Criterion’s Lady Eve Bluray (4K digital restoration) pops on 7.14.20. I for one would love to own a first-rate upgrade of Preston Sturges‘ classic screwball comedy, which opened nearly 80 years ago (2.25.41). But would it have killed Criterion to use a drawing of Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck that at least slightly resembles them? The guy looks like young Richard Carlson with a little John Payne thrown in; the woman resembles a young Margaret Hamilton (aka the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz).
I last considered 2020’s Best Picture contenders on 2.28.20 — pre-coronavirus, pre-shutdown, pre-widespread depression. A world that no longer exists and which may, at best, not be fully reconstituted for another year or so.
Exactly what films will actually open this year is anyone’s guess, but it’s probably safe to assume that many of the following will be “released” in some format by 12.31.20. It also seems as if Netflix is poised to finally win the Big One.
My top ten (or at least titles that smelled like hotties two months ago) are as follows: David Fincher‘s Mank, Aaron Sorkin‘s Trial of the Chicago 7, Ridley Scott‘s The Last Duel, Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater, Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story, Joel Coen‘s The Tragedy of Macbeth, Andrew Dominik‘s Blonde, Leos Carax’s Annette, Paul Greengrass’s News of the World and Terrence Malick‘s The Last Planet.
I was also touched and throttled by Rod Lurie‘s The Outpost, which may open sometime this summer.
Two days ago L.A. Times handicapper Glenn Whipp offered his own spitball projections. Here are 13 that I didn’t include among my top ten, for a grand total of 23. Each of the following quickies contain my own two cents:
Francis Lee‘s Ammonite (period seaside sappho — a return to Portrait of a Lady on Fire territory — Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan / Neon). HE sez: Didn’t we all just do this? Performance noms, maybe, but the film itself?
Spike Lee‘s Da 5 Bloods (Four black veterans return to Vietnam searching for remains of a fallen comrade, and for buried treasure / Netflix). HE sez: Yeah, maybe.
Denis Villeneuve and Timothee Chalamet‘s ‘s Dune (another adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi fantasy, the idea being to elbow aside the 1984 David Lynch version / Warner Bros., due on 12.18). HE sez: Sprawling geek-friendly genre fantasies generally don’t register with Academy members.
Michael Showalter‘s The Eyes of Tammy Faye. (Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as televangelist hucksters Jim and Tammy Faye Baker / Searchlight.) HE sez: Icky subject matter. Possible acting nomination for Chastain?
Florian Zeller‘s The Father. (Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins in Sundance Alzheimer relationship drama / Sony Pictures Classics, 11.20). HE sez: Acting noms.
Ron Howard‘s Hillbilly Elegy. (Glenn Close‘s performance as Ma Bumblefuck is a guaranteed lock for a Best Actress nom. Adaptation of J.D. Vance’s best-selling memoir of Appalachian upbringing and despairing red-state mindsets / Netflix.) HE sez: Locked for Best Picture nom and, as mentioned, Close for Best Actress.
Charlie Kaufman‘s I’m Thinking of Ending Things. (Boilerplate: “A man takes his girlfriend to meet with his parents, but they find themselves going on a terrifying detour.” Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette, David Thewlis / Netflix). HE sez: Kaufman is the most melancholy-minded, auteur-level filmmaker on the North American continent and perhaps in the whole world.
Edoardo Ponti‘s The Life Ahead. (Italian-language drama, directed and co-written by Sophia Loren‘s son. Based on 1975 Romain Gary novel. The legendary 85 year-old Loren plays a Holocaust survivor bonding with a 12-year-old Senegalese immigrant kid / Netflix). HE sez: Sounds classy. Everyone loves Sophia Loren, wants to see her back in the swing of it.
George C. Wolfe‘s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. (Adaptation of August Wilson ’20s-era play about exploitation of blues musicians by white-owned record company. Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman costar, produced by Denzel Washington / Netflix) HE sez: Almost guaranteed to land a Best Picture nom on guilt-trip aspect alone. Not to mention likely acting nominations.
After living in this town for 37 years and being enough of an Alfred Hitchcock junkie to have visited Cropduster Junction four years ago, you’d think I would’ve gotten around to eyeballing Hitch’s legendary Bel Air home at 10957 Bellagio Road. But I never did until last night around 7:30 pm.
It’s a spacious, well-shaded ranch-style home with a huge sycamore tree in the front yard, but with way too much paved concrete in the front and side areas. The cement makes it look like a small country club that expects heavy in-and-out traffic.
The home is right on top of a Bel Air golf course fairway, which is cool, but last night’s atmosphere was ruined by some asshole on the other side of the golf course blasting a Brittany Spears tune.
Hitch died here in 1980 — his wife Alma passed two years later.
Watch it with the sound off.
First half: Almost every foreground figure is black or female.
Trump emerges from shadow at 0:28-and suddenly foreground is all white and male except for Kim Jong Un and a supportive Melania Trump holding a Biblehttps://t.co/tSKInB4uhv
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 2, 2020
Tara Reade‘s accusation of sexual assault against Joe Biden is offically kaputski. It ended this morning with a story by AP”s Alexandra Jaffe, Don Thompson and Stephen Braun. It says the following: “Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her 27 years ago, says she filed a limited report with a congressional personnel office that did not explicitly accuse him of sexual assault or harassment.
“’I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable,’ Reade said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. ‘I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault.’
“Reade said she described her issues with Biden but ‘the main word I used — and I know I didn’t use sexual harassment — I used ‘uncomfortable.’ And I remember ‘retaliation.’
“Reade described the report after the AP discovered additional transcripts and notes from its interviews with Reade last year in which she says she ‘chickened out’ after going to the Senate personnel office. The AP interviewed Reade in 2019 after she accused Biden of uncomfortable and inappropriate touching. She did not raise allegations of sexual assault against Biden until this year, around the time he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.”
Plus she’s cancelled the Fox News interview that was to have happened tomorrow (i.e., Sunday).
Pally to HE: “She’s such a fucking liar.”
HE to Pally: “If she didn’t complain about sexual assault through official channels in ‘93, this whole thing is OVER. ‘Chickening out’ doesn’t cut it.”
Pally to HE: “I was thinking about the actual thing she described, the assault taking place in some sheltered, semi-public area. Imagine being in public with ANYONE and sticking your fingers inside the woman — that would NEVER happen. In private, yes, but not in public. Her original story is like ‘I wasn’t wearing stockings because it was hot.’ She left that detail in — as if she’d thought about it and had to explain why he could have such easy access. Had she been telling the truth — if Biden had actually assaulted her — he would have invited her to his private office or a hotel and then starting kissing her, etc. Even Weinstein knew that. Practiced predators know they have to hide what they’re doing.”