Swan In My Soul

I heard Black Swan at tonight’s Zeigeld premiere screening like never before. The big-screen speakers blasted and trumpeted Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, lifting me up and over and out…fuhgedaboutit. It was my third viewing of Black Swan, and I was blown away yet again…over the falls. This film is a masterwork, a symphony, and 97% of the ticket-buying audience will never appreciate how great it can sound and feel because they’ll be seeing it at some shitty-ass megaplex with the sound turned down so the theatre owner can save on maintenance.

Black Swan star and dead-certain Best Actress nominee Natalie Portman, director Darren Aronofsky at post-premiere after-party at Manhattan’s St. Regis Hotel — Tuesday, 11.30, 10:40 pm.

Yogi Who?

Scott Feinberg has just posted a 45-minute interview “with one of the more colorful characters in this year’s awards race, Social Network costar and Best Supporting Actor contender Justin Timberlake. It’s one of his first, if not his first, long-form interview this awards season, and I learned a lot from it about Justin and his performance.”


They do a piece about falling down and they don’t include Vivien Leigh‘s radish scene in Gone With The Wind? The look on that boxer’s face when he gets up doesn’t exactly say “I’m ready to fight again!” It says, “Whoa, I gotta fight that guy again?…shit.” I’m glad for General Motors employees who still have jobs and are feeding their families, but I see that GM logo and something goes cold inside. Top-dog GM executives can rot in hell, no offense.


It’s been one of those frenetic mornings. A lot of calling about something I’ve decided not to run for the time being. Tapping out some rough reactions to True Grit. Some back and forth about the Sundance ’11 condo. And preparing for the two big events of the day — a Kids Are All Right schmooze thing in Chelsea, and then the big Black Swan premiere and after-party tonight. The long and the short is that I have to do a time-out for two or three hours.

“No One Stays The Night”

Michael Mann has so far made one serious failure, and that was (and is) The Keep. I saw it once 27 years ago, and that was sufficient. And yet some, I realize, feel it’s a little better than that. Not that anyone’s had much of a chance to give it another viewing. The Keep isn’t available on DVD or Bluray, but it’s now available through Netflix Streaming.

Gotham Mindset

Congrats to Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik and distributor Roadside Attractions for nabbing two Gotham Awards last night. The grimly realistic Ozarkian drama that launched Jennifer Lawrence took the Best Feature and Best Ensemble Performance trophies. And cheers to the three big honorary award recipients — Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky (looking very dapper with his Preston Sturges moustache), Get Low star Robert Duvall and Conviction star Hilary Swank.

Taken from balcony behind the stage as honorary award-winner Robert Duvall was delivering remarks. Notice Black Swan star Natalie Portman (excellent evening dress!) and her director Darren Aronofsky sitting ringside. I...


Irvin Kershner “seemed amused when I told him that, when I first saw Loving back when I was in college, I really didn’t care much for it because I couldn’t relate to its melancholy story about a guy who was beginning to worry that he’d taken a wrong turn somewhere in his career – and, worse, in his life – and worried whether it was already too late to turn back,” Moving Picture Blog‘s Joe Leydon wrote yesterday.

A Serious Man

Am I allowed to say…? Naah, forget it. I was going to say while I found Leslie Neilsen‘s original Airplane performance amusing, I never laughed. At most I chuckled. Chortled? Neilsen obviously hasd that deadpan-manner thing down pat. Tens of millions (including Keith Olbermann) loved him for that. It made him into a comic legend in the realm of…well, his own. But let’s not go overboard.

Swanky Fighter Lunch

A Peggy Siegal luncheon was held today at the Four Seasons for The Fighter, and particularly for director David O. Russell, star-producer Mark Wahlberg and costar Melissa Leo. After the food and schmooze Russell and I spoke for a half-hour — here‘s the mp3. Russell is my kind of whip-smart guy — highly perceptive, well-read, an adult, a father, and whimsical but in no way combustible or hair-trigger. His shorter hair, I think, signifies a new resolve never to be on YouTube ever again.


If it turns out to be true, James Franco‘s Oscar co-hosting gig will probably kill his shot at being a Best Actor nominee for his performance in 127 Hours. Just as Tom Hanks once said “there’s no crying in baseball!,” you can also say “the Oscar telecast host can’t win the Best Actor Oscar! You can’t straddle lanes like that…no! If he’s the co-host, fine. And he’s a Best Actor nominee, fine. But you can’t do both.”


Nikki Finke is reporting that she “just learned that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has asked James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host the Academy Awards, and it ‘looks like’ both young stars have accepted the offer.

“There is always the chance that one or both of them might back out because of prior commitments and other concerns,” Finke adds, “But my sources say the host announcement could be made as soon as this week.”

Excuse me and due respect, but this is close to ridiculous. These guys would be great for hosting the MTV Awards, maybe, but they’re not skilled or funny or pizazzy enough to handle the Oscars. What are the...

Grit Reactions

TheWrap‘s Steve Pond has passed along positive tweet impressions of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s True Grit, which screened to a select few last week in Los Angeles and also Saturday night here in New York.

I was told two things yesterday about True Grit. One, that it’s a surprisingly emotional film (i.e., surprisingly for the Coen brothers, that is). And two, that while Jeff Bridges‘s Rooster Cogburn performance is crackling and robust, Matt Damon “almost steals the show”in the Glenn Campbell role, and that he’s suddenly looking like a possible Best Supporting Actor nominee.


The great Irvin Kershner, director of The Empire Strikes Back but more importantly of Loving, the 1970 George Segal-Eva Marie Saint Westport ennui dramedy, had died at age 87.

Kersh was a feisty guy, fun to talk to, full of piss and vinegar, no day at the beach. I loved his brief little performance in The Last Temptation of Christ...

More Fighter!

The Fighter had another triumphant Manhattan showing last night, and at a good theatre for a change — i.e., Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade as opposed to the always-crappy-sounding Lincoln Square. After the lights came up star-producer Mark Wahlberg, director David O. Russell and Best Supporting Actress contender Melissa Leo sat for a q & a. Strong applause greeted the closing credits. New Yorker critic David Denby was there. Smart crowd, pretty middle-aged women, etc. It was the place to be.

Deadpan Drebin

The Pursuitist is reporting that Naked Gun guy Leslie Nielsen, 84, has died in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The website was reportedly notified of Nielsen’s passing by his nephew, Doug Nielsen of Richmond, Virginia. Nielsen passed due to “complications from pneumonia.” Nielsen’s comic signature was a classic deadpan response to whatever foolery was put before him.

Neilsen’s comic breakthrough was in...

Easy Street

Richard Levine‘s Every Day (Image, January 2011) flew under my radar when it played at last spring’s Tribeca Film Festival. I heard nothing. IFC.com’s Stephen Saito marginally approved with reservations. I’m only paying attention now because the trailer has popped up. I’m telling myself that any adult-flavored drama that isn’t based on a comic book has to be, on some level, a good thing. But I’m not sensing anything new here.

Tennis Ball

It supposedly dates you if you admit to playing stickball as a kid. I don’t know why. It just means that when you were nine or ten or eleven you pitched some kind of rubber ball at a batter who stood in front of a concrete wall that had a batter’s box drawn in chalk, and sometimes with another guy (i.e., the pitcher’s teammate) fielding occasional flyballs and grounders. I’m bringing this up because I’m wondering if anyone else ever had a dispute over what my friends and I used to call the “splatter effect.”

When the batter didn’t swing there were always disputes about whether the pitcher had thrown a strike. I hit upon an idea one day that involved dipping the worn-down, next-to-no-fuzz tennis ball that we used into a nearby puddle, or just pouring water over it. The ball would then make a mark when it hit the wall, making it indisputable whether or not a strike had been thrown.

Nonetheless, disputes...