Not sure how I feel about this. I’m very glad Kar Wai is back to doing more rainwork, but in general I would prefer that he stick with people gazing at each other in sadness in the rain rather than kicking each other in the rain. I’ll admit the glass breaking in the storm looks good, but I worry that this is another of the little experiments that has taken his career on this unfortunate detour in recent years. I’m all for letting a man experiment, but just walk away from the heartbreaking stories of urban ennui you do better than anyone Kar Wai!
For instance, the idea of people kicking each other in the rain sounds good, but when you get down to it, rain isn’t going to make a fight any rougher or scarier, just kind of sloshier and messier. A lot of people slipping, if you’re going to get serious about it and slipping is not the stuff of nailbiting action.
Also - that straw Panama maintains its shape awfully well in the torrential downpour. Must we throw all disbelief out the window to take this journey with Kar Wai. In the Mood for Love didn’t ask us to accept such things!
"Disney’s Second Screen Live program, introduced this week at CinemaCon, encourages moviegoers to play interactive games on their iPads while watching a film in a theater. A home video version for select Disney Blu-Ray titles launched in 2011. “Of course you hear a lot from exhibition, ‘we don’t allow cell phones’”, Disney Exhibitor Relations VP Nancy Klueter said this morning at a CinemaCon panel on theater showmanship. “This screening would be inviting those people to bring their technology so you wouldn’t be offending them”. Disney and their exhibition partners hope the ploy will bring younger audiences back to theaters."
On the one hand, by even contemplating this step, Disney has now become a war criminal and becomes the duty of every lover of film or even humanity to do all they can to stop them and bring this company to its knees until they renounce this evil.
On the other hand, you can’t really blame them. When one looks at the trailers this week for the Zack Snyder Superman, the Verbinski Lone Ranger, hoopla for the Iron Man 3 upcoming release…how can we expect that audiences raised with the notion that tired, inert dreck like this is the pinnacle of Hollywood storytelling should be able to keep their devices off during them.
These films make the action spectacles of the 80’s and 90’s like Lethal Weapon 2 and Twister seem full of humanity and life. So it is very difficult on the one hand to deaden the audience’s senses with a genre that has become about nothing more than cranking up the volume and layering it over with a full-of-itself, portentous pomposity, and on the other hand tell them: no you’re not allowed to play with your toys here. You have to focus and pay attention.
Which is to say, with this generation raised on these films and glued to their devices since birth coming of age we are all doomed. Congratulations to Disney for realizing it. And for the rest of us, the best we can hope is that we can go down sword in our hand fighting them with our last breath, and die an honorable entertainment martyr’s death.
THR: You co-hosted the Oscars in 2010 with Steve Martin. What did you think of the reaction to Seth MacFarlane’s performance?
Baldwin: The Oscars is a completely thankless job. It’s really tough.
THR: So you wouldn’t do it again?
Baldwin: No. Never, never, never. And I enjoyed doing it. What the Oscars absolutely, unequivocally should be is a show with a little bit of entertainment and a very reverential overview of movies of that year. And that show would last about two hours, and it would be a very tight show with a lot of serious, cineastic appreciation. But the Oscars is also a television program that raises 90 percent of the Academy’s budget for the year in a single night. When the Oscars is three hours — when they bullshit you and say that the Oscars is running long, and that’s a problem — that’s not a problem. They’re making more money. So ABC and the Academy, they have no interest in doing a tight, better-produced show. They are forced, because of economic constraints, to have a flabby, tired show.
THR: And everyone who does it gets raked over the coals.
Baldwin: They need to gamble on the show, and they’re not gambling. I am a member of the Academy, but everyone who has done it lately has been crucified. So they’re not going to get anybody who is reasonably talented or special to take that chance anymore. They don’t pay you any money; the Oscars pay you like chicken feed. It’s all about the honor of helping to extol film achievement. But they’re going to have a tough time. I’m dying to see who they get to do it next year. They’re going to have to go dig someone up from a cemetery. They’re going to have to go dig up Bob Hope.
Had a wonderful conversation with the utterly charming and delightful Martin Freeman about The Hobbit, in which he came clean about Smauglock, his Tumblr movement, and standing up to the Geek Mafia. He said:
BF: Knowing what this character means to the geek world, did you feel the weight —
MF: Of a million geeks! It’s probably like feeling the intimidation of the mafia. It was like pissing off the Crips. The geeks are going to get me! But no, I think I tried not to think about it, really. Like with anything I’ve done ever. I’ve had a few parts that are very beloved to people from literature, and I can’t play that. I can’t play their expectations. That’s not the screenplay you’re making. It’s not a democracy in the way that I’ll go and find out what Russell thinks out there in Oregon. I’m afraid he doesn’t have a say. He’s either going to like it or he’s not going to like it, and believe me, we want him to like it. But we have to get on with the job of making a film. But Peter is a geek. He’s an absolute self-confessed Tolkien geek. So you have one at the helm.
After which I asked him the big question the world has been dying to know. “Are you aware of Smauglock?
Sooner or later, into the life of every entertainment executive some flops must fall. But coping with failure in a productive, healthy way is not an automatic instinct in a town where schadenfreude and finger-pointing are more popular than the Super Bowl — for every show-business executive must eventually face the day when he or she has to take the long walk down the studio corridor after their weekend disaster.
As one Executive tells it:
If there’s a crime and the community is outraged, the police feel incredible pressure to produce a culprit. And if some shady looking kid had been seen hanging around the park where a murder happened, no one is going to be looking too hard at the case when the cops turn him over. For any movie to do well or not, a whole bunch of variables have to work: you have to luck out with your release date – you don’t want to come out right after
Harry Potter. Are you marketing to right audience, spending enough? Spending in the right places?
There are so many different elements, but that’s at odds with everybody’s desire to have a quick pithy reason why something didn’t work. It’s in everyone’s interest for the finger to be pointed at one culprit. AfterJohn Carterflopped, all the daggers at Disney pointed at all the daggers pointed at (marketing executive) MT Carney, who was new to the studio and didn’t have a lot of friends there, as if the decision to change the film’s name was a 90 million dollar error. Once a person is stuck holding the bag, you can feel the room backing away.
Everybody’s angry at some Oscar nominee this season. It’s the price of leaving your home in the modern world: you’re going to get people outraged! And they might even tweet about it.
Alongside the fans of this year’s film’s each of them has stirred up a movement of protests against them. Among the aggrieved: Spike Lee, Connecticut, New Yorker writers, a New Dehli high school principal, the NFL and all of Generation Y.
For any film to get made is a miracle, even a piece of star-studded Oscar bait. A huge industry exists in Hollywood devoted primarily to NOT making movies. But somehow, the nine Best Picture nominees not only got made, they got themselves nominated for something.
Over at BuzzFeed I retrace the nominees paths to the screen; every one of them a mess! My favorite weird fact, from Lincoln:
Spielberg wants to try again with Daniel Day-Lewis but is unable to reach him to try to have him reconsider based on the new script. Over dinner, Spielberg tells Leonardo DiCaprio of his struggle to win back Lewis. The next day, DiCaprio calls Spielberg and gives him DDL’s cell phone number, saying, “He is expecting to hear from you.