Radar‘s Jeff Bercovici (i.e., “Fresh Intelligence”) scans the “half-baked” Factory Girl Oscar-heat situation. My understanding is that the extra shooting was done in early to mid November, and that it’s not that much of a problem to insert new scenes into an already- constructed feature. Still, Harvey Weinstein and director George Hickenlooper need to get cracking.
“With applause came a palpable exhalation of relief: This was not going to be another Rent or Phantom of the Opera train wreck. Dreamgirls, the movie, a quarter of a century in the making, the gay man’s Lord of the Rings, just might…yes! …live up to the hype.” — from Sara Vilkomerson‘s Dreamgirls story in the New York Observer.
I’ve been putting this off for a while now, but the continued absence of presumed Best Actor contender Peter O’Toole is becoming more and more of a factor. By that I mean a kind of puzzlement. He almost didn’t accept his honorary Oscar in ’03 because he felt he was still very much in the game and wanted to win an acting Oscar for a particular performance instead. And now that his brilliant Venus performance as an aging but randy British actor has made this a real possibility, O’Toole is suddenly a non-campaigner and a no-show. Something isn’t right.
The decision by the 74 year-old veteran to not “make the rounds” at this critical juncture (between right now and Christmas is peak Oscar campaigning time — everyone is doing post-screening q & a’s and attending parties like mad right now — even the campaign-shy Meryl Streep is doing a couple of events next week) means one of two things: (1) O’Toole and his people are banking that he’s Roman Polanski and can take the prize without actively campaigning (a la Polanski’s Best Director Oscar for The Pianist) or (2) health issues are perhaps more of a factor that his people are letting on.
He bailed on visiting the Toronto Film Festival over health issues, and at the last minute. He didn’t show up for the Los Angeles Venus press junket, presumably for the same reason. He’s not attending next Monday’s big Oscar-push Miramax party. And he won’t be in L.A. through all of December, and he’s not even planning to visit here until mid-January, according to a 42 West publicist who’s working on the Venus campaign. So if he does anything in the way of parties and/or personal appearances, O’Toole will basically be doing of those “sorry I’m late but better late than never” Phase 2 routines.
Maybe less-is-more and later-is-better will turn out to be a brilliant move, but O’Toole is, let’s face it, not altogether a widely beloved figure and he could probably do with a little flesh-pressing and image-buffering. On top of the fact that reactions to Venus itself have been admiring and respectful, yes, but not 100% ecstatic. I’m only mentioning this because I’ve loved the guy and his work for years, and I’d hate to see him not win the Best Actor Oscar because he didn’t “work it.”
I don’t want to sound crude or lowball, but how can one review the just-announced films for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and not at least remark that one of them is a feature-length documentary named Zoo, about a Seattle man who died in the summer of ’05 as a result of having anal sex with a horse? This is why the Islamic fundamentalists hate us so — because there’s no end to our interest in Godless perversity.
That aside, the Sundance team has revealed the films that will make up the Dramatic Competition, the Documentary Competition, the World Cinema Competion and the World Cinema Documentary Compeitition. Here are two stories about it — one from IndieWIRE and Variety. The at festival will run from 1.18 to 1.28, and I still haven’t locked a place down. There’s a decent-sounding place that I could rent that’ll be pretty reasonable if I can find the right person to share with. Interested parties?
I’ll get into the particular aromas down the road. Nothing looks terribly arousing, but then nothing ever does when you first read these generic announcement stories.
Deadline Hollywood Daily‘s Nikki Finke did some actual calling about the Pamela Anderson–Kid Rock–Borat argument at Universal honcho Ron Meyer‘s home that resulted in her filing divorce papers. Wondering why “those two losers were included among the 20 VIPs on what’s supposed to be a triple-A screening list,” Finke is reporting, the following:
“Anderson is a friend of a Meyer neighbor, who asked the studio mogul if Pam and Kid Rock could come over for the screening because new hubby hadn’t seen new bride in Borat yet. The way ‘Page Six’ made it sound, there was a screaming match in the middle of Meyer’s screening room. Wrong. None of the guests knew anything happened — just that the couple left in the middle of the movie.”
Wait a minute: Anderson doesn’t appear in Borat until the the final third. Almost the very end, in fact. The marital meltdown fight was allegedly over Kid Rock ‘s reaction to Anderson’s appearance in the film, so they couldn’t have left “in the middle” of the film, right?
Meanwhile, here’ s another “Page Six” posting, a Kid-Rock’s-side-of-the-story thing. What am I doing puttng this crap up?
In my 3.12.06 rave review of Sidney Lumet‘ s Find Me Guilty (Freestyle, 3.17), I wrote that the courtoom drama “is being sold the wrong way — the one-sheet and the trailer are telling you it’s a jaunty mob-guy comedy, a kind of farce, and the music toward the end of the film tries to convey this also, and this feels like a sell-out to the moron trade. Is everyone listening? The advertising is dishonest .”
And ineffective, I could have added two or three weeks later. The critically-hailed film only brought in less than $2 million worldwide.
But now, over eight months later, there’s a ninth-inning attempt by Guilty producers T.J. Mancini and Bob DeBrino to persuade critics and Academy voters to reappraise Lumet’s film as the superbly focused, well-layered entertainment that it is. They’re doing this intially by issuing a new one-sheet that represents what it actually is, as opposed to the light-hearted goof-off that distributor Bob Yari tried to sell it as. I’ll be posting the new art later this afternoon, but a piece by L.A. Times writer Bob Welkos says it “shows Diesel looking positively Perry Mason-like in a courtroom, and banners a number of rave reviews.'”
Mancini says he’d also like to send out screeners to Academy members as well as members of the various guilds, but he also says that Yari’s ongoing lawsuit with the Academy over his being elbowed off the list of Crash producers last year is interfering with this effort. Yari Film Group spokesperson Susie Hayasaka that the lawsuit is only preventing the mailing of screeners to Producer’s Guild (PGA) members. Otherwise, she says, “We are very supportive of Find Me Guilty…we’re very proud of it, and we want to do everything we can to remind people of its quality.”
“He taught me so much, made me discover authors, painters — a certain art of living, with elegance and discretion,” the great Bertrand Tavernier has written about the late Phillipe Noiret. “He gave me a sense of actors and showed me that one could be exacting and passionate while remaining pleasant and gentle.
“He was a very generous actor who loved his co-stars — Michael Galabru in The Judge and the Assassin, Isabelle Huppert and Eddy Mitchell in Coup de Torchon, Fran√É∆í√Ç¬ßois Perrot and Sabine Azema in Life and Nothing But…Jean Rochefort, Claude Rich, Jean Vilar and Gerard Philippe.
“Listening to him talk of the old days, of Hitchcock and Gary Cooper, flooded you with warmth. He loved to love, and his admirations were contagious. You got the sense that they fortified him. We were always talking about the breadth of our admirations — for Gary Cooper, who we both wished we had known, for Hitchcock, Fred Astaire, Mario Monicelli, Marcello Mastroianni and Marco Ferreri.
“The Reeler” editor Stu VanAirsdale on the latest death spasms (or certainly downshiftings) of Manhattan’s elite downtown film culture establishment, as represented by the ending of annual Village Voice film critic’s poll. (The bottom-line Voice management guys probably decided it was too expensive to maintain or too pie-in-the-sky, or both.) But on the heels of interim film editor Allison Benedikt having officially assumed the duties of the deposed Dennis Lim “comes word that Lim is working with indieWIRE to revive a comprehensive year-end survey.”
The bottom line is that the prosecutors of “Hollywood’s biggest scandal”, as New Yorker writer Ken Auletta once described the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping case, can’t nail anyone big so they’re after small fry in hopes of shaking something loose. And so, as L.A. Indie‘s Ross Johnson reports, they’re looking to nail a peripheral Anthony Pellicano wiretapping player named Joann Wiggin, who was acquitted on four of five perjury charges after a jury trial last September.
Coming Soon‘s Edward Douglas and Box Office Guru‘s Gitesh Pandya riffing in The Envelope about what kind of impact box-office performance may be having on certain Best Picture nominees. The biggest benefits have gone to Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen. The opposite appears to have affected Flags of Our Fathers and, to a lesser extent, Babel (although it’s outrageous and stupid that the latter should be affected by “only’ making the money so far that 21 Grams did…gimme a break).
“I caught Casino Royale on Sunday. Something kinda stirred in the back of my mind as I watched Daniel Craig do the moves, and about a half hour into it I realized what it was. Craig reminds me of Steve McQueen. In fact, he’s channelling him.
“Not that he absolutely looks like the guy (although he does, somewhat) but something in the Craig equation — the steely understated machismo that McQueen had back in the mid to late ’60s, and shot into a James Bond vessel — is why the movie works. Maybe. Just a thought.” — Jeff Burton, St. Paul , Minnesota, with slight augmentations from Jeffrey Wells.