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.

Just A Notion

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.

Cranky Scrappy

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...

Chink In Artist Armor

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.”

Perfect Hit

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...

Auld Lang Syne

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...

Not A Match

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...

Realizing With A Thud

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.

Monsieur Beef

I bought a French Bluray of Brian De Palma‘s The Phantom of the Paradise at Kim’s a couple of weeks ago. It’s supposed to be an all-region disc, but it won’t play the feature — only Gerrit Graham‘s introduction. Thanks.

Films, Sand, Dry Air

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.

Wise, Sensible

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...


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...

2011’s Finest Film

Asghar Farhadi‘s A Separation, which opens today in NY and LA, still has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating, and a 92% rating from Metacritic.

“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...

Holders, Waiters, Not-Yetters

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

“Whorehouse Music”

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.


Matter of Taste

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...