That item I ran last Monday about Mann’s National theatre closing its doors this weekend is true, says a Variety story that went up this evening. The Mann exhibition execs who should have announced or at least confirmed the closing of this historic Westwood landmark chose not to because…I don’t know, you tell me. Because they’re assholes? Because they couldn’t deal with their feelings of grief?
A fairly brilliant, dryly funny piece by the New York Observer‘s Hilary Frey about what happened to three particular actresses — Parker Posey, Claire Danes, Chloe Sevigny — who were “It” girls in the mid ’90s before the zeitgiest turned to others and the sun went down and they got older, etc. Congratulate Them!,” the blue boldfaced copy says. “They’ve Had It With Clubs ‘n’ Columns. Once-Flickering Starlets Aren’t Has-Beens — They’re Grown-Ups!”
I’m sorry but the Worth 1000 movie poster pictured below is funny and deeply sick — it reminds me of an old joke that went around a few weeks after New York deejay Murray the K. died in 1982 — it began with “What do they call Murray the K. in heaven?” and the reply was, “The second Beatle”; this is funny also; ditto.
Spider-Man 3 (Columbia, 5.4) blows, according to Times Online critic Leo Lewis, delivering a three-stars-out-of-five review. Having caught the film at the Tokyo premiere, Lewis calls it “a daft, highly polished couple of hours of fantasy fun,” but that’s just a lot of blah-blah on his part. Read the damn review — Lewis has a sense of humor but he basically says it sucks stinking hairy dog balls.
“The central theme of the film is that even superheroes can have a dark side,” he writes. Whoa….mind-blower.
“There is not enough of the super-villains and they are not nearly twisted enough,” Lewis says. “But then there never is and they never are. There are digital effects galore to remind us that Sony is a high-tech company, particularly when a new super-villain, Thomas Haden Church‘s Sandman, is transformed into a living sandstorm and pulverizes bits of Manhattan.
“At one point Tobey Maguire, who plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Church, James Franco and Topher Grace square off in a four-way clash clearly designed to satisfy all tastes in hairstyle, physical build and jaw-line. The imperilled Kirsten Dunst, meanwhile, barely registers.
“And for reminders that Japan, the home of manga comics, is an increasingly powerful influence on Hollywood directors there is an unmistakable homage to the anime classic Akira.
“Perhaps, more subtly, there are ample goodies aimed head-on at the female Japanese filmgoer, the most important demographic in what has become the world√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s second biggest box office. The hunk count is disproportionately high, the babe count oddly low.
“The challenge that Spider-Man faces from the Sandman — he learns of a connection with the murder of his Uncle Ben — a mysterious black substance has turned his Spider-Man suit black. It brings forth a darker side of Parker and Spidey that nobody has seen before when he is conveniently infested with an alien parasite.
“The problem is that even Spider-Man’s ‘evil’ side is still hopelessly mild- mannered. We are shown a montage of his sub-Mr. Hyde depravities. His hair droops over one eye; he swaggers along the street; he flirts with passers-by; his girl ditches him; and he makes an ass of himself in a nightclub. In short, he behaves like a textbook drunk on any given Saturday night.
“A horrifying glimpse into the unspeakable pit of the human soul this is not.
“Also disappointing is the inability of the director, Sam Raimi, to end the romp without a fleeting shot of the American flag. The Stars and Stripes just happens to be fluttering behind Spidey as he makes his triumphal return to honor, probity and good honest fist-fighting.”
The flag thing in itself is deplorable. I’m sorry to be the among the first to say this, but Spider-Man 3 may herald the temporary end of Sam Raimi. It may take him years to recover from this. If the reviews continue in this vein, Raimi is probably going to have to walk into the Southern California desert wearing sandals and carrying a Charlton Heston Ten Commandments staff and try to find his soul again.
Deadline Hollywood Daily‘s Nikki Finke is saying “there’s no truth to the internet rumor that Imagine’s Ron Howard has a deal, or is close to a deal” with Warren Beatty to play Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon, Howard’s forthcoming film about interviewer David Frost and the U.S. president who used to sweat profusely on his upper lip.
Finke is referring to my report that went up yesterday, which was based on speaking to a certain party in the loop. The way I phrased it was that the Beatty deal isn’t “signed, sealed and delivered” but that it’s “nearly complete.” (I also quoted a guy with ties to Beatty who said, “Naaah, that’s not gonna happen.”)
Finke says she “understands” that Howard, the film’s director, “has talked to a few possibilities which include Beatty but there won’t be a decision for a few weeks. Which probably means, given Warren’s usual hemming and hawing, he’ll be passed over.” Maybe, and maybe somebody in the Imagine camp is trying to backpedal. But Beatty was offered the role two months ago, I’ve been told, and the interest has been real all along, and Beatty being the most likely final choice isn’t regarded as a hot-air “rumor” by the people I spoke to.
Also: how come Finke didn’t name any of the other “possibilities” who are allegedly being considered to fill the Nixon role? Not naming alternates tells me Finke’s source was mainly blowing smoke.
I could live with not seeing Uwe Bolle‘s Postal, but I like the insensitive, no-excuses rudeness of the trailer (as posted on Anne Thompson‘s Variety blog). There’s no U.S. distributor, but when and if somebody picks it up they shouldn’t wimp out and change the title because of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
It grieves me to live in a country in which people are most likely going to continue to occasionally flip out and spray their workplaces and classrooms with automatic rifle fire whenever the pressure gets too great. I can’t believe i just wrote that, but ours is not a healthy society and repressed rage is more common than the common cold. I wish I could snap my fingers and the U.S. could suddenly turn into Canada. Psychologically and emotionally, I mean.
What happened to Rachel McAdams? She was standing at the top of the Hollywood plateau in ’05 after her breakout performances in The Wedding Crashers, Red Eye and The Family Stone. Everyone wanted to work with her. She had “it” and everyone knew it. Then she seemed to hit the brakes and say “uhhn, wait a minute.” And she’s been in an idling mode ever since.
What happened is that she hooked up with former Notebook costar Ryan Gosling (whom she’s been with for about two years) and decided to be…what’s the term? …extremely discerning in terms of choosing roles. She seemed to go all gun-shy and pattern herself after the Kevin Kline of the ’80s and early ’90s (when he was known as “Kevin Decline“), and by hook or by crook this led to a long hiatus.
In effect, McAdams deliberately turned off her career heat, in part (it appears) because of the influence of Gosling and his general “be an aloof artiste and avoid the Hollywood meat-grinder” attitude. Which is absolutely the right attitude, of course, unless you overdo it and it takes over and becomes a form of career novacaine.
Anyway, McAdams seems to be finally back in the game. This Variety story, which was written by “Michael Fleming, Michael Fleming and Dave McNary,” says she’s starting work on The Time Traveler’s Wife this August, for release in ’08. The New Line film will be directed by Robert Schwentke and costar Eric Bana as the time traveller. The IMDB also says she’s in a Sidney Kimmel film called Married Life.
A recent Elle article says McAdams “turned down parts in Mission: Impossible III and Casino Royale, as well as roles that went to Anne Hathaway in both The Devil Wears Prada and the upcoming Get Smart.” The implication is that she was only offered parts in glossy bullshit movies, which I don’t believe for a second. Everyone knows McAdams one of the best younger actress around. No way she wasn’t sent lots of pretty good-or-better scripts.
“I’m not going to make movies just to make movies,” she recently told People. “I have to be passionate about [the film], and at the same time I can get very distracted when I’m working, and I like to get back to my life a lot.” That kinda sounds like actress code talk for “I’m not that much of a hardcore careerist, frankly, and sometimes a relationship has to come first, and over the last couple of years I wanted to fortify things with my actor boyfriend, who needs a lot of loyalty and attention and support.”
I knew McAdams was given to a certain fickleness when she bolted out of that Tom Ford nudie shoot in late ’05 for the cover of the Oscar issue of Vanity Fair that appeared in early ’06. I’m not saying that doing the VF cover would have been the wisest career move in history, but it would been a moderately good thing. It would have made a symbolic imprint by affirming that McAdams had arrived in a big way.
I also always felt that walking around on the street and on magazine covers as a blonde (i.e., her natural color) was the wrong thing to do, image-wise. There was a reason she was a brunette in her big three ’05 movies (think about it), so it’s not just me being weird. She looks soulful and wholesome as a brunette but slightly gothy as a blonde — gothy and sorta vampy. It takes her warmth away.
The only problem with The Time Traveler’s Wife is that McAdams has chosen to not just make a film with Eric Bana, but in a sense grapple with the Eric Bana curse.
It’s not fair or rational to suggest that things like curses exist, but baseball players have hitting slumps and they get all superstitious about it (remember that element in Bull Durham?), and I know that when an actor has that can’t-win aura it affects everything he touches, and there’s no fighting it or defusing it until it goes away of its own accord. The fact is that the triple-whammy of Hulk, Munich and Lucky You really hurt Bana, and it’s going to take a lot of reverse karma to make things turn out right for the poor guy. This sounds cruel but if I were McAdams I would stay away from him, just to be on the safe side.
If Joel Schumacher is directing, you know it’ll be “a Joel Schumacher film,” especially with the word “saints” in the title. Somebody needs to sit down and do a definitive study, but I always go “uh-oh” when I see that word in a title of a movie or a book or anything.
I’m halfway through an early draft of Alan Ball’s Nothing Is Private, which has been shot and wrapped andput into good-enough shape to show to a research audience several weeks ago. You can tell on the page that it’s a very solid and sharply observed thing, and sexually audacious as the dickens.
I notice that the El Capitan’s special Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End advance-ticket-purchase and general here-it-comes! promotion doesn’t mention any squishy-pillow rentals or shiatsu ass massages in the lobby for people who may have trouble coping with the nearly three-hour length. If I had kids who were six or seven I would be horrified at the idea of taking them to this thing. It would be agony.
“I told him he was crazy. I said, ‘You have a fantastic script. I think you’re insane, George.’ You can say things like that to George and he doesn’t even blink. He’s one of the most stubborn men I know.” Hats off to Frank Darabont for saying this to George Lucas after the legendary Star Wars creator threw out Darabont’s Indiana Jones 4 script. (Cheers also to Darabont for telling MTV.com that he said this.)
“As I travel around, I have never seen a president and a vice president more disliked in more places than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The Bush-Cheney team, by its own hand, has undermined its ability to talk about American principles in a way that foreigners will take seriously. They have moral clarity and no moral authority. Foreigners just have to say ‘Abu Ghraib’ or ‘Guant√É∆í√Ç¬°namo’ and that ends the discussion. It also lets the foreigners off the hook.
“I think Barack Obama has the potential to force a new discussion. For now at least, he has a certain moral authority because of his life story, which makes him harder to dismiss. And while he is a good talker, he strikes me as an even better listener. [And] it seems to me that the strongest case one could make for an Obama presidency right now is rarely articulated: it is his potential to repair the broken relationship between America and the world.
“I believe that what has propelled Obama’s candidacy up to now — more than anything — is that many Americans have projected onto him their hunger for community, their hunger for a president with the voice, instincts and moral authority to make it so much harder for foreigners to be anti-American or for Americans to be anti-one-another.” — N.Y. Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in today’s [4.18] edition.
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