Nobody remembers William Friedkin‘s Deal Of The Century (’83). It’s pretty much a forgotten film that wasn’t all that great in the first place, but this scene is classic. It works better if you know that Gregory Hines is playing a former arms dealer who has accepted Christ in his heart. It’s not just satisfying when people who chosen a gentler calling and a higher path succumb to base impulses — it’s actually kind of wonderful.
The way I see it Dallas Buyers Club‘s Jared Leto is the guy to beat for Best Supporting Actor. Deadline‘s Pete Hammond called it right after the Toronto Film Festival debut screening of Jean-Marc Vallee‘s film — in pop-through terms Leto’s Rayon, a compassionate if self-destructive draq queen who helps Matthew McConaughey‘s Ron Woodruff distribute non-FDA-approved drugs for fighting HIV, is a strong echo of Chris Sarandon‘s Leon in Dog Day Afternoon (’75) — a performance that was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
It’s a putdown, of course, if someone describes your film as History Channel-like. It means cut-rate history programmers made by second-tier contributors. Which slightly undercuts enthusiasm, no offense, for the History Channel’s just-announced plans to remake Roots, the famed ’70s TV miniseries based on Alex Haley’s book and produced by from David L. Wolper. Are you going to sit there and tell me the idea to do this didn’t come out of 12 Years A Slave, or more particularly a belief that at the end of the day the Academy will succumb to pressure to give Steve McQueen‘s film the Best Picture Oscar?
I recently wrote Oliver Stone about my mid-November Vietnam visit, and asked about “any particular places that had/has some particular meaning for you? Places where something happened that you’ll never forget?” He got back and suggested the Cu Chi tunnels near Saigon, the Michelin rubber plantation, Quang Tri near Hue, An Khe in the Central Highlands and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) itself. “These were my locals,” he said. “You might also visit Da Lat, a fabulous old French resort on the lakes of the Central Highlands.”
There are two trailer-revealed aspects of Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac that have me worried thus far. One, the use of the term “the whoring bed” by Uma Thurman‘s character. And two, the possibility of having to watch (or more precisely avert my eyes from) Shia Labeouf‘s junk. Sex is all in your head and hands and olfactory glands. And in your soul. I don’t even want to glance at my own package, thanks. I happened to do that by chance when I was with a girlfriend in a lighted room with a ceiling mirror. Good God.
Nicole Kidman‘s Vanity Fair cover story, written by Sam Kashner, is basically a personal issues article about focusing on family and accepting the gradual diminishment of marquee power. But what’s the promotion angle? I’m presuming the cover was originally intended to promote her starring role in Olivier Dahan‘s Grace of Monaco, which was going to open on 11.27.13 before getting bumped into a March 2014 date in late September, or roughly six weeks ago. It couldn’t be her supporting role in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues — that’s a movie about a big moustachioed doofus and three medium-level doofuses. And it can’t be her costarring role in Railway Man, which no one was very excited about in Toronto and doesn’t appear to be opening this year in the U.S.