Hollywood Playbook: Thursday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Thursday's Top 5 News Items

No One Shows Up for Shia LaBeouf’s Public Performance Art

The Hollywood Reporter found no one waiting to see Shia Le-what’s-his-name’s performance-art exhibit, that apparently was meant to apologize for his shocking and well-documented acts of plagiarism:

The #IAmSorry show, a collaboration between LaBeouf and artists Nastja Sade Ronkko and Luke Turner, takes place Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Stephen Cohen Gallery.

There was no one yet at the scene when The Hollywood Reporter arrived late Tuesday morning for the unveiling, where two security guards were positioned outside. …

The visitor is then led past a curtain into a tiny room. Inside, LaBeouf sits at a small wooden table, the now-famous paper bag declaring “I am not famous anymore” placed over his head. (The wrinkled bag appears to be the same one he wore on the Berlin red carpet.) During THR’s visit, LaBeouf never broke eye contact during the one-on-one but responded with total silence to a series of questions. His only reaction came at the very end, in the form of a nodded acknowledgment after being thanked for the experience.

Narcissism makes you boorish and stupid.

What is surprising, though, is that while Le-what’s-his-name has been in some of the biggest movies of the last decade, he couldn’t even attract a bunch of dumb teenage girls to his stunt. The dumb girls might have shown up later, but this resume should spell “event.”

The problem of course is that Le-what’s-his-name is not a star. He’s just the three-quadrant demographic puzzle-piece Hollywood shoe-horns into the special effects.  

Blockbusters were much, much better when Jeff Goldblum was that guy.  


Three of Four New Releases are Eighties Remakes

Four major new film releases this week; three of them — Robocop, About Last Night, Endless Love — are remakes from the 1980s. The fourth is something called Winter’s Tale.



‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Final Season to Premiere on Netflix

It is genius of Netflix to grab anything related to the Star Wars franchise. Has Netflix made a wrong movie since rescinding the disastrous decision to break up their Streaming and by-mail services?


Bunch of Quickie Movie Reviews

One benefit of flying round-trip to Rome is that you are trapped on an airplane for 24 hours with nothing to do but watch movies. Since it is impossible for me to sleep anywhere but in a bed, this was a chance for me to catch up on some newer releases (at least new to me).

While reading these reviews, keep in mind the screen was about 7-inches wide and glued to the back of the seat in front of me.


Captain Phillips – Pretty good thriller starring Tom Hanks as the captain of a freighter hijacked by modern-day Somali pirates. As usual, director Paul Greengrass brings his maddening sterile/documentary  approach to a true story. The runtime is longer than it needs to be and I couldn’t have cared less about the pirates’ backstory.  — C+

Gravity Although I’m not interested in seeing anything in 3D, I would like this story of a resourceful astronaut struggling to get back to earth after a freak accident on a bigger screen. Director Alfonso Cuaron keeps the story moving and the suspense ratcheted. Sandra Bullock is terrific; a long way from her Miss Congeniality days. — B

All Is Lost – Without feeling at all contrived or gimmicky, writer/director J.C. Chandor delivers an absolutely compelling film with only a few lines of dialogue and just one character, Robert Redford’s “Our Man” – a resourceful sailor alone in the middle of the ocean and forced to deal with one catastrophe after another after his yacht collides with a stray shipping container.

The similarities between this and Gravity are remarkable. Both are existential thrillers about flawed and lonely individuals staring right into the eyes of their own mortality. Redford is spectacular, and at 76 years of age delivers a realistic performance that would have taxed a man half his age. — A

Runner Runner – Ben Affleck plays the Gordon Gekko character and Justin Timberlake is our Bud Fox in this tired Wall Street redux. Instead of Gekko’s world of high finance in 80’s Manhattan we are shown around the fairly tedious and unimaginative  world of a greedy, manipulative American running an internet gambling site in Brazil.

The script’s biggest problem is that nothing the characters do makes any kind of sense. Affleck’s a gajillionaire who already has it all and is motivated by what exactly? Greed? Not buying it. And unlike Charlie Sheen’s wide-eyed and insecure Bud Fox with something to prove, Timberlake’s character is presented as already world-weary and hip. How did he not see the spider Affleck coming from a mile away? — C-

Last Vegas – I can’t believe I tried this. I can’t believe I watched all of this. I can’t believe Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, and Mary Steenburgen would agree to make this. And I really can’t believe all five of them are old enough to star in a charmless, clichéd, tired knock-off of Grumpy Old Men. — D

White House Down – Obnoxious left-wing politics aside (I love Day After Tomorrow) this is just a bad, bad movie. No surprises. No holy sh*t action scenes. Terrible dialogue. Terrible story. Terrible lead performances from Jamie Foxx and some other guy (especially Foxx trying to meld Barack Obama and Bruce Willis). Terrible waste of some seasoned actors. Terribly boring. Terribly simplistic.

Hollywood Leftists used to be good at political propaganda. Politically, though, White House Down is as ham-handed as John Wayne’s The Green Berets, a film that at least had the virtue of correctly predicting the human catastrophe what would occur should America break its promise and abandon our Vietnamese allies. White House Down wants us to believe that Tea Party-types blowing up the White House will suddenly give Iran’s mullahs moral clarity. — D

Blue Jasmine – Unless the Farrow brood’s media offensive works, Cate Blanchett is almost certain to win the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Jasmine, a woman who lost everything — her identity, self-worth, place in the world, family — after her husband is exposed as a serial philanderer and behind a Bernie Madoff-level Ponzi scheme. Good not great. I was, though, pleasantly surprised by the tenderness Allen showed for his working class characters. If memory serves, that is a first.  — B-

Escape Plan – It can’t be a good when the first you hear of a movie that pairs Stallone and Schwarzenegger is after it’s playing on the back of an airline seat. Stallone plays a security expert who specializes in breaking out of maximum security prisons to expose and report on their weaknesses. Schwarzenegger plays the mysterious prisoner Stallone teams up with after he gets in over his head. Jim Caviezel plays the evil warden.

Escape Plan looks like a direct-to-video cheapie but the plot moves and time has done nothing to diminish the star power of the two leads. I only saw an hour but will Redbox it to see what happens.


Quick Hits

Sid Caesar: How the Remote Control Ruined Everything

‘Firefly’ Producer Would ‘Love’ to Make More Episodes as a Limited Series

My piece: Why the Comcast Time-Warner Merger Matters

‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ — The Greenest Movie Ever

Rapper Over Losing Mag Cover to Philip Seymour Hoffman: ‘I’m Disgusted’


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Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC