“Well, I think it’s fairly simple. I mean, if you do the Oscar math, the movie is supported by the actors — it won the Screen Actors Guild against The Hurt Locker and a bunch of other good movies. And I think that, you know, everybody in the world is gonna pick Kathryn Bigelow for best director — Quentin’s already announced he is — so I think that she wins that. And I think that there’s room for this movie to win best picture — I think the actors will lead the charge.
“And I think that, you know, as people re-look at the movie — there were 450 members of the Academy on Tuesday who watched the movie again — you know, the movie’s out on video, but they went to the theater and saw it again. So I think that kind of buzz and the excitement it’s generating is making people take a second look at all the movies. And, you know, that screenplay, and those actors, and that panorama of movies — you know, it’s just glorious, not to make a pun. I just think it’s one of those great upsets in the making. And it’s gonna happen.”
Anyone who says “even though Roman Polanski is a child rapist, The Ghost Writer is a pretty good film” is, in my eyes, contemptible. The absolute lowest level of film criticism or appreciation is to assign a lack of merit or to attempt a tarnishing of some kind by condemning a filmmaker for a single act (as opposed to a pattern) that is morally offensive. John Huston made me a cuckold in 1947 and ’48 by seducing my wife so Treasure of the Sierra Madre…well, it’s not a bad film but boy, that Huston!
Since most artists throughout history have been known to have their failings, weaknesses or unfortunate obsessions, assessing a film (or any work of art) by the above-described standards is the worst form of pedestrian thinking. I’m saying this with a recent sample of Deathtongue Groupie-think running around my brain, and with the knowledge that Polanski has just been handed the Best Director award at the Berlin Film Festival.
“Perhaps the most shocking element in Luis Bunuel‘s L’Age d’Or pertains to its eroticism, which, though tame by today’s standards, is peculiarly, disturbingly degrading. Or perhaps it’s the sequence, based on the Marquis de Sade‘s ‘120 Days of Sodom,’ in which the chief sadistic erotomaniac turns out to be none other than Jesus Christ. Though much of the film is comic, and some moments may even seem laughable, the joke, now as then, is largely on us.” — The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody on 2.16.
L’Age d’Or is in public domain and available both to stream and download online.
“The narrative for The Hurt Locker is, ‘We’re the underdog…we will allow you to feel great about awarding the first female director ever…you like us, you really really like us…and there’s not a lick of CG in our masterful little film…the kind of film Hollywood should be making but forgets to…send a message that you want more quality films.’
“Good story. And a great film with great work by director Bigelow and on down the line. But the only reason this narrative works this year is because of the other great narrative…
“‘Over 2.5 billion dollars. We are the biggest f-ing film in history. We are leading the way to all the things that keep this town working. You want to raise ticket prices? People were willing to pay $3 premiums in a recession to watch our movie…at least 200 million people dug deeper into their pockets. You want to see how the future will work? Forget about the blue people and look at the ability to create a completely believable, living breathing photo real universe. We’re doing over $150 million in China, folks…land of the illegal DVD…almost 4 times the previous record holder for an American film. International is where the money is…and we have the Godzilla of international grosses…$1.7 billion and counting…
“‘And you heard about that budget? Not only wasn’t it the most expensive film ever, but by breaking through technologically, the film opens the door to films with smaller budgets and ambitions to use this technology at a price, much as CG has become standard in most studio movies, even if only to clean things up. (And yeah, Hurt Locker… that includes you!) When you look back at what film got Best Picture 20 years from now, what movie will be remembered most fondly…what film is a landmark? And you can thank us for the ratings that might save the Academy’s deal with ABC at something close to the current price, thanks.'”
— from David Poland‘s 2.18 “20 Weeks to Oscar” column
Websters.com has no recognition of/definition for “behanding.” (“Do you mean beheading?”, the site asks.) If Martin McDonagh hadn’t decided to call his latest play A Behanding in Spokane no one on the face of the planet would have ever used the term. (If your right leg has been severed have you been belegged?) I’m fated to see this alleged black comedy, which costars Christopher Walken, Anthony Mackie, Zoe Kazan — no! — and Sam Rockwell, sometime in March.
Sean Penn is reportedly looking at time for this? He didn’t even swing at the guy — two kicks, “get out, get out,” a snarly-dog expression. That’s absolutely nothing.
I’m not condoning physical brutality, but paparazzi and the editors who pay them are vermin — who other than terrorists and child molestors are more deserving of wrath and agitation and unpleasantness than they?
You think every celebrity who’s ever been dogged by paparazzi isn’t cheering Penn on when they watch this?