If you were Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road, Away We Go, Road to Perdition, American Beauty), would you direct a James Bond film? This, to me, is a total whuh? My first response was to call this a sell-out move. You can’t be a top-of-the-line dramatic auteur and then just flip over like a turtle, hold your nose and and whore yourself out to a facetious franchise. It’s undignified. What’s next — Jason Reitman reviving the Matt Helm franchise?
If anyone has a copy of the untitled Allan Loeb-scripted, Universal-funded comedy about infidelity that Ron Howard will direct and Vince Vaughn will star in, please forward. Because I’m sensing this’ll be good. Vaughn needs (a) a smart hit and (b) to work with a higher grade of director. He also needs to lose 30 pounds. He appeared to be at the tipping point during the Couples Retreat press junket.
Variety‘s Michael Fleming reports that the idea for the film was “hatched” by producer Brian Grazer, whose history has indicated a certain familiarity with the subject. Pic is said to be “an exploration of the comedic fallout surrounding infidelity between lovers and friends.”
I have to pack up and train into Manhattan in order to meet a guy who’s driving Jett and myself to the Long Island set of a currently-shooting film at 5 pm. Which means I can’t think just now about who will be nominated for DGA Awards on Thursday. I’m mentioning this because Award Daily‘s Sasha Stone has asked for names.
Not that I need to think about it very much. We all know that Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron and Jason Reitman will be on the list. My personal vote is for An Education‘s Lone Scherfig and A Serious Man‘s Joel and Ethan Coen to fill the other two slots. Will there be a surprise inclusion? A Single Man‘s Tom Ford, for instance? Is it safe to say that Lee Daniels won’t be included?
“‘He was a rare man, a gentleman,’ is how Daniel Day Lewis began his tribute to Irish Times film critic Michael Dwyer, whose funeral took place at the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh this morning.
ceremonial tribute to recently deceased film critic Michael Dwyer.
“Speaking to a packed church of relatives, friends, colleagues and members of Ireland’s film community, Day Lewis described Dwyer, whom he had known for over 20 years, as ‘gentle, modest and kind.’ He also praised his enthusiasm for film and his ability to remain compassionate even in criticism. ‘He was never cruel, ever, nor was he self-serving.’
“Day Lewis also made reference to Dwyer’s strong connection with the Dublin Film Festival, which the film correspondent had co-founded and which went on to become the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. ‘I have nothing against whiskey, but I would love to think that from now on that festival could be renamed after him.'” — from Fionna McCann‘s 12.5 story in the Irish Times, posted a couple of hours ago.
Who was DDL alluding to when he said Dwyer was never “cruel”? Every critic has to be be able to call a spade a brutal spade, which lily-livered types would call “cruel.” Words of praise mean nothing if you spread them around too liberally, and if you can’t be merciless with the mediocre. And a critic never lived who didn’t know about tooting his or her horn.
When it comes time for my wake I would be content if someone said, “He loved film like nothing or no one else except for his sons, and he was appropriately damning and cruel when it came to dismissing the slovenly masses who poured hundreds of millions into the coffers of Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich, and ignored Juan Antonio Bayona and Steven Soderbergh‘s Che.”
This USA Today article about coming ESPN 3D broadcasts is a bellwether of the progress of 3D home-video technology. It’s the first significant step (money talks, bullshit walks) and a reassurance that watching 3D movies at home isn’t that far off.
ESPN 3D camera operator
I personally can’t wait. I want the 3D option on every decent film ever made, including Way Down East and Triumph of the Will and Slim. As long as it’s Avatar-level 3D, I’m good to go. It goes without saying I would have no problem wearing 3D glasses at home — nobody would. Rayban will come out with special 3D glasses that will look cool in any environment. Wear them to the market, during sex, whatever.
In all seriousness, the idea of watching dimensionalized versions of Citizen Kane, All Fall Down, Betrayal, Ben-Hur, Viva Zapata, To Catch A Thief, Titanic and El Cid on my 60″ 3D-capable plasma (i.e., the one I’ll buy three or four years from now) gives me goosebumps.
“ESPN is going 3D,” USA Today‘s Edward C. Baig wrote. “The venerable sports network will launch ESPN 3D on June 11 with a World Cup soccer match, creating what it says will be the first all three-dimensional television network to the home.
“ESPN 3D expects to showcase at least 85 live sporting events during the first year. There’ll be no reruns initially, so the network will be dark when there’s no 3D event. Among other events planned for 3D broadcast: the Summer X Games (extreme sports), NBA games, college basketball and college football.
Viewers will “need a more expensive 3D-capable television such as those that industry heavyweights will show off this week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). They’ll also have to wear special 3D glasses.
“Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro says the ESPN 3D announcement parallels where HDTV was six years ago. ‘This is a turning point for 3D,’ he says.
“Paul Liao, CEO of the CableLabs consortium of cable operators, says that while 3D movies are paramount to the success of 3D in the home, live sports ‘will engage the consumer to a degree that has been unprecedented.’
“There are challenges. You may need a new set-top box to watch 3D. It’s unclear if you’ll have to pay a premium. ESPN says it expects deals with distributors will be in place prior to launch.”
The two conversation points in this morning’s announcement of the Producer’s Guild of America nominations are, of course, the inclusion of JJ Abrams‘ Star Trek as a contender for the Daryl F. Zanuck Producer of the year award, and the omission of Rob Marshall‘s Nine in this category.
Not that anyone expected Nine to make the cut, but this is the first official statement from the community about its Oscar chances. Again — I feel badly for the Nine team because at least they showed balls in making their film in the first place. They knew that a screen version of a stage musical based on a Federico Fellini classic was, at heart, a jaded European-elite mood trip movie — hot women, Raybans, cigarettes, sports cars, Amalfi coast, Cinecitta — that would have trouble attracting the Middle-American Eloi who went to see Chicago, and yet they made it anyway. And out of this came an appealing, spirited and reasonably decent film.
It just seems to me that (a) putting your money where your heart is and (b) betting on a project that you know will be a dicey commercial endeavor from the get-go should be at least ceremoniously acknowledged, if only to give the makers a pat on the back — a little “good on you, homie, for going with your gut and giving it your all.”
I loved watching Star Trek for the rousing popcorn movie that it was and is, but c’mon…a possible recipient of a Zanuck Award? It’s very, very hard to make any film work, and a huge investment was required to make a wow-level, grand-scaled enterprise like Star Trek really take flight, but everyone knew it was a safe bet from the start, and that it was always primarily a movie that was first and foremost about the making of money and the eating of popcorn, which is fine. But the risk factor that Abrams faced was almost nonexistent compared to what Harvey Weinstein and Rob Marshall were dealing with.
Abrams is fine. He’s loaded and well-liked with the world at his feet. He’s got it made in the shade. What does he need a PGA Zanuck nomination for? It’s a garland, a bauble, a rose petal tossed at his sneakered feet. But poor Harvey is battered and struggling — he’s Jake LaMotta on the ropes. (“Ya never got me down, Ray…ya never got me down.”) If I could wave my hand and take back Star Trek‘s PGA nomination and give it to poor Nine, I would.
The other nine PGA best Picture nominees are Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Precious — Precious?? — Inglourious Basterds, An Education, Invictus — Invictus?? — Up and District 9.
PGA’s documentary award nommmies went to Burma VJ, The Cove, Sergio and Soundtrack for a Revolution. They blew off Anvil! — The Story of Anvil because…? And who the hell has even heard of Sergio? They also gave the go-by to Capitalism: A Love Story, Food, Inc. and James Toback‘s Tyson.