Daily Call Sheet: Downey Jr. Not an Indie Movie Fan, 'Jaws' on Blu-ray, and Oscar (Bad) News

ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE ROBERT DOWNEY JR.

Found this at Hollywood Elsewhere:

I’d so much rather be doing this than some little indie movie that everyone says is fantastic and it kinda sucks and is boring.

Now that I’m back home and have room to spread out my DVD collection again, I’ve been going through the actual physical cases as I organize. It’s been a trip down memory lane, and what has most struck me is how many independent films from the 1990s I purchased and still love. Over the last ten years, though, that indie movement (with rare exceptions) is an embarrassment of pretension, nihilism, pseudo-edginess, and horribly self-conscious acting. Because most of the small studios that produced these films are gone or have been swallowed up by the majors, instead of a movement it’s now a “genre” and therefore a parody of its once glorious and interesting self.

‘JAWS,’ UNIVERSAL CLASSIC HORROR FILMS SET FOR 2012 BLU-RAY RELEASE

Something to look forward to:

Easily the most important news of 2011 is The Digital Bits landing early word that Universal Home Entertainment is slotting Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 summer blockbuster Jaws for a Blu-ray release on August 14, 2012. Spielberg told AICN earlier this year that the release (thankfully) won’t be amended (like he did with E.T.) in any way leaving in all wires and other visible bruises.

There’s really nothing all that wrong with cleaning up an old film’s special effects, especially wires and the like. The wires holding up the Martian ships in my DVD copy of the original “War of the Words” are pretty distracting. Imagine how much worse the Blu-ray will be. The problem is the slippery slope of intrusive alterations, so a complete hands-off approach is probably better.

In even better news, Universal has announced the release of their classic monster films in a Blu-ray box set. If done right, and I have no doubt it will be, that will be the must-own of the year.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘STEVE MCQUEEN: THE ACTOR AND HIS FILMS’

Most coffee table-type movie books that I have encountered are extravagantly made featuring glorious photographs, but very little substance. However, Steve McQueen: The Actor and His Films is not only handsomely produced featuring over 1,000 rare B&W and color photographs, but also contains an in-depth analysis of all of McQueen’s movies listed chronologically. This does not mean McQueen’s life is ignored. The writers expertly weave in the actor’s life journey into each chapter. Reading about his childhood early on clarifies his actions and behavior as an adult such as his legendary insecurities and his determination not to be bested by anyone, particularly a co-star.

‘BRIDESMAIDS’ A SERIOUS OSCAR CONTENDER? UNIVERSAL CHIEFS SAY YES

Pete Hammond:

If anyone were to have told you back on May 13 when Universal’s raunchy female comedy, Bridesmaids opened that we would seriously be discussing its Best Picture Oscar nomination prospects a week before Christmas, the status of their mental health would been called into question. But even though it remains a long shot Oscar pundits are online actively debating its Best Pic potential. Universal is ratcheting up its campaign with an eye on the prize it never dared dream about, and kudos for the Judd Apatow produced film directed by Paul Feig keep piling up as this awards season gets curiouser and curiouser.

No doubt, “Bridesmaids” is a very good film, but the fact that “very good” is now enough to qualify for any kind of serious Best Picture talk says something about the quality of films today. 1989 saw the release of “Batman,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “Lethal Weapon 2,” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids,” “Parenthood,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Christmas Vacation,” “Uncle Buck,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “Dead Calm,” “Enemies, A Love Story,” “Black Rain,” “The ‘Burbs,” “License to Kill,” “Lean on Me,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Cousins,” “Say Anything,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” and “The Abyss.” I would argue that any one of those is better than “Bridesmaids” — and not a single one was nominated for Best Picture.

We used to just expect movies to be as good as “Bridesmaids,” but now we’re so impressed by something that doesn’t completely blow, we’re talking Best Picture.

How depressing.

OUCH: ‘EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY’ CLOSE REVIEW

Film School Rejects:

Remember those trailers for Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that we all cringed at? Well, how could you forget – they stick with you in a very off-putting way. Disappointingly, most of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close replicates that experience. Daldry’s a fine filmmaker, and with a script from Eric Roth – a writer who’s delivered his fair share of modern classics – one should expect more from their collaboration.

Sometimes I worry that I’m too cynical when it comes to Hollywood, that my politics cloud my judgment, or worse, that I’m getting too old to see what others see. When I dislike almost every movie that comes out and roll my eyes upon learning about what’s coming next, I worry that it’s me. But then I read the above and feel better. Whew, someone else also hated those awful, goddamn trailers.

Maybe I’m not yet the get-off-my-lawn guy yet; maybe I’m not a hundred.

MIXED ‘WAR HORSE’ REVIEW:

This is interesting:

However, the film has a curious, mismatched pace to it, almost uneven as it tries to decide on how it wants be received – something replicated in its bizarre mix of real-life exposure and Gone With The Wind-styled, super-chroma-boosted cinematography. Rather than marrying the various key scenes in the film, including the charge of the cavalry, a shocking execution and a reality-defying gallop through No Man’s Land, the pockets of lighter relief seem to both trivialise and detract from the sombre but striking messages that, say, Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan are known and respected for. These moments also highlight irrelevant narrative padding, such as the extensive French-farmer-and-granddaughter domestic scenes that might provide a respite from the muddy trenches and a way to tie up loose ends in the finale, but merely digress from more important matters.

One of my biggest problems with “Indy 4” was the narrative structure, which was jarring. We’re here and now we’re here and now we’re here. The story had no flow and my brain kept having to catch up, which, of course, takes you out of the film.

MEL GIBSON TO HOST MAD MAX EVENT IN HOLLYWOOD

All three of the futuristic films will be screened at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles next month as part of the American Cinematheque tribute.

THERE WILL ONLY BE 8 OSCAR BEST-PICTURE NOMINEES — HERE’S WHY

What a mess:

Under the Oscar system, the race is immediately narrowed to those 33 films; every other movie is out of the running, no matter how many second- or third-place votes it received.

Once the initial count was made, the number of votes required to guarantee a nomination was determined. This is done by dividing the number of votes by 11, and then adding one (or if the result is not a whole number, adding whatever fraction is needed to make it one).

Example: If 250 members had voted, 23 votes would have guaranteed a nomination, because it would be impossible for more than 10 films to receive that many votes.

Got that?

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LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING

“Margin Call” (2011) — Which I am hoping to review later today.

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SCOTTDS’ EPIC LINKTACULAR

TODAY ONLY: ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN’ FOUR-MOVIE COLLECTION — $76.49

HARRISON FORD AND ABIGAIL BRESLIN JOIN THE CAST OF ‘ENDER’S GAME

A NEW ‘SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE’ TRAILER HAS ARRIVED

2011’S BEST FILMS YOU’VE POSSIBLY NEVER HEARD OF

12 FORGOTTEN FAMILY HOLIDAY MOVIES

THE TOP 10 TRAILERS OF 2011

10 ROCK AND METAL CHRISTMAS ALBUMS

FIRST OFFICIAL IMAGE RELEASED OF THE RECENTLY WRAPPED ‘CLOUD ATLAS

10 BEST SHORT SUPPORTING PERFORMANCES OF 2011

DID THIS MAN DESTROY THE MOVIES?

DAVID FINCHER DISCUSSES HIS SPIDER-MAN MOVIE THAT NEVER WAS

LISTEN TO HOWARD SHORE’S STUNNING ‘HUGO’ SCORE

INFOGRAPHIC: THE ‘DR. WHO’ TIMELINE

WATCH THE MANY WAYS MOVIE AND TV CHARACTERS DRAMATICALLY QUIT THEIR JOBS

10 UNDER-APPRECIATED SHOWS TO BINGE ON DURING HOLIDAY RERUNS

TV’S BEST, AND WORST, OF 2011

‘HARDCORE PAWN’ SETS TRUTV NETWORK RECORD WITH 2.7 MILLION VIEWERS

11 NON-CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS MOVIE MOMENTS

MANOS: ‘THE HANDS OF FATE’: RESTORING THE OPPOSITE OF A MASTERPIECE

NEXT ‘STAR TREK’ ADVENTURE: NO ORIGINAL CAST MEMBERS

REVELATIONS FROM EDGAR WRIGHT’S FILM FESTIVAL AT THE NEW BEVERLY

‘AMERICAN HORROR STORY’ SEASON 1 FINALE REVIEW & DISCUSSION

THE LOST ART OF THE SEQUEL HOOK

‘DRAGON TATTOO’ AND OTHER FEEL-BAD HOLIDAY MOVIES

25 FACTS ABOUT ‘SAY ANYTHING

BILL MURRAY REPORTEDLY HATES ‘GHOSTBUSTERS 3’ SCRIPT

THE 9 MOST DISAPPOINTING VIDEOGAMES OF 2011

TOP 10 SILENT COMEDIANS

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CLASSIC PICK FOR FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23

TCM:

11:00 AM EST: Christmas Carol, A (1938) — In this adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, an elderly miser learns the error of his ways on Christmas Eve. Dir: Edwin L. Marin Cast: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart. BW-69 mins, TV-G, CC.

Each of the well-known “Christmas Carol” adaptations has a single element that trumps the others. The 1951 version has the startling cinematography of a true ghost story and delves deeper into Scrooge’s background. The 1984 version has George C. Scott, who plays Scrooge perfectly straight, which makes the redemption scene the most poignant. What I love most about today’s pick, MGM’s 1938 offering, is the gorgeous production design and Gene Lockhart’s marvelously sympathetic portrayal of Bob Cratchit. The spirit of Christmas is alive and glowing in each and every shot, and you feel as though you’ve been dropped into one of those porcelain villages.

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