Timur Bekmambetov‘s inability or refusal to restrain himself in the making of Wanted suggests that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (20th Century Fox, 6.22), which he’s directing and co-producing with Tim Burton, will also be lurid and excessive. It would be nice if otherwise. I want to like or at least be amused by this thing, but a voice is telling me that Bekmambetov will do everything he can to prevent that.
An idea just popped into my head that I’m not sure about, but I’ll run it up the flagpole. We’re still in the holiday season with thoughts of providing for the afflicted, so what about an HE fundraiser to pay for a couple of rounds at the Alien Cathouse (due to open sometime in early ’12) for LexG? If and when the cash is raised and LexG accepts, he’d agree to never again complain about anything personal.
I for one would gladly chip in $20 or $25 bucks. I’ve never patronized a brothel, but $600 to $700 should cover it. $1000 including car rental, gas, meals and two nights at a nearby motel.Read More »
It’s always a pleasure when a family drama has a cranky older guy or a crazy guy hanging around. Someone who will blurt out what’s really going on (and has gone on) without any restraint or regard for subtlety. Michael Shannon‘s crazy truth-teller in Revolutionary Road, Alan Arkin‘s drug-dabbling, blunt-spoken granddad in Little Miss Sunshine and Robert Forster‘s cranky gramps in The Descendants.
Descendants costar Robert Forster at West Hollywood’s Silver Spoon cafe.
Forster’s character (the father of George Clooney‘s comatose wife, called Scott Thorson), bawls out Shailene Woodley‘s Alexandra for giving her mom a rough time (“shame on you!”), and then he cold-cocks her friend Sid (Nick...Read More »
Significnt signpost: Oscar Talk‘s Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson acknowledge in their latest podcast that some kind of blowback reaction to The Artist is manifesting “out there.” For what it’s worth a filmmaker friend told me last night that he sees The Descendants pushing past The Artist and War Horse at the end of the day. “I’m glad to hear you say that,” I said, “but I don’t know.”
The audience at Royce Hall began clapping along to a number performed by Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band the other night, and it was obvious right away that many couldn’t hit the exact beat to save their lives. But then clapping in a metronomically perfect way is hard even for experienced drummers. I used to drum for a couple of bands in my early 20s and I learned that hitting the snare drum at exactly the right instant, 75 or 100 times during a song, was actually kind of hard.
In a mathematical sense the perfect whap of a drumstick upon a snare drum happens within a very tiny realm, and the truth is that many drummers hit the snare slightly outside this perfect instant — a millisecond before or after. Most people don’t realize and couldn’t care less, but once your ear and your...Read More »
I say the same two things every year. One, I haven’t been to a New Year’s Eve party in ages. And two, my last really cool New Year’s Eve celebration happened 12 years ago in Paris. But as I have nothing new to say, it couldn’t hurt to post the best-written humbug rants from the last four or five years.
The most beautiful Xmas gift I’ve received over the holiday…cheers! I was away in NYC until three or four days ago so I only received it last night from a Los Angeles friend.
Posted last year: “There’s nothing fills me with such spiritual satisfaction as my annual naysaying of this idiotic celebration of absolutely nothing.
“I love clinking glasses with cool people at cool parties, but...Read More »
Dennis Lim‘s Brad Pitt interview in the 1.1.12 edition of the New York Times reads like a slightly sheepish confession of a guy (i.e., Lim) who went out on a blind date and…well, had an okay time but not a great one either. Lim is an intensely scholastic monk-dweeb and Pitt is obviously Pitt, and the twains just didn’t have a chance, man.
Lim sat down with Pitt at the Waldorf Astoria in early December. “Many of his answers had the vague, scripted ring of someone determined not to say more than necessary,” Lim writes. On top of which Pitt was...Read More »
The broken-mirror moment in The Apartment (starting at 4:10) is a great bit because it shows a major character absorbing a major plot point (and realizing where a significant secondary character is coming from) without dialogue. Of course, the linkage between Shirley MacLaine‘s character and the broken mirror has been set up a couple of scenes previously. What 21st Century films have conveyed something strong and surprising about a major character in a similar way? I’m asking.Read More »
For the first time in my professional life I’m thinking I could squeeze in (i.e., afford) the first four days of the Palm Springs Film Festival (1.5 through 1.16). I’ve submitted my press credential application and have found a motel that rents rooms for $65 per night. I’d like to attend from Thursday, 1.5 through Sunday, 1.8. Salmon Fishing in Yemen, Turn Me On Dammit, The Flowers of War, Cafe de Flore, The Island President, Elite Squad and a George Clooney chat.
An excerpt from a 12.30 article by Matt Brennan on Anne Thompson‘s Indiewire page: “More than The Artist, the Oscar frontrunner, Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants — the only other legitimate contender — presents emotion as complicated, world-worn, human.
“Don’t get me wrong; The Artist is a lovely little film. It’s a nostalgic blast from the past and impeccably made, the very kind of perfect that The Descendants is not. But whereas The Artist is a slip of a film, a shiny bauble without much weight, The...Read More »
In an intro to a video interview with The Artist costars Jean Dujardin and Bernice Bejo, Sasha Stone wrote the clip “gives you an idea of what it’s like to interview them, lovely people that they are.” Well…what else are they going to be? Are they going to be sullen or snippy or evasive? Are they going to channel Tommy Lee Jones (whom I love for not doing the usual gushy-smiley during junket interviews)?
Dujardin and Bejo may be the nicest people in the world when they’re not being interviewed by entertainment journalists. I’ve spoken to Dujardin and he’s a very likable fellow. But that’s what movie actors do. They perform and they charm. As we all (try to) do when we’re up to anything public. Nobody wants to deal with unpleasant types, but what’s the point of...Read More »
“When admirers asked Mack Sennett how he went about creating his classic silent comedies, he would describe the basic principle as ‘one thing leads to another.’ Far from being a comedy, A Separation is an enthralling drama — with some kinship to Kramer vs. Kramer — and the subtitled Persian dialogue is fluent and copious. All the same, one thing leads to another with such ease and inexorable logic that the script could have been created by the filmmaker taking dictation from the...Read More »
Hollywood Reporter award-season columnist Scott Feinberg posted a “contender castoffs” piece last night — a look at 13 of the films “that many thought, at one time or another, would factor into this year’s awards race but never did.” But there are only two…no, three…okay, four that have my interest.
Obviously a crap-quality pic that appears to show Garret Hedlund, Kristen Stewart in Walter Salles’ On The Road. It looks like them, they’re in the back seat of a period car and there are
Tonight I caught a two-hour performance by Woody Allen & His New Orleans Jazz Band at UCLA’s Royce Hall. I’m so used to hearing this kind of music behind the closing credits of Allen’s films that I didn’t know what to do with it live on-stage. It’s loose and joyous and at the same time too sedate and regulated. But it was fun overall. Thanks to 42West, but no thanks to the Royce Hall usher who stopped my video recording in the middle of a song.Read More »
John Williams‘ score for War Horse is relentless. It doesn’t just tell you what to feel at every turn — it browbeats you into each new emotional moment like a schoolyard bully. “Feel this…and now that…feel it!” And yet Dimitri Tiomkin‘s High Noon score does exactly the same thing, and I have no problem with that. It’s one of my all-time fave scores, and Williams’ War Horse score is one of my all-time peeves.
Tiomkin’s score is so consistent with that melody (“Do Not Forsake Me,” etc.) and...Read More »
Criterion’s Bluray of Luis Bunuel‘s Belle du Jour streets on January 17th. Could this be remade today by an American director? Would there be an audience for it, or have the seeds of intrigue and/or receptivity for this sort of thing passed? I don’t want to hear about this photo being NSFW — don’t even go there.
Imagine that award-season bigmouths like myself received report cards for their efforts to gather or diminish support for this or that contender during Phase One. Here’s how mine would read right now:
Effort to push Moneyball for Best Picture: C-minus. A BP nomination looks good but a win is out of the question — let’s face it. The best that Bennett Miller‘s masterwork can hope for is to place among the Best Picture nominees. The more I’ve pushed Moneyball the more people talk about the unstoppable strength of The Artist and War Horse. There are only so many times you can register disgust and spit on the sidewalk.
Effort to Promote The Descendants for Best Picture: A, but Alexander Payne‘s film has pretty much sold itself.
Effort to Diminish The Standing of The Artist:...Read More »
I’ve taken another look at the various Sundance 2012 offerings and rated them 1 to 10 in terms of interest. I’ve only got 23 films listed here, which is a little less than what I usually wind up seeing at this festival. I’m thinking there must be another five that I’m overlooking, and perhaps more than that.
Lay The Favorite / U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Frears, Screenwriter: D.V. Devincintis) — An adventurous young woman gets involved with a group of geeky older men who have found a way to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas to their advantage. Cast: Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn. (9)
Shadow Dancer / United Kingdom (Director: James Marsh. Screenwriter: Tom Brady) — When a widowed mother is arrested in an aborted bomb plot she must make hard choices to protect her son in this...Read More »
So it’s settled, then, that Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Patton Oswalt (Young Adult) are out of the Best Supporting Actor race? That doesn’t seem right. Christopher Plummer, Albert Brooks and Jonah Hill deserve their slots. But Kenneth Branagh‘s Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn was just sufficiently good, and Nick Nolte‘s ex-rummy dad in Warrior played the same note over and over.
Shamelessly stolen from Movieline‘s latest Oscar Index.
L.A. Times staffer Amy Kaufman has reported on the gradual mongrelization of Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese plex by its sleazebag owners, Donald Kushner and Elie Samaha. They’re not high priests of cinema, these guys, so they’re after the dough, of course. And that means lowering the value of the place by inviting various downmarket types to leave their handprints and footprints.
(l.) Elie Samaha, (r.) Donald Kushner.
Okay, not all the changes are for the worse. Kaufman writes that “plans are in the works to relight the forecourt and restore old theater signs to resemble their 1930s appearance.” But the aura is otherwise being downgraded on a step-by-step basis, it seems, with the...Read More »
The first (and not all that successful) screen version of The Quiet American, directed and written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Phillip Noyce’s 2002 version was much better written, more atmospheric, movingly acted and beautifully photographed.
Mark Robson’s Phffft! opened on 11.10.54.
A 12.28 article by Robert Reich offers an interesting prediction: “Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden will swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President. So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.
“Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.
“The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 — offering the Democrats a shot at twelve (or more) years in the White House, something the Republicans had with Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush but which the Democrats...Read More »
Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson posted earlier today about the return of New Yorker Films with the forthcoming release of Jannicke Systad Jacobsen‘s Turn Me On, Dammit!, a Norwegian teenage sex comedy which won the Best Screenplay Award when it played at last spring’s Tribeca Film Festival. But there’s a holiday hitch, I soon found out.
Seconds after reading Thompson’s piece I wrote marketing exec Reid Rosefelt, who’d urged her to write about Jacobsen’s film. “When can I see it in Los...Read More »
Three passages from Jamie Stuart‘s 12.28 Indiewire piece about “Why 2011 Marked a Shift In the History of Cinematography“:
(a) “2011 was the year in which the Arri Alexa, the first significant digital camera released by leading equipment developer Arri, was put to wide use. Three wildly different examples of the new camera can found in Drive, Hugo and Melancholia.
(b) “Somebody needs to slap Steven Spielberg in the face and tell him to wake up, because he cannot move forward as a filmmaker by holding so tightly to the past (he even wishes he could return to cutting on a Moviola). The roots of filmmaking are its language, not the technical medium. I love Spielberg, but his stubbornness is...Read More »