I’m not uninterested in seeing Roland Emmerich‘s White House Down (Sony, 6.28) because I’m figuring it has to be a bit better than Antoine Fuqua‘s Olympus Has Fallen. It has the same basic plot (under-appreciated good guy in a career cul-de-sac saves U.S. President from terrorists), but it’s awfully hard to imagine it being worse than Olympus. Plus I’m sure I’ll be into Jason Clarke‘s bad guy more than Rick Yune‘s.
TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman is reporting that “billionaire Ron Burkle and former Hollywood Reporter CEO Richard Beckman have joined forces to create a new branded entertainment company, Three Lions.” She adds that “Joel Katz, global chair of Greenberg Traurig’s international media and entertainment practice, will be a minority partner and have a seat on the board.”
I’m not trying to sound like a nine-year-old, but how can you announce a company called Three Lions with three partners and not expect everyone to say, “Oh, we get it…these guys see themselves as lions of the Hollywood forest”?
If I were Katz I’d be feeling vaguely insulted by that “minority partner with a seat on the board” stuff. Like he’s some kind of adolescent lion who isn’t quite ready to hunt with the other two. It sounds to me like they’re saying Katz is a little like Simba and Burkle is King Mufasa or something. Burkle obviously seems himself as a lion. He’s been one for years. And I imagine Beckman sees himself as one also, but probably not able or willing to roar as loud as Burkle.
Fox Home Video will be releasing a Great Escape Bluray on May 7th following a special screening of a new 4K digital transfer of John Sturges‘ 1963 film at the TCM Classic Film Festival (4.25 through 4.28). But all the Bluray extras listed in the press release are the same ones offered in the 2004 special collectors edition DVD. In fact, the DVD had a few more. So we’re just talking about a better-looking version of the feature, which is fine.
The one thing I’ve never been able to tolerate in The Great Escape is Angus Lennie‘s performance as RAF officer Archibald “Archie” Ives, the Scottish jockey who befriends Steve McQueen‘s Hilts. I instantly hated his twee Scottish accent — too Brigadoon. And his smiling, cheerful attempt to hide the fact that he was on the verge of cracking up. My first reaction when I saw this film as a kid was “fuck you, Ives…I hope you get machine-gunned to death by the krauts.” I wasn’t elated when this happened at the end of Act Two, but I wasn’t displeased. Is it too much to ask for a deleted scene in which Ives is tortured by the SS?
As a huge fan of Rodney Ascher‘s Room 237, I’m urging everyone to please read a week-old “Vulture”/New York piece by Mark Jacobson called “The Shining Cult at the Overlook Hotel.” Great passion! And as a prelude to a chat I had this morning with Marshall Fine about Room 237, please read Fine’s piece in which he kind of pisses all over the movie and Jacobson’s piece in particular.
I guess you could my 26-minute discussion with Fine the latest Oscar Poker, if you’ve a mind to.
Here’s a nifty Huffington Post discussion about “Movies That Divides Us”, focusing mainly on Spring Breakers. MSN’s Glenn Kenny (“Eeww, here’s a subversive Harmony Korine film finally making its way into the mainstream market!”), Huffpost movie wag Chris Rosen, The Inquisitir‘s Niki Cruz and director William Friedkin. Ricky Camilleri moderates.
Wells to Friedkin: Have you given any thought to joining the good-guy team and offering the Sorcerer Bluray at 1.66, even though you don’t have to and can fully justify mastering it at 1.85? It’s a free-thinking movement, Billy. And the philosophy of this movement is, “We can watch movies any way we want.” To hell with projection standards from 40 or 50 years ago. This is 2013, and if we like the way an older film looks at 1.37 or 1.66 then we can bloody well show it that way. Eff 1.85…unless, of course, we really and truly like 1.85 and are not just being cowed by the 1.85 fascists.
Update: Friedkin to Wells: If you want to see my movie in 1.66 you can mask your display. What is a 1.85 fascist? I’ve never heard of such an animal.
Variety‘s Jon Weisman is reporting that the 2014 Oscar telecast will happen on Sunday, March 2nd, or a week later than the 2013 Oscars which happened on Sunday, 2.24. And yet…and yet!…the 2015 Oscar telecast will happen a little bit earlier on Sunday, February 22nd.
Nominations voting will begin on Friday, 12.27.13 and end on Wednesday, 1.8.14 at 5 pm, or a little less than two weeks’ time. The 2014 Oscar nominations will be announced on Wednesday, 1.16. Final voting will begin a month later on Friday, 2.14.14 and end on Tuesday, 2.25.14.
Note: Either I need glasses or Wiesman’s initial blast initially stated — incorrectly — that the 2015 date would happen on February 2nd.
Jim Carrey‘s Funny or Die video is titled “Cold Dead Hand”, and yet the late Charlton Heston‘s famous NRA statement used the plural — i.e., the only way the proverbial and ignominious “they” could take his guns away would be to pry them “from my cold head hands.”
Rightie bloggers have reacted angrily to Michael Moore’s recent comment that “90% of guns are owed by white people,” the implication being that they’re looking to protect themselves from disadvantaged minorities. The gun-ownership stats shouldn’t be hard to prove or disprove. (A site called Statisticbrain offers a survey stating that 44% of gun owners are white, 27% are “non-white” and 27% are black.) But even if Moore’s claim is even partly true his conclusion seems reasonable and intelligent. Older rural whites have this thing about wanting to protect themselves from the “other.”
A 2.1.13 Gallup poll doesn’t seem to address the racial gun-ownership issue in cut and dried terms, but it states the following: “Non-Hispanic whites (33%) are significantly more likely than nonwhites (22%) to own guns. Hispanics (18%) in particular show below-average gun ownership. Twenty-one percent of blacks own a gun. Younger Americans (20%) are much less likely to own guns than older Americans. There are only minor differences among adults 30 and older by age group (ranging between 31% and 34%). Gun ownership is much higher among those who are politically conservative (39%) than among those who are politically liberal (17%).”
A few pithy reactions to David Mamet‘s Phil Spector, which premiered last night on HBO, would be welcome. Almost everyone saw it, I presume. Team Metacritic is 2/3 positive, 1/3 negative. My impressions, condensed from my 3.15 review (“Guilty of ‘We Don’t Like You’“), are as follows:
(a) Phil Spector is “not so much about story-telling as the wielding of a blade that cuts in and around like a sushi chef…it’s all ‘factual’ in a sense, but it’s also a fantasia of sorts…it’s a visit to Mamet-world, and is therefore far from a typical big-murder-trial, guilty-or-innocent movie…great skill and theatrical pizazz have been brought to bear…at a mere 91 minutes, it’s very tight and taut“; (b) “It contains a pair of compelling, at times amusing, charismatic performances from Al Pacino as Spector-the-nutbag (brilliant, flamboyant, fickle, rambling of speech, bewigged, gnome-like) and Helen Mirren as his flinty defense attorney, Linda Kenney Baden” and (c) The film suggests “that in a certain foolish or theatrical way Lana Clarkson may have been holding the gun and that it may have gone off accidentally…it does seem likely that what happened was accidental, and that there would have been more blood found on Spector’s white jacket if Spector had been holding the gun…the evidence is the evidence.”
And yet one important piece of evidence isn’t mentioned in Mamet’s film. Four days ago L.A. Times reporter Harriet Ryan, who covered both Spector trials, noted the following:
“What [the film] doesn’t mention is that Clarkson died with her purse strap on her shoulder. If that seems inconsequential to you, perhaps you are a man. Ladies, I ask you: Is shouldering a purse the gesture of a woman who intends to a) commit suicide; b) play a sex game; or c) leave?”
Last night I looked at an assemblage of clips of Pacino yelling or shouting his way through a scene. My hands-down favorite is the legendary “because she has a great ass!” moment from Heat. But each and every clip has the embed code blocked. That’s Warner Bros. legal, I presume, but why? How can it possibly be a negative thing for people who haven’t seen Heat to watch this and other key scenes from it? They’re just tasters.