A 12.14 “Page Six” item says L.A. Times/ “Envelope” writer Paul Lieberman couldn’t get Martin Scorsese to talk to him for a Departed article, so he allegedly dug up nearly two-year-old quotes that Scorsese supplied for an Aviator interview and re-used them for a 12.13.06 “Envelope” piece, which ran yesterday.
Okay, not good at all…but at least the old Scorsese quotes that were used seem to actually apply to The Departed. Sample #1: “I did not want to do another gangster movie” but Scorsese read William Monahan‘s script to be polite, “as a matter of form.” Sample #2: But by the time he got to page 26 and thought, “What the hell’s going on here? [The characters] “are all duplicitous and all deceiving each other and ultimately all wind up in a kind of elegant, how shall I say it Gotterdammerung.”
So to be in the clear, all Lieberman had to do was say Scorsese wasn’t available but that he said the following back in ’04, etc. What would have been so hard about that?
This happened last year and here we go again: with Sundance Film Festival lodging suddenly in doubt, enterprising columnist needs a clean place to flop and file and take showers. Being part of a house share is fine as long as there’s good wi-fi. Get in touch before Xmas and we’ll all breathe easier. In Park City only….thanks
Roger Durling‘s Santa Barbara Film Festival (1.25 thru 2.4) has lined up Factory Girl as its gala opening night attraction, with Sienna Miller, director George Hickenlooper and costars Guy Pearce and Hayden Christensen expected to attend. (It would be extra-neat if Bob Dylan were to show up also, but that’s on the doubtful side.) This in addition to Helen Mirren Will Smith, Forest Whitaker and An Inconvenient Truth‘s Al Gore and David Guggenheim lined up for special tributes. (Note: THE SBFF website was posting the dates for the ’06 festival until yesterday, hence HE’s error in passing along same.)
The CG-plus-live action Charlotte’s Web (Paramount) and The Pursuit of Happyness (Columbia), the Will Smith feel-good drama, are both going to do $20 million-plus this weekend. Tracking has Web running 85, 31, 9 — very good for an animated film — and Pursuit is at 81, 51 and 18. 20th Century Fox’s Eragon will be close behind them — 61, 34 and 13. Rocky Balboa (12.20) — 84,29, 6; The Good Shepherd (12.22) — 62, 34, 4; Fox’s A Night at the Museum (12.22) — 73, 41, and 7 (still looking big); We Are Marshall (12.22) — 57, 31, 4; Black Christmas (12.25) — 37, 25, something. Dreamgirls (12.25) — 70, 30 , 5.
It should be recognized that Paramount Pictures had the most Golden Globe nominations of all the distribs — 15 — which is two higher than the studio’s 1999 record of 13 noms (which were largely generated by The Truman Show and Saving Private Ryan). Babel , which tallied 7 nominations, is the first film to come out under Paramount Vantage, the Paramount- funded independent unit being run by John Lesher.
“If we are to believe that the Golden Globe nominations will have a direct effect on Academy (and Guild) voting patterns, then it must be said pictures like World Trade Center, The Good German, The Good Shepherd, Children Of Men, The Prestige, The Illusionist and The Painted Veil…have been voted off the island,” writes Hollywood Wiretap‘s Pete Hammond in his just-up Globe nom reaction piece.
“Annette Bening, an early favorite would seem to be a dark horse now despite a Globe comedy nomination. Will Smith is the only thing keeping the high hopes of Pursuit of Happyness. Peter O√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢Toole, the sentimental favorite is now an underdog to emerging front-runner Forest Whitaker. In fact, Whitaker√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s Last King and Helen Mirren√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s Queen look like good bets to become Oscar royalty as well and have pretty much run the board proving critics, like Academy voters, are duly impressed when actors play well-known real life figures.
“In the battle of the 9/11 films, World Trade Center was dissed while Universal has steered United 93 into position with significant notice from N.Y., D.C., L.A. and S.F. critics groups, a mention on the AFI list and a BFCA nom but the lack of Globe nominations might be troubling in going forward to Oscar. United 93 boosters should take heart from The Thin Red Line which was completely shut out in the Globes but went on to 7 Oscar noms including Best Picture in 1998.
“But will the many reluctant Academy members who have resisted popping their screeners into their DVD players feel they have to watch now? The jury is out but at least one member told us that while he has given it some renewed thought he still has no interest in seeing the movie, critical acclaim or not.”
Bob Dylan is reportedly concerned that George Hickenlooper‘s Factory Girl suggests that he was responsible for Edie Sedgwick‘s suicide, which, as far as the film is concerned, is horseshit. (That is, if the version that the Weinstein Co. is opening in early February bears any relation to the cut I saw last August.) The legendary singer-songwriter has told attorneys to go after producers Bob Yari and Holly Wiersma in order to ensure that he has a chance to see the film and assess the content before it’s shown any further.
Dylan’s lawyer Orin Snyder is demanding that the film’s theatrical release plans be halted and even for critics screening to cease “until [Snyder] and Dylan can see it to determine if Dylan, who they say has ‘deep concerns,’ has been defamed,” according to a 12.14 “Page Six” item.
HE to Dylan: You’re worrying about next to nothing. In the version of Factory Girl I saw, the “Danny Quinn” character (Hayden Christensen) is obviously you through and through — same hair, same speech patterns, a brown suede (or leather) jacket that strongly resembles the one you wore on the cover of Blonde on Blonde…the whole shot. And yes, Quinn has an affair or close alliance of some kind with Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller). And yes, when he disappears out of her life she gets upset and starts to fall apart. But she’s mostly frazzled because Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce) has thrown her over for Nico, i.e., the model and Velvet Underground singer.
Here’s the thing: before “Danny” bids farewell, he warns Sedgwick that she’s being used by Warhol and that he’s not a friend, and that she should get back to her love of sculpture and invest in herself rather than just hang with Warhol’s Factory crowd, whom he regards as a band of cutthroat scenesters and poseurs. In short, you come off as a fairly compassionate and tender friend of Sedg- wick’s, and hardly the cause of her suicide, which happened a good four or five years after the mid ’60s New York period depicted in the film.
The letter sent to Yari and Wersma reportedly says, “You appear to be laboring under the misunderstanding that merely changing the name of a character or making him a purported fictional composite will immunize you from suit. That is not so. Even though Mr. Dylan’s name is not used, the portrayal remains both defamatory and a violation of Mr. Dylan’s right of publicity…Until we are given an opportunity to view the film, we hereby demand that all distribution and screenings …immediately be ceased.”
Snyder reportedly also contacted Factory Girl screenwriter Aaron Richard Golub. Hey, what about co-screenwriter Captain Mauzner? Doesn’t he rate a threatening letter also? And what about Hickenlooper and Harvey Weinstein? Everybody must get stoned.
Here’s an upbeat (i.e., not cynical enough) but nonetheless cogent analysis of the Golden Globe nominations by N.Y. Times Oscar guy David Carr (a.k.a. “the Bagger”).
Basic conclusions: (a) Babel is back in the game, although the HFPA’s international constitution was undoubtedly a factor in its susceptibility to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s “big, complicated movie…[which] some critics felt required too much assembly on the part of the audience”; (b) In Contention‘s Kris Tapley “gets the smartypants award for correctly guessing that the HFPA would not be able to resist the star quotient in Bobby; and (c) “One thing seems perfectly clear — things aren√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢t perfectly clear.”
This last line takes me back to Bill Duke‘s response to Terrence Stamp‘s rambling confessional monologue in Steven Soderbergh and Lem Dobbs‘ The Limey: “There’s one thing I don’t get. The thing I don’t get is, every motherfuckin’ word you’re sayin’.” Okay, it’s not the same thought…but it’s funnier.
“I just saw Children of Men yesterday, and it’s a spectacular piece of work. Why is no one buzzing about it? What’s the problem? Could you address this on your site because for the life of me, I don’t get the silence on this flick.” — New York-based journalist Lewis Beale.
HE to Beale: The basic view seems to be that people think it’s too bleak — even though the story is about the return of life and natural creation into a world that has all but given up and is falling apart. And even though the cinematography alone (by Emmanuel Lubezki) delivers the strongest jolt of cinematic excitement I’ve experienced all year. Go figure…mainstream is as mainstream does.
HE’s first reaction to the Golden Globes Best Picture nominations in the Drama category: Bobby? Say it again: Bobby? The HFPA didn’t need to persuade anyone that their motives and criteria are suspect from time to time, but they’ve sure as hell done it again. A tip of the hat to Harvey Weinstein for his usual backstage persuasions.
It’s well and good that nominations have also gone to Babel, The Departed, Little Children (the efforts of Russell Schwartz notwithstanding) and The Queen, and no surprise at all that the Hollywood Foreign Press ignored United 93 and the groundbreaking Children of Men…but of course. Likeliest winner(s) at this stage: The Queen, Babel, The Departed (in that order).
Babel, which had been seen as a fader over the last two or three weeks, is now back in the shit with seven GG nominations. That is, if you think that the Golden Globe nominations are in some way influential. Congrats to director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, nominated costars Rinko Kikuchi , Adriana Barraza and Brad Pitt, and of course the Paramount Vantage team.
The Best Picture noms in the Musical or Comedy category are Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine and Thank You for Smoking. Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: Dreamgirls, Borat.
Nominating Leonardo DiCaprio for both Blood Diamond and The Departed means, as it does with the BFCA noms, a possible cancel-out factor. The other three contenders in this category — Peter O’Toole (Venus), Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) — were programmed into the communal consciousness weeks ago. Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: DiCaprio.
It’s good to see that an org has finally gotten behind The Lives of Others, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language film along with Apocalypto, Letters from Iwo Jima, Pan’s Labyrinth and Volver. Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: The Lives of Others.
Clint Eastwood snagged two Best Director noms (for Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima) along with Stephen Frears (The Queen), Inarritu (Babel) and The Departed (Martin Scorsese). Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: Eastwood or Scorsese.
Best Actor, Musical/Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest….sure thing!), Aaron Eckhart (Thank You for Smoking), Will Ferrell (Stranger Than Fiction….forget it!), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kinky Boots…rounding out the pack). Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: Cohen.
Best Supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza (Babel), Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal), Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada…good call), Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Rinko Kikuchi, (Babel). Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: Hudson.
Best Supporting Actor: Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland, Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls ), Jack Nicholson (
Best Screenplay: Guillermo Arriaga (Babel), Todd Field and Tom Perrotta (Little Children), Patrick Marber Notes on a Scandal), William Monahan, (The Departed), Peter Morgan (The Queen). Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: A toss-up. Queer Omission: Michael Arndt‘s screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine.
Best Actress, Drama: Penelope Cruz (Volver), Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherrybaby…good for her), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Kate Winslet (Little Children). Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: Mirren or Cruz.
Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Annette Bening (Running with Scissors), Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), Beyonce Knowles (Dreamgirls), Meryl Streep (Devil Wears Prada), Renee Zellweger (Miss Potter…go, Harvey!). Likeliest Winner(s) at This Stage: Streep.
The ingredients in Anthony Minghella‘s Breaking and Entering (Weinstein Co.,12.15 in L.A.,1.27 limited) are explored and rotely disseminated in Sarah Lyall‘s 12.14 N.Y. Times profile piece. But here’s a fact that speaks volumes all on its own: Minghella’s mezzo-mezzo, not-bad drama is less than six weeks away from being seen in theatres, and the Weinstein Co. still doesn’t have a live website up and rolling to support it.
Minghella’s screenplay was inspired by his London studio flat having been repeatedly burgled three or four years ago when he was off making Cold Mountain in Roumania. Similarly, an office managed by a married architect (Jude Law) and his partner in London’s half-seedy, half-emerging King’s Cross district is repeatedly broken into and ripped off.
Law eventually spots the teenaged thief (Rafi Gavron), follows him home, and develops an immediate attraction for his Bosnian-refugee mom (Juliette Binoche). Curiously, despite Law’s well-known tabloid history and the fact that he may have portrayed one too many hounds over the past three or four years (Closer, Alfie), he and Binoche quickly sink into a steamy affair. As soon as it begins you can’t help but think, “Here we go again.”
Minghella is a major believer in volcanic currents between lovers, and it’s clear he feels more of an allegiance to Law’s affair with Binoche than Law’s marriage to a chilly Nordic blonde (Robin Wright Penn) who always seems vaguely pissed about something or other. There are no sex scenes between Law and Penn (naturally, given the nature of most marriages) but the action he shares with Binoche is intense and quite splendid. The fact that he gives her great oral sex seems to underline Minghella’s basic attitude, which is that he’s much more into exotic and uncertain alliances than steady and familiar ones.
Lyall says rather superficially that Breaking and Entering is about a “clash of cultures between the rich and the poor, the privileged and the disaffected, that churns beneath the surface of contemporary London.” This is certainly a part of it, but the movie eventually settles into a kind of guilty meditation piece that’s half about Law’s wandering penis and half about class disparity and liberal guilt.
Some people have been muttering that the film is inconclusive, half-“there” and indifferently off on its own beam. The biggest complaint is that it has a lousy ending, which it does. But it’s not a “bad”film, by which I mean it’s not, you know, boring. The performances by Law, Binoche, Gavron and Ray Winstone (as a detective) are more than absorbing for the most part, and the atmosphere seems recognizably “real.” But there’s not a lot of residue when you leave the theatre. The film does a fast fade in your head.