In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Michael Moore shakes up the Academy, while Jodie Foster and M. Night Shyamalan have directing troubles.
Jason Apuzzo reacts with horror to the election of Michael Moore (AMPAS photo below) to the Academy’s board of governors: “The ongoing ruination of what was once a special institution continues unabated, apparently with no adults around to stop it.” In this context, the word adults means conservatives, though Apuzzo does reveal (shockingly!) that one of the 43 members of the board belongs in that category. Of course, the board is not the Supreme Court: one unabashed liberal is hardly going to tip the balance of a group with that many members, particularly when the liberal in question doesn’t live in L.A. and may well not make it to a fair number of the monthly meetings. But for the Hollywood-is-a-godless-cesspool crowd, Moore is the gift that keeps on giving, and a target too, um, big to resist. (Libertas Film Magazine)
Bilge Ebiri tries to make a measured appraisal of M. Night Shyamalan, whose commercial resuscitation with “The Last Airbender” (which will probably make more than his last two films combined) has been accompanied by viciously negative reviews and a “visceral, personal loathing” that Ebiri finds missing in reactions to other widely-panned directors. His conclusion: Shyamalan is still a talent and Ebiri is “genuinely hoping he can get his groove back,” but he wonders if the director even realizes how far he’s fallen. (Vulture)
Jenni Miller asks a question: “Is Jodie Foster’s directorial career cursed?” Her evidence in the affirmative includes the collapse of one movie she planned to direct, “Sugarland”; the disappearance of financing for another, “Flora Plum”; and the inconvenient fact that the leading man in her film “The Beaver” is none other than her pal Mel Gibson, who’s back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Gibson’s recent tirade against his ex-wife, Miller says, “threatens the future of her movie as well.” At the very least, it’ll make the press tour very uncomfortable … (Cinematical)
On the heels of verdicts against the Walt Disney Company and Rysher Entertainment in the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Nash Bridges” lawsuits, Matthew Belloni examines “a trend that should have Hollywood heavyweights worried”: juries don’t like “Hollywood accounting,” and are inclined to rule against the entities that practice it. One attorney tells Belloni that juries now view studios “in the same light as insurance companies,” which apparently is a very bad thing for those studios. (THR, Esq.)
Paul Tassi uncovers what he says are some plot details of the third “Men in Black” movie, which director Barry Sonnenfeld will make in 3D. It involves time travel, an evil biker played by Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”), and a lot of ‘60s and ‘70s era celebrities who turn out to be aliens. (Not much of a stretch for, say, Andy Warhol.) (JoBlo,com) But some of Tassi’s revelations, I suppose, qualify as spoilers – so you could also get the basic drift from Russ Fischer, who puts the more sensitive stuff after a break. (Slash Film)
Shane Danielson busts an ethically-dubious German film-magazine editor who posted a short review of “Inception” (she gave it three out of four stars but said that director Christopher Nolan was “not as original as he can be”) without actually seeing the movie. But Anne Troester, the film editor of Berlin’s English-language monthly ExBerliner, was unrepentant, and didn’t understand why he was making such a fuss about a piece that she thinks isn’t long enough to be a real review, even if it does appear to pass judgment on the film. Unethical and arrogant – never a good combination. (indieWIRE)