I felt a curiously powerful synchronicity the first time I saw Wim Wenders‘ The American Friend at the 1977 NY Film Festival). I’m not fatally ill and I’ve never performed a contract killing, but otherwise I’ve long felt a kind of dark harmony between that Hamburg waterfront, cowboy-hatted, existential noir vibe and my own moods, fears and free-floating anxieties. You know…that more-corrupted-than-you-realize Highsmith thing.
I had a delightful lunch with Tyrannosaur star (and Iron Lady costar) Olivia Colman from 12:45 to 1:45 pm at the Standard. We both ordered Ceasar salad with chicken, and the time just flew. I’ll run the piece tonight or tomorrow morning, but I was so taken by Colman’s robust complexion, auburn hair and gleaming white teeth against the light robin’s egg blue of the Standard’s ’50s-kitsch restaurant, etc. Had to run these right away.
Orlando Sentinel critic Roger Moore, a “name” and a good, clever fellow, has been shown the door. Another vital, widely-read critic gone with the wind. I know because a publicist friend told me that Moore emailed a colleague today confirming he’s been shitcanned. Hugs, chin-ups, condolences.
Four significant, critically hailed 2011 documentaries — Errol Morris‘s Tabloid, Werner Herzog‘s Into The Abyss, Andrew Rossi‘s Page One: Inside The N.Y. Times and Asif Kapadia‘s Senna — didn’t make the Academy’s shortlist, per today’s announcement. 124 docs had originally qualified, and 15 made the final cut.
A half-hour ago a publicist pal and I discussed why this or that film doesn’t make the cut, and he agreed with my observation that the doc committee often ignores docs made by big-name directors like Morris or Herzog. The committee presumes that the big-name docs “are getting or going to get a lot of attention or box-office anyway so what do they need us for?,” the publicist said.
Poor John Sloss must be really
pissed heartbroken about Senna, which he’s been pushing hard for many months.
The 15 shortlisted docs, in alphabetical order:
Battle for Brooklyn (RUMER Inc.); Bill Cunningham New York (First Thought Films); Buck? (Cedar Creek Productions); Hell and Back Again (Roast Beef Productions Limited); If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Marshall Curry Productions, LLC); Jane’s Journey (NEOS Film GmbH & Co. KG); The Loving Story (Augusta Films); Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (@radical.media); Pina (Neue Road Movies GmbH); Project Nim (a.k.a. “the monkey movie” — Red Box Films); Semper Fi: Always Faithful (Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.); Sing Your Song (S2BN Belafonte Productions, LLC); Undefeated (Spitfire Pictures); Under Fire: Journalists in Combat (JUF Pictures, Inc.); We Were Here (Weissman Projects, LLC)
Doc committee apparatchiks will eventually select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.
Generic: The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, 1.24.12, at 5:30 a.m. Pacific in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, 2.26.12, at the Kodak Theatre.
A New York-based critic friend just wrote me the following: “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Sony can’t screen The Girl With Dragon Tattoo until 11.28, and so New York Film Critics Circle chief John Anderson has moved the voting date to 11.29,” or one day later than previously announced. Anderson informed the NYFCC membership yesterday by email, my source says. Anderson decided not to directly confirm (or deny) the change when I wrote him this morning.
Dennis Davern, former captain of the Splendour, the yacht co-owned by Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood, repeatedly refused this morning on the Today show to spit out any hard specifics surrounding the November 1981 drowning death of Wood as he knows or recalls them. But the cowardly Davern did gradually and oh-so-vaguely finger Wagner as having been responsible for her death, particularly in his reluctance to try and find Wood after she’d disappeared in the wake of a huge fight.
Madman though he was, Klaus Kinski showed true genius while delivering his legendary “I am the only free man on this train” line from Dr. Zhivago. The way he rattles the chain and pounds his chest for emphasis, and the seething anger in his voice as he says “the rest of you are cattle!” If you ask me this ranks alongside the Odessa Steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin as a choice filet of Russian suffering.
Let it also never be forgotten that in the late ’80s Kinski authored one of the most honest and amazingly blunt autobiographies ever written by an actor — lewd, scalding, pornographic and 100% confessional with zero regard for any egoistic image-buffing. “When Random House, fearing legal problems, withdrew publication in 1989 of an earlier version of this book, All I Need Is Love, Kinski’s memoir became an underground classic.” — Publisher’s Weekly.
Last night the Academy hosted a 40th anniversary screening of Peter Bogdanovich‘s The Last Picture Show (digitally restored, “definitive director’s cut”). The black-and-white classic actually opened on 10.22.71. The Texas-born Luke Wilson served as host of the event. The post-screening q & a include Bogdanovich and costars Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman and Eileen Brennan.
I’m not sure what The Last Picture Show would’ve finally been or amounted to without the “old times” swimming-hole scene with Ben Johnson. It won Johnson his Best Supporting Actor Oscar, that’s for sure.