I can’t say anything until the 7.18 embargo date, but Woody Allen‘s Magic in the Moonlight deserves a much better poster than this. It gets the basic idea across, at least regarding what Emma Stone‘s character is about. But the expression on Colin Firth‘s face is impossible. What’s he looking at, a squirrel climbing up a nearby tree? Someone or something other than Stone. The quality of the design reminds me, no offense, of some early ’80s one-sheets for Cannon or Crown International films.
“Last fall, Gravity director and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu pal Alfonso Cuaron told Capture Mag, ‘Next year, you’ll see a film shot in one continuous sequence, and it’s a masterpiece.” Then this spring over at Redditian, a user claimed ‘the cinematography [in Birdman] is done by Emmanuel Lubezki and the entire film is going to be one continuous shot, like Rope.’ This dude says he’s seen an early cut of the movie and says it has “an awe-inspiring 40 minute tracking shot.” — from a 6.20 Kevin Jagernauth Indiewire piece.
Earlier this afternoon I recorded a 39-minute chat with Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet about the likeliest-seeming Best Picture contenders as of now. Early summer Best Picture projections are purely about spitballing, of course, but after that they’re about (a) recognizing possibly profound thematic elements that certain films appear to contain (or at least might contain), and also (b) what appear to be emotionally crowd-pleasing elements that will probably resonate with not-very-hip Academy members. Here’s the mp3.
Nobody really knows anything at this stage, but right now I’m having trouble understanding the presumed inevitability of Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken. As Spencer Tracy said at the end of Judgment in Nuremberg, “You’re going to have to explain that one to me. You’re going to have to explain it very carefully.”
At this juncture I would call myself a Birdman man — Birdman, Interstellar, Wild, Gone Girl, A Very Violent Year and Selma. Or something like that.
I saw Clint Eastwood‘s Jersey Boys last night, and I really don’t have much to add to the wolf-pack snarlings. It’s not great but it’s not too bad. I didn’t hate it. I liked the big musical dance finale in which all the characters bop down Main Street. But it is what it is — a very old-fashioned rags-to-riches, hard-knocks-and-perseverance showbiz tale that gets a few things wrong (i.e., Frankie Valli singing a few bars of the 1957 song “Silhouettes” in 1951) and constantly feels “acted” (sometimes annoyingly so) and is at times wildly inauthentic and minus anyone’s idea of genuine grit, punch or Scorsese-ish streetcorner flavor. The downish third act drags on for too long, but what’s the point of complaining? We all know what “directed by Clint” means. It means he likes to let his films gradually come together at a relaxed, no-hurry pace. I wrote several weeks ago that the somewhat stodgy old-world (or in this instance “old New Jersey”) vibe might be a fit since most of the recreated events in the film happened between 40 and 63 years ago. You’re watching it and saying to yourself, “Yup, this is how movies like this used to feel and unfold.” LexG will probably hate it but there’s no defending a film like this. Those with a taste or tolerance for this sort of thing will be okay with it, and those who can’t relax with it or merge with the vibe will walk out or groan in their seat or whatever. Everyone agrees that John Lloyd Young‘s performance as Mr. Valli is on the money, but Vincent Piazza‘s as Tommy DeVito (i.e., the asshole/villain of the piece) feels oppressively one-note, I feel. Most of us like listening to Four Seasons hits to there’s no point in bringing that up, etc. I just wish that somehow Clint had found a way to work in “Connie-O,” which might be my favorite Four Seasons song of all.
An hour or so ago it was reported that HE’s own Rian Johnson is in talks to write and direct Stars Wars, Episode VIII. My first thought was “Jesus…now I’m going to have to refer to him as Rian ‘Paycheck’ Johnson.” But my second thought was that I now see a kind of scheme to the Star Wars reboots. If Super 8 is any kind of template JJ Abrams will probably inject a Spielbergian tone into Episode VII, but Johnson, I’m thinking, will probably go a little loopier with Episode VIII….no? Abrams for the dazzle and the heart, Johnson for the somewhat more cerebral fantasy-head-trip stuff. Obvious hire for the direction and writing of Episode IX: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes helmer Matt Reeves.
Paramount has announced that Ava Duvernay‘s currently shooting Selma, a ’60s period drama about the historic efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) and the Civil Rights movements to secure voting rights for African-Americans, will open limited on Christmas Day. This almost automatically means that Selma is now a likely Best Picture contender as (a) it will probably deliver socially poignant uplift with a sweeping historic brush and a top-notch ensemble cast, and (b) it will mostly excite the same emotionality and allegiances that led to Precious and The Butler attracting Best Picture talk.
Selma has been shooting in Georgia (Atlanta) and is now looking at Alabama (Montgomery and Selma). I don’t know when Duvernay is going to finish principal but probably not until….what, sometime in mid-to-late July? August? (Selma shooting is beginning on or about 6.23.) After the limited Christmas Day opening Selma will open wide on 1.9.15.
Paramount wouldn’t have made this decision if they didn’t think the Best Picture field looks weak or at the very least hazy. Selma is now the only end-of-the-year movie that says “big social-historical statement” a la Gandhi or (this is a dispiriting example, I realize) Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. It will probably emerge as the default choice of those who like to vote for big-emotional-sweep movies about arduous struggles. In this light Selma‘s entrance is not great news for Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken, which is basically a WWII survival saga by way of an indominitable spirit.
Jean Marc Vallee‘s Wild, the Reese Witherspoon hiking drama, also fits in this realm.
Having Selma open on 12.25.14 is a pretty fast turnaround by today’s standards, although not by the big-studio system of yore. Films routinely opened within three or four months of completing principal photography in the old days, and sometimes even faster.
The viral Jeremy Meeks thing is obviously another one of those situations in which a guy on a downward crime spiral might be saved because he’s suddenly been recognized for some kind of talent and has become quite popular with the ladies. This is what happened to Elvis Presley‘s Vince Everett character in Jailhouse Rock after his soulful singing of “I Want To Be Free” was broadcast. Hip-hop millionaire T.I. (a.k.a., Clifford Joseph Harris) once spent a year in the slam for possession of illegal guns. 50 Cent did time as did Mark Wahlberg and Tim Allen. Life sometimes cuts people a break, and Meeks is obviously being offered a chance to straighten his life out. He’s been popped before and almost certainly has anti-social impulses that could manifest again, but you have to be optimistic in these situations. Meeks could be a super-model or an actor even.
You can see exactly where David Dobkin‘s The Judge (Warner Bros., 10.10) will be going within the first 30 seconds of this trailer, but I can’t work up any hostility for it. It might be half-watchable. Robert Downey, Jr. is great at playing blase emotionless yuppie pricks. An above-average costarring cast — Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio (who looks like a bloated sea lion), Dax Shepard, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Lancaster and Billy Bob Thornton. Screenplay by Dobkin and Nick Schenk (Gran Torino). Dobkin directed The Wedding Crashers, for those who’ve forgotten.
The wrongly convicted and imprisoned Central Park Five — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise and Yusef Salaam — have reportedly agreed to a settlement of close to $40 million. The five, railroaded into convictions for having sexually assaulted 28-year-old investment banker Trisha Meili while she jogged in Central Park, will each receive about $1 million for each year they were behind bars.
The settlement, reported yesterday by the N.Y. Times, was nudged along by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had promised to reach a “swift settlement” once he took office.
On 10.30.12 I posted the following: “New York City needs to do more than simply admit error in case of the Central Park Five. Nine years ago the five filed a federal lawsuit against the city, seeking $50 million each in damages or $250 million total. If anyone deserves to be financially compensated for a perversion of justice, it’s these guys.