Deadline‘s Pete Hammond knows that The Revenant is going to be a wham-bammer and an all-but-certain Best Picture contender, and he acknowledges that Leonardo DiCaprio is “due” so pay very little attention to his “I haven’t seen his performance so I’m not saying anything” line. He knows DiCaprio is all but in, and he knows Michael Fassbender‘s Steve Jobs performance is on the ropes and probably plummeting as we speak, and he knows Tom Hanks‘ “subtle” performance in Bridge of Spies is a totally generic, bonded and branded “Tom Hanks performance” (i.e., Mr. Saturday Evening Post) and relatively weak tea…not even remotely close to Gregory Peck‘s performance in To Kill A Mockingbird. Hammond knows all this. He also knows that Jay Roach‘s Trumbo is not really “a great movie,” as he calls it…he knows that. (Trumbo is, however, a good film.) Hammond and Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil acknowledge that Michael Caine‘s Youth campaign is all about the gold-watch factor, and Hammond says Concussion‘s Will Smith is “definitely” in the game…we’ll see about that. All this aside, hooray for Mr. Holmes‘ Ian McKellen — a brilliant thesp and one of the most gracious guys I’ve ever known.
Remember the good old days (i.e., two years ago) when Criterion would create its own uniquely designed covers for Bluray/DVDs of classic films? Compare their 2014 On The Waterfront cover art to the jacket cover for their upcoming Bluray of Mike Nichols‘ The Graduate, which will pop on 2.23.16. I don’t think I need to point anything out here. Okay, I’ll point something out. Criterion has gone totally generic here. Teenage movie buffs in Pakistan and Manchuria are bored to death by this crusty, age-old shot of a barefooted Dustin Hoffman regarding Anne Bancroft‘s stockinged calf, but Criterion used it anyway.
The Graduate Bluray is worth the purchase price, however, because it contains one of the finest, most richly observed analytical commentary tracks about a classic film ever recorded. I’m referring to UCLA film professor Howard Suber‘s observations about The Graduate, which were included on Criterion’s original 1987 Graduate laser disc. Suber’s commentary was briefly available on a YouTube posting a year ago but was taken down for some reason, but it’ll be fully and legally available on the new Bluray — the first time in a new format in 28 years.
Carol star Cate Blanchett, Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar contender Phyllis Nagy during yesterday’s Carol brunch at West Hollywood’s London hotel. If you ask me Blanchett’s sunglasses (smokey gray with caramel frames) are award-worthy in and of themselves.
Beasts of No Nation director-cinematographer Cary Fukunaga, creator of one of the most poetic and visually dazzling films of the year hands down, during yesterday afternoon’s gathering for the Netflix release at Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
The always smooth and gracious Ian McKellen during backyard gathering at British Consulate for Bill Condo’s Mr. Holmes. Perfect Sherlock in the film, and reportedly spot-on in Tom Courteney’s role in The Dresser.
Beasts of No Nation star Idris Elba at same soiree (obviously). Here’s Elba performing at Madonna’s “Unapologetic Bitch” concert last month in Berlin.
Dennis Haysbert (Far From Heaven, Heat, Mr. Allstate) with HE’s own Svetlana Cvetko (Red Army, Inside Job, Miss Representation, Inequality for All).
How drop-dead clueless do you have to be to announce an intention to remake Christopher Nolan‘s 15-year-old Memento, a classic that hasn’t aged a day, that every movie buff knows backwards and forwards, that anyone can stream any time they like? Variety‘s Dave McNary is reporting that AMBI Pictures will remake it nonetheless. Even more forehead-smacking is the following statement from AMBI co-honcho Andrea Iervolino: “Memento has been consistently ranked as one of the best films of its decade. People who’ve seen Memento ten times still feel they need to see it one more time. This is a quality that we feel really supports and justifies a remake.”
With the National Enquirer running a legit cover story about Charlie Sheen‘s HIV positive status and a Today show press release announcing that Sheen will make a “revealing personal announcement” Tuesday morning in an interview with Matt Lauer, it’s finally okay to broach the subject. Everyone had heard about Sheen being the rumored big celeb who had allegedly contracted the virus but you don’t want to throw that shit around, especially concerning a matter as grave as this. Not that Sheen is looking at a final chapter of any kind. One presumes he’ll Magic Johnsoning for a long time to come.
I heard a couple of days ago that John Lee Hancock‘s The Founder (Weinstein Co. 11.25.16) will have its first research screening this evening in Manhattan — 374 days ahead of its release. Then I ran into Keaton at last night’s Spotlight/Spaghettini party and asked him about it. He said he knew about the screening (“Back east, right?) but hasn’t seen it yet…and then he ducked away. Pic tells the story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) and the birth of McDonald’s empire, and you know it’ll be part of next year’s Oscar conversation if Harvey has anything to say about it. The Founder will presumably focus on Kroc’s marginally unscrupulous dealings with original McDonald’s founders Mac and Dick McDonald, not so much when he persuaded them to franchise McDonald’s nationally in 1954 as when he bought them out in ’61 for a relatively modest sum of $2.7 million. But I guess you can’t blame Kroc if the McDonald brothers weren’t smart enough to demand a better deal. Costars include Laura Dern (as Kroc’s wife Ethel Fleming), Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Patrick Wilson, Ric Reitz and Wilbur Fitzgerald.
The physical appearance of Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold doesn’t just mitigate an interest in gourmet-level delicacies. It makes you think about eating less food, period, and doubling down on the cockatoo (i.e., fruit and salads). I think most food critics understand this, and that’s why guys like Anthony Bourdain are cool and Gold, no offense, is not. In my book, at least.
No one is happy about plans to deliver Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott‘s third Alien movie, on 10.6.17. Everyone worships the original, hugely influential Alien (’79) but despises the financially successful ($403 million) calamity d’estime that was Prometheus (’12). This latest and final Alien is, of course, an attempt to mitigate the horrid experience of Prometheus, a movie so infuriatingly awful that it launched the “Scott is over” meme. The compassionate thing would be to smother this project in the crib and never do another Alien movie ever again. Move on, find new worlds, create new poetry. But there’s big money to be made from Alien: Covenant, obviously, and so here we are. I’m sure Scott intends to deliver an Alien movie that the fans wanted from Prometheus but didn’t get.
I’m naturally presuming that the malevolent Damon Lindelof, mind-fucking predator and destroyer of realms, won’t be allowed with 500 miles of this project.
Prometheus “is impressively composed and colder than a witch’s boob in Siberia,” I wrote on 6.1.12. “It’s visually striking, spiritually frigid, emotionally unengaging, at times intriguing but never fascinating. It’s technically impressive, of course — what else would you expect from an expensive Scott sci-fier? And the scary stuff takes hold in the final third. But it delivers an unsatisfying story that leaves you…uhm, cold.
Without mentioning specifics a friend has a close relation attending school in Paris, and as you might expect the post-massacre vibe (armed soldiers everywhere, people being being randomly asked for ID) has made the student feel rattled. I responded as follows:
“The idea that you might one day be sipping your cappuccino on rue d’Abesses when all of a sudden a hailstorm of bullets shatters the place and possibly ends your life…devastating. But you have to push on. Death eternally hovers but who allows notions of obliteration to dictate what they do or think? There’s only one rule or command, and that is to persist and sing and dance and explore and create as if we had a thousand or ten thousand years of life. It’s horrible but what else is there to do?
“After Charlie Hebdo a vague expectation that terror might strike again was in the air over there, I’m sure, but nobody obsessed about it. I was in Paris last May before Cannes, walking everywhere and scootering around, and it was absolutely wonderful. Life went on. Life will always go on. What’s the difference between those who died last Friday and those who didn’t? Luck and fast reflexes. You can’t bestow luck and you can’t teach people to have fast reflexes, so what is there to do? It’s a ghastly situation but death hovers any way you slice it. I’m repeating myself.