During yesterday’s Santa Barbara Film Festival director’s panel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly helmer Julian Schnabel was asked about the Sean Young heckling incident. I’m told he said he was basically delighted by the whole stink because it raised his film’s profile like almost nothing else and created a solid positive-sympathetic vibe on the film’s behalf. A very cool, adult, grown-up attitude….cheers.
Last night’s Angelina Jolie tribute at the Santa Barbara Film Festival was arranged when it seemed seemed like a reasonable or even bordering-on-likely prospect that she would wind up with a Best Actress nomination for her Mighty Heart emoting. The fact that it didn’t finally happen (Jolie was probably elbowed out by The Savages‘ Laura Linney) doesn’t change my opinion that her performance as Marianne Pearl in Michael Winterbottom‘s film was the best of her career.
Snapped near the beginning of last night’s Angelina Jolie tribute at the Santa Barbara Film Festival — 2.2.08, 8:50 pm.
Jolie was affable, cheerful, relaxed on-stage. Pete Hammond handled the questions with his usual ease and aplomb. Clint Eastwood, director of The Changeling, in which Jolie costars, presented her with the fest’s Performance of the Year award.
Before the 8 pm event finally began at 8:35 pm, Jolie and Brad Pitt spent most of their time mingling with screaming (it’s slightly more correct to say “squealing”) fans, taking their time posing for photos and signing autographs and generally paying respects . I was calling it a “Day of the Locust-sized mob” as I stood and marvelled outside Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theatre. The red-carpet paparazzi got to snap photos as Jolie and Pitt strolled inside, but no interviews. (Or none that I noticed.)
The outdoor after-party, held near the Bacara Resort in Goleta, was mostly a bust due to inclement weather and not enough shelter. Heavy sprinkling (i.e., not quite a full-on rainshower but dense enough to turn your hair into a wet floor mop and make your clothes damper and damper, depending on how oblivious you wanted to pretend to be) sent guests huddling under food tents. Local weather has favored the SBFF for many years, but this year precipitation and cool (sometimes outright cold) temperatures invaded.
Soggy revelers at the after-party.
It looks like the full-bells-and-whistles Oscar telecast will happen after all on 2.24, considering the reports that broke around noon today that “major roadblocks” (presumably concerning new media) have been sorted out in WGA-AMPTP strike negotiations, and that some sort of agreement in principle will be resulting fairly soon.
United Hollywood stated today in a 1:23 pm post that “off-the-record sources” had confirmed “that progress is indeed being made in the informal talks, and that creative solutions to the biggest differences between the AMPTP and the WGA have gotten the tentative and cautious approval of both sides.
“This does not mean there is a deal in principle yet. It means we may, finally, be very close to one — as close as days away. And while we’re cautiously optimistic about what we’re hearing, it comes with a real caveat.
“Just as happened with the DGA deal, points that are agreed to in informal negotiation can be thought of as points on a deal memo — but it’s the drafting language that comes from hammering out those points that makes them legally binding. And our sources say that draft language doesn’t yet exist. That’s a big part of what will be happening in the next few days, as negotiations continue.
“Until the WGA and the companies have enshrined the deal points — whatever they are — into real draft language, those deal points can’t be thought of as final.”
In the realm of romantic comedies, “predictability in itself is not a bug but a feature of the genre,” writes N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott. But oh, how the gene pool has been compromised. Can we use plain language here? The appropriate term is “mongrelized.”
“The marriage plot, after all, is one of the oldest in literature, flourishing in Roman comedy, in the plays of Shakespeare and Moliere and in the novels of Jane Austen. More to the point, the obstacle-strewn road to discovered or recovered bliss was heavily traveled in the old studio days, from the screwball comedies of the 1930s and ’40s to their loopy Technicolor descendants of the late ’50s and early ’60s.
“Our parents and grandparents had Rock Hudson and Doris Day — such delicious subtext! such amazing office furniture! — or Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Or Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Or Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Or even, in That Touch of Mink, Cary Grant and Doris Day.
“But you get the point. [Today] we have Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey.
“Who are perfectly charming. Don’t get me wrong. You remember them in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, don’t you? Neither do I, even if a search of this newspaper’s archives indicates that I saw it. I believe Mr. McConaughey wore a striped shirt and played a guy from Staten Island. He is mostly shirtless in Fool’s Gold, which reunites him with Ms. Hudson as a bickering, still-in-love couple whose divorce is disrupted by a search for undersea treasure.”
Six years and three months ago, I begged Paramount Home Video to please think about issuing a DVD of Peter Yates‘ The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Beloved by serious crime fans, one of greatest hard-boiled noirs of the ’70s, a classic of its kind and still absent from the shelves and the Netflix rent list in early ’08.
There is something more than negligent about this. The term I have in mind is “vaguely felonious.” It’s really and truly wrong to bury a film this good, at least in the eyes of the Movie Gods. The above-mentioned piece ran in October ’01 on my Reel.com column, and I’ve written at least three or four follow-ups since, and Paramount Home Video persists in not giving a damn. No word, no nothing, Eddie who?, leave us alone.
Hello, Brad Grey! I know you read HE from time to time, and so I’m asking that you please, please take up the cause and urge PHE president Meagan Burrows to do the right thing here. You need to stand up for the great classic tasties every now and then, regardless of projected monetary streams. Nobody ‘s going to get rich off of DVD rentals of Eddie Coyle, but you’re required as man of conscience and a friend of movie art to make this puppy available to the fans. The saints will smile if you push this along, and maybe the karma will kick back down the road.
Other ’70s MIAs: John Flynn‘s The Outfit (1974), William Friedkin‘s The Brinks Job (1978), and Don Siegel‘s The Black Windmill (1974).
Based on the George V. Higgins novel, Peter Yates‘ 1973 film is about Eddie Coyle (Robert Mitchum), an aging, bone-weary weapons dealer who’s looking at a long prison stretch unless he rats out his underworld friends, but who’s still going through the routine of selling guns to make ends meet. One of the guys he’s selling to (Alex Rocco) is the head of a gang that’s pulling off a series of bank robberies on the North Shore.
In Act Three, the underworld gets wise to Eddie’s game, so they hire one of his best friends, Dillon (Peter Boyle), to do the job. I’ll never forget this “hit” scene as long as I live. Mitchum drunk, dozing off in the back seat of a car on the way back from a hockey game….thunk.
Coyle also stars Richard Jordan (who has three or four great scenes himself), Steven Keats (as a low-level gun dealer who gets pinched by the fuzz), and Joe Santos. Higgins’ novel was originally adapted on spec by Paul Monash, who also produced. Dave Grusin wrote the original music. Yates, who had himself a great run in the ’70s and early ’80s, directed with his usual punch and pizzazz.
I can’t believe I’m actually considering hauling my ass up to San Francisco for a showing of Eddie Coyle at the Castro on March 18th. But I am.
Newsweek‘s Richard Wolffe on the “Obamacans” — Republicans who are ready to cross party lines to vote for Barack Obama. Unless, of course, those many millions of older, less-well-educated, Hillary-supporting women and skeptical-reluctant Hispanics don’t stop the train in its tracks over the next several weeks. Never underestimate the ability of the slow-to-come- arounders to poison the pond and drag things down to their level. Remember the “security moms” of ’04?
A blast from Syracuse University journalism major Jett Wells arrived this morning about a special presentation last weekend of Sam Raimi‘s The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II with live goth-rock accompaniment. Has anyone heard of other midnight cult films being shown in concert with live band sounds? Just wondering how prevalent this kind of thing may be. Anyway, here’s the piece:
“Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead, commonly savored on the midnight-movie circuit for a couple of decades, took on a goth-rock guise last Saturday night at Syracuse’s Redhouse, a combination cinema, theatre and arts center. Zadoc and the Nightmare, a heavily mascara’ed local band, tore through their material during a screening of the 1981 zombie classic (along with the 1987 sequel) as an experiment designed by B-movie enthusiast Ron Bonk.
“The event was produced by the 38-year-old Bonk’s event-planning organization Alternative Movies & Events, which has been organizing small B-movie events like this since 1999. Bonk considers AM&E an umbrella organization to his full-time company, the B-Movie Festival held in October at the Palace Theatre.
“Lead vocalist-guitarist Nathan Zadoc praised Bonk’s mission to fight for small cult flicks like The Evil Dead. “I respect him and think he’s putting a lot of headway for independent artists,” said Zadoc. “I like stuff more true to the heart, and not just the box-office.”
“Zadoc bassist Azriel Mordecai, a 27-year-old B-movie fanatic, said he didn’t know what to expect. “It surprised us all how well it meshed,” he said. “It changed our perspectives on movies and music, and really gave us a new aspect to our own songs.”
“Mordecai and the band took the time after the show to meet the small audience and get their perspective on a show never tried before, and they were surprised by the outcome as much as the band. “We got a very impressive response from the crowd,” said Mordecai. “However, we were concerned at first we were overplaying the material.”
Zadoc and the Nightmare also performed Saturday night to promote their upcoming album “Tragically Ever After.”
Redhouse production manager Thomas Tarbox knew nothing about The Evil Dead before this event and wasn’t thrilled with the low turnout (i.e, the house was only about 25% filled), but has a high tolerance for risky events. “The audience loved it, and the band was a totally new aspect to the movie,” said Tarbox. “We have to take chances.”
The Hannah Montana concert film made $8.6 million yesterday so the weekend projection is for $22.9 million, but this may be a tad conservative. Kids were in school yesterday, some theatres began playing shows at 8 am this morning, and the film only lasts 80-something minutes. In any event, a $22.9 million haul in only 650 theatres is phenomenal.
The Eye is projecting $12.3 million for a second-place finish, 27 Dresses will be third with $8.3 million, and Juno will be fourth with $6.9 million for nearly a $110 million cume. Meet the Spartans will come in fifth with $6.8 million, The Bucket List will take in $6.6 million and kickass, take-no-prisoners Rambo will grab $6.5 million. I’m losing interest rapidly, but…okay, man up, let’s see… Untracable will earn $4.9 million, Over Her Dead Boy will take in $3.8 million and Strange Wilderness will earn $3.3 million…zzzzzzz.
“There are moments in time when you see a slow-motion disaster unfolding before you, and you can only yell out and hope those around you notice in time,” John Pearce and Kathy Cramer have written today on the Huffington Post.
“Now is such a moment for Democrats, and ‘in time’ means before the Super Duper primaries this Tuesday across the nation. Hillary Clinton may be a good U.S. Senator, and has deep symbolic importance as our first viable female presidential candidate, but three factors represent crippling structural flaws for the Democratic ticket this November if she becomes our candidate.”