It’s obvious which one-sheet is the grabbier of the two. The tone of the top-position poster for All The Money In The World (TriStar, 12.22) isn’t just brutal; it borders on sadistic. But once you’ve seen that $100 bill severed ear with the brownish dried blood, you’re not likely to forget it. You may not “like” the mentality behind it, but it’s an effective sell. It’s good enough to hang on an art-gallery wall in West Hollywood. The blood also serves as a metaphor for the occasionally ruthless mindset of billionaire J. Paul Getty, who initially refused to pay ransom demands for his kidnapped grandson, John Paul Getty III. These are also the first All The Money posters, of course, with Christopher Plummer‘s name alongside Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg.
Excerpt from Camerimage tribute essay about Phillip Noyce, recipient of this year’s Life Achievement Award for directing at Cameraimage, the respected cinematography festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland: “Nowadays, film directors are quite often reduced to a black-and-white distinction between skilled craftsmen working with strictly commercial projects and artists/auteurs who change the world and make viewers think with their films.
Phillip Noyce during Camerimage ceremony in which he was presented with the festival’s Life Achievement Award.
“Such a differentiation is highly unfair, of course; not only because the art of filmmaking stems from many a compromise as well as creative collaboration with cast and crew, but also due to the simple fact that each and every director is a different kind of animal, uses different means of expression, tells stories in different ways. At Camerimage Festival, we reject all kinds of pigeonholing, and we love filmmakers who have never allowed themselves to be typecast, but instead tried to explore different areas of filmmaking and engage viewers in a dialog.
“That is precisely why we are very proud to announce that this year’s recipient of Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing will be a man who proved himself to be able to tell even the most commercial stories in a way that transforms them into striking tales about various forms of being human. A committed activist and campaigner who learned to use camera and film language to talk about social injustice and people marginalized for their differentness. A director who moves smoothly between big-budgeted Hollywood projects for mass audiences and independent, personal stories told in experimental way and breaking established conventions — Phillip Noyce.”
With Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Phantom Thread due to launch a series of post-Thanksgiving press screenings on Friday, 11.24, 20th Century Fox has informed New York Academy members that the first screening of Steven Spielberg‘s The Post will happen six days hence — Sunday, 11.19 at 7 pm — at the AMC Leows Lincoln Square. A q & a including Spielberg, actors Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys and Sarah Paulson, and costume designer Ann Roth. A follow-up screening at the same venue is set for Thursday, 12.7 at 6 pm. This viewing will be followed by a chat with Streep, Hanks, “additional cast members” and casting director Ellen Lewis.
A little more than two weeks ago a friend who’d recently seen Stephen Chbosky‘s Wonder (Lionsgate, 11.17), a little-kid-with-a-disfigured-face movie with Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay, said it was “better than expected” and that he was “surprised at how likable it was.”
This afternoon Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman posted a similar opinion. He’s saying, in fact, that in the realm of disfigured protagonist dramas, Wonder belongs in the company of David Lynch‘s The Elephant Man and Peter Bogdanovich‘s Mask.
“It’s an honest feel-good movie” and “a very tasteful heart-tugger…a drama of disarmingly level-headed empathy that glides along with wit, assurance, and grace. Of all the films this year with ‘wonder’ in the title (Wonderstruck, Wonder Woman, Wonder Wheel, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women), this is the one that comes closest to living up to the emotional alchemy of that word.”
The downside, says Gleiberman, is that “the film never upsets the apple cart of conventionality” and therefore “lacks the pricklier edges of art.”
Hollywood Elsewhere + Tatyana Antropova attended last night’s big AFI Film Fest screening at the TCL Chinese, and then the big after-party at the Hollywood Roosevelt. It was my third viewing, and it didn’t diminish in the slightest. This film is full of little rivulets and off-angles and cross-corner pocket drops. I easily could see it another couple of times. It’s a perfectly realized thing, nothing off or miscalculated. The term is “masterpiece.”
Tone-deaf predictions and sluggish attitudes from certain quarters aside, CMBYN has to be Best Picture-nominated. At least that. The Movie Godz would be appalled if the Academy elbows it aside.
And the following paragraph from an 11.11 piece by TheWrap‘s Mikey Glazer is, no offense, almost surreal in its disconnect from reality: “While Brokeback via Lombardia may not normally raise eyebrows, in the current climate of hourly explosive revelations of sexual harassment and assault across the entertainment industry, any tenor of impropriety in a physical relationship made this all the more sensitive.”
“Impropriety”? There isn’t a whiff of the stuff in Call Me By Your Name, and that’s all that should matter to anyone. There’s no emotional indifference or bruising in this film. No cruelty, exploitation, selfishness. Okay, a young girl gets her feelings hurt but quickly recovers. This is simply an elegant love story that unfolds at its own leisurely pace, and in a way that touches everyone.
Elio, the precocious 17 year-old played by Timothee Chalamet (who actually turns 22 next month), falls in love with Oliver (Armie Hammer), a studious, somewhat glib guy in the mid 20s, and they seem more or less on an equal footing. It hurts when love slips away, of course, but people of all ages have felt this over the centuries, and Elio’s parents are with Elio on his emotional journey every step of the way.
Posted on 6.4.17: “Call Me By Your Name is, yes, a first-love film, an early ’80s gay romance and a sensual, laid-back Italian summer dreamscape. But it connects in a more fundamental way with family values, which is to say father-son values, extended-family values, community values…we’re all together in this.
I’ve been gradually warming to James Franco‘s The Disaster Artist (A24, 12.1) since I first saw and reviewed it about three weeks ago. Do I have to describe it again? A drly comedic true-life saga about the making of a notoriously awful indie-level film called The Room, etc.? Naahh.
On 10.25 I called it “a curio, a diversion…fine for what it is…generates a kind of chuckly vibe on a scene-by-scene basis, but that’s all.” Shoulder-shrugging approval, thumbs up but calm down, etc.
Nine days later I said I couldn’t get the sound of James Franco‘s spazzy, primal-scream “aaaggghh!” out of my head. The howling is part of Franco’s dead-on imitation of Tommy Wiseau‘s performance in The Room.
I saw The Disaster Artist again last weekend, and for some reason it seemed funnier this time. Probably because I knew the story and when the highlights would arrive, so I was able to focus on the tone and delivery. Maybe it was also because Tatyana was laughing a lot; ditto several others in the screening room. It just felt like more infectious, more fun. So if it’s okay I’d like to upgrade my reaction. If I gave The Disaster Artist a B-minus in my 10.25 review, I’d like to change that grade to a B-plus or maybe even an A-minus.
This morning Louis C.K. confirmed that negative allegations in yesterday’s N.Y. Times story about his behavior with five women several years ago are true, and that his behavior in these instances was hurtful and abhorrent. He then fell upon the church steps and begged for forgiveness. His statement strikes me as honest and forthright and decent as the situation allows. No equivocations, no distractions, no wiggling-around bullshit. There’s one sentence in his statement that strikes me as odd, but that’s probably because Louis C.K. didn’t show it to a good editor friend before posting.
“I want to address the stories told to The New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.
“These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
Wells exception: Over the course of my entire life I have never once asked a woman if I could show her my gross animal member. Not once. During each and every occasion it was just cool all around and we both knew it. The terms of consensual relations the world over state that disrobing always happens by mutual, silent consent, and certainly without the necessity of verbal approval before the fact.
Back to Louis C.K.: “I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position.
“I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it. There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.
“I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work.
A big swanky Academy screening of Joe Wright‘s Darkest Hour happens tonight, followed by a lobby party with the usual press and Academy types munching and schmoozing. But you know what the real occasion is, the real agenda? An official, communal acknowledgment that Gary Oldman is the most likely winner of the 2017 Best Actor Oscar.
Ever since Darkest Hour debuted in Telluride nine weeks ago conventional wisdom (i.e., the Gold Derby gang, those groovy Gurus) has been stating that Oldman’s flamboyantly twitchy, broadly conceived performance as Winston Churchill — heavy latex, cigar, cane, bowler hat — is the one to beat.
Daniel Day-Lewis‘ late-arriving performance in Phantom Thread could result in a winning surge, especially given that Reynolds Woodcock is supposed to be DDL’s swan-song performance. Some feel that Denzel Washington‘s brilliant-but-quirky-attorney performance in Dan Gilroy‘s Roman J. Israel is tied with Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Boston bombing victim in David Gordon Green‘s Stronger. Tom Hanks‘ turn as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in Steven Spielberg‘s The Post looks like a keeper, but Hanks has won twice before (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump). Considering his 21 years on the planet, Timothee Chalamet‘s expected Best Actor nomination for his Call Me By Your Name performance will be a triumph in itself.
I just can’t see Oldman not winning. His Winston Churchill performance is broadly, at times hammily effective. There’s the “we’re sorry you lost the last time” factor with Oldman having nearly won six years ago for playing George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Solder Spy. And finally there’s the “he’s paid his dues and done great work for 30-plus years so it’s time to finally give him the gold” thinking. It doesn’t feel as if Oldman’s breakout debut in Alex Cox‘s Sid and Nancy happened 31 years ago, agreed, but it’s definitely been that long. Ronald Reagan was president then.
The only thing I really loved about Kenneth Branagh‘s Murder on the Orient Express (20th Century Fox, 11.10) was the train itself. It’s an exquisitely designed and decorated pre-war thing — beautiful carpets and drapes, nicely upholstered dining-car seats, lamps of softly glowing amber, that wonderful dark-wood paneling and old-world bathroom fixtures and all the other trimmings, and that soft clackety sound of wheels meeting rails. So very comforting.
What I saw in the film was partly an actual moving train, partly a stationary outdoor set and partly (just guessing here) a sound-stage set constructed with real-world refinement. I’ve been queer all my life for classic European trains and that cocoon-y feeling of bygone luxury, and so hanging with Branagh’s Hercule Poirot and the dozen or so stiff-necked suspects was…well, pleasant enough.
The rest of it felt…what, rote and pre-programed? I didn’t mind it. Well, I did but I tried to brush those feelings away. We all know where it’s heading and who did it so what kind of real satisfaction can be derived? It’s basically about drinking in the sets, the Middle Eastern and European scenery and thinking hard about Branagh’s ludicrous paste-on moustache, all curly and silvery and waxed to a fare-thee-well.
The only folks who will go this weekend will be the over-50 Joe and Jane Popcorn set, but that’s okay…right?
I don’t recall liking the 1974 Sidney Lumet version any better, but…wow, it was nominated for six Oscars?
Seriously, why did Branagh wear such an elaborate Poirot ‘stache when it’s obviously intended only to portray this celebrated fellow as an egoistic, self-inflating, dandified showoff? You look at it and start to imagine Poirot trimming and brushing and fixing it just so every morning, and being extra-careful to make it not look like some kind of doofusy silver handlebar. What does he do, devote an hour each morning and then re-wax and re-comb just before dinner?
The big opening scene in Jerusalem shows the charismatic Poirot announcing his conclusions about who killed a certain party to a crowd of 300 or 400 onlookers, like some kind of upscale circus barker. Why would a meticulous, world-renowned detective, a worldly man of refinement, want to simultaneously resolve a crime and put on a show for a mob? It’s a silly notion, but Branagh is determined to deliver a big visual wow effect for the ADD crowd. The scene happens only four or five minutes in, and I was already rolling my eyes.
For whatever reason Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone has been less than full-hearted in her more-or-less positive postings about Greta Gerwig‘s Lady Bird. She likes and admires it but on a “yes but” basis. Something about Saoirse Ronan‘s precocious lead character seeming less than fully charming, at least in Sasha’s eyes. So it’s significant, I feel, that she wrote the following a couple of days ago:
“If anything, it seems likely that Greta Gerwig will make the [Best Director] cut because Lady Bird is the type of movie old white dudes really really like. It’s a very good film and deserving of awards, but if we’re talking about a 70% white, male, middle-aged Academy we have to think about what movies directed by women those voters respond to, and they are responding to this one.”
For what it’s worth, I was feeling this old-white-dude ardor following an Academy screening of Lady Bird at the London West Hollywood last weekend.
Saoirse Ronan, Lucas Hedges in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird.
“Women directors this year made Mudbound, Detroit, Battle of the Sexes and The Beguiled, but none of those seem to have captured the same sort of energy and buzz as Lady Bird,” Stone continues. “They are all pretty heavy movies with heavy themes. Some have been deemed too controversial to go for, and the others, at least so far, haven’t found any sort of major momentum. So if you’re going to pick a woman out of the crowded field of women this year for a Best Director nomination — only the 5th in their 90 year history — the best bet is to go with Gerwig.
“For a film like Lady Bird, buzz and hype are really great things since it would ordinarily be difficult for this kind of film to break through. Right now, it looks like a green light. Whatever my own personal feelings about any movie, I must shove them aside and look at how everyone else feels about it.
“At this moment, believe it or not, I’m starting to wonder if Lady Bird might just win the whole thing. I know it seems improbable, but you have to wonder if a film like that can capture the momentum in a year where women have taken it on the chin everywhere — from politics to harassment to outright assault — and the nagging notion that they can’t catch up to men in the industry.
Four major critics orgs — the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics — have declared solidarity with the L.A. Times over the Walt Disney corporation’s recent decision to not screen its films for that daily’s reviewers and writers, and themselves will not nominate Disney films for any critics awards until the L.A. Times screening blackout is rescinded.
The critics org declaration dooms any remote chance that may have existed that Star Wars: The Last Jedi might be considered or even talked up as a Best Picture contender. Over the waterfall, out of mind.
The critics groups are not boycotting Last Jedi screenings as a group effort. That decision is up to individual journalist-critics. The critics orgs are simply deeming Disney films ineligible for their awards. And yet Star Wars: The Last Jedi is irrelevant to the New York Film Critics in this context because it won’t screen in time for their 11.30 voting date.
HE opinion: If critics really want to pressure Disney on the L.A. Times behalf, they should decline en masse to review Star Wars: The Last Jedi until this dispute is resolved.
In any event Rian Johnson‘s potential award portfolio is hereby black toast. At least for the time being.
“We jointly denounce the Walt Disney Company’s media blackout of the Los Angeles Times,” the four critics groups said in a statement released this morning. “Furthermore, all four critics’ organizations have voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until said blackout is publicly rescinded.”
Disney’s decision not to cooperate with the L.A. Times on a fall-holiday preview spread or otherwise screen Star Wars: The Last Jedi was announced on 11.3.
Disney did so in brute retaliation for a 9.24 L.A. Times article about Disney’s business dealings with the city of Anaheim.
Hollywood Elsewhere boldly joins at least some critics out there in respectfully declining to attend screenings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi until this matter is amicably resolved. That’ll show ’em.
The best talking-head comment in Alexandre Philippe‘s 78/52, a detailed examination and celebration of the slasher shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho, comes from director Peter Bogdanovich. Psycho opened at the DeMille theatre (B’way and 47th) on 6.16.60, and the fledgling journalist and soon-to-be MOMA film programmer was there for the first show. Bodganovich was 20 years old. After it ended he staggered out into the Times Square sunlight: “I felt as if I’d been raped.”
I was intrigued and diverted by 78/52 as far as it went. If you’re any kind of Hitchcock buff it’ll feel like mother’s milk. But the aspect that really got me was Robert Muratore’s black-and-white cinematography. The 91 minute doc was captured digitally so that classic, faintly grainy celluloid atmosphere is missing, but God, the silvery bath quality is magnificent.
HE to GDT (sent this morning): “Your thoughts about Hitchcock and Psycho deliver the usual insight and erudition, but that aside you look really great in this thing. The crisp, silvery black & white cinematography and the exquisite, just-so key lighting and the way it makes your eyes and hair glisten are major stand-outs.
“By the way, 78/52 was shot on some kind of ‘50s-era Bates Motel set, but where? At some out-of-the-way, non-pro location or one of the sound stages?”
The 78/52 interviewees include Bret Easton Ellis, Neil Marshall, Elijah Wood, Danny Elfman, Karyn Kusama, Apocalypse Now editor Walter Murch, Jamie Lee Curtis and Osgood Perkins (son of Anthony).
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