Conventional wisdom says Hollywood doesn’t have as many true movie stars as it used to, with the brightest stars’ wattage trending down ever since the days of Humphrey Bogart. Even in the 21st century, however, when devastatingly-good looks and charisma meet in one earthy vessel who makes good career choices, tickets get bought. A lot of tickets. These ten beautiful people’s films have generated over two billion apiece at the box office.
Famous people aren’t all bad. In fact, some of them, despite their shortage of time and debilitating desire to be caught on film doing weird, immoral things, actually dedicate their time to helping other people instead of themselves. The trend of celebrities getting involved in charity work seemed to spin out of control once Angelina became such a saint, and now it seems like it’s another Hollywood trend to get involved in making the world a better place. But what can we say? If they’re doing it, they’re doing it – who cares if it’s all for good press?
Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: Tribeca starts, Cannes prepares to close, and a filmmaker goes “D’oh!” over a deer.
Now here’s a trend we can get behind: Mainstream movie audiences are increasingly turning their backs on cleverly marketed but shoddily made movies in favor of higher quality films.
Citing disappointing box-office results from middle-brow movies on which the big studios had pinned blockbuster hopes – remakes like THE WOLFMAN and THE A-TEAM, star vehicles like KILLERS with Ashton Kutcher and THE TOURIST with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and sequels like SEX AND THE CITY 2 – and the surprising success of more complicated pictures like INCEPTION and THE SOCIAL NETWORK – the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes asserts that “studios are finally and fully conceding that moviegoers, armed with Facebook and other networking tools and concerned about escalating ticket prices, are holding them to higher standards. The product has to be good.”
SMASH HIS CAMERA, directed by Leon Gast
One of two documentaries about paparazzi culture at the Sundance Film Festival this year — the other is Adrian Grenier’s TEENAGE PAPARAZZO — Leon Gast’s SMASH HIS CAMERA traces the colorful career of Ron Galella, “paparazzo superstar” (as he calls himself). Among the first and by far the most notorious of stalker photographers, Galella played a years-long cat-and-mouse game with Jackie Kennedy and earned a restraining order for his efforts. Once he got too close to Marlon Brando, who rewarded him with a fist in the face.
Now in his late 70s, Galella fondly revisits these old war stories in SMASH HIS CAMERA, which also follows the still-active photographer on a few excursions from suburban New Jersey to Manhattan high society. He worms his way up to Robert Redford at a charity event and hands him a copy of his new book (needless to say, this got plenty of laughs at Sundance). He barges onto the red carpet of the CHANGELING premiere to get a good look at Brangelina. Various experts — curators, photographers, lawyers, gossip writers — weigh in on the merits and ethics of Galella’s work (there’s widespread disagreement).
EAT is this week’s theme on THE GREEN. Many questions will be addressed. What are the differences between farm and factory? How far does food travel to get to your plate? How was your food made? Does organic food really taste so good that all other problems disappear when you eat it? Do vegans really…