After speaking to “reliable sources” within the Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation, Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil is reporting that certain HFPA members “absolutely love” Red. This, of course, only underlines what serfs some of them are. Red is tedious comic-book crap. O’Neil believes it will “bag noms for best comedy/musical picture, actor (Bruce Willis) and maybe even supporting actor (John Malkovich as a conspiracy-minded LSD tripper) and supporting actress (Helen Mirren as a machine-gun-toting Rambo)”…God!
After many years of pathetic hemming and hawing and slip-sliding away from one of the most difficult, fraught-with-peril challenges of his career, which basically comes down to a case of artistic cowardice, Steven Spielberg has finally committed to direct Tony Kushner‘s Lincoln.
Spielberg’s Lincoln will not, however, be portrayed by poor Liam Neeson, who was humiliated by Spielberg’s refusal to commit to the Lincoln project for years on end (going back to ’05), and who finally bailed last summer. The 16th president will be played instead by Daniel Day Lewis, and that, I have to say, is excellent news. An all-but-certain Best Actor nomination, I would think. Pic will shot at the end of ’11 and roll out in 2012.
I understand that there’s a certain grandiosity built into the production design and shooting style of the Harry Potter films. I understand that they’re not dogma movies. Nonetheless the acting is one the most fundamentally alienating aspects. Not once and not ever are you allowed, much less encouraged, to actually believe in anything that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint say or do. Because they’re always “acting,” and you’re never allowed to forget that.
What Daniel, Emma and Rupert do is react to fantastical CG and wind machines and flying objects with wide-eyed excitement and/or alarm, and what you need to do in your theatre seat is submit, bitch. We are
Marshall Warner Bros. We make the Potter films and you are the lemmings. We do what we want to do according to our paychecks and our determinations. We “love” the fans, but we also know who and what you are, and that you’re not bloody likely to complain or rebel so like it or lump it or…whatever, eat your popcorn. We do whatever we want to do. We are the masters making the rules for the wise men and the fools.
We’re talking obedience and regimentation. All of the characters, everyone…they’ve all been directed to play “characters” in a very expensive Harry Potter film, in exchange for which they’re being paid quite handsomely. And you sit there, knowing this and feeling this, and your soul just sinks into the swamp.
This is one of the many reasons why I got off the boat years ago, and why I intend to say not a single word this weekend about the enormous HP box-office. There is no Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. It doesn’t exist, and it isn’t playing in theatres. Or at least, not on this site.
The Lesley Manville issue has been covered two or three times on HE (the last time on 10.27), so there’s no need for overkill. But I spoke a bit with Manville last night at a Sony Pictures Classics gathering on Madison, and she was her usual lovable, attentive, half-smiling, faintly forlorn, straight-shooting, sweetly smiling self, and my heart just goes out to her. She’s the best.
I just hope Manville’s achy-heart performance in Another Year wins the Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle or the L.A. Film Critics Association or…you know, like that. Because as good as she is (and she really is world-class in this film), she might land a Best Actress Oscar nomination. She ought to. But the odds of her beating all her big-time, heavy-duty competitors — Black Swan‘s Natalie Portman, The Kids Are All Right ‘s Annette Bening , Rabbit Hole‘s Nicole Kidman, Winter’s Bone‘s Jennifer Lawrence and Blue Valentine‘s Michelle Williams — are not favoring, let’s face it.
She’s a Brit playing a lonely Brit single with a drinking problem, and that in itself probably shaves a few points when you consider the native-American-identification factor. People know the other characters (Manhattan ballet dancer, hip lesbian mom, Long Island mom who’s lost her son, tough Ozark girl, blue-collar Pennsyvlania girl in a relationship) in a kind of next-door-way, culturally speaking. Any way you cut it Lesley probably doesn’t win.
But in the Best Supporting Actress category, she rules. Animal Kingdom‘s Jacki Weaver would be her only real competition. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo seem fairly evenly matched in The Fighter, but neither kills on Manville’s level. Helena Bonham Carter is entirely pleasing in The King’s Speech, but I don’t believe in the idea of a career Oscar for her at this juncture, and I don’t know why anyone else would either. Rosamund Pike is exceptional in Barney’s Version and Made in Dagenham, but she’s obviously not getting the traction. Get Low‘s Sissy Spacek has the chops and the likability, but the wattage is so-so. Ditto Dianne Wiest in Rabbit Hole.
So maybe people can just politely bypass Sony Picture Classics’ suggestion that Manville should be considered for Best Actress and just write her in for Best Supporting Actress like whatsername who beat Joe Miller in Alaska.
The JFK assassination argument has swung back and forth over the last 47 years, but now conspiracy theorists — seemingly set back in recent years by Warren Commission-endorsing books by Gerald Posner and Vincent Bugliosi — are getting a Hollywood credibility boost from Leonardo DiCaprio. His intention, I mean, to produce and star in a mob-conspiracy flick that’ll be out in 2013 — the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy‘s murder.
The film will be called Legacy of Secrecy, and will be based on a respectably reviewed 2009 book called “Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination” by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann.
The book presents evidence that Carlos Marcello, the Don Corleone of Louisiana and most of Texas, confessed to credible FBI-supported informant Jack Van Laningham that he ordered JFK’s assassination. DiCaprio would play Van Laningham, but let’s eliminate any ideas right now of Joe Pesci or anyone too character actor-ish playing Marcello.
Is the conspiracy crowd indeed back with a vengeance and fresh zeal, and have the reputations of Posner’s “Case Closed” and Bugliosi’s “Four Days in November” been diminishing to some extent? I’ve been feeling this, sensing it. And now DiCpario, picking up where Oliver Stone left off, is stepping up with some Hollywood money to help seal the deal.
Two other formidable conspiracy books are James W. Douglass‘s “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters” and G. Paul Chambers‘ “Head Shot.”
I’m not saying the just-revealed True Grit one-sheet is on the level of that much-derided King’s Speech poster that appeared a couple of weeks back, but it does seem like a bit of a problem in a somewhat similar way.
Like the fake assembly of Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Wright in the King’s Speech poster, the Grit job is a digital grouping of the four leads (i.e., they didn’t pose together), and the only one who looks right is Matt Damon‘s greasy-buckskin gunslinger (i.e., the Glenn Campbell role).
Halle Steinfeld seems slightly stunned and glassy-eyed and just…I don’t know, giving off a certain vagueness of purpose. She looks flat. You look at her and you go “what?” And Josh Brolin, off on the right, looks like a 9 year-old with an adult face. I know he’s supposed to look smaller due to being in the background, but he looks like a midget. (Is that a bad term to use these days? If so I meant “height challenged.”) And Jeff Bridges is just doing the ornery old bear thing. The big-bellied Crazy Heart drunk with a rifle and an eye patch. Ahm gonna sluhr mah words and all….take a little nip now and then…shoot me a buffalo or a coyote…don’t you go a triflin’!…aah got me a home in old Montecito.
The individual posters are much better. They’re fine, in fact. Just lose or re-do the group thing.
There’s something in an 11.18 Hollywood Reporter story by Daniel Miller about the state of the investigation into Ronni Chasen‘s murder that feels more than a bit surreal. It says that Beverly Hills police are going on a “working theory” that Chasen’s shooting death was “not the result of road rage or a carjacking gone awry” but “was planned in advance.”
Planned? Isn’t that what a hit is? The assailant who fired bullets through Chasen’s passenger door window, they’re saying, was following a plan that had been decided upon at some undetermined point earlier in the evening, or perhaps (go for it) even a few hours or days previously? An impulsive killing is one inspired by a sudden adverse emotional eruption of some kind, and the cops, as I understand this story, are guessing that this isn’t what happened.
I’m sorry but as one to another I feel I know/knew Ronni Chasen’s world, and this just sounds ridiculous. I don’t care what the Beverly Hills cops say. Ronni Chasen was not Michael Caine at the end of Get Carter or Tom Wilkinson at the end of Act Two in Michael Clayton. The sadness of this has made my knees buckle, but it also boggles the mind. The non-logic of it ties you up and wrecks you.
David Poland, whom I am gracious enough to recognize and whose opinion matters from time to time, wrote last night that “the audience that really cares about this story are people who knew Ronni… and it is seriously irresponsible to take one tiny piece of information (the the gunfire came from another car that pulled up next to Ronni’s car) and a working theory (that this was planned) and to spin it into a headline much more salacious than the facts.”
Why is it that every single guy I see these days has a two-week bristle beard? Everyone, that is, with any apparent reaching-for-style (or reaching-for-fashion) sense who’s under, say, 45 (i.e., not too gray or just a little salt-and-peppery) or who’s starring or co-starring in a movie. I didn’t care or even think about this for the last year or two, and now it’s beginning to really bother me. Now when I see some guy at a party or a screening with a two-week bristle beard I have to suppress an urge to give him some shit about it. Because bristle beards, I feel, have become pretentious. They were okay before but the guys wearing them now are just a little bit phony, I’ve decided. They’re posing. Not egregiously, but no more carte blanche cool factor. The jig’s up.