Will someone who either presents or accepts an Oscar on the evening of Sunday, 2.24…will somebody in this small fraternity please go off script for 20 seconds and say that no one who cares about movies agrees with giving the bum’s rush to winners of the 2019 Oscars for best cinematography, film editing, live-action short and makeup/hairstyling? And that this is completely insulting to the people who’ve earned their moment of recognition in these realms. And that the ABC Disney execs who pushed for this exclusion need to apologize and then leave the room. Someone has to stand up and say this.
Earlier today I caught up with World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy and we talked about this and that — the continuing Best Picture puzzlement, the fact that only two out of 25 Gold Derby know-it-alls are picking Green Book to win at this stage, the mysterious disappearance of Vox Lux, the coming importance of Lulu Wang‘s The Farewell (which made Jordan cry), the inescapable impact of the forthcoming Leaving Neverland when it plays on HBO in early March, the fact that Nicole Kidman‘s raspy-voiced Destroyer performance never made it into the Oscar conversation and other pressing matters.
[Note: This conversation has no musical intro, no bells and whistles….just straight talk.
Director friend: “You really need to write your memoirs. Have you ever tried? You’d sell them and they’d likely become a film or TV series.”
HE: “I am writing my memoirs, after a fashion.”
Director friend: “Good for you! I think you could make a fortune. Your life has been interesting, very interesting. And, honestly, nobody in journalism writes better than you.”
HE: “By ‘after a fashion’ I meant that I’m writing them in daily column form.”
Director friend: “Increase your ambition…Jesus!You will end up making seven figures in the end. Fucking Glieberman wrote a memoir. So can you.”
HE: What was it that Terry Malloy said about ambition? ‘I always figured I’d live a little bit longer without it.'”
Remaking a great film is almost always a bad idea, but remaking a not-so-great, in-and-out one…maybe.
Hollywood Elsewhere agrees that Nichols’ 122-minute film is less than perfect — it’s not especially “funny” (especially when Orson Welles and Bob Newhart are around) and feels a bit stiff and all wrapped up in itself, but (a) a lot of it works (like the opening sunrise credit sequence), (b) David Watkins‘ cinematography is fairly wonderful, and (c) it contains some perfectly choreographed sequences that are still delicious, 50 years on.
Clooney’s miniseries will pop on 5.17.19. I can’t seem to discover how many hours it will run.
A slimmed-down Christopher Abbott (he was on the rotund side four years ago) will play Cpt. John Yossarian (Alan Arkin). Kyle Chandler is Colonel Cathcart (Martin Balsam). Hugh Laurie is Major de Coverley (skipped over in the 1970 film). Clooney is playing Scheisskopf, whoever the hell that is. Daniel David Stewart is Milo (Jon Voight). Austin Stowell plays Nately (Art Garfunkel). Rafi Gavron as Aarfy (Charles Grodin). Graham Patrick Martin portrays Orr (Bob Balaban). Lewis Pullman is Major Major (Newhart). Tessa Ferrer as Nurse Duckett (Paula Prentiss). Jay Paulson as Chaplain Tappman (Anthony Perkins).
There’s a visually engaging Vanity Fair piece called “The 25 Most Influential Movie Scenes of the Past 25 Years.” Except it’s not so much about scenes that were influential as much as highly memorable — scenes that dominated conversations for years to come.
We all have our favorites in this regard, but I would definitely omit (a) the opening scenes in Toy Story and Scream, (b) an allegedly comic axe-murder scene in American Psycho, (c) the flashlight close-up horror moment in The Blair Witch Project, (d) “King Kong ain’t got shit on me” in Training Day, (e) Gollum vs. Smeagal in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, (f) Diane Keaton cries while writing a play in Something’s Gotta Give, (g) the “chosen one” scene in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, (h) the chest-waxing scene in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, (i) the favela chase scene in Fast Five, and (j) the sunken place scene in Get Out
But I agree with highlighting (a) the “king of the world” scene in Titanic, (b) the gutterballs dream sequence in The Big Lebowski, (c) the Omaha Beach landing in Saving Private Ryan, (d) the bullet-time action scene in The Matrix, (e) the flying-ballet combat scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, (f) the Gwyneth Paltrow-Nico-“These days” sequence in The Royal Tenenbaums, (g) Bill Murray whispering to Scarlet Johansson at the end of Lost In Translation, (h) the Edward-meets-Bella scene in Twilight, (i) “I wish I knew how to quit you” in Brokeback Mountain and (j) the “I drink your milkshake” finale in There Will Be Blood.
I’m neutral on Michael Moore‘s ambushing of Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine. Memorable, okay, but less than profound.
My all-time earth mover and brain–shaker of the last quarter-century — the scene that knocked me for a total loop and gave me a cinematic endorphin rush like nothing else — was the mob-attack-upon-the-van sequence in Alfonso Cuaron‘s Children of Men (’06).
The Vanity Fair piece celebrates this also, but co-author K. Austin Collins belittles it. He doesn’t say that it set a new standard for brilliant action cinematography, which is most certainly did. He says that it “set a standard for showing off.” He also calls COM‘s trio of edit-free, long-take scenes “its loudest accomplishment.”
The high-water mark of both Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki‘s careers was about loudness and “showing off”? This has to be one of the most asinine assessments of an unquestionably great film that I’ve ever read.
I’m presuming that the reason Millennium Films has temporarily abandoned its long-gestating Red Sonja project is because talent is balking at the idea of working with director Bryan Singer, who was recently accused in an Atlantic article of sexual misbehavior.
If this is the case, the question that follows is “what talent?”
Millennium Films CEO Avi Lerner called the Atlantic article “agenda-driven fake news.” Lerner later disavowed that statement, claiming that publicist Howard Bragman had authored it and that Lerner had approved the statement without reading it. Who does this?
“I don’t want to apologize [but I] want to clarify [the statement],” Lerner told The Hollywood Reporter last month. “I think victims should be heard and this allegation should be taken very, very seriously. I just don’t agree to judge by the Twitter. I want [the accused] to be judged by the court.”
What person on the planet earth other than Lerner has used the term “the Twitter”?
What about re-booting Red Sonja as a shaved-head sexual avenger who has time-shifted into 2020, angrily charging around and perhaps slicing off the genitalia of older rich guys who’ve tried to have their way with vulnerable younger women? A perfect fit for Rose McGowan, who almost played a traditional version of the character with then-boyfriend Robert Rodriguez at the helm.
I was thinking earlier today about poor Albert Finney, and began to surf around. I came upon this Shoot The Moon restaurant scene. It has a striking, abrasive vibe, but it doesn’t entirely work.
If only Finney and Diane Keaton had been told by director Alan Parker to try and keep their voices down in the early stages, and then gradually lose control. Nobody is this gauche, this oblivious to fellow diners.
The balding, red-haired guy with his back to the camera (James Cranna) played “Gerald” in the Beverly Hills heroin-dealing scene in Karel Reisz‘s Who’ll Stop The Rain?.
Shoot The Moon was streamable at one time or another, but it’s “currently unavailable.”
So Roma won the top prize at the BAFTAs — terrific, hearty congrats. But the Best Picture Oscar race is still between Roma and Green Book, and the opinions of the BAFTA gang, announced two or three hours ago, probably won’t influence this either-or. Most Academy voters have made their minds up by this stage. The die is cast.
It’ll still come down to whether or not Green Book or Roma will benefit more from the preferential ballot system than the other, and that means…I don’t know what it means.
Word around the campfire, however, says Green Book might be in a better position due to a strong showing in the #2 or #3 slots, and that some voters (older, Netflix opponents, ADD) are allegedly listing Roma at the bottom of their lists so it won’t benefit from p.b. math. Or something like that.
The Favourite‘s Olivia Colman won for Best Actress, but that’s at least partly about hometown sentiment. The Wife‘s Glenn Close still has the Oscar in the bag.
Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Rami Malek won BAFTA’s Best Actor trophy — is there ANYONE betting against him winning the Best Actor Oscar at this stage?
Here are two riffs from Owen Gleiberman‘s review of Rob Garver‘s What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael. Why the review is appearing now after premiering five and a half months ago at Telluride is a head-scratcher, but it’s one of Gleiberman’s most assured, best-written raves. Plus he really knows what he’s talking about:
Excerpt #1: “We hear an excerpt from one of the Bay Area radio broadcasts that won Kael her first real following. The review, of Hiroshima Mon Amour, is captivating in its balloon-puncturing derision, but what’s priceless is the voice: honey-smooth and insinuating, with an echo of Hollywood’s wisecracking broads of the ’30s, her silky enunciation used as a weapon, all held together by Kael’s conspicuous joy at turning film reviewing into a performance.
Excerpt #2: “That’s what Kael made criticism — a prose version of performance art, a song of the self. And why not? The movies themselves demanded nothing less.”
Excerpt #3: “What She Said captures the unique intersection of a fearless critic, a movie renaissance, and a time when a mainstream writer could seduce and challenge her audience by operating with supreme freedom. That was the glory of Pauline, the unhinged liberation of every idea and feeling she shared. Reading her, what you got addicted to was her freedom of thought. That was Kael’s art, and “What She Said does a fantastic job of channeling it.”
“It’s much better than that. I found it wonderfully alive and attuned, electric, bracingly intelligent, well-honed and about as spot-on as a doc of this sort can be.
An HE:plus hors d’oeuvre, posted on 1.17.19: I’ve been a mildly angry guy most of my life. Contrarian, questioning authority, a pushback instinct. Born of my father’s alcoholism, aloofness and general disdain. Over the last 25 years of journalistic endeavor it’s been slipping out by way of the “three sees” — cerebral, channelled, controlled. But in my late teens the anger was more eruptive and hair-triggerish, and one day in a high-school hallway it almost ruined my life. Except it didn’t, thank God.
I’be forgotten some of the particulars but I know that The Incident happened late in the school year, perhaps in early May. The senior graduation ceremony was just around the corner. Tension had been brewing between myself and Wilton High School’s vice-principal, a somewhat brittle-mannered guy in his mid 40s. He had cold gray eyes and a silvery flattop, and I remember thinking time and again that he was an officious prick. Not my kind of guy.
I recall that we were standing in a hallway near the school offices and the main doors, and that he was accusing me of something or other. Or admonishing me for some failing. I gave him the requisite amount of lip and attitude and he reacted angrily, and then grabbed me by the arm in order to walk me down to the detention room or off the premises or whatever. A stern show of disciplinary force.
That’s when I lost it. Rather than be led away I shoved him, hard. He staggered for a step or two and said “whoa!”, and looked at me with shock and surprise. His eyes said “did you just do that?” That’s exactly what I was asking myself at the moment. It was like my angry no-good brother had pushed him and not me. But it was me, all right — me and my stored-up rage.