The new Roger Ebert-approved At The Movies is launching on 1.21 with Associated Press critic Christy Lemire and Mubi.com contributor Ignatiy Vishnevetsky co-hosting. Elvis Mitchell had been announced as Lemire’s co-host but something didn’t work out and his departure was announced by Roger and co-producer Chaz Ebert on 12.14.
At The Movies co-host Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.
Vishnevetsky is a real-deal, 24 year-old wunderkind who’s bright and enterprising (he co-founded cine-FILE.info) and then some. He’s some kind of anti-Ben Lyons, off-the-planet and full of his own fuel, but honest about being headstrong and cool by my standards. (The mubi.com announcement says that Vishnevetsky “promises to use the word ‘Feuilladian’ as many times on television as possible and to not talk so much about mise-en-abyme.”)
But in a television realm, the name is ridiculous. You can’t expect Joe Popcorn to watch a movie talk show co-hosted by a guy with a name that’s unpronouncable, unrepeatable and unspellable. He might as well be called Ignashloo Ulyanov Glumboshwitzsky. Americans who go to Subway on their lunch hour can roll with Russian names, but it has to be something like Yakov Smirnoff or Irina Sheik or Alexander Nevksy or Sergei Eisenstein or Boris Yeltsin. Say the name Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and 97% will pretend they didn’t hear. Couldn’t he at least call himself “Iggy”?
On the other hand it’s cool to have a brilliant 24 year-old co-hosting an old-fashioned show like this. Vishnevetsky is clearly a charged and ravenous type. He’ll probably be trying to unseat Scott Foundas in 20 years.
It doesn’t matter, of course, who hosts Roger and Chaz‘s upcoming series because it’s all about interactivity and talk-back and the voice of LexG these days. The old format is over. How many want to sit passively in front of a TV screen and listen to know-it-alls, however amusing and engaging? I like this kind of thing, of course, and so do many thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of others, but the vast majority of the viewing public doesn’t. Tell me I’m wrong.
The first two editions of the show will include contributions from Sunset Gun‘s Kim Morgan and Omar Moore of San Francisco. Others guests will be Mirrorfilm.org’s Kartina Richardson, Beliefnet.com’s Nell Minow, Movie City News’ David Poland and CBS News’ Jeff Greenfield.
Banksy‘s Exit Through The Gift Shop “is a terrific piece of work, involving and evolving at the same time,” says director-screenwriter Rod Lurie (Straw Dogs). “But is it a documentary? I left it with the distinct impression that much of it was a put on — a sly joke was staged and pre-planned.
“I’m no expert on this, but it struck me that the movie itself is a hoax — Banksy’s ultimate performance art. If that’s the case then would mean it’s scripted, so is it disqualified from the documentary category? Or should it be? Would Banksy laugh his ass off if the film was indeed nominated as a ‘documentary’ when, in my view, it’s almost a narrative film in the spirit of, say, Spinal Tap?”
With the Writers Guild of America having disqualified Another Year, Biutiful, Blue Valentine, The King’s Speech, The Ghost Writer, Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone and The Way Back, their just-announced nominations seem a bit diminished in stature. Many of the winners have to be wondering if they made the cut only because eight heavy-hitters weren’t competing, so in some cases you have to take these noms with a grain of salt. It’s a little like wining a Best Actor Oscar after two of the nominees have suddenly died from the Black Plague.
We’re all presuming that Inception will win for Best Original Screenplay, The Social Network will take the Best Adapted Screenplay award and Inside Job will land the trophy for Best Documentary Screenplay. Still…
The Best Original Screenplay noms went to Black Swan (screenplay by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin; story by Andres Heinz); The Fighter (screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson); Inception (written by Christopher Nolan), The Kids Are All Right (written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg) and Please Give (written by Nicole Holofcener). The surprise nominees are obvious.
Winners will be honored at the 2011 Writers Guild Awards held on Saturday, February 5, 2011, at simultaneous ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles.
The Best Adapted Screenplay nominees are 127 Hours (screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy; based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston); I Love You Phillip Morris (written by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra; based on the book by Steven McVicker); The Social Network (screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich); The Town (screenplay by Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard; based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan); and True Grit (screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; based on the novel by Charles Portis).
Are you going to look me in the eye and tell me that The Town would have been nominated if The King’s Speech, The Ghost Writer and The Way Back had been in the running for Best Adapted Screenplay?
Cheers and back-slaps for two underdog Hollywood Elsewhere documentary favorites, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? and The Two Escobars, being nominated for Best Documentary Screenplay. Nilsson was written by director John Scheinfeld; The Two Escobars was written by co-directors Michael Zimbalist and Jeff Zimbalist.
The other Best Documentary Screenplay nominees are Enemies of the People (written, directed, filmed and produced by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath; Freedom Riders (written, produced and directed by Stanley Nelson); Gasland (written and directed by Josh Fox); and Inside Job (produced, written and directed by Charles Ferguson; co-written by Chad Beck, Adam Bolt).
The Social Network is a specially seasoned grade-A ribboned steak served in a top-ranked Cambridge restaurant. Or maybe it’s just a plate of roast herbal chicken served in a nice, inexpensive Cambridge cafeteria, filling and nutritious. Black Swan is a breakfast of grapefruit and one lightly-boiled egg. The King’s Speech is a well-prepared meal of roast duck and rice pudding served at Rules on a Tuesday night. Winter’s Bone is an organic vegetable salad, except the person eating it is unshaven and only showers twice weekly and is wearing a flannel shirt and has a bad smoker’s cough. The Town is an admittedly tasty (for some) hamburger with sauteed onions and large fries with a little paper cup of mayo on the side. Others?
Well, so much for the Winter’s Bone Best Picture surge. This morning the Producers Guild announced their ten nominations for the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, and there were three mild surprises.
One, the shafting of Winter’s Bone, a presumed indicator of reduced steam as far as a Best Picture Oscar nom is concerned. Two, the nomination of 127 Hours, which has been declining over the last three or four weeks, almost to the point that some were predicting it might not make the cut. And three, the nomination of The Town, which began to lose its headwind in mid-to-late November when people finally realized that the Best Picture talk was mostly coming from easily impressed Academy members along with a smattering of non-pros (i.e., diner employees, Manhattan Con Ed workers, etc.) with unsophisticated taste buds and a lack of perspective.
The Zanuck nominees are 127 Hours (produced by Danny Boyle, Christian Colson), Black Swan (produced by Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver), Inception (produced by Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas), The Fighter (produced by David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Mark Wahlberg…hey, what about Ryan Kavanaugh?), The Kids Are All Right (produced by Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Celine Rattray), The King’s Speech (produced by Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin), The Social Network (produced by Dana Brunetti, Ce√°n Chaffin, Michael De Luca, Scott Rudin), The Town (produced by Basil Iwanyk, Graham King), Toy Story 3 (produced by Darla K. Anderson), True Grit (produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and Scott Rudin).
The “bad” call in the documentary competition was the blow-off of Banksy ‘s Exit Through The Gift Shop. And I haven’t even seen Earth Made of Glass, which was produced by Reid Carolin and Deborah Scranton. Has anyone? Cheers to the other doc nominees: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliiot Spitzer (awaiting final producing credit determination, but directed by Alex Gibney), Inside Job (produced by Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs), Smash His Camera (produced by Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger), The Tillman Story (produced by John Battsek) and Waiting for Superman (produced by Lesley Chilcott).
This redband trailer for Ivan Reitman‘s No Strings Attached (Paramount, 1.21) is funnier than the green one because of the blue material. (The only bad parts are the head-crashes-onto-the-dinner-plate bit — pure Reitman! — and the “yeah, I’m definitely gay” line.) It reminds me it once was an admired Blacklist script by Liz Meriwether called Fuckbuddies. A voice is telling me it’s no Norbit.
Academy voters are basically sheep — a herd. The shepherd just has to show control and point the way, and unless his/her suggestion is nonsensical and/or unwise almost all of the sheep will follow. The shepherd (i.e., Paramount marketing) has made it clear that True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld is a Best Supporting Actress contender. That’s because her fiercely intelligent performance can’t overpower a basic human tendency to regard 14 year-olds as entertaining but marginal figures. The only choice, obviously, is the Best Supporting Actress route. It doesn’t matter how large or central her role is — she’s 14.
To hell with the Keisha Castle Hughes precedent pointed out by Scott Feinberg. That was then, True Grit ain’t Whale Rider, etc.
Steinfeld having received Best Supporting Actress nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Screen Actors Guild Award settles it. Whatever the Hollywood Foreign Press kumquats did or didn’t do means nothing.
On top of which it would it would be wrong, wrong, wrong if Steinfeld (whose spirited and highly willful Mattie Ross, don’t get me wrong, is a complete delight) were to push aside Blue Valentine‘s Michelle Williams, as EW‘s Dave Karger has reported, because “some voters I’ve talked to are turned off by the film’s darkness.” (AMPAS Newsflash: films about the breakup of marriages are only dark if they’re doleful and depressing and covered in fake-behavior sauce, which Blue Valentine clearly is not.) And while I’ve disagreed with Sony Classics decision to push Another Year‘s Lesley Manville in supporting category, she still gave the performance that she gave, and anyone who’s still talking about sending her to the showers because “not everyone has even seen that late-year release”….c’mon! At this late date?
So Karger’s 1.3.11 EW piece is singing the wrong tune….sorry.
And Coming Soon‘s Ed Douglas (who was completely blind on the Lesley Manville issue, claiming that she had to be a Best Actress contender because the size and depth of the role demanded it) is wrong also. There’s no basis for category confusion with Steinfeld. The HFPA is composed of marginal whores and their opinion means nothing — they simply provide a popular TV show. But Douglas is right about one thing: “The lead actress category is already fairly jam-packed, [so] there’s a good chance Steinfeld will get snubbed [in that category] despite having a SAG nomination precursor.”
Feinberg notes that 15 first-timers have been nominated for Best Actress, but the only kid who made it was Whale Rider‘s Keisha Castle Hughes, and that performance was extra-extraordinary, I believe, due to Whale Rider touching people on much deeper and more primal level than True Grit, no offense.