I had just seen Ang Lee‘s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and “as I walked through Times Square station on my way to the Brooklyn-bound R train, I told a colleague that ‘it’s not an audaciously original, blow-your-socks-off thing but a modestly good film…the material is the material (i.e., Ben Fountain’s 2012 novel), and the delivery is understated and effective. The story, acting and plain-dealing emotion bring things to a mid-level boil. Not so much from the easy-lay observations about hollow patriotism and pageantry and the atmosphere of official delusion but from the general feeling of bonding and, yes, fraternal love between combatants. The transitions between American celebration and Iraqi desperation grow in intensity, and the peripherals recede as the fundamentals apply. Your brothers in arms are all you can count on. I’ve felt this current in dozens of war films before, but it got me again.'” — from my 10.15.16 NYFF review.
Variety‘s Justin Kroll is reporting that franchise slut Robert Downey Jr. is seriously invested in launching a third Batman Ironman Indiana Holmes flick, a.k.a. Sherlock Holmes 3. Downey, producer Joel Silver (among others) and director Guy Ritchie expected to again pool forces for the same toxic, soul-curdling steampunk stew.
Creative thrills are not the point here, but the dough. 2009’s Sherlock Holmes made $209 million domestic and $524 million worldwide; 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows did $186,848,418 domestic, $545.5 million worldwide.
Downey to fans: “The question is how much and for how many more years can I continue to franchise myself out with this stuff? Will I ever do a Tropic Thunder or a Zodiac ever again, or am I just a ka-ching machine? You guys are the key. Or, you know, you need to tell me ‘when.’ Because I can’t stop.”
In a 10.27 interview with Variety‘s Kris Tapley, Hacksaw Ridge director Mel Gibson was asked once again about the 2006 Malibu sugartits & tequila episode. His paraphrased responses were basically (a) “C’mon, man, that was ten years ago,” (b) “I’m sober and have never exhibited any anti-Semitic discrimination” and so (c) “Given that most people believe that actions speak louder than drunken words, when are you guys gonna ease up on this?”
Gibson’s actual words: “Ten years have gone by. I’m feeling good. I’m sober, all of that kind of stuff, and for me it’s a dim thing in the past. But others bring it up, which…I find annoying, because I don’t understand why after ten years it’s any kind of issue. Surely if I was really what they say I was, some kind of hater, there’d be evidence of actions somewhere. There never has been. I’ve never discriminated against anyone or done anything that sort of supports that reputation, and for one episode in the back of a police car on eight double tequilas to sort of dictate all the work, life’s work and beliefs and everything else that I have [maintained] for my life is really unfair.”
Back in my partying days I was ordering drinks for myself and a couple of friends at a bar in Ridgefield, Connecticut. With all the clatter and loud music the lady bartender misheard me and asked if I actually wanted “eight beers.” The instant she said that I replied, “Eight beers? Yes! Definitely!” So she poured eight tall drafts, and I carried them back to our table on a tin tray and explained what had just happened. That’s the drinking life for you. Sometimes you have to roll with it and go with the mood of the moment.
Award season events are happening left and right, and press coverage obviously helps to spread the word about whomever and whatever. I was therefore puzzled by an Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions invitation to catch an 11.6 screening of Whit Stillman‘s Love & Friendship.
It informs that star Kate Beckinsale will do a q & a after the screening and that complimentary coffee and donuts will be served out of a food truck. Cool. But the bottom of the invite reads as follows: “By attending, you agree not to bring any audio or video recording device into the theatre. Any attempted use of such devices will result in immediate removal from the theatre, forfeiture of the device and may subject you to criminal and civil liability.”
HE to Amazon/Roadside event planners: “No offense but is it okay if I just skip the whole thing and omit any mention of Love & Friendship in any context for the rest of the season? I wouldn’t want to face criminal prosecution, and I really do value my devices. My best to Whit, Kate, Chloe and the gang.”
I’ve been sent an online screener of Nancy Buirski‘s By Sidney Lumet, but won’t watch it until this weekend. The 109-minute PBS “American Masters” doc opens theatrically tomorrow (Friday, 10.28) in New York, and in Los Angeles the following Friday. It sounds like a cut-to-the-chase examination of Lumet’s long career (what’s not to like?), but for whatever reasons a few critics have taken a dump on it, and so By Sidney Lumet only has a 71% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
An excerpt from Owen Gleiberman’s 10.22 review: “To me, early Lumet and ’70s Lumet have always seemed as different as early and late Beatles. But the way the clips line up here, we see the psychodramatic depth charge that unites them. [The doc] is built around an extensive interview with Lumet that was recorded in 2008, three years before his death, and the filmmaker’s narration of his life and art is literally the only commentary in the movie. There are no other talking heads. The movie is simply Lumet and his films, which turns out to be an astonishingly satisfying experience, because he’s an incredible talker, with the same earthy electric push that powers his work.”
HE’s eleven favorite Lumet flicks (in this order): Prince of the City, Twelve Angry Men, Network, The Verdict, Serpico, Until the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Dog Day Afternoon, Find Me Guilty, The Fugitive Kind, Q & A, Fail Safe. HE’s least favorite Lumets (in this order): Last of the Mobile Hotshots, Daniel, Running on Empty, Family Business, The Anderson Tapes.
My flight back to Los Angeles leaves at 2:30 pm, but I’ve got a free shuttle ride leaving at 11 am. Thanks to the Savannah Film Festival guys for welcoming Hollywood Elsewhere to attend and cover, as they’ve done for several years now. They don’t like me as much as THR kingpin Scott Feinberg or Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, but they put me up at a great hotel and gave me a pass, etc. For which I’m grateful. This is a cool, classy regional festival that enjoys major industry respect and affection. I love this town for several reasons, but mainly because it reminds me of how 20th Century life used to be.
Yesterday Esquire‘s Matt Miller wondered aloud why Taylor Swift, Dwayne Johnson, Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Pratt, Sean P. Poppadiddypop and others have chosen to say nothing about Clinton-Trump-Johnson. I’ll tell you why some have been silent. An instinct is telling them they may experience some kind of cultural pushback or loss of income as a result of stating a Presidential preference, and they’d rather leave well enough alone. Or because (a) they’re more or less Republican-minded (Wahlberg, Johnson, Pratt) and (b) have concluded that saying so will probably spark animosity among a percentage of the creative community, and so, as conservative-minded types have been doing for decades, they’re zipping it for the good of their incomes.
But once the rifles are fired and I’ve “left the earth,” so to speak, all is well. I just have, somewhere inside, a basic resistance to the finality of rifle fire or, you know, pulling the trigger. It’s a matter of overcoming that part of myself that wants to stay be unexposed and protected.