You did nothing wrong by saying you were happy that Rami Malek and Bohemian Rhapsody won at the Golden Globes tonight. The ones who did wrong were the fang-toothed Twitter fiends who went after you. Twitter is a toxic and cutthroat environment, inhabited by wild dogs. Don’t worry about it — you’re fine.
Alfonso Cuaron to Deadline‘s Anthony D’Allesandro: “My question to you is, how many theaters did you think that a Mexican film in black and white, in Spanish and Mixteco, that is a drama without stars — how big did you think it would be as a conventional theatrical release? It was not a cosmetic release…the movie opened more than a month ago and is still playing. That is rare for a foreign film. I think that is very unfair to say that. Why don’t you take the list of foreign films this year and compare the theatrical release to those things and for how long they’ve been playing? See how many are playing in 70 [millimeter.]”
HE to Cuaron: Netflix’s four-wall theatrical release of Roma plus all the festivals and the special 70mm engagements along with the streaming…cosmetic or not, this was the best possible way for Roma to have been released, all things considered.
I’m already shedding tears over the apparently inevitable Star Is Born wins at the Golden Globe awards, which kicks off in two hours. In this regard there’ll be no joy in Mudville today. Here’s hoping Rami Malek steals the Best Actor, Drama award from Bradley Cooper…at least that.
The guy who created this art was trying to slag me, of course, but it was mainly alluding to my genuine enthusiasm for the idea of Barack Obama hosting the Oscars. For the 8th or 9th time, Green Book is essentially a parent-child relationship saga. The child eventually sees past his own bullshit, grows up a bit….and that’s all.
Following yesterday’s At Eternity’s Gate event, Tatyana and I attended a screening of Marielle Heller‘s Can You Ever Forgive Me? at the London hotel. It was my fourth viewing, and the best-sounding presentation of all — I could hear each and every vowel and syllable as if the actors were standing right next to me. The q & a included Heller, presumed Best Actress nominee Melissa McCarthy, presumed Best Supporting Actor nominee Richard E. Grant, co-screenwriter Jeff Whitty, producers Anne Carey and Amy Nauiokas. Heller said they used a newfangled Panavision DXL camera, a relatively new device with a super-sharp 8K resolution. And then they de-tuned the lenses to make the image less perfect. Collider‘s Scott Mantz hosted the discussion.
David Leonhart‘s 1.5 N.Y. Times opinion piece, “The People vs. Donald J. Trump” (subhead: “He is demonstrably unfit for office — What are we waiting for?”) has attracted 2434 comments.
“The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ Since virtually the moment Donald J. Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it.
“He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied to the American people about his relationship with a hostile foreign government. He has tolerated cabinet officials who use their position to enrich themselves.
“To shield himself from accountability for all of this — and for his unscrupulous presidential campaign — he has set out to undermine the American system of checks and balances. He has called for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his allies. He has attempted to obstruct justice. He has tried to shake the public’s confidence in one democratic institution after another, including the press, federal law enforcement and the federal judiciary.
“The unrelenting chaos that Trump creates can sometimes obscure the big picture. But the big picture is simple: The United States has never had a president as demonstrably unfit for the office as Trump. And it’s becoming clear that 2019 is likely to be dominated by a single question: What are we going to do about it?”
Answer: Besides making a lot of noise, not all that much. The Republican-controlled Senate will never vote to convict Trump on impeachment charges. The only way out is to defeat him in 2020, and the only way that’ll happen is for the Democrats to nominate an X-factor charisma candidate — somebody in the vein of JFK, RFK, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, etc. In other words, the Dems have to christen Beto O’Rourke as their presidential nominee. Joe Biden is too old and ambivalent; Bernie Sanders is too old; Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have the voltage; Kamala Harris is too prosecutorial, etc.
The final episode of Ben Stiller‘s Escape at Donnemara (Showtime) airs tonight. I reviewed the series on 11.16.18 after streaming the whole thing via Showtime press access. Now that everyone’s seen the first seven episodes, what are some of the reactions?
Posted in mod November: “It’s an appropriately grim, throughly-delved-into saga of the Clinton Correctional prison break of 2015, and the schemings of convicted murderers Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano), and about the help they got from miserable prison worker Tilly Mitchell (Patricia Arquette), a married, middle-aged woman with whom both convicts had a sexual thing with.
“It’s mainly Arquette’s film (she’ll be nominated for an Emmy) with Del Toro and Dano delivering like the natural-born pros they are every time at bat.
benicio: i'm gonna say this line like i'm a scary monster ok
director: maybe just try it normal?
— adidas tiro 19 men's training pants (@bobby) January 6, 2019
“Escape at Dannemora is composed in spare, straight fashion — utilitarian, not overly shaded and certainly not arthousey, unpretentious. And oh boy, did I feel gloomed out by those bright green walls everywhere. If only state-prison walls were dark olive drab.
“Despite suggestions and metaphors contained in the word “escape”, Stiller’s film is mainly about the planning of the break. The first five episodes, to be exact, while simultaneously focusing on Matt, Sweat and Mitchell’s triangulated relationship. Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood‘s Escape From Alcatraz was also primarily about planning, but of course that whole film ran only 112 minutes.
“I honestly felt that this portion went on too long — that Stiller was more into keeping me locked up than offering what I wanted from the beginning, which was to savor those little tingles of freedom, however brief and despite the wrong kind of company. We all want to tag along when the door swings open.
During yesterday afternoon’s post-screening q & a at Soho House, At Eternity’s Gate director Julian Schnabel was asked to examine himself as he had examined Vincent Van Gogh in his film. Who is he, deep down? Schnabel answered, “I am my paintings and I am my films. Everything else is just heresay and chit-chat.”
HE answer to same question: “I am six things — my daily column, my personal history, the people I love (first and foremost my wife, sons and best friends but also beloved deceased persons like my parents, Cary Grant, John Lennon, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Lou Reed and numerous others), the places I’ve travelled to (both in inwardly and geographically), my cats and my shoes — principally my brown suede Bruno Magli lace-ups, the black Beatle boots, the black-and-white saddle shoes and the Johnston & Murphy brown-boot lace-ups. And the bulky motorcycle jacket and black cowboy hat. What is that, eight?”
Yesterday afternoon I sat for my second viewing of Julian Schnabel‘s At Eternity’ Gate (CBS Films), which I’ve come to regard as the finest Vincent Van Gogh flick ever made. The difference between it and, say, Vincent Minnelli and Kirk Douglas‘s Lust for Life or Robert Altman‘s Vincent and Theo is an absolute belief in Van Gogh’s inner light. It’s not a tourist’s view of the man, but a portrait of an artist by an artist — a “you are Van Gogh” dreamscape flick.
In the view of many Willem Dafoe‘s performance of this gentle, conflicted, angst-ridden impressionist is his best since playing Yeshua of Nazareth in Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ (’88). When I say “many” I mean the National Society of Film Critics, who yesterday morning decided that Dafoe’s performance was and is the year’s second finest, right after Ethan Hawke‘s tortured priest in Paul Schrader‘s First Reformed. That’s quite the ringing endorsement when you think of the competition.
As I said last October, At Eternity’s Gate “is more into intimate communion, intuitions, revelations.” It’s a channelling of the dreams, angels and and torment that surged within Van Gogh during the final chapter in his life, when he lived in Arles and St. Remy de Provence.
Schnabel and Dafoe sat for a q & a discussion following the screening, which happened at West Hollywood’s Soho House. After that everyone went down the hallway for a wine-and-sliders-and-swedish-meatballs gathering. HE’s own Phillip Noyce, who directed Dafoe in ’94’s Clear and Present Danger, was there; ditto producer Don Murphy.
Julian Schnabel: “The movie is about painting being above recognition. Above criticism. When you’re a younger artist, you want agreement from people. Later, you realize that what you’re doing is the thing and not the agreement from other people. I think Van Gogh was very successful. He accomplished what he wanted to do. He expressed the inexpressible. We’ve all projected this bourgeois concept about success. At a certain moment Van Gogh was, like, ‘I thought I was supposed to educate people and show them how to look at the world, but I stopped thinking about that — now I just think about my relationship to eternity, by which he meant the time to come.'”
HE interpretation by way of Tom Wolfe‘s “The Painted Word“: Van Gogh’s paintings didn’t strive to “reconstitute an anecdotal fact but constitute a pictorial fact.”
Willem Dafoe: “The idea was ‘painting what I see,’ and not painting a representation…of what I thought had to account for that thing in front of me…seeing is perception…Van Gogh is very haunted by this feeling, this vision of what he was, and he wants to share it…and I think that’s an interesting impulse…a classic artist’s impulse.”