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By Ray Pride

BYOB Fall Back, Film Forward


[Via BBC.]

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72 Responses to “BYOB Fall Back, Film Forward”

  1. Monco says:

    The Lighthouse scratched me right where I itched. I don’t read much entertainment media anymore and never early reaction to films so I had no idea it was filmed in 4:3. The 1.37 compositions were glorious to behold. Also, I’ve been on a Joanna Hogg kick recently as well and although she breaks my heart when she moves her camera these are the films that fortify my soul against the despicable forces that are Marvel/Disney.

  2. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Hello Francis.

  3. Christian says:

    Ywah, “The Lighthouse” disappointed me during its first half – arresting visuals, which are often more than enough for me, but a story that just sort of treaded water and had my mind wandering rather than increasingly focused/interested.

    And then it went Crazy. In a good way.

    I’m still not sure what happened, but as great as Dafoe is during the stretch of the film that lost me, Pattinson becones his equal during the story’s second half.

    There’s a lot of bodily fluid stuff in “The Lighthouse” that would typically put me off, but the film’s strangeness increasingly pulled me in instead. Again, don’t ask me to explain what happened. But if anyone wants to see the film in my neck of the woods, I’ll gladly give it a second look.

  4. Christian says:

    Also, this seems as good a place as any to ask, What’s everyone picking up at the just-underway Barnes & Noble Criterion sale? (If the question’s been posed in another thread, please point me to it. Thanks!)

  5. SideshowBill says:

    The Lighthouse was everything I wanted and more. I audibly gasped at some of visuals. We need more B & W films shot this lovingly

    But I too do not know what really happened. I kinda wanna leave it that and let it roll around in my head.

  6. G Spot 3000 says:

    I caught The Irishman at the Egyptian in Hollywood this weekend. Unfortunately, I found it flat and meandering. Wish I felt differently. It was sold-out and it certainly felt like a good portion of the audience was getting restlesss. I was with a large group and the majority felt the same as me, though one of our group loved it. A bonus for me was having Seth Rogen sitting directly next to me. It added an extra layer of fun to hear his quiet iconic laugh next to my ear during the occasional funny moment.

  7. leahnz says:

    re the lighthouse, it’s a bit hard to discuss/dissect because of: 1) the wildly unreliable narrator (an understatement), and the ending.

    ——————— SPOILERIFIC ———————-

    i think what really happened is, winslow was utterly and violently bonkers (you know that ‘far side’ cartoon where the guy’s talking away on the shrink’s couch and the shrink, listening to him, writes something like: JUST PLAIN NUTS! in his notes. that.)
    i had someone who’d seen it before me say, trying not to be spoilery in their summation: that at the end of the day, despite it all the bombast and mystery, the parts don’t add up to much.
    all the arresting and horrifying hallucinatory visuals, fab seadog acting, agro birds, bombastic mother nature, and little onion-peel revelations about R-pats winslow’s identity thievery make it absolutely worthwhile viewing, but in a way i agree – at the end it’s vaguely dissatisfying, just like, ‘huh’. i can get into an unreliable narrative and fairytale madness as much as the next person but it needed something, the dude’s rug to really tie the room together (‘just plain nuts’ doesn’t quite do it). ambiguity for the sheer sake of it can be a cop-out. i found that here a bit.
    (it works brilliantly as a PSA for remaining tee-total whilst employed in isolation with a stranger. it’s not until winslow starts boozing with wake that his veneer drops and it all goes straight to shit)
    having said that i’ll take it. i have lots of questions that a second viewing might clear up (or not), get into the finer nuts and bolts of the machinery. i found myself rooting for the birds, which is…something. IT’S BAD LUCK TO KILL SEABIRDS, doncha know

  8. leahnz says:

    ————– SPOILERS ——————-

    meant to say above, i’m leaning toward the ‘wake wasn’t even there and it’s all winslow’s delusion’ theory on the lighthouse, for a number of reasons

  9. amblinman says:

    I apologize for interrupting Lighthouse discussion with my hot takes on TERMINATOR: DARK FATE. I saw this on a whim yesterday (I was running errands in the morning, didn’t have to work, it was 10:30am…and there was popcorn). Terminator just felt like the perfect “hooky” movie.

    In no particular order (There will be spoilers but give me a break. The writing sucks, nothing would surprise you):

    -Holy god the writers of this film threw out virtually every reason the first two movies were even a little compelling beyond the set pieces. To wit: when we find Schwarzenegger’s T-800, he has…grown a conscience. He has a family. (No, I am not shitting you.) A wife. A son. (Adopted, he states their relationship isn’t physical.) WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE FIGHTING A WAR AGAINST MACHINES IF IT TURNS OUT THEY CAN GROW AND LOVE AND FEEL EMPATHY???

    -Oh, but but but Amblinman how did ARnie’s T-800 survive the molten pit in T2, you probably aren’t asking me at all. Well, I’ll tell you anyway: They fucking decided to “Alien 3” the franchise by straight up MURDERING JOHN CONNOR immediately after the events of T2. This T-800 (Arnie) is not the same one from T2, he is a new one (at the time) that just was wandering around trying to kill John Connor. And he did. And after he did…he felt bad about it. (Don’t waste your time trying to figure out the time travel implications of a terminator still existing despite the events of T2.)

    -Hey, how does Mackenzie Davis fare? About as well as most women in bullshit movies in which they pretend simply attaching a vagina to a character means they’re “writing women”. She exists solely..and I mean this…to be the SuperHero Character that all the kids are into these days. Really. I can practically *see* the notes as this script was being formed. “We need someone with powers. Make her a woman, so they shut up about that stuff.”

    -How does the new Sarah Connor fare? Who cares? As it turns out, the fate of the world once again was in the hands of a giant White Austrian guy who is now old. He’s the hero of the 3rd act. No, again, I am not shitting you. All these new characters and heroes and whatnot in service to ARNOLD FUCKING SCHWARZENEGGER in 2019.

    -I’m happy she got the payday but Hamilton is just not good. And since the writers don’t understand that character outside of making her shoot things, her presence added nothing.

    That’s it. Movie sucked. I kinda expected that but the ways in which it sucked were almost interesting. It’s hard to have that much money and talent devoted to bringing about an IP that we all know pretty well and screw it up this badly right down to the fundementals.

    PS: If you want to know why the franchise is dead, it’s not just the crappy movies. Cameron’s vision for a future war is *so* antiquated and uninteresting at this point, of course this material can’t capture anyone’s imagination. I just don’t think seeing “robot laser punch fights” has the same impact on kids who grew up with Iron Man and the Avengers.

  10. movieman says:

    Caught up w/ “Harriet” this afternoon, and it’s OK.
    The first half is arguably stronger than the second hour when it turns into a 19th century version of a Marvel super hero movie.
    Cynthia Erivo is terrific (of course).
    I could definitely see her scoring an Oscar nomination; maybe even an Oscar win if the heat off the film’s (semi) surprising box office success continues.

    But I’ve seen Netflix movies this year (eg., “The King” and “The Highwaymen”) far more deserving of a big screen presentation/release.
    “Harriet” would lose nada on HBO or…Netflix.

  11. Christian says:

    I haven’t caught up with “Harriet” yet, but if I told you how often I think about “Bad Times at the El Royale,” which I saw a few months ago, you might be surprised. Erivo’s performance is central to that film.

  12. moviemasn says:

    Christian- I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me within the past year who told me how much they loved “El Royale.”
    It’s definitely a movie that caught a second wind–and picked up an ardent
    And Erivo’s warmly appealing presence/performance is central to the film’s success.

  13. Stella's Boy says:

    The Lighthouse worked for me. I see what Christian’s saying and it is a little shaky at first. Was a little worried that the dreaded sophomore slump was in effect. But it finds its footing pretty quickly. I love the aesthetic. Can’t imagine it in color. Would not work. Stunning to look at. What a wonderful setting, too. Performances are outstanding. Sound design and music are incredible. And the imagery. Wow. So much haunting, disturbing, and mystifying imagery. Narrative isn’t anything to write home about but after it ended I realized that didn’t bother me much. There’s so much else to chew on and relish. And what a final moment. Eggers is the real deal. Makes me want to revisit The Witch.

  14. Hcat says:

    So what I am getting from reviews and responses is that Harriet is solid but maybe not exceptional. Pretty much in line with other Focus efforts like Loving and On the Basis of Sex (which I both enjoyed and will rewatch). Still excited to see it, I like my vegetables. And agree Erivo anchored El Royale which would have completely spun out of control without her.

    On a different note, how the hell has Addams Family managed to hang on this long? Even against the arrival of Malecifient. From the looks of it I expected a quick decline like those terrible slapsticky Nut Job movies from a few years ago, but this thing could cross the century mark.

  15. Stella's Boy says:

    Erivo is about the only good thing in El Royale. One of the worst movies I saw in 2018. And given how bad Addams Family is, that’s a good question. Desperate parents. And for some reason kids wanted to see it. Both of mine asked to. A friend’s kid begged to see it. Hard to believe how well it’s doing. There are animated movies on Netflix imported from Russia that are better.

  16. Hcat says:

    So I know we sometimes talk about the ‘china penalty’ where studios bring back about half of what they do from other countries. But I was looking at the returns for Ze Dhea or whatever this cartoon is called, and when an American film makes 500 domestic it can roll to China and make another 350-500, but when a Chinese film makes 700 million in its own borders it makes maybe 5 million here. I gotta say I can understand how they justify the exchange.

  17. movieman says:

    Erivo and Lewis Pullman are the heart of “El Royale.”
    I actually enjoyed the movie, and can understand why young ‘uns who weren’t around in the ’90s (and haven’t done their homework) think it’s great.
    But I also get why some folks hate it.

    Believe it or not, SB (and I’m sure you will since it’s the nature of the 21st century movie biz), but “Addams Family 2” has already been greenlighted.

    “Loving” is a much better movie than “On the Basis” and “Harriet,” Hcat.
    A little slow, but pretty darn good.
    The others are big-screen cable flicks: perfectly watchable, nicely acted, but seemingly designed for small screens (and limited attention spans).
    On the other hand, both “The King” and “Highwaymen” felt like “Big Screen” movies to me, although like most people I watched them on television.
    I’m pretty sure I’ll feel the same about “The Irishman.”

  18. YancySkancy says:

    El Royale was overlong and rather pointless but an entertaining ride. A bit late in the day for a Tarantino knockoff, but it was better than most of those that surfaced in the post-Pulp Fiction ’90s. Very solid cast, including Erivo, and it was nice to see Jeff Bridges doing something other than that mush-mouthed Southerner thing he’s been locked into the last few years. Beautifully shot by Seamus McGarvey.

  19. leahnz says:

    “Cameron’s vision for a future war is *so* antiquated and uninteresting at this point, of course this material can’t capture anyone’s imagination. I just don’t think seeing “robot laser punch fights” has the same impact on kids who grew up with Iron Man and the Avengers.”

    i’ve been thinking about this (i haven’t seen the new one as yet, from what i’ve seen/heard i may not bother till cable or whathaveyou), and it kind of sums up the mainstream film industry right now — a complete lack of imagination, ingenuity, and conceptually forward thinking; how narrow the parameters, limited the artistic scope, and reliant on old visions and concepts.
    when jc made terminator/T2, the concept/portrayal of cyborgs on film and the future war with our own creation was somewhat fresh and wide-open to narrative possibility (the liquid-metal T in 2 was genuinely ingenius for the time utilising freshly-minted techniques for CGI compositing , a thrilling and chilling villain, such a gas). and what’s happened conceptually in the 30odd years since? not a damn thing, really, it’s truly pathetic.
    i can’t help but think a future war with our own AI is conceptually fertile sci-fi ground wide open with possibility and imagination, and what do we get? the same old rehashed concepts, SSDD so depressing

    (hope i didn’t sound too hard on ‘the lighthouse’ above, i appreciated the genuine artistry, keen to see it again)

  20. movieman says:

    Leah- Speaking of “what has CGI wrought?,” have you seen this?

    “James Dean will be brought back to the big screen through CGI visual effects for the Vietnam War era drama ‘Finding Jack.’”
    The actor, best known for ‘Rebel Without a Cause,’ ‘East of Eden’ and ‘Giant,’ died in a car accident in 1955 at age 24. Magic City Films has obtained rights from his family to cast Dean posthumously in the secondary lead role in the movie.
    ‘Finding Jack’ will be adapted from Gareth Crocker’s novel. Based on the actual existence and abandonment of over 10,000 canine units at the end of the Vietnam War, ‘Finding Jack’ is an emotional journey about friendship and love under desperate circumstances.”

  21. leahnz says:

    be afraid be very afraid
    who knew ‘the future’ would be so dumb and creepy

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    I thought I’d read that Addams Family 2 was already in the works. Will go out of my way to make sure the kids have no idea it exists. Not sure how exactly but will find a way.

    Not at all leah. I think you make very good points about The Lighthouse and don’t come across as too harsh.

  23. amblinman says:

    @Leah: yup. It’s a great point too. Since the T2 and JP, what the fuck has Hollywood done with those advancements? Even on a practical aesthetic level: why does the CGI look no different/sometimes worse than it did in those two standard bearers from almost 30 years ago? On an artistic/intellectual/creative level: after 30 years with AI, gene splicing, etc our sci fi movies still feature the same exact robots vs tanks future wars and the same dinosaurs attacking children in faux theme parks.

    BTW: Scorsese hit the main issue with the Joker on the head once you strip away everything else: you cannot successfully tell the society-breaks-loner story that ends with a comic book character. Besides being bad, Joker, I think, finally bends the “gritty reboot” to its breaking point. (Movie was wildly successful financially, I get that. Still sucked.)

  24. Christian says:

    YancySkancy wrote: “Beautifully shot by Seamus McGarvey.”

    Ah, right! Never underestimate the power of solid cinematography to make a movie “stick” for me. More than a great script, even good performances (although both those things are important). But if the movie doesn’t conjur up strong *images* in my memory – and “El Royale” does – it doesn’t rise to the top tier for me.

    That said, and this is a pretty big caveat, there’s no one shot, or even two, that leap to mind when I think of “El Royale,” which is more of a case where I think of characters and story first, although the film’s sets / locations come easily to mind. I’m thinking specifically of the walk through the hidden hotel hallway, or even the hotel bar. What other images come to mind for “El Royale” fans?

  25. cadavra says:

    Wow, such negativity for ADDAMS. One of the reasons it’s doing so well is that it’s the one major-studio animated feature of late that grown-ups can go to by themselves without feeling they have to drag kids along for cover. The makers were clever in not trying to reinvent the wheel, as well as providing plenty of fan service for boomers who still dote on the TV series (and the original cartoons). And we mustn’t forget that the Broadway musical of a few years ago was also savaged by the critics, but the public told them “Fuck you!” and turned up in droves anyway. Speaks volumes about an 81-year-old IP without a superhero.

    And personally, I’m tickled to death that it’s outgrossed TERMINATOR ENOUGH ALREADY. So there.

  26. movieman says:

    Thought “Doctor Strange” was caviar-and-foie-gras-ambitious, but Mike Flanagan’s execution is strictly off-brand pretzels and domestic beer.
    The only one who might have been able to pull this off was Yorgos Lanthimos, the most Kubrickian director working today.
    And “The Lobster” proved that he knows his way around creepy hotels.

    Was also distracted by the “Shining” flashbacks since the actors playing the Nicholson, Duvall, Crothers and Lloyd roles are clearly NOT Nicholson, et al.
    This is one instance where I would’ve actually preferred digital simulations of the original actors incorporated into the movie. Probably too costly for a medium-budgeted film like this, though.

    As the Manson-like death cult leader, Rebecca Ferguson reminded me of Marianne Williamson (which was at least good for a chuckle).
    Kyleigh Curran is the best thing in the movie.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    Are grown ups really going to see Addams Family on their own? It was only people with kids when I saw it but that’s hardly proof of anything. And people are hardly being unfair or unreasonable. It’s a really, really bad movie. My parents took some of my nieces and nephews. They hated it. A co-worker took his kid. He hated it. I hated it. It’s simply a bad movie.

    Not sure there’s a filmmaker more beloved than Flanagan in the horror community right now. Equal to, maybe, but not more than. He gets fawning coverage and raves for everything he does. I just don’t get it. I like Hill House a lot. Good show. But his movies have always left me cold. Not expecting that to change with Dr. Sleep. But the horror crowd is going nuts. Unanimous, effusive praise.

  28. Movieman says:

    I don’t get the gushing over Flanagan either, SB.
    My favorite Flanagan movie is his “Ouija” sequel.

  29. SideshowBill says:

    THANK YOU!!! I think Flanagan is vastly overrated. His films are derivative and visually flat. WTF are all these people seeing that I don’t??

    I doubt I’m going to venture out for Dr. Sleep. Some folks I trust found it laughable and tedious. Also, 2.5 hours??

    No. Bring me Knives Our, please.

  30. movieman says:

    Went to “Midway” this afternoon.
    I was surrounded by so many coughing, sniffling seniors I thought I was in a hospital emergency room.
    Wanted to take a Silkwood Shower when I got home.

    Handsome certainly, and with state of the art CGI.
    But it wasn’t appreciably smarter, better or more entertaining than the middling 1976 Universal “Midway” (which at least had Henry Fonda) or Michael Bay’s lame “Pearl Harbor” for that matter.
    Best performances were by the Japanese actor who plays the Imperial Navy top dog and..the Jonas brother. Forgot which one.
    Ed Skrein (he’s British, right? that accent was utterly counterfeit) and pitiful Darren Criss who’s so lightweight a screen presence he’d be out of his depth in a McDonalds commercial.
    Criss is apparently an “actor” that only Ryan Murphy could love.
    (And yes, I thought Criss sucked in the Versace mini, too.)

    Not surprised that “Midway” is (slightly) over-performing, but the non-event “Doctor Sleep” has become is rather baffling.
    Isn’t Stephen King having a new moment?
    Isn’t “The Shining” a huge cult movie?
    Didn’t “Sleep” get generally favorable reviews?
    Wasn’t it directed by fanboy darling Flanagan?
    I’m stumped.

  31. leahnz says:

    i have no answer for this – or anything else, stuff is inexplicable – but they should’ve titled it REDRUM instead of dr sleep (i know it’s king’s title but who cares).
    for an extremely long-gap sequel, a movie called redrum at least has some cultural significance/relation to ‘the shining’ for the genpop. ‘dr sleep’ sounds just bleh, euthanasia in the the retirement village

  32. Christian says:

    MM: I haven’t seen “Doctor Sleep,” but yours is the second mention I’ve seen describing “The Shining” as a “cult movie.” Maybe I’ve never been clear on the term, but that film was a major studio release from a top director. I think of cult movies as “little movies thst could” – usually from little known or unknown directors/stars. What am I missing in not wanting to describe “The Shining” as a cult movie?

  33. Stella's Boy says:

    I wonder how Dr. Sleep would have done in October. The release date always puzzled me a little. But maybe it doesn’t mean much in the end. King’s name helps but I partly blame the trailers. What is it about exactly? I don’t know the book and the trailers didn’t sell the movie very well. I don’t think a Shining connection is enough of a sell for a wide audience.

  34. movieman says:

    Christian- My memory is long enough to remember that “The Shining” was actually poo-poohed by a lot of critics at the time of its release.
    Expectations for the increasingly infrequent Stanley Kubrick film were off the chart, and would remain so until his death.
    Also recall that it was considered a a box office disappointment in the summer of “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Airplane!”
    But once “The Shining” hit HBO–and eventually became a much in-demand title in video stores–it developed a feverish following that obsessed and fetishized every damn frame of the movie.
    (Remember the conspiracy theory doc “Room 237” from a few years back?)
    So that’s why I think it qualifies as a “cult film.”
    You could say the same about another major studio release from a top director that opened (and promptly closed) later that year: Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate.”
    Although that took considerably longer to pick up its (admittedly smaller and considerably more elitist) cult.

  35. Stella's Boy says:

    The Shining made $45 million ($138 million in 2018 dollars) and was #18 in box office for 1980. That seems pretty successful. Granted I have no idea what expectations for it were back then.

    Watched Little Woods. Curious since the director is helming the new Candyman. It’s a good little flick. Tessa Thompson is just sensational. Wow is she an incredible actress.

  36. movieman says:

    SB- I think expectations were super-inflated because it was Kubrick’s first movie in five years, and on paper sounded like a more commercial project than his previous film (my beloved “Barry Lyndon”). The consensus at the time was that it was a disappointment both critically and commercially.

    Friday’s b.o. chart (minus PSA’s):

    1 – Midway Lionsgate $6,340,000 – – 3,242 – $6,340,000 1

    2 – Doctor Sleep Warner Bros. $5,200,000 – – 3,855 – $5,200,000 1

    3 – Last Christmas Universal Pictures $4,060,000 – – 3,448 – $4,060,000 1

    4 – Playing with Fire Paramount Pictures $3,550,000 – – 3,125 – $3,550,000 1

    5 1 Terminator: Dark Fate Paramount Pictures $2,800,000 – – 4,086 – $40,457,130 8

    6 2 Joker Warner Bros. $2,510,000 – – 2,806 – $306,801,507 36

    7 4 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures $2,002,000 – – 3,201 – $91,301,901 22

    8 3 Harriet Focus Features $1,990,000 – – 2,186 – $18,223,140 8

    9 5 Zombieland: Double Tap Sony Pictures Releasing $1,175,000 – – 2,427 – $63,515,483 22

    10 12 Jojo Rabbit Fox Searchlight Pictures $1,136,000 – – 802 – $6,311,882 22

  37. Stella's Boy says:

    Damn Deadline is now projecting a $12 million weekend for Doctor Sleep a day after projections had it opening with $25-$30 million. Cost around $50 million and P&A could not have been cheap considering I saw 50 TV spots a day. That’s going to lose some coin.

  38. movieman says:

    1 – Midway Lionsgate $17,500,000 – 3,242 – – $17,500,000 1

    2 – Doctor Sleep Warner Bros. $14,100,000 – 3,855 – – $14,100,000 1

    3 – Playing with Fire Paramount Pictures $12,800,000 – 3,125 – – $12,800,000 1

    4 – Last Christmas Universal Pictures $11,600,000 – 3,448 – – $11,600,000 1

    5 1 Terminator: Dark Fate Paramount Pictures $10,800,000 – 4,086 – – $48,457,130 2

    6 2 Joker Warner Bros. $9,200,000 – 2,806 -713 – $313,491,507 6

    7 3 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures $8,002,000 – 3,201 -619 – $97,301,901 4

    8 4 Harriet Focus Features $7,230,000 – 2,186 +127 – $23,463,140 2

    9 6 Zombieland: Double Tap Sony Pictures Releasing $4,315,000 – 2,427 -910 – $66,655,483 4

    10 5 The Addams Family United Artists Releasing $4,200,000 – 2,674 -933 – $91,467,705 5

    11 12 Jojo Rabbit Fox Searchlight Pictures $3,942,000 – 802 +546 – $9,117,882 4

  39. Stella's Boy says:

    $14 million is still not very good. Half of tracking. And since Midway was independently financed Lionsgate must be pretty happy. They just paid a distribution fee?

  40. movieman says:

    I enjoyed “Last Christmas” although it’s an easy movie to pick (and pick, and pick…) apart.
    It’s also the most (torturously) p.c. movie of the year, and the first genuinely bad Emma Thompson performance I’ve ever seen.
    She really (REALLY) overdoes her Yugoslavian accent which sounds more Russian than Yugoslavian anyway.
    And I know about Yugoslav accents: I grew up around grandparents with Croatian accents.
    However well–or not–it performs in theaters, I wouldn’t be surprised if it picks up an eventual following on ancillary.

  41. Stella's Boy says:

    Looks like the best Xmas movie Netflix never made. Big streaming audience seems a certainty.

  42. Pete B says:

    Finally got to catch The Lighthouse this weekend. I’m sure I’ll understand it better on DVD, so I can have subtitles for Willem Dafoe. Was I the only one scratching his head over his accent?

    Anyone else subscribe to the theory that both Thomases are the same person, and that’s why the elder refuses to give his last name and says “Wick”?

  43. YancySkancy says:

    movieman: I saw Last Christmas too and didn’t enjoy it much. It’s sold as a rom-com but pulls a bit of a genre switch (twice, arguably), and the whole thing is just tepid. The twist is more nonsensical than moving, though I’m sure it will work for those who don’t think too hard about it. I agree about Thompson except that I don’t think it’s her first genuinely bad performance. I also found her grating in the otherwise impeccable The Meyerowitz Stories. She’s always been a bit of a ham, but I think she’s even less restrained in character roles like these.

    By the way, if one wonders why some seemingly random middle-aged guy gets an extended close-up in a late sing-along scene, it’s because it’s Andrew Ridgeley, erstwhile Wham! partner of George Michael, whose music is wall-to-wall in this.

    Stella’s: Yes, with Christmas in the title and attractive stars, I’d say Last Christmas will fare quite well as a streaming perennial.

  44. movieman says:

    I won’t disagree w/ you on just about every front, Yancy (hey, I said the movie was absurdly easy to pick apart, lol!), except that I didn’t mind Thompson in “Meyerowitz.” This felt more like one of Streep’s showy, cutesy, mugging 21st century performances (“Angels in America,” “Prime,” “Mamma Mia!,” “It’s Complicated,” etc., take your pick). In other words, the type of thing I tend to recoil from.

    I would never defend “Last Christmas” to the death, but I won’t deny a future generation of sentimentalists from embracing it when they discover it on TCM…or wherever people accidentally stumble upon movies in 30 years.

  45. Hcat says:

    So are the lessons of the last two weekends the same? Sequels that no one was asking for from properties that are nearly four decades old? Terminator is one thing, it has been bastardized for decades by whichever studio got their hands on the rights. But Dr. Sleep? If there hadn’t been a book, sequelizing The Shining on the cheap would have been absolute blasphemy. Like handing a Godfather sequel to Rob Cohen.

    I try not to be a grump about these things, but the way some writers toss around undefined things like Cult Classic or ‘shudder’ Chick Flick drives me nuts. Yes there is a Cult (except for Citizen Kane is there a more poured over film than Shining, its practically Ulysses), yes it is a classic but it is not a cult classic. It is Canon. It is as Iconic to Warners as Casablanca or Unforgiven or Harry Potter and the fact that they pimp out its legacy to capitalize on the IT wave should be a cause of concern.

  46. Stella's Boy says:

    First Midway and now Ford vs. Ferrari. Multiplexes overflowing with old white men on consecutive weekends. Finally movies are being made for them.

    Will Hollywood learn any lessons though? How long until they try to reboot Terminator again?

  47. movieman says:

    “How long until they try to reboot Terminator again?”

    Pretty sure it’ll be a lot sooner than anyone tries another “Charlie’s Angels” reboot, SB.
    I’m mildly looking forward to it, mostly because of Kristen Stewart, but is anyone else? Somehow I’m thinking this is gonna tank.

    And it’s kind of surprising that “The Good Liar” has a bigger screen count than some of WB’s other recent movies (“Motherless Brooklyn,” “The Goldfinch,” “Blinded by the Light”). I know because it’s actually opening at a theater near me, so I won’t have to drive (many) miles to see it. Yay.
    “Liar” looks like a 1996 Miramax release, and therefore kind of 2019-niche.
    I hope it does OK, but it looks like pre-holiday cannon fodder.

  48. Stella's Boy says:

    I want to see Charlie’s Angels. Looks fun and I like the cast. But it definitely feels like a flop. Doesn’t seem to be much buzz. Kind of forgot it was opening in two days. It slips on and off my radar. Lots of competition, too. Maybe not directly, but there’s a lot playing right now, wide and limited releases.

    Good Liar does have a mid-90s Miramax vibe to it. When I see the trailer in a theater I kind of can’t believe it’s a major studio wide release in 2019. But I’m glad it is. Looks pretty good. Plus, the leads.

  49. Hcat says:

    I am on the side of the Angels. I didn’t care for the McG’s but this version seems much less labored, not as mugging for the camera showing how much fun they are having scenery chewing. Since its going to be awhile until another MI, this should satisfy my thirst for impossibly attractive people kicking bad guys in the head for at least a short while.

    It will be interesting to see how Banks interprets what started as ‘Jiggle TV.’ And also to see if Stewart’s old fandom come out for her first blatantly commercial product in what feels like forever.

  50. Stella's Boy says:

    The Way Back looks like the worst movie ever made. Mix Hoosiers and Hardball and add a heavy dose of sad white guy. A two-minute trailer has rarely made me so angry. Normally I wouldn’t comment on a movie that isn’t being released until March but that trailer is so fucking bad.

  51. Ray Pride says:

    Does Ben Affleck have the range to play a disappointed, middle-aged guy with issues?

  52. Stella's Boy says:

    More importantly why would anyone want to see him play a disappointed, sad middle-aged guy?

  53. movieman says:

    I liked “Ford v Ferrari” even if it didn’t quite knock my socks off.
    Bale (trivia question: does anyone remember the last time he used his native British accent in a movie?) and Tracy Letts are the standouts.
    Damon is fine, but he sounds so much like Tommy Lee Jones at times (I’m assuming it was intentional) that it becomes a little distracting.
    I’ve enjoyed most of James Mangold’s previous films (esp “Logan,” “Walk the Line,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “Girl, Interrupted”) without ever quite being sent to the moon by any of them. This fits squarely in that group.
    The biggest compliment I can pay it is that it wears its 2 1/2 hour length better than a lot of recent films (I’m looking at you, “Doctor Sleep”).
    The worst thing is that it’s another movie that bungles the whole period smoking thing. In a bow to political correctness, virtually nobody in the ’60s-set film is ever seen smoking.
    Which is as annoying/risible as when smoking is overdone in period films and everyone smokes like a chimney.
    There’s gotta be a happy middle ground, right?

    P.S.= “The Way Back” looked O.K. to me, SB. Feels like Gavin O’Connor back in his favorite wheelhouse after the goofy (but fun) 2016 genre exercise, “The Accountant.”

  54. Stella's Boy says:

    I like The Accountant. Goofy but fun is a good description. And I think O’Connor is a talented director. But in 2019 that trailer comes off as laughable. Sad white man redeemed by poor kids of color. I mean Hardball was mocked for that like 15 years ago. Rightfully so. Maybe the movie won’t be as bad as the trailer but that trailer is fucking terrible.

    You’re a lot more bothered by perceived PC than I am. Might be generational. I just don’t care if people in a movie set in the ’60s don’t smoke. Not a big deal. Probably won’t even notice it. I don’t think anyone under a certain age really cares about stuff like that or thinks everything is PC. You might want to get over it, too. And you could always rewatch Mad Men if you really need to see characters in the ’60s smoke a lot.

  55. hcat says:

    Regarding the smoking, I would think their language would be equally sanitized for the PG 13 film. The omission of either shouldn’t be that glaring. Its just part of the normal ‘beautification’ of a movies about real life.

  56. YancySkancy says:

    There are plenty of ’60s movies where either there’s no smoking or I don’t notice it much.

  57. movieman says:

    It’s an admitted pet peeve of mine, probably because I’m a–don’t shoot me, Hot Bloggers!–smoker.
    But having grown up in that era, I know the reality of 1960’s America.
    So I guess it’s a generational thing, too.
    But people smoked.
    Not everyone, but it was a part of life for a good chunk of the population.
    Movies set in that period that eliminate smokers as though they never existed lose a lot of credibility for me.
    And are as much an object of scorn as movies that play period smoking up to an exaggerated degree.
    Like I said, it’s a pet peeve.
    And yeah, “Mad Men” pretty much got it right.

    Thought “Charlie’s Angels” was just OK.
    The Angels (esp my beloved Kristen) are fine, but the movie lacks the needed oomph to justify its existence.
    And Banks hasn’t got the action chops to pull off the numerous setpieces, most of which fall flat.
    (She’s on more comfortable ground with the humor which works fine.)
    I kept unfavorably comparing it to last year’s genre-bender “The Spy Who Dumped Me” which also had a distaff helmer.
    Despite no previous experience directing a large-scale Hollywood action movie, Susanna Fogel pulled it off in style.
    That said, I’m still surprised it’s stiffing as badly as it is.
    At this point, “Angels” might not even hit $10-million for the weekend.

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    If a movie set in the present doesn’t feature everyone on their phone all the time I can’t imagine anyone caring.

    Not surprised Angels is tanking. Felt like it had no buzz. I’ve barely seen any promotion for it online or on TV. This kind of opening seemed likely. Weren’t we just talking here a few days ago about how Angels seemed like was going to bomb?

  59. Angelina says:

    Academy Names 2020 Oscars Show Producers: Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain – Lynette Howell Taylor, an Oscar-nominated producer herself, and Stephanie Allain will produce the d broadcast airing February 9, 2020.

  60. movieman says:

    “If a movie set in the present doesn’t feature everyone on their phone all the time I can’t imagine anyone caring.”

    If a movie set in the present doesn’t feature everyone on their phone all the time …it will be absurdly unrealistic.
    Smart phones are the new cigarettes, lol.

  61. movieman says:

    “If a movie set in the present doesn’t feature everyone on their phone all the time I can’t imagine anyone caring.”

    If a movie set in the present doesn’t feature everyone on their phone all the time …it will be laughably unrealistic.

    Smart phones are the new cigarettes? LOL.

  62. movieman says:

    Good for “Ford;” not so good for everything else.

    1 – Ford v Ferrari Twentieth Century Fox $10,941,000 – – 3,528 – $10,941,000 1

    2 – Charlie’s Angels Sony Pictures Releasing $3,150,000 – – 3,452 – $3,150,000 1

    3 1 Midway Lionsgate $2,500,000 – – 3,242 – $28,890,773 8

    4 2 Last Christmas Universal Pictures $2,000,000 – – 3,454 – $17,875,765 8

    5 7 Playing with Fire Paramount Pictures $1,900,000 – – 3,185 – $18,847,824 8

    6 3 Doctor Sleep Warner Bros. $1,685,000 – – 3,855 – $20,543,159 8

    7 – The Good Liar Warner Bros. $1,635,000 – – 2,439 – $1,635,000 1

    8 5 Joker Warner Bros. $1,475,000 – – 2,337 – $318,439,593 43

    9 6 Harriet Focus Features $1,250,000 – – 2,011 – $28,352,990 15

    10 9 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures $1,187,000 – – 2,549 – $101,980,384 29

    11 4 Terminator: Dark Fate Paramount Pictures $1,075,000 – – 2,477 – $53,585,077 15

    12 10 Jojo Rabbit Fox Searchlight Pictures $754,000 – – 995 – $11,533,498 29

    13 11 Zombieland: Double Tap Sony Pictures Releasing $535,000 – – 1,407 – $68,918,247 29

    14 12 Parasite Neon $492,000 – – 620 – $13,050,363 36

  63. Stella's Boy says:

    A few weeks or so ago we were talking about Parasite and what its box office prospects were. It will be near $15 million after this weekend. Do we have a better idea of where it will end up? Is this as wide as it’s going to go?

    Countdown is one of those movies that I can’t believe hit a certain number (in this case $25 million). Not a smash hit but considering its alleged quality and the lack of any buzz and the crowded marketplace I’m surprised. Release date must have helped a lot.

  64. movieman says:

    I know it’s considered a disappointment for Disney, but I’m still trying to figure out how “Maleficent” ever got to $100-million.
    I figured WOM would have sank it faster than “Doctor Strange”…or at least “Gemini Man.”
    Did anyone really like this?
    As far as past-their-prime sequels/reboots/whatever-you’re-calling-them-this week goes, “Double Tap,” “Dark Fate” and even “Charlie’s Angels” were all better movies, yet none of them will come close to $100-mill. domestic.

  65. movieman says:

    Big weekend for old(ish) white guy movies:

    1 – Ford v Ferrari Twentieth Century Fox $31,037,000 – 3,528 – – $31,037,000 1

    2 1 Midway Lionsgate $8,750,000 – 3,242 – – $35,140,773 2

    3 – Charlie’s Angels Sony Pictures Releasing $8,600,000 – 3,452 – – $8,600,000 1

    4 3 Playing with Fire Paramount Pictures $8,550,000 – 3,185 +60 – $25,497,824 2

    5 4 Last Christmas Universal Pictures $6,700,000 – 3,454 +6 – $22,575,765 2

    6 2 Doctor Sleep Warner Bros. $6,181,000 – 3,855 – – $25,039,159 2

    7 – The Good Liar Warner Bros. $5,656,000 – 2,439 – – $5,656,000 1

    8 6 Joker Warner Bros. $5,635,000 – 2,337 -469 – $322,599,593 7

    9 7 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures $5,247,000 – 2,549 -652 – $106,040,384 5

    10 8 Harriet Focus Features $4,780,000 – 2,011 -175 – $31,882,990 3

  66. Christian says:

    Can’t wait for more of y’all to see WAVES.

    I’m guessing that many of you will probably not like it, but still, it will be fun to have more people to talk with about it.

  67. Stella's Boy says:

    Can’t want to see Waves. Also want to catch up with Luce. Anyone see that?

  68. movieman says:

    I loved the first half of “Luce,” but it kind of lost me at the midpoint.
    Still very much worth seeing, especially for Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s performance.

    Another movie I enjoyed more in the early stages was “The Good Liar.”
    The climax felt a bit like Holocaust kitsch.
    On the plus side, I never saw THAT coming.

  69. movieman says:

    Got the chance to watch an online screener of “Synonyms” over the weekend, and was blown away.
    Has anyone else seen it? (Christian perhaps?)
    Tom Mercier strikes me as the most exciting new talent to emerge since another Tom (Hardy) a decade ago.
    He’s utterly riveting: you can’t take your eyes off him. (Good thing, too, since he’s in practically every shot.)
    I admired director Nadav Lapid’s earlier film–the non-Maggie Gyllenhaal “Kindergarten Teacher”–but this felt like the second coming of Yorgos Lanthimos.
    Can’t wait to see it again.

  70. movieman says:

    Loved “63 Up,” although I’ve been a longtime fan of Michael Apted’s “Up series.
    I think I watched the entire thing through a veil of tears; it’s just so incredibly moving.

  71. Christian says:

    MM: I had a chance to see SYNONYMS at the Virginia Film Festival and was excited about it after reading Dargis’ review in the New York Times. But there was a conflict, so I put off seeing it until its D.C. theatrical run – which just ended without me getting to the film. Sorry to disappoint! I appreciate your review,

  72. movieman says:

    Try and catch it when you get the chance, Christian.
    I’m sure it’ll be streaming on Amazon early next year (most Cohen Media movies are available–for $3.99–on Amazon, usually in advance of their DVD release).

The Hot Blog

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon