The only “hmmm” issue that may affect What Happens in Vegas is a cultural- chemical rapport thing, given that the Ashton Kutcher-Cameron Diaz romance may seem to some like an older-woman, younger-guy thing. (Which Kutcher is obviously familiar with in real life.) Kutcher turned 30 two months ago; Diaz is now 35. Thing is, Kutcher looks his age (if not a year or two younger) and she looks…well, like she’s almost nudging 40, no? The last time Diaz radiated anything close to a spring-chicken glow was when she costarred in There’s Something About Mary (’98).
It’s perfectly fine and cool for this kind of relationship to be depicted, of course. I don’t have any surveys to point to, but there are presumably plenty of slightly older women going out with slightly younger (or markedly younger) guys. It’s interesting. I can remember thinking when I was in my early 20s that the best women to know were in their early 30s — past the foolishness, earthier, more passionate, etc.
I still say Cate Blanchett should have won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her Dylan deal in I’m Not There — the most riveting, fascinating and feeling-ful peformance of 2007. The woman who did win….I can’t remember who that was. Thinking, thinking. It was Michael Clayton‘s Tilda Swinton but I had to look it up. She was very good, but I think her win was compensation because Clayton wasn’t going to win in any other big-five category and the Clayton lovers knew this, so Tilda was the lucky recipient.
I’m Not There DVD is out May 6th. Not a must-rent as much as a must-own.
“I will tell you right now — Cate Blanchett will win the Oscar,” George Clooney told the Associated Press last October about his Good German costar. “She’s the best actor working today. Not actress — she’s an actor. Intimidating, in a way, to work with an actor that good.”
Sean Penn‘s reason for appearing twice today at the Coachella Music Festival was to announce the Dirty Hands Caravan, a biodeisel caravan that will drive from Indio to New Orleans starting tomorrow Monday and is expected to arrive in New Orleans on May 4th for the city’s annual jazz festival.
“I see this as a reckoning,” Penn told the Hollywood Reporter‘s Leslie Simmons. “My generation and those that came before have to recognize the numbing of incentive that we’ve passed on to the change-hungry, imaginative, smarter-than-us youth of today.”
Hillary Clinton “was in Chicago for three nights during the 1968 street confrontations. She chaired the 1970 Yale law school meeting where students voted to join a national student strike again an ‘unconscionable expansion of a war that should never have been waged.’ She was involved in the New Haven defense of Bobby Seale during his murder trial in 1970, as the lead scheduler of student monitors. She surely agreed with Yale president Kingman Brewster that a black revolutionary couldn’t get a fair trial in America. She wrote that abused children were citizens with the same rights as their parents.
“Most significantly in terms of her recent attacks on Barack Obama, after Yale law school Hillary went to work for the left-wing Bay Area law firm of Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein, which specialized in Black Panthers and West Coast labor leaders prosecuted for being communists. Two of the firm’s partners, according to Treuhaft, were communists and the two others ‘tolerated communists.’ Then she went on to Washington to help impeach Richard Nixon, whose career was built on smearing and destroying the careers of people through vague insinuations about their backgrounds and associates.
“All these citations can be found in Carl Bernstein‘s sympathetic 2007 Clinton biography, A Woman in Charge.
“All these were honorable words and associations in my mind, but doesn’t she see how the Hillary of today would accuse the Hillary of the sixties of associating with black revolutionaries who fought gun battles with police officers, and defending pro-communist lawyers who backed communists? Doesn’t the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom Hillary attacks today, represent the very essence of the black radicals Hillary was associating with in those days? And isn’t the Hillary of today becoming the same kind of guilt-by-association insinuator as the Richard Nixon she worked to impeach?” — from Tom Hayden‘s Nation piece called “Why Hillary Makes My Wife Scream.”
“In his 1991 book The Reasoning Voter, political scientist Samuel Popkin argued that most people make their choice on the basis of ‘low-information signaling’ — that is, stupid things like whether you know how to roll a bowling ball or wear an American-flag pin.” Or whether or not a political candidate seems like the kind of guy you can relax and have a beer with. I’ve read that Josef Stalin had a common-man touch. He could relate to Ukranian wheat-growers and their concerns. Not that this mattered in the Russia of the 1930s, ’40s and early ’50s.
“In the era of Republican dominance, the low-information signals were really low — how Michael Dukakis looked in a tanker’s helmet, whether John Kerry‘s favorite sports were too precious (like wind-surfing), whether Al Gore‘s debate sighs over his opponent’s simple obfuscations were patronizing. Bill Clinton was the lone Democratic master of low-information signaling — a love of McDonald’s and other assorted big-gulp appetites gave him credibility that even trumped his evasion of military service.” – from a depressing Joe Klein Time piece, dated 4.24, called “The Incredible Shrinking Democrats.”
N.Y. Times reporter Michael Cieply has written a light-hearted, semi-whimsical piece about the persistence of big-business villains in modern movies — whatever. The odd thing is that Speed Racer producer Joel Silver declined to be interviewed for it. One images the reasoning: “Please…no light-hearted N.Y. Times articles about corporate villainy…leave us alone….the article might be slanted against the film!” The Wachowski brothers, true to form, also declined to be interviewed.
As noted three days ago, tracking is indicating that uncertain box-office prospects are facing the Wachowski brothers’ Speed Racer (Warner Bros., 5.9) due to interest levels for the kid-friendly film being strongest among the over-25 set. Out of this has come a notion that What Happens in Vegas, the Ashton Kutcher-Cameron Diaz comedy that opens the same day, could elbow Speed Racer aside and become the weekend’s #1 film.
Diaz, Kutcher in What Happens in Vegas
The reasoning partly comes from reports — one of them first-hand and reliable — that the Kutcher-Diaz is quite funny and entertaining, and partly because Vegas-backdrop movies seem to be working with younger audiences these days, judging by the success fo Robert Luketic‘s 21. And because I’ve been told that two high-profile critics are down on Speed Racer, one calling it “terrible” and another using the term “godawful.” Perhaps we shouldn’t draw any conclusions, this being a young person’s movie and these two guys being on the far side of 50.
If — I say “if” — What Happens in Vegas beats Speed Racer over the May 9th weekend, it’ll be a major humiliation for Warner Bros. marketing. But who knows? Let’s wait and see what happens. You can’t tell about younger kids from tracking surveys. It’s quite possible that Speed Racer interest levels among teenagers, tweeners and toddlers will uptick significantly a week to ten days before it opens. (People tend to be flatliners on upcoming movies until opening week.)
“What you’ve written is more or less correct,” a seasoned numbers-watcher wrote after this piece went up. “The only chance for Speed Racer is if it catches on with the family audience, and as of now, there’s nothing to indicate that that’s going to take place.”
Fox had a couple of junket screenings this weekend for What Happens in Vegas, but I haven’t heard anything from any press colleagues who attended.
Nobody can trust IMDB posters, but if you want to believe that non-vested people wrote the Vegas responses that are currently up, the film sounds more than half decent. An older exhibitor-related friend did tells me he’s heard it’s pretty good.
“The theater was almost full and the laughs were almost as much as on Superbad,” one IMDB poster said. “The room went nuts several times. The scene were Cameron and Ashton meet for the first time is brilliant comedy. Only about 15% of it take place in Las Vegas…it doesn’t show Vegas in a very good light.”
Another wrote several hours ago that he “just finished watching it tonight at the Century City shopping mall [and] in my opinion [it’s] one of the funniest movies this year with one of Ashton Kutcher’s’s better performances. He and Cameron Diaz were perfect together in this movie, [which is] funny from start to finish.” You can tell from the syntax and phraseology that the writers aren’t that judgmental or terribly deep thinkers, suggesting the posts could be plants, but if they’re not…
The other thing, mentioned by as friend, is that What Happens in Vegas will be the fourth romantic comedy in a row aimed at 20- and 30-something couples and older women, following Made of Honor, Baby Mama and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Will there be that much of an appetite for this kiind of thing, he’s asking, by the time Vegas rolls along?
In the wake of my similarly-worded 4.23 item, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Zeitchik wrote on 4.25 that expectations persist that Fernando Meirelles‘ Blindness will be shown under some aegis at the Cannes Film Festival, possibly as the opening-night attraction.
“The opening- and closing-night films haven’t been officially announced,” he reports, “and several sources said that Meirelles’ profile and the film’s scope (as well as such stars as Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo) make it a prime opening-night candidate. Even if it doesn’t end up in that showcase slot, it could go in one of several competition slots that might yet be announced. Said one executive: ‘I’d be very surprised if it didn’t end up there.'”
“I gather it will be shown at Cannes under some aegis,” I wrote on 4.23. “I haven’t been told this in so many words, but a person in the Blindness camp has written that [the rcently annoucned] official Cannes list, as we all know, omitted ‘a few key announcements that are yet to be made.’ The implication seems clear.”
“Iron Man is a mixed bag. Slick, snappy, wonderfully witty, and at times more of an irony-man than just plain Iron Man. (‘It’s actually titanium-alloy man,’ says Robert Downey‘s blase Tony Stark). Yet at times it’s also a routine action movie with no real inventiveness, plot-wise,” says Israeli blogger Yair Raveh‘s in his review on Cinemascope. Uh-oh…the first sign of Iron Man political backlash!
“Politically it tries to be liberal-minded at first,” Raveh says, “putting the blame for wars on profiteering by arms manufacturers — but in fact this is a conservative old-fashioned picture, about a nation looking for a dude to fight its wars for it, abroad and at home, and do it with as little accountability as possible.”
This Bill Maher “New Rules” clip is only nine days old — is that so bad? Yes, yes…I should have posted it earlier. But the riff about class and elitism that Maher delivered at midpointabout the Barack Obama/Reagan Democrats “bittergate” scandal is, for my money, gospel. Best line: “You know who is bitter in America? I am. Because shit-kickers voted twice for a retarded guy they wanted to have a beer with, and everybody else had to suffer the consequences!”