Gregg Goldstein posted a Hollywood Reporter story late last night about “several of the Weinstein Co.’s top founding film executives departing the company with no imminent replacements for their positions.” You could say that the facts speak for themselves and that’s fine, but the story as written seems to skirt the basics. Why can’t Goldstein just say that the Weinstein Co. is apparently scaling back while trying to negotiate a difficult stretch of road? Which would be a polite way of putting it.
“Unlike Clint Eastwood‘s Changeling, there is no melodrama in I’ve Loved You So Long, only real, quiet, strong acting,” says Daily Beast columnist Tom Tapp. Kristin Scott Thomas‘ Juliette does not rant at society’s injustices. Hers is a reactive performance. She watches the family. She watches her employers. She watches her sister. And somehow, our attention is held the entire time — I was completely captivated observing her, observing the world.
“Thomas’s is the kind of performance that critics always say deserves an Oscar, but rarely wins: an interior role in a small film in another language. But who knows? The critics have been rapturous. Maybe the Academy will be as well. The film will be a glaring absence in the Foreign Film category (France’s The Class is France’s selection this year), but we’d be glad to see Thomas in the Best Actress category again, where she belongs. There certainly has not been a better performance this year in any country.”
I’ve seen Terrence Malick‘s The New World three times — the 150-minute version that screened for the press in late ’05 (just once), and the shorter 135-minute version that opened in early ’06 (twice). But I’ve never seen the 172-minute extended cut that came out on DVD on 10.14. I’ve simply been too lazy to pick it up. I have the reviews, of course, but can anyone pass along some non-pro thoughts?
Ron Silver’s decision to become a 9/11 Republican a few years ago is what it is. But the poor guy’s appearance on Larry King Live a day or two ago was alarming. He looks gaunt, drained and sounded weak. I don’t know what the backstory is but I hope he’s doing well, and if he isn’t that he gets better. The Ron Silver I know and love is a bearded New Yorky-type guy with longish, swept-back hair, wearing an expensive suit and sporting a swaggery attitude.
It’s long been understood that Al-Qeada (also spelled “Al-Qaida”) wants John McCain elected so they’ll have a more full-on, never-say-die war effort to deal with in Iraq, which will advance their cause by inspiring more young and disaffected Middle Eastern men to join up and give their lives. So it’s not that big a deal for an Al-Qeada backed website called al-Hesbah to have posted a message along these lines.
The message reported late last night said that in order “to exhaust the United States militarily and economically,” Al-Qeada believes that the “impetuous Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” and will otherwise “continue the failing march of his predecessor, Bush.”
I don’t know how many others have placed Nanette Burstein‘s American Teen on their short list of Best Feature Doc Oscar contenders. I did for a while because I mostly liked this Paramount Vantage-released doc. I called it a “full meal movie” that “takes us on a rewind tour of our own high-school experiences,” and that it cuts through cliches by “immersing us in the essentials..” And yet I’ve taken it off my short list for two reasons.
One, I just can’t shake the suspicion that the doc was “vaguely rigged” on some level, as I put it last summer. I realize that the Teen people denied this up and down, but I just don’t believe them. “There’s something about American Teen that just feels too polished,” I wrote last July. “Some of the dramatic scenes unfold so concisely and with such emotional clarity that it almost feels scripted.” I presume it wasn’t scripted, but rehearsed, re-shot, acted with directorial suggestions, etc.?
And two, I just can’t abide those declarations from American Teen “costars” Colin Clemens and Jake Tusing that they have no interest in voting. I can’t live with that or suppport anyone who says it. It’s wrong, irresponsible, uncondonable.
An excerpt from the 7.21 article: “It was just me, Colin and Jake (everyone else was outside) when I asked, ‘So where is everyone politically? Is anyone…you know, a Ron Paul fan? Or Nader? Anything out of the ordinary? Or are you all for Obama or…?’
“Nobody, they both said. Nada, zip, no interest. Jake said he hasn’t paid any attention at all to the candidates or the election. I asked if he might want to think it over sometime between now and election day in November so he could vote for somebody — Obama, the Libertarian guy, McCain, whomever. ‘No,’ he said. Doesn’t pay attention, doesn’t want to know, TV off.
“Colin said the same thing. I didn’t record him or take notes, but he basically said that ‘politics and politicians are a game…it never changes…it’s not something I care about…maybe when I get older but…I don’t know, but not now.'”
So no offense, guys, but words have meanings and actions have consequences.
This happened earlier today during a campaign stop in Goffstown, New Hampshire. At least once before John McCain blurted out a (Freudian slip?) “c” word. I’m reading today’s episode as another indication of stress and fatigue. He’s in a tough place now, has to be feeling it.
Gonzalo Arijon‘s Stranded, which knocked me down at last January’s Sundance Film Festival, is finally opening today. It deserves full consideration as an Oscar contender for Best Feature Documentary (unless it’s ineligible). I’m sorry but it’s much more spiritual and primal than Trouble The Water (the King Kong of amateur-video jiggle docs) or Alex Gibney‘s Gonzo. In my head it’s second only to James Marsh‘s Man on Wire.
This deeply moving doc about the Uruguyan plane-crash survivors who were forced to resort to cannibalism after landing in the snow-covered Andes mountains in October 1972 and being stuck there for 72 days, opens today at Manhattan’s Film Forum, at L.A.’s Nuart on 11.7, and then in various U.S. cities between now and mid-December.
Stranded is partly a first-hand, looking-back, talking-heads doc, partly a revisiting of the crash scene piece and partly a grainy, dialogue-free re-enactment. It’s touching from the start, and holds you all through its 122-minute length.
This famous saga, dramatized in Frank Marshall‘s Alive (’93) as well as Piers Paul Read‘s “Alive: Sixteen Men, Seventy-two Days, and Insurmountable Odds–the Classic Adventure of Survival in the Andes,” is about how 16 young men (most members of a rugby team) managed to survive the ordeal by eating the flesh of those who’d been killed.
It’s as good as — certainly in the realm of — Kevin McDonald‘s Touching The Void. Right away you sense this is no run-of-the-mill deal. The emotionally delicate tone and complex layers and shadings imply from the get-go that Arijon has the hand of a poet-maestro.
The doc’s unique aspect is not only talking to many of these survivors (kids at the time, now in their 50s and 60s), but also joining them on a trip back to the site of the crash for some reliving and reflecting. It’s a real
If it’s a Kate Hudson movie, there’s a good chance it’s going to be shallow, retard-formulaic and repulsively chick-flicky. (As I explained in a 9.22 piece called “Lady Has No Taste.”) Make that an excellent chance. I’m sorry but that’s the bed she’s made. So the uh-oh vibe that emanates from the trailer for Bride Wars (Fox 2000, 1.9.09), her latest, is no surprise.
This, clearly, is just what the world needs now — a glossy girly-girl catfight comedy about duelling weddings at the Plaza condo-mart. The bottom has truly fallen out of empty subject matter for the under-30 female movie market. As a species they have no soul, nothing inside of any substance, nothing that looks inward or beyond the ADD ego-cravings of the moment.
Worse, Bride Wars has Candace Bergen playing the wedding planner. Good God.
The director is Gary Winick, the indie-world director-producer whose winning, nicely written Tadpole was the toast of Sundance ’02. By the Tadpole standard, Bride Wars — or the movie that the trailer seems to be selling — appears to be a straight hold-your-nose paycheck gig for the poor guy. Down in the saltmines with a hard hat and a pick-axe. I suppose we all have to bend over from time to time so we can make our accountants happy.
And what’s with Bride Wars costar Anne Hathaway making three wedding movies in a compressed time span — Rachel Getting Married, Bride Wars and The Fiance? As MTV.com’s Elizabeth Rappe wrote this morning, “If I was in the gossip magazines every other week thanks to my (possibly) criminal ex-boyfriend, I would run as far away from romantic comedy scripts as I could. But she’s boldly signing on to anything involving the highs and lows of romance. Maybe it’s her form of therapy.”