The resemblance between Another Earth star/co-producer/co-writer Brit Marling and Night Moves costar Jennifer Warren isn’t startling, but it’s defintely there. No one under 40 has even heard of Arthur Penn‘s 1975 noir classic, much less seen it. And nobody remembers Warren.
Earlier today comedian Jonnie Marbles, a beefy-looking guy in a plaid shirt, somehow got into the Parliamentary hearing room where Rupert and James Murdoch were giving testimony, and walked up to the Murdoch table and pushed a foam pie into Rupert’s face. (Or onto his head.) The crowd in the small room went “Oh!…oh!” The cameras didn’t have quite the right angle.
I was frankly starting to doze off at James Murdoch’s exacting testimony and shrewd parliamentary sidestepping. The foam-pie attack woke me up.
Wendi Murdoch, the wife of Murdoch Sr., leapt up and swatted the assailant. James and Rupert seemed to quickly recover and shrug the incident off for the most part, and looked all the better for that. Rupert concluded his testimony with his jacket off. Bottom line: foam-pie attack = plus for the bad guys.
Vanity Fair‘s James Wolcott: “So in one brilliant move, this guy has made Murdoch senior look vulnerable and sympathetic and Wendi heroic. Well done, fool.”
Wendi Murdoch slappping Jonnie Marbles.
The Parliament security guys are going to catch hell. Marbles looked like an obvious outsider with his bulky frame, sparse and unkempt hair and K-Mart-level plaid shirt. If I were intending to hit Murdoch with a pie, I would have certainly combed my hair and worn a nice suit.
Marbles’ ex-girlfriend has tweeted about the incident.
Wikipedia has a list of famous people who’ve been hit with pies.
This one-sheet seems like a rote, run-of-the-mill way of presenting Tomas Alfredson‘s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features, 11.18). It tells you it’s going to deliver a highly detailed, particular and exacting plot about men in suits and ties. The book is about finding a high-level traitor in a haystack of hints and clues. So where are the hints of malice, psychological intrigue, alarm, skullduggery? All I’m getting is “intellectual crossword puzzle.”
The climax of the meltdown of the Murdoch publishing empire is nigh. Tomorrow will see testimony before British Parliament about the ever-worsening phone-hacking scandal by Newscorp’s controversial threesome — chairman Rupert Murdoch; BSkyB chairman James Murdoch; and former Newscorp honcho Rebekah Brooks, who resigned a couple of days ago. They’re going to get raked over the coals, and will naturally say everything they can think of to try and keep more water from filling the hull, and in so doing will be hammered all the more. Mixed metaphors!
How can this not be great television?
N.Y. Times reporter Bill Carter says the testimony will be covered by CNN and Fox News starting at 6:15 am Pacific, 9:15 am Eastern and 2:15 pm London time.
“A spokesman for MSNBC said the network would not cover the appearances ‘gavel to gavel’ but would stay with the coverage ‘depending on the content,” Carter reports. “The testimony will also be widely available in online streaming on multiple sites, including CNN.com and the BBC.”
You know something’s slightly amiss when a movie calls itself one thing, and then shuffles the cards and thinks it over and calls itself something else, and then changes its mind a second time by going back to the original title, etc. It usually suggests that certain parties (usually those involved with the financing or distribution) are uncomfortable with the content or tone of it, and are looking to camouflage things on some level.
I’m referring to a reportedly dark and creepy and (perhaps) somewhat Zodiac-like crime movie called The Texas Killing Fields. Directed by Ami Canaan Mann, it’ll be opening sometime in October via Anchor Bay Films. And the fact that it was initially called The Texas Killing Fields, and then The Fields, and then The Texas Killing Fields again.
Although The Texas Killing Fields has been more or less finished since late 2010 (when it apparently had a research screening) and will be showing this week in Manhattan for long-lead press, the film has no website and no specific debut date in October.
In my book these factors add up to a very slight “uh-oh” vibe. Nothing to get too worried about, but you can sense a vague wobble factor. I’m always a bit hesitant when Anchor Bay is the distributor because they rarely get the pick of the litter — let’s face it.
My interest was nonetheless sparked when I heard about this week’s screening because (a) it’s been produced by Michael Mann (i.e., the father of the director, who’s directed one other feature, Morning, along with a lot of allegedly commendable TV work), (b) it has an interesting cast topped by Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloe Moretz, Stephen Graham, Jessica Chastain and Annabeth Gish; and (c) two years ago Danny Boyle was planning to direct it before he bailed in fall ’09 to make 127 Hours, but not before calling the script “almost too dark to get made.”
The Texas Killing Fields is about the Texas I-45 Murders, a series of unsolved killings of prostitutes and lonely girls in the ’80s, probably by more than one assailant, in a blighted area south of Houston near Interstate I-45, which runs from Dallas down to Galveston Bay.
Deadline‘s Michael Fleming reported 15 months ago that Don Ferrarone‘s script is “a true story of a pair of detectives investigating [the] murders in a stretch of bayous near the oil refineries in coastal Texas where as many as 70 bodies have turned up over the past 30 years.
(l. to r.) Michael Mann, Sam Worthington, Ami Canaan Mann.
“Worthington will play Jake, this tough-minded misanthropic Texan, who with his partner Brian wind up waging something of a war against these unknown assailants, a ferocious battle to save each other and the life of this young street kid.
“It’s a brilliant screenplay,” Mann told Fleming, “filled with things you cannot make up in Hollywood, things you would have had to find the dead bodies in a heroin operation to understand. That’s why it’s such a haunting piece. This is such a spooky zone in Texas where cell phones don’t work, where the homes sit on trailer stilts, and where there’s a hand-painted sign on the bridge that reads, `You Are Now Entering the Cruel World’.”
Well and good. I’m intrigued. I asked earlier today when an L.A. screening might happen and if I could be among the invited. I’m always queer for perplexing policiers about cases that can’t seem to get solved.
On top of which anything with the Michael Mann stamp is automatically presumed to be a cut or two above, and you have to also assume that Mann’s relationship to his daughter during production was probably akin to the relationship between Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby during the making of The Thing (’51).
But you’d also think Anchor Bay would have their shit together a bit more by now. You’d figure they’d have a firm release date, and that the film, which has all kinds of true-crime history behind it and which will be in theatres roughly three months from now, would have some kind of snazzy, stacked-up website up by now.
You’d also have to consider that screening The Texas Killing Fields at the Toronto Film Festival might make sense. If it’s as dark as Boyle said it is, you’d want to show it to people who aren’t instantly thrown by high-style crime movies with grim stories. How do I know The Texas Killing Fields is high-style? I don’t, but I’d be very surprised if it isn’t.
Here‘s N.Y. Times media guys David Carr and Brian Stelter riffing on tomorrow’s testimony before the British Parliament by Newscorp’s Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks. They’ll answer questions about the phone-hacking scandal, of course, and in so doing will probably get verbally beaten all to hell.
Meanwhile Bloomberg’s Carol Hymowitz, Jeffrey McCracken and Amy Thomson are reporting that “independent directors of New York-based News Corp. have begun questioning the company’s response to the crisis and whether a leadership change is needed, said two people with direct knowledge of the situation who wouldn’t speak publicly.”
The kindly back-patting gesture of giving a Best Picture nomination to the final film in a highly successful franchise is over. It was a purely political, kowtowing-to-profits gesture when Return of the King was so honored, but the new Best Picture nomination rules don’t allow for gimmmes and softies. You have to have the serious goods or forget it.
I heard the expected-but-welcome news today from the Toronto Film Festival guys about being press credentialed. I’m still stuck for a good place to flop (i.e., I never stay at hotels) but something always turns up. Toronto 2011 (9.8 through 9.18) is looking like a hummer. Like everyone else I’m expecting George Clooney‘s The Ides of March, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage, Bennett Miller‘s Moneyball, David Cronenberg‘s A Dangerous Method and Martin Scorsese‘s George Harrison: Living in the Material World to show up. What else?
I’m presuming that Tomas Alfredson‘s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Focus Features, 11.18) and Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants (Fox Searchlight, 11.23) are circling and flirting. I’m also thinking that TIFF 2011 might be the right way to launch Clint Eastwood‘s J. Edgar, which opens in October.
Here’s that Gordon-lying-in-a-hospital-bed teaser for The Dark Knight Rises. The one that appeared online for a few minutes last week before being taken down, I mean. “If you make yourself into more than just a man…if you devote yourself to an ideal…then you become something else entirely.” Wait a minute…Gordon? The trailer is obviously about Bane (Tom Hardy) so why is it wrong to presume it’s him behind the oxygen mask?
HE’s congratulations to Sony Classics for steering Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris to the highest dollar tally of any Allen film ever — $41,793,000. This clever little fantasy time-trip movie has been in theatres for two months and is still in the top ten. The word-of-mouth train will probably keep it going through August, and a possible surpassing of $50 million.
Annie Hall is still Woody Allen’s biggest all-time grosser, if you adjust for inflation.
The real measure of an all-time theatrical hit, of course, isn’t dollar grosses but number of tickets sold. And if you’re comparing present-tense dollars to the past, you naturally have to adjust for inflation.
So if you calculate the value of dollars in the ’70s and ’80s (Allen’s box-office heyday) into 2011 greenbacks, the all-time Allen champs are actually, in this order, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters and then Midnight in Paris.
Hall, Allen’s first big hit, took in $38,251,425 in 1978. But according to Dollar Times’ inflation calculator a 1978 dollar is worth $3.53 in 2011. So Annie Hall‘s 2011 gross expands to $135,027,530.
Allen’s Manhattan earned $39,946,780 in 1979. By today’s calculator (the ’79 dollar being worth $3.24 in 2011) that figure comes to $129,427,567.
Allen’s second-highest grosser after Midnight in Paris is 1986’s Hannah and Her Sisters, which took in $40,084,041. But with the 1986 dollar worth $2.01 in today’s market, Hannah‘s re-calculated gross is $80,568,922.
Then again today’s ancillary markets are more vigorous and plentiful than they were in the ’70s and ’80s so you have to calculate this also.
This was supposed to be one of the all-time worst driving weeks in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica due to Carmageddon, and it turned out to be one of the most pleasant. There are very few cars out there. I can’t think of the last time I drove around town with such ease.
I was out with a friend from about 9 am through brunch hour today in Beachwood Canyon, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and along Sunset Blvd. into Brentwood, and traffic was definitely lighter than on a typical Sunday. Brunch and going-to-the-beach trafffic in the Brentwood area of Sunset around 11 am on Sunday is usually murder. The warnings obviously got around via incessant news reports and social media, and almost everyone just said “screw it” and stayed home. It’s amazing, lovely. I wish the traffic could always be like this. It was like driving around L.A. in 1937.
All Quiet on the Western Front — Santa Monica Blvd. heading east around 11:55 am.
I decided a long time ago that silver-gray cross-training shoes are grossly unattractive. Especially the ones that have a kind of woven-stitch texture and a slight color accent, like pink or violet. There’s just something about this color combo that grates on the soul and immediately lowers the value of the stock of the person wearing them. There are so many types of exercise/workout shoes that look fine (white, red, red-and-white, black, dark blue). Why would anyone freely choose gray-silver? I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
I wish I could figure some way to explain my repulsion without sounding like a gut-instinct crank. I only know that whomever is wearing these dreaded shoes, they immediately look bad when they go out on the track or the street and start jogging around. The dark-gray ones look like a form of leprosy. If and when I see friends in these things I immediately go to work on them, trying this or that argument or strategy to get them to buy a new pair.