No one needs awards coverage this deep
How will he be remembered? Christopher Plummer and Eric Roth on the icon.
Mike Wallace was one of the original correspondents for CBS's "60 Minutes," which debuted in 1968.
Credit: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
The news has landed that legendary "60 Minutes" newsman Mike Wallace has passed away at the age of 93. It was reported by "CBS Sunday Morning" earlier today.
Wallace was of course a titan of his industry, a familiar face on the weekly CBS news show as warm and welcome on the television every Sunday as the nightly showcases of Peter Jennings, Dan Rather and Ted Koppel in their times. The highlights of his career are milestones of the news world: the Ayatollah Khomeini, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Iran-Contra and, of course, Big Tobacco.
Which yields an unavoidable question, one Wallace the character posed in Michael Mann's 1999 film "The Insider": "I'm not talking celebrity, vanity, CBS. I'm talking about when you're nearer the end of your life than the beginning. Now, what do you think you think about then? The future? In the future I'm going to do this? Become that? What future? No. What you think is, 'How will I be regarded in the end? After I'm gone.'"
Open thread. The floor is yours.
A scene from "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown."
Credit: United Feature Syndicate
Apologies for going quiet on you like that -- my March flu has returned with reinforcements, and I've been too groggy to get much of anything done. The Easter weekend couldn't be more sympathetically timed.
Anyway, welcome back to Cinejabber, your weekend space to bandy about any random movie-related thoughts you may have on your mind.
Any of you planning to go to the movies over the holiday, or are you nesting at home with chocolate eggs and DVDs? With "Titanic 3D" casting its shadow over the multiplexes, the week's new wide releases don't look too tempting -- though if you live in New York or LA, I urge you to hurry off to "Damsels in Distress," which beguiled me in Venice, wound up on my 2011 Top 10, and stands comfortably as my favorite comedy of the last couple of years.
Is a posthumous Oscar on the cards?
Armie Hammer, Lily Collins and the cast of "Mirror Mirror" in Eiko Ishioka's animal-inspired finery.
Credit: Relativity Media
I realize that this is my third post in the space of a week to mention the staggering wardrobe created by the late Eiko Ishioka for "Mirror Mirror." But since a posthumous Best Costume Design Oscar for the Japanese visionary -- a word diluted by overuse that fully applies here -- who passed away in January after battling pancreatic cancer, is going to remain near the top of my wishlist for the next awards season, you may as well get used to it. Certain feats of genius demand appropriate respect, and with so many shiny (and shinily dressed) objects still to arrive and distract viewers in the next nine months, one may as well hammer the message home early.
Accents, details and color flashes of Ishioka's "Mirror Mirror" designs still drift into my head two weeks after seeing the film: the saturated cobalt tone of Snow White's fighting gear, or the absurd detailing on the ship-shaped hats worn by Julia Roberts' literal court pawns. Not many films invite a rewatch just to drink in background garments one might have missed; here's one.
Guessing games aplenty before Cannes lineup is unveiled on April 19
Zhang Ziyi in Wong Kar-wai's "The Grandmasters," which reportedly won't be ready in time for Cannes -- or this year's fall festivals.
Credit: Wild Bunch
We're still over two weeks from the official announcement of this year's Cannes Film Festival lineup, but speculation over the inclusions is in full swing -- the blogosphere is littered with wish lists, predictions (the most thorough of which is this rundown by critic and betting man Neil Young) and even purported leaks, including this bogus one excavated yesterday by Jeffrey Wells.
As a guessing exercise, that list looked plausible enough in some respects -- at this stage, few are going to bet against David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" or Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" showing up in a Competition, while young Directors' Fortnight and Un Certain Regard graduate Xavier Dolan seems ripe for his first appearance in the big show -- but questionable in others. For starters, as much as we'd welcome some fresh blood in the mix, it seems unlikely-to-impossible that perennial Competition participants Michael Haneke, Ken Loach and Abbas Kiarostami, all of whom have films ready for the taking, are all going to miss out on a berth.
Considering the writer/director's latest from its Italian setting
Judy Davis and Woody Allen in "To Rome with Love"
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
Probably shouldn't be going there on my honeymoon, but, well, it's relevant and our trip is winding down, so why not?
I'm on the tail end of a nine-day trip to Rome, typing this out from an apartment on Via dei Pettinari, listening to the sounds of joy and inebriation from those walking east across the nearby Ponte Sisto and a night of drinks across the Tiber in the Trastevere. Posters and full-bus adverts for Woody Allen's "To Rome with Love" (née "Nero Fiddled"/"The Bop Decameron") have been announcing the film's imminent April arrival all over the city and the trailer dropped today, so I thought I'd give it a look and "work" for a bit.
Allen cranks out a film per year. The law of averages dictates that most of them will stink, and indeed, as of late, most of them do. For every "Midnight in Paris" (which held an impressive stay on the circuit last year and yielded a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the writer/director), we're due a "Scoop" here, a "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" there, etc. I have heard from only one person who has seen "To Rome with Love," and from what I gather, it's back to the junk pile. And the trailer sure does suggest some scattered silliness with little to stimulate the mind.
Could 'Mirror, Mirror,' 'The Deep Blue Sea' or 'The Hunger Games' resurface at Oscar time?
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games" -- the box office story of the first quarter, but does it have any Oscar hopes?
So, the first quarter of the release calendar is complete. If it doesn't exactly feel that way, that's because we tend to spend the first two months of every year fixating on the previous year's movies still in the hunt for Oscar glory, giving short shrift to the freshly released right under our noses. For Oscar-watchers, at least, there's a reason for that, though you can debate the chicken-or-egg root of it all: first-quarter films don't tend to feature much in the awards race nearly a year later.
With voters' memories notoriously short, studios rarely risk releasing top-category awards material this early in the year. You have to go back to 2000 to find a Best Picture nominee that hit theaters before April: "Erin Brockovich," which rather impressively locked up an Oscar for Julia Roberts over a year in advance. Last year, only two eventual Oscar nominees -- in any category -- opened in the first quarter, though one of them eventually proved an above-the-line winner: "Rango" took Best Animated Feature, while fellow March baby "Jane Eyre" snagged a Costume Design nod. The year before, the animation and design were also the kindest fields to the first quarter: "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Wolfman" won in craft categories, while "How to Train Your Dragon" scored a nod in the toon race.
Open thread. The floor is yours.
Sam Worthington in "Wrath of the Titans."
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
A day late -- for which, you know, apologies -- but welcome to Cinejabber, your
weekend Sunday space to kick around any stray movie-related thoughts you might have on your mind. (Or perhaps not movie-related. Hold forth. We're not here to judge.)
For my part, I'm feeling frustrated once more by the internet's dispiriting rush to brand new releases with Rotten Tomatoes numbers, letting mere mathematical averages divide success from failure. Regular readers know this is a routine gripe on my part, and I've been reminded of it largely because others keep reminding me that I'm against the Tomatometer, as it were, on the week's two major multiplex releases. (One person, amusingly, suggested my two reviews amounted to an early April Fools' gambit.) Among so-called Top Critics, it's just me, Richard Corliss and Andrew Barker interrupting the inevitable avalanche of pans for "Wrath of the Titans"; "Mirror Mirror" has more defenders -- here's a particularly cogent rave from the excellent Stephanie Zacharek -- but the growing majority seem to be immune to its impish charms. Oh well.
Tarsem's latest opens in theaters today
Julia Roberts and Nathan Lane in "Mirror Mirror."
Credit: Relativity Media
"I bet you think you know this story. You don't -- the real one's much more gory." With this crisp opening couplet, Roald Dahl announced his imminent desanctification of the Grimm Brothers' "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," one of six done-to-death fairytales given a black-comic makeover in his 1982 bestseller "Revolting Rhymes."
Dahl's book was itself a tangy kid-lit response to Angela Carter's ingenious adult sexualization of that dusty literary canon in her essential 1979 volume "The Bloody Chamber"; working at opposite ends of the scale, both writers were making a concerted effort to reclaim these darkly symbolic stories, originally targeted to grown-ups, from their sweetened, child-oriented colonization by Disney. Bar the occasional valiant but underseen effort, however -- Neil Jordan's Carter adaptation "The Company of Wolves" among them -- it was a while before Hollywood arrived at a similarly subversive memo, particularly as Disney revived their commercial fortunes at the end of the 1980s by returning to the pages of Andersen and Perrault, their traditionalist approach interrupted only by happier endings.
After the success of 'The Artist,' TWC is snapping up Gallic titles
Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy in "Untouchable," now bound for a Colin Firth-led remake.
Credit: The Weinstein Company
Two nearly simultaneous items of industry news struck me today as closely related halves of the same story, and not just because they both involve The Weinstein Company. The news of the studio snapping up US distribution rights to "Populaire," a French throwback romcom that has been generating international buzz since appearing in the Berlinale market last month, has probably been greeted with too many "It's this year's 'The Artist!'" headlines -- but tied to the news of the Weinsteins going ahead with a remake of French smash dramedy "Untouchable," with Colin Firth and "Bridesmaids" director Paul Feig tentatively attached, a linking narrative is hard to resist.
"The Frogs are coming!" is no less premature a rallying cry now than it would have been immediately after the Oscars last month. But while other American studios are still looking to Scandinavia for their crossover fodder -- cue remakes of "Let the Right One In," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Headhunters" -- the Weinsteins clearly have a lot of faith in the French. The last time Gallic property was this hot in Hollywood was 20-odd years ago, when everything from "La Femme Nikita" to "The Return of Martin Guerre" to "My Father the Hero" was ripe for a remake.
Jonathan Liebesman's film the rare sequel that learns from past mistakes
Rosamund Pike in "Wrath of the Titans."
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
It's hard to think of a major 2012 release I was looking forward to much less than "Wrath of the Titans," a largely uninvited sequel to 2010's singularly ghastly "Clash of the Titans" remake -- a notorious nadir in post-converted 3D sludginess, but also a dour, incoherent slog even in two dimensions. It made millions, sure, but so do the Kardashian sisters... and no right-minded person is clamoring for further editions of them.
Indeed, I wasn't planning on seeing "Wrath of the Titans" at all. Every year, there's a certain number of obviously whiffy releases one can reasonably relegate to the "only if you pay me" pile, and there I felt comfortable chucking Sam Worthington's latest skirt-opera -- until, well, someone offered to pay me. Commissioned by Time Out to review the film, I slumped into the screening room earlier this week with the grim-faced mien of a man keeping a urologist's appointment -- only to emerge, some 90-plus minutes later, with ears and eyes bludgeoned but a wholly unanticipated spring in my step. Whisper it soft if you must, but as my review explains, "Wrath of the Titans" is not half bad. Okay, it's good.