Random Thread for January 2012

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Happy new year, everyone. May all of us have a better 2012 than John Cusack did.

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

108 responses »

  1. Producer’s Guild nominations:

    THE ARTIST
    Producer: Thomas Langmann

    BRIDESMAIDS
    Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend

    THE DESCENDANTS
    Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

    THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
    Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin

    THE HELP
    Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green

    HUGO
    Producers: Graham King, Martin Scorsese

    THE IDES OF MARCH
    Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver

    MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
    Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

    MONEYBALL
    Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

    WAR HORSE
    Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

    The Academy choices will probably come from this–although Tree of Life and Drive may yet have life.

  2. World War Z should’ve been a TV series in the UK vein of tv, with two seasons of six episodes and a to part special at the end that encompassed the entire, AWESOME book. One movie on one section of the book and then more movies on more sections?
    The Battle of Yonkers is an awesome section, but why not call the fucking movie Battle of Yonkers and still make the entire book a tv show?! ….smh.

  3. And now ‘Bridesmaids’ and its mediocre screenplay get a WGA nomination. There seems to be talk that it’s a genuine chance of a Best Screenplay Oscar. Surely not!

    I see that ‘Young Adult’ also got nominated – I’m sure JS and Brian being the big fans they were of the film would be impressed by that.

  4. National Society of Film Critics results:

    BEST PICTURE
    *1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
    2. The Tree of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
    3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

    BEST DIRECTOR
    *1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree of Life)
    2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
    3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)

    BEST ACTOR
    *1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree of Life)
    2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
    3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

    BEST ACTRESS
    *1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
    2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
    3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
    *1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
    2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
    3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
    *1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
    2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
    3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

    BEST NONFICTION
    *1. Cave of Forgotten Dreams – 35 (Werner Herzog)
    2. The Interrupters – 26 (Steve James)
    3. Into the Abyss – 18 (Werner Herzog)

    BEST SCREENPLAY
    *1. A Separation – 39 (Asghar Farhadi)
    2. Moneyball – 22 (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin)
    3. Midnight in Paris – 16 (Woody Allen)

    BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
    *1. A Separation – 67 (Asghar Farhadi)
    2. Mysteries of Lisbon – 28 (Raoul Ruiz)
    3. Le Havre – 22 (Aki Kaurismäki)

    BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
    *1. The Tree of Life – 76 (Emanuel Lubezki)
    2. Melancholia – 41 (Manuel Alberto Claro)
    3. Hugo – 33 (Robert Richardson)

  5. Hey Brian, I see that you’ve seen a lot of the films I’ve reviewed here lately. I know you post reviews on your own site, but it would be great if you can duplicate or summarize them here so we might get a dialogue going.

  6. Yeah, you’re right. I always mean to post a reaction here and if I feel particularly strongly (i.e., when I think my reaction is most likely to spark discussion) I always do, but sometimes I just don’t get around to it.

  7. ……………apparently, I turn to all of you when the most miserable thing in my life happens. Please start a discussion about something…about anything.

  8. Well, I certainly hope you’ll be okay. I can share a conversation I’ve been having with some literary friends on Facebook: if there were a Mt. Rushmore of American literature, who would be on it? We’ve been grouping it by time period, but you can suggest whomever you want. They just have to be American.

  9. Faulkner, King, Kerouac and …… not sure the other.
    And before you hate, King is a monster of American literature.

    Yeah, thanks for the shout…the Steelers lost to, of all people….Tim Tebow. i know in the scheme of things, that’s not terrible, but I took it pretty hard. Dramatic, I know, but I also had a mouse gnawing its own leg off and crying and I couldn’t get to it and I hated it and I’m a pacifist so I couldn’t do anything and……..all is better.

  10. Geez, you were miserable over a football game? I thought somebody died. I usually don’t root for any athlete that feels compelled to constantly thank Jesus, but I kind of enjoyed that game. Never been much of a Steelers fan.

    As for the Mt. Rushmore, if going strictly by importance, I’d go with Twain, Melville, Faulkner (yes, he was from Mississippi) and Hemingway. But then what about Poe, Hawthorne, Fitzgerald, Whitman, Dickinson, O’Neill? Too tough to whittle down.

  11. Ha ha, I saw filmman’s initial comment last night on my way home, and wondered if it was Steelers-related. Tebow seems like just the kind of guy to throw filmman into suicidal despair.

    But I don’t mean to laugh at your pain, dude. Any sports fan with any kind of enthusiasm has been through heartbreak. Been there, done that.

  12. DGA nominations:

    WOODY ALLEN
    Midnight in Paris
    (Sony Pictures Classics)

    DAVID FINCHER
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    (Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

    MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS
    The Artist
    (The Weinstein Company)

    ALEXANDER PAYNE
    The Descendants
    (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

    MARTIN SCORSESE
    Hugo
    (Paramount Pictures)

  13. I’ll easily be rooting for Scorsese off of that list. Hazanavicius probably second; The Artist wasn’t thrilling to me but at least it was unique. I liked the movie a little less than Midnight in Paris, but as a directorial accomplishment I don’t think Paris stands out.

    The Fincher thing really puzzles me. He brought absolutely no distinction to Dragon Tattoo. Even his usual stylistic slickness seemed half-hearted. I guess he’s come a long way in terms of reputation since Panic Room, which seemed equally half-hearted to me but didn’t come within a mile of having any actual prestige bestowed on it.

    I’d say the same about Payne – little about The Descendants seemed particularly noteworthy to me – but at least Payne didn’t make a film that is virtually indistinguishable from a previously existing Swedish film (except for being slightly worse).

  14. Slim:
    I know there is a Don Neuls in the family, but wouldn’t know where or how or what-for. Awesome, though. Go Neuls!

    And I forgot about Twain….definitely. But Kerouac has to be up there. He’s a giant of American literature. And he deserves something more than a broke alcoholic stupor death legacy.

    Brian:
    Yup. It was bad. But I swear, that mouse gnawing its leg off made it worse.
    I couldn’t get to the little guy, and he was making the worst sounds. And then they tied it up, and the mouse was gnawing his leg and then Tebow threw the pass and I just couldn’t take any more…it was tough.

    Alright, Midnight in Paris was good, but come on. Though off the top of my head, I can’t think of another one for that list. Yikes…

  15. I agree with you, Brian. I liked Midnight in Paris a bit more than Hugo, but the latter was a greater achievement. I’m afraid this almost cinches a Best Picture nomination for Dragon (I liked it much more than you, but it’s not Best Picture material) and ends any thought of Tree of Life getting in.

  16. Filmman–were you using a glue trap? If you’re that soft hearted (and I’m right with you–I’d hate to go through that) why not one of those humanitarian traps?

  17. The seven films eligible for the Oscar in Best Makeup:

    “Albert Nobbs”
    “Anonymous”
    “The Artist”
    “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life”
    “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
    “Hugo”
    “The Iron Lady”

    Thank god J. Edgar didn’t make the cut.

  18. No, the mouse really was stuck in the trap, I really couldn’t get to him, he really was making he worst sound and he really was gnawing his own leg off.

    I didn’t place the trap, but I was looking into his little eyes as he looked back at me, his leg half-off…it was kinda a profound moment for me. Solidified a lot of my view of the universe simply being a series of random awful things.

  19. On another note:
    The Take and Stuart: A Life Backwards are simply amazing performances by the best actor of this generation.

  20. I set one of those old-fashioned mousetraps once, caught the little guy within minutes. One big SNAP! followed by a few seconds of scratching sounds as he flailed around. I didn’t particularly like that, so I caught the next mouse humanely (I had three in the apartment at the time that I know of), using a trap of my own design, and released him living and unharmed into the dumpster, where I figured he would at least have a good life for a few days.

  21. The Take and Stuart: A Life Backwards are simply amazing performances by the best actor of this generation.

    You really ought to amplify these comments. I hadn’t heard of either of these movies, and when I Googled “The Take” a movie starring John Leguizamo came up. He’s good, but best actor of his generation? Then I Googled the other movie. I’ll hold off on declaring Tom Hardy the best actor of his generation just yet, thank you.

    Of course the universe is a series of random things, but what makes them awful is human perspective. And if there are random awful things, then there are random excellent things that happen. As Shakespeare wrote: “There is no good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

  22. I’ll hold off on declaring Tom Hardy the best actor of his generation just yet, thank you.

    That’s because you’ve never seen The Take

  23. Am I right in saying that films that don’t get a DGA nomination hardly ever win Best Oscar Picture? If so, there goes my theory of ‘The Help’ being a surprised BP winner.

    Back on the SAG awards, how they do they decide which people get included as part of the best ensemble cast? I saw Carla Bruni was part of the nomination for ‘Midnight in Paris’ yet was in the film for 5 minutes, if that.

    Also, even though I didn’t care for Bridesmaids and the recognition it’s getting it’s nice to see Jill Clayburgh getting posthumous recognition at the SAG’s after her death. Considering she died in Nov 2010 she must’ve filmed her scenes only weeks before her death.

  24. Marco, that’s a good question about SAG that I don’t know the answer to. I’m guessing that the studio in question submits a list. As for Bruni, I also believe she was in the opening credits.

    Yeah, you’re right about DGA. War Horse and The Help are cooked when it comes to winning Best Picture (but they could certainly be nominated). It’s looking like it will come down to The Artist vs. The Descendants. Kind of a meh year.

  25. So I watched the Red Tails trailer…and since Marco’s talking about The Help…

    Red Tails reminds of The Help. A ‘feel-good’ story where a line of dialogue is actually ‘Can you help save lives?’ as though a black man has NO IDEA how to do the same thing a white man does.
    Come watch The Help and Red Tails! Hollywood revisionism to repaint an abhorrent racist history as ‘giving a ‘people’ their voice’!

    Also, has anyone seen the trailer for Jack the Giant Killer? Oh, man, really?! I wonder why we haven’t heard anything more about *that* one…

  26. I saw George Lucas on The Daily Show last night talking about Red Tails. He’d been trying to make it for 23 years, but had to finance it himself, since studios said they couldn’t market a big budget movie that had an all-black cast, and that it didn’t have foreign market appeal. (Lucas says it’s the first “all-black” action picture, which sounds wrong, but I can’t think of another one). He’s unashamed about calling it “patriotic, jingoistic, and corny,” and if it’s a hit he has a prequel and sequel in mind.

  27. Dude, you just ruined my entire day.
    I know you think this killed my argument against this movie, but it hasn’t. Not at all, I tell you…not at all.

  28. Red Tails doesn’t look like it’s trying to “repaint” a history of racism, it looks like it’s about the black people who had to deal with it. It does look bad, though.

    But then The Help wasn’t about “repainting” anything either. The racism in that movie was portrayed as a very serious, omnipresent menace. In fact, I thought it came pretty close to portraying the Old South as basically a fascist society, organized along integrated lines for the benefit of a select few socially privileged white people … certainly not white people generally.

  29. On Colbert last night (I was up late), he had Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor at Tulane (formerly at Princeton) and author of a book on black women’s stereotypes. He asked her about The Help, and she was unequivocal of her condemnation of it. I was interested to hear more, so I found this link, with video, where she explains her position. Food for thought.

  30. I’ll accept Harris-Perry’s statements on historical accuracy, and I can’t deny her feelings as I am not a black woman, but there is a flaw in one of her arguments: She says she hates to see an actress as good as Viola Davis play a black maid. Well, who should play a maid, a bad actress? A white actress in black face? She seems to be saying that the period should not be represented at all, but on Colbert’s show she clearly stated that racism should be discussed, not avoided. As Hattie McDaniel said years ago, she’d rather play a maid than be one.

  31. I like that last quote about playing a maid rather than being one. (Sorry, Brian for the double comment)

  32. I had no problem with Life Is Beautiful, ethics or morality wise. Do you have the same problem with The Great Dictator? And The Help is not a comedy, so how do the two compare?

  33. See, it’s the ‘Pretty Woman Paradox’.
    Hollywood decides it can market the shit out of a movie about a hooker. This wasn’t a Tiger Woods escort, it was a full-on, street-crack hooker soliciting dudes in cars.
    The question then becomes why not just make her a poor person? Someone at a supermarket or something? Or make her an escort! Why sugarcoat something that causes many, many people a lot of very bad trouble? To reinterpret historical or real facts without thinking of some sort of social and moral…what’s the word….responsibility towards conveying the truth, in the largest, most popular medium available doesn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t make it through Schindler’s List, but the moment I turned it off, the moment when Fiennes shoots the little kid, has never left me.
    Why do you think so many come here expecting streets paved with gold? Why so many think they’ll actually be CEO’s? Why so many think they have a shot at a dream that doesn’t exist?
    So others watching things like The Help and Life is Beautiful are never taught what actually happened in those times and take them as gospel and that becomes their history, their barometer of the world.
    You see IPods and Steve Jobs as a visionary and I see chinese slaves and nets that stop suicide jumpers.

  34. I read about Harris-Perry’s comments back in August, when the film was released. Bob Somerby writes briefly about them here (and more about the movie here) in what I think is a pretty sensible way.

    I hate to ask, filmman, but did you see The Help? I figure I should ask instead of just making assumptions.

    Why do you think so many come here expecting streets paved with gold?

    For a lot of immigrants, the situation awaiting them here is often better than what they left behind, golden streets or no.

    So others watching things like The Help and Life is Beautiful are never taught what actually happened in those times and take them as gospel and that becomes their history, their barometer of the world.

    I don’t know what this even means. Do people watch Life Is Beautiful and assume that the Holocaust was a barrel of laughs? I have my doubts. I’m not even sure how that movie portrayed the Holocaust as a desirable situation for anyone involved.

    Have you seen Life Is Beautiful, by the way?

  35. For a lot of immigrants, the situation awaiting them here is often better than what they left behind, golden streets or no.

    I guess that makes some sense, but when you’re using misleading means to make people believe certain things…you stumped me on this one. I’d need to think about that a little more, but I think it still ignores having a moral framework when expressing something.

  36. I conceded to you in the ‘Black Swan’ discussion. I erred there, and said I wouldn’t do it again. Actually, I conceded to Marco, but answered you. So I will not answer your condescending question again.
    And you asking me makes me revisit in my mind the crazy Italan elf’s oscar win where he climbed on the back of the seats to get to the stage. Thanks.

  37. I conceded to you in the ‘Black Swan’ discussion. I erred there, and said I wouldn’t do it again. Actually, I conceded to Marco, but answered you. So I will not answer your condescending question again.

    ?????? What’s with the defensiveness?

    I don’t mean to be condescending, and I don’t see what’s condescending about the question. I’m just trying to figure out where you’re coming from because I don’t understand what you’re saying.

  38. I’ve been thinking about what you said and there’s a story that I want to use in relation to answering it but it’s someone’s private story that I am privy to, but without that story, I have place to speak on anyone else’s because I lived through the situation that would explain how even though the circumstances are better when immigrants get here, most times there’s a trap that most fall into that keeps them immigrants and while living a more pleasant life by your standards, it’s just a different face for the same personality.

  39. From an article in the NY Times, on a Supreme Court involving whether the FCC has the right to censor the public airwaves:

    The commission has, for instance, said that swearing in “Saving Private Ryan,” the Steven Spielberg war movie, was not indecent, while swearing by blues masters in a music documentary produced by Martin Scorsese was indecent. Nudity in “Schindler’s List,” another Spielberg movie, was allowed, but a few seconds of partial nudity in “NYPD Blue” was not.

    Justice Elena Kagan offered a summary of the state of federal regulation in this area. “The way that this policy seems to work,” she said, “it’s like nobody can use dirty words or nudity except for Steven Spielberg.”

  40. Alright, I apologize for being defensive. Please accept this pie that I baked as a peace offering with a special ingredient that makes it perfect.
    Alright, see, I already regret writing that. So freaking ridiculous. And Sissy Spacek should feel ashamed for being in that scene.

  41. Noticed that Margaret is going to be playing here again in February, so I’ll get a chance to see it after lazily skipping it during its initial run.

  42. I just used Google + for about five minute and already deleted my account. Found no more than 5 people I know, most of whom hadn’t updated in at least 4 months. Sad little service.

  43. Back on the Oscar race, how big a chance is ‘Hugo’? I haven’t seen it myself, but it’s gotten as well reviewed as any film in the race and seems to be in contention for all the major various awards so far. I’d say the main things against it are that Scorsese won only a few years ago, children’s films rarely win BP (‘Oliver’ only one that comes to mind) and it hasn’t really caught on with the public. But it might still be an outside chance.

    Meanwhile, Jeff Wells says he spits on those who considers ‘The Artist’ the best film of the year. Good to see he’s not getting emotionally caught up in the Oscar race like he usually does.

  44. Marco, I would put Hugo in third right now, after The Artist and The Descendants, mostly for the reasons you list. As to what will win, it really depends on the DGA award. If Hazanavicius gets it, Jeff Wells will need to do a lot of expectorating.

  45. James, I’m with you. I saw your post on my old question regarding what there is to do on G+. Not much, it seems. Some “celebrities” have taken a liking to it over Facebook, but FB still wins by a mile.

  46. I created my account on G+ months ago and then only returned once or twice to whenever someone wanted me to join their circle. Can’t see the point of it if most people online that I know are on Facebook (or here).

  47. Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films of 2011
    1. Midnight In Paris
    2. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
    3. Moneyball
    4. The Skin I Live In
    5. X-Men: First Class
    6. Young Adult
    7. Attack The Block
    8. Red State
    9. Warrior
    10. The Artist / Our Idiot Brother (tie)
    11. The Three Musketeers

  48. Feels like QT just pulled some random list of movies out of a hat. He’s got such an unimpeachable reputation as a cult figure and film personality for so many now he basically can say anything and it be treated with respect.

  49. Remember when Tarantino picked Anything Else as the best film made between 1992-2009? While it was certainly a wonderful showcase of Christina Ricci walking around in her underwear and tight shirts for 90 minutes, the choice was clearly designed to provoke outrage. I wouldn’t take anything he says seriously when it comes to other filmmakers.

  50. I’m almost more insulted by the inclusion of Red State than The Three Musketeers as it’s even more clearly just a shoutout to a fellow ex-Miramaxer.

    And Fast Five! That must have some people buzzing, Juan!

  51. This is even better:

    Tarantino’s ‘Nice Try Award’:

    Drive
    Hanna
    Drive Angry
    Real Steel

    Tarantino’s ‘Worst Films’:

    Sucker Punch
    Potiche (Trophy Wife)
    Miral
    Insidious
    Rampart
    Straw Dogs
    Paranormal Activity 3
    Meek’s Cutoff

    Very happy he put Drive there. But to call it ‘nice try’? That’s awesome. Rampart in the worst, though? I’ve heard some good things about that.

  52. Meek’s Cutoff is pretty good; I don’t know what problem he could have with that. And if he’s just promoting Christoph Waltz, why not Water For Elephants, Carnage, or The Green Hornet, which are all probably better than The Three Musketeers?

  53. I seriously doubt Green Hornet is in any way ‘better’ than Three Musketeers. Green Hornet was bad. So, so bad.

  54. Green Hornet was indeed bad, but it got a 39 on Metacritic; Three Musketeers a 35, which suggest that QT, who has lost his mind, actually liked the latter film.

  55. I think the Oscars will replicate the major Golden Globes given tonight, except I don’t think Streep will win–I think it will be Viola Davis. But Plummer, Clooney and Spencer should win Oscars. And Scorsese won’t win director. Best Picture will be a showdown between The Artist and The Descendants.

  56. Glad to see Plummer win. Also glad to see Allen win (although haven’t seen the other main contenders there to see whether fully deserved).

    Hugo winning Best Director confirms my belief that it’s a bit of a wildcard in the Best Picture race.

    Interesting to see Allen and Streep win as their Oscar history is quite similar. Both multiple winners but haven’t won Oscars since the 1980s and have been nominated endless amounts of times since then without success.

    JS, do you think Allen will win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar?

  57. The shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar:

    Belgium, Bullhead, Michael R. Roskam
    Canada, Monsieur Lazhar, Philippe Falardeau
    Denmark, Superclásico, Ole Christian Madsen
    Germany, Pina, Wim Wenders
    Iran, A Separation, Asghar Farhadi
    Israel, Footnote, Joseph Cedar
    Morocco, Omar Killed Me, Roschdy Zem
    Poland, In Darkness, Agnieszka Holland
    Taiwan, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Wei Te-sheng

    I’ve seen none of them, but at least I’ve heard of the German and Iranian film (there’s a poster of the latter up at my local arthouse, indicating it’s coming soon). Anyone seen or know about the others? Rob?

  58. This is the best comment I’ve ever seen on Hollywood Elsewhere, from Lex G (not that I agree with it, but from a blockbuster lover’s point of view, it’s pretty damn good. Especially with all the comments about Tiny Furniture before it. No, Brian, I didn’t make it through the entire thing. Not by a long shot, but I got through enough to nod my head reading the comments):

    “F— indie movies. I wish Michael Bay would hire out the US Navy’s fighter division and strafe that snowbound shithole with an air drop of hookers, centerfolds and exploding Ferraris then land on the tarmac like Gustav Graves clutching a gold film canister containing his lost 3-hour Victoria”s Secret commercial where Shia LaBeouf shuts down the fucking globe like Snake Plissken, then smirkily asks, “Hey I heard you guys made some bullshit movies too, what’s it about?”

  59. That’s a pretty stupid comment, considering without indie films, LexG would never get a chance to see a movie like Sleeping Beauty, which has his beloved Emily Browning naked for half the movie.

  60. Yeah, that lexg rant was a pretty good one. Even speaking as someone who didnt hate ‘Tiny Furniture’ (thought it was so-so) if that’s the best that type of film can dish up it’s not exactly must-see.

  61. I never did see Tiny Furniture. Even if it’s terrible, though, that rant is pointless and stupid.

    I wish we wouldn’t even write Mr. G’s name. No doubt Google alerts will tip him off about it and I really don’t want him showing up here.

  62. Through Box Office Mojo, interesting comparing the box office for the 2011 year between Australia and America (or is it North America?).

    The top 5 films for both countries are the same, just in different order. But then there’s ‘Bridesmaids’ which was a very big hit in America (14th place) but was even bigger in Australia, coming in 6th.

    Similarly ‘The Smurfs’ was a sizable hit in America, coming in 19th for the year. But it was an even bigger hit in Australia, getting in the top 10 and outgrossing ‘Cars 2’.

    ‘Mr Popper’s Penguins’ did only moderate business in America, but was a sizable hit in Australia, finishing in 23rd place.

    Not surprisingly, ‘Moneyball’ failed to have the same impact in Australia that it did in America due to its baseball story. Also, ‘Captain America’ (perhaps because of its title) failed to do the same business in Australia that it did in USA.

    At the other end of the Australia box office scale, ‘Our Idiot Brother which did earn a bit of money in USA, hardly made a cent in Australia. ‘Red State’ did even worse and ‘Stake Land’ had the unfortunate honour of being the lowest-grossing film in Australia in 2011.

  63. Big decision I have to make for Friday night – do I want to go see Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, or P.T. Anderson’s Hard Eight, neither of which I’ve seen before? One or the other, can’t do both.

    I’m leaning towards The Mirror, because it’s both more convenient (at the Film Center downtown instead of Doc Films way down on the south side) and because it seems harder to see. But I’m sure at least a few of us have seen Hard Eight – how is it? I haven’t liked Anderson other than There Will Be Blood so far, although I haven’t seen Magnolia, either.

  64. ‘Sydney’, not Hard Eight. Hard Eight was forced on Anderson after the distributor tried to re-brand the movie.
    I’d really like to know what you think of Magnolia. I’m kind of surprised you haven’t seen it, and I’d like to know more of why you don’t like his movies.
    I wish I was in Chicago, because I’d love to see Sydney again.

  65. Well, I guess what I actually mean is that I didn’t like Boogie Nights or Punch-Drunk Love. I haven’t seen Boogie Nights since its original release, but I remember it being so self-consciously ironic that it felt like PTA was mocking the characters. That’s always something that annoys me. The crazy guy with the firecrackers, Dirk cutting a record while John C. Reilly’s character gave the producer a hard time, Roller Girl just wanting a mommy (and the character of Roller Girl to begin with, really), William H. Macy getting fed up and murder-suiciding … it all was just so over-the-top kitschy and insincere. Smug is probably the best word.

    I didn’t think Punch-Drunk Love was all that much different. I guess in theory I can appreciate the effort to play off of Sandler’s man-child persona in a non-comic way, or at least in a more grimly comic light than the usual Sandler stuff. But again, I thought it came across as insincere and a little bit smug, the kind of movie where the audience can measure their own superiority by how much better they are than the main character. Not unlike Young Adult, actually, although I don’t remember PDL being nearly as nasty.

  66. Very well. I like feeling superior by being able to look-down on characters, but THAT SAID…I empathized far more with Sandler than anything else and thought Boogie Nights perfectly illuminated a man who loves someone but gets so little respect, he resorts to violence. So I guess we came at those movies from two different angles.
    Man, I wish I could see Sydney again.

  67. I’ve never seen The Mirror, but I did like Hard Eight a great deal. Funny, because I thought Boogie Nights was brilliant, hated Punch-Drunk Love, and thought Magnolia was okay but kind of ridiculous.

  68. Ridiculous?!
    Heresy! Hersey, i say!
    You have every right not to like it, but *ridiculous*, sir?! I slap you softly twice with my two black gloves held limply in my hand!

  69. Why didn’t someone say the Life Lessons segment of New York Stories is so F-ing amazing?

  70. Oedipus Wrecks from New York Stories is one of Allen’s most fun, engaging and ‘laugh out loud funny’ movies.

  71. I kind of enjoy that commercial for This Means War (most notably for the use of the Edwin Starr song). A pretty appealing cast, looks like fun. But then I read that it was directed by McG. Guess I won’t see it after all.

  72. Any soundtrack experts who can help me identify the music used in this trailer (for Barry Levinson’s Bugsy)?

    It’s not Morricone’s score, nor is it from his work on State of Grace from the year before. Frustrating…

    (EDIT: Got it thanks to Shazam. It’s Atto Di Dolore, by Morricone.)

  73. After Contagion and Haywire the name Soderbergh doesn’t raise any hackles anymore. Haywire….just a poor film. Terrible acting, bad writing, worse editing…

  74. Just found out that Step Up is going to be a quadrilogy! Wow! I like to imagine it is called Step Up 4-Ever, but I don’t think it is. Life is cruel.

    How they got Emma Thompson in this one is beyond me.

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