L.M. Kit Carson…Aloft

L.M. Kit Carson, the legendary Texas screenwriter, actor, documentarian, short-film impresario (Direction Man), hotshot journalist, ex-husband of Karen Black, father of Hunter Carson, a kind of godfather to Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson in ’93 and ’94, Guillermo del Toro pally and a personal friend (we first met around ’87 when I was working at Cannon Films), died last night after a long illness. Hugs, tears…I’m sorry. Kit was a good egg. Always with a grin and some kind of sly, wise-man quip. Condolences to Hunter (with whom I corresponded about Direction Man last year) and Kit’s wife Cindy Hargraves and the general sprawling family of friends and acquaintances.

Carson began as a movie-realm journalist and documentarian (David Holzman’s Diary, American Dreamer) and gradually ambled his way into screenwriting. He had the vibe and the touch. He understood how it all was supposed to be, or could be. I don’t know where he “was” over the last decade or so, but in the ’80s and ’90s he always seemed to have the whole equation in his head.

The early to mid ’80s were Carson’s peak years when he co-wrote Jim McBride‘s Breathless (a 1983 remake of the 1959 Jean-Luc Godard original with Richard Gere) and Wim WendersParis, Texas and a thing called Chinese Boxes that I’ve never even seen, and then came that wonderful Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 screenplay, which was a dry, darkly comedic kill-the-yuppies thing that was heralded in an issue of Film Comment (it might have been Harlan Jacobson who wrote “it’s okay to like it”). But alas, director Tobe Hooper came along and fucked it all up when Cannon decided to make it. (more…)

Happiness Is A Warm Denial

Amir Bar-Lev‘s Happy Valley “is a perceptive, shrewdly sculpted study of denial — of people’s willingness and even eagerness to practice denial if so motivated. The specific subject is the Penn State child-abuse sex scandal of 2011 and 2012, which resulted in convicted pedophile Jerry “horsing around in the shower” Sandusky doing 30 years in jail and the late beloved Penn State coach Joe Paterno being at lest partly defined between now and forever as a pedophile enabler. Cheers to Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story, My Kid Could Paint That) for delivering another riveting sink-in.

“The Freeh report (conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh and his law firm) stated that Paterno, Penn State president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and school vp Gary Schultz all knew about Sandusky probably being guilty of child molestation as far back as 1998, and that all were complicit in looking the other way. State College residents and especially Penn State football fans were enraged when Paterno was fired for not saying or doing enough. Even after the Freeh report they wouldn’t let go. (more…)

Just Asking

How aware are Academy members of their reputation outside their little bubble? I’m wondering this because I keep hearing over and over that the biggest hit with well-heeled Academy-type viewers is Morten Tyldum‘s The Imitation Game, and I’m wondering if Academy members will have the balls to make fun of themselves again by giving the Best Picture Oscar to a film that is a fairly close relative of The King’s Speech. Because it’s basically another Masterpiece Theatre period drama directed in the Richard Attenborough style…set in the past, about a male protagonist overcoming a disability or roadblock of some kind in order to do good…emotional, touching, tidy. Does the Academy know or care that handing the Best Picture Oscar to The King’s Speech denigrated their reputation among thinking people the world over? If they do, are they willing to do the same thing all over again by tumbling for The Imitation Game? I’m not putting it down, mind. Really, I’m not. I got it when I saw it in Telluride….”yup, this is a good one,” I told myself. It works by the terms it sets out to fulfill. But Game is, indisputably, informed by the same DNA that created The King’s Speech. You can’t argue that.

Deep Delicious Voice

“Too much alpha chuckling can be an unwelcome thing, and I don’t mind saying that Poland’s relentless chuckling can feel truly oppressive at times. After a while it can feel like a form of torture. What happens in these DP/30 interviews is that people talk a lot — expressively at times and certainly at great length — but every so often the interviews drive me crazy because it hits me that all I’m watching is a lot of chuckling and effusive blather because Poland’s questions are sometimes inane and forced and anxious. It’s Poland going ‘bee-duh-bee-duh-bee-bee-bee-bee’ and the interview subject going ‘well, okay, hold on…I’m going to answer you, of course, but I’m going to slow it down a bit.” — from an 11.14.10 riff called “My Soul Wilts.”

Norton’s Birdman Perf Leads Supporting Pack (Along With Simmons, Of Course)

Edward Norton’s first scene in Birdman is about his character, Mike Shiner, rehearsing a Raymond Carver play with Michael Keaton‘s Riggan Thomson. And within 90 seconds he “runs through a Crayola box of tones and emotions, jumping between Shiner and Shiner’s character in the play like he’s changing shirts,” says Grantland‘s Kevin Lincoln. “Throughout the rest of Birdman, flexibility defines Norton’s performance. He fistfights in a floral Speedo. He wields an erection like it’s his first. He throws himself into being a maniac. Norton empties the playbook, turning a flimsy role into Dada madness.


Tapley vs. Hardy

Last night In Contention‘s Kris Tapley posted an assessment of the Best Actor situation, and in so doing declared there’s only one slot open once you factor in Birdman‘s Michael Keaton, Foxcatcher‘s Steve Carell, The Imitation Game‘s Benedict Cumberbatch and — last but far from least — Eddie Redmayne‘s turn as the afflicted Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

(l.) The distinctly nominatable Tom Hardy, star of the Locke and The Drop; (r.) In Contention columnist Kris Tapley.

 The piece contains one questionable call and one glaring omission.

Tapley’s not wrong about Keaton, Cumberbatch and Redmayne but holdupski on Carell for one minute. Carell has carved himself a rep as Mr. Career Balls. The fact that he really burrows into the psyche of the late, very creepy multi-millionaire John Dupont is proof of that. But the reason Carell is considered a lock is because (a) he’s a rich and famous comic actor (he still makes awful, Norbit-like mainstream comedies like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), and because he (b) played Dupont with a kind of spazzy-wonky accent and (c) wore a prosthetic hook nose.

It’s not that Carell doesn’t deserve to be in the conversation. I fully respect what he did in Foxcatcher. I just don’t think he’s a stone-cold lock. Remember what Denzel Washington said before he announced that Nicole Kidman had won her Best Actress Oscar for The Hours? “By a nose…” Prosthetic noses are very big deals with the Academy. Be honest — would Carell be a presumed Best Actor lock if he hadn’t worn a fake schnozz?

Who could slide into Tapley’s rhetorical fifth slot? I’ll tell you who absolutely fucking should slide into it, and that’s Tom Hardy for delivering two ace-level, world-class performances this year — firstly his solo turn in Locke, easily one of the year’s best films and yet all but ignored by the know-it-alls because there’s no campaign afoot and they don’t see anyone buttering their bread, and secondly as the quiet, low-key barkeep in The Drop — a man of few words but with a cagey nature and an iron will. The year’s biggest take-away line — “Nobody ever sees you coming, do they, Bob?” — alludes to Hardy’s character in this film. (more…)

Tati Looks Down Upon Brooklyn…

…and in fact the entire GenY twee film culture (along with the various other permutations) and smiles contentedly, knowing that he had a lot to do with it in a sense, at least from an inspirational standpoint. You have to give the man credit. He was twee-ing his ass off back in the late ’50s, for God’s sake.

Comfort of Error

I always correct my mistakes (typos, factuals) as quickly as possible, but I do make them nearly every damn day. It is therefore gratifying to see the Guardian blow a caption in its report about Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Leviathan (Sony Pictures Classics, 12.31) having won the Best Film award at the London Film festival. The gentleman in the photo is Leviathan producer Alexander Rodnyansky and not, as the caption claims, Zvyagintsev.

Click here to jump past the Oscar Balloon

Best Picture Likelies: 1. Birdman (HE approved); 2. Boyhood; 3. Gone Girl (HE approved); 4. The Theory of Everything; 5. The Imitation Game; 6. Whiplash (HE approved); 7. Foxcatcher; 8. The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Unseen Best Picture Spitballs: 1. Interstellar; 2. A Most Violent Year; 3. American Sniper; 4. The Gambler; 5. Into The Woods; 6. Selma; 7. Unbroken; 8. Big Eyes.

Cult: Inherent Vice. Sturdy Generic WWII Actioner: Fury.

Most Visually Ravishing, "Painterly" Best Picture Contender: Mr. Turner, although I'd like to see it with subtitles down the road.

Best Director: Alejandro González Inarritu, Birdman (HE approved); 2. Richard Linklater, Boyhood; 3. David Fincher, Gone Girl (HE approved); 4. James Marsh, The Theory of Everything; 5. Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game; 6. Damian Chazelle, Whiplash; 7. Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher; 8. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Tragic Absence of Sublime, World-Class Lead Performance due to (no offense to Roadside) an overly cautious release strategy: Paul Dano as Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy.

Best Director Maybes: Christopher Nolan, Interstellar; JC Chandor, A Most Violent Year; Angelina Jolie, Unbroken; David Ayer, Fury; Clint Eastwood, American Sniper.

Best Actor: 1. Michael Keaton, Birdman (HE approved); 2. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything; 3. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; 4. Steve Carell, Foxcatcher; 5. Tom Hardy, The Drop/Locke. 6. Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner (despite my inability to hear half of Spall's dialogue due to his all-but-indecipherable British working-class accent); 7. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; 9. Ben Affleck, Gone Girl; 9. Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins.

Best Actress: 1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice (is Sony Pictures Classics going to screen this any time soon or what?); 2. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; 3. Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year/Miss Julie/Eleanor Rigby; 4. Anne Dorval, Mommy; 5. Reese Witherspoon, Wild; 6. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything; 7. Shailene Woodley, The Fault In Our Stars; 8. Amy Adams, Big Eyes.

Best Supporting Actor: 1. Edward Norton, Birdman (HE approved); 2. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash (HE approved); 3. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; 4. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; 5. Albert Brooks, A Most Violent Year; 6. Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice.

Best Supporting Actress: 1. Emma Stone, Birdman (HE approved); 2. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; 3. Kristen Stewart, Still Alice / Clouds of Sils Maria / Camp X-Ray; 4. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; 5. Jessica Lange, The Gambler; 6. Vanessa Redgrave, Foxcatcher.


Greatest Generation Loathing

When long hair began to emerge among teens and 20somethings in the mid ’60s, the World War II generation (born in the ’20s) was appalled. To most of them Beatle hair was revolting. “Are you a boy or a girl?” was their mantra. Here’s an expression of that in Harper (’66), released in February 1966 and shot the year before. The person who set up this shot was saying “do you fucking believe this? What has happened to male-female distinctions among younger people?”” That person was director Jack Smight, born in ’25 and clearly a bit of an asshole. Another example can be found in Goldfinger (’64). Sean Connery‘s 007 says to Shirley Eaton‘s Jill Masterson that “there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs.” The Goldfinger screenwriters were Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn.

Only 73 Days Until It Opens

Sony Pictures Classics’ trailer for Andrei Zvyagintsev‘s Leviathan popped a couple of days ago. I’ve seen the film three times now, but I’ve yet to see it in this country on a whopper-sized screen with knock-your-socks-off sound, which I how I caught it last May at the Salle Debussy during the Cannes Film Festival. “Simultaneously a modern essay on suffering, an open-ended thriller, and a black social comedy, it is most importantly of all a thinly-veiled political parable drenched in bitter irony that takes aim against the corrupt, corrosive regime of Vladimir Putin.” — Hollywood Reporter critic Leslie Felperin.


When I think of peace or of truly peaceful moments in my life…maybe that’s too big a subject for a Sunday afternoon. But right now, three episodes come to mind. One, the way I felt when I was on a small craft chugging along a river in the village of Hoi An, Vietnam, during my first trip there, in November 2012. Two, the way I felt early last June in Venice, when I took the below video around dusk or perhaps a little after. And three, the way I always feel when I listen to Peter Finch‘s Howard Beale describe satori…”a cleansing moment of clarity…plugged into some great, unseen, living force, or what I think the Hindus call prana…I’ve never felt more orderly in my life.” I can probably recall several dozen others but they all share the same characteristic, which is that they happened more or less of their own accord. Great moments happen only when they happen. You can’t order or orchestrate them. You just need to (a) keep yourself open and attuned and (b) develop some real discipline with your devices.



This was taken sometime during the New York Film Festival celebrations of Birdman (they’re all in a freight elevator or something). It’s just one of those infectious photos…puts you right in the mood.

55 Years and Counting

It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with Alain ResnaisHiroshima Mon Amour although I’ve only seen it once. It’s not that I don’t find it visually immaculate — the two dps are longtime Resnais collaborator Sacha Vierny plus Michio Takahashi. I find it almost heartbreaking on some level to flash between the 31 year-old Emmanuel Riva in this 1959 film and the Riva who costarred in Amour. Eiji Okada, Riva’s Japanese lover in the Resnais film, died almost 20 years ago at age 75. Nothing is unappealing about catching it this evening at West L.A.’s Royal except for the stone cold fact that it won’t look as good on the screen as it will when the Bluray comes out. The black-and-white values will be so much fuller and finer on the Bluray…it’s not even open for discussion.


Ghost of George Lois

I don’t pay much attention to weekly Variety covers or any print publication, for that matter, except for Vanity Fair (which has been feeling less substantial and therefore less enjoyable over the last couple of years) and Esquire and GQ when I’m about to leave on a flight. But the satirical role-playing Bill Murray cover obviously alludes to those George Lois Esquire covers of the ’60s and early ’70s. Is this a new vein or did this cover just happen as a one-off?


Whiplash Now In Big-Boy Realm

Damien Chazelle‘s Whiplash (Sony Classics, 10.10) was the first 2014 movie I went apeshit for. I reviewed it out of Sundance almost exactly nine months ago…and then the months flew by and I began to think of it as a very strong Spirit Awards contender. Then it got another jolt out of Toronto/New York, and then it finally opened nine days ago. And then it began to connect in certain flotational ways. And then the clincher: Jett and his girlfriend saw it last night, and he reports that while she “liked” or “respected” but didn’t quite love Gone Girl and Birdman, she’s over the moon about Whiplash. That settles it. Whiplash, which has earned about $416K in 21 theatres so far, is a Best Picture contender because it fills not one but two Oscar Bait Bingo squares — it’s the Best Picture contender that GenY regards as its own (at least one BP nominee has to “belong” to the under-30s or they won’t feel invested in the Oscar telecast) and it’s the leading indie-level Best Picture nominee, which is a healthy thing for the Academy as nominating only big-name, medium-to-hefty-budget, mainstream-vibey films sends the wrong message. On top of which Whiplash is currently sitting in tenth place on the latest Gurus of Gold ranking — the admirers include Thelma Adams, Tim Gray, David Poland, Nathaniel R and Anne Thompson. I am including it in my Gold Derby Best Picture ranking as we speak. To repeat, Whiplash is no longer a Spirit Awards contender (although it can and will compete in that arena) — it’s a bona fide Best Picture contender.

Toss My Salad Gently

Four hours ago on Reddit a man called “Toss My Salad Gently”, who sounds like a fair-minded guy with an actual sense of reason and judgment (as opposed to being some fluttery falsetto fanboy raving about all things Nolan), began to offer a semi-serious assessment of Interstellar following yesterday’s Fort Hood screening. Just a series of random, uncoordinated but intelligent-sounding comments, but you can sense a guy who knows a couple of things and has an idea of what’s good and what’s not. The bottom line is that while TMSG shared some flattering observations about Interstellar, he wasn’t over the moon about it. Definitely admiring and respectful but no cartwheels.

Three TSMG up-thoughts: (a) “It’s a really, really ambitious and enjoyable film,” (b) “It definitely had its moments! I found myself trying to hold back the tears a couple times” and (c) “2001: A Space Odyssey comparisons are pretty valid [and yet] the difference is Nolan didn’t take the plunge and leave a lot of things up for interpretation like Kubrick did…there is a bit of thinking to do after watching, but I believe it is accessible to anyone who pays attention.”

But he also offered a ranking of how Interstellar stands up to previous Nolan films, and here it is: (1) tie between Memento (8.5/10) and The Dark Knight (8.5/10), (2) Inception (8/10), (3) tie between Interstellar (7.5/10) and Batman Begins (7.5/10) and (4) The Dark Knight Rises (7/10).

And then he said this: “I just want to say that I feel bad because I’m really not any kind of film aficionado. Just someone who likes movies a lot. It was a really, really ambitious and enjoyable film. My rating is based off story, delivery of story, visuals, the music score and a couple other things. Some of you will like it more than I did but this is how I would rate it. (more…)

Are There Any Men Stationed at Fort Hood?

I’ve been searching around for some kind of considered reaction to yesterday’s Fort Hood screening of Interstellar, and so far I’m finding nothing. I’m not talking about effusive tweets — I’m talking about someone writing at least four or five thought-out paragraphs. How was the story? Did it add up? Did it end well? What’s the exploration of an Iceland-like planet thing about exactly? Why did that 12 year-old girl call it “probably the most depressing film I’ve ever seen” or some such shit? What did it make you feel? Where it take you? How does it stack up to Nolan’s other films? You’d think that somebody would post something other than some falsetto “oooh, the movie is wonderful!…ecstasy!…and Matthew McConaughey came here…eeeeee!!” Pathetic.

“The Hell You Say”

In the bad old days scenes with a woman saying “no…no…I mean it, no!…get out…dammit, no!…oh, all right” used to be regarded as pretty hot. Our politically correct culture has forbidden any savoring of this kind of thing as it now feels too close to date rape or worse. Maybe the women who say no and then yes don’t exist any more. But there was a British lady I knew in the mid ’80s who went there from time to time. She never said “no” exactly but she liked to maintain a certain reserve or decorum. In her mind she saw herself, accurately, as smart and well-ordered but…I guess what I’m saying is that she didn’t trust the inner beast. She held herself in check. But the beast always came out of the cave. I won’t repeat what she said one night, but it was another way of saying “if I was a stronger and more disciplined and well-mannered person I wouldn’t succumb to this crude animalistic writhing but God help me, I can’t fight it.”

Fear Trumps Tail as Prime Hollywood Motivator

20-plus years ago Sony Pictures chairman Peter Guber carved his name in cultural stone when Spy magazine quoted him as telling a female acquaintance, “The thing you have to understand is, this is a pussy-driven business.” That definition held for a long time, but two nights ago James Cameron came up with a better one. “There has to be some underlying IP in order to gather enough momentum for studio executives to make decisions the way they make decisions, which is fear-based,” the Avatar director said. “They have to fear making the movie less than not making it. The moment they’re afraid the guy across the street will make the movie and they’ll look stupid — that’s when they’ll make the film. There’s no sense of ‘I want to make this movie, I believe in this movie.’”

First Interstellar Peek-out Today in Texas; NYC “Friends of Brad” Screening Sunday

If anyone hears of any tweeted or tapped-out reactions to today’s Fort Hood screening of Chris Nolan‘s Interstellar, please advise or pass along. The showing is apparently happening at the Palmer Theatre, and this Nolan fan site claims Matthew McConaughey will attend. It’s likely that a certain percentage of viewers at tonight’s FH screening say “reach for the stahhrs” or “to break bahhriers” with the same yokel accent that McConaughey speaks with. It’s not generally known that Fort Hood has a greater concentration of military film critics than any other military installation in the continental U.S., but it’s…okay, I’m kidding. Seriously, this is obviously some kind of respectful gesture to the Fort Hood community for some Interstellar- or McConaughey-related reason. Tomorrow night’s Manhattan screening is strictly for friends and family of Paramount honcho Brad Grey, I’m told. Elite press will probably get their first look sometime during the coming week, but no official word has gone out yet.

Downshifting Of Unbroken‘s Spitball Buzz?

Nobody knows what Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken has in its quiver and nobody should say anything until they do…period. And yet the spitball games continue. For whatever reason (most likely the instinct to show obeisance before power) Jolie’s World War II-era survival saga has been enjoying a kind of speculative semi-front-runner status. Not king of the mountain-y but roughly on par with the Best Picture prospects of Boyhood, The Imitation Game and Birdman…all at the front of the pack.

At the very least Unbroken has seemed like one of the top hotties since Tom O’Neil‘s Gold Derby and David Poland‘s “Gurus of Gold” began asking Oscar-watchers for their hunches and guesses just before Telluride/Toronto. That’s been the general impression, I mean.

Which is why I was surprised to discover a couple of days ago that in the latest Guru chart Unbroken is now ranked seventh…even though it’s still ranked as the #2 favorite at Gold Derby. Seventh is almost indistinguishable from ninth, and if you’re going to be in ninth place you might as well be in tenth. Yes, it’s all hot air and bullshit, I know. But I was curious about who the actual friends of Unbroken are at this stage. And I was wondering how to explain the disparity between being a #2 choice vs. being seventh-ranked. (more…)

Birdman & The Culture Have…Uhm, Merged

Birdman began playing yesterday in four theatres (two in Los Angeles, two in Manhattan) and took in $135,602 or $33,901 per situation…pretty big-timey. Presumably a portion of the HE community saw it last night and…well, you know what. Please. Thank you.

Birdman is one of the most antsy, emotionally exposed, drill-down big-city comedies I’ve ever experienced, and probably the most transcendent, spirit-lifting film I’ve seen this century with Children of Men running a close second. It’s actually more of a psychological angst-and-anxiety movie with an infusion of Ingmar Bergman enzymes and occasional hyena laughs. It’s not a laugh riot per se but when it connects it’s fall-on-the-floor. (more…)

Disqus “Missing Comments” Problem

There have been complaints about missing comments in stories that are more than a year old plus a reported inability to upvote or downvote comments. Two or three days ago HE’s tech person tried to restore the missing comments but couldn’t quite crack it. If anyone knows anything or anyone who could help, please advise. HE tech comments/analysis after the jump: (more…)

One More and It’s A Trend

From a producer friend: “WWII movies and difficult spiritual journeys are two currents during the current fall season. Whiplash and Foxcatcher don’t quite constitute a third as they number only two — obsessive-compulsive crazy coaches and their brilliant protege/prey.”

Never Know What’s Comin’

Kathryn Bigelow‘s big night happened a little less than five years ago. Doesn’t feel like it but that’s the math. All that love in the room…and then two and three-quarter years later Bigelow and her Hurt Locker collaborator Mark Boal delivered Zero Dark Thirty, a brilliant, even better film, in my humble view…and some of those who were cheering Bigelow for her Hurt Locker triumph turned right around and allied themselves with a cabal of p.c. lefties and helped to engineer or at the very least support the ugliest takedown in Oscar history. Find me someone in this town who isn’t a one-eyed jack and I’ll call bullshit. The only emotions you can really trust are resentment and envy — everything else is suspect.


Yosemite Sam

I decided to download and install the recently-popped OSX Yosemite on my three computers (2011 Macbook Pro, 2013 Macbook Air, 2009 iMac) today. It takes a while but once it’s all installed it’s pretty sweet. For some reason Adobe Flash Player was erased by the Yosemite installation…pain in the ass. The only real problem is that Yosemite keeps asking you to install computer-to-phone Cloud capabilities that won’t function unless you have IOS 8 installed on your phone, which of course has been glitchy if not problematic for those who don’t have the iPhone 6. I’m not buying the damn thing until there’s an iPhone 6 Mophie juice pack, which won’t be ready until early 2015…nice! Apple is a racket. The point of new operating systems isn’t just to make things work more smoothly, but to goad you to buy new devices. I’ll probably have to buy a new Macbook Pro by the end of the year or soon after.

If You Get It, You Get It

Deadline‘s Mike Fleming is reporting that Relativity will distribute Mike Binder and Kevin Costner‘s Black Or White, a racially-flavored child custody drama that I went apeshit for after catching it last July. (Here’s the review I posted as the Toronto Film Festival began.) I recognize that other critics weren’t as enthusiastic but I don’t care…fuck it. Fleming is saying the film will be released this year to qualify for awards action but I heard…well, that things aren’t finally decided. Relativity will release the film “through its newly formed multicultural division,” obviously an indication that they expect Black and White to hit bigger with non-whites than with whites…right? It’s a movie about both sides of the racial divide, guys. It’s mainly about parenting.


Fury Don’t Need No Oscars

Variety‘s Tim Gray recently tried to kick up a little Oscar dust for David Ayer‘s Fury, which is expected to earn…oh, maybe $25 million this weekend. Below-the-line nominations, Gray means — Roman Vasyanov’s cinematography, production designer Andrew Menzies, editors Jay Cassidy and Dody Dorn (I could actually see a nomination for these two) and so on. I think we all know that Fury is just a good old-fashioned war flick with amped-up gore and a ridiculous nihilistic ending. It ain’t on the awards hunt, and that should be good enough for the parties concerned. If they gave an Oscar for Best Girly-Faced Wimp or Actor Most Deserving Of an Early Painful Death, Logan Lerman would be a strong contender but otherwise forget it. Incidentally: It’s 6:30 pm New York time so enough people have seen Fury and presumably have an opinion about the ending. Read the piece, think it over and, if so moved, add your name to the HE Honor Roll of Six Critics who found Ayer’s Wild Bunch finale loony.

Career Rebound Factor…Bingo!

“’I used to say no to almost everything, because I thought, I’ve got enough dough, I know what I want to do, and I know what I’m capable of,’ Michael Keaton says before switching to a baseball metaphor, something the Pennsylvania native and lifelong Pittsburgh Pirates fan has a habit of doing. “It’s really like saying, ‘I’m going to make you throw me my pitch. I’ll foul a bunch off, but ultimately I have faith that somebody’s going to throw me my pitch.’ By those terms — the Keaton version of ‘I am big, it’s the pictures that got small’ — Birdman may best be described as a fast-breaking curveball the actor manages to hit out of the park.” — from Scott Foundas‘s Variety interview with the Birdman star. (more…)