The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg is reporting that the replacement for Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs will be chosen on Tuesday August 8th, and that the three top candidiates are Oscar-nominated actress Laura Dern, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy and casting director David Rubin. Hollywood Elsewhere is hereby announcing its support for Kennedy, mainly because of my admiration and respect for two docs that she directed and produced, Ethel and Last Days in Vietnam, and because she’s smart, likable and gracious. At the same time I suspect that Dern will probably win because she’s been an industry presence since the mid ’80s or certainly since Wild At Heart (’90), and those who don’t know her well certainly know her mom and dad, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. Rubin hasn’t a chance against these two — he has no pizazz and doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page…please!
No hyperbole here. I’m going to play it cool and calm. Matt Reeves‘ War For The Planet of The Apes is a grounded, eye-filling super-epic, but I’m not going to get carried away. So I won’t be calling it a delivery device for some magical movie potion or, you know, a blessed and majestic achievement for the ages or the answer to any of your personal prayers. Well, maybe one: “Oh Lord, please save us from the scourge of summer movies by giving us a great film — primal, painterly, deeply rooted, character-driven, beautifully fused — that just happens to have a mid-July release date.”
Yes, it’s a franchise flick (further installments are probably inevitable) but Reeves, director of the second and third installment in the 21st Century apes trilogy, has enhanced the brand above and beyond. War is part popcorn and part arthouse, and graced with exquisite chops start to finish. It’s a kind of wintry Apocalypse Now in simian…wait, I said no hyperbole.
But it is that, dammit. A dystopian thing, an emotional tour de force, a band-of-brothers film, a ferociously realistic war movie, and — I love this — a kind of Great Escape meets Escape From Alcatraz in a snow-covered (you could almost say enchanted) forest. The key terms are “measured just so”, “exquisitely composed” and “the whole greater than the sum of the parts.”
War traverses the realms of smart summer tentpole, masterful art-film composition and epic storytelling at a high emotional pitch. If the snoots and the slovenlies are equally satisfied you know a film is up to something extra.
So yes, War For The Planet of the Apes is an answered prayer of sorts, except God had little to do with it. Okay, maybe in the usual sense (i.e., God as co-pilot or the vague architect of destiny), but it was Reeves who Pattoned this thing…who rolled up his sleeves, came to grips, demanded certain standards, co-wrote the War script with Mark Bomback, led his troops into the forested northwest and made a couple of thousand creative decisions over three and a half years.
Rupert Wyatt launched the apes trilogy in 2011, but Reeves has carried the weight since late ’12 and has now brought it home.
It would sound obsequious to call him the simian maestro, but we can at least say that Reeves is the Peter Jackson of this exquisitely hairy CG realm. The Academy waited for Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: Return of The King before handing him a Best Director Oscar, even with the layered and laborious Return (be honest) not being all that great. But War is a staggering piece of work — ask any big-league critic. Surely a similar consideration is due to Reeves for concluding an epic saga on such a grand and Spartacus-like note.
I didn’t mention this in early May, but the one thing that really leaps put from the Terminator 2 3D trailer is when Arnold puts on the Raybans around the 23-second mark. It’s obviously a 2D capturing of 3D, but it makes you go “aaah.” I’ve mentioned this before but Cameron’s 3D-ing of Titanic“>extremely subtle approach to the 3D conversion of Titanic leads me to presume that T2 will deliver the same. em>Titanic was such an aesthetically subtle thing that after the first 20 or 30 minutes I forgot I was watching 3D — I just sank into the film itself. I had the same reaction four years ago after seeing the 3D conversion of The Wizard of Oz: “The conversion was very nicely done, I felt — tasteful, subtle, in no way bothersome. So subtle, in fact, that after a while I kind of forgot that I was watching 3D. The photoscopic process starts to take a back seat to the content of the film. You get used to it and then you forget about it.” Distrib Films will put Terminator 2 3D into theatres on Friday, 8.25.
I’ve been watching Atomic Blonde excerpts and trailers since last March, and the cartoonish cyborg quality in the fight scenes is starting to turn me off. I’m starting to weaken, slump over. The apparent “joke” is that Charlize Theron‘s lezzy Cold War agent isn’t quite human, but it doesn’t amuse — it numbs you out. Director David Leitch‘s refusal to show her getting winded or pausing to catch her breath is irksome. I didn’t really buy the robo-badass aesthetic in the John Wick films either, although I found the first installment (which Leitch co-directed) amusing here and there.
Yes, Charlize is more believable as a kick-ass queen than little Angelina Jolie was in Salt, but she’s still not Gina Carano in Haywire. What a thrill when I first saw that Steven Soderbergh film in 2011. Over the last six years no would-be female action star has come close to matching Carano in terms of believable toughness, much less besting her.
Last March HE commenter Abby Normal claimed that Leitch “supposedly hates bullshitty, unrealistic, Fast and Furious-style violence” and is “leading a movement back to coherent action sequences and that ole timey thing we used to call ‘blocking’ as opposed to ‘quick cut and who gives a fuck.'” Yes, Leitch is aiming for a greater degree of choreographed realism than what the Furious films deliver, but it still feels pushed to the nth degree.
I just can’t buy Charlize “demolishing big guys with blows to the face,” as Roger Thornhill noted, because she just doesn’t seem brawny or heavy or strong enough, not to mention those identical thud-whunk sounds every time someone gets hit.
A guy named Sam Forrest wrote that Trump is “a fascist but I want to Make America Great Again.” Jordan Musheno wrote “maybe if he says Black Lives Matter.” Justin Allen said he “can deal with any sort of nonsense Don comes up with, but if he wears a tan suit I’ll register as a Democrat.”
A lot of morons out there are standing by Trump out of dumb pride, I suspect. Many of them voted for him not out of rapt admiration, but because their loathing of Hillary Clinton knew no bounds. And now they’re stuck with the fruit of this obstinacy.
I suspect that the only thing that would change their minds would be some kind of classic Lonesome Rhodes-Budd Schulberg truth-spill. Only if Trump directly insults their culture and values will they have a problem with him. He can shit all over the dignity of the office. He can accelerate the fossil-fuel ruination of the planet. He can scheme and personally profit from his job like Boss Tweed. He can lie and fabricate and fantasize until he’s blue in the face. He can Clown President to his heart’s content. The Bumblefucks are fine with all that. But if he does an Andy Griffith hot-mike Face In The Crowd thing, all bets are off. Then and ONLY THEN will the Trump faithful re-assess the situation.