As I wrote on 1.22, Tom McCarthy‘s Win Win (Fox Searchlight, 3.18) “is a wise, perceptive and affecting little family-relations flick that works just fine. If only more films labelled ‘family-friendly’ were as good as this. McCarthy is always grade-A, and this is more from the same well. Win Win is warm but not sappy, smartly written, very well acted and agreeable all the way.”
Earlier today Anderson Cooper, Katey Couric and Christine Amanpour were all threatened, shouted down, pushed and/or (in Cooper’s case) punched by supporters of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Wednesday. Cooper was reportedly slugged in the head several times.
Rightwing goons are always pulling this crap. They beat up anti-government protestors during last year’s street demonstrations in Tehran. They were shown doing the same thing in Costa Gavras‘ Z. What are the odds that what they’re doing isn’t being directed and/or coordinated by you-know-who?
Beginners (Focus Features, 6.3) doesn’t look half bad. The trailer contains tenderness, whimsy, empathy and dog conversations. Oliver (Ewan Mcgregor) falls in love with Anna (Melanie Laurent ) only months after his father Hal (Christopher Plummer) has died, and out comes all the memories of Hal having come out of the closet at age 75 and all that happened as a result.
It doesn’t look like a steak eater’s movie, and that’s fine. And yet…
Who suppresses their basic nature for 75 years? What’s the point of suddenly being openly and actively gay at that age? If this realization hits me at 75, I’ll pat myself on the back and then resolve to figure out who I am a little earlier in my next life. And then I’d go out and buy a new 60″ plasma and bring home a new stack of Blurays and re-commit myself to fine dining and my regular workout schedule and buy a bunch more books and just totally forget about sex. Because it’s pretty much over when you’re 75. We all enjoy about 50 or 55 years of active rabbit sex, and then it’s olly olly in come free.
Okay, septugenarians and octogenarians “do it,” fine, but none of us want to hear or think about that. And yet I’m interested in seeing Beginners. For the most part. I just don’t want to hear anything about Plummer buying lubricant or anything along those lines.
In addition to previously announced 2011 South by Southwest headliners like Source Code, The Beaver, Paul, The Innkeepers and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, the remaining narratives and docs were announced this morning.
The dramatic features include Aimee Lagos‘ 96 Minutes, Chris Eyre‘s A Year in Mooring (great title!), Terry McMahon‘s Charlie Casanova, Janet Grillo‘s Fly Away, Robbie Pickering‘s Natural Selection and Anne J. Howell and Lisa Robinson‘s Small, Beautifully Moving Parts. I don’t have any angles or inside-track info so you tell me.
The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival runs 3.11 through 3.19 in Austin, Texas. Yaw-haw. If I could figure a way to attend without having to part with an arm and a leg I’d probably do it. I’ve never been. Every time I look into it and ask around it’s always described as nothing but bubble and trouble, clutter and crap. And really long lines even if you’re press.
Movieline‘s Stu Van Airsdale is working as we speak on the new Oscar Index graph that he posts every Wednesday. I’m looking at last Wednesday’s chart and thinking how abruptly things can change…wow. It’s so out of date it’s almost endearing.
I have to chuckle at a comment made by Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers in the latest pundits prediction piece by Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil, to wit: “I will not change my Best Picture pick to The King’s Speech. I believe that Oscar voters will come to their senses and see that The Social Network is the best picture of the year even if it’s not the picture that most warmed what passes for their hearts. It’s more than a battle between New Hollywood and Old. It’s a battle to ignore business as usual and put the groundbreaking movie in the Academy time capsule. That’s The Social Network.”
Travers, myself, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, Cinematical‘s Erik Davis and NextMovie‘s Kevin Polowy are the only Gold Derby pundits standing by The Social Network. Just call us Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Colonel Travis, Buddy Ebsen and Frankie Avalon. The other 17 are predicting Best Picture Oscar victory for The King’s Speech.
A recent reader comment stopped me short. He mentioned my oft-referenced analogy between Sidney Lumet‘s 12 Angry Men and the changing predictions of Oscar handicappers in recent weeks, and asked if I realized that I, and not David Poland, have been Lee J. Cobb all along? A muffled grenade exploded in my chest.
I’ve been on the side of the Movie Godz with an accurate historical perspective (is there anyone arguing that The King’s Speech is not Driving Miss Daisy in the royal British realm?), and yet I kinda have been Cobb, haven’t I? Sneering and sweating and bellowing with my sleeves rolled up and pulling out photos from my wallet and tearing them into little pieces. And I’m sorry. I know it hasn’t been an attractive spectacle. I’ll try and restrain myself from here on. Well, to some extent.
Can we presume that Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris isn’t one of his wipeouts, and perhaps may even be one of his back-in-the-saddle resurgence films? I’m thinking that Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux, who’s announced that Allen’s latest will open his festival on 5.11…what am I saying? This doesn’t mean jack. Fremaux just wanted a glammy Woody with movie stars (Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody) plus French president Nicolas Sarkozy escorting wife-costar Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on the red carpet.
Midnight in Paris costars Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard during shooting last summer.
Most Allen films over the past decade or so have felt like first drafts that should have gone through another couple of passes. For all we know Midnight could be on the level of Whatever Works or Scoop or Hollywood Ending . But Allen’s pattern has been to dribble for three or four years between jump shots. His last swish was ’08’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, so maybe.
Fremaux has described Midnight in Paris, which he’s apparently seen in some form, as “a wonderful love letter to Paris.” That in itself gives me the willies. It suggests that Allen will portray Paris in picture-postcard terms, and that we’ll be seeing many, many scenes of Wilson and Cotillard strolling and talking and cafe-sitting in the usual romantic locales.
Fremaux also called it “a film in which Allen takes a deeper look at the issues raised in his last films: our relationship with history, art, pleasure and life.”
Midnight in Paris will open commercially in France on the same day it shows at the Grand Palais. For some reason that sounds like another mild “hmm, really?” Sony Classics, the U.S. distributor, hasn’t announced a domestic release date. Figure on late summer or early fall.
I love Sasha Stone‘s statement in her Awards Daily announcement piece: “I have to say that after the soul-crushing experience that Oscars 2010 has been, I so look forward to Cannes where the thing really is the movie. Daring, visionary films shown many times a day, every day. There is nothing quite like Cannes.”