Martin Scorsese deserves to win the DGA’s Best Director award tonight, for the simple reason that he made the year’s best and boldest film — The Wolf of Wall Street. But he won’t, I gather. The betting seems to be favoring Gravity‘s Alfonso Cuaron, which is…whatever, fine, why fight it? (Cuaron should have won six years ago for Children of Men, not Gravity.) If it can’t be Scorsese I would prefer a win by 12 Years A Slave‘s Steve McQueen, but I wouldn’t be shocked or displeased if American Hustle‘s David O. Russell takes it. The only guy who hasn’t a prayer (no offense) is Captain Phillips‘ Paul Greengrass.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival award ceremony begins about three hours hence (6 pm Pacific), and will be viewable on the Sundance website. A friend told me this morning that she sensed an undercurrent of disappointment from my Park City filings. I don’t how where that came from. I saw eight exceptional films (exciting, well shaped, urgent, affecting in one way or another) that definitely got 2014 off to a crackling start. Eight! Most Sundance slates yield five or six keepers, or so it has always seemed.
For a final time and in this order, they are (a) Damien Chazelle‘s Whiplash, (b) Craig Johnson‘s The Skeleton Twins, (c) Steve James‘ Life Itself, (d) Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood, (e) Lynn Shelton‘s Laggies, (f) James D. Cooper‘s Lambert & Stamp, (g) Charlie McDowell‘s The One I Love and (h) Chapman and Maclain Way‘s The Battered Bastards of Baseball.
If there’s an image-quality difference between the 2011 French Gaumount Bluray of Jules Dassin‘s Rififi (a non-English-subtitled version that I bought in Paris in May 2011) and the new subtitle-option Criterion version, which I watched last night, I can’t spot it. A Criterion pally says the latter version has been cleaned up (dirt, scratches)…fine. The grain levels are in no way bothersome. It looks like it was shot on film, and I have no issue with that.
Loaded guys will always be able to relate to other loaded guys. They meet in first class…”hombre!” Any subject, no problem, comfort vibes, selfies. But if you were Zach Braff and your film, Wish I Was Here, hadn’t done all that well with the critics at Sundance (a warm-hearted, family-embracing Emo version of A Serious Man, “a little too much into calculated bromides to be comforting or illuminating…a little too conservative”), would you have done the old buddy-buddy with Mitt Romney? I guess it doesn’t matter that much, but I would have politely kept my distance. If there’s anyone in the world who’s “over,” it’s Romney. I would be afraid of catching that virus.