It’s absurd, I realize, to speculate or fantasize about the absolute finest film of 2012 actually winning the Best Picture Oscar…ridiculous! The best films don’t win the Oscar, dummy — the most popular ones do. And yet Zero Dark Thirty is turning into a highly popular film with $75 million tallied + 9/11 families expressing their support + Leon Panetta giving it a thumbs-up + Martin Sheen going “homina-homina-homina…I’ve changed my mind!” + the Stalinist haters having been marginalized by common sense and routed by public scorn. Tables turnin’, cut down to size, how ya like me now?Read More »
The never-say-die Lincoln crowd among the Gurus of Gold (i.e., those who are still projecting a Best Picture Oscar win despite the writing on the wall and the flagrant Argo aroma) are (a) Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, (b) L.A. Times guy Mark Olsen, (c) Toronto Star‘s Pete Howell, (d) MCN’s David Poland, and (e) Award Daily‘s Sasha Stone.
“The Oscars have become so commodified because there are so many awards that come before them so we all know what’s going to win.” — Village Voice columnist Michael Musto in a chat with Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil. Their chat was posted this morning at 10:30 am Eastern. Musto: “Let’s not forget [that] they don’t really love Spielberg.”Read More »
I tweeted the following last night during John Horn‘s on-stage interview with Quentin Tarantino at the Santa Barbara Film Festival: “On one level, the Horn-Tarantino discussion is somewhat interesting because it’s been almost entirely about QT’s writing process.” And, I would have added, because Tarantino’s answers were typically candid and amusing and occasionally profane.
I don’t want to under-convey my admiration for Tarantino’s standard schpiel. Give him a microphone and he’s a chuckling, rollicking one-man band.
“But on another level,” I tweeted, “hearing Tarantino go on and on about how smug and confident and cocksure he is about his creative process is quite...Read More »
“There are scores of generic movie-dialogue lines that everyone recites on cue. ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” ‘Laugh it up, fuzzball’, ‘Jack, I swear’, ‘Who are those guys?‘, ‘I can see you’re really upset about this, Dave‘, etc. Basic stuff, right?
“But the greatest loser line of all time — ‘I’ve been waiting all my life to fuck up like this‘ — has yet to make it into the pantheon. Run aRead More »
Martin Sheen, previously known as Cpt. Willard as well as a strong critic of the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, has flip-flopped on this concern, according to an article posted late this afternoon by N.Y. Times reporter Michael Cieply.
Okay, not “flip-flopped,” exactly. Sheen just wasn’t paying attention to begin with.
“Speaking by telephone Wednesday, Mr. Sheen said that through his own mistake, the actors David Clennon and Ed Asner had included Sheen in their opposition to what they saw as the film’s tolerance of torture,” Cieply reported. “‘It’s my own...Read More »
Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond The Pines (Focus Features, 3.29) has its fans, but it’s bizarre that Focus, a first-class distributor that has shown excellent marketing taste, would approve a poster as bad as this one. There’s something wildly off-balance about it. The three heads (Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper ) are too close to the top. The credit block is jammed in close below and too far north. And too much space is given to the dusky sky in the image that lies below (i.e., Gosling on his chopper).
From my 9.8.12 review: “I hate movies about blue-collar knockabouts and greasy low-lifes and teenage louts who constantly smoke cigarettes. The more a character smokes cigarettes the dumber and more doomed and less engaging...Read More »
You might presume that Jules Stewart, a script supervisor since ’88, landed the gig to direct K-11, a jailhouse melodrama, because she’s the mother of Kristen Stewart. And you might be half-right. But this Breaking Glass release, which opens limited (NY, LA, Denver, Phoenix, Philly) on 3.15, looks interesting in a gnarly sort of way. Stewart also wrote the script.Read More »
“The message of Dror Moreh‘s The Gatekeepers, formed from the collective wisdom of the six living former Shin Bet leaders, is this: The occupation is immoral and, perhaps more important, ineffective. Israel should withdraw from the West Bank as it did from the Gaza Strip in 2005. And the prospect of a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict diminishes daily, threatening the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy.” — from Jodi Rudoren‘s 1.25 N.Y. Times piece, titled “Most Israelis Are Not Listening.”Read More »
Is this not the greatest big wave shot ever taken? If not it’ll do until the greatest gets here. It was shot two days ago — Monday, 1.28 — off Praia do Norte beach in Nazare, Portgual, as U.S. surfer Garrett McNamara rode a wave reported to be 100 feet tall. In so doing McNamara beat his previous record of riding a 78-footer in the same spot in November 2011.
Yesterday Bob Furmanek politely declined my aspect-ratio podcast invitation, but he suggested that I get in touch with Jack Theakston, organizer-producer of Capitolfest (August 9th, 10th and 11th in Rome, New York) as well as an archivist, an AMIA member and Furmanek’s associate and partner in aspect ratio research. So I did, and Jack and I kicked it around for about an hour this morning. It’s a knowledgable and stimulating discussion. Recommended.
Last night’s Virtuosos Award Ceremony at the Santa Barbara Film Festival honored six actors who delivered noteworthy 2012 performances — Ginger & Rosa‘s Elle Fanning, Compliance co-star Ann Dowd , The Intouchables‘ Omar Sy, Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s Ezra Miller, Beasts of the Southern Wild‘s Quvenzhane Wallis and Les Miserables‘ Eddie Redmayne.
Ginger and Rosa star Elle Fanning during last night’s Virtuoso Ceremony.
Fanning felt like a surprise to me because she conversed with emcee Dave Karger in a bubbly, giggly, teenage-girlish way. And all this time I’ve been under the impression that she’s old for her age. I know that...Read More »
Recently resigned Arizona Congressperson Gabby Giffords delivered the opening statement at today’s Senate gun hearings. Nothing I could write could add to the import of this clip. I can’t imagine a more profound argument against the rank evil of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA gun lobby.
Quentin Tarantino is being honored at Santa Barbara Film Festival this evening. If and when he takes questions, I will ask the following: “If you were presented with a Lars Von Trier-styled filmmaking exercise in which you had to write a film that didn’t use flip, cynical, grindhouse-style, cartoon-panel...Read More »
A friend made these and sent a few over. He knows I’m grateful but I’ll say it anyway — thanks! I have an idea that less than five people in the world own this T-shirt, and maybe less than two or three. I also have an idea that Glenn Kenny (a fan of Nick Tosches‘ “Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams“) would like to own one.
The kids doing the “drifting” here [go to jump] are assholes, but this is about another form of highway obstruction. I hate it when you’re doing 70 mph on a crowded road when all of a sudden traffic slows and then comes to a halt. Not because of an accident or road construction or the road merging with another. No reason — everything just stops. Then you’re nudging along at 5 or 10 mph, and then a few minutes later traffic starts up and then you’re going 70 again. Why the slowdown? Nobody knows. I really hate it when that happens.
Almost three weeks ago Variety reporter Jeff Sneider got angry about publicist Kelly Bush having supplied an exclusive production story — i.e., Christopher Nolan deciding to direct Interstellar, a Paramount project based on his brother Jonathan’s script — to the Hollywood Reporter‘s Kim Masters instead of himself. Masters filed her story about Interstellar on Wednesday, 1.9, at 6:44 pm, and Sneider filed a terse follow-up version at 6:55 pm.
Sneider expressed harsh words about this to a certain party during Sundance, and somebody complained about Sneider to Variety owner Jay Penske,...Read More »
I’m hereby offering to debate Bob Furmanek and/or Pete Apruzzese and/or C.C. Baxter — anyone who believes in cleavering ’50s and ’60s films down to 1.78 or 1.85 when there’s a full-frame aspect ratio to work with — in a podcast format within a day or so. I’m talking about The Mother of All Aspect-Ratio Battles in an audio format. 30 to 45 minutes. Get in touch and we’ll figure it out.
I’d also like to do a four-way podcast debate between, on one side, myself and at least one other ardent supporter of Zero Dark Thirty and, on the opposing side, two Stalinist scolds who supported the takedown effort and felt it was right and proper to tarnish the film’s rep as having endorsed torture, etc.Read More »
I thought I’d post this back-and-forth between myself and Bob Furmanek, which happened yesterday morning (or Monday, 1.28). It shows the difference between the mentality of a neutral-attitude, data-chip statistician vs. that of an emotional film lover like myself. Never the twain shall meet.
It’s interesting because Furmanek has been a noted provider of meticulous research that has convinced certain Bluray distributors to present 1950s-era films within a 1.85-to-1 aspect ratio because this is how films were generally projected starting in mid 1953. The point of contention was a 1.27 HE story called “Historical Precedent,” which concerned the forthcoming Criterion Bluray of On The Waterfront.
Furmanek: In case you’re wondering, On The...Read More »
I’m a total fool for Zero Dark Thirty and a fan of Mark Boal‘s original screenplay. I’ve seen the movie five or six times and have read the published screenplay, and there’s no question in my mind that Boal deserves and should win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Last night I began thinking about the competition and I honestly don’t see how anyone can come to a different conclusion. Really.
Zero Dark Thirty producer-screenwriter Mark Boal.
There are only two real choices among the Best Original Screenplay nominees: Boal’s ZD30 and Amour‘s Michael Haneke.
It’s a tribute to...Read More »
In her legendary 10.21.67 review of Bonnie and Clyde, Pauline Kael asked, “How do you make a good movie in this country without being jumped on?” Of course, just because a film gets jumped on doesn’t mean it’s good. But when the writer of Zero Dark Thirty is being investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee…well, that’s definitely being jumped on. The fact that he wrote a great film is just icing on the cake.
Two days ago on AMC’s “This...Read More »
An Atlanticwire.com piece called “Why Zero Dark Thirty Crashed Just Outside The Compound” promises a gripping blow-by-blow account about how and why the Oscar potential of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal‘s brilliant hunt-for-Osama-bin-laden film was snuffed out by Washington power-wielders and Hollywood’s Stalinist cabal. Except it doesn’t do that. It just kind of riffs around and offers impressions and loose recall.
Nor does it get into Sony publicity’s standing by silently when the heat was on during the Xmas holidays, and how Sony didn’t, in my view, respond soon or forcefully enough once 2013 began.
But we all watched the takedown happen, and we all have our ideas why leftie...Read More »
Late this morning Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and I discussed Argo‘s PGA and SAG wins and the seemingly inevitable romp that will follow. It was mainly me interviewing Sasha because she’s more knowledgable (i.e., obsessed with) the stats and the histories and so on. But I got a few licks in.
When Lincoln‘s Tommy Lee Jones was announced last night as the recipient of SAG’s Best Supporting Actor award, my first thought was “is this a compensation gesture about SAG voters expressing admiration for Lincoln‘s parts rather than its whole? Because they knew it can’t and won’t win Best Ensemble, which is SAG’s version of Best Picture?”
I also asked myself “what happened to embracing Robert De Niro for being attuned and back in a galloping mode and on the emotional stick in Silver Linings Playbook when he nailed that bedside scene with Bradley Cooper?”
The other three acting races have been locked for some time now and hold no suspense —
Lincoln‘s Daniel Day Lewis for Best Actor, SLP‘s Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress and Les Miserables‘ Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress.
If I was approaching this marquee with a friend who doesn’t know much about movies and he asked what’s good, I’d urge him to see Mama, of course. But beyond that forget it. Films of this calibre are what January tends to be. No avoiding it, nothing to get excited or depressed about. Just focus on non-fiction books, TV, Blurays and DVDs of classics and/or well-reviewed films you didn’t get around to seeing in ’12.
Argo just won the SAG Ensemble Award instead of Silver Linings Playbook, and I think that settles it, don’t you? Argo wins the Best Picture Oscar. Done, settled, finito, sealed. And Lincoln is…how did a journalist I spoke to put it last night? “I know the Academy,” this person said. “They vote for what they like, and not what a guild goes for”…or words to that effect. There’s a limit to ignoring the signs.
Michael Cieply‘s 1.28 N.Y. Times piece about Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis, based on a recent interview with Joel, states the following:
Oscar Isaac in Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis.
(a) The film will privately screen next week in Los Angeles for “some music industry insiders and perhaps a few potential buyers.” Hey, Joel or Scott Rudin, what about a friendly columnist or two attending?
(b) Inside Llewyn Davis will probably screen in Cannes, with or without a U.S. distributor.
(c) “There isn’t quite as much plot as is usual for the...Read More »
Three and a half months have passed since Criterion announced its decision to issue its On The Waterfront Bluray (streeting on 2.19, or about three weeks hence) in three separate aspect ratios — 1.33, 1.66 and 1.85. And I’m still trying to understand how this doesn’t undermine if not discredit Bob Furmanek‘s advocacy of 1.85 as a general cropping standard for Blurays and DVDs of all non-Scope films shot from April 1953 on.
There’s no disputing that non-Scope films began to be projected in U.S. theatres starting in mid to late ’53 and that this standard gathered...Read More »