If I was a name-brand actor I would delight in giving shit to any journalist who asks me “so how much pressure was it to nail this role given expectations” or any such question? I hate pressure questions, and I really hate journalists who ask them. For openers I would deny any awareness of pressure in any aspect of my life, my performance or the film. I would look the journalist in the eye and say “what do you mean…I really don’t know what pressure is…can you tell me?” Or “what I’m lucky enough to do for a living is not about your idea of ‘pressure’…that’s a press junket question, okay, and I’m not playing your game. Do you live with pressure? Maybe you do and maybe it’s hard, but keep it to yourself…y’know? I live in a canoe on a swift river. Every day I can’t wait to get going. Just find the current and paddle well and find your balance…nothin’ to it.”
I don’t mean to sound like a wingnut obsessive but the slightly wider dimensions of Chris Pratt‘s face tells us that it’s eatin’ time again. That’s his pattern. He slims down for a film (the most recent being Jurassic World) and when principal photography is done…carbs!
If nothing else, Xavier Dolan‘s Mommy has made it clear that a 1:1 “pure box” aspect ratio doesn’t look perfectly square. It looks a wee bit higher than it is wide. Which was my very first thought when I saw it last May in Cannes. The next time an enterprising director shoots a film this way, he/she would be wise to deliver an aspect ratio of, say, 1.1:1 or 1.15:1. Then it’ll look right.
A good 70% to 80% of Lena Dunham‘s statements in this video are delivered in standard female uptalk style. As a longtime Girls watcher, I can say with rock-solid assurance that nobody uptalks more than Dunham. Honestly? I’m unable to listen to the substance of any person’s thoughts when this vocal tick interferes. By the way: Dunham is wrong about death-contemplation being a somewhat healthy thing, at least in a spiritual sense. All living is obviously and necessarily about the adamant denial of death, and anyone who spends even five minutes a day going “wow, I’m going to die” is succumbing to one of the lamest impulses in the history of our species.
“The Little Death does have one terrific ace up its sleeve: a fifth story, almost completely unconnected to the others, featuring Monica (Erin James, a bit of a Sally Hawkins lookalike), who works at a Skype-like video service translating phone calls for the deaf. On a slow night, she winds up on a call with Sam (T.J. Power), only to find that he wants her to mediate his conversation with a phone-sex operator (Genevieve Hegney). What ensues is a perfectly timed, beautifully structured verbal and gestural farce that manages to be at once raucously funny, sweetly touching and genuinely romantic. Rife with awkwardness and miscommunication, and keenly attuned to the reality of what a mixed blessing technology can be, the story would work well as a stand-enough short; as such, it’s easily the most promising evidence here that Lawson the writer-director may yet have bigger and better things ahead of him.” — from Justin Chang‘s 9.11.14 Toronto Film Festival review.
I saw Birdman again last night. The two-hour masterpiece screened at the Little Theatre on the Fox lot at 7:45 pm. An outdoor reception followed with Michael Keaton and producer John Lesher. The silver-haired Keaton has shaved that scraggly goatee he wears in the film; plus he looks thinner, sleeker, healthier. Lesher looks a little silvery himself these days. I asked him about Glenn Zoller‘s Telluride gondola story (“I financed Birdman“) but he said he wasn’t the guy. Nice vibe, good food, cool nighttime air.
I spoke to Keaton a bit about Tom McCarthy‘s Spotlight, a Catholic Church child-molestation drama that he’ll begin shooting in Boston in a few days. Keaton’s last foray into movie journalism with in Ron Howard‘s The Paper. Participant is producing with DreamWorks having turned tail. The script has been cowritten by McCarthy and Josh Singer (The West Wing). It’s about a team of Boston Globe journalists who exposed a long-covered-up history of Catholic priest diddling of choir boys. Keaton’s costars reportedly include Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci and Rachel McAdams. Pic will almost certainly be part of next year’s Oscar conversation.
I’m updating HE’s Oscar Balloon this morning with the following. As always, disputes, corrections and beyond-the-ballpark suggestions are welcome. “HE approved” obviously means favored status, rooting factor, etc.
Best Picture Likelies (in this order, right now): 1. Birdman (HE approved); 2. Boyhood; 3. The Theory of Everything; 4. The Imitation Game; 5. Foxcatcher; 6. The Grand Budapest Hotel. Unseen Best Picture Spitballs: 1. Interstellar; 2. A Most Violent Year; 3. Gone Girl; 4. American Sniper; 5. The Gambler; 6. Into The Woods; 7. Selma; 8. Inherent Vice; 9. Unbroken; 10. Big Eyes; 11. Mr. Turner; 12. Fury.
Most Visually Ravishing, “Painterly” Best Picture Contender: Mr. Turner, although I’d like to see it with subtitles sometime down the road.
Best Director: Alejandro González Inarritu, Birdman (HE approved); 2. Richard Linklater, Boyhood; 3. James Marsh, The Theory of Everything; 4. Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game; 5. Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher; 6. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Best Director Maybes: Christopher Nolan, Interstellar; JC Chandor, A Most Violent Year; Angelina Jolie, Unbroken; David Ayer, Fury; Clint Eastwood, American Sniper; David Fincher, Gone Girl.
Best Actor: 1. Michael Keaton, Birdman (HE approved); 2. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything; 3. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; 4. Steve Carell, Foxcatcher; 5. Tom Hardy, The Drop/Locke. 6. Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner (despite my inability to hear half of Spall’s dialogue due to his all-but-indecipherable British working-class accent); 7. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; 8. Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice; 9. Ben Affleck, Gone Girl; 10. Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins.
Tragic Absence of Sublime, World-Class Lead Performance due to (no offense to Roadside) an overly cautious release strategy: Paul Dano as Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy.