I’m presuming that Griselda Blanco, the real-life narco queen played by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Cocaine Godmother, was also the model for Salma Hayek‘s cartel leader Elena Sanchez in Oliver Stone‘s Savages (’12). Set to debut on Lifetime Network on 1.20.18, Cocaine Godmother was directed by cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, who collaborated with Guillermo del Toro on Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim, and written by David McKenna (American History X). There’s another biopic about Blanco called The Godmother, which is produced by Nicholas Pileggi. It began shooting two years ago in Puerto Rico, but apparently has no distribution deal. Blanco’s Wikipedia bio is fascinating. Responsible for 200 murders during her heyday in the ’70s and early ’80s, or so it says.
It’s obvious which one-sheet is the grabbier of the two. The tone of the top poster for All The Money In The World (TriStar, 12.22) isn’t just cold-blooded; it borders on sadistic. But once you’ve seen that $100 bill ear with the brownish dried blood, you’re not likely to forget it. You may not like the mentality behind “everyone wants a cut,” but it’s an effective sell. The blood also serves as a metaphor for the occasionally ruthless mindset of billionaire J. Paul Getty, who initially refused to pay ransom demands for his kidnapped grandson, John Paul Getty III.
These are the first All The Money posters, of course, with Christopher Plummer‘s name alongside Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg.
I’ve been steering clear of almost all superhero films for quite a while now, and it feels awfully damn good, I must say. Certainly when it comes to DC Comics off-shoots and anything remotely connected to Zack Snyder. I will make exceptions when it comes to Marvel’s Black Panther and Antman and the Wasp, but otherwise I’m going to be very careful. Why, then, am I thinking about catching a Justice League screening at Key West’s Tropic Cinema? (A 2D version will screen at 3:20 and 8:30 pm; the 3D showing is at 5:55 pm.) Because it’ll be something to write about besides the Key West Film Festival, I suppose. I have to be open to new experiences. I’ll also be catching Jeffrey Schwarz‘s The Fabulous Allan Carr, a festival selection…forget it, that’s tomorrow.
Hyenas and wild dogs will attack and eat any animal they can get a jump on, including baby elephants. But they do this out of instinct. Predators are part of nature’s scheme. They kill to survive. Which is more than you can say for the Trump administration and its approval of killing animals for cheap thrills.
Trump’s interior secretary Ryan Zinke has announced the lifting President Obama‘s ban on importing elephant heads and feet from Zimbabwe and Zambia in order to make things easier for their creepy rich friends who shoot elephants for “sport” in these countries. After doing so many of them want elephant footstools and mounted heads sent back so they can display them in their dens and living rooms. (I’ve seen a full-tusk elephant head on a wall exactly once in my life, and that’s when I had lunch a few years ago at Manhattan’s Harvard Club.)
I haven’t studied up on Zinke, but he seems to be yet another aggressive-minded Republican who favors the notion of powerful rich guys doing and getting whatever they want, including the immense satisfaction that comes from drilling a bull elephant between the eyes and watching him moan and stagger and fall to the ground. This action almost certainly won’t help ongoing efforts to protect elephants from wanton murder by ivory poachers. Could the Trump administration get any fouler?
“I guess there are no good people left, so let’s just get it over with. Just tell us whatever you did, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Tom Hanks…Malala.” — Stephen Colbert during last night’s monologue.
I too was crestfallen yesterday. A blot on a good man’s reputation, and now people who aren’t paying close attention have lumped Sen. Al Franken in with all the real baddies. Franken is included, in fact, in a new N.Y. Times rogues’ gallery chart. But with every well-thought-of person presumably guilty of having behaved, however briefly or ill-advisedly, in a way that could be described as demeaning, thoughtless, clumsy, indiscrete, hurtful or ill-mannered, what is there to say? Obviously you have to differentiate. You have to qualify. The focus has to be on serial abusers, and not so much the one-timers.
Franken quickly apologized yesterday, and then apologized again in a longer form. In response to which Leann Tweeden said, “The apology? Sure, I accept it, yes. People make mistakes and of course, he knew he made a mistake. So yes, I do accept that apology. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t accept his apology.”
“When tens of millions of dollars in worldwide marketing and distribution costs are added in, Justice League (Warner Bros., 11.17), which carries a production budget of around $250 million according to several sources, would have to bring in a lofty sum of around $600 million from ticket sales alone and additional revenue from ancillaries like pay-TV and home entertainment in order to turn a profit.
“Warner Bros. executives are already concerned that the movie’s debut this weekend — projected to be $110 million — is less than what they had hoped for. In comparison, last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened to $166 million. The film will also face some competition over the upcoming holiday weekend from another big release, Disney/Pixar’s Coco, though the animated film skews younger. So far, early reaction to Justice League has been mixed among critics and fans. Some have panned it, while others have praised its lighter tone.” — from 11.16 Variety story by Ricardo Lopez.
Donald Crowhurst (1932–1969) was “a British businessman who died while competing in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a single-handed, round-the-world yacht race. Crowhurst had entered with the hope of winning a cash prize from The Sunday Times to aid his failing business. Instead, he encountered difficulty early in the voyage, and secretly abandoned the race while reporting false positions, in an attempt to appear to complete a circumnavigation without actually circling the world. Evidence found after his disappearance suggests that this attempt ended in possible insanity and suicide.”
With the exception of Matt Damon‘s name at the top (which I sliced off to save space), this is Paramount’s new Downsizing poster. Succinct, of course, but a little too minimalist. I’m more favorably disposed toward the tape-measure version, which I found on a New Zealand site.
I paid no attention to last July’s announcement about the “porgs” in The Last Jedi, or to a brief appearance by one in that recent Last Jedi trailer. But the Edvard Munch approach caught my eye. Porgs seem to be the new Ewoks (“a sea bird native to the planet Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker made his exile in the years following the victory over the Galactic Empire”), and are obviously not a good sign about the tone and temperament of Rian Johnson‘s film.
Invites to the first Last Jedi screenings arrived today — four, to be exact, on Monday, 12.11 on the Disney lot.
I really, really, really, really, really didn’t want to read this morning (or any morning for that matter) about Minnesota Sen. Al Franken being accused of groping and inappropriate kissing of a woman. Franken immediately apologized to his accuser, sports commentator Leann Tweeden, and to his staffers, allies and constituents.
The offensive acts happened during a 2006 U.S.O. tour of the Middle East, or two years before Franken was first elected Minnesota Senator.
I nod almost shoulder-shruggingly when women accuse loathsome Republicans like Donald Trump and Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual contact and/or groping or harassment (what else is new?), but it’s extremely distressing and even depressing when a brilliant liberal good-guy Senator gets hammered for same.
While this obviously lewd, frat-boyish photo indicates that groping was on Franken’s mind, it doesn’t show actual groping. There are shadows under Franken’s hands.
“The first thing I want to do is apologize,” Franken said in a statement. “To Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
Franken lightly disputed Tweeden’s claim of inappropriate kissing, saying “I don’t remember [the incident] as Leann does” but also that he understands “why we need to listen to and believe woman’s experiences.”
The principal facts aside, it can be fairly stated that a photo that Tweeden posted of Franken allegedly groping her breasts while she slept doesn’t actually show this. Vulgar and fratboyish as Franken’s behavior seemingly was, if you look closely Franken is pretending to grab her breasts without actually doing so. (He may or may not have followed through after the photo was taken.) The comedic thrust of the photo is about Franken pretending to be an asshole sixth-grader, as if he’s saying “hey, let’s see if I can get away with this while she’s asleep!”
It’s still pretty bad, though. Franken noted in his statement that “the intentions behind my actions aren’t the point at all.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah): “There are no cuts to Medicaid in this bill.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill (Missouri): “Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from? Is there a fairy that’s dropping it on the Senate? The money you’re spending is coming out of Medicaid [for] people making less than $50,000.”
Orrin Hatch: "There are no cuts to Medicaid in this bill."
Claire McCaskill: "Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from? Is there a fairy that's dropping it on the Senate? The money you're spending is coming out of Medicaid." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/Y0F1mv1DTp
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 15, 2017
The 2017 Key West Film Festival kicked off last night with a screening of Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water at the San Carlos Institute. It was preceded by a slightly out-of-focus Skype message from GDT. Critics Kenny Turan and Joshua Rothkopf offered some post-screening analysis and introspection. An after-party happened at the Audobon House, and then a follow-up gathering at the Green Parrot for the truly hardcore.
Southern Florida has been slowly recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, but so far I haven’t noticed much structural damage to Key West homes and businesses. Yesterday I spotted two homes on Simonton Street that are having their siding replaced [below], but not much else. Maybe there’s been a more vigorous clean-up effort here. During yesterday’s southward drive I noticed much more damage in Big Pine Key and Marathon.
This year’s Centerpiece film will be Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name (Friday at 5:30 pm, San Carlos Institute), featuring a discussion with Rothkopf, Turan, Brian Brooks and Eugene Hernandez of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The closing night film, selected by Rothkopf, is Richard Linklater‘s Last Flag Flying (Saturday at 6 pm, Sam Carlos Institute).
Other critics in attendance: Eric Kohn of IndieWire, Alison Willmore of BuzzFeed News, Rolling Stone‘s David Fear, myself, Shirrel Rhodes of the Key West Citizen and and Steve Dollar.
The KWFF is also showing I, Tonya, Borg/McEnroe, The Leisure Seeker, The Square, Spettacolo, Lucky, Dog Years and The Fabulous Allan Carr (Saturday, 11.18 at 3:30) among many others.
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