Charlie Stratton‘s In Secret (Roadside Attractions, 2.21.14) costars Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Oscar “Llewyn Davis” Isaac and Jessica Lange. Formerly called Therese, it’s an adaptation of Emile Zola‘s classic 1867 novel “Therese Racquin.” Florian Hoffmeister‘s cinematography seems dark, but you can’t go by a YouTube trailer. Pic was a special presentation at last September’s Toronto International Film Festival. Did I catch it there? Of course not. I don’t like to think about the stuff I miss.
Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva is reporting that three schlock-horror guys — screenwriter Scott Kosar (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror) and producers Eli Roth (Hostel franchise) and Eric Newman (The Thing) — are finalizing a deal with History to produce a kind of Biblical-era horror project about Jesus of Nazareth performing exorcisms before he started preaching at age 30. Jesus would be presented, I gather, as a young, sandal-wearing version of Father Karras. A cool handsome guy with a cosmic gleam in his eye and a destiny he hasn’t quite figured out yet. The project will be called The Lost Years.
How much you wanna bet that the sons and daughters of the right-wing loons who protested 25 years ago when Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ depicted a fantasy married life between Jesus and Mary Magdelene…how much do you want to bet that these same crazies are going to be completely fine with Jesus the Exorcist?
When Amazon starts deploying its unmanned drone deliveries, you know that anti-social teens in the blighted areas are going to try and shoot them down and steal the merchandise. Or they’ll shoot them down just to shoot them down. It’ll become a huge “urban” sport. I see a surge in popularity for high-powered BB guns. Or perhaps a development of home-created, low-tech attack drones. And you know that with all kinds of BB pellets and small-calibre bullets flying through the air a lot of apartment windows are going to be cracked and some people are going to get hit. This was my first thought as I listened to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announce the drone plan during a 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose.
A guy who was right in the thick of today’s New York Film Critics Circle balloting (which took almost five hours to complete) shares the following: “For four ballots the Best Picture vote was essentially a tie between American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave, and then Hustle finally won in a run-off vote against Slave. So it basically took five ballots. (N.Y. Post critic Lou Lumenick reports it actually took six ballots, although one of these was “disqualified on a technicality.”)
Inside Llewyn Davis was a contender all day long but it didn’t have the votes. At least it did better than The Wolf of Wall Street, which didn’t compete vigorously in any category.
“The Best Supporting Actress vote went on for three ballots, and was a very close match between Hustle‘s Jennifer Lawrence and 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita N’yongo. Nebraska‘s June Squibb was in there but not very strongly.
“The Best Director voting went intially for Steve McQueen, David O’Russell, Alfonso Cuaron and the Coen brothers but McQueen and Russell were very close with the most support…and then McQueen took it on the fourth ballot.
“There was no strong challenge against Cate Blanchett for Best Actress although there was some support for Adele “whatsername” (i.e., Exarchopoulos) and Hustle‘s Amy Adams.
“Robert Redford‘s Best Actor trophy was decided on a second ballot. The bulk of the first-ballot votes went to Redford and Slave‘s Chiweitel Ejiofor. A certain level of support was also there for Oscar Isaac, Bruce Dern and Matthew McConaughey.
A vested but very sharp publicist friend who saw Wolf of Wall Street yesterday is wondering also if Leonardo DiCaprio‘s wild-ass performance as Jordan Belfort will necessarily result in a Best Actor Oscar nomination. “For me the movie is off the rails, in a good way — I dug it — but it may be too nuts/druggie for the Academy,” he writes. “And DiCaprio’s performance lacks any type of shading or nuance or subtlety or emotional range — it’s pretty much all gonzo, all the time, and the character is an unredeemable prick. Fun to watch but it may be a challenge for the oldies and women. I think it’s a well-constructed three hours, and Jonah Hill is amazing. The SAG Film Society audience at DGA laughed throughout but applause at end was tepid, even when Dicaprio’s name came up. I know that goes counter to what was reported from the SAG screenings that happened last weekend. I’m also hearing the HFPA was very negative on Wolf — many found it offensive, which means absolutely nothing as they like to have Leo and Scorsese in the room.”
12:15 pm: David O. Russell‘s American Hustle has won the Best Picture award from the New York Film Critics Circle. I wouldn’t have called this — it’s quite a surprise. 12 Years A Slave was obviously a contender but…well, we can guess what happened and why. I can’t wait to hear the backstory. How strong was Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street? How staunch was the resistance to it? A voice is still telling me that Hustle won partly due to an “anything but 12 Years A Slave because it’s too punishing to sit through” sentiment. I don’t know anything, haven’t been told this. Hustle is a very good film. I’m just talking about insect antennae vibrations.
11:29 am: Robert Redford, HE’s personal favorite, has won the NYFCC’s Best Actor award for his performance in All Is Lost. Okay, now he’s rock solid with the Academy. He’s not going to get bumped. An Academy guy told me last night he thinks Wolf of Wall Street‘s Leonardo DiCaprio might not push his way in after all…what?
10:53 am: The generic, across-the-board default choice for Best Actress — Blue Jasmine‘s Cate Blanchett — has prevailed among NYFCC members. Congrats to Cate, and a respectful salute to her (and Woody Allen‘s) decision to perform that third-act scene with unmissable underarm perspiration stains. Earlier: I’m going to lose it if the NYFCC “softie” contingent pushes through a Best Actress won for Philomena‘s Judi Dench.
10:46 am: Twitter outrage about N’yongo snub + white guilt kicks in among New York Film Critics Circle, and the beneficiary is 12 Years A Slave helmer Steve McQueen winning for Best Director. Fine, approved — they got this one right. Obviously this indicates a 12 Years A Slave Best Picture win but…
10:17 am: American Hustle‘s Jennifer Lawrence takes the Best Supporting Actress award. No strong argument against this but I was expecting 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita N’yongo to win. There is clearly a level of anti-Slave sentiment poking through here. Again — no dispute with Lawrence winning, but the soul and ache and gravitas delivered by N’yongo is undeniable. I for one would have voted and lobbied for her.
The latest Wolf of Wall Street complication is that despite the feverish, super-ecstatic, Marty-firing-on-all-cylinders quality, the soft-minded farts are going to go “no, no…too cold, too vulgar…the new Casino…doesn’t make us feel good.” Every year Academy deadwood types pooh-pooh brilliance and vote for the soft consensus alternative. A filmmaker friend saw it Monday evening and posted the following on his Facebook page: “Wolf is everything you’d expected it to be and everything you’d hope it would be. It’s got Tom Wolfe on the brain and Hunter S. Thompson in its veins. You get the sense as you’re watching it that Marty Scorsese has never been happier in his career making a movie. It’s got verve and energy and there isn’t a split second that is not somehow engaging you and daring you. It seems to be the work of a man much younger than the maestro in question.”