A Blowhard, Okay, But With His Heart In Right Place

I shared my final thoughts last night about Venezulean president Hugo Chavez. He died a few hours ago. This N.Y. Times video commentary by former Venezuelan correspondent Simon Romero sounds fair and balanced, but my heart agrees with what Chavez’s former friend and friendly portraitist Oliver Stone told TheWrap‘s Tim Kenneally.

”I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place,” Stone said. “Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever...

Hours From Now

Hollywood Elsewhere will become a WordPress site sometime after midnight. Preparing for this has distracted my energies to some extent over the last few days, and especially yesterday as I felt I needed a little tutoring. WordPress is obviously not that big a deal, but I frankly prefer posting with HTML code rather than the purely visual option. (For now anyway.) I’m told that readers won’t have to re-register for the newly installed Disqus commenting software. I know that one way or another I’ll retain the power to delete certain comments and/or ban commenters outright. HE wouldn’t be HE without that.

Oz Poker

A couple of hours ago Coming Soon critic-reporter Ed Douglas graciously agreed to do a brief Oscar Poker chat about Oz The Great and Powerful, which opens on Friday. Ed is more of a fan than I am, and has actually called Sam Raimi‘s film “as entertaining” as Victor Fleming‘s The Wizard of Oz (1939). My review will post sometime tomorrow. We mostly compared the two films. I decided that the ’39 version is more personally motivated and character-flavored while the Raimi is more conventonally genre-ish and CG-driven and even socio-political.

Remember The Apted

Deadline‘s Michael Fleming is reporting that Paramount has bought Allison Schroeder‘s screenplay of Agatha, about the 1926 disappearance of the famed mystery writer Agatha Christie. With Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits, Sony’s forthcoming Annie) attached to direct and Fleming calling the script a “female Sherlock Holmes meets Romancing The Stone,” there’s a clear possibility it’ll turn out to be coy, shallow crap.

Christie’s’ still-unexplained disappearance was the basis...

Catches Up With You

I’ve no excuse for missing Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep at last September’s Toronto Film Festival. Except that I said to myself when reviewing the schedule, “Okay, I’d like to see the Redford but not right this second because I need to see this, that and the other film first. But I’ll get to it.” And here it is March and I still haven’t seen it, although there are L.A. and N.Y. screenings happening as we speak. The NYC junket is just around the corner. Sony Classics is opening it limited on 4.5

The Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 63%. I’m told it’s not all that riveting in thriller terms but is otherwise intelligent and smart written and impassioned as far as it goes. And you know Susan Sarandon will be rock-solid as Bernadine Dohrn, so to speak.

All Tony Starked Out

For me the Iron Man franchise went belly-up 2 and 3/4 years ago during that ridiculous Monte Carlo duke-out between Robert Downey‘s Tony Stark (who wore too much eye make-up) and Mickey Rourke‘s Ivan Vanko in Jon Favreau‘s Iron Man 2…God, what an endurance test! And to think what a pleasure the original Iron Man was. Even I, a hater of almost all things geek, was more or less happy with that 2008 film. But I’m off the boat now. Who’s actually enthused about seeing the third installment? Please.

Hats Off

Magnolia marketing deserves a salute for creating this undeniably cool and catchy one-sheet for Terrence Malick‘s To The Wonder. Yes, Brad Brevet — it owes a certain debt to the poster (or was it the Bluray jacket?) for Malick’s The Thin Red Line. Wonder opens on 4.12.

We Need A Break

In response to the Australian Classification Board having banned all screenings of Travis MatthewsI Want Your Love at the Melbourne and Sydney LGBT festivals, friend and ally James Franco (whose Oz The Great and Powerful opens this Friday) has recorded this polite, mild-mannered video in sport of Matthews, with whom Franco teamed on Interior. Leather Bar.

It’s always good to stand up against the blue-noses (I’m presuming the ACB has a problem with IWYL‘s graphic content) but Franco really, really, really, really needs to give the

Help Wanted

George Clooney‘s Monuments Men, which begins filming in Berlin and surrounding environs very soon, is looking for 1500 extras (mostly men, some women and children) to show up on Saturday, March 9th, at Studio Babelsberg in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam.

Monuments Men, based on Robert Edsel’s book and slated to open on 12.18, is about an allied group trying to save art treasures from destruction at the hands of the German military during World War II. It’s basically a cousin of John...

Best Lyndon Appraisal

Yesterday’s Napoleon evolved into Barry Lyndon” riff brought me back to this 5.31.07 piece, which I still quite like:

Stanley Kubrick ‘always admitted he took too long to make Barry Lyndon,’ former Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali tells The Reeler’s Jamie Stuart. ‘There was about a year of pre-production, a year-plus of shooting, then he took an awful long time to edit. And by the time it was ready to come out, I would say, the blockbuster action movies had become de rigeur. That was what the people really wanted to see. So when this film came out it was received as strange, slow, completely out of context to...

For The Record

This montage is three years old so I must have watched it sometime before this morning, and yet I don’t recall doing so. I think I watched another one. (Crazy Cage tributes are ubiquitous.) I know that during the first few seconds I wondered if these were all genuine clips or if it was a mix of real stuff and some imitator sampling Cage classics. People will look at this material 100 years from now and go “Jeez, who was this guy?”

Not Half Bad

My only complaint is that it’s nowhere near long enough. Only a small fraction of Spielberg’s films are included. Why didn’t Krishna Shenoi go for it? Did she run out of time? Money?

Spielberg’s Napoleon Wrongo

Steven Spielberg has told a Canal Plus interviewer that he’s developing Stanley Kubrick‘s Napoleon screenplay for production as a TV miniseries. Which is cool. But he says in the interview that Kubrick “wrote the [Napoleon] script in 1961, a long time ago.” Sorry but nope. Off by seven years, I’m afraid.

Note: The Canal Plus embed code is crap, but watch the video here. Spielberg’s...

Money Better Spent

A film that for me was easily one of the slowest, draggiest and most suffocating viewing experiences of 2012 has earned more than $1 billion worldwide. What does that tell you about the future of the species, much less the taste levels out there? The same kind of lazy, thoughtless, ball-scratching consumerism is the cause of many social ills.

As far as I’m concerned the Chinese now have two things to answer for — forking over $37.3 million in 10 days to see The Hobbit and

Directions & Consequences

In a Sunday N.Y. Times piece called “Hollywood’s Priceless Sounding Board,” Tom Roston collects anecdotes from several Steven Spielberg-influenced directors (JJ Abrams, Matt Reeves, David Koepp, Chris Columbus) about how Spielberg has passed along valuable advice about how to improve their films.

One interesting tale is about Spielberg reading an early draft of Koepp’s Premium Rush, the 2012 bike messenger flick that had a lot of of footage of Joseph Gordon Levitt pedalling fast and hard around Manhattan.

Spielberg’s advice to Koepp was to show JGL...

Changes

It only took me a year to finally ditch Softlayer and sign up with a new ISP (Liquid Web) and then transfer over to WordPress. The WordPress conversion is done and will be evident by next weekend if not sooner. When this happens I’ll also be using Disqus for comments. (Which may require everyone to re-register.) And then I’ll finally move ahead with a re-design, which will manifest sometime in April.

The brutal truth is that Hollywood Elsewhere earned less ad revenue over the 2012-2013 Oscar season than it did last year. This is actually true for many sites. Everyone in my realm suffered. The reason is that the bigger sites (like Deadline, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Hitfix) got more aggressive and bellowed and threw their weight...