Speeches at awards ceremonies can often be boring. But sometimes you get a memorable one like this from Joaquin Phoenix as he receives the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “Joker.” He spends his time praising all the the other nominated actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Christian Bale and Taron Egerton. He then gives a touching tribute to Heath Ledger.
“The Master” is getting a ton of buzz. It has a phenomenal cast with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, and director Paul Thomas Anderson is the new darling of Hollywood. As you can see from the photo is has a very cool movie poster as well, so you can see people grabbing movie poster frames to showcase this poster on their walls.
The critics love the film as well, as you can see from the 85% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Yet the audience rating is only 62%, so this is one of those films that impresses the critics with its artistic achievement but doesn’t entertain as many fans.
Perhaps the film is misunderstood by some, but after having seen it, it strikes me as grossly overrated. Frankly the film is boring as hell. The acting is superb, particularly the performance of Joaquin Phoenix, but Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s talent is wasted here. His character, Lancaster Dodd, is supposed to be the master, yet his appeal as a cult leader isn’t convincing. It’s not because Hoffman can’t pull off the role. It’s just that Anderson gives him absolutely nothing interesting to say. It’s all gibberish, and thus the entire premise of the film falls apart.
You have to see it for yourself to make up your mind, but I suggest you save your self the money. Save your money on the poster as well. Perhaps you can watch the film later on HBO. At least you won’t feel like you got ripped off.
No promises we’ll have a Friday news dump this week, so you’d better enjoy this edition…
* Well, the big news tonight is most definitely the reorganization going over at the Warner Brothers megastudio. As far as I’m able to suss out, what this amounts to is a consolidation of power for CEO Jeff Bewkes. Reading Nikki Finke‘s current summary of the situation is a bit like reading a Television Without Pity post for a very complicated soap opera you’ve never seen, but Anne Thompson keeps it much, much simpler. On his way out exec Alan Horn is a good guy who Thompson believes was simply superfluous. Another case of a nice guy finishing last?
However, Nikki Finke does allude to a very crucial part of the Warners empire, and that’s DC Comics now being headed by the Warners minded and Finke approved Diane Nelson. As it happens, my deep, deep connections in the comics biz were e-mailing me news earlier today — which I was somewhat aware of but failed to properly cover earlier in the week — of an onging reorganization going on over there which certainly ties into the ongoing attempts at Warners to become more aggressive regarding comics adaptations along the lines of what Marvel Entertainment has been doing for some time — and also to try and avoid more flops like “Jonah Hex.”
There was even talk some talk of DC becoming entirely a West Coast operation, but that would be a major breach of publishing industry tradition with some actual problems involved and, in any case, thanks to FedEx and the ‘net, freelancers can live where they want now. Heidi MacDonald’s great comics blog The Beat has been covering this end of the story and you read about some of what’s going on here.
Okay, actually it wouldn’t have been called anything because Joaquin Phoenix might well be dead or at least in no shape to engage in elaborate hoaxes/performance art like “I’m Still Here.”
I’ve long known the remarkable only-in-L.A. tale of how world-class auteur/raconteur Werner Herzog, the actual most interesting man in the world, helped Phoenix on a windy canyon road above Sunset Blvd. However, until I saw what’s below, I’ve never heard it from Herzog’s own lips and I’ve never seen it animated. Therefore, my thanks to Roger Ebert and filmmaker Sascha Ciezata for the video below.
I’m not sure if I remember the bit about the cigarette, which is pretty crucial if you think about it. It wasn’t included in the early accounts from Phoenix. It’s also worth noting that while it’s funnier to imagine this happening with the bloated, bearded faux rapper Phoenix, this was actually back in 2006, long before he sported that look. Also, does Herzog really drive a VW Bug?
Yom Kippur is the holiday where one abstains from worldly pleasures of all kinds, including eating and drinking, and reflects on spiritual and moral values, atoning for one’s sins, and becoming a better person. In other words, just another day in Hollywood!
* The big news right now is the bombshell, but not unexpected, admission to the New York Times by Casey Affleck that “I’m Still Here” is a fictional film. Moreover, Affleck still may not have come completely clean because he stated that David Letterman wasn’t in on the truth during the notorious interview with star/co-conspirator Joaquin Phoenix. Via Company Town, we learn that Letterman writer Bill Scheft is comparing what went on to Andy Kaufman stunts and even took credit for one of the lines.
A lot of people apparently think that Affleck, perhaps more than Phoenix, has some atoning to do, including Anne Thompson. I guess I can understand her frustration at being manipulated and lied to, but ultimately, it’s only a movie and we in the show biz press have all the credibility of car salesmen. Also it is, after all, a movie. From everything I’ve heard about the film, the far greater sin would have been if it had actually been real.
* Orthodox Jewish-bred Israeli-Brit Sacha Baron Cohen seems to be well on his way to a Shana Tova (good year). He’ll be moving into the world of “serious” acting in a planned biopic about the late multitalented Queen singer/songwriter/pianist Freddie Mercury to be written by the exceedingly busy docu-drama specialist Peter Morgan. I’ve read some ethnic quibbles somewhere (sorry, lost the link) since Mercury’s family hailed from parts of Asia. It seems to me the physical resemblance tells the tale and is no more offensive than the multi-ethnic Asian-Caucasian-Native American Lou Diamond Phillips playing a Mexican-American teen in “Stand and Deliver,” despite having not a drop of Latino blood in his veins. All ethnicities are really ethnic mixes anyhow. I can’t count the number of times I assumed someone was Jewish only to find out they were actually a mix of other groups that just came out looking all Jewy or people who look Latino who are actually Eurasian, etc.
No one seems to know whether Cohen, who can sing a little, will sing his own part. Considering Mercury’s remarkable voice, I wouldn’t complain if they simply used the old recordings. If it was good enough for “The Jolson Story” it’s good enough for this.