Posts Tagged ‘Brad Pitt’

Showbiz Kids: The Oscars, Charlton Heston and Steely Dan

February 3, 2010

Before we begin, there are two important things to remember about the Oscars. The first is the Charlton Heston Rule. That rule is that the Academy is made up of a lot of people like the late Charlton Heston—old fogeys with traditional tastes. Wonder why Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain or There Will Be Blood didn’t take best picture in 2008? It’s not a hard or fast rule, but think about what your grandmother might vote for. There are a lot of retired actors and techies out there who have a say in what wins.

The second rule has been inaugurated this year. It’s the Steely Dan Rule. What do the ‘70s jazz-funk duo have to do with the Academy Awards? You might remember in 2001, their disc Two Against Nature beat out stiff competition from Radiohead’s Kid A. The reason commonly given was that the producers, engineers and other tech-heads who made up the Recording Academy wanted to recognize the painstaking approach Fagen and Becker took in the studio. Two Against Nature didn’t win because it was filled with great tunes like “Do It Again.” It won because, to a group of voters who use their ears for a living, it sounded great.

It’s this latter rule which makes me think that James Cameron is going to have a good night. Avatar is pretty much a turkey as far as movies go and a staggering display of kitsch. There’s no denying, however, that legions of effects people have spent a lot of time making it look good. That effort will, Squally thinks, be honored by the Academy. Cameron also gets the credit for marshalling that effort. Say what you want about Avatar. Like Titanic it took a guy with a genuine Napoleon complex to put it on screen. The Hurt Locker may be the better movie, but it’s still a more modest achievement—especially in terms of box office. At least Kathryn Bigelow gets a chance to work again, which nobody was expecting after The Weight of Water Avatar’s victory, though, is somewhat bittersweet. That the movie should be honored with a best picture nod when wiser heads understood that its acting and script were somewhere around the level of that Tucker Max flick is a pop culture crime of the highest order.

So now onto the rest …

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Inglourious Basterds Gets the Vanity Treatment

April 2, 2009

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It’s not quite Gisele Bundchen losing her toga, but upper class skin mag Vanity Fair has some stylish pictures of the (clothed) Inglourious Basterds cast, snapped by Brigitte Lacombe. Things we learned: QT is still talking of the picture being ready in time for Cannes, Diane Kruger‘s character is “the stunning German screen actress Bridget von Hammersmark,” Eli Roth is “Sergeant Donny Donowitz” and the pic is being described as “Pulp Fiction meets The Dirty Dozen meets The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.” Oh, and it’s not Schindler’s List. That roughly translates as “Quentin Tarantino directs lowlifes in a really long movie.”

Kevin MacDonald on the State of State of Play

March 19, 2009

state-of-playState of Play director Kevin MacDonald is interviewed on his home territory of Scotland, which allows him to get a few digs in at Brad Pitt, the star who walked out of the political thriller.

Kevin said: “In a way, I was lucky it didn’t work out with Brad.

“The relationship between the journalist and the politician was meant to be between somebody who feels inferior, who’s a bit of a schlump, who kind of can’t get a girlfriend, and somebody he’s looking up to and admires – his polished politician friend.

“That is not the dynamic of Brad Pitt.

“He’s not looking up to anyone thinking, ‘Oh, I wish I could have your girlfriend.'”

Russell Crowe stepped into the breech, and MacDonald couldn’t be happier. “I think he is the only A-list movie star who has no vanity,” the Oscar-winning director says, although we can think of at least one hotel clerk who would disagree with him. He also talks about how a trip to Argentina got him started on a career that resulted in films like One Day in September and The Last King of Scotland. Next up for MacDonald is Eagle of the Ninth. The film is a low-budg Roman epic from Rosemary Sutcliff’s young adult novel that deals with similar material (feral legionnaires) to Neil Marshall‘s forthcoming Centurion. State of Play opens on April 17.

The Slate: Important Artifacts from Adam Sandler and Dante’s Inferno

March 19, 2009

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Trailerama: Inglourious Basterds

February 26, 2009

Only Quentin Tarantino can cram a Leone reference and a nod to Aldo Ray into a trailer’s first five seconds. That, along with the Weinstein-mandated QT hagiography, is the dressing. The gristle is mostly Brad Pitt’s Dixie-fried exposition with a little war porn. Can’t be worse than Death Proof and really, who doesn’t love a dead Nazi?