Torn Condom

“WikiLeaks is America’s Tienanmen. Julian Assange is the tank guy. We’re all holding our breath to see if we go all the way.

“While the people on the ‘don’t’ side try to discredit the man, and what he’s done, the story is still getting out. There are new revelations every day. As Arianna Huffington has said, all it takes is one story to electrify everything. I think in our gut we know [that] if the process is allowed to go forward, we can never go back.

“Assange says let’s know all there is to know. Let’s tell the people who take us to war and destroy countries and kill hundreds of thousands for profit — no more secrets. We’re not just going to suspect you’re doing it, we’re going to know. And maybe, if they know we’ll know, they won’t do it.” —...

Forgot To Remember To Forget

It’ll be midnight in Paris in about two hours, so I guess it’s time to post my usual “the hell with New Year’s Eve” sentiments. 2010 was a very good year movie-wise, and a fairly terrible one politically. But I have few complaints, and I hope that others are feeling as good these days, or are feeling at peace. This is the best era of my life. It’s a good time to be happy. Raise a glass, hug someone, smile, etc.

That said, there’s nothing fills me with such spiritual satisfaction as my annual naysaying of...

Coppola Succumbing to Kubrickism?

Stanley Kubrick was one of the reigning cinematic geniuses of the 20th century, but the defining behavioral trait of the last 30 years of his life was an increasing tendency to lead a hermetic, hidden-away life. I’ve long felt that this isolation made his films seem more and more porcelain and pristine, and less flesh-and-blood. I mentioned this once to Jan Harlan, Kubrick’s brother in law, and he didn’t disagree. “That was the man,” he said. I feel that Kubrick became a kind of cautionary tale.

I wouldn’t imply that Sofia Coppola has become an artistic equal of Kubrick’s, but she does know, as Kubrick did, about fashioning cinematic realms with great care and exactitude, and so it’s fair, I think, to ask if she’s going down the Kubrick path in other ways. Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson

Doing Well Enough?

A few days ago someone inserted an idea that The Fighter‘s Best Picture headwind has somehow diminished because it hasn’t done True Grit-level business. Okay, it hasn’t astonished. But since opening wide on 12.17 on roughly 2500 theatres, David O. Russell‘s film had made about $34 million as of 12.29, and boxoffice.com‘s Phil Contrino is projecting $44 million by Sunday evening.

“So I’d say it’s performing on track,” Contrino said this morning. “If anything, it might be getting hurt by how well True Grit is doing.”

Do you think it’s doing well in terms of per-screen...

Oompah

I would have edited out the portion in which I get on the L train, but it should be noted that the elderly bum lying sideways on the seat like a dead seal (i.e., briefly glimpsed) smelled of rank intestinal substances, which is why no one was sitting near him. Thank God the aroma was diluted somewhat by other bodies and scents, but this, ladies and gentleman, is the New York subway system at times. The smellies do what they want.

Actual Winklevii

Tyler and Cameron, the Harvard Connection guys, have spoken to the N.Y. Times. Same old tune, we want more money than what we got…waahhh. “It shouldn’t be that Mark Zuckerberg gets away with behaving that way,” “They didn’t fight fair,” “Mark stole the idea,” “What we agreed to is not what we got,” etc.


Tyler Winklevoss (l.), Cameron Winklevoss (r.).

Snapping Point

A.O. Scott‘s 1.2.11 N.Y. Times piece on Black Swan, “a leading candidate for the most misunderstood film of 2010,” and especially Natalie Portman‘s lead performance makes for very stirring reading. He seems to really get into the scheme of it, the duality and the conflict in Darren Aronfosky‘s melodrama of meltdown.

Add this to...

Cheaters

I’ve been wrestling with Ron Howard‘s The Dilemma for 10 months, or since I first read an October 2009 draft of Allen Loeb‘s script, which was initially called Your Cheating Heart, a.k.a. Untitled Cheating Project. I didn’t agree with the basic set-up, which is that a semi-mature male in his 40s would be on the fence about whether to tell his best friend that his wife may be playing around. Friends always wise each other up. Anyone who would dither and/or procrastinate about levelling with a pal is no pal — it’s that simple.

The Dilemma shot last summer in Chicago and is now about to open on 1.14.14, or two weeks hence...

Grit To Win?

David Poland isn’t saying True Grit is beginning to pose a strong threat to The Social Network‘s presumed dominance as a Best Picture favorite. He isn’t saying it’s elbowed aside The King’s Speech and/or The Fighter to become TSN‘s main challenger. He isn’t saying it’s now poised to overtake TSN. He’s saying True Grit “has muscled its way into the frontrunner slot to win Best Picture.”

Because, you know, he’s been talking about Grit‘s Best Picture inevitability for a while now but primarily because the gnarly Coen brothers western is expected to make $90 million...

Swarthy Scenery Swallowers

Some kind of ridiculous fever got into the systems of certain fair-skinned actors of yore when they applied face-paint and pretended to be ferocious African or Middle-Eastern or Indian warlord types. I’m thinking of Laurence Olivier as the Madhi in Khartoum, Herbert Lom as General Ben Yusuf in El Cid, and Eduardo Cianelli‘s Thuggee “guru” in Gunga Din.

Their performances were campy and racist in a kind of minstrel-show way, but they were so...

Last Tribute

I never said a word about Lance Daly‘s Kisses after my one and only posting on 7.7.10, and I’m feeling a little bit bad about this. I gave it a hug review and then stayed away. That’s because (a) it has a couple of issues and (b) it had been shot four years previously and felt a bit dated. But it’s still one of the most affecting little films I saw all year, and I need to give it a final air-kiss before pushing on.

Stand-Up Guy

Where would The King’s Speech be in the Best Picture race, impressionistically-speaking, without Entertainment Weekly‘s Dave Karger? The entire King’s Speech bandwagon, face it, is more or less depending on Karger’s allegiance. Okay, he’s not the only fellow with his finger in the dyke, but in the wake of Karger’s recent toe-to-toe with Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone it sure seems that way. Karger holds firm, mans up, refuses to turn tail, etc.

Ease Up

It’s no secret that Oscar handicappers have been downgrading the chances of Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours to earn a Best Picture nomination, largely due to some Academy members refusing to watch the screener due to arm-carving concerns. I believe that if Fox Searchlight had distributed these James Franco holiday gingerbread cookies to press and Academy members, it might have lessened anxiety levels. Seriously. (Thanks to Bill McCuddy for the photo.)

Hide The Ball, etc.

Alonso Duralde‘s 12.28 Movieline piece says that Anton Corbijn‘s The American was “mismarketed.” That implies error when this was a simple case of Focus Features misrepresenting The American to earn decent coin before the word got out that it’s an austere art-house film with almost no action. They lied and made $16,662,333 the first five days. If they’d told the truth they would have made a lot less. Simple.