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David Poland

By David Poland

Another Travel Day…

Here is some box office…
And 20 Weeks, 18 Weeks To Go
Can you smell it? Come on, take a good, deep whiff

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24 Responses to “Another Travel Day…”

  1. Sam says:

    What’s your reason for doubting Peter O’Toole? Fourth, with Will Smith in first, doesn’t really feel like the temperature of the room.

  2. James Leer says:

    “Who will be the first to call it The Year Of The Blackademy Awards

  3. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Let’s hope DREAMGIRLS rocks and gets noms all around, because without it the year seems to be shaping up to be pretty lame…
    Does VOLVER still stand a shot at Best Picture? So far, it’s easily Top 5 best films imo.
    BABEL should still be a lock – it and THE DEPARTED are the two I can’t see missing…
    Clooney looks pretty stale in THE GOOD GERMAN trailer – I can’t imagine they Adademy gifts him another nom. A fun, great guy, but a great actor he’s not. And I can’t imagine Leo getting a nom for BLOOD DIAMOND, that seems far fetched.
    But the picking are slim…you gotta hope DVD screeners give the Acadamy a chance to realize that Ryan Gosling is the best actor of his young generation and give the guy a nod. And yes, I’m feeling the nomination for Borat, especially if Jack gets nominated for Supporting. Jack’s a lock for a nom, whatever category.
    Arkin and Pitt should both be locks too – both were as good as it gets, and uber-deserving.
    I love Cate Blanchett, but I can’t see her getting a nom for BABEL, she’s good, but very un-flashy.
    And hopefully the Academy will go for Rinko over Cate. The young girl is stunning in a much more difficult role. If we were going by impact, Rinko should be a lock too…
    And let’s hope they don’t give Abigail a nod…she’s cut as all hell, but that’s mugging, not great acting…but in a weak field the feel-good film of the year could easily gain lots of momentum…

  4. Melquiades says:

    Volver should be in the running for both Best Picture and Best Director, and a lock for Best Screenplay. The Academy loves Almodovar and the film already has a likely candidate for a top acting category, something none of his other winners did.
    A good performance in Blood Diamond might help DiCaprio get in for The Departed.

  5. MASON says:

    Dreamgirls looks like countless movies I’ve seen before, but I like Condon and the buzz is great so my expectations are high.
    I would like United 93 to get a nom, but it doesn’t seem to be everybody’s cup of tea. If WTC gets a nom, it’s been a very mediocre year for movies. And this is coming from a Stone fan.
    Loved the Blood Diamond script. Looking forward to the flick.

  6. Ladymerlin says:

    The Prestige is an ADAPTED screenplay, not an original screenplay.
    Little Children could re-emerge, but I agree that it needs marketing.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    Hopefully without opening once again this same can of worms, I’m curious to know what was ‘very smart’ about the WTC screenplay – that seemed to be the major component in that movie’s mediocrity, whereas the performances and direction were otherwise capable.
    Also, it’s terribly ironic that Little Miss Sunshine is seen as a lock for a screenplay nomination when it’s also the weakest aspect of that movie (and supposedly was heavily doctored).

  8. Cadavra says:

    Screenplay nominations tend to be a joke. Branagh got one for HAMLET, and all he did was shoot the play. And Sofia actually won for TRANSLATION, even after acknowledging that it was improvised from a four-page outline.

  9. jesse says:

    JeffMCM, I agree that the script is the weakest aspect of Little Miss Sunshine, a movie I generally liked. It’s interesting how the Best Screenplay has, in both nominations and winners, become a sort of all-purpose consolation prize.
    During the nominations, often a well-received, loved-by-many contender that didn’t make the Best Picture five will be included in the screenplay category: Almost Famous, Toy Story, or any Kaufman script. Sometimes it will even win, as with Eternal Sunshine or Almost Famous (leaving you to wonder, what was keeping those movies from the picture/director slots, anyway?).
    Even when you get into the nominated Best Pictures, there’s de facto the “runner-up” award in the form of screenplay, if the various category classifications allow for it — the less traditional Oscar movie, like Fargo or Pulp Fiction or Lost in Translation.
    Through this system, it’s sometimes possible for a wonderful movie to get recognized for a screenplay that was far from its strongest point. Sofia Coppola won her Oscar for *writing* Lost in Translation, and while I think Sofia is very talented, I don’t think writing is her strong point. The best parts of LiT were the performances, especially Bill Murray, who did a lot of improv; and the mood established by Coppola’s direction. Neither of those seem like they’d really be on the page.
    Little Miss Sunshine is similar in that respect — wonderful performances, very nice direction, and a script that, while far from bad, houses the movie’s weaknesses. But it’s not showy enough for a picture or director win, so off to the screenplay category it goes. I think it’s become easy to attribute the charm of any movie that’s even a little bit offbeat, or funny-yet-affecting, to the writing, even when it doesn’t appear to be, well, true.
    Most of the nominees I mentioned above are, of course, actually very well-written, and typically some of my favorite movies of the year get their sole nomination in the screenplay category (Eternal Sunshine, Almost Famous, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Squid and the Whale). But that only makes it stranger when “it’s quirky” is automatically converted to “it’s got a good script.”

  10. jesse says:

    Self-correction: Eternal Sunshine and Almost Famous didn’t get their sole nominations from screenplays — they both had acting nods, too. So they join Adaptation in the “if you liked it so much, why wasn’t it up for the big one??” category.

  11. James Leer says:

    “Lost in Translation” was adapted from an outline into a script. It wasn’t improvised from four pages.

  12. T.H. Unfassung says:

    Why is Wells so clueless? He writes,
    “Of all the ‘controversies [that] will be at a premium,’ I’m clueless about Rinko’s vagina.”
    In my small group after a screening, conversation ventured into Sharon Stone Basic Instinct vaginaland, and I jumped in and said it wasn’t anything like that; technology is much different now, no one would do that again.

  13. Goulet says:

    Sofia Coppola is a fucking awful writer. She’s a pretty great visualist and she’s got impeccable taste in music, and she apparently got a way with actors, but to award her for Best Screenplay is just dumb.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    I just saw Marie Antoinette tonight. Coppola has a strong visual sense and a very good hand with actors (after Rushmore, this movie is certainly the best acting that Jason Schwartzman has done) but she doesn’t do story structure very well at all. The movie sags in the middle and then instead of ending, it just stops, which is very frustrating.

  15. I can’t be bothered going into what I think of Dave’s predix. A lot of em seem about right, some I don’t agree with but they wouldn’t be predictions if everybody thought the exact same thing.
    As Melquiades said up there, even though it’s foreign, it seems like Volver has more of a shot than some of the films Dave listed and to not even have Almodovar on the director’s page seems pretty strange. This appears to be the film that finally get Almodovar noticed by the seabiscuit patrol. And yes, as I’ve said before, the film has the benefit of having a famous beauty out their spruking it for all it’s worth and Pedro love has been high in NY and LA with Viva Pedro and such.
    Almost Famous wasn’t that good. It didn’t deserve a BP nomination over some of the other films that year.
    Jeff, you didn’t think Lost in Translation or The Virgin Suicides had good structure? I do agree that movies simply ending is frustrating though. Like, where’s the rest of the movie? What’s worse though is when the makers clearly ran out of money and simply add in a lame epilogue.

  16. Dr Wally says:

    “Almost Famous wasn’t that good. It didn’t deserve a BP nomination over some of the other films that year”
    It didn’t get one. Almost Famous was a severely compromised movie squeezed into two hours anyway. The extended DVD version, ‘Untitled’, is vastly superior and one of my favourite movies.

  17. EDouglas says:

    Might as well eat the crow pie that I made for myself a couple weeks ago… The Departed is guaranteed to make $100 million at this point and none of the movies I thought might have an effect (like Flags and Prestige) did much to slow it down, plus it seems to be popular enough that it’s definitely on the fast track to a BP nomination. So yes, I was wrong and you can put that on the scorecard as such.

  18. David Poland says:

    Not keeping score in this part of the room, ED. Having an opinion is having an opinion… nothing wrong with that.

  19. Nicol D says:

    I finally saw Flags of Our Fathers the other day…it’s unfortunate that it has fallen off of the radar but it is also something of a confused film.
    There is much to like about it; the war scenes were expertly realized and I liked that the soldiers were presented as thoughtful, concerned and articulate as opposed to the standard ‘dumb jocks with rifles’ portrayals we get in so many Hollywood movies.
    I also thought the issue of how they are exploited to sell the war was well handled and realistic.
    Nevertheless, what bothered me was the fact that so much of the battle is presented out of context (I know longer assume people know proper WWII history) and the extremely cynical nature of the VO at the beginning and end (which I assume is Haggis’ contribution).
    It makes the film too black and white to say there are no heroes, period. I do not believe that…do Eastwood and Haggis really believe these men were not heroes? Do they really believe they did not fight for a cause but only for their buddies…in WWII?
    My father was a WWII vet and before he died when I was very young, he told me plenty of stories. He and his friends were not shell-shocked and bitter. They gladly spoke of the war.
    The disturbed vet that didn’t fight for a cause has become a facile, cliched and tired line in modern war films and given that Hollywood regularly deifies sixties icons such as JFK, RFK, MLK etc…it is also more then a tad condescending.
    Also, I thougt the nature of the cross cutting took away much of the emotional impact of the battle. Overall I liked it…but with much reservation.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    KCamel, I haven’t seen Lost in Translation or Virgin Suicides lately, but I remember them both as having very loose, rambling structures. This isn’t bad in and of itself, but her third feature should show progress on that front and it didn’t happen – went the other way, in fact. But like I said, her skills with visuals and actors are stronger than ever.

  21. “It didn’t get one.”
    I know, and didn’t deserve one.
    Jeff, the way that Lost in Translation was structured was very much one of the reasons why it was so good. Didn’t Virgin have a typically formal structure though?
    Anyway, I have to wait until Boxing Day to see Marie Antoinette, Babel, The Queen, Little Children and Happy Feet so consider me pissed off.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    “the way that Lost in Translation was structured was very much one of the reasons why it was so good.”
    This one you’d have to explain to me. I don’t remember any structure at all, just a rambling string of incidents and then it was over. Virgin Suicides was based on a novel so it had more structure to begin with, but it was still languorous, which I didn’t mind too much, but after three movies you want a little more.
    I was thinking that Marie Antoinette is kind of like a female version of Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, except an hour shorter. To really be a great film, MA needs to be either 20 minutes shorter (tighten up the slow middle) or 20 minutes longer (flesh out the truncated ending).

  23. EDouglas says:

    “I don’t remember any structure at all, just a rambling string of incidents and then it was over.”
    Much like real life.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    Are you being serious or facetious?
    Life is randomly structured; art shouldn’t necessarily be, and if it is, it should make its intentions more apparent.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt