It’s very difficult to summon the energy to do this as it’s very hard to care, but here are my picks for likely Oscar winners in the major categories:
BEST PICTURE: The Artist (p: Thomas Langmann). SHOULD WIN: Moneyball (p: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt) or The Descendants (p: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor). SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Drive.
BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist. SHOULD WIN: Alexander Payne, The Descendants. SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Bennett MIller, Moneyball.
BEST ACTOR: Jean Dujardin, The Artist. SHOULD WIN: Brad Pitt, Moneyball or Demian Bichir, A Better Life or George Clooney, The Descendants.
BEST ACTRESS: Viola Davis, The Help.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR : Christopher Plummer, Beginners. SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Albert Brooks, Drive.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer, The Help.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Moneyball, screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, story by Stan Chervin, OR The Descendants, screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash. (Undecided)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Margin Call, written by J.C. Chandor, OR A Separation, written by Asghar Farhadi. (Undecided)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Rango, d: Gore Verbinski.
BEST DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE): Undefeated, p/d: TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life.
BEST FILM EDITING: Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball.
It took her many years to get there, but Whitney Houston, 48, has finally bought it.
Five or ten minutes ago Associated Press music industry reporter Nekesa Mumbi Moody reported Houston’s death, stating that publicist Kristen Foster has confirmed. Deadline‘s Nikki Finke is reporting that Houston died at the Beverly Hilton hotel. The 911 call came in around 3:25 pm this afternoon.
The specific cause of the pop singer’s death is unclear, but c’mon…this has been in the cards for ages. Houston’s rep as a poster girl for drug abuse long ago eclipsed her fame as a singer.
Here’s Gerrick D. Kennedy‘s L.A. Times/”Hiss and Pop” 2.11 piece about Houston doing “handstands by the pool” a couple of days ago.
TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman is passing along “initial media reports [that] Houston was found by the veteran music producer Clive Davis, but few details [are] immediately available. Houston was reportedly in Los Angeles for a party that Davis holds every year on the eve of the Grammys.”
Here’s a 9.13.01 ABC News story in which publicist Nancy Setlzer denied reports of her death following Houston’s “shockingly thin, even skeletal” appearance at a Michael Jackson tribute concert at Madison Square Garden.
Honestly? The only Houston song I ever responded to was “How Will I Know?” I kinda liked her in The Bodyguard. I’m sorry for her friends and family but I feel no pity or sadness for a person who has been so self-destructive for so long and with such commitment.
Many people are shocked by Houston’s death, but find me one person who is genuinely surprised. The New York Times/AP report mentions “drug use” and “erratic behavior” in the first paragraph. What are they trying to do, Barnes78 — jump the gun?
Houston also appeared in Waiting To Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife. She also costarred in an unreleased Salim Akil film called Sparkle, which the IMDB says is about “three sisters [who have formed] a successful singing group and must deal with the fallout of fame and drugs.” Houston plays a character named Emma.
Houston confessed to drug problems (cocaine, etc.) in a 2002 Diane Sawyer interview. “The biggest devil is me,” she told Sawyer. “I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy.” Houston went into rehab several times, blah blah.
I love the visual panache in today’s front page so I figured I’d capture it as everything will shift over in a few days. Dylan’s
Damien Demian Bichir ads went up this morning, and I’m really delighted with the red-orange Extremely Loud skin — one of the best-looking ads we’ve ever run.
Either a lady likes me and gives me the green light, or she doesn’t. Either way is cool. Every time I’ve connected with someone I’ve known within minutes if I’m “in” or not. It’s in her eyes or it isn’t. That doesn’t mean we’re instantly whoopsy-doopsy. There are many, many ways you can persuade someone who’s initially attracted to back up or do a 180. But a green light at the outset is never earned. It is either given or not given free of charge. I don’t believe in jumping through hoops and balancing beach balls on my nose in order to charm a woman into wanting to catch a film or whatever. “I can let it all go,” as Robert Mitchum once said. I’m not a salmon swimming upstream.
The Boomers popped out from ’46 to the early ’60s. GenX started to be born in either ’62 or ’64 (although there’s a question if Barack Obama and David Poland are old GenX or young Boomer). GenX ended roughly 20 years later, and then along came GenY in the early to mid ’80s. Except the highly perceptive and literal-minded Bill Moyers doesn’t call them GenY but Millennials, and he says they began to be born in ’78. Who decided that? A generation that began to be born the year that Some Girls was released…odd.
However you slice it and whatever you call them, the GenY Millennials are paupers on the job market, and certainly screwed in terms of college debt.
“There are 80-plus-million Millennials,” Moyers states. “60 percent are white, 14 percent black, 19 percent Latino, five percent Asian, and a smattering of others. Here is something of what they’re up against:
“Unemployment among our youngest adults is almost twice the national average. 25 to 34 year-old male high school graduates are earning 25 percent less than they earned in 1980. Almost 40 percent of young adults say their personal debt increased in the last four years, a lot of that directly related to student loans.
“Back in 1980, college tuition averaged three thousand dollars, adjusted for inflation. Today that average has almost tripled.
“Back then, pell grants covered more than two-thirds of the cost for low income students. Today it’s down to just over one-third. And those who graduate are in debt an average of 25 thousand dollars.”
My oldest son Jett, a gradate of Syracuse University, owes a bit less than four times that amount. He has to make a monthly college loan payment of over $700 bucks.
I’m not convinced that an upcoming BFI Region 2 DVD release of Ken Russell‘s The Devils (due on 3.19.12) is the original, super-notorious, naked nun, “rape of Christ” version. A 2.10 Home Cinema posting says that the DVD is “the original UK X certificate version,” but I smell vagueness. Yes, despite Devils restoration champion Mark Kermode delivering a two-minute introduction plus supplying audio commentary with Russell, editor Michael Bradsell and Paul Joyce.
I’m concerned about an oft-repeated qualification found on more than one film website as well as The Devils‘ Wiki page that “the rights for the film are held by Warner Brothers, and BFI has licensed the X-rated cut from them. Unfortunately, WB will not allow BFI or anyone else to release the film in its entirety at the moment. Additionally, the licensors have prevented BFI from releasing the film on Blu-ray as well as denying them access to the 2004 restoration.”
In other words, the BFI DVD doesn’t sound like it’s the forbidden, full-nasty version, which has never been commercially released. This version was assembled in 2004 by Kermode, Russell and Bradsell, and played twice in London, initially at the Nation Film Theatre in 2004 and again at last April’s 2011 East London Film festival. It also reportedly played at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film in March 2006.
The crazy-naked-nuns version (complete with a Vanessa Redgrave bone masturbation scene) runs 111 minutes. The truncated Warner Bros. version that briefly appeared on iTunes a year or two ago ran 108 minutes and 11 seconds.
If my suspicions are unfounded and this new BFI Region 2 version is the Real “rape of Christ” McCoy, great. I just want to hear it from Kermode or someone who knows the hard specific facts.
Here’s a link to numerous Hollywood Elsewhere pieces on the Devils situation over the last four or five years. This is my favorite HE summary piece. And here’s a fairly thorough rundown on the history of censorship of The Devils.
N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis has noted that Safe House cinematographer Oliver Wood “also shot all three Bourne movies. The world, the filmmakers say again and again, is a terrible place, and yet, as you look at this film, with its beautifully bleached-out palette and somewhat coarse visual texture — the images look as if they had been lightly sandpapered — it’s hard not to be struck by its loveliness.”
And then waaaay over in Bhavani Junction, Movieline‘s Stephanie Zacharek writes that Safe House is “so visually ugly that, to borrow a line from Moms Mabley, it hurt my feelings. The plot mechanics don’t matter much. What does matter is the inexplicable horror of how lousy this film looks. Movies aren’t strictly a visual medium — they’re too complicated for that — but there’s something wrong when the only thing you can think of while watching a picture is, ‘Damn! My eyes!'”
Howe can two brilliant, highly respected critics have such a radically different take on lovely vs. ugly cinematography? Simple — Dargis accepts the aesthetic behind Wood’s shooting style (grainy, hand-held photography conveying a chaotic, unsoothing, raggedy-assed vibe) and Zacharek, though obviously familiar with this kind of photographic approach, rejects it. She wants what she wants, and Safe House didn’t deliver.
12 and 3/4 years ago I emerged from an all-media screening of The Phantom Menace at the now-vanished National in Westwood. I looked up at the night sky and vowed to expel Jake Lloyd from my movie-watching realm for the rest of my days. The film industry came to the same conclusion so keeping the pledge wasn’t difficult, but re-experiencing The Phantom Menace in 3D is still forbidden. Even if the 3D is relatively decent, as I’ve read.
For me it was always Lloyd, Lloyd, wretched Lloyd when it came to summoning the fury. Jar-Jar Binks not so much. He was so ludicrous he barely made a dent.
Movieline‘s Alison Willmore manned up, went, saw and filed this response. If any HE readers went, please have at it. Though I can’t imagine anyone outside of the haggard remnants of the Star Wars faithful shelling out for this.
I will, however, pay to see The Empire Strikes Back in 3D, if they ever release that in a first-rate, retro-fitted way a la James Cameron‘s Titanic 3D. Which they probably won’t. The idiots and family audiences who are paying this weekend to see Phantom 3D would probably regard a 32 year-old Star Wars film as too familiar or quaint.
At the very least The Phantom Menace launched the beginnings of an industry-wide realization — a process that took many, many years to reach fruition and maturity — that George Lucas was creatively over and had in fact become a kind of malevolent force. Whatever genuine inspiration he had inside him during the making of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back had escaped, leaving him more or less hollow and adrift and adept only at marketing and manufacturing and screwing up Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.