Lindsay Lohan‘s probation has been revoked and a bench warrant issued for her arrest due to having failed two drug tests. She won’t be cuffed and sent back to the pokey until she appears in court this coming Friday morning. Hey, Lindsay — catch a screening of The Social Network on the Sony lot this week (they’re showing it a few times). You’re probably going to get a much longer sentence this time and you don’t want to miss out.
Quoting the gist of a Total Film article, The Playlist is reporting that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s 1950s-set Scientology drama, tentatively titled The Master, has been “postponed indefinitely at this point.”
“I was really bummed about that,” costar Jeremy Renner is quoted as saying. “It really kind of stalled because when we were rehearsing — Phillip Seymoour Hoffman, Paul and myself — we kept coming up against a wall that we couldn’t overcome. Or at least Paul couldn’t overcome.”
“Hoffman revealed in an interview with The Playlist during press rounds for Jack Goes Boating that ‘I don’t have any new information [on the project]. I really mean that, I’m not being obtuse. I don’t quite know what that is at the moment, but hopefully I will and hopefully I’ll be part of something soon. It would be great to work with him again.'”
Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and I agreed in principle today to launch a new weekly Oscar discussion podcast. The intention is to call it “Oscar Poker with Jeff & Sasha.” We’re figuring the term “Oscar poker” will make it turn up in search engines more readily. Record every Sunday, post every Monday.
Strictly tentative art (whipped together within the last hour), but not bad.
The idea is that Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson’s weekly discussion is perhaps a little more mild-mannered than it needs to be (no offense, guys!), and that maybe we’d try and toss a few lettuce leaves around.
I was milling around the 1980 New York Film Festival as a would-be wannabe. (Pant, pant.) At a French Embassy party I struck up a conversation with Catherine Deneuve that lasted about eight or nine seconds — she sized me up and moved on. I was determined to speak with the legendary Francois Truffaut (whose Montmartre grave I’ve since visited) so when I saw him at Alice Tully Hall I asked if he knew where mutual friend Annette Insdorf was at the moment. “Hotel Empire!,” he said. “Empire!”
Sometime tomorrow night New York‘s “Vulture” column will be going indie, becoming a stand-alone site that will reportedly not use the words “New York magazine” but will maintain certain ties with New York in that and that way. “Vulture” editor Adam Moss will still run the show, of course.
“I’m one of your middle class Americans,” a questioner said to President Barack Obama during today’s CNBC Town Hall meeting. “And quite frankly, I’m exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for.”
Obama’s response: “Times are tough for everybody right now, so I understand your frustration.”
My very first response to this trailer for Ron Howard‘s The Dilemma (Universal, 1.14.11), a dramedy about an infidelity situation, is that Vince Vaughan and Kevin James have become very amply proportioned. Their wives, however, are played by the slim and svelte Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder. And that’s not how it works in the real world.
Fat guys tend to marry women with weight issues and vice versa. A husband or wife will sometimes sympathetically gain weight as a way of showing allegiance. (Like when guys pack it on when their wives become pregnant.) But slim wives will generally not let their fat husbands off the hook — they’ll hammer and hammer them until they go to the club and drop some pounds. That or they’ll capitulate and gain weight so as to reduce their differences.
The Dilemma used to be known as Untitled Cheating Project (a.k.a. Your Cheating Heart). I reviewed Allen Loeb’s script seven months ago. Here’s part of what I said:
“Vaughn and James will play Chicago-based engine designers Ronnie Valentine and Isaac Backman, respectively, whose significant others are Beth (Connelly) and Geneva (Ryder). The central tension is about Ronnie accidentally discovering that Geneva is playing around on Isaac, and the anxieties and trepidations that stem from his not knowing what to do. Should he just blurt out the bad news to Isaac, his business partner and longtime best friend? And if he does, will Isaac somehow blame him for Geneva’s betrayal? (Guilt by association.) Should he mind his own business and stay out of the lives of others?
“I was immediately repelled by Ronnie’s response because — hello? — there’s only one thing to do. In such a situation his loyalty would be to his longtime friend, not the wife, and so one way or the other he’d have to share what he suspects. No guy would have to think about this. He’d start out by stressing to his pal that he doesn’t really ‘know’ anything but that he’s seen something disturbing and that maybe something’s up, etc. And then he’d suggest that the friend might want to hire a shamus to learn the facts or whatever. But come what may you must share what you’ve seen and/or suspect.
“The fact that jabbering Ronnie — a guy who’s in denial about almost everything, and who fibs all the time like Alibi Ike and has trust issues with everyone — hems and haws throughout the story is infuriating. By my sights the guy has no convictions or cojones, and who wants to spend 110 minutes with a 13 year-old who mostly goes ‘homina-homina-homina’ when faced with a serious issue?”
Right now several Bluray screeners are about to be sent to Hollywood Elsewhere central, and it feels like Christmas. The Criterion Blurays of Paths of Glory and The Thin Red Line are on the way. Ditto the Psycho Bluray from Universal Home Video, the Bridge on the River Kwai Bluray from Sony Home Video, the Apocalypse Now Bluray from Lionsgate, and five Warner Home Video Blurays — The Exorcist, the two Humphrey Bogart Blurays (Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon), Ocean’s 11 and King Kong.
Not to mention the 18-disc Fox Home Video box Elia Kazan box set that’s due on 11.9, which I’m currently asking for.
Marshall Fine‘s review of Woody Allen‘s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (Sony Classics, 9.22) is a little kinder and gentler than my own, which I posted four months ago during the Cannes Film Festival.
Fine is calling it “yet another change-up in the Woody Allen approach – a drama played with comedy rhythms”that “continually surprises you by coming back to earth, rather than launching into the heavens with laughter and romance.” And I described it as “a mildly amusing, somewhat chilly film with no piercing performances or dramatic highlights even, as if everything and everyone is on a regulator of some kind. And yet the undertone has a persistent misanthropic flavor. And it leaves you with a kind of ‘uh-huh, okay’ feeling at the end.”
“The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence,” Fine writes, “but, in Woody Allen’s world, it’s not merely an illusion. Rather, it’s the thread that starts to unravel one’s current reality.” He describes Stranger is “an occasionally comic drama about the terrors and pitfalls of dissatisfaction,” but says at another point that “there’s little [in the film] that tries to be funny.
“Every character in this film is unhappy in some way with his or her current situation — but in seeking what seems to be a better solution, they instead find even more unhappiness.”
“Allen is etching portraits in denial and distraction. Each of the characters, unhappy with what they’ve got, believe that the thing they yearn for will erase the unhappiness and dissatisfaction that they feel. Thinking about what might be is the real distraction – the daydream that makes life bearable.
“But each makes the mistake of actually attempting to live that dream — of believing that, if they turn fantasy into reality, it will live up to the way they imagined it would be.”
I wrote that Stranger is “about people making terrible or lamentable choices and missing opportunities and hoping for something more or better and struggling with inevitable limitations. In short, it’s about what a sad bunch of clueless, desperate and delusional schmucks we all are.
“It therefore has a certain integrity. But it feels middling or, truth be told, minor. It has irony, obviously, but not the delicious Match Point kind. There’s a solemn God’s-eye perspective at work here, but there’s no kick to it. We’re driven by longing and dreams but things don’t always work out. We want what we want but we get what fate doles out. Plop.
“I don’t want to go out on a limb, but You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger doesn’t deliver my idea of what most moviegoers are looking for, or are likely to enjoy. I’d have to be goaded into seeing it again. It’s grade-C Woody….sorry.
“That means it’s a bit less than Cassandra’s Dream, slightly better than Scoop or Curse of the Jade Scorpion or Anything Else, and in roughly the same realm as Another Woman, September, Shadows and Fog and A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy. Then again (and I say this almost every time I review one of his films) a grade-C Woody is like a B-minus or even a B along the general curve.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Borys Kit is reporting that Anthony Peckham has been tapped to re-write Paramount’s Jack Ryan reboot. Previously written by Adam Cozad, pic is reportedly an origin story with Chris Pine as Ryan and Lost’s Jack Bender directing. No offense but this hiring strikes me as a downmarket move — an aesthetic tilt that could lead to a dilution of the Ryan brand.
Peckham’s screenplays for Sherlock Holmes and The Book of Eli are dismissable offenses in my book. Holmes was glib horseshit — it was my idea of torture — and Peckham was a key architect of that painful modernist bromance shtick.
And that expression on his face in the above photo…good God. You’re not supposed to evaluate writers by their appearances but look at him. Reddish tennis-ball haircut, beard, hoo-hoo grin. Is this the face of someone who intuitively gets the DNA of the Jack Ryan world? He looks like an adrenalized nerd who works in a cubicle, some guy who irritates Rainn Wilson in The Office.
Previous Ryan franchise screenwriters have loftier pedigrees, or at least the rep of having written films with a certain gravity and coolness, that are way, way above Peckham’s level.
Sum of All Fears screenwriter Daniel Pyne wrote White Sands, Any Given Sunday and the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, and his Sum collaborator Paul Attanasio had written Quiz Show, Disclosure and Donnie Brasco.
Clear and Present Danger co-writer Donald Stewart wrote Missing. Steven Zallian, who wrote (and re-wrote) major portions of this 1994 Ryan thriller, had written Schindler’s List, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Awakenings and The Falcon and the Snowman. And the resume of Clear and Present Danger co-writer John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn) speaks for itself.
Stewart also co-wrote Patriot Games along with Peter Iliff (Point Break, Prayer of the Rollerboys), and co-wrote The Hunt for Red October with Larry Ferguson (Alien 3, The Presidio, Beverly Hills Cop II).
I’ve forgotten to ask HE rank-and-filers about their reactions to Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go, which opened last Friday. I never tapped out a full review, but my basic reaction was that it’s really sensitive, delicate, anguished and very carefully made. But it’s morose, and this plus the passivity and resignation doesn’t work. It very gently suffocates.
As Kazuo Ishiguro‘s book makes clear, once the layers have been peeled back and the situation is laid bare, Never Let Me Go becomes a piece, essentially, about resignation and doom.
“If the film is difficult for some people, it’s not because of the movie’s quality, but simply because it deals with issues that most people are uncomfortable with,” a friend wrote earlier this month. “The performances are all fine. And the direction is subtle. It has a modesty. It’s all handled with humanity. The point isn’t to wallow in their tragedy, but to relate their experiences to our own. If you understand that, the film slowly builds its power as it progresses.”