Producer friend: “Tom Hiddleston is looking like a real movie star. He’s also a terrific actor and one film away from an Oscar shortlist. Next James Bond?” Me: “Hiddleston is a first-rate actor with an icy-cool gravitas, but what about the brawn? There’s something a bit geeky and scarecrow about him.” Producer: “London rumor mill says that Hiddleston’s on the shortlist for the next Bond. And he’s said he’d love to do it. And he’s sexy. Pierce Brosnan was lean also but it worked.” Me: “Okay but Hiddleston is a long throw from the gold-standard Sean Connery model.” Producer: “Agree, but the definition of sexy for Bond isn’t just all muscle. Hiddleston is taking off in the leading man category. If Benedict Cumberpatch is a huge sex symbol (that one I really don’t get — wonderful actor but not sexy at all) then Hiddleston is next.”
Posted on 5.24.15, following the end of last year’s Cannes Film Festival: “Giving the Palme d’Or to Jacques Audiard‘s respectable but far-from-stellar Dheepan was a huge forehead-slapper. Laszlo Nemes‘ Son of Saul, which won the second-place Grand Prix award, would have been a far more deserving recipient; ditto Todd Haynes‘ Carol, which many fell to their knees over. (A producer pal: ‘Every year the Cannes critics rave about a film like Carol, so then the Jury goes out of its way to not to give it a prize. It’s as if they have to defy the pure merit of it all just so as to not appear ‘populist.’)
“I’m telling you that nobody and I mean nobody expected Dheepan to win anything, much less the Palme d’Or. In this sense it’s fair to say that the Cannes Jury (chaired by Joel and Ethan Coen) was completely divorced from a perceptual reality shared by nearly every journalist I talked to during the festival. Nobody even fantasized about Dheepan emerging as the Big Winner…nobody.
Journalists: “Dheepan is easily the least distinguished of Audiard’s last three films — a good or even a pretty good film but far from exceptional. At best a modest achievement.” Ethan Coen: ‘[The jury’s reaction to Dheepan] was swift…everybody had an enthusiasm for it. To some degree or another we all thought it was a very beautiful movie. We’re different people, some people had greater enthusiasms for other things or lesser, but in terms of this movie, everybody had some level of excitement, some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it.’ There was no overlap here.
Everybody Wants Some! is the only new film of consequence out there. God’s Not Dead 2..Christian garbage. Meet the Blacks…phffft. I was never invited to a screening of The Dark Horse (Maori speed chess) and probably wouldn’t have attended if I had been. The Girl In The Photographs (slasher), Kill Me, Deadly, Kill Your Friends, etc. I wanted to see Don Cheadle‘s Miles Ahead, and I offer no excuse for failing to do so except that I tried. Natural Born Pranksters, Next Time I’ll Aim for the Heart, Standing Tall…meh.
Rebecca Miller‘s Maggie’s Plan (Sony Pictures Classics, 5.20) is an intelligent, nicely honed, reasonably decent romantic triangle dramedy with Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore. It was widely reviewed during last January’s Sundance Film Festival, resulting in a combined 75.5% rating from Rotten Tomatoes (73%) and Metacritic (78%). I didn’t love it but it’s okay. It moves along, hangs together, does the job. I looked at my watch two or three times but I never covered my faced with hands or moaned or any of that other stuff.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I can never again consider the idea of seeing Ethan Hawke in a film without this image coming to mind. Fairly or unfairly he’s suddenly become an icon for the self-absorbed guy who licks his fingers after he eats.
I won’t burden you with the tangled particulars, but Maggie’s Plan is about a faintly neurotic academic type (Gerwig) and a somewhat older academic and would-be novelist (Hawke) falling in love and deciding to cohabit and have a kid after he leaves his former wife (Moore), a needles-and-pins controlling bitch type with whom he has two older kids. The second half is about Gerwig deciding to disengage from Hawke by way of a sly manipulative scheme when she realizes he’s not really in love with her and is more or less using her because she’s a great organizer-assistant type.
Why did I leave 7 or 8 minutes before it ended? Because I suffered an intense visceral reaction when Hawke licked his sticky, greasy, sauce-covered fingers for the third time.
“As much as I hate to spoil any movie’s ending in a review, I have to do so here because I was so gobsmacked and disgusted when it happened. The audience I was with shared my profound disappointment and there was actually a small riot in the IMAX theater, with seats being torn out of the floor and flung at the screen. We didn’t even get to see the end credits stinger because by then the riot police had shown up to wrestle angry comic book fans in costumes to the ground in one of the most horrendous sights I’ve ever seen (well, after this movie, of course). I have a feeling that reaction will be fairly common come May 6th. Theaters should start hiring security guards now. It’ll be a bloodbath.” — from imaginative 4.1.16 High Def Digest review of Captain America: Civil War by Phil Brown.