Sex and Trauma

A 1.28 Hollywood Reporter story about an HBO project called Emergency Sex caught my eye because it reminded me of (a) the 9.11 “terror fucking” syndrome that was observed in Manhattan, and (b) the heated romantic triangle in Iraq involving CBS News correspondent Lara Logan that was reported about during the summer of 2008.

Emergency Sex will star Maria Bello, is being written by Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy, and will be executive produced by Bello, Beaufoy and Russell Crowe.

Inspired by the book “

No Respect

Scott Feinberg‘s final Oscar nomination forecast include the following the Best Picture picks: The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, An Education, Up, Invictus, District 9, The Blind Side. He omits A Serious Man because, being a real-world handicapper, he obviously believes that most Academy voters will omit it also.

No rag on Scott but that’s just (a) sick, (b) derelict and (c) decrepit. To nominate Invictus, a decent but second-tier Clint Eastwood film primarily because it honors Nelson Mandela by way of a steady and soothing Morgan Freeman performance, and at the same time not nominate one of the finest-ever Coen brothers’ films — a pitch-black comedy with a riveting exactitude of tone, cultural satire and misanthropic worldview — is outrageous. Putrid. Shame on anyone who would think and nominate along these lines.

Gorts and Pixies

Why would a lanky Abe Lincoln-sized guy want a Tinkerbell-sized girlfriend, regardless of how hot she might seem? Why would any confident, self-respecting guy want to have sex with a woman small enough to be eight or nine years old? I can understand Hobbit-like women wanting a Richard Kiel-sized boyfriend for protection or whatever, but such couplings do seem a bit perverse from the guy’s perspective.

(l.) When in Rome‘s Josh Duhamel, Kristin Bell; (r.) Twilight‘s Rob Pattinson, Kristen Stewart,

I’m not saying that men in such relationships are necessarily having wicked fantasies, but it’s only natural to hook up with someone who’s in the same approximate realm (physically, emotionally, attractiveness-wise) so why do Gort-sized guys hook up with little...

Bigelow’s Path Is Cleared

On top of The Hurt Locker‘s win at last weekend’s Producer’s Guild awards, Kathryn Bigelow‘s triumph at last night’s DGA Awards means she’s truly fortified and Movie Godz-favored to take the Best Director Oscar. This also slightly strengthens The Hurt Locker‘s shot at taking the Best Picture Oscar, although I doubt this will happen.

Bigelow became the first woman to win the DGA’s highest honor in its 61 years of award-bestowing. (The org’s first feature-directing trophy went to Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1949 for his helming of A Letter to Three Wives.) In so doing Bigelow nudged aside Avatar‘s James Cameron ,...

Cyrus Again

I wrote from Sundance on 1.26 that “if you remove the first 20 or so minutes, Jay and Mark Duplass‘s Cyrus could be called a mature, somewhat comedic and satisfying handling of an unusual romantic triangle situation. It’s ‘funny’ here and there but mostly it’s just believable, buyable and emotionally even-steven. A truly welcome surprise.

“In the hands of Adam...

Sundance 2010 Awards

The Sundance Grand Jury Awards are generally thought to be meaningless — the political preferences of industry elites. The Sundance Audience Awards, however, are regarded as meaningful indicators of genuine audience favor. Which means that in the case of this year’s U.S. Dramatic Audience Award, the audience is composed of shallow, easily seduced dingbats. Giving it to Josh Radnor‘s happythankyoumoreplease, a thoroughly artificial, Woody Allen-with-a-lobotomy 20something sitcom, affords no other conclusion.

L.A. Times reporters Mark Olsen and Steven Zeitchik have written that upon accepting the award, Radnor, “better known as the star of TV’s How I Met Your Mother, thanked ‘the people at my...

Requested Re-Think

Two or three days after linking to Stu Van Airsdale‘s 1.18 Movieline critique of Carey Mulligan‘s Best Actress campaign, I got a “what the hell?” e-mail from a friend at Sony Classics. I tried to get into this during Sundance but the screenings and deadlines were overwhelming, as usual.

“We have several weeks of voting after the Oscar nominations are announced,” he said, “so the Best Actress game is not over. It’s not even half-time yet. We were one of the first to send An Education to the complete SAG membership. And consider Capote‘s or Rachel Getting Married‘s release...

“Great Brand, No Leadership”

An apparent Variety insider (or an ex-staffer) named “Jason” has written a tough-minded critique of the venerated trade publication for Paid “Change or die” is his basic message. Brutally honest stuff but hard to argue with in sections.

“The fact that Nikki Finke and Sharon Waxman compete at all — reasonably — is simply incredible considering The Wrap has six people in a small office in Santa Monica, Nikki has three people all working virtually from home…but Variety has 100 people. In a high-rise. With insurance. And 401K payments. And travel expenses for many...

Two Buys

The question about IFC Film’s acquisition of Michael Winterbottom‘s The Killer Inside Me is whether they’ll trim down the beating scenes or run them raw.

And I think we all realize that Roadside Attractions will have its work cut out in selling Debra Granik‘s Winter’s Bone to Joe Popcorn. It’s a highly respectable drama with a strong lead performance by Jennifer Lawrence (who’s way too attractive to be a believable Ozark girl), but if I know anything about what the dumb-asses like to see…

Judy Barton

One of the most deeply rooted images of my entire filmgoing life, and I’ve never seen a decent online frame-capture. (This is just a crummy snap off my plasma screen.) If I could find a exact rendering on canvas I’d hang it on my living-room wall.

Cyber Needle

Last night The Wrap‘s Eric Kohn spoke to the makers of CatfishHenry Joost and Ariel Schulman — and Ariel’s brother Nev Schulman, who basically “stars.” He ran into the trio at a Park City ice cream shop (presumably Java Cow), and in so doing asked about suspicions that their film may have been partially staged or fabricated. Their collective answer was “nope, not at all, no way” and “we can prove it.”

Catfish guys Nev Schulman, Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman; object of Nev’s interest...

All-Time Big Kahuna

Avatar will finish first this weekend with an estimated $30 million, which will be nearly double what Mel Gibson‘s second-place Edge of Darkness is expecting to earn (i.e., $16 million) by Sunday night. The reputedly atrocious When in Rome will finish third with a projected $12,300,000.

James Cameron‘s left-wing sci-fi allegory will have something like $594,472,000 in the bag by Sunday night. Domestically, I mean. It will overtake Titanic as the all-time highest domestic grosser sometime before next Friday. I failed to take note due to Sundance rigors that it edged past Titanic‘s worldwide total ($1,843,201,268) on Monday, 1.25.

Curtains Must Fall

“We’re all forgotten sooner or later,” Burt Lancaster allegedly once said. “But not films. That’s all the memorial we should need or hope for.”

It hit me as I read this that there’s never a formal announcement that a person of talent and accomplishment has been forgotten or written off. The fact of an actor being “over” tends to slowly leak or drip into collective consciousness. It’s a very gradual, almost imperceptible process, but it tends to kick in because they haven’t made a film of any perceived value in so long that people have mentally crossed them off the list.

People sense this or privately acknowledge it, but no one ever says it. It’s the same thing as when an actor has a terminal illness — it’s considered ungracious to mention in mixed company. And yet there’s always that moment when suddenly...

Hackman Lives

Happy birthday to the great Gene Hackman, who turned 80 today. When I think of my favorite Hackman moment I always default to that heated argument scene with Denzel Washington in Crimson Tide. He’s been retired for five years — hasn’t done anything since ’04’s Welcome to Mooseport. Why would anyone as good as Hackman not want to work? Or at least be open to the right role if it comes along?

North Pole

Arrived at LaGuardia this evening around 9:30 pm, took the M60 to 125th and Lexington, and then the 4 train down to Union Square, the L train into Brooklyn, etc. It’s Chicago cold out there. The temperature is in the mid teens, but it feels like zero. There’s something about travel that just drains your writing energy.