Read Dade Hayes‘ 12.4 Deadline story about an “agonizing” confrontation last night between HBO’s John Oliver and Dustin Hoffman. The topic was allegedly inappropriate sexual behavior on Hoffman’s part back in the ’80s and ’90s, or at least what Oliver regarded as legitimate reports about same. Oliver grilled Hoffman like Perry Mason for roughly 30 minutes on this topic. According to Hayes Hoffman arched his back, disputed and took offense. Hayes’ account is fascinating. The Washington Post‘s Steven Zeitchik posted the below video clip.
If you’ve seen The Post and thereby enjoyed Tom Hanks‘ performance as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (as I have twice), you won’t want to miss the new HBO doc about the legendary newsman, premiering tonight at 8 pm.
It’s called The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee. The director is John Maggio. 10:59 pm update: Just finished watching it. A masterful job of explaining a fascinating life, the narration written and spoken by Bradlee himself. Drills right in, no beating around the bush, emotionally affecting to boot, especially during the last five minutes.
CNN’s Brian Lowry: “The Trump administration’s campaign against mainstream journalism provides a timely backdrop to [this] deeply personal, utterly fascinating portrait of the late Washington Post editor’s above-the-fold life.
“Bradlee and the newsroom that he led embodied the romance of journalism, during a pre-digital era when a celebrity editor wielded power in a manner that seemingly stood considerably taller than what’s possible in today’s whittled-down and diffused media landscape.
“At the risk of burying the lead, anyone who cares about journalism — then and now — won’t have any regrets about watching The Newspaperman either.”
What kind of an irresponsible, fly-off-the-handle director gets into fierce fights with cast members on a major motion picture, abandons the set in the middle of shooting, and in so doing goads the powers-that-be to fire his ass? What name-brand director is this fiercely devoted to self-destruction?
The trades have announced that 20th Century Fox has whacked Singer, three days after halting production due to the the 52-year-old helmer’s “unexpected unavailability.” The studio’s statement was terse: “Bryan Singer is no longer the director of Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Bryan Singer, former director of Behomian Rhapsode.
Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury.
Earlier this evening Singer released a statement through his attorney: “Bohemian Rhapsody is a passion project of mine. With fewer than three weeks to shoot remaining, I asked Fox for some time off so I could return to the U.S. to deal with pressing health matters concerning one of my parents. This was a very taxing experience, which ultimately took a serious toll on my own health.
“Unfortunately, the studio was unwilling to accommodate me and terminated my services,” Singer claims. “This was not my decision and it was beyond my control.”
According to a 12.4 Hollywood Reporter story by BorysKit and Kim Masters, the decision to fire Singer “reflected a growing clash between Singer and actor Rami Malek and was caused by Singer’s being missing from the set.
“Trouble began when Singer went absent during production on several occasions. His no-shows resulted in cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel having to step in to helm some of the days while Singer was missing. Tom Hollander, who plays Queen manager Jim Beach, also is said to have briefly quit the film because of Singer’s behavior, but was persuaded to return, according to one source.
“Malek complained to the studio, charging Singer with not being present on set, unreliability and unprofessionalism.
“Singer had been warned before production began by both Fox Film chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and Fox Film vice chairman and president of production Emma Watts that they wouldn’t tolerate any unprofessional behavior on his part.
From Xan Brooks’ Guardian review, dated 9.2.17: “America’s love affair with LSD did not begin in Haight-Ashbury or during the summer of love, with tie-dyed flower children frolicking in city parks. Instead it was seeded in less airy surroundings; in Midwestern laboratories and government offices, where it comprised one strand of an extensive germ warfare programme. At the rustic log club-house, underneath the mounted elk’s head, revellers drank spiked punch poured by CIA factotums. Inevitably some of these victims went clean off the rails.
“Wormwood, Errol Morris’s splendidly clammy, mysterious docudrama, reopens the file on Frank Olson, a jobbing biochemist who fell to his death from a New York hotel. At the time (December 1953) Olson’s death was ruled to be suicide. But 20 years later evidence emerged that complicated the official verdict and prompted Olson’s family to sue the federal government. Even today elderly Eric Olson is in search of a definitive answer. He casts himself in the role of a Cold War Hamlet, haunted and harried by his father’s ghost.
To accommodate a 12.7 voting deadline, members of the Hollywood Foreign Press are today attending the first-anywhere screenings of Ridley Scott‘s All The Money In The World (TriStar, 12.22). No one else has heard anything so I’m figuring it’ll screen for the rest of us sometime next week. Speaking for myself I’d be delighted to see the rejiggered Christopher Plummer version this week. Remember that in an 11.29 EW piece, Scott told Sara Vilkommerson that “everything I’ve shot [since 11.20] is already in the final cut up through yesterday morning.” And the interview was given, mind, on Thanksgiving Day. Before today I hadn’t looked at the photo of Scott that ran with the Vilkommerson piece. Classic.
I am Warren Beatty, standing next to Faye Dunaway and before 40-odd million American viewers, and I open the ritzy envelope containing the winner of 2016’s Best Picture Oscar, and I see the name “Emma Stone.” Hmmm. I smile sheepishly, shake my head a couple of times and say the following: “I’m afraid…I’m afraid that this is one of those amusing moments that require…what’s the phrase?…that require further clarification. And it’s not a problem, just need a few seconds. (Chuckling) This is actually good for the show, I think, because we now have an extra element of suspense to contend with. But I’m…I’m sorry but I’m looking at something that doesn’t seem quite right, and I’d like Jimmy Kimmel — Jimmy? where are you? — I’d like Jimmy to come up and offer his…uhm, offer his expert opinion. No biggie, we just need to be sure….Jimmy?”
Ridley Scott‘s All The Money In The World screens today for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but the rest of us will be on hold until, I’m presuming, next week. This aside I’ve seen almost everything (not all but most) and so here, almost finally, are HE’s Best Films of 2017 — chosen not on the basis of award-season heat but for their own engaging qualities, finessed and shaded in their own particular way. Certain films in the ’17 Oscar Derby will do a fast fade after 3.4.18, but a good percentage of these will stir some level of interest 10, 20 or even 50 years hence.
Top ten: (1) Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me My Your Name, (2) Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk, (3) Greta Gerwig‘s Lady Bird, (4) Darren Aronofsky‘s mother!, (5) Ruben Ostlund‘s The Square, (6) Matt Reeves‘ War For The Planet of the Apes, (7) Oliver Assayas‘ Personal Shopper [2016 holdover], (8) Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick, (9) Steven Spielberg‘s The Post, (9) Cristian Mungiu‘s Graduation [2016 holdover], and (10) Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Loveless.
Honorable fraternity: (11) Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, (12) Edgar Wright‘s Baby Driver, (13) Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project, (14) Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water, (15) David Lowery‘s A Ghost Story, (16) David Gordon Green‘s Stronger, (18) Fatih Akin‘s In The Fade, (19) Brad Pitt‘s War Machine, (20) Joseph Kosinski‘s Only The Brave, (21) Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Phantom Thread, (22) Jordan Peele‘s Get Out, (23) Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049, (24) Patti Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman, (25) Taylor Sheridan‘s Wind River, (26) Steven Soderbergh‘s Logan Lucky, (27) Geremy Jasper‘s Patty Cake$ and (28) John Curran‘s Chappaquiddick (saw it in Toronto, opening in April ’18).
Four words automatically come to mind when I think of senior Indiewire critic David Ehrlich — “brilliant if occasionally deranged.” I will never forgive Ehrlich for praising Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight as “a national treasure” and “The Thing meets an early John Ford movie”…never! He is, however, a skilled editor with a talent for artful finessing of film clips, and so kudos to this 25 Best Films of 2017 reel. There are some choices that I deeply disagree with (Okja, Wonderstruck, Good Time), but at least Ehrlich’s picks aren’t as wackjobby as Esquire‘s Nick Schager. One comment: Too many Baby Driver clips?
Ehrlich picks (HE commentary when warranted): 1. Call Me by Your Name, 2. Dunkirk, 3. A Ghost Story, 4. Personal Shopper, 5. The Florida Project, 6. Columbus (haven’t seen it), 7. Lady Bird, 8. Faces Places (haven’t seen it — apologies), 9. The Post, 10. Phantom Thread, 11. A Quiet Passion (haven’t seen it), 12. Okja (“dreadful, cliche-ridden, odiously endearing”), 13. Wonderstruck (“tediously passionate”), 14. Good Time (“the punchiest and craziest film to play during the [2017 Cannes Film Festival], but I can’t abide stupidity, and after 40 minutes of watching these simpletons hold up a bank and run around and ruthlessly use people to duck the heat I was praying that at least one of them would get shot or arrested”), 15. The Beguiled, 16. Get Out, 17. Thelma (didn’t see it), 18. The Big Sick, 19. Foxtrot, 20. A Fantastic Woman, 21. Lady Macbeth, 22. mother!, 23. Baby Driver, 24. The Lure (didn’t see it), 25. All These Sleepless Nights (didn’t see it).
Hollywood Elsewhere is offering a limited apology to the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for calling them “eccentric foodies” and the “bagel, cream cheese and sliced onion guys” prone to “doing that nutty LAFCA thing.” Not that I was insincere two days ago when I posted a riff about their tendency to almost obsessively celebrate outliers and oddballs, but yesterday they did a fairly glorious thing by giving three big trophies to Call Me By Your Name — Best Picture, Best Director (Luca Guadagnino, shared with The Shape of Water‘s Guillermo del Toro) and Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet). They also gave a split Best Foreign Language Film award to Andrej Zvagintsev‘s Loveless, which has been on HE’s top fave list since last May. I reserve the right to hold onto those bagel-and-cream cheese jokes — LAFCA is known as the film critics group that chows down halfway through voting — but right now they deserve a salute and a pass.
I’ve been doodling around with my nominating ballot for the Broadcast Film Critics Association, which is due no later than 9 pm on Monday, 12.4. I know where I stand, but I’m also half-open to suggestions. I don’t want to necessarily swim with the minnows — I have my own leanings, convictions, instincts. Why, then, am I asking for thoughts? Because submitting to slings and arrows might remind me of something I’ve put aside or forgotten about. Note: Most of the BFCA categories ask for three nominees, but I’m listing five anyway.
BEST PICTURE: 1. Call Me By Your Name, 2. Lady Bird, 3. Dunkirk, 4. mother!, 5. The Post.
BEST DIRECTING: 1. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name; 2. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird; 3. Darren Aronofsky, mother!, 4. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk; 5. Steven Spielberg, The Post.
BEST ACTOR: 1. Timothy Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name, 2. James Franco, The Disaster Artist, 3. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour, 4. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger, 5. Tom Hanks, The Post.
BEST ACTRESS: 1. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird; 2. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, 3. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water; 4. Meryl Streep, The Post; 5. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: 1. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name; 2. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project; 3. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri; 4. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound; 5. Kevin Costner, Molly’s Game.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: 1. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird; 2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya; 3. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound; 4. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick; 5. Melissa Leo, Novitiate.
There are many other categories — Best Young Actor/Actress, Best Acting Ensemble, Best Screenwriting (Original and Adapted), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Hair & Makeup, Best Action Movie, Best Comedy, et. al. — but I’ll get into these tomorrow.
Surely Chris Pratt understands that he can’t continue to star in light-hearted, mock-ironic fantasy jizz films indefinitely, one after another after another. The man keeps inhaling helium — The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, The Magnificent Seven, Passengers, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Untitled Avengers film. I don’t believe that any actor, no matter how engaging or popular he may seem on talk shows, can continue to make empty movies indefinitely. Every fourth or fifth film that a marquee-brand actor has to at least aspire to something real and soulful. It an actor performs in nothing but paycheck movies, sooner or later the well will run dry. Within the next two or three years Pratt has to deliver an honest, well-honed performance in a movie about real life, real people, etc. The last intelligent, human-scaled film Pratt made was Her, and it wasn’t even his.
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