I’d vote for either Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar against Trump in the general. Along with Bernie or Pete or Typewriter Joe. Any of them would be a huge improvement. But where’s the polling data that says Warren or Klobuchar would be a formidable Trump opponents? This is my concern.
I hadn’t seen David O. Russell‘s Three Kings in roughly eight or nine years. Caught the late ’99 theatrical opening, and then an HD streaming version a few years ago on Amazon or Vudu. I’ve never been a huge fan. It pushes too hard. Too much yelling, shooting, confusion and chaos during the first 45 minutes. Yes, it eventually calms down. I respect the humanitarian arc during the last 45 to 50 minutes.
All to say that I watched it again yesterday afternoon inside Santa Barbara’s Lobero theatre, and then listened to Russell and SBIFF director Roger Durling talk it over for 45 or 50 minutes. Unfortunately the amplified sound was a little too boomy and bassy. I could understand portions of the discussion, but not all of it. If you don’t believe me, listen to the sound on the video I took. Russell: “Boom-didda-bamala-dah…betabud…budda-waddah-maddah-fig…biddy,” etc.
I naturally wanted to ask Russell about Amsterdam, the Disney/Fox film that he’s reportedly intending to direct with Christian Bale in the lead. Margot Robbie, Jamie Foxx and Angelina Jolie are allegedly being considered for supporting roles.
Alas, Durling didn’t open things up for audience questions, and I couldn’t find either of them after the event ended.
Tell me I’m dreaming. Tell me I’ll wake up soon. And if not, stab me with a #2 pencil. Bong Joon-ho‘s Parasite has won the SAG Best Ensemble Award, or the guild’s equivalent of the Best Picture award. As Beetlejuice would say, “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!”
Which means the heat has been slightly turned down on 1917, which last night won the top prize (Daryl F. Zanuck award) from the Producer’s Guild, and there’s a better-than-decent chance that Parasite, a finely crafted, widely respected but far from masterful social-inequity drama hampered by crude writing during the second half, might win the Best Picture Oscar. Maybe. Possibly. You tell me.
The Academy can’t give it the Best International Feature Oscar and the Best Picture Oscar…no! They can’t do this!
Parasite lead actor Song Kang-ho said tonight that “the [film’s] story is about coexistence and how we can all live together…to be honored with a best ensemble, it occurs to me maybe we haven’t created such a bad movie.”
I’m sorry but that’s total bullshit. Parasite is about the greatly suffering underclass and the absolute indifference to their situation on the part of the super wealthy. The story is about how a poor family (dad, mom, son, daughter) manages to con a rich family into giving them all cushy jobs, and it ends with the bloody slaughter of three people (two poor, one rich) during a backyard children’s party. Has Song Kang-ho lost his mind?
SAG has also saluted the same acting contenders that everyone else has gone for…Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt, Laura Dern.
Clark: “You like coffee?” Ryan: “Yeah, I like coffee.” Clark: “Try the Lindo brand.”
I really miss this kind of bucks-up, perfectly written, reality-based, exquisitely performed thriller. A little more than a quarter-century old. Not aimed at pot-bellied fantasy dweebs but 25-and-older types who’d been to college for a year or two and would actually pay to see movies like this.
The splendor of 52 year-old Harrison Ford, still riding that peak superstar surge that began with Witness in ’85, playing the best Jack Ryan ever. Masterful direction by Phillip Noyce, produced by Mace Neufeld. Costarring Willem Dafoe, James Earl Jones, Joaquim de Almeida, Miguel Sandoval, Henry Czerny, Harris Yulin, Donald Moffat, etc.
Flush budget, finely polished, beautifully scored by the late James Horner. Written by John Milius, Donald E. Stewart and Steven Zaillian. As good as this sort of thing ever got.
This kind of big-studio product is dead and gone, of course. The corporations lost interest in films of this sort…what, 15 years ago? 20? Gone with the fucking wind.
I’ve watched Arthur Hiller and Paddy Chayefsky‘s The Hospital seven or eight times, but until this morning I’d never read portions of Chayefsky’s actual script. The pre-dialogue intro hums with sardonic perspective and architectural exactitude. In a word, brilliant.
I’m imagining what it must have been like to read it cold in ’70, before filming. This kind of writing has always been rare; it’s almost nonexistent today.
Scott Dworkin tweet — 1/16/20, 4:43 pm: “Lev Parnas said he was going to release videos and photos of him with Trump every time Trump says he doesn’t know him. Trump just [did that]. Lev followed through with a video of Trump introducing him to a Ukrainian businessman last December. Awesome.”
Last night’s Virtuoso panel was an all-Millennial affair — the oldest of the eight panelists were 33-year-old Aldis Hodge (the death-row guy in Clemency) and Harriet‘s Cynthia Erivo, and the youngest was 24 year-old Florence Pugh (Little Women, Midsommar).
And in the annals of SBIFF ’20, it was easily the most entertaining. In HE’s…hell, everyone’s estimation the funniest or most spirited were (in this order) The Farewell‘s Awkwafina (31), Erivo and Hodge.
There was a two-minute musical portion in which Hodge, Egerton and especially Erivo totally killed a capella. Erivo delivered a note-perfect imitation of Tina Turner singing the Beyond Thunderdome theme song, Hodge sang two or three lines from Kanye West‘s “Gold Digger” and Egerton imitated George Michael singing “Faith.” [Around the 14:00 mark.]
Moderator Dave Karger pronounced George Mackay’s last name as “Mc-KEYE“, by the way. News to me.
Four of the group — MacKay, Awkwafina, Feldstein and Russell — starred in truly exceptional releases last year. No debate about this, I presume.
Pugh gets special points for Midsommar, a bit less so for Little Women. Rocketman was good, not great. (And Karger didn’t ask Egerton if Jeff Sneider‘s mention about his having inviting the Hollywood Foreign Press Ditto to his birthday party was true or not). The respectable Clemency was overpraised — be honest.
The only bummer part came when Karger asked everyone to name a seminal movie from their youth. Hodge mentioned Lost Boys and Bad Boys. Erivo cited Mahogany and The Color Purple. Feldstein mentioned Funny Girl (and was then advised by Erivo to see Funny Lady). Egerton’s big childhood movie was The Muppets Christmas Carol. MacKay recalled The Jungle Book and Gladiator. Pugh mentioned Bend It Like Beckham. Pugh named My Cousin Vinny and Scary Movie. Russell mentioned Brendan Fraser‘s The Mummy.
Due respect but the Movie Godz are weeping. What a communal film heritage! As in decline and fall of everything, Western civilization included.
Following its decisive win at the Producers Guild of America Awards Saturday night, Sam Mendes’ 1917 appears fated to win the Best Picture Oscar. Maybe. Probably. Don’t look now but the Gold Derby spitballers need to recalibrate their Best Picture predictions. Out of 21 forecasters, only five are currently predicting Mendes’ World War I epic to win the top prize. Most of the GD “experts” have Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood in their top slot. Who knows how it’ll finally shake out?
22 days before the 2.9 Oscar telecast, 11 out of 19 Gold Derby spitballers believe that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will take the Best Picture Oscar. Is 1917 surging more than some of us realize? Has the “Parasite could take it” cheering section finally given up? And why not Joker?
I blew off the Bad Boys For Life all-media screening, and since arriving in Santa Barbara I haven’t found the time or motivation to buy a ticket. Partly because I know what a 75% Rotten Tomato rating of an allegedly harmless-but-mediocre AA comedy means. It means 25% of the critics are being honest and the other 75% are playing it safe.
Then again the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence comedy is expected to bring in close to $70 million over the four-day Martin Luther King weekend. If it’s all the same I’ll catch it when it goes to streaming.
What’s the HE community consensus?
How did Elizabeth Warren help anything or anyone by claiming that Bernie Sanders privately told her he didn’t think a woman could be elected President? Or, as Bill Maher put it last night, “playing the woman card”?
My guess is that Sanders might have said something that sounded like “a woman can’t beat Trump in 2020” but wasn’t specifically that. Maybe he meant that Warren’s ability to beat Trump in the 2020 election was limited because of the schoolmarm thing, or that Kamala Harris didn’t have it either because she’s too short (5’2″) or something else. The kind of blunt shop talk that people share with each other behind closed doors.
Maybe Bernie is a secret sexist, but he sure hasn’t spoken that way over the years. He wanted Warren to run in ’16, you’ll recall, but she demurred.
If you have a spare 50 minutes, please watch last night’s Adam Driver interview at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson asked the right succinct questions and stayed out of the way for the most part, allowing the Marriage Story star and Best Actor nominee to dispense his dry, amusingly honest, occasionally self-deprecating patter.
I was sitting in the third row and realizing that I’d never really paid attention to Driver’s interview shtick and muttering “wow, great stuff…he’s so smart and fleet and hip to the bullshit.”
The easiest way is to just watch Driver in action, but if you insist on a description…okay, here goes. He’s a brilliant raconteur. He’s also a clever and darting conversationalist, almost on the level of a stand-up comedian. He constantly digresses and frequently re-defines what he’s saying, and I mean in a way that’s very off-handed and matter-of-fact and quite funny.
Sample Driver riff, imagined by HE: “The guy looked like a walrus with long brown whiskers and the body of an under-inflated beach ball…well, not a beach ball exactly but he had what anyone would describe as exercise and dietary issues…well, I don’t really know what his diet is but if you told me he eats nothing but pasta and banana cream pies and pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream I wouldn’t be surprised…okay, maybe surprised as I don’t believe anyone could stay alive after eating that crap day after day but either way he looks like Mr. Creosote…I hope I never look that way.” **
No questions about “Please Mr. Kennedy” — too familiar, over-discussed.
I don’t care what Driver says about Kylo Ren. Trust me, he doesn’t miss him a bit. He likes the money but that’s par for the course.
Marriage Story costar Scarlett Johansson (aka “ScarJo”) was also supposed to sit down with Thompson, but she bailed at the last minute. She was in Santa Barbara yesterday afternoon, staying with b.f. Colin Jost at the five-star Miramar but became “violently ill” around dinner hour.
Whatever actually happened is her business, but I’m generally suspicious of people who use the term “violently ill.” It’s overly dramatic. Sounds like they’re trying too hard. I’ve been ill from time to time, but never “violently” ill. What is that anyway? You’re so ill you start turning over tables and slugging people?
I tried to file yesterday afternoon about Thursday night’s Renee Zellweger tribute, but I fell behind. She’s a very skilled performer in all senses of that term, social included. She’s unfailingly demure, gracious, low-key but always with a chuckle or a quip. She has the Best Actress Oscar in the bag so it’s all smooth sliding at this point. THR‘s Scott Feinberg handled the interview like a pro.