In an 8.1.22 HE story called “Au Hasard, Cocaine Bear,” I conveyed a certain degree of loathing for what Elizabeth Banks‘ Cocaine Bear (Universal, 2.24 23) appeared to be about. Here’s what I said:
A while back Banks sat for a Variety cover story, written by Adam B. Vary. A passage reads as follows: “Most crucially, when Banks looked into the real story, she came away with what she describes as ‘a deep sympathy for the bear.'”
Banks: “I really felt like this is so fucked up that this bear got dragged into this drug run gone bad and ends up dead. I felt like this movie could be that bear’s revenge story.”
The below image was stolen from a “New Rules” segment on Real Time with Bill Maher.
God help the forces of cinematic aspiration, wish fulfillment and basic decency if Everything Everywhere All At Once…if the fucking Daniels, I mean, wind up winning the top award at this evening’s 75th annual DGA Awards.
Dear God…please, please don’t let this infuriating headspinner…this mongrel of an IRS Marvel multiverse yarn…please don’t let it win tonight. I’m on my knees, Lord…begging, pleading. Dread isn’t the name of the stuff that’s pulsing through my system. Don’t let the Eric Kohn contingent win…please.
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert aside, the four competitors for the top prize are Todd Field, Tár; Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick; Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin; and Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans.
What the hell, give it to Spielberg…that won’t hurt so badly.
The DGA ceremonies will begin…I don’t know when they’ll begin but things should be well underway by 9 pm Pacific. The venue is the Beverly Hilton hotel ballroom, the same place where the Golden Globes happened a while back.
I was all cranked up and ready to cheer Ben Affleck and Matt Damon‘s Air (Amazon, 4.5), and then I saw the one-sheet…yikes!
My first honest thought was “this looks like an ’80s Cannon poster for one of their programmers.” (I used to work at Cannon in the late ’80s so don’t tell me.) It also looks like the poster for Airport (’70) or The Towering Inferno (’74).
My second thought was “where’s Michael Jordan, who, along with Damon’s Sonny Vaccaro, a hot-shot Nike Salesman, is right at the heart of the story?” The answer, of course, is that Jordan isn’t portrayed in the film, although his parents, James R. and Deloris Jordan, are front and center, portrayed by Julius Tennon and Viola Davis.
My third thought: “Wait…who’s Chris Tucker playing? Obviously not Jordan (too old) but who?”
It sends out the wrong vibes. Seriously.
From yesterday’s (2.17) rave Deadline review of Matt Johnson‘s BlackBerry. It was written by Pete Hammond, who in all fairness and full disclosure should have perhaps disclosed that he was a devotional BlackBerry guy for many years:
“Who knew a Canadian biopic of an infamous smartphone could be this entertaining, even poignant and moving? I am here to tell you today’s world premiere Berlin Film Festival competition entry BlackBerry is all that and more.
“In the hands of co-writer, director and co-star Matt Johnson (The Dirties), this long and winding tale of the rise and fall of the BlackBerry, the revolutionary device that first combined a computer with a phone all in one, is at once wonderfully funny, suspenseful and ultimately tragic. Here is a business story that has it all, and has much in common with other movies that focus on iconic tales of new-age businesses like The Social Network, Moneyball and The Big Short. Those movies had the likes of Aaron Sorkin and Adam McKay behind them, and this one ought to really put its chief architect Johnson on the cinematic map.
“Centering on nerdy and inventive Mike Lazaridis (a terrific and never better Jay Baruchel) and Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton — sensational), Johnson’s film starts in 1996 with the emergence of this unheard of idea of a phone that can also send and receive emails with its keyboard built into a magical device no one in the tech world had achieved before these Canadian dreamers actually found a way to make it work.
From a review of same by Screen Daily‘s Lee Marshall:
“Johnson and co-writer Matthew Miller turn the story of [the BlackBerry’s] brisk rise and meteoric fall into a kind of breathless tech fever dream, a relentless but addictive downbeat human comedy about the struggle to stay on top in a fast-moving industry.
“Previously something of an indie slacker-comedy and mockumentary specialist, Canadian director Johnson (Operation Avalanche) should achieve international visibility with a film that was picked up by Paramount for the bulk of worldwide rights just prior to its Berlin competition debut (North America, the Middle East, Scandinavia and airline rights were previously sold by co-financier XYZ Films).”
Hammond again: “Audiences in the film’s core 30-60 age bracket will likely have David Fincher’s 2010 drama about the rise of Facebook — and perhaps also Danny Boyle’s 2015 Apple drama Steve Jobs — in mind, and BlackBerry doesn’t suffer by comparison.
“The big difference is that BlackBerry filters out the white noise to focus entirely on the workplace. We have no idea if the film’s two central characters, tech genius and RIM co-founder Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and the company’s hard-nosed, borderline psychotic business head, Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton), are in relationships with anyone. We see Balsillie at home alone for a few brief seconds; the rest of the action takes place in the workshop and boardrooms.
“But first it is Lazaridis and his freewheeling, loopy but tech-smart buddy Douglas Fregin (played endearingly by Johnson himself), along with their unsophisticated tech-y friends, who are out to convince the world they can deliver on the promise of their then unnamed invention. Once they bring a sharp and uber-aggressive businessman, Balsillie, into their company Research In Motion, an idea from nerd-land turns into a reality — especially when Balsillie manages to convince Bell Atlantic, particularly chief skeptic John Woodman (Saul Rubinek), of its value for their servers.
“On its way to market the BlackBerry must overcome all sorts of obstacles and impossible business deals, but by the early aughts it is a superstar, beloved by everyone from U.S. presidents to celebrities to average joes — a life-changing communication device. It is a dream come true until shady business deals, infighting and most damaging Steve Jobs and the iPhone combine to bring it crashing down.
What’s the difference between book–burning and word–burning, which is what “sensitivity readers” (currently working for all major publishers) are basically about? It’s a matter of scale as the basic impulse is the same.
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