In Matt Reeves‘ Let Me In, 13 year-old
Chloe Moretz gives a deeply affecting
award-calibre performance as an emotionally conflicted 300 year-old
vampire named Abby, and she does it almost entirely with
her eyes. She’s Jodie Foster in 1975 only
more so, and has really earned consideration as a Best Actress
nominee. Catching this emotional puppy-love vampire pic for the
second time convinced me. As did Moretz’s appearance this evening
at the School of Visual Arts Theatre — she’s got poise, smarts, the
“If the over-60 Academy members fail to note that The Social
Network is a brilliant, whippersnapper Citizen
Kane-level movie about the Realm of the Now (and the Very
Recent) that addresses CLASSIC THEMES, what am I supposed to do
about it? Send them a complimentary month’s supply of Depends?
“I’ll tell you what SHOULD be done about it. All past-it,
over-the-hill geezers should be COMPASSIONATELY EXPELLED FROM THE
ACADEMY. This is not a put-down or a putsch or a purge. It’s just
that when a genuinely good movie comes along and people are too
thick to at least show respect and acknowledge that it’s doing
several things right, then there’s only one thing to do and that’s
to cut them off. Because all they’re doing is STANDING IN THE
“What did George S. Patton (George C. Scott) do
when he found a mule obstructing his troops in Italy? He shot the
mule and had him thrown over...
Having seen Secretariat, I really don’t get where the
faith-based Christian marketing angle fits in. The film is
aimed at family audiences– it has a square and conservative vibe —
and director Randall Wallace is something of a
rightie, I’m told, but there’s nothing in the story/screenplay that
proclaims Christian or conservative values per se. I saw that vein
in The Blind Side but it’s simply not in
Thematically it’s a quasi-feminist thing, being about
Diane Lane‘s Penny Chenery defying her husband
(who wants her to stay at home and raise the kids and cook) and
brother (who wants her to sell the horse farm) in order to nurture
and bring along her horse, Secretariat, to a Triple Crown victory.
The tone is little like The Adventures of...
Two seconds after glancing at this ad for The Freebie (Phase 4, 9.17) my eyes went right for those red sores or chicken-pox spots on Dax Shepard‘s upper right arm, right above the tattoo. “What’re those…self-applied needle marks?” I asked myself. “Or pimples? Who has pimples on their upper arm? The movie’s about a couple who decide to give each other permission to play around for a single night, so why introduce an element of bacteriological infection on the husband’s arm? How could this possibly boost the want-to-see?”
In Contention‘s Kristopher Tapley has
seenTony Goldwyn‘s Conviction
(Fox Seatchlight, 10.15), and
said yesterday that he “liked it.” Okay. I saw it myself the
night before last, but I have to say it didn’t exactly wind me up.
It’s one of those films that you just want to pat on the head and
smile at and offer best wishes to and leave well enough alone.
Conviction is a stacked deck of uplift cards that’s
based on a true-lfe story and made in the vein or spirit of
Steven Soderbergh‘s Erin Brockovich, but
it just isn’t that snappy or well-written or forcefully acted or
all that well constructed...
Okay, so Melville Shavelson was no Sam Fuller or Budd Boetticher or Nicholas Ray. But the sight of a spry and relatively trim James Cagney prancing and tapping around on a big banquet table, and with very few edits to interrupt the action, feels cool right now. (Even with the deeply irritating Pentagon clown Bob Hope huffing and puffing alongside.) Call it a Thursday afternoon mood-pocket thing.
Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, Get Low star Robert Duvall, Focus Features chief James Schamus and Conviction star Hilary Swank will be specially tributed at the Gotham Independent Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on 11.29. Which sorta kinda sounds like they’ve already decided to give Black Swan the top Gotham award for best feature…no? Maybe not. And maybe Duvall hasn’t been selected to win the best actor prize.
Limo guy Steve Coppick drove Tony
Curtis around once, and says he “was one of the warmest
and nicest celebs I’ve come across over the years. At first I
didn’t think it was going to be, as that day the company I was with
was stretched thin for sedans so they had decided to upgrade Curtis
to a stretch. He walked out a little past the pick-up time, and I
knew from the body language he wasn’t in a good mood. I had the
back door open, but he just glanced inside.
“‘I ain’t gettin’ in there…I’m not dead yet!’ he said, very
“I explained that he was being treated and why. Instantly he
softened and asked, ‘Can I ride up front with you?’
“So after clearing out my bag and other things, off we went with
Curtis playing with the radio until he found a hip-hop (!) station
and then settled in for the ride to visit a private gallery up
A statement from Falco Ink’s Janice Roland and Shannon Treusch about the passing of their patron saint: “Tony Curtis was a true talent. We are sorry to hear of his passing. When we started Falco Ink 13 years ago we tipped our hat to Curtis’s role as press agent Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success. When Curtis heard of this company through Jeffrey Wells, he contacted us and we began a friendship that continued through the years. We felt honored to know Tony, a true inspiration to us all.”
Rod Lurie‘s Straw Dogs — a movie that
Screen Gems likes so much that it won’t release it until
September 2011 — has gotten a boost from an Ain’t It
Cool contributor called “Le Stephanois,” who caught Lurie’s
melodrama at a recent Syracuse University screening. I’m impressed
by this because (a) Mr. Rififi writes well and (b)
claims to prefer Lurie’s remake to Sam
Peckinpah‘s 1971 original.
Straw Dogs local bad guys (l. to r.) Billy Lush, Drew
Powell, Rhys Coiro and Alexander Skarsgard
“It’s hard for me to recall a remake that has drawn as much ire
as [Lurie's] Straw Dogs, which seemingly everyone (at
least everyone on the...
I was searching this morning for my March 2000 Tony Curtis interview, which was written during my Reel.com period (’99 to ’02). Not only has the Curtis piece disappeared, but the whole Reel.com archive (when the column was called Hollywood Confidential) has vanished along with it. A Site Called Fred had archived my 300-or-so columns, but now they’ve apparently dumped them. Three years of work down the toilet…great.
The legendary Tony Curtis — the nervy, blunt-spoken Bronx street guy who had a great movie-star run from 1952 to 1968 or thereabouts — died of a heart attack last night about 9:25 Pacific, or just after midnight here. He was 85, and had lived a hell of a life — about 16 years at the top, and then a long active sunset that lasted 42 years. He was a decent painter, a raconteur, a legendary poon hound in his day (“I fucked Yvonne DeCarlo!) and an excellent guy to hang and shoot the shit with.
“In two weeks I’m starting Whit Stillman‘s new film, called Damsels in Distress,” Greta Gerwig has toldWWD. “I play a girl named Violet who runs a suicide-prevention center at a liberal arts college. She prevents suicides through the powers of 1930s song-and-dance numbers. So it’s a very dark comedy. I’m not really worried about my indie cred. I don’t think there’s any danger of me going, ‘I only do franchises now.’”
I ran my first “return of Whit Stillman” piece on 12.13 09, basing it on a screening of Metropolitan at 92YTribeca.
Fandango is reporting that as of 11 am today, The Social
Network ticket sales accounted for only 32%
of the total. This doesn’t indicate an opening in the mid
to high 20s, which is what I’ve been hearing over the last
three or four days, but closer to the low 20s.
“If it was selling 50% to 60% of the total
right now, we’d be looking at the mid to high 20s,” an analyst just
told me. “But a lot of openings have been mild recently. Wall
Street 2 only did $19 million or thereabouts, so I wouldn’t
forecast too high a figure for Social Network — I’d pull
back a bit.”
I know, I know — how can a movie with this much media hype and a
Rotten Tomatoes rating be looking at a weekend tally of this
size? Answer: the lowbrow sector...
The Social Network “is simply Hollywood’s way,
post-Obama, of sanctioning Harvard’s ‘masters of the
universe’ mystique,” he writes.
“It’s an attempt at glorifying a contemporary
aristocracy-cumplutocracy through flattery of Zuckerberg and his
ilk. Like one of those fake-smart, middlebrow TV shows, the
speciousness of The Social Network is disguised by
topicality. It’s really a movie excusing Hollywood
“Here’s the truth: Citizen Kane was not about a brat’s
betrayal, but about...
I need help in trying to identify the submitted Best Foreign
Language hopefuls that have a decent chance of being included on
the short list. I know Alejandro Gonzalez
Inarritu‘s Biutiful has to be on it…c’mon. And
that star Javier Bardem (winner of Best Actor
prize in Cannes) should be included among the Best Actor hopefuls,
and that it ought to qualify for Best Screenplay, Cinematography
(Rodrigo Prieto), Musical Score (Gustvao
Santaolalla) and Editing (Stephen
After that I’m more or less lost. Adrift. Looking for guidance.
Because I really don’t know very much.
Possible frontrunners: Rachid
Bouchareb‘s Outside The Law (Algeria),
Danis Tanovic‘s Cirkus Columbia (Bosnia
and Herzegovina), Susanne Bier‘s In A Better
By the time I interviewed Arthur Penn in 1981,
during a press junket for Four Friends, he was over. Let’s
face it — he had about a 15 year period (’61 to ’76) when he was
really crackling. He had a great start doing live TV in the ’50s,
and kept his hand in as far as it went after The Missouri
Breaks, his last half-decent film. And now he’s
My favorite Penn film after the classic Bonnie
Scott Brown‘s Wired piece about The Social Network backstory is catchy and well-written, etc., but the real grabber is the art — i.e., the illustrations by Martin Ansin. (Thanks to Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone for the tip.)
I was chuckling yesterday about that “Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook” comic book, but if the illustrations in this Bluewater Productions comic are as good as Ansin’s, (and if the writing was as punchy as it should be), I think I’d buy it.
The idea is for HE readers to come up with overly emphatic 1950s-era tag lines — shock! shame! defiance! never before in Hollywood history! — for present-tense films like Let Me In, The Social Network, Wall Street 2, The Town, Easy A, Case 39, Due Date, Nowhere Boy, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, etc. If you don’t know the shot with these films then please don’t submit. (Original idea inspired by this Film Experience riff about tag lines for 1950s Susan Hayward films.)
Two days ago L.A. Times guy Steven Zeitchikreported that Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky has “had discussions” with Superman-reboot producer Chris Nolan, This is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea. If this story (if true) doesn’t represent a diseased equation — i.e., acclaim and success from the making of a brilliant psychological thriller puts you on the short list to direct a bloated franchise flick about a superhero character whose time has totally passed and who means nothing to everyone — I don’t know what does.
“It’s over. The franchise is dead. The press killed it. Your magazine fucking killed it. New York magazine. It’s like all the critics got together and said, ‘This franchise must die.’ Because they all had the exact same review. It’s like they didn’t see the movie.” — Sex and the City costar Chris Nothspeaking several days ago to Vulture‘s “Party Line” reporter.
Well…mission accomplished! All concerned should take a bow. Sometimes life does offer a happy ending. But the critics “didn’t see” Sex and the City 2? Sure thing, Chris.
Warner Home Video’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Bluray is the most
exquisitely finessed, luscious-looking black-and-white film I’ve
seen in high-def since WHV’s Casablanca. The needle-sharp detail and deep velvety
blacks are magnificent. There are some dupey portions but nothing
to worry about — most of it is pure pleasure. It’s so crisp and
alive-looking, so perfectly honed and lighted that you can enjoy it
entirely for the visual benefits alone. Which you wouldn’t want to
do, of course, but I’m just sayin’.
A Toronto Film Festival interview with Let Me In director Matt Reeves that I thought I’d accidentally dumped was found today, so here it is. Middling iPhone-level video, tolerable sound, so-so chatter. But at least it wasn’t lost.
The only Star Wars film I’d like to see converted into fake 3D is The Empire Strikes Back. The best of the bunch, certainly the most handsomely photographed, etc. You can have the rest of them. And how good is the fake 3D going to be anyway? We’ve seen what it is, and that it doesn’t quite make it.
No, I’m not excerpting another Social Network rave. I’m quoting a piece of a review by Time‘s Richard Corliss because the description he offers of genius innovators like Mark Zuckerberg is sly and zingy and exactly right. The film is saying that “geniuses are abnormal,” Corliss states. “The obsessive focus that these blessed, cursed minds bring to their goals often excludes social peripheral vision. They don’t notice, or care about, the little people in their way. Zuckerberg, incarnated by Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale, Zombieland) with a single-mindedness so cool as to be lunar, isn’t inhuman, exactly; more post-human, a series of calculating algorithms. He is his own computer code — complex, and to most of those who know him, unfathomable.”
But there’s no stopping unforeseen bad stuff in this life. I wish it were otherwise. A friend once said that the odds of leaving the planet in a quiet and peaceful way are not high. It’s a much greater likelihood that death will come either suddenly and horrifically, or at the end of a long, agonizing, painful decline from disease or age deterioration.
In the third act of A Clockwork Orange, Patrick Magee‘s agitated liberal-activist character — white-haired, ruddy-faced, excitable — is phone-chatting with a superior about the necessity of leadership. “The common people will let it go,” he says. “Oh yes, they’ll sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be led, sir…driven, pushed!”
I am Patrick Magee, and this is more or less my view of the older, reputedly lazy Academy fuddy-duds. “The older Academy members will too often bypass true quality and reward films that offer the usual familiar comforts. Oh, they’ll give it all away for a calmer, warmer, more reassuring experience. That is why they must be led, sir…driven, pushed!”
Bluewater Productions has announced
a forthcoming “Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of
Facebook” comic book Written by Jerome Maida,
penciled by Sal Field and cover designed by
Michal Szyksznian, the 48-pager will be out in
“Who is the real Mark Zuckerberg?,” the press release asks. “The
young billionaire and creator and CEO of Facebook who announced
recently that he is generously donating $100 million to public
schools in Newark? Or the cold-blooded businessman who walks over
people to get what he wants — the way he’s portrayed in The
The road to success, Maida says, was not preordained nor was it
always a smooth ride.