Yes, my friends, the action starts right here, right now, right after the jump.
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I haven’t been paying quite as much attention to the cinephile end of the movie blogosphere as I should lately, so we’ll start there.
* It’s never too late to check out the Brian DePalma blogathon that wrapped up yesterday at Tony Dayoub’s Cinema Viewfinder. I’m actually not a member of the DePalma cult that includes everyone from the late uber-critic Pauline Kael to Quentin Tarantino and probably 70% of the male cinephile population. I dig a few of his movies a great deal and the oddball horror/suspense musical satire, “Phantom of the Paradise” has a special place in my heart. On the other hand, I have serious problems with even some of his most well-regarded films including, or perhaps especially, especially “Blow-Out.” There’s a cheapness to his films and tendency to wallow in despair that I can’t support.
Of course, that’s just me and Dayoub wrapped up yesterday in grand style with a fairly personal piece about “Scarface” (vastly overrated by many; I’ll take the Howard Hawks “Scarface” over it any day) and “Carlito’s Way” (which I think is underrated and overall just a solidly good movie). Anyhow, stroll around the site and you’ll see pieces by some of the true superstars of cinephilia.
* Speaking of great film lovers, you won’t find detailed appreciations of DePalma coming from The Self-Styled Siren — nor of Michael Mann or Sam Peckinpah. Her bailiwick is classic era films (ending roughly around 1965) with an eye towards melodrama and comedy. Though her identity remains a secret, her fans are legion and definitely includes your humble host.
Her latest post is an attention grabber: “Ten Melos the Siren Would Watch Instead of Mad Men” which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a fascinating list that males who want to expand their minds beyond the usual guy movie obsessions should definitely contemplate. And, yes, there’s a vigorous debate over “Mad Men” in comments, as well as an unsolicited cocktail recipe from me. If you’ve been looking for the inevitable backlash over the acclaimed series, which I personally love as much as anyone, there’ll be no more enjoyable place to find it.
Some news after the flip….
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I have no idea whether ol’ F. Scott’s famous quote about the rich applies to the famous, or the rich, but that’s sure what you get from a cursory glance around the filmsphere this oddly muggy SoCal afternoon.
* Kim Masters contemplates the impact of Mel Gibson’s personal mishegas on his bankability. The upshot is the guy’s got chutzpah, even if his behavior is a shanda.
* Johnny Depp hangs out on his Jolly Roger-flying yacht off of a private Caribbean island, drinks daiquiris and gets written about for Vanity Fair by his buddy before heading off for his next film. Must stink to be him.
* Per Nikki Finke, father and on-again Robin Wright husband Sean Penn is taking a year off to work on his marriage. If my dad had taken a year off, for any reason, my mom would’ve either divorced him instantly or checked into an asylum.
* I’m not sure if Judd Apatow is “very famous,” or merely famous for a producer/writer/director/non-actor, but he tells VF he would like to come back as a beloved dog. I’d prefer to be an admired cat. See how different we are? Not even the same species.
* And, suddenly, I’m in the mood for a little Celebrity Jeopardy. After all, they’re just like us; just more famous.
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?
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.