The more you predict that Academy members will cast their Best Picture vote for a lightweight bauble or whorey manipulative schmaltz, the more likely it is that the Academy Zeligs will be inclined to vote for same. I can repeat this over and over into mid-January. Write it 100 times on the blackboard: “Oscar predictions tend to perpetuate easy-emotional-default mediocrities.”
The Stooge babies and the nun gag is unfunny, awful, forget it. You’d have to be an idiot to laugh at it. But the rest of the trailer…I don’t know. Partly, yeah, kinda. It feels too shiny and overproduced; shoulda have been shot in 1.33 monochrome. And who are Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sassol? I would have preferred Russell Crowe or Benicio del Toro as Moe, Sean Penn as Larry and Jim Carrey as Curly.
Indiewire‘s Todd Gilchrist had judged Mission: Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol to be “a fun but mostly empty adventure story that operates with the rote predictability of a middling ’90s James Bond movie rather than a benchmark-setting actioner or even seasonal ‘event movie.'”
The film “is constructed as a series of sequences in which Cruise reads a description of something they all have to do together, observes how freaking impossible it’s going to be, and then tells everyone to get to business. Afterward, they recap their successes and failures, engage in a bit of emotional banter, and then repeat until a sufficient volume of stuff has been beaten up, damaged or otherwise destroyed that the filmmakers can call it a complete story.
“That said, director Brad Bird does a wonderful job of executing these action scenarios in ways that communicate energy and drama but never succumb to undue self-seriousness. The opening scene, for example, where Hunt breaks out of prison, is marvel of storytelling economy, as Bird uses almost no dialogue to communicate what’s happening and why, but the audience is never at a loss not just for what’s happening, but how they’re meant to feel about it. And later – and certainly augmented by Cruise’s own commitment/ fearlessness — his photography of Hunt scaling the outside glass of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa some hundred or more stories in the air is truly a breathtaking, palm-sweating spectacle to behold.
And yet “ultimately, with so much talent behind and in front of the camera, and the continuing promise of a series authored by filmmakers with distinctive voices, Ghost Protocol fails to provide thrills unique enough to truly celebrate, even if it still offers a Mission: Impossible that’s worthwhile for audiences to accept.”
I was all set to savor Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for the third time last night, but the Arclight Cinerama Dome was under-heated (management looking to save on heating costs?) and I was under-dressed to begin with so I escaped. The after-party at the Chateau Marmont was plenty warm, though. Spirited chats ensued with Tinker helmer Tomas Alfredson (who said he still hasn’t seen Let Me In), Doug Urbanski and screenwriter Peter Straughan.
(l to r.) Gary Oldman manager and brilliant Social Network actor Doug Urbanski, Oldman and Tinker Tailor costar Mark Strong during last night’s Chateau Marmont post-premiere event.
Tinker Tailor director Tomas Alfredson — 12.6, 10:20 pm.
Here’s to Harry Morgan, who died this morning at age 96. His long-running TV roles on M.A.S.H. and Dragnet never mattered much to me. But his three best performances did. They were (a) Henry Fonda‘s trail homie in William Wellman‘s The Ox-Bow Incident, (b) one of the many small-town cowards who abandon Gary Cooper in his hour of need in High Noon, and (c) and an officer who goes off his gourd after getting lost in a maze of underground tunnels in Blake Edwards‘ What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (’66).
How many half-decent Drive parodies have surfaced over the past two and a half months? Apologies for missing this one when it first popped up. The actress is 29 year-old Erin Foster. Apparently shot and cut by Justin Coit. (Thanks to Matt Mazur for the link.)
I don’t know who “Scott is NOT a professional critic” is, except that he claims to be a screenwriter and he thinks/dreams/obsesses about sex and ’70s cinema a lot. I do know that he sounds like a highly energized LexG without the morose gloom and self-pity, and a little bit like Warren Oates in Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia if Oates’ character in that Sam Peckinpah film was an alcoholic USC film professor and a raving, saliva-spewing chauvinist dog.
I also know that on 11.10.21 he posted a lucid, sharply written (like something out of Penthouse in the mid ’70s), altogether exceptional appraisal of Hal Ashby‘s Shampoo (’75). You have to scroll down to read it, but it’s there. The values (particularly the general sentiments about women) are unfortunate, but the writing is quite good.
Scott’s website slogan reads as follows: “Someone asks you how to go through life, and there’s two answers. There’s ‘between a pair of Latin tits, drunk off your ass, with the Stones on blast and a Sam Peckinpah Western on the TV.’ And then there’s the fucking incorrect answer.” Okay?
He also describes the site’s content as “RUMINATIONS ON THE GRANDE DAME OF CINEMA — TITS, GUNS, SNAPPY MONOLOGUES. WRITTEN IN A BREATHLESS, ALCOHOL-INDUCED RUSH, [AND] BEST READ UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS.”
A portion of the Shampoo piece:
“In the middle of this crazed, Caligula-esque circus of me, George’s ‘I don’t fuck anybody for money, I do it for fun’ rings out like the clarion call of sanity — the lone dinghy of true innocence in waters not nearly as pure as professional ’60s idealists would have you believe. It also sounds like the cold, unadorned truth. Say what you will about your local manwhore — at least he fucks for the sheer human pleasure of sliding off another pair of panties grown clammy with the dew of excitement (part of nature’s programming, anyway), not for money or social status or career advancement or a good table at Spago’s.
“Maybe it means I don’t love ’em…
nobody’s gonna tell me I don’t like ’em very much…
“George is a guy who spends all his time around women — certainly, he must like them, right? Except that, in the real world, the biggest misogynists tend to be those who ‘score’ the most, not (as is commonly assumed) bitter nerds with their dicks indefinitely stationed in Palm Springs. Anyone who’s ever spent ten minutes of conversation time with your friendly neighborhood suburban jock can attest to this — get him alone, away from the future Playmates he’s taken for granted since puberty, and ‘Love, Tenderness and Respect’ ain’t the name of the tune he sings.
“Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that getting a higher degree of action entails being around more women. And being around more women entails a greater awareness of the vagaries of the fairer sex — i.e., looming insecurities, the unceasing need for validation, the constant head games, the shallow assessments of what constitutes a good time, the shallow assessments of other people (especially other women), the tantrum-throwing when she hasn’t gotten her way, endless prattling about the most trifling minutiae of her daily existence.
“Or, even less charitably: the more success one has getting into women’s salty little panties, the more one realizes what great aphrodisiacs things like money and status really are. (How the fuck else could Jabba the Huts like Biggie Smalls or personality-free dorks like Tiger Woods actually get laid?) And once one tends to chance upon this gradual dawning of the consciousness, one tends to note one’s increased resentment and overall lack of respect for the pretty little things one gets into bed — even at the height of one’s carnal success.
“Beatty soft-pedals this aspect of womanizing in Shampoo, much as he soft-pedaled Clyde Barrow’s alleged bisexuality, much as The Parallax View soft-pedaled the U.S. government’s complicity with assassinations and cover-ups, much as Bulworth soft-pedaled the high untenability of the let’s-all-be-socialists-and-fuck-’til-we’re-all-the-same-shade-of-gray party line. Perhaps that’s an outgrowth of some George Roundy-ish need to please (if not outright seduce) every audience member who comes along.
“Nonetheless, Beatty was nothing if not a guy who knew about women. And, however muted, indelible truths about Being a Guy are indeed carefully nestled behind Shampoo‘s hedges, waiting patiently for the scavenger hunt to begin.”
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