Read More »
“There is a kind of moral certainty to the film — deeply corrupt, remarkably brutal — that makes everything make sense within the four corners of the movie. It’s full of likable, familiar types, but they just happen to have the habit of blowing people’s brains out. What does it say about culture when primordial evil expresses itself in a kid who might live right down the block?” — N.Y. Times Oscar columnist David Carr — a.k.a., “the Bagger” — riffing yesterday on Matteo Garrone‘s Gomorrah. Fairly well said.Read More »