Rose McGowan to Owen Gleiberman in 7.6 Hollywood Reporter piece: “You are an active endorser of what is tantamount to harassment and abuse of actresses and women. I speak as someone who was abused by Hollywood and by people like you in the media, but I’m a different breed, one they didn’t count on. I refuse and reject this bullshit on behalf of those who feel they can’t speak. I am someone who was forced by a studio to go on Howard Stern, where he asked me to show him my labia while my grinning male and female publicists stood to the side and did nothing to protect me. I am someone who has withstood death threats from fan boys, had fat sites devoted to me. I’ve withstood harassment on a level you can’t comprehend, Owen.”
Translation: “All visual aspects of all movies are obviously fair game for critical discourse except when it comes to this or that actress having undergone certain adjustments. You can write about Bette Davis‘s eyes, but not if they’ve been touched up. I don’t care what you’re thinking or feeling or why — don’t go there again. Every ugly thing that I’ve been put through by asshole producers, directors and agents in this town is on you, Owen. Their karma is your own. Because you’re all the same beast. If Harrison Ford or Robert Redford or Mark Hamill do a Michael Cimino to themselves some day and you feel compelled to say something, have at it. But you’ve written the last sentence you’ll ever write about surgical touch-ups concerning any actress, anywhere. Once more and you’re done. If I had my way you’d be toast now, but I haven’t the power to bring that about.”
Attractive women are at their most alluring in their 30s and especially 40s. Women in their 20s? Not so much. They just don’t have that much going on inside. If a man or woman of any age doesn’t have some kind of unstated deep-river intrigue what good are they? The downside of 40-plus women is that they’ve all been through difficult times with other guys and are therefore a minefield of negative triggers and resentments if you happen to say or do the wrong thing. 20something women aren’t as pissy — they haven’t yet acquired the wounds and the scars. All to say that Margot Robbie, 26, will definitely be a more skilled and tantalizing actress when she hits 35 and definitely by 40.
The best grief-recovery movies are ones in which something else is going on besides coping with grief. In my book the five best (all of which deal with the aftermath of a death of a loved one) are, in this order, In The Bedroom, Manchester By The Sea, Don’t Look Now, Ordinary People and Things We Lost In The Fire. Because each is focused on something other than just a main character stumbling and thrashing around in pain. The only stumbling around grief flick that I’ve been okay with is John Cameron Michell‘s Rabbit Hole.
The lesser grief-recovery dramas (Demolition, Meadowland) are those in which lead characters mainly just sink into it…”hurt so bad….can’t get past it…I need to drown my grief with drink, drugs, sex or oddball behavior.”
From my perspective the latest permutation could be described as “angry parent of a recently deceased son/daughter faces off with the deceased’s partner/spouse” — Amber Tamblyn‘s Paint It Black (Janet McTeer vs. Alia Shawkat) and Maris Curran‘s Five Nights in Maine (Dianne Wiest vs. David Oyelowo).
I’m just sick of the whole subgenre. I’m sick of death, loss, grief. That doesn’t mean I’m looking for escapism either. I’m just sick and tired of people with long faces. I’m excluding Manchester By The Sea, of course, as I don’t classify it as a “grief” film, even though it more or less is.
Late yesterday morning respected author and movie journalist Peter Biskind posted the following on Facebook about Michael Cimino‘s The Deer Hunter (’78), obviously in response to Cimino’s death last weekend: “I hate to speak ill of the dead and all that, but the obits for Cimino, particularly Mark Olsen’s in the L.A. Times, are shockingly oblivious to the context of The Deer Hunter. Talk about historical Alzheimer’s!
“Of the notorious Russian roulette scenes, all Olsen can manage is that they became ‘instantly iconic, symbolic of the maddening pressures that set upon men at war.’ What? In fact, although it has a great cast and is undeniably a powerful picture, the politics are execrable, and were widely denounced at the time for turning the war inside out.
“The tiger cages in which our boys were held captive were a South Vietnamese invention, not a North Vietnamese. Nor were Vietcong guerrillas likely to grenade their own people, as the film portrays them doing. My Lai was a U.S. atrocity, not an NLF atrocity. The protests of the journalists who covered the war were the loudest, and all agreed that the North did not force U.S. prisoners to play Russian roulette, which was a device left over from an early script.
“All in all, Cimino was caught in numerous lies, ranging from his claim to have been a medic attached to the Green Berets, to his attempt to steal script credit from Deric Washburn.”
I’ve been saying from the get-go that the quality of Peter Berg‘s Patriots Day — and the 12.21 platform release is a sign that Berg, star-producer Mark Wahlberg and the producers want it to be received as an exceptional, quality-level thing — will depend in part on how the perpetrators of the 2013 Boston marathon bombing are depicted.
(l to r.) Patriots Day star-producer Mark Wahlberg, director Peter Berg, Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans (being portrayed in the film by James Colby) and “good samaritan” Carlos Arredondo, a guy who helped save lives in the immediate aftermath of the 2013 bombing.
To go by descriptions, Patriots Day sounds like a rah-rah procedural about how the fanatical Tsaranaev brothers were captured through the efforts of a few heroic Bostonians — among them an everyman police sergeant (Mark Wahlberg), Boston police commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) and Watertown cop Jeffrey Publiese (J.K. Simmons). But any hack director can make a “hooray for our side!” action drama.
The key to distinction with fact-based action films is realism, exactitude and complexity. Particularly regarding the villains. The best thrillers never reduce baddie-waddies to stick figures. They always dig in.
Paul Greengrass‘s United 93 (’06) showed us the intimate behaviors and occasional POV of the Al Qeada bad guys — it even depicted their religious rituals on the morning of 9/11. Fred Zinneman‘s The Day of the Jackal (’73) fully acquainted us, in a neutral way, with Edward Fox‘s would-be assassin of Charles DeGaulle. Costa Gavras‘s Z showed us the backroom plotting and mentality of the rightwing thugs and military authoritarians behind the killing of Yves Montand‘s liberal politician character.
This morning a poster for Peter Berg‘s Patriots Day, a procedural thriller about the Boston marathon bombing of 4.15.13 and the hunt for the perpetrators, was released. It basically suggests an American flag in tatters. The red, white and blue strands, however, are made of shoe laces, which in my mind alludes to running shoes. The previously announced release dates — an Oscar-bait 12.21 opening in New York, Los Angeles and Boston followed by a wide release on 1.13.17 — were included in the release.
Oscar Poker returned today with a bang. Well, more like a whimper. Call it a half-bang, half-whimper, and half Waiting for Godot. Sasha Stone and I touched on…I forget what we touched on. Mostly we spitballed. Here’s the mp3.
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