a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Already?! [updated]

As my meager list of current films seen will inform you, I'm in no way ready to compile a mostly-indestructible End of the Year List. But others sure are. Firstly, that entirely superfluous parade semi-affectionately described as "loose" announced its potential goldies. As though this fucker deserves thought:

Surprises: Uma Thurman (for "endurance," I guess); David Carradine; Nicole Kidman; the three for Million Dollar Baby (guess it is getting buzz; sorry) Scarlett Johansson (only because what the fuck is A Love Song for Bobby Long?) (A. Johansson returns to her Southern digs and shacks up with a white-dye-jobbed John Travolta and some scruffy dude. Looks gross.)
Pleasantries: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Incredibles; Jamie Foxx x 2; Meryl Streep; Clive Owen
Petty Annoyances: Finding Neverland; The Phantom of the Opera; Mar adentro; Spacey; De-Lovely (note: all of the ire reserved for these is based solely on silly, but do doubt correct, assumptions)

Is there, or will there be, or has there already started, a big backlash against Sideways? (A: A. &/or C.) If deafening praise is the worst thing you can do to a great film, then lending the same services to a Little (But Not Terribly) Big Film is akin to sending someone on a vacation to an iron maiden. And we've so rushed along poor old Thomas Haden Church. I'm guilty of calling him "one funny motherfucker" myself, but if this keeps up, both will be rotting like fruit on a windowsill by Christmas. (For He Who Was Once Lowell, it'll be doubly cruel: was that, what? A month on top of the world?) And while we're at it, why not throw nascent leading man Paul Giamatti and comeback girl Virginia Madsen up there, too?

Calm down, people. Don't you know the year should be all about Kate Winslet?

I've already linked the New York Film Critics Circle (try to find it), so here's the Boston unit, who are usually interesting. (As I recall, it was they who gave their top honor to black sheep Out of Sight back in 1998.) Kudos on Yimou. Not for the right film, but close enough.

Lastly, for the delectation of y'all, here's the massive and grotesque list of films I should probably see before compiling my own, complete with putrid excuses:

Suspect: The Aviator (Martin Scorsese)
Reasons for going: Scorsese (plus Mann); Howard Hughes deserves to be remembered for more than growing long fingernails and wearing tissue boxes on his feet ("I said, get in..."*); Cate.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Well, it isn't out yet, is it? However, I did miss two screenings for this thing, for reasons too pathetic to go into now. Also, remember when a new Scorseez was an event and not an Event?

Suspect: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson)
Reasons for going: Anderson (plus Baumbach); Bill Murray looks funny and not brooding-funny; trailer promises Devo and Bowie sung in Portuguese; a preview of Wes and Noah's forthcoming segue into animation.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: New York trip kinda out of the question right now (gimme a week); despite Baumbach and Selick, Anderson's bound to hit a redundant patch -- really, where else could he have gone after Tanenbaums excepting a complete overhaul? Take the director-for-hire jobs, Wes.

Suspect: Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood)
Reasons for going: Curiosity for Clint; Hilary Swank is allegedly actually good this time; Sean said it ruled, but not in a Mystic-y way.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Ditto, blah blah. Also, it sounds like Space Cowboys in a sweaty boxing warehouse.

Suspect: Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Anderson)
Reasons for going: Word o' mouth; fascinating subject blown up to near-epic length; Anderson apparently loathes it when people abbreviate it, which is curmudgeony enough for me.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Never made it out of NY and L.A. Fuckin' PFF committee...

Suspect: Hotel Rwanda (Terry George)
Reasons for going: Cheadle, plus Nolte!; fairly solid word of mouth; also Cheadle; and Nolte.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Well, it's not out yet, is it? (In fact, as I type these words, it's playing a mile away right now. I'm lazy.) But the words "This year's Schindler's List" arouse suspicions that it's not but it would damn well like to be.

Suspect: Bad Education (Pedro Almodovar)
Reasons for going: Almodovar is on a roll; Gael Garcia in a frock on the cover of Film Comment; reportedly has more narrative twists than a barrelful of pretzels
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Okay, so it was supposed to come out on Friday and was reviewed and everything...and then it was mysteriously yanked at the last minute. Furthermore, it is not even back on the Ritz's list of upcoming titles. What the fug, man? Don't I get a lick? Doesn't Gil get a lick?*

Suspect: The Bourne Supremacy (Paul Greengrass)
Reasons for going: Original mildly diverting (and does make good TV watching after all!); Greengrass' herky jerky look-ma-no-tripod direction gave people motion-sickness.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Finally! A piece of cine-neglect that's wholly my fault! Was very poor (and hideously, hideously depressed for dumb-ass lame reasons) when it was out and just never made the trek. You can't get motion-sickness from a 20" screen, can you?

Suspect: Cellular (David Ellis)
Reasons for going: So it's probably not a contender, but I'm not kidding.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Sheep.

Suspect: We Don't Live Here Anymore (John Curran)
Reasons for going: Ruffalo, Dern, Krause, Watts, all in a movie that was originally supposed to be made only a year or two after Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: See The Bourne Supremacy, only with a season shift. God, I was so lame.

Suspect: Kinsey (Bill Condon)
Reasons for going: Well, this guy liked it loads.
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Condon is one boring pratt; it's a biopic.

Suspect: The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo)
Reasons for going: What if...?
Reasons for avoiding thus far: See We Don't Live Here Anymore. Also what if not...?

Suspect: Ray (Taylor Hackford)
Reasons for going: Jamie Foxx sure does look like Ray Charles; Kerry; good music can't be bad; I hail from the generation to whom Ray was that old blind dude who did Pepsi commercials (since moderately fixed, but could use more).
Reasons for avoiding thus far: It's a biopic.

Suspect: Alexander (Oliver Stone)
Reasons for going: So loathed (links would only be superfluous) that I need to go in there and proclaim it isn't quite...unless it is; Val Kilmer doing Jim Morrison in Rome...with one eye; Angelina Jolie covered and snakes and whipping out a Transylvanian accent; vidcaps don't do justice to Rosario Dawsons' mammaries (best to fess up).
Reasons for avoiding thus far: Three. Hours. Long. Oliver Stone might be the most loathsome filmmaker since...well, you can't really loathe Stanley Kramer, can you? And I hear this one's not even annoying enough to be risible! What gives?

Aggressive linking by Foy.

* Simpsons. Pathetic.


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