Chris Nolan and Universal have strangely, curiously wimped out of a Cannes Film Festival debut for Oppenheimer (7.21). Okay, maybe Nolan’s post-production schedule doesn’t allow for a mid-May showing, but my gut tells me that he and Uni concluded that screening his adult-angled, IMAX-lensed historical drama in Cannes could possibly diminish the promotional push. Not in terms of critical response but possibly because it seemed too early. Either way what a drag! (Hat-tip to Jordan Ruimy)
I certainly didn’t make a habit of this, but during the ’70s I got lucky twice with 20something women who were engaged to be married and were in fact only days away from taking their vows. Experience taught me that such women were more approachable and in fact seducible not in spite of the impending marriage, but because of it.
Reason #1: “This is my last shot before tying the knot. I’m totally serious about marriage and I intend to be 100% faithful to my husband so if I want to bed some guy than I’m attracted to, now’s the time….not later….now or never.”
Reason #2: “If I go to bed with this guy we’ll both know this will be a one-time thing because the marriage ceremony is only a week or a few days away, so unless he’s a total sociopath he won’t be calling or texting after I’m married so this is safe…no concerns about being pestered down the road…I know the guy is cool….he’s not an idiot, knows the rules.”
Issue #1: I’m not predicting that Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon will use narration, but if it does use narration, I realy don’t want to hear it from Jesse Plemons‘ “Tom White” (FBI guy, former Texas Ranger) or Lily Gladstone‘s “Mollie Burkhart”, wife of Leonardo DiCaprio‘s “Ernest Burkhart”…narration will not be appreciated under any circumstance, but it will be extra problematic if Plemons or Gladstone are the narrators.
Issue #2: The best Scorsese crime movies are those in which the audience identifies with or half-admires the lead-protagonist criminals or sociopaths (Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed). We know they’re bad but we enjoy their attitude and energy.
Unfortunately there’s no apparent room for amusement or guilty identification in Flower Moon, as the bad guys — DiCaprio’s Burkhart, Robert De Niro‘s William Hale, Scott Shepherd‘s Bryan Burkhart — are racist yokel scumbags. It’s an “Oklahoma whiteys were really satanic back in the ’20s” movie, which falls in line with the woke narrative about all whites being evil or ethically derelict in one way or another. So where’s the fun in that?
HE to Academy members: Oscar voting starts tomorrow (3.2.23) and ends next Tuesday (3.7.23). Did you know that you won’t win any money or derive any career benefits if you happen to vote for the winners? It’s true — you won’t win a damn thing if you fall in with the mob. But you’re going to vote with the mob anyway, aren’t you?
HE is advising members to vote as follows, and I have no agenda whatsoever except for my seething, clenched-teeth hate for Everything Everywhere All At Once:
Best Picture: Top Gun: Maverick, not because it’s the “best” film but was the year’s most important because it really spoke to the popcorn munchers, and in fact lifted them up.
Best Director: Tar‘s dweeby Todd Field, for making the year’s most infuriating and vaguely dislikable brilliant film, which I’ve seen four times.
Best Actor: Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin. Easily the most likable and charismatic nominee in this category.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Tár.
Best Supporting Actor: Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin.
Best Supporting Actress: Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin. Easily the most likable and charismatic nominee in this category.
Best Original Screenplay: Tár.
Best Adapted Screenplay: All Quiet on the Western Front.
Best Int’l Feature: Lukas Dhont‘s Close.
HE to Showbiz 411‘s Roger Friedman: “What you’re saying, Roger, is that the Academy members who love EEAAO and are going to vote for this fucking film starting tomorrow are not really voting for the film but for the mood of it….the mood or the vibe or whatever. These people are enot all that deep or inquisitive by nature, you seem to be saying, and their outlook is kinda sorta superficial…no? As in vaguely terrified of subtext or meaning or thought. As in go-alongy because it feels good to belong, As in kinda sorta moronic.”
Woody Harrelson‘s low-key depression vibe doesn’t announce “laugh at this!” but I actually laughed out loud, and I havem’t laughed at an SNL skit since the late 2016 election night skit.
There’s this idea that the woke virus didn’t really manifest in the liberal bloodstream until the George Floyd riots of late May and early June 2020. No — it was well underway by mid to late ’17. It was significant enough that I wrote an Invasion of the Body Snatchers satire of this poisonous phenomenon on 1.9.18.
Five years of this shit! And probably another two or three years before it starts to flatten out and go away. Maybe.
Posted on 1.9.18: Over the last 60 years we’ve seen four Invasion of the Body Snatchers films — Don Siegel’s 1956 original, Phil Kaufman’s 1978 remake, Abel Ferrara’s 1993 version and Oliver Hirschbiegel‘s decade-old The Invasion.
Now it’s time for a fifth involving the installation of seed-pod mindsets, with the change agents being the Millennial and Generation Z sons and daughters of today.
I’m talking about a scenario in which the Anglo Saxon whitebread gene is regarded as inherently arrogant, criminal and bad for the planet — flawed, cruel, heartless, exploitive. A consensus emerges that the only way to correct this abhorrent culture is to fully indict the historical criminality of whiteness over several decades and in fact back to the beginnings of this nation — what it’s been, what it is now and where it’ll lead if things aren’t turned around.
Alien spores float down from space, affecting only the children and grandchildren of boomers and GenXers. Once turned, the awoken are free to call Anglo-Saxon culture by it’s true name — oppressor, a cancer, a scourge upon humanity. Within days the idea is spread that it’s time for enlightened non-whites to marginalize or dilute or even overthrow white culture so that POC culture can re-shape things and bring in a little fresh air and more fairness, freedom and opportunity.
Gradually seed-pod consciousness spreads to members of the liberal intelligentsia, and more and more of them are suddenly embracing the program. The general idea is “let those shitty old crusty white guys eat some of the shit that POCs have been eating for the last couple of centuries,” etc.
Gradually it becomes accepted that if you’re white and straight you’re kind of a bad person, or at the very least suspect. And that you probably need to re-educate yourself and embrace the new reality…or else.
A clever horror-comedy satire that ten years ago would have come and gone and been forgotten by awards season is transformed by seed-podders into a Best Picture contender, and those who question the validity of this are regarded as cranks or closet racists.
Friends and family members of seed-pod film critics begin to notice a certain robotic manner and a glassy, out-to-lunch look in their eyes. Local constable: “But he looks like his picture, madam. Obviously he’s Guy Lodge, the Variety critic.” Mrs. Lodge: “But it isn’t him, I’m telling you. Something is missing. It’s just not Guy!”
Liberal-minded film critics Anne Thompson and Eric Kohn declare that they’ve been making sure that POCs are ranked prominently in their year-end awards ballot, partly because they admire their films but also because they’re about or were made by POCs.
Seed-pod urban culture begins to adopt other changes. Millenial and GenZ types begin to regard heterosexuality as a problem, and it’s gradually decided that it’s time to let LGBTQ folks run the culture and push heteros off to the side a bit. They’ll be allowed to walk around and buy groceries, but they need to accommodate themselves to the notion that straight whites are an underclass.
And if educated liberal Democrat white guys complain about any of this on social media platforms, the seed-podders tag them as closet Republicans or closet racists or closet homophobes. Would the seed-podders be delighted to bust these white guys on any of these counts and thereby eradicate or at least marginalize their asses and put them out to pasture? You have to ask?
The transforming of society has never been a gentle process, and to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs.
I decided a while back that Guy Ritchie‘s Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (Lionsgate, 3.3) was almost certainly meh-level or, you know, some kind of problem. Partly because it began filming over two years ago (1.14.21), and then the previously scheduled 1.21.22 release was abandoned by STX Entertainment “without comment.”
Not to mention Ritchie’s rep as a skilled hack who makes Guy Ritchie films….nothing wrong with that, but nothing great about it either. Plus there’s no forgiving Ritchie for making those two repulsively awful Robert Downey Sherlock Holmes films (in ’09 and ’11). Plus the only Jason Statham movie that didn’t blow chunks was Roger Donaldson‘s The Bank Job (’08),
Right now Operation Fortune has a 66% Rotten Tomatoes rating. That means it has problems. That means it’s at least half a wank.
“Fortune has less to recommend than even the weakest of the Bond films, according to The Age‘s Jake Wilson. “The banter is witless, the action sequences perfunctory and the take on global affairs is almost too wilfully empty-headed to be labelled as cynicism. If a film such as this can be defended, it’s as an invitation to set adulthood aside. As with much genre storytelling, what we’re dealing with is a child’s game writ large – but with more than the usual indifference to whether anything seems ‘real’.”
But wait…Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman was impressed by the damn thing. The leadline of his 3.1.23 actually calls it a “home run.” HE to Glierbamn: Wait a minute, wait a minute…what? Guy Ritchie doesn’t hit homers, and he hasn’t slammed a triple since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in ’98. His brand is about hitting mostly doubles and occasional singles.
Gleiberman: “The script of Operation Fortune is a gem, allowing this to be the rare thriller that’s as driven by words as an old Hollywood movie. Yet it’s Ritchie’s direction that makes every scene vibrate. His talent is on full display, though now it’s held in perfect perspective.
“The Cannes yacht scene is intricate enough to rival what Tarantino brought off in Inglourious Basterds” — I didn;t like Inglourious Basterds all that much! — “and the climax, set in the power tower of those biotech moguls, spins on a reversal of expectation about one of the film’s characters that’s wily enough to be exhilarating. The sparingly used helicopter shots expand the action with an almost musical visual flair.
“All of this makes me want to go back and watch Guy Ritchie’s early movies again. Will I change my mind about them? Probably not. Yet with Operation Fortune, Ritchie rules. In this movie, he’s like Howard Hawks in overdrive. Tom Cruise, Barbara Broccoli and everyone else in Hollywood: take heed.”
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