Old Times

Remember the days when travelling actually interfered with the ability of a reporter to call around and write stories and self-publish them?

Delayed Action

A couple of hours ago Sony Pictures Classics announced that they’ve acquired Amy Berg and Peter Jackson‘s West of Memphis. The acclaimed doc about the wrongly imprisoned West Memphis Three (i.e., Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr.), who were finally released last summer, was screened at the 2012 Sundance and Santa Barbara film festivals.


(l. to r.) West of Memphis director Amy Berg, Damien Echols, Lorri Davis.

I was told about the Sony Classics’ deal late last month in Santa Barbara. (Right before I posted this story, in fact.) I guess it takes a while to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s and get everyone on the same page.

Body Shop

In this SNL promo, Lindsay Lohan has clearly acquired a plumper face and what seem to be (am I wrong?) surgically-augmented cheekbones. And what’s with the bangs? She’s definitely remade herself. I for one prefer that slightly haggard, worn-down, worse-for-wear look she’s had the last couple of years. At least that was honest.

Short Hairs

During last Monday’s Oscar Poker Sasha Stone and I got into a little back-and-forth about Viola Davis‘s Denzel Washington/Malcolm X cut. She said at one point that ‘fros are making a comeback these days, at least among teenage girls, and I said “but why?…to what end?”

Today she sent along a post from forharriet.com, and a quote that reads as follows: “Our personal guides for aesthetic liberation need not be famous women. Do you have a Viola Davis in your own life? Maybe you are someone’s Viola Davis.”

To which I replied, “Maybe you are someone’s Angela Davis. Break out the ‘fro, girl!

Here’s how it went from that point on….

...

Final Guru Rundown

I only got 63% of the Oscar winners right last Sunday. (In part because I was unable to absorb what I’d sensed about Meryl Streep winning Best Actress.) In any event I relate to others who are so swayed by their own determinations that their ability to gauge what the Academy is thinking is, shall we say, compromised. I feel kinship, in other words, with prognosticators like Anne Thompson, David Poland, Greg Ellwood, Mark Harris and Stu VanAirsdale, all of whom wound up with not-so-hot rankings among the Gurus of Gold Oscar-pickers.

Poland always refuses to post the final results of Gurus of Gold Oscar predictions, so once again here are the results with the number of correct calls (the total categories being 24) in parantheses:

1. Pete Hammond (19); 2. Kris Tapley (19); 3. Mark Olsen (18); 4. Sasha Stone (18); 5. Steve Pond...

“Dog Gets Laid…Twice.’

“A brutal, unapologetic comedy about the fantasy every high school kid carries around in his head about being popular and cool and beloved, Project X is an astounding, superlative movie about adolescence,” declares Miami Herald critic Rene Rodriguez.

“This is a cinematic mix tape of every conceivable teen-film staple — Rebel Without a Cause, Over the Edge, Porky’s, John Hughes‘ entire body of work — cranked up to deafening volume and given a modern spit-polish. There isn’t a single thing in Project X that isn’t derivative or borrowed...

“Guys? Bringin’ The Party to You”

This looks half-tolerable…maybe. But I’m still intimidated by the thought of watching anything with the handprint of the dreaded Joss Whedon. I also have a problem with any film in which Samuel L. Jackson uses the word “hopelessly.” I’m also concerned that the film has been converted from 2D to 3D.

The architecture of any proverbial city always suffers when a superhero dukes it ou with an adversary. The hands-down winner of the Urban Destruction prize so far is Michel Bay‘s Transformers 3. Let’s see where The Avengers takes us in this regard. Get that old 9/11 ash-and-ruin vibe going again.

No More Jones Light

The last time I gave a thought to former Monkee Davy Jones was a year or so ago in Manhattan. I was walking south on Eighth Avenue when I happened to notice he was doing a live show in a modest venue near the corner of 42nd Street. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, it’s a gig at least.” The show continued, according to this interview with timesquare.com’s Peggy Hogan, with an opening set for Saturday, 2.18.

It was reported about a half-hour ago that Jones, 66, has

City of Samba

The creators of this piece, the footage for which was captured during Rio’s 2011 Carnaval, are Jarbas Agnelli and Keith Loutif. The process is called “tilt/shift,” but it’s obviously a mixture of real footage and miniature-simulating stop-motion/CG/whatever. The fascinating thing is that you can’t always tell where the action leaves off and the tilt/shift tweaking begins. Take the real world and make it look fake — what a concept!

“Ebert and Poland Are Wrong”

Last night a respected critic and film journalist emailed about yesterday’s article regarding Paramount’s curious decision not to press-screen Titanic 3D between now and 4.3. “I’ve seen Titanic 3D too,” he said, “and Ebert and Poland are wrong, and Lou Lumenick — for once — is right.

“Yes, the image is slightly darker through the glasses. I took them off several times during the movie to compare. I have no basis whatsoever for saying this, but I suspect Cameron may have brightened the image slightly for the 3D...

Aim For Tree

Can anyone explain why Ed Helms starts driving his Porsche like a crazy man in this scene from Jeff, Who Lives At Home (Paramount Vantage, 3.16)? There’s one funny line — “Porches are for normal people, you’re a Sasquatch” — and then Helms says “check this out” and it’s off to Whacko City with the car slamming into a tree. Nonsensical isn’t funny. Funny is when an apparently rational person tries to make something turn out right but events overwhelm him/her.

Directed and written by Jay...

Dancing Girls

I can’t see not buying the British Bluray of Bernardo Bertolucci‘s The Conformist (’70). The gauzy, dreamy lighting that makes Vittorio Storaro‘s lensing of this ballroom scene so special is evident even in this YouTube clip. Imagine it looking “brighter, thicker, richer and [with] more grain,” as DVD Beaver’s Gary Tooze has written.

Notes On Hand

Armando Iannucci‘s Veep (HBO, sometime in April) stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a somewhat self-absorbed, slow-on-the-pickup U.S. Senator who becomes Vice-President…and is then literally a heartbeat away from assuming the Presidency when the Oval Office occupant complains of chest pains. The tone, manner and rhythm of Iannucci’s In The Loop are all flooding back into my memory.

Makes Sense

Whitney Houston‘s sudden death on Feb. 11th “is expected to be officially ruled an accident, a source with knowledge of the ongoing investigation” has told E! News’ Ken Baker and Natalie Finn. In other words, the cause of Houston’s death wasn’t much different than her slipping on a banana peel and hitting her head. Everything was hunky-dory lifestyle and health-wise, but all of a sudden an “accident” happened and she was gone…phffft.

Titanic 3D: The Hiding

Paramount obviously doesn’t need to expend much energy to raise awareness about the forthcoming Titanic 3D (4.4). Diehards who saw and worshipped James Cameron‘s 1997 blockbuster 15 years ago will cough up for a somewhat darker stereoscopic version no matter what. There is, however, a second target audience — i.e., the wait-and-see crowd who aren’t sure how good the 3D conversion will be, and are waiting for buzz.

Well, guess what? They aren’t going to hear any buzz until the night before Titanic 3D opens (i.e., Tuesday, April 3rd) because Paramount apparently won’t be screening it anywhere for anyone — not for press, not for fans — for the next 33 or 34 days.

Or so it...

Set In Stone

On the ten possible 2012 Best Picture nominees mentioned yesterday by Gold Derby‘s Brenden Murphy, three are candidates for instant dismissal, at least according to my yardstick: Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained and Marc Forster‘s World War Z.

The Hobbit is out because Jackson has already snagged a Best Picture Oscar for the Lord of the Rings finale and that, trust me, is the very last Oscar Jackson is going to get for any film having anything to do with Tolkien or Middle Earth or dwarves with huge ugly feet. People are on to his game, and the days of knee-jerk Jackson kowtowing are over. The Hobbit may land a nomination, but...