With no press screenings of Babak Najafi‘s Proud Mary (Screen Gems, 1.12), a presumably shitty hitwoman thriller starring Taraji P. Henson, enterprising journos will have to buy a ticket….fine. The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore caught a showing last night: “Thursday’s early-bird screenings were held far, far from neighborhoods known to harbor film critics,” he writes. “At one such theater in Brooklyn, an auditorium the size of Montana held fewer than a dozen paying customers at showtime.” I was 90% persuaded last month that Proud Mary was a stinker when I laid eyes on that Afro-Medusa one-sheet. Should or shouldn’t I inject chemical cleaning fluid into my forearm?
This Anderson Cooper essay addresses President Trump’s “shithole countries” remark. Having often reported from and vacationed in Haiti, Cooper shares some observations about the character of the Haitian people. The clip runs 2 minutes, 32 seconds. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, at least go to the 1:20 mark and listen for 25 or 30 seconds.
Earnest gratitude to Critics Choice honchos Joey Berlin and John DeSimio for honoring me with a great seat (table #8, right next to the Mudbound crew) at tonight’s award ceremony at Barker Hangar. And congrats to all the winners. Yes, including Get Out director Jordan Peele, who won for Best Original Screenplay as well as Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film.
I respectfully disagreed with two or three of the choices (particularly Allison Janney winning the Best Supporting Actress award for I, Tonya instead of Lady Bird‘s Laurie Metcalf) but I’m getting a pretty good idea how the Oscars will shake out now, and I can feel the spirit leaking out of me. The herd has spoken. I just want to move on.
The Shape of Water and Guillermo del Toro took the Best Picture and Best Director trophies. Darkest Hour‘s Gary Oldman beat Call Me By Your Name‘s Timothee Chalamet. Three Billboards‘ Sam Rockwell won for Best Supporting Actor. James Ivory‘s Call Me By Your Name screenplay won in the Best Adapted category, and Roger Deakins‘ lensing of Blade Runner 2049 won for Best Cinematogrqphy — strictly an inside-baseball political call because Deakins has been snubbed for so many years.
The phone-drop joke made me laugh, and that in itself suggested a thought: Will Tully (Focus Features, 4.20) bring director Jason Reitman back to that place that he used to own? After the winning streak of Thank You For Smoking, Juno and Up In The Air, the poor guy went into free-fall for two or three years with the disastrously received Labor Day and then Men, Women & Children. I for one was saying to myself, “Jesus, what’s happened here?”
Tully is obviously a “sensitive” Duplassy-type family relationship thing, and the teaser-trailer doesn’t even acquaint the viewer with the titular character (played by Mackenzie Davis). But it feels good. Charlize Theron, Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston; written by Diablo Cody.
I know James Franco slightly or vaguely. Three or four face-times over the last decade or so. He was close with an ex-girlfriend, WordTheatre‘s Cedering Fox, to whom he had donated some time and energy.
And now he’s facing the guillotine for having over-stepped and exploited. I’m not defending him. I don’t know anything one way or the other, but I don’t think he should be disappeared. He might have to offer a lot of make-ups and maybe do a sabbatical for a year or two, but a person who’s been pulled over for intoxicated driving shouldn’t be shot by a firing squad.
I was texting with a guy this morning about yesterday’s L.A. Times story about Franco’s alleged misdeeds. Guy: “So the Franco piece isn’t as damning as I had imagined it would be. He’ll be okay.” Me: “That’s not the way it tends to work. People don’t differentiate as a rule, and once you’ve been fingered you’re as good as dead. Why do you think it’s not that bad?” Guy: “I think it falls in line with the same caliber of creepiness that Louis CK or Lars von Trier are dealing with. No rape or physical assault, just general harassment.”
Recently there’s been a fresh wave of accusations against Woody Allen. Again. The last time I checked, and especially after reading Robert Weide’s 12.13.17 summary of the certainly debatable 25 year-old allegations against Allen, I thought the matter had been more or less put to bed. Move on, let sleeping dogs lie, etc.
Weide’s piece was posted in response to Dylan Farrow’s 12.7 L.A. Times essay that asked why Woody has escaped a #MeToo slapdown. But any fair assessment of the facts suggests that Dylan’s accusation is, at the very least, clouded by uncertainty. Just take ten minutes and read the Weide piece. It’s all there. Really.
Nonetheless the tide has recently turned, and we’re now back in a Crucible-like environment, and more or less due to three things.
One, that Richard Morgan Washington Post piece about Allen’s obsession with teenaged girls, as evidenced by certain scripts he’s written. Two, Greta Gerwig‘s declaration that she’ll never work with Allen again. And three, Mira Sorvino‘s open letter to Dylan Farrow (i.e., “I believe you”).
Something snapped inside when Hunter Lurie, the son of director and HE pally Rod Lurie, asked this morning why no one has queried Timothy Chalamet about a controversial-sounding Allen film, A Rainy Day in New York, that he co-stars in.
I took this to mean that Lurie believes that Chalamet needs to follow in Gerwig and Sorvino’s footsteps, etc. He claimed otherwise, but he also tweeted that he suspects that A Rainy Day in New York, which partly focuses on a 40ish guy (Jude Law) in a reportedly unconsummated relationship with a much younger woman (Elle Fanning), might become a hot potato and perhaps not even be released due to the real-life echoes.
The Directors Guild of America membership has an infuriating if not infamous decision to live down.
It has not only backhanded the brilliant Call Me By Your Name helmer Luca Guadagnino (i.e., “Sorry but the Oscars already did the gay thing last year with Moonlight, and we feel too gayed-out to go there again”) but has nominated Get Out director Jordan Peele twice(!!) — for its top-dog feature-film award award as well as a possible trophy for being the best first-time director.
This is impossible, ridiculous. I give up. Sheepthink, no justice, just politics. The fix is in.
For the top feature film award the DGA also nominated Lady Bird‘s Greta Gerwig, The Shape of Water‘s Guillermo del Toro, Three Billboards‘ Martin McDonaugh and Dunkirk‘s Christopher Nolan.
Other first-time nominees are Taylor Sheridan (Wind River), Aaron Sorkin, Geremy Jasper (Patti Cake$) and William Oldroyd (Lady Macbeth).
The Post‘s Steven Spielberg wasn’t nominated, and this, I fear, is the final death knell. The Post — ironically my favorite Spielberg film since Saving Private Ryan — will most likely not be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
Other blow-offs include The Florida Project‘s Sean Baker, Mudbound‘s Dee Rees and The Beguiled‘s Sofia Coppola.
Who will take the top honor? Del Toro, I suspect, although I would give it to Nolan without blinking an eye.
Received from a New York guy who gets around: “What a kick in the groin to Steven Spielberg and Luca Guadagnino. I’m talking of course about the double-down bet the DGA just placed on Jordan Peele. If he’s a newcomer — and that’s how I think he should be considered — he doesn’t belong in both categories.”