Good Morning Hollywood, June 29: The Blame Game

Woody Allen says he’s mediocre, Ray Harryhausen’s creatures find a home, and an exec says don’t blame Tom Cruise

In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Woody Allen says he’s mediocre, Ray Harryhausen’s creatures find a home, and an exec says don’t blame Tom Cruise.

Fox marketing co-president Tony Sella falls on his sword and accepts responsibility for the disappointing opening of “Knight and Day,” which Patrick Goldstein positions, perhaps a bit prematurely, as a “belly flop.”  Sella’s still not sure what went wrong with the film’s marketing, but admits, "The minute the tracking came out, we went into Def Con 5.” (The Big Picture)

Jason and the ArgonautsThe skeleton army that represented the state-of-the-art in movie special effects about 50 years ago may soon have a new home, if the National Media Museum in Bradford, England has its way.  The NMM, says the Guardian, is announcing a fundraising campaign that will allow it to acquire and house the collection of effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, whose stop-motion creatures enlivened many a monster movie or fantasy flick in the ’50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.  Harryhausen, who turns 90 on Tuesday, says he wants his sketches, storyboards and models preserved, and that he worries because “my profession … does not have a reputation for looking after cinematic [artifacts].”  (The Guardian)

Woody Allen tells the Times of London that he’s a “mid-level guy” who’s made a few good movies (“The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Zelig,” “Husbands and Wives,” “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Match Point” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” are the ones he likes), but who hasn’t lived up to his potential: “Out of 40 films I should have 30 masterpieces, eight noble failures and two embarrassments, but it hasn’t worked out that way.”  I’ve got news for the guy: it hasn’t worked out that way for any director, ever.  Sasha Stone, a fan, offers 10 more films that are pretty good too.  (The Times; registration required)

Jay A. Fernandez reports from a Silverdocs Q&A session between WGA, East president Michael Winslip and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, during which Genachowski revealed that his favorite movie is the 1972 musical “1776.”  Fernandez calls it “a safe choice … non-partisan and patriotic.”  Asafe choice?  Admitting your favorite is a movie Roger Ebert called “a dumb, simplistic romp through Independence Hall” and “an insult to the real men who were Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and the rest.”  I guess it’s a film’s subject matter and political leanings that’ll get you in trouble in Washington, not its quality … (Risky Business

The controversy over the racial casting of “The Last Airbender” has not gone away, and director M. Night Shyamalan is starting to get ticked off about it.  So says Monika Bartyzel, who revisits the controversy over white actors being cast as characters who were Asian in the original anime on which the film is based, and over other complaints about the casting process.  She makes notes of a recent junket where Shyamalan went on a rant at critics who’ll think they are responsible for the more “politically correct” casting in subsequent films in the series: “[T]he accusers will feel like they won.  YOU DID NOT WIN! YOU DID NOT WIN!”  Then he calms down and explains the casting, though the memory of all those angry capital letters hangs over every word.  (Cinematical)

I was going to let this one pass, but S.T. VanAirsdale is right: it’s just too good.  New York Press critic Armond White – you know, the guy who spoiled the 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating for “Toy Story 3” – has now burnished his already legendary contrarian rep with a rave for “Grown Ups.”  And it’s not just a rave that praises Adam Sandler’s lowbrow comedy – it’s one that does so by comparing it (not unfavorably) to Paul Mazursky, Mike Leigh, Jean Renoir and Mia Hansen-Love’s 2009 Cannes Un Certain Regard winner “Father of My Children.”  No, really.  I’m serious.  You can look it up.  (Movieline