I’m not saying that Renny Harlin‘s 5 Days of War (which recently opened in London and non-American Georgia as 5 Days of August) is strongly or somewhat reminiscent of Elie Chouraqu‘s Harrison’s Flowers (2000) or Steven Silver‘s The Bang-Bang Club, but similarities do seem pronounced.Read More »
This is going to sound funny, but there are actresses and other very attractive women who easily or naturally associate with the beach-blanket bikini bingo world, and there are those who personality-wise or spiritually-speaking don’t quite seem to belong in that realm. Emma Stone, no offense, belongs in the latter category. She’s all about spirit, eyes, pizazz, snap. And she’s not a blonde. And The Help looks like trouble.
If anyone has a copy of Diablo Cody‘s Lamb of God, a script about a young conservative woman who visits Las Vegas, please pass along. It was reported yesterday that Cody will direct the film (possibly later this year) with Mason Novick producing.
9:51 pm Update: I was sent a copy a couple of hours ago and have skimmed through it. That Michael Fleming logline about the main character, who’s literally named Lamb, being a Christian who turns to stripping is incorrect. It is, however, a moral tale about a Christian girl among the hapless heathens. The Vegas strip but no stripping, Cheetah Club, cash gifts, a dead fiance, a skin graft, Vicodins, etc. A well-written, sometimes sassy but more often plain-spoken drama about sins, values, generosity, growth.Read More »
In a piece called “The Movie Star,” Grantland‘s Bill Simmons, the sports guy who writes brilliantly about movies every time he steps up to the Hollywood plate, says there are 24 male movie stars right now. The article is basically a two-parter that compares the careers of Ryan Reynolds vs. Will Smith, and how the latter is perhaps the only real movie star around and why Reynolds, for all his likability, good looks and talent, may never get there.
The Big 24, he says, are “Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey, Christian Bale, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washginton, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Russell Crowe, Jeff Bridges, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Will...Read More »
In the view of New York Press critic Armond White, Larry Crowne “is the humanist opposite to Hollywood’s self-congratulatory snark. It’s irresistibly friendly, shot in vivid tones by Philippe Rousselot and, most importantly, is non-toxic” — which characterized, White feels, Charlie Wilson’s War, the last costarring vehicle for Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. And then comes a classic Armond White line if I’ve ever heard one: “Larry Crowne‘s lack of cynicism requires an audience that doesn’t hate itself.” Well, that lets me out!Read More »
In the view of critic Jim Emerson, Jerzy Skolimowski‘s Four Nights With Anna — theatrically unreleased and unavailable as a subtitled DVD, but playing this weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image — is “a small-scale masterpiece about voyeurism” and also “a movie about movie-watching and movie-making.
“Leon (Artur Steranko), the conscience and consciousness of the film, is as smitten with the object of his desire (Kinga...Read More »
To call someone a “dick” is a colloquial shortform way of saying they’ve acted in a snide or petty or selfish or brusque manner. MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin is a rightie, of course, and since the topic at hand was (apparently) the debt-ceiling negotiations, what he was saying was that his Republican pallies have told him that President Obama was playing a kind of snippy hardball with them.
To which I say, “Then he’s doing something right!”
You can’t be mean and tough and “Chicago gangsta” enough when it comes to the radical corporate-fellating right. Any pain and stress and...Read More »
Box Office Mojo‘s Brandon Gray is reporting that the $37.3 million earned yesterday by Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a technical shortfaller. Although it earned 2011′s biggest opening-day income, T3 nonetheless “pales compared to the opening day income of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and likely yielded fewer viewers than the first Transformers.”
There are three reasons for this. One, a large percentage of moviegoers are always slow on the pickup as far as advance internet buzz is concerned, and so they haven’t heard that the film has to be seen for the 45-minute attack-on-Chicago finale. Two, the crappy quality of Revenge of the Fallen has diminished general interest in the franchise. And three, people are feeling a little burned out right now about 3D franchise movies and so a certain percentage didn’t go yesterday because they’re taking a wait-and-see attitude.Read More »
Columbia Journalism Review reporter Joel Meares has written a reasonable, fair-minded, occasionally amusing profile of Hollywood Elsewhere (and myself, of course). I don’t know what else to say except I’m glad that it’s balanced and kind and accurate and respectful. And not caustic or snippy. Thanks much to Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone for saying all those nice, perceptive things.
I asked Meares to make two minor changes and he refused. I asked him to list a couple of other big names who read HE and he said “naahh.” Then I said it sounds more natural and conversational when you say “over and over again” instead of “over again,” which is how he quotes me in...Read More »
How do you make a movie about Rod Serling, the creator of the Twilight Zone series? That’s the intention of Bureau of Moving Pictures’ Andrew Meieran and screenwriter Stanley Weiser (W, Wall Street), according to Deadline’s Mike Fleming. But you can’t just make one of those “this happens and then that happens” biopics. You need a thematic through-line and a compelling psychological undercurrent.
I thought about the project this morning and wrote Weiser (whom I’ve gotten to know a little bit over the years) the following:
“It strikes me that the only way to write a movie...Read More »
From the director of Let The Right One In, an adaptation of John LeCarre‘s slow-burn adult suspense tale (this time set in the ’70s) about uncovering the identity of a Russian mole within the British Secret Service. Pure candy and ice cream for someone like myself, but for the under-30 Eloi crowd….? And for Joe Popcorn living in Dubuque and Trenton and Tucumcari?
Shot by the great Hoyte van Hotema (The Fighter) and costarring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and Ciaran Hinds. And “opening” only two and half months from now at Telluride/Toronto/Venice (although the U.S. debut via Focus Features isn’t until...Read More »
Tonight I finally watched the pilot for Tilda, the might-have-been cable series about a Nikki Finke-like online columnist (very nicely played by Diane Keaton) that HBO declined to pick up last February. Too bad because Hollywood Elsewhere has a brief insert-shot appearance near the beginning when Ellen Page, playing a studio employee who feeds dirt to Keaton, glances at a list of Hollywood websites before settling on Tilda’s The Daily Circus.
You know what’s funny? The “H” logo that sits to the left of Hollywood Elsewhere’s URL in actuality is sitting to the left of the URL for New York‘s “Vulture.”Read More »
‘Friends With Benefits meets No Strings Attached. Received today from Ben Churchill, the Blind Film CriticRead More »
Terrence Malick‘s 10.1.96 draft of The Thin Red Line was tight and true and straight to the point, and it had no alligators sinking into swamps or shots of tree branches or pretty leaves or that South Sea native AWOL section or any of that languid and meditative “why is there such strife in our hearts?” stuff. During the junket round-tables I got Jim Caviezel, George Clooney, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Mike Medavoy and Ben Chaplin to autograph my copy.
“Larry Crowne makes no bones about its attempt to tell an upbeat story,” writes Marshall Fine. “Undoubtedly, at a time when unemployment is soaring and lives are collapsing as a result, some may fault it for taking a sour subject – losing a job in a down economy – and turning it into a feel-good story. But Hanks’ script – cowritten with Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame – is about a guy with a positive attitude, with the will and resources to move forward.
“No doubt Larry Crowne will be criticized for all of the things it doesn’t do. It doesn’t address the economic tragedy that Larry’s situation means for so many people. It doesn’t build to a life-and-death climax. It is, instead, a stealth comedy, low-key but consistently satisfying, a movie that focuses on the power of positivity without getting melodramatic about it.”Read More »
“Chicago is the great American city. New York is one of the capitals of the world and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic, San Francisco is a lady, Boston has become Urban Renewal, Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington wink like dull diamonds in the smog of Eastern Megalopolis, and New Orleans is unremarkable past the French Quarter. Detroit is a one-trade town, Pittsburgh has lost its golden triangle, St. Louis has become the golden arch of the corporation, and nights in Kansas City close early. The oil depletion allowance makes Houston and Dallas naught but checkerboards for this sort of game. But Chicago is a great American city. Perhaps it is the last of the great American cities.” — from “Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968” by Norman...Read More »
No question about it: the 45-minute Chicago finale of Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (Paramount, now playing) is absolutely jump-off-a-skyscraper insane. It’s astonishing, exhilarating, relentless, pulverizing…and yes, finally exhausting. Even if you’re a confirmed Michael Bay hater you have to give the guy credit for shooting this stunningly energized and visually giddy CG symphony of madness out of a shotgun and right through your 3D glasses. And none of it amounts to anything more than motion and chaos and fury designed entirely to sell tickets.
I didn’t even see the extra-bright Platinum version (which I’m going to try and see later today) and my mouth was hanging open. I’ve never seen a battle scene that went on this long and with this level of sustained...Read More »
Harrison Ford has allegedly told a Details inteviewer that Shia LaBeouf was a “fucking idiot” for publicly criticizing Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull in a May 2010 interview with L.A. Times writer Steven Zeitchik.
Nope, wrong. LaBeouf was being refreshingly honest about what everyone and his cousin believes was probably the worst of the Indiana...Read More »
Two minor corrections for A.O. Scott‘s “Critics’ Picks” commentary about the 1957 classic Sweet Smell of Success: (a) Scott adds a nonexistent “The” to the title; and (b) Clifford Odets‘ screenplay is not “based on a novel by Ernest Lehman” but a Lehman novella called “Tell Me About It Tomorrow,” which originally appeared as a 1950 short story in Cosmopolitan magazine.
If the novella was ever sold in perfect-bound book form it’sRead More »
The War Horse teaser has all the well-known earmarks of a Steven Spielberg film, you bet. It totally reeks of his paintbox. I’m still holding out hope that the film, due in late December, will primarily be a horse-POV drama and secondarily about the people who love and use and exploit him. (Teaser initially posted by the Film Stage.)
The only dialogue in the teaser is spoken by A Prophet‘s Niels Arestrup.Read More »
This, I feel, is one of David Poland‘s best swipes at mainstream entertainment writer-reporters, particularly the L.A. Times‘ entertainment staffers who see themselves as providing a higher grade of professional-class writing-reporting than the online blogging community.
“It just goes to show you, surveys are skewed by the questions as much as the answers,” Poland comments. “The above is an ad for awards advertisers from the LA Times. I would rephrase: What kind of entertainment awards coverage are you looking for? (a) The same old stale stuff, written by angry, jaded employees of a bankrupt corporation who don’t ask challenging questions, but sometimes do trend...Read More »
“Live-action 3-D has been, at least since Avatar, a briar patch for filmmakers and a headache for audiences,” says N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott. But Michael Bay‘s Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, he says, “is one of the few recent 3-D movies that justify the upcharge. Mr. Bay clearly enjoys playing with the format, which is also to say that he takes it seriously. A lot of glass and metal comes flying at your head, and you feel surrounded, plunged into a universe governed by new and strange laws of physics.
“Nothing you see makes any sense at all, but the sensations are undeniable, and kind of fun in their vertiginous, supercaffeinated way.”Read More »
Larry Crowne (Universal, 7.1) is a mild-mannered, lightweight, reality-skirting, cruise-along feel-good movie about a mild-mannered, trying-to-always-feel-good nice guy in his early 50s (Tom Hanks) who loses his job at Walmart…UMart, I mean, and has to find ways to live within new economic limits without getting angry or depressed or turning to drink or doing anything unattractive or unlikable, which, as we all know, is way outside Hanks’ wheelhouse.
So Mr. Crowne buys a scooter and decides to take some classes at a small community college and kinda gets going with a couple of women in a very mild sense, one a fellow student (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and the other his public-speaking teacher (Julia Roberts), and starts to wear darker,...Read More »
It was the Dean Jones “Disney-ass name” line that did it. Warner Bros. has been screening it here and there but I won’t see it until 7.5 because I’m special. (It opens three days later and can’t be reviewed until 7.6) Directed by Seth Gordon, written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein with a story by Michael Markowitz, etc.Read More »
The whole Tom Hanks, pre-Larry Crowne premiere, scooter-brigade-down-Hollywood-Blvd. thing went out the window yesterday afternoon when I threw my right leg over my scooter and my back dress slacks ripped open at the crotch. A big gaping hole with frayed threads, and it was 6:05 pm — five minutes past the scooter get-together hour and 90 minutes before the start of Larry Crowne, the movie.
It would have been humiliating to schmooze around the Chinese and the after-party with my white briefs on display, so I definitely had to fix this. The smart thing would have been to drive straight home and slip on a new pair of dress pants, only that would have eaten up a good hour, or nearly that. I still had hopes of doing the scooter parade so I went around looking for some black underwear that would make the hole less noticable. Except I couldn’t find the right store with the right briefs. I finally found a pair at aRead More »
Congratulations to Mark Gill, one of the more candid wise men of the indie production-distribution field, for his new gig as president of Millennium Films. The idea is to “produce and finance five to eight star-driven, wide-release films per year with budgets between $20 and $80 million” as long as Gill can convince his bosses — Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson — that this or that project is a good bet.
If you’ve been around for 20 years and are a member of the club, you will always land a job sooner or later.Read More »
I’ve been saying for a long while that superhero movies are a pestilence, and that the genre is more or less over in all senses of the term unless the superhero-film-in-question has been directed or produced by Chris Nolan or is named Thor or Iron Man.
I haven’t complained as persistently about mythological-medieval quest movies (wide-eyed innocents, cloaks, horses, shadowy forests) in the Joseph Campbell-J.R.R. Tolkien mode, partly because I feel that Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy exhausted all that jazz. Whatever juice...Read More »
I’m good to go for the Larry Crowne scooter-swarm parade down Hollywood Blvd, which will start sometime around 6:45 or 7 pm. I don’t know how many scooters are going to take part, but me and my little white Chinese scooter will be a part of history tonight. I plan on taking some stills and video and posting it all tomorrow. I’ll also be attending the big-deal premiere, of course, for Tom Hanks’ film, which opens on 7.1.Read More »
During yesterday’s late-afternoon dinner at Katsuya for Ludivine Seigner, star of Love Crimes and costar of The Devil’s Double: (l. to r. rear) Greg Laemmle, L.A. Daily News‘ Bob Strauss, Lise De-Sablet of L.A.’s French Embassy; (l. to .r. front) Pete and Madelyn Hammond, Ludivine Sagnier, KCRW’s Gemma Dempsey and indie publicist veteran Marina Bailey, who arranged the dinner.
Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny, Guillermo del Toro, Marcia...