In response to the BBC ballot that people are responding to all over, here are my top…I can’t. I can’t choose ten. Here are my top 42 (but in no particular order): Manchester By The Sea, Leviathan, 12 Years A Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis, Zero Dark Thirty, A Separation, Moneyball, The Social Network, The Fighter, Zodiac, Memento, Traffic, Amores perros, Children of Men, Adaptation, City of God, The Pianist, The Lives of Others, Sexy Beast, There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Collateral, Dancer in the Dark, A Serious Man, Girlfight, The Departed, In the Bedroom, Talk to Her, Bloody Sunday, No Country For Old Men, The Quiet American, Whale Rider, Open Range, Touching the Void, Maria Full of Grace, Up In The Air, The Hurt Locker, Million Dollar Baby, Man on Wire, Che and Volver.
“Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to make a little noise. You have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. We will be silent no more. The time for silence is over.” — Rep. John Lewis speaking this afternoon on the House floor, just prior to the gun legislation sit-in.
From 6.22 N.Y. Times story, “House Democrats Stage Sit-In to Push for Action on Gun Control,” by David M. Herszenhorn and Emmarie Huettaman:
“While the speeches in the House chamber veered all around the gun-control issue, making it difficult at times to ascertain what specific legislative action protesters wanted, a spokesman for the House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said Democrats were seeking votes on measures similar to two proposals by Democratic senators that failed to advance in the Senate.
“One of those sought to restrict gun sales to people on the government’s terrorism watch list, while the second would expand and toughen background checks for gun buyers. Those two measures were defeated on Monday in the Senate, along with Republican alternatives.
I don’t how it happened, but sometime during the 20th Century an observation about African American women caught on and became legend. The legend is that certain ladies of this heritage (i.e., those with a little meat on their bones and who aren’t slender as bankside reeds) have hefty, haunchy, cow-sized asses. This cruel stereotype needs to removed from public consciousness. Blake Lively found this out last month when she posted an Instagram of her front and back with a caption that read “L.A. face with an Oakland booty.” Why Lively wasn’t immediately brought up on charges I’ll never know, but where did she get the idea she can just body-shame with impugnity? If it were my call she would be feeling the wrath of the p.c. court right now. There are no “Oakland” booties — there are only beautiful variations of the female form, and anyone who’s catty and cheap enough to suggest…I refuse to discuss it any further.
I knew after watching last February’s two-hour Vinyl pilot that it was toast. If asked I would’ve told HBO executives to pull the plug then and there. But no — they hung in there, tried to create buzz by offering free episodes on HBO Now, approved a second season and then changed their minds and pulled the plug.
Here’s what I wrote 17 weeks ago: I sat through Martin Scorsese‘s two-hour Vinyl pilot last night, and I’m sorry, man, but it didn’t quite cut it for me. Here and there, yes, but overall no. The greatest rock music era was not the glitter-trash early ’70s but the mythical explosion-and-transformation period between ’64 and ’68 — the arc that began with Motown, early British invasion (Beatles, Stones, Kinks, etc.), schmaltz and bubble-gum succumbing or getting swallowed or pushed aside by Bob Dylan and folk rock finessings and then the Yardbirds and the Velvet Underground and early-to-advanced psychedelia. (And don’t forget the Boxtops!)
I’m also unable to believe in a loud, crude, non-levitational guy named Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) as a kind of electric talent-spotting, trend-spotting savant. Cannavale has been playing none-too-bright New Jersey goombah types for too long to attempt this kind of transition, and I just didn’t care what happened to him or what he lucked into or what new rock group is about to restore his faith in rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t mean to sound harsh or dismissive but I didn’t like or care about anyone.
This Benicio del Toro Heineken commercial (which is over three months old) is all but ruined by two things. One, the tourist couple with the GoPro camera gleefully announcing that they’ve run into Antonio Banderas and two, the parenthetical statement that “this is not Antonio Banderas.” If the whole Banderas thing had been dropped and if the couple knew it was Benicio, the look of deflation and disgust on Benicio’s face would have been perfect because it would have said “God, I hate tourist low-lifes who take selfies and can’t contain themselves.” Instead it says “Jesus, I thought I was well-known but not so much, I guess.” The contempt-for-humanity thing is hilarious because we all feel the same way. (Okay, I do.) But the “gee, I’m not as famous as I thought I was” is on the level of a Bob Hope one-liner from the ’50s.
It feels like decades since Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker) directed a major narrative film. It’s actually been three and a half years since ZDT, but it feels like a whole lot longer. First there was talk about Bigelow and producer-writer Mark Boal (i.e., the entity once known as “Biggie-Boal”) collaborating on Triple Frontier, a South American drug dealing movie that might’ve starred Tom Hanks, but that went south. Then she was planning to direct a Bowe Bergdhal film but who wants to watch a movie about a flaky deserter who was held by the Taliban for five years? In any event the Bergdahl thing has been temporarily shelved in lieu of his court martial yet to happen and his story being incomplete.
Bigelow and Boal are currently planning a 1967 Detroit riots film — presumably shooting this summer or early fall for an Oscar-bait release next year. Why am I doubting that a 2017 release will happen? Because John Boyega was just announced as a cast member, and it’s nearly July. The Detroit riots happened in mid-summer weather.
When’s Bigelow going to start shooting? I’m told that “Untitled Kathryn Bigelow Film” has been casting day players and soliciting background in Boston via CP Casting, and that the shoot is slated for late July thru September. Then again the last few years have taught us that Bigelow works in slow-mo time. Prepare fully and painstakingly, dig in, get it right. If I were around I would be whispering in her ear like that slave whispering to the Roman conqueror, “All glory is fleeting….life is short, hubba-hubba, no slacking off.”
I saw Jaume Collet-Serra‘s The Shallows (Columbia, 6.24) last night at a Grove all-media screening. The review embargo is in place until tomorrow morning (6 am Pacific), but I can at least mention the following without getting into any specific reactions.
(1) Besides star Blake Lively there are five male supporting characters (two surfers, a local guy with a jeep, a little kid, a fat drunk), but the most distinctive supporting performance is given by a seagull who becomes Lively’s pal, and whom she nicknames “Steven Seagull.” I haven’t read anything about this bird attending the Shallows press junket, but if I was working on the p.r. side I would have definitely brought him in. “Steven Seagull” is almost as emotionally important to The Shallows as “Wilson” the volley ball was to Cast Away.
(2) Lively played the lead in Age of Adaline but here she delivers an impressive stand-alone. For what it’s worth it’s her most noteworthy performance since her supporting perf in The Town. Yes, she interacts with the supporting cast but only briefly — mostly it’s just her, her leg wound, the water, a buoy and a big-ass shark.