A person going for the second hug is always a sure sign that they’re tipsy. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this embarassment is any kind of mark against Precious. Because for me Mariah Carey‘s performance is the best thing in it. If she was nominated instead of badass Mo’Nique, I’d be all for it.
Think about it — small-theatre marquees with hand-placed letters are nearly dead. They’ve been gone for years in American small towns, and it won’t be long before they’re gone from the big cities also. You can feel the lore of cinematic romance when you stand under a funky old marquee. I don’t know what others feel when they stand under an electronic moving-word sign outside the Lincoln Square plex on 68th Street, but I feel nothing. It’s a damn shame.
Variety‘s Clifford Coonan is reporting an exceptional reception for Avatar in China, which he says is causing “massive ripples.” Filmgoers saw it record numbers despite “the worst weather in half a century in parts of the country,” he says. He reports that James Cameron‘s film has “struck a chord with local auds because of the way it deals with people being forced to move from their homes — a big issue in China where land grabs by unscrupulous real estate developers, aided by corrupt officials, are a national scandal.”
Like Marshall Fine and other aficionados sadly burdened with a sense of taste, OK Magazine‘s Phil Villarreal hates Leap Year also. That’s okay because you have to hate some things in order to love others. Francois Truffaut once said that “taste is a result of a thousand distastes.”
“There is one moment of hope near the end of the movie,” he writes, “after the idiot lead character, Anna (Amy Adams) faces a severe disappointment in a small Irish town, then high-tails it to a jagged cliff. It’s here that hope finally arises that Anna will come to her senses and live up to the title by taking a header off the cliff in an effort to atone for her sins of being the stupidest idiot alive and leading the audience through 90 minutes of her drudgery-inducing hunt for someone, anyone — maybe even anything — to marry her.
“You won’t hear it from me whether or not Anna jumps off the cliff or turns around to be swept up by Matthew Goode in an embrace of doom. But I will say this: Just once, Hollywood, could you give us a happy ending?”
Precious has gathered eight nominations for the 41st annual NAACP Image Awards. This for a film that Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy called “a film of prurient interest that has about as much redeeming social value as a porn flick.”
Precious was nominated for outstanding motion picture and outstanding independent film. Lee Daniels was nominated for Best Director, and Gabby Sidibe, Mariah Carey, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz were all individually nominated for acting. Fox will air the Image Awards live on 2.26.
I got into a scuffle this morning with HE reader “Bob Violence” over a remark I made about Vince Vaughn needing to lose 30 pounds. Violence took the remark as another expression of what he and others regard as a longstanding HE prejudice against people of girth. As this incorrect and fat-headed observation keeps coming up, I thought I’d try to damper it down.
I’ve never said there’s anything inherently distatsteful about fat people per se. Ever. Millions of people are simply built that way through genetic inheritance. What I’ve said is that there’s something inherently gross about morbidly obese people. I also have a slight side-issue thing with adolescents and teens and 20somethings who are fat because they’ll eventually turn into out-of-control Jabbas when their metabolisms start slowing down in their 30s.
Vaughn isn’t obese (yet) but for an actor with pretensions toward being an attractive lead male type, he’s getting too fat to pull it off. Especially if he’s going to be in a Ron Howard movie about infidelity, which means he has to look like a guy who has the ability to score every so often. It’s an Absolute Hollywood Law that if you’re going to play someone involved in sexual-romantic activity, you can’t look like a beast.
One look at Vaughn’s appearance at the Couples Retreat junket and you thought, “Jesus Christ, this guy needs to lay off the pizza and the pasta and work out more.” He’s not pulling in the big bucks in order to play motor-mouthed water buffaloes — he’s being paid the big bucks to play hyper, motor-mouthed, ESPN-loving, video-game-playing guys who are fit and semi-attractive enough to pair up with women like Jennifer Aniston (Teh Kreak-up), Isla Fisher (The Wedding Crashers) and Malin Akerman (Couples Retreat).
Do you remember what Vaughn looked like in Swingers in the mid ’90s? He was Jimmy Stewart in Destry Rides Again. Then he became the bulky but still appealing Wedding Crashers guy. Now he’s on the verge of a third incarnation — total Jabba/sea lion/Orson Welles.
Large-boned, barrel-chested, man-boob guys hook up with perky, small-framed, button-chested women all the time in real life, but flatulent wildebeests generally don’t do as well in this department.
And The Winner Is columnist Scott Feinberg has written an intelligent and comprehensive (and somewhat obsequious) piece on Up In The Air director-screenwriter Jason Reitman. One portion in particular caught my interest — a listing of similarities between Reitman and legendary director, screenwriter and social satirist Preston Sturges.
(l.) Jason Reitman, (r.) Preston Sturges
“Reitman has demonstrated the rare ability to construct fun movies around difficult subjects,” Feinberg writes — the cigarette lobby in Thank You for Smoking, teen pregnancy in Juno and the current economic recession in Up in the Air. His dramedies are very much in the mold of earlier films by Stanley Kubrick (Lolita, Dr. Strangelove), Hal Ashby (Bound for Glory, Being There), and especially Preston Sturges, another specialist in snappy dialogue.
Sturges’ directorial debut, The Great McGinty (1940) is, like Reitman’s directorial debut Thank You for Smoking, about a bullshitter whose underhanded behavior eventually catches up with him. Okay, I’ll buy that one. Feinberg then notes Sturges’ most commercially-successful film “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” (1944) is, like Reitman’s most commercially-successful film Juno, about an eccentric young girl’s accidental pregnancy. Yeah, okay. Feinberg further observes that Sturges’ masterful Sullivan’s Travels (1941) is somewhat similar to Reitman’s masterpiece Up in the Air about a wealthy guy who ventures out of his bubble and witnesses the full extent of America’s economic meltdown.
I don’t know about that last one. George Clooney‘s Ryan Bingham seems to understand the devastation that people are feeling all over from the get-go. I didn’t detect any change of heart due to the Great Recession coinditions. He doesn’t go “oh, wow, I have to change my life!: when he learns of a bridge-jumping suicide by a young African American woman who’d been fired by Anna Kendrick’s character — in fact he deflects and shows little emotion. If there’s a game-changer, it seems to be his experience with Vera Farmiga‘s character at his sister’s wedding. Soon after he more or less ambles into a place in which he’d like to have a full-on relationship with Farmiga.
Otherwise I’ll buy the Sturges-Reitman analogy, as far as it goes. Feinberg doesn’t mention they were both to the manor born, so I’m mentioning it here and now.
Female moviegoers “have an insatiable appetite for unfunny romantic comedies about opposites, who attract after first repelling each other,” writes Hollywood & Fine’s Marshall Fine. “And Hollywood has a bottomless pit of this drivel from which to feed that gaping, witless maw – with films like 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, New in Town and now Leap Year. Women of the world — unite against brain-dead chick flicks!
“Written by the dread team of Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (Made of Honor, Josie and the Pussycats, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas), Leap Year stars Amy Adams as Anna, a control freak from Boston who, in the early scenes, is disappointed when her drippy doctor boyfriend (Adam Scott) fails to propose marriage at a ripe moment
“So she takes the advice of her ne’er-do-well father (John Lithgow, in a one-scene role): She flies to Dublin to surprise Dr. Dud at a medical conference on Feb. 29. There, she’ll utilize the Irish custom that allows women to propose to men on Leap Day.
“Just one problem (and, of course, there wouldn’t be a movie if there wasn’t a problem): Bad weather diverts her plane from Dublin to Wales, forcing her to rent a fishing boat, which drops her at a remote village on the opposite side of Ireland from Dublin. There, she and Declan O’Callahan (Matthew Goode) meet cute when she walks into his pub and hires him to drive her to Dublin.
“For a variety of comedically shaky premises that are not as funny as someone (director Anand Tucker? Kaplan and Elfont? A mentally challenged focus group?) seems to think, it takes them almost three squabbling days to traverse a country the size of the state of Pennsylvania. Watching this film seems to take even longer than that.
“I think Goode has the goods as an actor and a movie star. His presence and charm make him natural and likable, even when he has nothing to do but look askance at Adams (which is most of the film).
“Adams, on the other hand, flits desperately around the screen, seeking in vain for some bit of wit to cling to. She’s in over her head, sinking with bad material that can’t buoy her. She needs to find a support group for actresses whose careers are in danger of foundering from the inability to find decent scripts.
“Leap Year is the kind of movie of which I wish I could say, ‘You couldn’t pay me to watch that crap.’ Obviously, however, you can — but not nearly enough.”
“I feel like I had [an Oscar worthy role] in El Cantante,” Jennifer Lopez has told Latina magazine. “But I don’t even think the academy members saw it. I feel like it’s their responsibility to do that, to see everything that’s out there, everything that could be great.”
El Cantante got a 24% positive from Rotten Tomatoes and a 46% positive from Metacritic. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Carrie Rickey called it “a soaring, crashing, blazing affair with pyrotechnic performances by real-life spouses Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez…like a plane disaster, it holds you in thrall of “ay, Dios mio!” drama.”
“It was funny; when the Oscars were on, I had just given birth on the 22nd, and the Oscars, I think, were a day or two later. I was sitting there with my twins — I couldn’t have been happier — but I was like, ‘How dope would it have been if I would’ve won the Oscar and been here in my hospital bed accepting the award?’ ‘Thank you so much! I just want to thank the academy!’ But we joked about it.
“It’s all good. Things will happen when they’re supposed to happen. I have the utmost faith and no doubt that it will one day, when and if it’s supposed to. You can’t get all crazy twisted over it.”
For me, Lopez’s fate was sealed when I saw Anaconda and saw she was the only actor in the cast who was playing it straight and sincere. Everyone else (Jon Voight, Owen Wilson, Ice Cube, etc.) gave performances that said, “We know this is a piece of shit and that you know it, of course, so we’re standing outside the movie and basically fooling around and jacking off.”
Last night the Online Film Critics announced their 2009 award winners. Boldly going where scores of other film critics have gone before, they chose The Hurt Locker as Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow as Best Director…fine. And they gave Waltz — saying his first name is no longer required — their Best Supporting Actor prize and their Best Supporting Actress trophy to BET talk-show host Mo’Nique.
I’ll give them credit for handing their Best Actor award to The Hurt Locker‘s Jeremy Renner — very cool and wise — but what reaction other than befuddlement can be shared over honoring Inglourious Basterds costar Melanie Laurent with their Best Actress award? She was okay and is obviously fetching but c’mon — this reveals their horntoad geek sensibilities.
Best Original Screenplay award went to Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds, and the Best Adapted Screenplay honor went to Fantastic Mr. Fox co-writers Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.
I’m a fan of Anderson’s film as far as it goes, but the Fox screenplay is rife with believability problems. It makes no sense that Meryl Streep made George Clooney swear off chicken-eating the way other wives forbid their husbands from gambling or drinking or using drugs — chicken-eating is as natural as breathing in the fox world. Clooney moves into a tree house that’s not far from the farms of Bean, Boggis and Bunce, and he doesn’t calculate that they might search out his home and destroy it out of retaliation? Bean, Boggis and Bunce are introduced as paragons of evil but all they’re trying to do is keep their stuff from being stolen. The fox clan is shot at by more machine-gun bullets than were ever fired at Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: First Blood, Part II, and not one of them gets hit. The script is relentless illogical whimsy mixed in with the usual urbane Anderson neuroticisms.
At least the Onliners gave their Best Documentary prize to Anvil! The Story of Anvil — excellent choice. Their Best Picture Not in the English Language prize went to Michael Haneke‘s The White Ribbon — fine.
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?
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »