Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Movies Preview

Aloha from Hawaii.  Not sure I'll get a chance to hang out with Roseanne this trip, but who knows?  In the meantime, here's my annual Holiday Movies Preview.  The fact that I've seen exactly none of these pictures should not undercut in any way the validity of my opinions.  

ANOTHER HAPPY DAY – Ellen Barkin takes time out from dating Barry Levinson’s 26 year-old son to star in a movie he wrote and directed.   Barry discovered her thirty years ago for DINER.   He must be so proud. 

A DANGEROUS METHOD – Freud & Jung -- the Popeye & Bluto of psychoanalysis -- mix it up over Olive Oyl (Keira Knightley). Wonder what Freud would say to Barry Levinson. 

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS – Breathe easy. Russell Brand is nowhere to be seen. Motion-capture pic by the WALLACE & GROMIT guys so should be good.

HUGO – Martin Scorsese's first kid film.  Got great reviews and a big opening weekend.  Plans already underway for his second -- a claymation version of CAPE FEAR.  

THE MUPPETS – All your favorite socks come back to life. Co-written by Jason Segel so expect some good laughs and frontal nudity.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – from the popular series that includes THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA (originally a ‘70s sitcom starring Sally Field).

THE DESCENDANTS – George Clooney learns his wife has been unfaithful and is in a coma, and he must somehow draw upon all of his strength to cope by living in Hawaii.  Getting sensational reviews.  Co-writer/director Alexander Payne may soon be saying "Mahalo" to the Academy.  

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN – Speaking of Oscars, Michelle Williams might win one playing Marilyn Monroe, an actress who couldn’t win one herself.

RAMPART – Woody Harrelson as a scary L.A. cop who pistol whips people while singing “Kelly Kelly Kelly”.

THE ARTIST – Black & White silent movie. So I’m guessing it’s also not in 3D. Word is this might be the movie of the year. Either this one or 1911. 

ANSWERS TO NOTHING – Movie about the recent Republican debates.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DOWN – PART 1 – Edward & Bella get married and have a kid who’s half vampire. He doesn’t drink blood, just gargles it. In PART 2, problems arise when he starts teething.

SHAME – Not to be confused with Barry Levinson's reaction to his 26-year-old son dating a 57-year-old woman.  Michael Fassbender as a sex addict who moves in with his younger sister, Carey Mulligan.  She begins to suspect there's a problem when he sleeps with the hosts of THE VIEW. 


THE SITTER – Jonah Hill as irresponsible baby sitter. I wonder if that's how Ellen first met Barry Levinson's son.

NEW YEAR’S EVE – Essentially a sequel to VALENTINE’S DAY. A mish-mosh of romantic stories featuring every bankable movie actor who will be doing television in a year.

The conclusion of the previews tomorrow.  


sephim said...

4 jokes about Ellen Barkin and Barry Levinson's Son (that's actually his name as stated on his birth certificate), each one funnier than the last.

I bet you can't continue into the conclusion...

Mike said...

I swear I thought I was the only one who remembered "The Girl With Something Extra". And that's including Sally Field.

Mac said...

Your movie previews are usually a list from hell, but several of these actually look really good.

If you do get that invite to stay at the nut farm, think very carefully before you accept. In fact, watch MISERY, then think about it.

Roger Owen Green said...

I've seen the Muppets - almost ALL of them are clothed. Well, Fozzie, but he has the hat.

Dan Tedson said...

There's actually a Stieg Larsson staying at the hotel my girlfriend works at. Sadly, he doesn't look anything like the guy, so Elvis and Jim Morrison still need a third for ultimate frisbee. I'm looking at you, Andy Kaufman.

RCP said...

Go to Roseanne, Ken. I predict one bowl of poi and two spoons.

T. Rexterav said...

I've been away for a couple of weeks but have been catching up on the postings today. Surprisingly, I've not seen anything on the tragic death of Greg Halman, which leads me to believe that you have not yet heard about it. The young man had a real gift of gab and was potentially, a very bright star on the horizon. Got to see him play quite frequently when he was with the Everett Aquasox - think he was the team's MVP in 08. Now his family must deal with the double tragedy of losing Greg, while his brother Jason is in jail, the alleged killer. Such senselessness.

Cap'n Bob said...

I asked Ken about Greg's death about a week ago. He never responded.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Dear Mike:

Here's part of the opening, paraphrased a bit because it is entirely from my memory of 1973:

JOHN DAVIDSON: You can actually read everone's mind?

SALLY FIELD: Don't be silly, I can't read EVERYone's mind! ...Just some people.

JOHN: What people?

SALLY: Well, most people none of the time, and some people some of the time, and a very, very few people...MOST of the time.

JOHN: Which kind of people is me?

SALLY: The last one.

JOHN: Most of the time...

SALLY: Yeah.

(cue theme)

Jack Sheldon played John's brother, and I recall an episode in which Jack was sleeping standing up.

And yes, I do have a life. Just a very noisy, crowded mind that fortunately cannot be read by Sally -- only my wife. Most of the time.

VP81955 said...

I swear I thought I was the only one who remembered "The Girl With Something Extra". And that's including Sally Field.

IIRC, the wonderful Teri Garr had a supporting role on that series.

As a film history buff, I am looking forward to seeing "Hugo" and "The Artist," though anyone seeing the latter should first see a few episodes of Kevin Brownlow's classic documentary on the silent era, "Hollywood," which can be found on YouTube.

Frank said...

I hope Barry Levinson's son and Ellen start tweeting their angst after the son gets caught cheating with Roseanne.

By Ken Levine said...

I actually did respond about what a tragedy Greg Halman's death was and even reflected on him. But I did it on Twitter. For my more immediate reactions to things I invited you to follow me on Twitter. Thanks.

But Greg was a wonderful guy. And so bright. Spoke four languages. Great great potential. Another possible Ken Griffey Jr. Again, what a terrible senseless loss.

Debby G said...

They're remaking The Girl With Something Extra. Still finalizing the lead actress. It'll be either Christina Hendricks, Sofia Vergara, or Pamela Anderson.

D. McEwan said...

"MY WEEK WITH MARILYN – Speaking of Oscars, Michelle Williams might win one playing Marilyn Monroe, an actress who couldn’t win one herself."

So it's the female version of Martin Landau's Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi.

Anonymous said...

"So it's the female version of Martin Landau's Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi."

Oh, sarcastic-comic-book-store-guy, you are so BAD!

Anonymous said...

Hope you're not back at Wailea - Las Vegas with an ocean and no gambling. Next time try Mauna Kea on the big island. It what Hawaii is all about - without the phony Hollywood crowd in the expensive cabanas around the pool. Who goes to Hawaii to sit by a pool?

Matt Patton said...

New Year's Eve -- The ads announce "New Year's Eve begins December 9th!" I wish it did. That would be sanction to down enough booze to make the ads for New Year's Eve less annoying. And those Lexus ads with bow-decorated cars. (By the way, how loud as the screams when all of the little Tiffanys and Skylers in the 90210 area code don't get their Christmas Cars, how loud are the temper tantrums?)

My Week With Marilyn Hopefully there's a scene of a red-faced Olivier jumping up and down in rage when his attempts to direct Monroe come to naught but Paula Strasberg gets the desired results with one of her odd bits of advice. Apparently, this happened rather frequently on the set, and Olivier's jealous rage was still burning over 24 years later (the fact that Olivier was also a drawing-room anti-Semite probably didn't help, either). By the way, none of this showed up on screen; The movie was pretty good--funny script by Terrence Rattigan and however mismatched Olivier and Monroe may have been off-screen, they were pretty good together in the actual movie.

D. McEwan said...

Matt, I hope you have something to back up that outrageous and scurrilous accusation of Olivier as an anti-semite.

"Tee-Hee" Anonymous Coward, really? You're the one who sounds like a comic book.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Didn't Cate Blanchett win an Oscar for playing Katharine Hepburn?

purplejilly said...

Wow, quite a lot of snark about the older woman dating the younger man. I'm actually quite happy to hear that finaly we older women are getting some of the hot younger action, and it's not all reserved for the old men! :P

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Barry Traylor said...

I too am puzzled by the snark regarding Ellen Barkin and Levinson as hardly anyone seems to bat an eye when the genders are reversed.

Peebele said...

The cast of THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA also included the marvelous Zohra Lampert and the always dependable Henry Jones. Too bad the writing was never as good as the casting.

Matt Patton said...

D. McEwen: Well, I don't have evidence in the form of a tape-recording of Olivier berating Jews, but having read his autobiography, the memoirs of others who knew him and were honest about him (which became easier after he died) and having seen several interviews (particularly one on 60 Minutes) where he went out of his way to make vicious fun of Sam Goldwyn and William Wyler (who were giving him a lead in a major Hollywood film despite his rather dismal sojourn there several years earlier), he comes across as a fairly typical sort of upper-class English anti-Semite. It's a trait he would have shared with a lot of people from his time and social class. Mind you, he was a brilliant actor at his best and a very solid film director. I also think that to some extent, his attitudes along those lines softened. He was a very wrenching Shylock late in his career (A television production of The Merchant of Venice directed by Jonathan Miller), and a character based on Simon Wiesenthal in The Boys From Brazil (he was a lot less silly than Gregory Peck). I should also note that Lee and Paula Strasberg drove a lot of people crazy, including their own students and, for that matter, their own son John, who became a director and acting coach working from a very different approach than The Method (which was based on Stanislavsky's System, which he revised more than once (he began putting less emphasis on actors digging around in their own psyches during rehearsal, fearing it would do psychological damage). The best training a lot of actors could get in Stanislavsky's acting techniques and theories in this country was to be had in the acting classes taught by Charles Laughton in Los Angeles. As for several actors assumed to be "Method" types (Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro in particular), they were actually students of Stella Adler.

Actually, the best critique I've ever read of Lee Strasberg was written by Robert Brustein, who used to be the theater critic for The New Republic. He called it "The Keynes of Time Square."

I really don't men to be scurrilous. Honest.

SoberFilmCritic said...

We don't often think of filmmakers as fans, but that's all they really are. They're the cinephiles who took the torch from a previous generation. Whether actor or director, cast or crew, all filmmakers started somewhere as movie aficionados. Even the great Martin Scorsese has a love of film that predates his career as a director. In his latest work Hugo, Marty takes the time to show moviegoers just how big a fan he is of movies. For more of my thoughts on Hugo, check out my review on Sobriety Test Movie Reviews at

Anonymous said...

Matt Patton, you support your accusations of antisemitism based on some vague citation relating to two people, Mayer and Wyler, who were known to be neurotics, by many accounts?

Hopefully, you will have your personality publicly deconstructed with the same attention to detail, so you'll get a vague notion of your own pointless douchebaggery.

enas filos said...

"THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA (originally a ‘70s sitcom starring Sally Field)".

I thought it was an alternate title for "Hedwig and the Angy Inch".

D. McEwan said...

I read Olivier's autobiography also, but got no whiffs of Anti-Semitism from it. One could dislike an individual Jewish person like Wyler or Goldwyn (Indeed, how does one LIKE Goldwyn?) without it being anti-semetism. You then go with vauge non-quotes from vague-unnamed persons, and then use his class to tar him with the attitudes of others, which is - dare I say it? - prejudice. I'm sorry, does not wash. Vastly insufficient evidence (in fact, no evidence at all) for blackening the name of one of the finest actors of the last century.

I read both of Lord Olivier's books, and watched him in many interviews, including some very much at-length and in-depth, and what I perceived was a man fairly free of all prejudices.

I have his Shylock on tape. Doesn't strike me as anti-semetic, though the play itself is. (Part of his punishment is that Shylock is "sentenced" to be a Christian, a wretched punishment indeed!)

In 1978, I was takng a stand-up comedy class at USC from Robert Easton. In the midst of the run, classes were post-poned for two months, because Bob had to go off and coach Olivier and Peck on the their accents on Boys From Brazil, the first time a teacher of mine had to put me on hold while he went and coached Olivier. I guess Larry needed more coaching than I did.

But when Bob returned to us, he did not then say: "Boy that Olivier, what a Jew-hater!"

D. McEwan said...

I shold add (brag) that I met Lord Olivier also, and though it was for only a few seconds, he didn't ask me if I had a foreskin before consenting to shake my hand.

Matt Patton said...

An blanket apology to all offended by my comments about Laurence Olivier:

I made the mistake (while trying to be flip) of stating a personal impression about the man as a statement of fact. That really isn't fair. It also didn't add anything useful to the discussion. And for that I'm sorry.