One, producers and distributors have been editing critical review quotes for display ads for a long time. And two, anything you publish (including a tweet) can be re-quoted by anyone. So I don’t see what the big deal is about producer Scott Rudin having used an A.O. Scott tweet about Inside Llewyn Davis for a N.Y. Times full-page ad that ran last Saturday. CBS Films reportedly paid the Times $70 grand to run it. A Rudin rep courteously asked Scott for permission and he declined. They ran it anyway. They were within their rights. Isn ‘t it flattering to be ignored in such a manner?
It’s one thing to be a passionate film critic, and another to be a rude and boorish one. When 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen took the stage at Monday night’s New York Film Critics Circle award ceremony, City Arts critic Armond White heckled him from the rear of the room, according to Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh. “As soon as McQueen took the stage, White [shouted] ‘You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man. Fuck you. Kiss my ass.'” The headline of White’s City Arts review, posted on 10.16.13, claimed that 12 Years a Slave “uses sadistic art to patronize history.”
Dallas Buyer’s Club star Matthew McConaughey sold it at last Saturday night’s gala at the Palm Springs Film Festival. I’m not saying he didn’t speak from from the heart or tell it as honestly as he knew. But it was basically an audition for his Oscar acceptance speech. He could definitely take it. I’m more of a Leonardo DiCaprio/Wolf of Wall Street guy but McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof performance was tough and snarly and ballsy as hell. “I wasn’t that easy to live with at the time, but you never let me know it” — a message for his wife, Camila Alves, and his kids.
“Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES,” Michael Bay wrote today on his blog. “I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down, [and] then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.” Hey, it happens. I “went up” once during a performance of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest at a small community theatre in Stamford, Connecticut. Your concentration slips, you start stammering…awful. Sidenote: No way am I buying an Ultra HD set from Samsung or anyone else. My 60″ Samsung Plasma is just fine.
Asked by Deadline‘s Michael Fleming what he was going for with The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese answers as follows: “I didn’t want [audiences] to be able to think ‘problem solved’ and forget about it. I wanted them to feel like they’d been slapped into recognizing that this behavior has been encouraged in this country, and that it affects business and the world, and everything down to our children and how they’re going to live, and their values in the future.
“It’s almost becoming like, these days in Hollywood, people misbehave, they have problems in their lives, drugs, alcohol, they go to rehab and come out again. And that means it’s okay, it’s an expected ritual you go through.
“You make a film about slavery, it’s important for young people to understand and see it vibrantly presented on the screen. And when you make a film” — not Wolf, he means — “that just points up and decries the terrible goings on in the financial world and the financial philosophy and the financial religion of America, we do that a certain way and it makes us feel okay, that we’ve done our duty, we’ve seen the film, given it some awards and it goes away and we put it out of our minds.
Scorsese: “By the way, Jordan [Belfort] and a bunch of guys went to jail, and even though they served sentences in very nice jails, the reality is jail is nice and a light sentence is still a sentence. The lingering reality is, if you look at the last disaster this world created, who went to jail?” Fleming: “Nobody.”
Scorsese: “That’s right.”
My last 2014 Highlights update posted on 1.3. This morning I reviewed Hitfix’s “Most Anticipated Prestige Films of 2014” piece (which I avoided because it’s one of those photo cavalcade page-view pieces) and have added 9 of their picks along with 4 wait-and-see maybes. So my previous total of 46 is now 55 or 59 with the maybes. I wasn’t sure about 2014 before — now I’m thinking it might be another banner year.
The Hitfix additions in order of presumed quality: Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood, Noah Baumbach‘s Untitled Public School Project, Jeff Nichols‘ Midnight Special, Craig Johnson‘s The Skeleton Twins (a 2014 Sundance selection), Hossein Amini‘s The Two Faces of January, Justin Kurzel‘s Macbeth, Jon Stewart‘s Rosewater, Mike Leigh‘s Mr. Turner, Todd Haynes‘ Carol.
Probationary/Concerned/Lack of Trust/Wait-and-See: David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars, Terrence Malick‘s Knight of Cups (IF it even comes out this year — you know Malick). Ryan Gosling‘s How To Catch A Monster (judgment in question after The Place Beyond The Pines, Only God Forgives), Thomas Vinterberg‘s Far From The Madding Crowd.
Last night the legendary Forest Whitaker was presented with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 8th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence. The idea was to raise money and to push Whitaker’s Butler performance as Best Actor-worthy. An Oscar nomination seems like a safe bet, no? The event was posh, man. Tuxedos and gowns and waiters and black-suited goons with their arms folded behind them. It happened at Goleta’s Bacara Resort, which has never been easy to find without GPS. I was there along with Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and In Contention‘s Kris Tapley (accompanied by his wife April).