Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg‘s Patriot’s Day (CBS Films, 12.21), a drama about the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, will be the closing-night attraction at AFI Fest on Thursday, 11.17. Hollywood Elsewhere will be covering the Key West Film Festival (11.16 thru 11.20) that night, but maybe CBS Films will afford an earlier opportunity. Here’s hoping (and I mean this) that Berg/Wahlberg surprise us all by not delivering a “Boston fuck yeah!” rah-rah patriotism film, and that Patriot’s Day at least tries to simulate the antsy editing and fleet pacing of a Paul Greengrass– or classic Costa Gavras-styled thriller.
“’There is scarcely a star in Hollywood whose appeal I would not try to alter or develop,’ said Alfred Hitchcock, setting sail for Hollywood on March 1, 1939. ‘I am itching to get my hands on these American stars.’ Quite literally, [this quote echoes] Hitchcock’s relationship with his actresses following a sad declension — from secret admirer to Svengali to sex pest and stalker.
“Ackroyd does a lovely job of bringing a blush to the cheek of his early infatuation with Ingrid Bergman. ‘Whenever he was with her, I had the feeling that something was ailing him, and it was difficult to know exactly the cause,’ her co-star Gregory Peck said of shooting Spellbound, the first of a trio of films with the actress that Ackroyd rightly identifies as marking ‘an emotional sea change’ in both him and his films.
“’The woman is, for the first time in a Hitchcock film, the healing agent,” Ackroyd writes. “She is the blossom in the dust. As a child Hitchcock was terrified when a female relative peered too close into his cradle. Bergman’s close-ups in Notorious have the charcoal softness of a child recognizing its mother.'” — from Tom Shone‘s 10.28 N.Y. Times review of Peter Ackroyd’s “Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life.”
In short, that series of opening doors in that florid sequence from Spellbound [above] were Hitchcock’s own.
I just tried to add Ralph Fiennes‘ performance in A Bigger Splash to my Gold Derby list of Best Supporting Actor preferences. But I couldn’t because the Gold Derby guys don’t have him listed in the option column. Fiennes was glorious in Luca Guadagnino’s film, which I went nuts over last April — a giddy, goading rock ‘n’ roll motormouth. Why didn’t I say something earlier? Because I was behaving like a good little obedient Oscar prognosticator and focusing only on fall releases. No more — consider me woke. Fiennes’ performance is competitive with Lucas Hedges in Manchester By The Sea, Mahershala Ali‘s in Moonlight and Aaron Eckhart in Bleed for This, but the voltage he puts out is, in my opinion, way above the rest. And I was wrong not to beat the drum for him before today. And the Gold Derby guys who haven’t even listed him as an option should be ashamed. Incidentally: I’ve heard that Kevin Costner scores pretty well in Hidden Figures.
I don’t think this Julius Caesar scene was written by William Shakespeare. I think it was created by director Joseph Mankiewicz and particularly by Marlon Brando. Marc Antony’s seizing of Ceasar’s bust and turning it towards him and giving him the hard eye, tells you exactly what he’s feeling and where he’s going. With Caesar dead, he da man. Brilliant stuff, still exciting.
All right, fuck it — Bob Dylan has finally said he’ll be flying to Stockholm in December to accept his Nobel prize for literature (i.e., song lyrics). “Yes, [Dylan] is planning to turn up [at] the awards ceremony in Stockholm,” writes the Guardian‘s Edna Gundersen, who managed to get the reclusive legend on the phone. When she asked if he’d be attending, Dylan replied, “Absolutely, if it’s at all possible.”
Last night Paramount showed 45 seconds of Silence footage to an audience of media types in Manhattan. (Along with footage from Robert Zemeckis’ Allied, Denzel Washington’s Fences and Rupert Sanders‘ GhostintheShell.). The Silence teaser “included quick images of a famished-looking Liam Neeson praying, Japanese men being hanged on crosses and breathtaking landscape shots of the Japanese countryside,” according to Indiewire‘s Zack Sharf. (No footage of Andrew Garfield weeping?) So what about the rest of us? Hubba-hubba.
A couple of weeks ago I heard about some older Joe Popcorn types at the Hamptons Film Festival who walked out of a La La Land screening. (Huh?) And then a couple of days ago I heard from a casual filmgoer who saw Damien Chazelle‘s film at the Savannah Film Festival, and she too wasn’t all that impressed. (She didn’t care for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone‘s weak singing voices.) Likewise since Telluride I’ve been hearing about folks who didn’t “like” Manchester By The Sea, mainly because it’s too glum or doesn’t deliver the traditional sunshine-pierces-through-the-clouds moment in the third act.
We’re not talking about moviegoers of extraordinary delicacy or sensitivity here, much less those with any kind of seasoned, sophisticated understanding of cinema language or film history, and there are probably more of them out there than I’d like to admit. Yes, I realize that a Best Picture contender only requires a sizable, passionate cabal to put it over. I’m just saying that there are naysayers out there, and that these rubes are probably still waiting for “the one” (i.e., a Steve Pond term that alludes to a film that will satisfy them completely and then some, that will provide some kind of emotional deliverance that will make their lives seem more whole and meaningful).
“What I’m saying is, I understand you’ve been abused, and I’m here in Ohio conducting an intervention. Sometimes abused people have a hard time making up their minds and making the right decision, [in this case] because the abuse, the attacks upon the working class have been so intense over the last couple of decades, that I understand why there’s a lot of confusion. Trump is a huge ball of confusion in this, and it seems [as if] he’s goina be your human hand grenade that you’re gonna get to toss. People in the working class are so desperate and so hurt by what has happened to them. [But] you’re not going to be better off with this billionaire who has never spent a day in his life worrying about you [or] caring about you.” — Michael Moore explaining the gist of Michael Moore in TrumpLand during a 10.27 interview with Megyn Kelly.