If I had the dough and the freedom to really swagger around, I’d probably be attending a Biutiful below-the-line discussion group, which, as we speak, starts about two hours hence (or 5 pm) at the Linwood Dunn on Vine Street. (Wait…5 pm? That’s for short naps, making a salad, taking showers, walking your dog.) Moderator Guillermo del Toro, director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, composer Gustavo Santaolalla, dp Rodrigo Prieto and editor Stephen Mirrione. Alas, I’m sitting on the fake-marble floor of a 42nd Street plex and being told by the manager that I can’t plug into the wall outlet.
“Keith Olbermann is right when he says he’s not the equivalent of Glenn Beck. One reports facts, the other one is very close to playing with his poop. And the big mistake of modern media has been this notion of balance for balance’s sake. That the Left is just as violent and cruel as the Right…there’s a difference between a mad man and a madman.”
In a comment thread for yesterday’s “Strange Pundits” story, HE reader PastePotPete wrote that he’d recently seen Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan (Fox Searchlight, 12.3) and that people generally seemed to find it “astonishing.” And yet despite that reaction “there were a lot of women [in the audience] who seemed to despise the movie. And I didn’t talk to or overhear a single male audience member disparaging it.
Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
“I think this disparity, which I believe Sasha Stone has brought up on the Oscar Poker podcast, will prevent it from garnering the awards it deserves, aside from Portman’s in-the-bag Best Actress award.”
So I wrote him write back and asked, “Did any of these women explain their feelings?
“My impression since the Venice Film Festival is that some women don’t like Black Swan (and this seems like a very weird reason to slam a film) because Portman’s character is too weak and distraught. Because she’s besieged by feelings of insecurity, anxiety and panic. And because some women resent the fact that she’s allowed herself to become torn and frayed, and is finally undone by her demons.
“Are we to presume that women viewers consider the character of Portman’s performance dishonestly conjured because…what, there are no such women in the performing world? Female artists who are worried about whether they’re good enough or not, about whether they might be replaced, or whether they’ve got enough talent or ambition to really make it? I don’t want to go out on a limb, but I believe there are many male artists out there with the same hang-ups and concerns.
“The implication is that some women don’t like this film because Portman’s self-destructive character isn’t positive enough — that she’s not an upstanding role model and that it’s not good for female characters of this type (or performances about same) to be admired too much or put on a pedestal. Is it me, or is that the single lamest rationale for disliking a film ever put forward in Hollywood history, or at least since the days of Stalinist Russia?
“By the same token did women of 1965 declare that Catherine Deneueve‘s character in Repulsion was also a negative role model, and therefore shouldn’t be admired too highly?”
The big surprise in Laura Israel‘s Windfall, a doc that I saw just before the Toronto Film Festival, is that wind-turbines, the “green” energy source that everyone is in favor of, are oppressors — bringers of discomfort and anguish and headaches and lawsuits. They’re 400 feet tall these days and weigh hundreds of tons and look like huge white Martian invaders out of Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, and they have a proven history of making the lives of people who live near them miserable.
(l.) Windfall director Laura Israel, (r.) cartoonist-activist Lynda Barry
Last night, I’m told, the film played to a sold-out house at the IFC Center. During the q & a Israel and cartoonist Lynda Barry discussed the ravaging and plundering of economically hard-up communiities by the wind turbine industry.
Barry is writing a book about how wind turbines invaded the small burgh where she lives in Wisconsin. She’s already interviewed more than 20 families and has done some initial drawings that have appeared on her website. She also runs the anti-wind turbine development website below.
My first thought when I saw this photo was that Mark Wahlberg, star of David O. Russell‘s The Fighter (Paramount, 12.10/12.17), has some serious forehead creasing going on these days. I’m counting at least three if not four rows. I’ve never had creases of any kind. I can contort my forehead all day and it won’t go there.
Art for David O’Russell’s The Fighter taken from recently received screening invitation.
I’m flattered to report that after this morning’s Love and Other Drugs press conference and the “talent” was walking out, director Ed Zwick leaned over and said he’d really enjoyed a piece that I’d written “about Ernest Becker.” I know Becker for his cultural and philosophical writings, but at that particular moment I couldn’t remember what Zwick was referring to. So I searched and found this 8.27.10 piece. Of course. Came right back.
(l. to r.) Love and Other Drugs costars Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, director-co-screenwriter Ed Zwick during this morning’s press conference on the 18th floor of the Waldorf Astoria — Saturday, 11.6, 10:55 am.
11.6, 11:20 am.
11.6, 11:35 am.