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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB – Jan 29

Before I leave it to you, a couple quickies…
1. All this talk about the WGA talks being tied to Oscar is ticking me off. Does anyone really think that The Oscars are more important to The Writers than that little thing called, “going back to work?” I have said repeatedly that “Hollywood” will not stand for Oscar being shuttered. But it feels almost as though this is yet another effort by Gil Cates to make the negotiation appear to be bigger than the Negotiating Committee. It is not. Had the AMPTP put this deal on the table in October, this strike would likely have never happened. And this leads to the real question… how much did AMPTP really want the strike to happen so they could force majeur the decks clear?
2. I happened to chat with Anjelica Huston the day of the Oscar nods. There was no coyness about who Daniel Day-Lewis is channeling in his performance. See her here.
3. Juno, which just crossed $100 million, will be amongst the 10 most profitable films of 2007, along with 300, Knocked Up, Superbad, The Simpsons, and Ratatouille.
Now, your turn…

53 Responses to “BYOB – Jan 29”

  1. adorian says:

    Who would have believed that the Chipmunk movie would be sitting at $204,000,000?
    Today was new DVD day. Jennifer Lopez in “Bordertown” is really bad. Am I correct in assuming that it was never shown in the theaters? Kevin Kline in “Trade” is also bad. But at least I’m watching older DVDs of “Deadwood,” and it is extraordinary.

  2. Geoff says:

    Daniel Day-Lewis drinks Danny Huston’s milkshake. He drinks it up.

  3. lazarus says:

    Lunch With…DANIEL DAY-LEWIS!!
    (S P O I L E R S)
    DP: So why did you choose to channel John Huston for Daniel Plainview’s voice?
    (Lewis hits DP in head with bowling pin)
    DDL (to waiter): I’m finished!

  4. PastePotPete says:

    Please. All this talk about the studios/networks being Machiavellian geniuses who engineered the strike to clear out expensive production deals is BS. If they were so clever they wouldn’t have made those deals in the first place. Their idea of a brilliant plan is along the lines of “Hey let’s bring back American Gladiators!”
    They’re just taking credit after the fact for the one positive thing(for the studios/networks at least) to come out of this.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    Re: John Huston: so? It’s a great performance whether it’s a ‘channeling’ or not.

  6. waterbucket says:

    Would someone please explain the connection to John Huston? I searched imdb but don’t know why he’d be channeling him since John Huston was a director.

  7. Aris P says:

    Good point about Bordertown — I’m not sure it played in theaters either. I’d read drafts of this back in 2003. It’s an important story; I guess there was no market for it. It’s too bad for Greg Nava, as he is a very passionate and talented filmaker.

  8. Malone says:

    Hey waterbucket!
    Use the scroll button! Huston acted quite a bit.
    Quite the film buff you be…

  9. L.B. says:

    Check out Chinatown, waterbucket. And then any number of other movies.
    You really didn’t know John Huston was an actor?

  10. bipedalist says:

    It’s John Huston but I believe Poland’s point was that it was Danny Huston.
    Anyway, Chinatown is probably the closest character comparison to Daniel Plainview. But, and I say this as the one person on the blue planet who wasn’t all that enthralled with Blood, Daniel Day Lewis goes to places in that performance John Huston only had nightmares about. Huston was always reserved in his (great) turn of Noah Cross. He’s a monster in every respect and one of the most terrifying ever on screen – he is five million times more frightening to me than sad old Plainview.
    But I think it is wrong to say that just because his voice sounds like Huston’s (it obviously does) that it somehow diminishes his performance. It does not.

  11. To answer Jeff’s question…
    Because to say DDL’s performance is great (and it’s fan-fucking-tastic!) would be to admit that THERE WILL BE BLOOD is probably one of the best films in the last decade and DP has already thrown down his gauntlet of how much he doesn’t like it. Lets poke fun at it instead!

  12. jeffmcm says:

    Sasha, I think its fair to say that John Huston was not going for pathos or sympathy in Chinatown. He’s the high-class version of a James Bond villain in that movie.
    Don: Yeah, I know.

  13. scooterzz says:

    you folk have already looked at this performance from every angle but, i’ve been saying since day one that ddl is doing a john houston impersonation….if you know houston, this is not even a question, it’s a given….the real question, however, is, ‘is this performance/impersonation a bad thing?’…(or is this just faye dunaway in ‘mommie dearest’?)…..

  14. The Pope says:

    Didn’t we run this ‘impersonation’ question when Jamie Foxx was gathering gongs for Ray? Impresonations are what people do to imitate other people. Actors are able to imbue the character and motivation of the individual. So, who cares whether he was channelling or not, and who cares who he modelled his voice after or not. No one really complained when Johnny Depp channelled Keith Richards in Pirates.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but was it not reported that DDL used the voice of Jimmy Durante for GONY. Or have I gotten the names mixed up?

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Exactly. John Huston had nothing to do with what’s going on in DDL’s face in that baptism scene.

  16. brack says:

    Pope, it’s one thing to channel someone outside of the acting world. However, if you imitate an actor with all his/her mannerisms without actually playing that actor, I think a lot of people consider that as ripping off an actor. Johnny Depp isn’t ripping off Keith Richards as so much he was his inspiration. It’s not like Keith Richards is an actor. I’m actually don’t necessarily have this belief (somewhat I guess), but I can understand why this would bother people.

  17. brack says:

    “I’m actually”
    oops, meant to say “I actually.”

  18. Me says:

    Petaluma, while I think DDL’s performance was excellent (though I have liked other performances as much or more this year), I don’t see why one actor’s performance means that a movie has to be one of the best of the last decade. There are a number of films that have excellent performances, but the movies on a whole don’t work as well, and I think There Will Be Blood easily falls into that category.

  19. Jonj says:

    I’ve always wanted to see “Wise Blood” directed by and starring John Huston since it’s based on the great book/short novel by Flannery O’Connor. But I don’t think it’s ever been available on video and I’ve never seen it air on TV. If you want to talk about overzealous “men of God,” her characters make Paul Dano’s character in TWBB look downright tame. But don’t get me wrong, I really like TWBB.

  20. Krazy Eyes says:

    Poland’s seeming obsession with this whole DDL/Huston thing is starting to make him sound like Jeff Wells.
    Clearly, DP can’t let go of the fact that he panned a movie that so many other people loved. Now he’s going to take every opportunity to poke at it, over, and over again. He did it last year with Children of Men and I suspect it will happen to some film next year as well.

  21. waterbucket says:

    I’ve seen Chinatown but didn’t know that Faye’s father was such a big deal. I also didn’t know that’s it’s also John Huston. Anyhow…

  22. Wrecktum says:

    To be kind to waterbucket, I can understand not knowing that John Huston isn’t an actor. If you’re young, chances are you haven’t seen a lot of the dreck he starred in.
    That said, Chinatown’s Noah Cross is one of the great movie bad guys, and saying he’s not “a big deal” completely misses the point of the movie. But I digress.

  23. bipedalist says:

    Jeff McM, I agree with you — I’m not sure what I wrote that made it sound like I didn’t.
    Yes, he was channeling John Huston. But he went weirder, deeper than Huston ever did in Chinatown — this isn’t to say either is less or more, just that there is a difference between using the voice and the depth of character. I’m trying to say good things about both performances.
    I don’t think Poland panned it all. He said it was “almost great,” which is, to me, is fair – time will likely smooth out what the weaknesses are — or not (it never really did with Gangs of New York).
    What I don’t get is why people are so personally attached to this movie, men in particular. I haven’t been able to figure out what it is about PTA or DDL or what that makes many commenters emotional soldiers. They stick up for the movie and act genuinely wounded when anyone says anything slightly negative about it. And then they go on the attack. The last phenom like it was the Lord of the Rings movies.

  24. Armin Tamzarian says:

    Sam Rockwell seems pretty impressed with the question about DDL/John Huston. Great reaction there.

  25. frankbooth says:

    I’m sure that Wise Blood is available on VHS, because I saw it years ago. (DVD I don’t know.) It’s darkly funny, and Brad Dourif is great in what might be his only lead performance in a feature.
    Here you go:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/630018420X/ref=dp_olp_2/104-2766097-9882361
    Quite the bargain, if you don’t mind watching one of those antiquated video-tape things.

  26. Me says:

    biped, I think you’re right about the weird draw to TWBB, though it isn’t nearly as widespread as LOTR. I assume it has to be Anderson, as people on these boards were going nuts for it before it was even released and people saw what a good performance DDL gave.

  27. frankbooth says:

    Or if you want to see it RIGHT THIS SECOND:
    Click here
    (Edited by DP – graphically only – so the url wouldn’t expand the page.)

  28. Hasn’t acting become a bit like songwriting? Hell…films for that matter? I mean…what’s truly *original* any more? When pitches for films are boiled down to “it’s ___________ meets _________…with a giant robot!” then aren’t people kind of giving themselves over to the fact that it’s “all been done?”
    O.K…so DDL is channeling Huston…big f-ing deal! He may use Huston as a template but he goes way, way beyond imitation by the end of the film. The Academy LOVES biopic acting so maybe that will assure DDL an much deserved Oscar. Or, as brack alluded to, maybe there’s a never before spoken of line that DDL crossed and he will pay for by losing to a lesser performance…like Depps.
    That said, I still think DP is using any means he can to attract attention to his outsider disapproval of TWBB and this just smacks of that. But, whatever. I’ve seen the movies 3 times and it just gets better and better.

  29. lazarus says:

    Sasha, when you say that time hasn’t smoothed out the weaknesses of Gangs, are you talking about the film itself, DDL’s performance, or both? Because for the former, I don’t think enough time has gone by to make that judgement. Try 10 or 20 years when people have gotten over the D-Cap and Cameron baggage. If you’re talking about the performance, I don’t see the weakness. It’s not all grandstanding and snappy lines. That scene where he monologues to Leo with the American flag draped over his shoulders–for me that makes the character empathetic (he could never be sympathetic), and is probably better than anything he does in TWBB.

  30. David Poland says:

    I’ve seen the movie 7 times, Pet.
    And I’ll see it again before too long.
    I have always said the same thing… best first 2 acts of the year, maybe years… most disastrous third act I have seen in a long time.
    And I love that you think that I have an “outsider opinion.” It’s outside of some film critics and geeks. Many people are, appropriately, amazed by the work in this film… but not the whole… not when they really talk about it. There are even more people who really don’t like the film at all… people who you dismiss the way I dismiss people who think Cloverfield is of value.
    Basically, it is another PTA “I got it, I got it, I got it… I don’t got it” movie. The guy is a true genius. But he seems to feel the need to not finish what he starts so as to be above convention.
    And the DDL performance is one of his least interesting, though he offers emotion as well as any actor of his generation. It’s not unsimilar to DeNiro or Pacino moving over to scenery chewing. I still enjoy those performances. When I do my Daniel Plainview imitation, it gets a laugh of acknowledgement from every single person. But people are free to love what they love. And I am free to see that TWBB will be remembered much the way Magnolia is.
    Finally, I love that a couple comments in a month equals an insane jihad against a film. I think the laddie doth protest too much.

  31. LexG says:

    “That, my friends, is the minority vote.”
    Hey, everyone, go read any of the hilarious, venomously negative Yahoo! user reviews of TWBB and come back and tell me about Poland’s (positive!) review being so out of line.
    I called it weeks ago that this sausage fest of a movie is catnip to a certain type of male geek, but it leaves many (most?) people cold, especially women.
    Of course when I opined that weeks back, I had everyone here chiming in that they in fact DID have female friends who wanted to see it, but again, in my experience, that is not true.
    On IMDB– hardly scientific, I know, but– male fans of the film outweigh female 10 to 1.

  32. Noah says:

    “And I am free to see that TWBB will be remembered much the way Magnolia is.”
    I remember Magnolia quite fondly, so I can only hope that There Will Be Blood ages as well. Although, I suppose it’s entirely possible that some would dismiss it after seeing what PTA’s capable of with There Will Be Blood.
    (Spoilers ahead) My biggest questions for critics of the third act of the film is this: what’s wrong with it? I thought it was the logical conclusion to the film, it’s not like it flew off the rails and went in a completely unexpected direction. The answers I’ve gotten usually range somewhere in the “I thought it was outlandish” category and I didn’t really think there was anything too crazy about an insane misanthropic man, having just excised himself of the one human attachment he had left, wanting to exercise vengeance against the man who humiliated him by making him feel vulnerable. The interesting thing is that I don’t think Plainview wants to kill him until Eli starts shouting out “I’m your brother, Daniel!” and we KNOW what he did to the last guy who claimed to be his brother.
    To answer Sasha’s claim that men have an attachment to this film; I don’t know, I think people just love it so much and were moved by how purely cinematic it is, that they get defensive when somebody pans it. I think there is merit to every opinion and films work differently for different folks and it’s always a peculiar feeling to be in the minority of something, like what did everyone else see that I didn’t or vice versa?

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Sasha, it sounded like you were comparing DDL unfavorably to Huston because DDL wasn’t as ‘scary’ which didn’t make sense because the two roles are going for different goals, but I see that’s not what you were saying.
    I’m sure there’s some analysis that could be made about Plainview serving as some kind of male role model for a generation or two of men who haven’t seen this kind of ambitious bastard in movies in a long time but I’m no expert on that kind of thing. Where’s the esteemed psychologist Dr. Sinclair when you need him?
    And I think DP is getting razzed because the initial post had a ‘See, I told you so’ vibe to it.

  34. David Poland says:

    J-Mc… there was never any question about the channeling/imitation. Arguing otherwise is nothing but comedic.
    That doesn’t make it a bad peformance or something that shouldn’t be enjoyed. But it is what it is.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    “it is what it is” is where the rubber meets the road, to use a tired phrase.

  36. lazarus says:

    No one that I’ve seen here has argued there wasn’t some kind of Huston inspiration, DP. But as jeffmcm pointed out, there sure as hell isn’t any Huston in the baptism scene, the most emotional note he plays in the film. There also isn’t any Huston in DDL’s non-verbal work. The old man is simply a starting point, and that similarity fades as the film progresses, and the more unhinged the character becomes. There are so many nuances to the performance, that to mention Huston every time an award is given, or the film is mentioned, is disingenuous.

  37. LexG says:

    Didn’t PTA used to always sing Jonathan Demme’s praises in interviews?
    Don’t get me wrong, I like TWBB, but if Hard Eight and Boogie Nights were reminiscent of the fun, scrappy, colorful, humanistic early Demme, this new one is kind of PTA’s equivalent BELOVED.
    A brown, long, serious, accomplished film that bears little to none of the kinetic fun that made him who he was as a director.
    It’s an incredible stretch and a good movie, but for all this critical talk of PTA “turning a new corner” in his filmmaking, I really hope not. I’d hate to lose the panoramic and very contemporary thrill of his first two or three movies.
    Though if he ever wants to do PLAINVIEW VS. TODD PARKER, it would be the best movie ever made.

  38. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Aris P and adorian are correct on “Bordertown”. ThinkFilm pulled the movie prior to its planned release last fall — the plot would have angered the nativist crowd.
    OTOH it is good to see “Cloverfield” crash and burn. The UA theaters in the Hamptons drop it Friday after only 2 weeks.

  39. David Poland says:

    Not disingenuous at all, Laz.
    The funny part is that guys like you argue the point much more than PTA or DDL. The character is the young Noah Cross.
    Of course, DDL can act. But in hours of screentime, about 80% of it is Huston.
    But for a real obsessive look (from one of the regs in here), you should watch this. Funny at the top and the end… could use some editing in the middle, like most porn.

  40. lazarus says:

    80%? I don’t think so. I think you’re letting the first spoken words in the film, his speech to the townspeople (reprised when he addresses Little Boston), cloud your view of the rest of the performance. As I said above, he moves further and further away from Huston as the film progresses, and I don’t see a shred of it left once Henry arrives on the scene, which is about the halfway point.

  41. Noah says:

    I would find it very hard to believe that a man who has not acted in three years and takes his craft very seriously would simply watch Chinatown and be like “I’m finished.” Okay, lame joke, but I really doubt that DDL believes his performance is any more than 5% John Huston. And, really, to anyone who has seen Chinatown recently, besides the superficialities (tone of voice, job description), the two performances couldn’t be more different.

  42. Cadavra says:

    I have nothing to add to the TWBB thread–pretty much everything seems to have been said about DDL’s perf now–so let me throw out something new.
    Just saw the teaser for 10,000 BC. Does anyone think the Christian Right is going to denounce this movie on the basis of its title, since everyone knows God created the heavens and earth only 6,000 years ago, so this is clearly a blasphemous film.
    And no, I’m not being flip. We got ripped by at least two Christian film critics on GODZILLA 2000 because the alien spaceship had been on the ocean floor for 60,000,000 years, and everyone knows God created blah, blah, blah…

  43. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe, Cadavra, but I don’t think anyone outside of the Christian reviewing market and your own company ever heard of those complaints at the time. I mean, did they complain about Jurassic Park?
    All this arguing over DDL and TWBB keeps going around in circles. DP, your text might be saying his performance isn’t ‘something that shouldn’t be enjoyed” which sounds like faint praise, but the subtext sounds clearly like an attempt to diminish the performance. And “young Noah Cross” I think could be argued against objectively. Noah Cross, like I said before, is basically a James Bond villain: colorful, all-powerful, a little scary. Plainview is closer to Charles Foster Kane, if we must go there.
    LexG, I’ll gladly take this ‘brown’ movie over PTA’s earlier movies, where he was so enamored of being in control of the train set that he often didn’t bother with making his Scorsese camera moves or his huge, talented cast serve the purposes of a story.

  44. bipedalist says:

    Noah, my problem with the ending is that, as Poland says, Anderson loses command of the story (though I liked the movie more the second and third viewings). It is random, haphazard and makes it a story that goes in one direction – it leaves you with nothing except the feeling of being shattered by this weird man – as an acting showcase or character study it is powerful – but as a story well told, it doesn’t quite cut it for me personally. It means what you want it to mean but there is no deeply intelligent thought behind it.
    Even still, there is enough good stuff in the first two thirds to warrant the attention it’s been getting. I can admit that after seeing it a few times now. I will never love it but at least now I don’t hate it.

  45. Noah says:

    See, Sasha, that’s where we differ. I think that Anderson doesn’t lose control of the story, he just tells the one that he wants to tell and not the one that you and David want him to tell. And that’s not a criticism of you at all; far from it, I think it’s only natural to have certain expectations for where the story is going and it can be jarring to have those expectations confounded.
    But, I do take issue with your statement that the ending is random or haphazard because I don’t think there is anything random at all in those last two scenes. It turns out that the story is about Plainview achieving his goal of being alone without any attachments and this is the consummation of that goal (with all of the religious and philosophical analogies as well) and so the last two scenes are about him losing touch completely with humanity and I don’t see what is random about that. And haphazard would make it seem like there is no rhyme or reason to it, but I think there is a definite intent behind it – whether or not is successful for you, that’s debatable.
    Also (and again, I do this with the utmost respect, I don’t want to be another one of the many TWBB supporters who descends into the same kind of simple-mindedness that Plainview himself is guilty of) I would take issue with your saying that there is no deeply intelligent thought behind it. I think there is a whole lot of intelligent thought behind the idea that a man can slowly become more misanthropic as he amasses more assets or the idea that religion and business can sometimes bludgeon each other, etc. The ending is not open-ended like No Country, but that doesn’t make it less intelligent; it simple makes it finished.

  46. bipedalist says:

    The two screenplays are simply not comparable. And Noah, you found your own meaning in it; others have found different meaning in it. Anderson himself says it meant nothing but just intended as “pure art.” I have yet to read anywhere about anything deeper or broader about humanity — I think the film sets us up to believe that it is going to be about something universal or profound – all of that time in the beginning, all of those sweeping shots, all of those epic scenes, but then to have it come simply to a close because he is rich and alone, is, well, a story with no meaning. But I suppose that in itself is what it’s about – very existential.
    But if Anderson didn’t use the source material for meaning, as the Coens did, and if there was no intent (according to Anderson himself), the only meaning that can ultimately be taken away is what the viewer chooses to take away. That makes it pure art. And because it is such an unusual approach (in the last decade anyway, discounting David Lynch and Lars Von Trier, etc.)it struck a chord with audiences who are used to being hand-held through stories they’re too smart for to begin with.

  47. Noah says:

    Regardless of what PTA said about the film, I have to believe that with all of the subtext in the film, he doesn’t really believe that the film is simply “pure art.” There is no way that he would set things up the way he does without having some kind of intent behind it, regardless of what he says when the media tries to get him to sum up his two and a half hour in film in a single sentence.
    And yes, I think all of those sweeping shots and epic scenes set up the fact that Plainview’s happiest moments are when he is by himself in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing for miles. Whereas in the end, he is surrounded by people (butlers, servants) at all times. He never gets what he wants, which is to truly be alone.
    But, I suppose this where we’ll have to agree to disagree. I am happy, though, that you’ve provided me with some insight as to what exactly was the problem that some folks had with the ending.

  48. bipedalist says:

    Noah, do you really believe all he wants is to be alone? Don’t you think he wants companionship? He doesn’t want anyone else to succeed but he is genuinely hurt when his son loses his hearing and he’s genuinely hurt by the fake brother. Both of those relationships prove that he doesn’t want to be alone ultimately. He just wants relationships on his own terms or not at all. He’s a pathetic character ultimately with very few redeeming qualities. What is weird is how many men still identify with him regardless. Strange days indeed.

  49. Noah says:

    He says to his “brother” that all he wants in the world is to be alone without any attachments (because, of course, attachments make you vulnerable) and I believe that yes, that is what he wants, but once he picks up that baby and raises it as his own, it becomes an impossibility for him. Being a parent leaves you with very few outs and he tries his best to alleviate himself of any kind of attachment or vulnerability, but he tries to do with a reason (like his son going deaf and him sending him to a boarding school). Ultimately, once he gets rid of that attachment, he loses his humanity completely and thus, really goes insane.
    So yes, I think he wants to be alone in that he doesn’t want anybody to be beholden to and the only time he really has that is when he is in the desert by himself with nobody around. He may crave companionship because we all crave that as human beings, he might long for it in his soul but his mind tells him “no, companionship ultimately leads to humiliation on a par with what Eli Sunday did to me in that chapel.”
    I don’t necessarily identify with him as a character because he is indeed pathetic and doesn’t do a single nice thing, so I don’t think I fall into that category that you’re referring to. But, sure, I think anybody (man or woman) can relate to some of his feelings of rage, jealousy or misanthropism. We all feel that from time to time, but we just don’t act on our baser instincts like he seems to.

  50. Geoff says:

    The one scene I constantly need to dwell on is when he finally abandons his son in the third act. I’ve had many different reactions and feelings about this pivotal moment in his life.
    Plainview is just an emotionally retarded person without the proper tools to raise a kid properly. I get the sense that he is a little hurt by the fact that his son is “leaving” him. It was once something he had to do himself early on in his life (I assume). So why not give him the ammunition to go out there and strike it rich like he had to do? When he’s telling his interpreter to shut up and asking H.W. to speak, it’s really a form of him toughening him up. He’s treating him like his competition. It’s fucked up of course, and hard for me to relate too.
    I don’t think he knows how to react to his son, who is a good soul, coming to him and telling him he loves him, but heck, at the same time he’s got to do his own thing. Plainview isn’t the type of guy who can say “I wish you all the luck in the world son.”
    I’m rambling now, but I know for sure that H.W. was the only thing that kept him in touch with humanity. The first incident with his son and then with his brother catapulted him into insanity.
    But the “orphan” speech definitely sealed his fate. The ending with Eli makes all the sense in the world.

  51. LexG says:

    Cadavra, that 10,000 BC question actually seemed very valid, but as so often happens, once a BYOB becomes all about one topic, it’s hard for an interesting side argument/discussion to gain traction.
    If it continues to get no love here or DP starts another BYOB in the next day or two, you should ask about it again, because that’s an interesting point.
    All I know is I’m sick of seeing the trailer; Seriously, of the last 20 or so movies I’ve seen theatrically, I’ve probably caught the 10,000 BC at least 15 of those.
    Pretty clear WB is following their 300 MO on this one, down to the release date; I had also suspected they were courting the Apocalypto crowd, but indeed, if they turn off some Christian viewers, who knows?
    I digress, but maybe it’s just me, but anyone else remember when we all saw and liked the same movies, regardless of religious afflilation? I was raised Catholic, but I still remember everyone I knew seeing the same movies, be it Dity Harry, Scarface, or Animal House and Porky’s.
    What’s with this new, post-W., post-9/11 thing where CHRISTIANS DON’T SEE R-RATED MOVIES? Or was it always like that?
    On a completely unrelated topic…
    Who thought LAKE BELL, BIG-SCREEN LEADING LADY was a good idea? Why does this chick have a continuing Hollywood career? Who is a LAKE BELL FAN? There’s 10 million smoking hot women in LA and NY toiling as waitresses, and this MAN-FACE has a Hollywood career.

  52. Cadavra says:

    Christians DO see R-rated movies. PASSION OF THE CHRIST, for one. :-)
    I think Lake Bell is very hot. Did you see BOSTON LEGAL when she was a regular? Yes, she is not pretty in that conventional, cookie-cutter way most generic, blonde 20-somethings are today, but her face IS distinctive, and the rest of her…double yum.

  53. I’m with Noah-
    Plainview totally wants to be alone and once he kills off Henry he sets out on that goal and finalizes it in the 3rd act.
    I can’t believe no one has commented on Plainviews habit of devolving into living inside his own head. He sometimes mutters to himself in the beginning of the film and then about halfway through (the scene where he’s swimming in the sea) he’s totally inside his own head almost all the time.
    I fully believe Plainview wants to live a life alone. When he says, “I’m finished” he means he’s finished with his attachments. That butler sure as shit isn’t going to stick around after that.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin