In a just-published Playboy interview, Gary Oldman is asked if it would “mean something” to to win an Oscar. His reply: “I suppose, yeah. I know it certainly doesn’t mean anything to win a Golden Globe, that’s for sure. It’s a meaningless event. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is kidding you that something’s happening. They’re fucking ridiculous. There’s nothing going on at all. It’s 90 nobodies having a wank. Everybody’s getting drunk, and everybody’s sucking up to everybody. Boycott the fucking thing. Just say we’re not going to play this silly game with you anymore. The Oscars are different. But it’s showbiz. It’s all showbiz. That makes me sound like I’ve got sour grapes or something, doesn’t it?” Maybe but Gary, Gary, Gary, Gary…when you win a Golden Globe, people get in the mood to give you an Oscar. Or at least, that’s how it used to work before the nomination voting deadlines got shifted around.
Will Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden movie more or less concentrate on what Glenn Greenwald and others have reported about the (in)famous 20something whistleblower, or will it deliver a theme or a through-line that will reveal something deeper or darker or crazier than what is generally known? Because right now I’m wondering if Stone can deliver anything other than a straight-ahead indictment of governmental privacy invasion. Not that I would mind this.
Today is the 25th anniversary of the commercial debut of Tim Burton‘s Batman (i.e., 6.23.89). I remember paying to see it at Mann’s Chinese on that very day, and staring at a very cool-looking Batman silhouette that had been projected onto the red curtains before the show started. Variety‘s Matthew Chernov has posted a piece called “9 Ways Tim Burton’s Batman Changed Superhero Movies Forever.” The innovations he lists are fine, but he doesn’t mention the skyscraper swan dive. Before Batman no superhero had ever jumped off the roof of a skyscraper and plummeted 50 or 60 stories before not going splat on the sidewalk. Not because it made any fucking sense but because it gave viewers a killer adrenaline rush. Since then building dives have become a pestilence. 25 years later and they still haven’t gone away, the latest being Mila Kunis‘s terrifying backward plunge into nothingness in Lana and Andy Wachowski‘s Jupiter Ascending.
Eight-week-old kittens were being sold or given away on Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue yesterday afternoon. You know how it is when you walk up and see these little guys in their cages — you want to take one of them home. I’ve already got two cats but I could roll with a third, I was telling myself. But I know what would happen if I did. Mouse, my obese Siamese male, would immediately assert his authority by beating up the little kitten for days on end. That’s what he did when I brought home little Aura, a white munchkin. He beat her up several times a day — pouncing on her, making her whine and cry, holding her down, etc. All male cats have to be “the lion” and show the other cats in their domain who’s boss. In this sense Mouse is a bit of an asshole but I can’t change his DNA. I wouldn’t want to subject a poor little kitten to this kind of abuse so no adoptions, I guess. This is what went through my head as I stood at the NE corner of Montana and 15th around 5:45 pm yesterday and thought it all over. A half-hour later I went over to the Aero and said hello to Anthony Breznican and got a copy of his book, Brutal Youth.
Brutal Youth author Anthony Breznican inside Santa Monica’s Aero theatre on Sunday, 6.22.
An apparently restored DCP of Peter Bogdanovich‘s Paper Moon was shown at last April’s TCM Classic Film Festival. I didn’t catch it but old films never play this festival unless they’ve been restored or spiffed up for high-def distribution. And yet there’s been no announcement about a Paper Moon Bluray since. (You can at least rent or buy an HDX version on Vudu.com.) Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy caught the TCM screening and called Bogdanovich’s direction “so, so strong [with] deep focus photography so sharp it literally quickens the pulse,” summoning comparisons to Orson Welles and late ’30s John Ford. “I liked it markedly better than I did at the time [of release]. Ben Mankiewicz said something I didn’t know at the beginning, [which is] that it was originally supposed to be John Huston directing Paul Newman and Newman’s daughter, [but] that fell apart.”
I’m told that Paramount’s The Gambler, a remake of Karel Riesz‘s 1974 original that was based on James Toback‘s autobiographical script, has turned out so well that it’ll open sometime in mid to late fall. (The IMDB currently has it as a January 2015 release.) Toback tells me Mark Wahlberg is delighted with how the film, directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and re-written by William Monahan, has turned out. Gambler producer Irwin Winkler (who also produced the ’74 version) has also been talking about how good it is. It’s not necessarily an award-season contender as you never know with stories about self-destructive types. But it sounds like Wahlberg (who dropped about 50 pounds to play the part) might at least be in line for some Best Actor action.
Wahlberg during the filming of Rupert Wyatt’s The Gambler three or four months ago.
A Paramount spokesperson says “the film is not yet dated and we are not able to offer comment further at this time.” But I’m hearing that the fall release is pretty much a done deal.
Wahlberg plays James Caan‘s role of Axel Freed, a college professor with a compulsive gambling habit and serious self-destructive tendencies. Toback, who created the Freed character by mixing Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s The Gambler with his own sordid gambling experiences, has an executive producer credit on the new Gambler. He’s been kept out of the creative loop but has, however, been told encouraging things by Wahlberg, with whom he’s been friendly since the mid ’90s.
“I obviously have a huge interest in the outcome of the film since it’s inspired by the closest thing to an autobiographical movie that I’ve ever written or will write,” Toback said this morning. “Mark Wahlberg has been a good friend for 20 years, and I have always known him to be clinically objective in judging his own work. I know he saw a cut of the movie recently, and told me he is thrilled with it, which makes me extremely hopeful about its quality. That’s all I know but he seems genuinely enthused about having delivered an acting job that he’s proud of.
I have a semi-serious question about Lenny Abrahamson‘s Frank (Magnolia, 8.15) that deserves a semi-serious answer. The allegedly bone-dry British-Irish dramedy is about a deranged musician (Michael Fassbender) who goes around wearing a basketball-shaped paper mache cartoon doofus head. (The late English musician Christopher Mark Sievey wore a head like this after adopting the persona of Frank Sidebottom in 1984.) It’s one of those Sundance-y films that invites you to adopt the correct hip attitude in order to get into it. (If you can’t adjust, fine…but it’s your problem and not the film’s.) Obviously Frank has its indie credentials in order but what if Adam Sandler played Frank rather than Fassbender? That’s my question. I might eventually see Frank (haven’t decided yet) but I know for sure that I hate the head. The costars are Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy.
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »