The late Tom Sizemore mattered in the ‘90s and will continue to matter forever because of two live-wire performances — Michael Cheritto in Michael Mann’s Heat (‘95) and Sgt. Mike Horvath, Tom Hanks’ second-in-command, in Steven Spielberg’s SavingPrivateRyan (‘98).
Sizemore passed this evening (Friday, 3.3) at age 61. Hugs and condolences to friends, fans, colleagues.
He costarred in three Kathryn Bigelow films: BlueSteel, PointBreak, StrangeDays.
Natural Born Killers was bad for my emotional health, but I respect the passion that some feel for it. Sizemore played Jack (brother of Seymour) Scagnetti, the cop on the trail of Mickey and Mallory. Some have called it his strongest, most personal performance.
Sizemore was 33 when he made Heat in ‘94 — he had a stocky build and graying hair and looked at least ten years older. Genes, lifestyle, luck of the draw — it goes like that for some.
For a woman of 58, Monica Bellucci looks fairly trim and foxy. But Tim Burton, bless him, has never been even a half-sexy dude…ever. Even when he was youngish (i.e., the Beetlejuice days) he was kinda dorky-looking. And he’s never resembled a health-club fanatic.
So it’s the fact that he’s super-wealthy, right? What else could it be?
And anyone staying at the Ritz, where Hollywood superstars often bunk in Paris, isn’t looking to be “coy.” If you want to avoid photographers you’ll stay in a rented apartment in the Marais or Passy or Oberkampf or, you know, somewhere in the 3rd arrondisement…that line of country.
Early Thursday evening I caught Guy Ritchie‘s Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guuerre. Soon after I got into a tennis-match volley with a friend who likes it more than me. I’ve cut out some of our back-and-forth but here’s the gist:
Nearly 40 years ago (in ’85) Robert Towne did an uncredited rewrite of 8MillionWaystoDie (’86), which was director Hal Ashby‘s last film. According to Ashby biographer Christopher Beach, Towne wrote a scene in which JeffBridges‘ Matt Scudder shoots a suspect who’s just hit a policeman with an unlikely weapon — a rocking chair. Ashby changed the weapon from a rocking chair to a baseball bat. Towne was furious at Ashby for doing so, and they were never entirely cordial after that.
Bottom line: Either you’re the kind of filmmaker who understands that rocking chairs are far more interesting, or you’re not. Either you get that people are sick of baseball bats, or you don’t.
Ritchie’s Operation Fortune is basically a breezy formula wank…efficent but sick in the soul…an agreeable-attitude, wealth-porn, travel-porn action flick that’s amusing here and there, and is smartly written in a shallow, same-old-crap sort of way. But for all the dry snark and low-key humor it’s basically wall-to-wall baseball bats.
I enjoyed the opening Point Blank tribute, the clop-clop of footsteps with Cary Elwes. I also liked the BurtBacharach “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” thievery scene.
Otherwise it felt to me like formulaic Ritchie cynicism, and too slick by half with too many toys and too much wealth and travel porn. Yes, it’s dryly amusing here and there, but to what end? It’s not really doing or saying anything. It’s just about slick action moves and shots muffled by silencers and dry, deadpan dialogue.
Taciturn, good-natured Jason Statham drills 45 or 50 guys, and there’s really nothing going on, nothing underneath…the same old globe-hopping shite.
I didn’t hate Ruse de Guerre but it has no fresh ideas, no real convictions above and beyond a rote Bondian attitude, and certainly nothing approaching what anyone would call nutritious dialogue.
It has an agreeable sense of “fun”, yes. Hugh Grant, the billionaire bad guy, has his cheeky blase attitude. Aubrey Plaza has her cynical, eye-rolling schtick down pat. And yes, there’s a certain tonal confidence…a certain light-hearted mood. But Ritchie just cranks this shit out, y’know?
Why can’t he make an action film with a droll or anarchic political attitude like ThePresident’sAnalyst?
Good action movies shouldn’t adhere too slavishly to formula. They should exude a little beyond -the-perimeter attitude. They should try for a little something extra. Something subversive or in some way unconventional.
I appreciated the brusque dispatch…the efficiency, dryness of tone and aloof comic attitude. It wasn’t bad in some respects. But what was it really?
Again, I loved the Point Blank clop-clop tribute and the affectionate nod to Bacharach and Butch Cassidy and other throwaway touches, and I almost enjoyed the fact that Ritchie kept saying to the viewer “this is nothing times infinity…I can crank this shit out in my sleep because I’m a slick hack with a sense of fatalistic humor about myself and you guys don’t care anyway, am I right?
“Your willingness to watch this shit, dear viewers, while shrugging your shoulders…because there is no God, no chance of any feelings of love or honest anger or honest anything…no possibility of surprise or anything at all but rank fuck-all cynicism…I’m nothing and you’re nothing, but at least this movie is carried aloft by wealth porn and travel porn, and for the millionth time this is a movie that regards death as a video-game proposition!”
The relentless goons and their ugly faces and the endless bullets and shell casings and the astronomical body count and the way the movie offers glimpses of the Roman ruins near Antalya but not so much as a second’s worth of reflection about them and…did I mention the wealth and travel porn? Oh, right, I just did. But that cherry red 1965 Mustang hardtop and all those black SUVs and the neck-deep cynicism…aagghhh!
Ritchie’s cynicism is truly, deeply suffocating and draining.
The infinite registerings of discomfort, uncertainty, suspicion and mild anxiety on Ford’s face are riveting, and cumulatively speaking almost represent a more interesting performance than anything he’d ever done on-screen up to that point. He’s really squirming and not afraid to show it, but at the same time he’s trying to be calm and low-key.
I’ve been very thorough over the last several years in explaining why Michael Fassbender‘s career began to slump around ’16 or thereabouts, and why he seemed to be on a four-year hiatus between ’18 and ’21, although he’s been coming out of that. He’s actually on the verge of a career re-boot with (a) Taiki Waititi’s endlessly delayed Next Goal Wins possibly emerging later this year along with (b) Fassbender’s lead performance as a conscience-stricken hitman in David Fincher‘s The Killer (Netflix, 11.10).
Another key reason why Fassbender ran out of steam is that audiences have never made superstars out of ginger-haired guys. Insane as it may sound, ginger- or copper-haired buys have almost never made it to the penthouse level. There’s something about them that Americans just can’t quite settle in with or bow down to…not really. Fassbender, Lucas Hedges, Paul Bettany, Jesse Plemons, David Caruso, Ed Sheeran, Damian Lewis, Rupert Grint, Alan Tudyk, Brendan Gleeson, Danny Bonaduce, Eric Stoltz, Carrot Top Thompson, David Lewis, Domhnall Gleeson, Rupert Grint, Simon Pegg, Toby Stephens, the great Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chuck Norris, Jason Flemyng, Seth Green, David Wenham…none of them ever made it into the elite winner’s circle, not really. Because people glommed onto that hair and those freckles and went “okay, fine, good actor but nope.”
Only two copper-haired actors in the entire history of Hollywood have become serious superstars — James Cagney and Robert Redford. Except Cagney doesn’t really count because he enjoyed his big-star heyday in the mostly monochrome ’30s and ’40s, and Redford doesn’t count because he became a blonde sometime in the early to mid ’60s and stayed that way until his downshift period began in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
...will be performed on the 3.12 Oscar telecast. A racially charged dance-off between exuberant natives and haughty whites. Equal to if not surpassing the pure joy of the "Tonight" ensemble numher in West Side Story (Robert Wise or Steven Spielberg version), or the "America" dance-off on the rooftop in the Wise. Except like RRR itself, what's being "said" is shallow and stacked because the snooty white Colonials have all the depth and intrigue of Snidely Whiplash. Plus when the dancing gets really intense the whites can't keep up -- they fall to the ground, clumsy and exhausted, while the natives are surging with pure spiritual ecstasy...it's the happiest moment in the film.
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…and thereby celebrate an unmistakably mediocre, wildly over-written and frenetically visualized film about the Marvel martial-arts heebee-jeebies. But that’s okay because voting for the Daniels will affirm and celebrate the growing visibility and influence of Asian identity in modern cinema. Because in terms of woke Oscars, that’s what really matters at the end of the day…identity over quality. (Ask Jen Yamato.) Plus, at the same time, a vote for the Daniels acknowledges and in fact salutes the growing power of fickle-woke, anti-classical, “anything to piss off the 45-plus crowd” critics like David Ehrlich!
“Now, John the blacksmith, he torturing a thief / Says to the hero, the Commander-in-chief / ‘Tell me, great hero, but please make it brief / Is there a hole for me to get sick in?'”
"I think the most special thing about getting these nominations and getting to be nominated together is we're breaking out these records for the Asian community."