My Daily Moment of (Blood-Soaked) Zen


Do I really have to say anything after all that?? Other than, God Bless you Harvey Weinstein and ROLL ON DECEMBER 2!!

*Thank you x a million to GBGals for the pics!

RIP Peter Falk 1927-2011

Peter Falk, an actor best known for playing the rumpled, cigar-chomping, raincoat-clad detective Lt. Columbo on the eponymous tv show from 1971 until 2003 (including full seasons and made-for-television movies) has succumbed to complications of Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 83.

Falk was the recipient of awards and accolades too numerous to mention, but here are a few: "Columbo" was, of course,  his most famous role by far, for which the actor was nominated for an Emmy ten years in a row. He won four times for that role, but he’d already been nominated twice and won once for other projects. In 1961 he became the first actor to be nominated for an Emmy and an Oscar in the same year when he was nominated for his performance as a vicious killer in 1960’s Murder, Inc. He was nominated for an Academy Award again the following year for director Frank Capra’s penultimate film, Pocket Full of Miracles, opposite Bette Davis and Glen Ford.

While instantly recognizable due to his glass eye (he lost his right to cancer at the age of three), with his gravelly, New York accented voice and brash style, he may have been stuck playing hoodlums if not for his good friend, actor/director John Cassavetes. They made six films together that showcased the depth and range of his abilities (as well as their own relationship): Machine Gun McCain , Husbands  (a tour de force of pent-up male emotion complete with self-indulgent, self-flagellation and cruelty which are now staples of films that deal with the fragility of the male ego and about which Falk said, "there was no character, there was only me."), A Woman Under the Influence, Mikey and Nicky, Opening Night,  and Big Trouble.

My favorite is A Woman Under the Influence from 1974, directed by Cassavetes and although he didn’t appear in the film it co-starred his wife, Gena Rowlands.  Falk played a laborer on a road crew whose eccentric wife is so beyond-the-norm eccentric that she’s considered mad.  Nick Longhetti is a role rife with conflict; a passionate combination of frustration and compassion, anger and tenderness, confusion and confidence.  Gena Rowlands (along with director Cassavetes) garnered all of the praise for that film, but Falk’s friend wrote him one hell of a part.  See it once and you won’t forget it. The movie changed the way that mental illness is portrayed on film.

Along with the brilliant and personal dramas, I’ll remember the comedies such as The Great Race, The Brink’s Job, the original version of The In-Laws, The Cheap Detective and one of my very favorite movies, Murder by Death; but I’m sure for at least one generation, he’ll always be the Grandfather in 1987’s The Princess Bride. These last two, especially, need to go straight into the queue if you have not seen them. If you have, watch them again… in memoriam.

"I was in disguise in disguise in disguise. You work hard for fifty bucks a day in this racket." Sam Diamond, Murder by Death
"Yes, you’re very smart. Shut up." Grandpa, The Princess Bride

Peter Michael Falk, actor, born 16 September 1927; died 23 June 2011


 After months of waiting with bated breath to find out when we’re going to get to see Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus, the Weinstein Company has finally given us a date! *doing the demented poodle dance!*

The film will be released Friday December 2, 2011, which says to me that Harvey sees it as a definite award contender. Ralph Fiennes has certainly gotten good buzz from the festivals that he’s already taken the film to, both as a director and for his performance in the title role. Vanessa Redgrave has also already gotten excellent notices. I’m hoping they make the trip to Venice if not Toronto. As of this writing, there is nothing else scheduled for that weekend either, so it will have no major competition, certainly not Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which was my fear.

Given that we’ve already learned that Relativity Media is planning to campaign for awards season recognition for Machine Gun Preacher, is it too much of a stretch to imagine that MGP and Coriolanus will end up in competition? (Is anyone else getting the vapors just thinking about that possibility??)


“Thanks Harvey, I really appreciate it!”

“Now can we talk about a trailer??”

AMPAS Releases List of This Year’s Invitees…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released its list of those invited to join their organization as voting members.

This year’s list includes the first posthumous invitation to Restrepo Co-Director Tim Hetherington who was killed this year while working as a photojournalist covering the civil war in Libya.

It’s obvious from some of their choices that the Academy is trying to skew to a younger demographic. Among this year’s invitees are Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Mila Kunis and Beyonce Knowles (I know what you’re thinking, but she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Dreamgirls and she does possess a SAG card. I’m not a Beyonce apologist, I’m trying to understand the thought process behind it as much as you are.)

The full list of invited actors:

Russell Brand (Arthur, Get Him to the Greek)
Gerard Butler (The Ugly Truth, 300)
Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Eastern Promises)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1, Mona Lisa)
Bradley Cooper (Limitless, The Hangover)
John Corbett (Sex and the City 2, My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Rosemarie DeWitt (The Company Men, Rachel Getting Married)
Peter Dinklage (Find Me Guilty, The Station Agent)
David Duchovny (Things We Lost in the Fire, The X-Files)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, The Squid and the Whale)
Jennifer Garner (Arthur, Juno)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, The Perfect Storm)
Thomas Jane (The Mist, The Thin Red Line)
Nastassja Kinski (An American Rhapsody, Tess)
Beyoncé Knowles (Dreamgirls, Austin Powers in Goldmember)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, The Burning Plain)
Tea Leoni (Ghost Town, Spanglish)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Million Dollar Baby)
Lesley Manville (Another Year, Topsy-Turvy)
Rooney Mara (A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Social Network)
Dominic Monaghan (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
Connie Nielsen (Brothers, Gladiator)
Ellen Page (Inception, Juno)
Wes Studi (Avatar, The Last of the Mohicans)
Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre, The Kids Are All Right)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom, Cosi)

Yeah, that’s right. Gerard Butler has been invited by the Board of Governors to become a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS’ membership committee looks at performers and filmmakers bodies of work in determining whether or not they are worthy of membership; (I also used to think it was automatically bestowed on each year’s nominees. Apparently that’s not true, although if you look at this year’s list, it does include almost all of them from last year in all major categories.)

I literally got butterflies when I read G’s name. It means respect; the respect of his peers and of the Hollywood power structure. JMHO, I think it has a great deal to do with his new role as producer (not to mention his innate ability to charm everyone he meets; a skill that is perfectly suited to his chosen profession both in front of and behind the camera. One of his strengths has always seemed to be his ability to forge strong professional relationships with key industry insiders. )

The conspiracy theorist in me can’t help but think that it’s not mere coincidence that this news follows closely on the heels of  the early "Oscar talk" being bandied about in reference to his performance in Machine Gun Preacher.  But then again…what’s that saying? Oh yeah…"We’re all connected"…

(Because it’s never too early and I like to be prepared, I’ve sent Uncle Peter out to mine the smelling salts that I will surely be in need of come award season, for one reason or another.)

And just because I can…

Ryan Kavanaugh, I Love You

I have to say, when it was first announced last June that Lionsgate had its hands on Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher, I was less than thrilled. Lionsgate has dropped the ball in the past, JMHO, on some other films that I’ve had high hopes for. Just as an example, they bought a well written, intelligent little thriller called Butterfly on a Wheel, changed the title to something more “marketable”, Shattered*, and then buried it on basic cable instead of giving it the theatrical release and the attendant publicity it deserved. They did, however, see fit to release Good Luck Chuck the same month and year. I’ve been wary of seeing Lionsgate on anything I’m interested in ever since, and this is one film I did not want to see mishandled.

The film is a fact-based drama about the Reverend Sam Childers, a reformed biker slash drug dealer who found religion, established an orphanage in war-torn Sudan and to this day still supervises a militia to protect the children who were and are being abducted to become soldiers. 

Gerard Butler plays Childers, and Michelle Monaghan his wife Lynn.  Michael Shannon, Kathy Baker and Souleymane Sy Savane also star. Jason Keller wrote the script that was based on the book, Another Man‘s War: The True Story of One Man‘s Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.

It’s no secret how I feel about Gerard Butler, but regardless of how I feel about him as an example of male perfection, I’ve always believed in his talent as an actor and that he hadn’t been given the opportunity (perhaps due to the fact that he is so damn good looking, perhaps not) to showcase his abilities with a really meaty dramatic role. Admirers of Butler have been pinning their hopes for such an opportunity on Machine Gun Preacher and Ralph Fiennes’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, since they were announced.

When MGP filmed in Detroit last summer, the initial word coming off the set had high praise for Butler’s performance (if not for his mullet), and now industry insiders who’ve seen the film are starting to whisper things like Oscar-caliber. This in and of itself is enough to have me calling for Uncle Peter and the smelling salts.

Now I find out that The King of All-Hollywood, as I’ve been referring to Renaissance man Ryan Kavanaugh for quite some time, and his Relativity Media have taken over domestic distribution for MGP and I’m almost beside myself .  Supposedly Lionsgate’s packed fall release schedule, and Relativity’s lean one, led the companies to the arrangement.  Lionsgate will still handle international rights on the film, but this, if it’s as good as people are saying will give Relativity a stake in the Oscar race. They did well last year with The Fighter so they have a taste for it now and I can imagine they wouldn’t mind going to the big dance again. I don’t care why they’re doing it, I’m just glad that they are.

Per Mike Fleming at "Relativity Media will set a fall release {for MGP} and is expected to platform the picture for Oscar season. Early word is that Forster might have pulled a performance out of Gerard Butler akin to the one Halle Berry turned in for Monster’s Ball."

Of course, I have yet to see a single frame of this movie. It’s entirely possible that this is all Hollywood hype and the movie is total crap. But I don’t think so. I’ve had a really good feeling about this one from the moment I heard Marc Forster was directing. He’s a talented and versatile director who manages to pull the best out of his actors. Monster’s Ball was brilliant and he not only got an Oscar -worthy performance out of Berry, but he got amazing performances out of Heath Ledger and Billy Bob Thornton as well.A nomination for Johnny Depp was among the seven earned by  Finding Neverland. Hell, Will Ferrell was nominated for a Golden Globe for Stranger Than Fiction. I’m a fan of all three of these films. I’m also a fan of Forster’s much-maligned Quantum of Solace.

So there’s Forster directing and, in addition to Butler and Monaghan, the cast boasts Kathy Baker and Michael Shannon, actors whose names alone tend to lend gravitas to the idea. The wild card here is Jason Keller, but he’s just done the screenplay for one of the Snow White movies, (the one with Julia Roberts) a very hot property right now, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. All of this has given me hope that they’ve done justice to the material and created something worthwhile.  The addition of Ryan Kavanaugh takes my expectations to the next level, just as the interest of Harvey and The Weinstein Company did for Coriolanus.

If The Great Ginger Hope has chosen Machine Gun Preacher to be his date for Awards Season, I’m all for it. Just give me a release date and I’ll buy the corsage.

*I understand that this title does fit the plot, but it’s a little too simplistic for my taste and “tv movie-of-the-week-ish”. JMHO, but the original title was much less obvious. Maybe it’s just me but I like a good literary reference. Changing the title, yet leaving in a key scene that referenced the original title, lessened the dramatic impact of that scene. Again, JMHO.

Daniel Craig is So “Money” in the New Trailer for Cowboys & Aliens‏

…and I am so excited for Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens, I can’t stand it!

A new trailer, which previewed at Spike TV’s "Guys Choice Awards", has hit the web this weekend. In it, Daniel Craig gives the impression that his Jake Lonergan (love that name, although is it just me or does it conjure up images of Robert Shaw in The Sting?*)is a distant, wild west cousin of James Bond. He’s even got a cool gadget-y bracelet. There’s much more action in this clip than in any of the previous trailers and clips, which is just fine by me, and was probably done to suit its initial Spike TV audience.

For my part, I’ve watched the thing four times now and I get goosebumps every time. Of course, we see more of Craig’s preternaturally blue eyes in this one…that might have something to do with it…just sayin’.

The synopsis for this film is long and involved…

"1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past (Craig) stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear.
But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known.
Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents – townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors – all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival."

But read that and then watch the trailer and it all makes sense…

The film, which in addition to Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford (playing Indiana Jones grandfather I think,) stars Sam Rockwell (who appears to be channeling Jason Priestly from Tombstone,) and is directed by Jon Favreau, who after Iron Man 1 & 2 knows exactly how "money" he is. It’s produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg (!) and the king of all Hollywood, Ryan Kavanaugh and opens in theaters July 29.

Do not expect this to be the last word from me on this subject!

*Yes, I know Robert Shaw’s character in The Sting was ‘Doyle Lonnegan’

Do It To Me One More Time…

C’mon…you didn’t seriously think I was done with that fantastic John Varvatos suit did you?

Okay, what do you think G is talking about with Mrs. Orlando Bloom, mother of five month old Flynn?  Judging from the second pic, where impossibly fit Miranda appears to be pointing at her own boob, it must be boob related.

My guesses?

"Ummm…okay without looking, I’m gonna say the right one’s bigger. That Flynn sure is a lucky boy!"

"No! Silly Gerry! The left one’s bigger!"

"Really? Are you sure?"

Frankly, in that first one, I have a hard time getting beyond the size of that MAN MITT! Holy Schnikey! That thing could palm a Buick!

 So anyway, I’ve been hearing whisperings around the interwebz that starlet Ashley Greene caught G’s eye on the purple carpet and managed to hold it all night… (His eye people!)

I’m thinking… no. It’s just wrong on so many levels, not the least of which are those emo vampire movies that shall remain nameless.

This is Chanel Iman…

I’m calling this one right now. If they haven’t….they will…you heard it here first.

Call me crazy, but THESE are the pics which warm the cockles of my cold cold heart…

I hope they’re discussing the impending announcement of the release date for Coriolanus. Hey, you have your fantasies, I have mine.