“Just as the Kavalry activate their system, Trieu teleports the setup to downtown Tulsa, finding Joe has become ooze, and kills the Cyclops leadership. Before Trieu kills him, Manhattan uses the distraction to teleport Veidt, Laurie, and Wade to Karnak, where Veidt reworks his squid-rain system to send frozen squid to pulverize Trieu’s device; killing Trieu in the process. Angela takes shelter in the theater where Will and her children are; where Will explains Manhattan had worked with him to bring about this necessary conclusion. While cleaning up eggs from the night before, Angela recalls Manhattan’s statement about transferring his powers through an organic medium. Finding one unbroken egg, Angela eats it and attempts to walk on water as she saw Manhattan do the night before.” — from synopsis of final episode (#9) of Damon Lindelof‘s Watchmen series, which concluded last night.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Democrat, Michigan’s 8th district) was booed by rightwing lunatics as she explained her decision to vote to to impeach President Trump. The 43 year-old Slotkin previously worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and for the Director of National Intelligence. She was a senior advisor on Iraq policy at the U.S. State Department, and worked for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy as an advisor on Middle East policy. In 2012 she became chief of staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, and later that year was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy. Last November she defeated Rep. Mike Bishop, a Trump-supporting rightie, with 50.6% of the vote.
What I’m absorbing from this new Maverick: Top Gun teaser is Tom Cruise‘s Maverick doing loop-dee-loops in the manner of Han Solo flying the Millennium Falcon…a lot of wild-ass, bordering-on-reckless stuff. Plus the usual testosterone shenanigans, some of which alarms Jon Hamm‘s three-star admiral. Plus confirmation that Jennifer Connelly‘s “single mother running a bar near the Naval base” is in fact an age-appropriate romantic partner for Maverick. And yaddah yaddah.
There’s a brief shot of a flag-draped coffin so who buys it? My money’s on either Miles Teller‘s “Rooster” Bradshaw or Monica Barbaro‘s “Phoenix”.
Boilerplate: “When Maverick finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission, he encounters the chip-off-the-old-block son of Maverick’s late friend ‘Goose’ Bradshaw. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will fly it.”
Posted on 7.18.19: “San Diego-based fighter pilots!….the aura of studly military rock stars, coping with buried anger and the burden of expectations, brusque and strapping and throwing their heads back in laughter while playing piano in a honky tonk.
“And the women who both love and compete with them. With the big climactic test of skill and character looming. And so on.
“I haven’t read the script (co-authored by Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Christopher McQuarrie and Eric Warren Singer) but I want a scene in which Cruise tells Connelly that Kelly McGillis‘ Charlie Blackwood left him for another woman, and then (beat, beat) Connelly tells Cruise, ‘Yeah, I know…it was me.’ Or: ‘I’m sorry, that’s tough. (beat) She left me too.’
Last week gender-equity gendarmes were shocked and appalled after Greta Gerwig’s Little Women was shafted by the total absence of Golden Globe and SAG awards noms. An apparently reactionary “male tsunami” factor had kicked in, and alarm bells sounded far and wide. To be sure, N.Y. Times reporters Nicole Sperling and Brooks Barnes echoed the concern.
The distress signals were heard in Boston, I can tell you, for yesterday the Boston Society of Film Critics offered reassuring hugs of support for Little Women by handing it three top awards — Best Film, Best Ensemble and Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan‘s performance as Jo March). Beantown crix had Little Women’s six
But that was almost nothing compared to this morning’s Little Women endorsement by the Capri, Hollywood Int’l Film Festival. Gerwig’s coming-of-age period drama will open the celebrated annual gathering on 12.27.
I think it’s safe to say that after the Boston-Capri one-two punch (plus Best Screenplay trophies from Chicago and Kansas City critics plus a Windy City Best Supporting Actress award for Florence Pugh) that Little Women has regained momentum, turned the tide and is now poised to land a Best Picture Oscar nom. (Right?) Were she with us Agnes Varda would almost certainly concur.
Four views of life conveyed by Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight:
(1) When much of the world has come to believe that your well-known organization is racially biased (i.e., #OscarsSoWhite), choose a Best Picture nominee that will demonstrate or at least indicate otherwise;
(2) There’s nothing like a barely pubescent handjob on the beach to lend conviction and clarity to your sensual vistas;
(3) If you’re a frail, delicate wimpy sort in your childhood and early teens, don’t despair because you’ll develop into a strapping, brawny studly type when you hit your 20s and/or early 30s, especially if you get into a weight-lifting regimen in prison.
(4) Forget about sex in prison. Once the gates are slammed shut, celibacy is the rule and the reality.
You have to admire the marketing chutzpah of the distribution executive who calculated that a visually concise Saul Bass logo (is there any other kind?) would be more than sufficient to attract Times Square passers-by. You have to admire the certainty and the confidence. The applicable term is “balls.”
Jordan Ruimy: “What’s with The Irishman’s Joe Pesci getting all the awards love? Don’t critics realize that the film really picks up steam once Al Pacino shows up?”
HE: “From a critics group viewpoint, giving a supporting performance award to Pacino is too easy, too common, too knee-jerk, too peon. Giving it to Pesci indicates a deeper, more cultivated appreciation for the subtler aspects, not just in The Irishman but in all things.”
In the matter of Best Picture choosing, most people don’t vote for craft, texture, precision, expertise. These things are important to critics but not Academy and guild members as a rule; ditto Joe Popcorn for the most part.
The cliche is that industry people vote for films that radiate strong emotion, except in the instances of horror films like Chicago, The Artist, The King’s Speech and whatnot. What they really respond to, I’ve always believed, are narratives that pass along views about life that they recognize as real and truthful.
So what are the leading 2019 Best Picture candidates saying about our time here on earth, and which of these lessons or themes are the most compelling? Starting from the top…
[Click through to full story on HE-plus]
Robert De Niro to N.Y. Times‘ David Marchese: “This actor can’t remember lines, so he can’t get a job. A director he knows runs into him at the gas station where he’s working. The director says, ‘I have a play that in the third act, what you do is go and say, ‘Hark, I hear the cannons roar.’ Can I count on you to do that?” The actor says he’ll do it. He goes and rehearses, rehearses, rehearses. ‘Hark, I hear the cannons roar. Hark, I hear the cannons roar.’ On the day of the play, the third act comes and the actor runs out onstage. The cannon goes BOOM! and the actor goes, ‘The fuck was that?!'”
French nouvelle vague icon Anna Karina has passed at age 79. Her death has launched a thousand admiring obits, but her reputation mostly rests upon her starring roles in seven films for director Jean-Luc Godard, whom she married in ’61 and divorced in ’65 after a tumultuous relationship.
I know of six of these — The Little Soldier (’60), A Woman Is a Woman (’61 — resulting in Karina winning a Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival), Vivre sa vie (’62), Band of Outsiders (’64), Pierrot le Fou (’65) and Alphaville (ditto).
I feel tremendous respect for Karina’s place in history, but I honestly never felt profoundly struck or stirred or softened by her performances. This is a minority view.
In addition to her acting, Karina had a singing career (Serge Gainsbourg‘s “Sous le soleil exactement” and “Roller Girl”) and wrote four novels (“Vivre ensemble”, “Golden City”, “On n’achète pas le soleil”, “Jusqu’au bout du hasard”). A life fully lived by all accounts. Let’s leave it at that. Condolences to family, friends, colleagues, fans.
In the wake of the Golden Globe and SAG nominations blowoffs, Little Women has had its best award season day thus far. The Boston Society of Film Critics has given Greta Gerwig‘s coming-of-age period drama awards for Best Film, Best Ensemble and Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan) with Gerwig voted first runner-up for Best Director; ditto Florence Pugh for Best Supporting Actress runner-up.
Best Film: Little Women.
Runner Up: Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
HE reaction: BSFC stands up to Parasite, politely says “sorry, guys…the Bong sweep stops here.”
Best Director: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite.
Runner Up: Greta Gerwig, Little Women.
HE reaction: I’ve just been poked in the neck with a steak knife.
Best Ensemble Cast: Little Women.
HE reaction: Not so much — I prefer the Irishman team.
Runners-Up: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Parasite.
Best Actor: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems.
HE reaction: Agreed — a great crazy-fuck performance (and better than the film)
Runner up: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker.
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, Little Women.
HE reaction: At least they didn’t tumble for Lupita — they voted with their backbones.
Runners up: TIE between Her Smell‘s Elisabeth Moss (forget it) and Diane‘s Mary Kay Place (yes!)
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
Runner up: Joe Pesci, The Irishman.
HE reaction: Fine with both of these — I would’ve gone with Al Pacino‘s Jimmy Hoffa.
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, Marriage Story.
Runner up: Florence Pugh, Little Women.
HE reaction: Dern is a fine choice, Pugh not so much.
Best Screenplay: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,
Runners up: Marriage Story, Little Women.
As much as I admire Charlize Theron‘s Bombshell performance as Megyn Kelly (and particularly her physical transformation via Kazuhiro Tsuji‘s makeup-and-prosthetic finessing), I kind of like the Real McCoy better.
I watched Kelly on a Frontline “America’s Great Divide” thing on YouTube last night, and as much as I’m appalled by Kelly continuing to rationalize and otherwise cut The Beast a break (not to mention her hilarious contention that Yeshua of Nazareth was white) she’s more magnetic than the Theron version. Her mind is a ginsu blade; she’s fast and fleet. Theron’s Kelly is more emotional and conflicted — basically more actressy.
I realize that Bombshell is only playing in a few big-city theatres, but a fair percentage of HE readers must have seen it. I’ve called it “a smart and rousing David vs. Goliath crowd-pleaser for women (and guys!), and probably the craftiest and most persuasive testimonial for #MeToo that Hollywood has ever put on screen.” How strong of a Best Actress contender is Charlize? Don’t tell me she’s neck-and-neck with Lupita — not out here she isn’t. And what’s happened to the presumptive front-runner status for Judy‘s Renee Zellweger?