Robert Altman‘s McCabe and Mrs. Miller (’71) was among the 25 films added today by the The National Film Registry to its list of “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” films. My favorite scene is when Julie Christie explains the whore business to Warren Beatty. Closing line: “Now I haven’t got a lot of time to sit around and talk to a man who’s too dumb to see a good proposition when it’s put to him. Do we make a deal or don’t we?”
Also named were Alan Pakula‘s All The President’s Men, John Badham‘s Saturday Night Fever, William Friedkin‘s The Exorcist, Blake Edwards‘ The Pink Panther, the Zucker brothers’ Airplane! and John Huston‘s Let There Be Light.
McCabe and Mrs. Miller “was originally called The Presbyterian Church Wager,” says the Wiki page, “after a bet placed among the church’s few attendees about whether McCabe would survive his refusal of the offer to sell his property. Altman reported that an official in the Presbyterian Church called Warner Brothers to complain about having their church mentioned in context of a film about brothels and gambling. The complaint prompted a name change to John McCabe, but it was further changed and released as McCabe & Mrs Miller.”
The seven-day period between Christmas and January 2nd is the flattest time of the year. No screenings, nothing going. You can hear a pin drop. And then comes New Year’s Eve (which I always ignore with a passion) and then another blank-out on January 1st, and then the Producers Guild and Writers Guild nominees on January 4th, and then the DGA noms on January 10th. But all this time it gets a little bit harder to write with any feeling about the awards race because people are getting sick of it by this time. They need a break already.
So you focus on January openings, of course, and sometimes that’s fine. Plus whatever you can get into regarding Sundance. And then Sundance finally happens (I’m leaving on the 18th) and you’re alive again big-time. Nine 18-hour hammer days in a row. And then comes the Santa Barbara Film Festival, which lasts until the 4th or 5th of February. And then it’s back into the Oscar race for another 20-something days. And that’s okay because at least it’s ending. And then finally a new slate.
Forbes.com’s Bill McCuddy has passed along his Top Ten of 2010:
10. True Grit –“I loved every slow, drawn-out, bourbon-infused, sepia-filled breath of this movie.”
9. The King’s Speech — “‘Stutter Island’ feels a little stuffy and claustrophobic in places because it’s basically a stage play, but a brilliant one because Colin Firth‘s “Bertie,” an heir to the throne who can’t rule a complete sentence, feels like the world is caving in on him.
8. Winters Bone — “Moral: If you’re going to make crystal meth, do it in the city. Not the country. The term dysfunctional family saw this movie and tweeted ‘WTF!?'”
7. Rabbit Hole — “Nicole Kidman found a grief stricken role that didn’t require her to wrinkle her forehead.”
6. Waiting For Superman — “The best documentary of the year because it turns into a taut thriller late in the second act.
5. Greenberg — “Why did everyone hate this? Because Ben Stiller is unlikable in the title role? Then explain The Social Network to me. Bonus: Costar Greta Gerwig is a real star in the making.”
4. The Social Network — “This year I discovered it’s possible to like a movie more than anyone in it. Like a party you go to and don’t really know anyone but still have a good time. David Fincher‘s obnoxious gala is one of the best rides of the year. And the Winklevii is a really good actor.”
3. The Ghost Writer — “I can watch Ewan McGregor in anything but this clever thriller has other great assets including the best non-Bond role of Pierce Brosnan‘s career.”
2. Black Swan — “I don’t often audibly gasp at the end of a movie. Natalie Portman gave the performance of the year in the dramatic movie of the year. But on this list, it wasn’t a drama that was my number one.
1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World — “The most fun I had at the movies this year, period. Game over.”
Paul Haggis, Sean Penn and Harvey Weinstein “have joined forces with British-Iranian actress and Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) spokesperson Nazanin Boniadi to condemn the harsh sentence imposed on Iranian film director Jafar Panahi,” a statement reads. Panahi was recently sentenced to six years of Iranian prison confinement plus a 20-year ban on filmmaking for “propaganda against the state.”
Why, I’m asking myself, are Haggis, Penn and Weinstein standing alone? Each and every filmmaker the world over needs to co-sign this petition. It should have 5,000 signatures. Could it be that some are having difficulty rousing themselves into full protest mode over this matter? Perhaps because they can’t relate to the motives of a filmmaker who, as I suggested on 12.20, appears to be more in love with the idea of matryrdom than the necessity of creation?
Those looking to urge Iranian authorities to overturn Panahi’s sentence need to visit www.amnestyusa.org.
I looked at this trailer for Don Roos‘ The Other Woman and went, “Wait, wait…didn’t I see this last year sometime?” I checked and, sure enough, I saw it 15 months ago at the Toronto Film Festival. IFC Films will make this downish drama available on demand four days hence (1.1.11) before opening it theatrically on 2.4.11.
The Sundance Film Festival team is only just starting to officially inform journalists that their press credentials have been approved. Does anyone else find this just a teeny bit inconsiderate on the festival’s part? Hearing today, for example, would afford a little more than three weeks advance notice. Same deal last year: I wasn’t notified that my 2010 press credentials were good until 1.4.10, or about 17 days before that festival began.
Within the last month I’ve spoken to three journalists who felt they had to wait on finding accomodations until they knew for sure. But it’s hard to find a well-situated place to stay at decent rates at this stage. Cannes and Toronto don’t wait this long to inform.
Your Highness won’t Norbit-ize Natalie Portman‘s Oscar hopes since it comes out post-Oscar (i.e., 4.8.11). But to call this latest trailer “not funny” isn’t the half of it. The blase throwaway tone doesn’t just make me cringe and convulse. It makes me dream about fantasy paybacks. In a word, retribution.
Portman, James Franco and Zooey Deschanel get a pass because…well, they just do. But I’d be okay with the careers of Danny McBride and director David Gordon Green being hurt by this. This trailer completely destroys all the hip-cool vibes created by Pineapple Express.
Notice how Portman gets to perform all the standard 2010 female-action-star stuff in a medieval guise — punch, kickbox, shoot arrows (as Cate Blanchett did in Robin Hood) — but she also peels down to a thong bikini in one swimming hole scene. This is basically a case of Portman and her reps (a) demanding and getting all the socio-political power demonstrations afforded a major female star when costarring in a throwaway idiot-costume comedy, or (b) elevating the 2010 industry horseshit factor to level 12. (I would have been okay, incidentally, with Olivia de Havilland having a thong-bikini scene in Michael Curtiz‘s Robin Hood…no complaints at all.)
Remember how it was Kevin Costner who performed the au natural swimming-hole scene in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves and not Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio? Imagine the humor from McBride taking a dip in a pond and Portman watching nearby from a hidden place, checking out his pot belly and pimply ass and man-boobs and going “ahh, my heart goes pitty-pat!”
This recently-posted teaser for Kevin Smith’s Red State is, for me, great impressionist marketing. It gives you nothing of the basic drill (i.e., three teenage kids suckered into a spider’s web by hellfire-and-brimstone religious wackos) but that’s fine. Obviously the mood and rhythms seem radically different than Smith’s usual boilerplate style. And yet Smith cut it, and the dp is David Klein (Zack and Miri Make a Porno).
The “name” costars are John Goodman, Michael Parks, Melissa Leo and Kevin Pollak.