Those YouTube clips from a 1971 Dick Cavett Show featuring Peter Bogdanovich, Robert Altman, Mel Brooks and Frank Capra that blogger Dennis Cozzalio posted earlier today were posted last August by UNC Chapel Hill screenwriting instructor Scott Myers. They’re terrific. I was may as well join the crowd.
Wouldn’t it be great if the big-time 1930s directors and stars had sat down for some kind of annual, informal, semi-throughtful chit-chat sessions with a renowned critic of the day, and if someone had caught these sessions on black-and-white film, say? There’s virtually no non-performing informal conversation footage of stars like James Cagney, Rosalind Russell, Carole Lombard, Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Joel McCrea, etc. A taste of how they actually were as themselves in their heyday. The studios kept them away from that kind of expression, of course. But what a shame.
The first 2011 Gurus of Gold chart is up, and if Tim Appelo, Peter Howell, Dave Karger, Mark Olsen, Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson want to hang tough and still vote their belief in The King’s Speech winning the Best Picture Oscar, I say fine, whatever, live and let live, comme ci comme ca, it’s a free country, etc.
The website for David Sington‘s The Flaw, which will play at Sundance, describes this 82-minute doc as “the definitive account of the roots of the biggest economic crisis to hit the world since the 1930s. Forsaking easy explanations of greedy bankers and incompetent regulators, [it] examines how America and the UK came to be gripped by the crazy belief that everyone could be rich and property prices would rise forever.”
How Inside Job-bed out are you? Are you rarin’ to go there again? I am, of course, but then I’m from Mars with insect antennae sticking out of my head. How about you? Ask yourself that. Go into the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “How Inside Job-bed out am I?”
Last night I attended the Manhattan premiere of Dominic Sena‘s Season of the Witch (Relativity, 1.17). No time to tap out a reaction but the most intriguing performance by far is given by 26 year-old Claire Foy (Little Dorritt), who plays a suspected witch. I wasn’t feeling chatty, but I did manage to snap this.
Not every subway movie poster gets trashed but some do, and I’ve come to suspect that it means something when a certain poster gets the treatment. All it means, I guessing, is that antisocial budding-criminal-class Manhattan teenagers aren’t that high on The Dilemma, but I repeat: only certain posters get defaced, and there’s always a reason.
The yokels at Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures who announced a plan last March to make a new Godzilla film have found a director — Gareth Edwards, the young British guy who wrote and directed Monsters. A hip flavor-of-the-month guy…naturally.
WB production chief Jeff Robinov strides into a conference room and announces to a large gathering of creatives, “We’re revitalizing ourselves with another fucking Godzilla. Done to death, I know, but not like this. We strip it down. Make it visceral and real.
“But a new Godzilla needs a new Godzilla director. A fresh face to present to the world. But which director can bring to life both Godzillas? The legendary Tojo version that became a horror-film legend in the mid ’50s and the Warner Bros. corporate bullshit ComicCon CGI version that all the T-shirted, sandal-wearing fan boys want to see?”
Edwards will give it hell, I’m sure. But the low-budget instincts and hip-pocket mentality that made Monsters half-succeed (it’s a decent film) will be totally suffocated by the big-budget, big-combine machine mentality that makes all Warner Bros. movies look and sound more or less the same.
In the wake of the initial Godzilla announcement last March I wrote that WB and Legendary basically declared an intention “to remake a 12 year-old deeply loathed Roland Emmerich film.” An HE reader named Colin wrote that “they’re not remaking Emmerich’s version…they’re going back to the roots.” And I said, “‘Going back to the roots’…really? They’re making a period film set in the ’50s, you mean? And they’re setting it Tokyo? And they’re going to allude to nuclear bombs as the reason for Godzilla being awakened? I’ll tell you something — I don’t think so!”
“I’d approve [this film] on one condition,” I wrote. “If Legendary commits to shooting it in black-and-white…okay, in color but with a guy splashing around inside a Godzilla suit, like the 1954 filmmakers did. Shoot the damn thing on sound stages with stupid-looking miniature buildings and fighter jets on wires and toy ships in the harbor. That I would honestly pay to see. Especially if the Godzilla suit has eyes with white pupils that roll around when the monster gets especially angry. And if they use that old Godzilla roar.”
The Ishtar Bluray no-show, I’m informed, is a delayed release action, and not the abrupt yanking that Blu-ray.com reported. Badass Digest‘s Moises Chiullan has e-mailed (and Sony Video spokesperson Fritz Friedman has just confirmed) that a substitute release date will soon be announced. Update: A top-level source says he’s heard the Bluray will now come out in May.
The Bluray.com postings is “needlessly sensationalist and inaccurate,” Chiullan contends, “since it wasn’t abruptly pulled. No screeners went out, nothing. They informed people who requested screeners that the date got pushed back a few weeks ago. A guy I talked to at Sony told me in advance of that email going out that they may be pushing it back a bit. Not canceling, mind you, but just bumping the date. It could be something as simple as compiling more extras.”
Previous posting: Early this morning Bluray.com wrote that Sony’s long-awaited Ishtar Bluray, which had been set for a 1.4.11 release, has been yanked from release without explanation. No substitute release date has been announced. I immediately called Ishtar producer/star Warren Beatty and Sony Home Video p.r. guy Fritz Friedman for an explanation, but neither picked up.
This is more than outrageous. It’s infuriating. It’s certainly the first thing to get angry about in 2011, I know that. Whenever I get angry about something I fantasize about a torch-and-pitchfork parade so I might as well go there. I’m dreaming of a march from Sony Pictures’ Culver City office all the way up Overland, up through Beverly Glen and ending outside Beatty’s home on Mulholland with the crowd holding torches and candles and singing “Amazing Grace.” I’m doing this, of course, because I know what the real reaction will probably be. Well, maybe I don’t.
Last night Julia Roberts hosted a screening of Biutiful at CAA’s Century City offices (and not at her home, as a Huffington Post rewrite person has written) on behalf of Best Actor contender Javier Bardem. During the after-event she spoke to Entertainment Weekly‘s Dave Karger, who’s one of the columnists (along with myself and TheWrap‘s Steve Pond) carrying the Bardem torch.
Biutiful star Javier Bardem posing with Julia Roberts during an Eat Pray Love event last summer.
Karger: “What is it about Javier’s performance in Biutiful that you’re so passionate about?”
Roberts: “He’s so raw and completely open to sharing every emotion this character has. I was telling him at dinner tonight, when I watched it I had to keep stopping and saying, ‘Okay, this is not actually happening to Javier.’ Because it’s his face and his big eyes. I think it’s unexpected for a man to expose himself so deeply. And it’s incredibly agonizing in its subtleties. I just have a great appreciation for what he went through to show us all this. I know it had to hurt.
Karger: “So why hasn’t he gotten more recognition? There was no SAG nomination, no Globe nomination, not even a critics award.
Roberts: “I think the movie hasn’t gotten the exposure. You don’t know where it is. It’s like this hidden little jewel. Especially in this particular season, people don’t hunt for things. They just take what you throw in their face.”
Wells interjection: Roadside Attractions doesn’t have marketing money to burn, but I think a lot of people know where Biutiful is. They just don’t want to watch it because they’re sensing “downer,” and some people are so downer-averse it borders on a form of neuroticism. Roberts will tell you Biutiful isn’t as easy sit — everyone knows this — but there’s so much more going on in this film other than “sad,” and almost all of it found in Bardem’s performance.
Back to Karger/Roberts…
Karger: “I know of at least one Academy member who put the Biutiful DVD in the player and took it out after the first half hour because it was just too bleak.”
Roberts: “I don’t know how you couldn’t want to know what happens. I hope that person is haunted until the end of time wanting to know what happened.
Karger: “So is there any hope for Javier? Can he score enough No. 1 votes to get a Best Actor nomination?”
Roberts: “If there’s not hope for talent, then we’re fucked.”
Whatever office Alec Baldwin decides to run for (and it would help if he could say which office he’s thinking about), I’m a supporter. He’s brilliant, emotional, rash, incisive, combative. Baldwin can obviously nicey-nice his way through anything (he’s an old hand), but it’s the intemperate side that makes him special.
Whatever issue President Obama will sidestep or finesse or soft-pedal, Baldwin will fume and just blurt it out, explaining his position with facts and conviction and that snide tone of derision, occasionally with bulging neck arteries and flying spittle. I love it.
The only thing Baldwin has to do is lose about 35 or 40 pounds. There’s a metaphor in being overweight that indicates a susceptibility to temptation, and that’s precisely what he doesn’t want to convey as a tough-talking Democrat. I’ve chatted with Baldwin and studied his physicality and he’s really big and thick , like a linebacker who’s gone to seed. He has to do something about that.
In my dreams Baldwin would run against Obama in the 2012 primaries as a leftie agenda guy. But he’s probably looking at a New York or Connecticut Senate seat, or maybe a run for a Long Island Congressional seat.
In a July/August 2009 Playboy interview, Baldwin said, “I have sometimes thought I could move to New Jersey or Connecticut and run. I’d love to run against Joe Lieberman. I have no use for him. But it’s all fantasy. I’m a carry-me-out-in-a-box New Yorker. Here, anything can happen. Who thought Eliot Spitzer would go down the way he did? Senator Hillary Clinton left to serve as secretary of state. Two of the biggest forces gone. How much longer will Chuck Schumer stay as senator? After 2013 Bloomberg will be gone. What happens then? Do I run for Congress on Long Island? What’s Tim Bishop going to do? He represents my district.”