Over the weekend, The New York Times broke the news that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited its 6,000-strong membership to a May 4 session to be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco to discuss…something. "Please join us for a special event: The future of the Academy," the invite read, somewhat mysteriously.
Last week, I listed Steve McQueen's much-anticipated third feature "Twelve Years a Slave" among the films I was most hoping would appear in the Cannes Film Festival lineup, which will be announced later this month. But it seems we Croisette-bound journos will have to wait until the fall to see the star-studded slavery drama: according to the Hollywood Reporter's Pamela McClintock, the film simply won't be finished in time for the May fest.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center recently announced Barbra Streisand as the recipient of its 40th annual Chaplin Award at the Society's annual gala on April 22. The event launched in 1972 with a tribute to Charlie Chaplin, who returned to the US from exile to accept the honor.
Today the role call of presenters has been revealed, including Pierce Brosnan, Blythe Danner, Richard Dreyfuss, Amy Irving and Kris Kristofferson. Given that Streisand has had a ground-breaking career in both film and music, there will be a large musical component to the tribute as well. Tony Bennett, Kristin Chenoweth, Wynton Marsalis and Liza Minelli have been tapped for performances.
I read publicity maven Peggy Siegal's Oscar weekend diary at The Huffington Post with the expected mixture of fascination and disgust. You find yourself smiling at the gluttony of Hollywood during awards season until you don't, as the cup of excess runneth over. And Siegal's diary is a perfect record of all that superficiality.
I have not seen Andrew Niccol's "The Host" yet, so I have no opinion to offer. It's languishing at a woeful 12% at Rotten Tomatoes so it's rather clear it's a dud. HitFix's Drew McWeeny crucified it in his review, noting that it is "one of the worst things [he's] seen in a while…a genre film that fails at every genre it attempts, and it fails at even the meager ideas it attempts to engage." Ouch.
Not gonna bog down into a political debate on the gun thing here. The liberal-minded will bang its head against a brick wall and the conservative-minded will decry the gall of another sect knowing what's best and it'll just be grossly, pathetically predictable.
That said, Jim Carrey's recent "Cold Dead Hand" video at Funny or Die taking the piss out of the National Rifle Association and its late leader actor Charlton Heston was, well, hilarious. Carrey has been outspoken about magazine limits and an assault rifles ban ever since the debate caught fire again in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
Back when the first "G.I. Joe" film came out, I wasn't nearly as pro-Channing Tatum as I am these days. "21 Jump Street" and "Magic Mike" made most of us see the light on that one: dude's hilarious. So I mainly went into a matinee of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" today to see what he had to offer in the wake of that comedic success, but this was clearly The Rock's show. Oh sorry...Dwayne Johnson.
Eh, it was worth the diversion I guess. Jonathan Pryce was a bit, well, priceless at times. HitFix's Drew McWeeny found it fun enough, calling it "breathless in all the right ways." But it's a turn-your-brain-off exercise if there ever was one, whether director Jon Chu's fandom shines through or not. Though Adrianne Palicki ain't too bad on the eyes for 90 minutes. Let us know what you thought/think if you get around to seeing it, and feel free to vote in our poll below.
Unsurprisingly, considering the minimal theatrical exposure documentary shorts receive even relative to their live-action and animated counterparts, Best Documentary Short annually seems to be the award about which most Oscar watchers (and even some pundits) seem to be the least aware and/or informed. And the same is true within the Academy itself: among the 6000 voting AMPAS members, only a few hundred vote in this particular category.
A biopic of late, great stand-up comedian Richard Pryor is clearly a cursed production. Versions with filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Kasi Lemmons have crashed and burned, even with stars attached. Filmmaker Bill Condon was coming off the $100 million "Dreamgirls" in 2006 and had an honest script in place depicting all the drugs, women and turmoil of Pryor's life, but the hard R rating made it difficult to land financing. It was dark with a capital "D," and stars such as Eddie Murphy, Will Smith and Jamie Foxx balked, further scaring off studios as the project bounced from Fox Searchlight to Paramount.
Round about the time we were all waiting breathlessly for "The Tree of Life" to finally land, the idea of a Terrence Malick film bowing simultaneously in theaters and on VOD and iTunes would have seemed pretty far-fetched. But the journey for his follow-up, "To the Wonder," has been different from the off.
Unveiled at Venice without a US distributor, the esoteric love story garnered enough damning reviews to scare off bigger distributors like Fox Searchlight (who had nurtured "Tree"), and was left waiting for some time before finding a home with niche outfit Magnolia Pictures. They were in no hurry to release it, either, wisely skipping the pressures of the 2012 awards season and waiting until the spring -- allowing the UK to be the first territory to release the film, last month. Meanwhile, critical reception for the film has warmed up somewhat since its chilly festival debut, with further champions joining the early defenders.