Renew! Renew!

No, I’m not reminding you about your subscription to Better Homes and Gardens but merely suggesting that you check out Glenn Kenny‘s amusing post today about “Logan’s Run,” Jenny Agutter, and a certain key moment in the lives of young males in the days of a more forgiving MPAA. And, though I still a bit punchy after my epic look at the Scream Awards yesterday (which I’m still correcting punctuation errors and typos in), there is movie news to recount as second, third and fourth lives for news stories seem to be the theme of the day.

logans_run_001

* Setting  a movie going record shouldn’t be too hard to pull off if you’re one of the world’s most famous, talented, and bizarrely controversial pop stars and the memory of your unexpected death is still fresh in everyone’s mind. It’s even easier if you open your movie on a Tuesday. However, it sure seems that critics and audiences mostly agree that “This is It” delivers the goods and that the Jackson shows really would have been remarkable. Given all that, I think we can agree that yesterday’s $2.2. million is only the beginning.

I also want to direct your attention to Roger Ebert’s extremely positive review in which he wonders aloud about Jackson’s ability to perform on an extremely high level while apparently shot full of drugs. Frequent readers of Ebert will have long sensed that addiction is a topic he has some first-hand experience with (he confirmed it recently when he came out as a recovering alcoholic), so this is an especially poignant read.

* I meant to post this on Monday, but Joe Mozingo of the L.A. Times put together a pretty excellent run-down on the entire Roman Polanski debacle. I have some relatively minor differences with certain aspects of the article, but on the whole this is the best round-up of the actual information on the case that I’ve read and is appropriately tough and factual. One interesting fact that I’d actually forgotten in all this: the victim herself has said on television of the crime that “It wasn’t a rape.” You can speculate on her reasons for saying that, but perhaps people should have been a bit less hysterical in their criticism of Whoopi Goldberg over her notorious statement. You’d think she’d committed “rape-rape,” when a certain amount of confusion about this case is actually pretty natural. My single favorite word in this piece: “alleged.”

* Another story that keeps renewing, Variety gives us the upside of ten Best Picture nominees and a second life for lesser known classic era Univerasl horror flicks too. Very nice.

* Anne Thompson argues for a second chance and a “serious release” for “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.” I’m not a fan of the original movie, but she makes Werner Herzog’s more humorous take sound infinitely preferable to the rather pretentious original by Abel Ferrara.

* Speaking of second chances, the inspired comedy of “Black Dynamite” is in bad, bad trouble. It’s not just the man keeping it down, it’s sheer ignorance. See the damn movie, folks. In any case, if you wait much longer, you might not get to see it in a theater at all. That would straight up suck. And remember, we all deserve a second chance.

I’m still not sure what a kid from Hawaii was doing in South Central that fateful night, but you get the point.

  

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

EW answers 8 lingering questions about the Oscars

EW.com asks and answers eight lingering (and burning) questions about the 2009 Oscars, including why Phillip Seymour Hoffman was wearing a stocking cap on a 75-degree, Southern California day.

Other interesting questions…

What was the motivation behind having five former winners introduce this year’s nominees in each of the acting categories?

Where was Jack Nicholson?

Was Beyoncé lip-synching during the musicals medley?

Who is Sato Masuzawa, the woman Sean Penn called his ”best friend” in his acceptance speech?

  

Related Posts

Richard Roeper on the Oscars

Richard Roeper nailed all the major categories and was 21 for 24 in his predictions. He sums up the night in his latest blog.

Who knows if Mickey Rourke’s offscreen antics cost him the Best Actor trophy. More likely, Academy voters felt Sean Penn’s performance in “Milk” was more likely to resonate through the ages. Both actors played charming, doomed characters, but Harvey Milk was a real-life crusader, whereas the wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson was a fictional creation. We felt empathy for Rourke’s character, despite his self-destructive and self-loathing ways—but we felt inspired by Penn’s Harvey Milk. The roles themselves might have given Penn the edge.

I love Kate Winslet but I didn’t love “The Reader.” She was fine in a supporting role, but she was unforgettable in her much larger role in “Revolutionary Road.” Heath Ledger’s performance was Oscar-worthy. The tragedy of his death was reflected in the faces of all those talented actors who worked with him or knew him or simply appreciated his gifts. Penelope Cruz had a showcase role in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and she hit it out of the park. Like Dianne Weist and Mira Sorvino, she is also the beneficiary of a Woody Allen screenplay.

“Slumdog Millionaire” was the best movie of 2008 and one of the best 100 films I’ve ever seen. I’m thrilled for the film, the cast and of course for Best Director winner Danny Boyle.

As for the show: Hugh Jackman did a fine job in a couple of lavish and slightly wacky production numbers, and then he seemed to disappear in the second half, as is usually the case with hosts. I can’t imagine that he’d ever want to take on the job again. The ratings won’t be great, but the Oscars will still bring in more viewers than the Grammys and the Emmys combined. Until/unless they cut the ceremony to two hours and eliminate the broadcast of the “minor” categories, the numbers will continue to go down. When the viewers at home have never heard of the winner onstage, have never seen his film and have never heard of any of the people he’s thanking—that’s not timeless TV.

  

Related Posts

Using statistics to predict the Oscars

Movie buffs love predicting Oscar winners, but stats guru Nate Silver decided to look at hard data and trends to come up with his own predictions. Political junkies are familiar with Silver, as his blog became one of the top resources for interpreting polls and predicting election results in the last cycle.

After spending most of 2008 predicting the success of political actors—also called politicians—it’s only natural that Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight.com) would turn his attention to the genuine article: the nominees in the major categories for the 81st Annual Academy Awards (Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. on ABC). Formally speaking, this required the use of statistical software and a process called logistic regression. Informally, it involved building a huge database of the past 30 years of Oscar history. Categories included genre, MPAA classification, the release date, opening-weekend box office (adjusted for inflation), and whether the film won any other awards. We also looked at whether being nominated in one category predicts success in another. For example, is someone more likely to win Best Actress if her film has also been nominated for Best Picture? (Yes!) But the greatest predictor (80 percent of what you need to know) is other awards earned that year, particularly from peers (the Directors Guild Awards, for instance, reliably foretells Best Picture). Genre matters a lot (the Academy has an aversion to comedy); MPAA and release date don’t at all. A film’s average user rating on IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) is sometimes a predictor of success; box grosses rarely are. And, as in Washington, politics matter, in ways foreseeable and not. Below, Silver’s results, including one upset we never would have anticipated.

Check out the article for his predictions. There aren’t many surprises, but it’s interesting to see the probability percentages he allocates to each category.

  

Related Posts