Martin Provost‘s Seraphine, a fictionalized story of painter Seraphine de Senlis that no one talked about during the Toronto Film Festival (certainly not in my circle), has won seven Cesar awards. The ceremony ended in Paris two or three hours ago. It won best picture, best original screenplay (Martin Provost), best actress (Yolande Moreau), best cinematography (Laurent Brunet), best costume design (Madeline Fontaine), best original score (Michael Galasso), and best set design (Thierry Francois).Read More »
The Independent‘s Sheila Johnson observes that the femme fatale has all but disappeared from screens. The last time there was a crop of such roles was in ’80s and ’90s films like Body Heat, Blood Simple, Basic Instinct, The Last Seduction, etc. I think the lack of femme fatales is a result of men’s maturing attitudes about women, since the original femme fatales of 1940s film noir were misogynist fantasies rooted in male loathing of women due to envy of their tremendous power.
“Personality Disorder and the Femme Fatale,” an essay by Scott Snyder, states in its summary that “the type of character pathology personified in the femme fatale may be viewed as representative of certain misogynistic...Read More »
A Blu-ray Three Days of the Condor will be out on Tuesday, May 19th. In honor of Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, David Rayfiel, that pretty Asian lady who was machine-gunned to death and Max Von Sydow, I’ve already bought it in my head. But with so many visual knockout films that were shot on big formats not yet announced as Blu-ray releases, why are visually so-so titles like Condor being chosen and not, say, To Catch a Thief, which was shot by Robert Burks in VistaVision and looks phenomenal even off a standard DVD (i.e., when played on a Blu-ray player and shown on a big plasma screen)?
I’m trying to think of a precedent in which a sexually-oriented relationship dramedy not only costars but has been produced by the wife of a big-city mayor who’s also regarded as a comer on the national scene. The film is The Trouble With Romance, which opened yesterday at Manhattan’s Quad Cinema, and the producer-costar is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom.Read More »
Sample: “‘There are more musicals coming,’ Wells says, but he frets that remakes are the rage rather than originals. ‘A movie has to come from the fiber and the spirit and time that it’s made,’ he says, noting that you can’t just inject ‘iPods and Barack Obama’ into the Dwight D. Eisenhower-era Damn Yankees.”Read More »
It’s fairly common for actors to express thanks to journalists who’ve said kind and supportive things about their work. It’s probably been happening since the days of Aeschylus and Euripides. How is their gratitude usually conveyed? At Oscar-season parties, mostly. Or an actor’s publicist will pass along a “much appreciated” in an e-mail. But in this day and age with everyone texting and twittering and never stopping to take a breath, it’s just about unheard of for an actor (and especially a very young actor) to mail a personal note. Is sharing this a breach of trust? All I know is that I was moved, and I want to say thanks back in a just-as-open-hearted way. This lady is all about class.
I just bought my ticket to see Watchmen: The IMAX Experience at the 3.6 10 ayem show at the Lincoln Plaza. I tried to buy one for the Thursday midnight show but it was sold out. I won’t be able to see it before then because I’m still on the Warner Bros. shit list. I was led to think a couple of months ago that I might be reprieved, but no dice.Read More »
AP writer Lynn Elber‘s 2.27 interview with At The Movies‘ Ben Lyons and Ben Machieweicz was neither here nor there. The guys sat down because they wanted to counter-spin the negativity, but Elber didn’t hammer them or get any live-wire quotes. The best thing that came out of it was Erik Childress‘s mock poster that accompanied his riff on the piece.
“There’s one genre of filmmaking in which the ‘they-would-have-gotten-rid-of-the-grain-if-they-could’ line holds a great deal of water,” Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny wrote yesterday, “and that’s animation. Disney works with Lowry Digital on (thus far) all the restorations of its classic animation titles, and the digital work goes beyond erasing scratches and smudges. It extends well into the issue of the grain that was produced when the actual animation cels were photographed.
“It aims to give a representation of what the artwork would have looked like had the intermediaries of the camera lens and the film stock...Read More »
Sandstorm-strength grain is a technological blight that classic-era filmmakers had no choice but to work with as best they could. Bring the great directors back to life — Wilder, Lubitsch, Fleming, Capra, Hawks, Ford, Griffith, Keaton, Hitchcock — and they would all say, “Yes, naturally, obviously, of course…ask Lowry Digital‘s John Lowry to do what he can to tastefully take down the grain levels in our films! Because we want our films to be seen, and we never liked that damn grain gravel to begin with.”
Take no notice of the present-day monks who say that grain is beautiful, vital, essential. It is a visual hindrance to be fought tooth and nail down to the last dying breath. Because if they have their way the grain monks, who care only about the perpetration ofRead More »
A day and a half ago Variety‘s Anne Thompson said that “for the most part, women will not go for Watchmen. I can take neck-crunching, body-bashing, blood-spattering action, but this was tough for even me to sit through.
“While the movie is set to open big on March 6 — some folks are guessing as high as $70 million — I’ll wager that the ultimate audience will be limited to male action fans only. As someone with only fleeting exposure to the graphic novel, I watched the movie with little engagement or understanding of what was going on.”
In response to this, HE’s Austin-based columnist & correspondent Moises Chiullan points out that the Watchmen violence is “nowhere near as bad” as the...Read More »
“I’m not saying that Crossing Over is a masterwork,” I wrote on 1.31. “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 Traffic. But it’s really Crash. Which, to some, may sound like damnation. But sitting through Crossing Over isn’t hell. Far from it. Within the boundaries of its scheme and particularly given what Kramer had to deal with in post, it’s not half bad. The bruises and abrasions show, but it has a certain integrity. You can feel the efforts of a strong impassioned director trying like hell to make it work.”
In short, I tried to show a little understanding and compassion for poor Wayne Kramer,...Read More »
For simplicity’s sake I want to say thanks to everyone who sent along those scripts I asked to see on Wednesday, and to list them all once again: Fair Game, Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida‘s Away We Go (for Sam Mendes), Noah Baumbach‘s Greenberg, Jason Reitman‘s Up In The Air, The Human Factor (the Clint Eastwood Mandela film), Imperial Life in the Green Zone, James Schamus‘s Taking Woodstock, Peter Straughan‘s The Men Who Stare At Goats, Brothers, untitled Nancy Meyers (the Meryl Streep movie), Amelia, a faded 2007 draft of Shutter Island, The Informant, The Lovely Bones, Hot Tub Time Machine, David O. Russell and Kristin Gore‘s Nailed, Jonah Hill, Matt Spicer & Max Winkler’s The Adventurer’s Handbook, and Joel and Ethan Coen‘s A Serious Man.Read More »
Variety‘s Michael Fleming posted a story last night about Jim Carrey and Jake Gyllenhaal being attached to star in a “contemporized” musical remake of Damn Yankees, which opened as a Broadway musical in 1955 before the screen version, directed by Stanley Donen and George Abbott, opened in 1958.
Carey would play Mr. Applegate, i.e., the Devil, and Gyllenhaal would play the dual role of Joe Boyd and Joe Hardy. The plot is about Applegate offering Boyd, a middle-aged...Read More »
An hour or so ago Indiewire‘s Peter Knegt ran a piece about Tribeca Film Festival creative director Peter Scarlet resigning his post, effective immediately. Knegt ran a statement from Scarlet saying that the decision results from a “seven year itch” and an urge to “seek new challenges” and so on.
Right away I wrote Knegt and Tribeca Film Festival spokesperson Tammie Rosen the following note: “Scarlet’s resignation has nothing to do with Geoff Gilmore taking over as the festival’s new creative director? Simply passing along Scarlet’s ‘seven year itch’ comment seems dishonest. Shouldn’t theRead More »
“Few are begrudging Kate Winslet‘s Oscar win,” writes Chicago Tribune columnist Mark Caro, “and yet few contend that her portrayal of former Nazi concentration camp guard Hanna Schmitz in The Reader is her strongest work ever.
Winslet’s performances in Revolutionary Road and Little Children, he argues, “were more complex and searing, and she transfixed even in Heavenly Creatures, her 1994 debut.” Caro uses this as a launch into a piece about 10 accomplished artists — Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Paul Newman, Sydney Pollack, etc. — who won Academy Awards for the “wrong” movie.... Read More »
A Defamer report about Jeremy Piven‘s tearful pleading during yesterday’s Speed-the-Plow hearing, sourcing Patrick Healy‘s N.Y. Times report and filed at 2:10 this morning by Ryan Tate, is so tartly written and seething with such heartless cynicism that I’m just going to paste most of it here:
“Jeremy Piven [yesterday] convinced five other actors his mercury poisoning is real, deadlocking a union hearing and sparing Piven penalties for leaving...Read More »
A Summit snitch informs that a company-wide email was circulated yesterday announcing that Kathryn Bigelow‘s The Hurt Locker will get a slow-build release starting on June 26. New York and LA first, and then 200 screens around the country and so on. I’ve e-mailed the Summit spokesperson but she won’t be responding for another two or three hours (i.e., probably still sleeping) so let’s just run this for now and wait. But I’ve been told by a second source (i.e., a good one) that this story is accurate.
This is excellent news, if true, as it implies that Summit seems to finally understand that The Hurt Locker isn’t an Iraq War film but a kind of monster movie (the paradigm being James Cameron‘s Aliens), and...Read More »
This is going to sound a little strange, and it’s definitely way late. But something hit me this evening as I was looking at the front cover of the Rachel Getting Married Blu-ray, which comes out March 10th. It’s odd that I never noticed it before since the jacket photo art is the exact same photo art used for the theatrical one-sheet. Anyway…
Rachel, as we all know, is played by Rosemarie DeWitt, and the guy she’s getting married to in the film is a bit of a dullard named Sidney, played by Tunde Adebimpe. And Anne Hathaway‘s character, of course, is Kym, Rachel’s older sister who suffering from guilt trips and drug-abuse problems.
Anne/Kym has the...Read More »
HitFix’s Greg Ellwood ran an exclusive earlier today about Eddie Murphy being attached to play Richard Pryor in a biopic called Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? for director-writer Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Gods and Monsters) and Fox Searchlight.
Very cool, looking forward, etc. But my first reaction when I heard this was that it will be surprising if Murphy really plays Pryor — i.e., not just does his voice and comic manner and speech rhythms, but really gets into his life and under his skin. I just don’t believe that Murphy, renowned for rampant egoism and his “fuck you, I’m leaving” routine when he lost the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to Alan Arkin in early ’07, has the hunger and humility to seriously burrow into the soul of another...Read More »
A.O. Scott‘s 50th anniversary appreciation of’ William Wyler‘s Ben-Hur (which actually opened 49 years and nine months ago, in November 1959) is a bit too gracious. Being the kind of film they don’t make any more doesn’t make it particularly special. What makes it special is Miklos Rosza‘s music. Eliminate the chariot race and it’s mainly a film that accompanies the score rather than vice versa.
On top of which Scott doesn’t address the central Ben-Hur conceit, used to sell stage and screen adaptations of Lew Wallace‘s book since the mid 1800s, that it’s “a tale of the Christ.” It’s actually a good revenge story — ambitious Roman guy screws over princely Jewish guy whom he loved on some homoerotic level...Read More »
Almost 18 months after debuting at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, Roger Spottiswoode‘s Shake Hands With The Devil has been acquired from Halifax Films by Regent Releasing. It will open next summer. Spottiswoode’s drama covers the same ghastly events depicted in Hotel Rwanda — i.e., the Rwandan genocide of 1993. The main character is Canadian Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, played by Roy Dupuis here and by Nick Nolte in Hotel Rwanda.Read More »
The L.A. Times can consolidate and revamp and re-arrange the deck chairs all they want, and it won’t really change anything. The dead tree/Gutenberg empire is going down, down, down. The Rocky Mountain News will publish its last issue on Friday. The Tuscon Citizen will cease publishing on 3.21 after 138 years in business. One by one, newspapers are dropping like flies.
It is nothing short of a Biblical scourge. Frogs, locusts…the Nile turned red. It’s the green mist descending from the sky and gliding along the ground, bringing death to every publication that doesn’t have lamb’s blood (i.e., a primarily web-based focus with a lean staff and low overhead) smeared on its front door.Read More »
I forgot to ask if anyone has PDFs of these scripts also — untitled James L. Brooks, The Rum Diary and The Matarese Circle. I promise to return the favor. Update: I’ve so far received Up In The Air, The Human Factor (i.e.,Eastwood/Mandela), Imperial Life in the Green Zone, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Fair Game, Brothers, Amelia, a faded 2007 draft of Shutter Island, The Informant, The Lovely Bones and A Serious Man.Read More »
As that Pineapple Express Oscar short proved, James Franco‘s stoner character is one of the great comic incarnations of our time. He was so euphorically good as “Saul Silver” in Pineapple Express that it’s a little hard to come to terms with the idea of Franco performing in a dramatically straight, soulful and sincere vein.
Nonetheless, a straight, soulful and sincere Franco will be giving a Word Theatre performance this Sunday at Manhattan’s Soho House from 3 to 5 pm. I’ve attended several Word Theatre readings and remain a big fan. I love being part of that...Read More »
I’m looking to get hold of PDF scripts of all the prospective 2009 Best Picture contenders plus whatever shot scripts that I haven’t read or heard about that might be surprise contenders. If you don’t ask…
At a bare minimum I’d be most happy to receive Mandela/Playing The Enemy (d: Clint Eastwood), Biutiful (d: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu); Nine (d: Rob Marshall); Amelia (d: Mira Nair); Green Zone (d: Paul Greengrass); Taking Woodstock (d: Ang Lee); Shutter Island (d: Martin Scorsese); Cheri (d: Stephen Frears); The Informant (d: Steven Soderbergh); Away We Go (d: Sam Mendes); Up In The Air (d: Jason Reitman); The Lovely Bones (d: Peter...Read More »
A non-proofed review copy of Paul Newman: A Life, written by Shawn Levy, arrived today. I’ve been hearing about this sucker for a long time, and how some really good material about Newman’s early days has been dug up. I’m two pages …no, three pages in and so far it’s a very clean, smooth and easy read. It’ll be buyable in early May.
Newman never sat down with Levy, but he didn’t tell friends and colleagues not to cooperate either. It’s obviously a good time for an in-depth review of the life of Henry Gondorf, Ben Quick, Eddie Felson and Butch Cassidy. I presume everyone heard that applause during the Oscar telecast death tribute? Check out this high-school photo…amazing.Read More »