Bruce Broughton defends actions after rescinded Academy Award nomination - CBS News
Bruce Broughton has been stripped of his Academy Award Nomination for a
song he composed for a small Christian based film. The song was a
surprise nominee because big time music figures who made contributions
to other films did not get nominated and this did. There is not a clear
statement concerning a rule violation, instead the implication is that
because Broughton is a former governor of the Academy, that a personal
e-mail carries with it some extra onus and maybe even intimidation.
Having read the e-mail in question, I have to call BS on that. His
tentative outreach was not to the entire music branch, and it is the
mildest form of promotion you can imagine. The idea that he is using his
position in the Academy as a way of gaining a nomination is
preposterous. If this were true, no one actively serving on the board
could ever hope their work in the industry could be nominated at the
same time they are volunteering to administer Academy business.
people are shooting themselves in the foot and doing so in a way that
is embarrassing and humiliating to a working professional who has given
his time to the very institution that is now stepping on him. Unless
there is some other issue that remains in the background, this is an
incredibly unfair act and probably completely unnecessary. The chance of
this piece of music winning the award is zero. There is more pressure
in the guilds and production centers to vote for any nominee than this
little film could ever muster. If I were a member of the music branch, I
would be writing to the Academy at this very moment, protesting this
decision. I would also be worried that any time a famous big time
musician got bypassed, that someone is going to suffer the consequences
of a political hissy fit.
Listen to this beautiful piece of music and know that the people who worked on this still have something to be proud of.
had never heard of this movie before but I am now going to look for it
and try to watch and post on it. I hope that the low budget and other
limitations still allow a good story to be told. Mr Broughton, I have
heard your music in many films and television projects and they have
always been worthy and professional. You have probably heard for years
how great the score from "Silverado" was. Hold your head up high and
know that you did nothing wrong, this is just the cutthroat industry
that you have made your living in for many years. There are wonderful
people in the industry but there are also a lot of self important ass
kissers. You stepped on someones toes by asking for the same kind of
consideration that anyone else would be entitled to and they would
usually demand it at the top of their lungs. I'm sorry you have suffered
this indignity. I hope that whatever set of envious colleagues were
responsible for this travesty will certainly receive the karma they have
earned from this tantrum.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
I will admit up front that I have never read a Tom Clancy novel. They were ubiquitous accessories in the times that I lived through. Almost everyone I knew carried a copy of one of the Jack Ryan books and thumbed through them at bus stops, in waiting areas of restaurants, any place where time was to be passed and long before the internet was available for us to kill that time with. Next to Stephen King, Clancy defined the world of popular fiction in the 1980s and 90s. When the first incarnation of Ryan arrived on screen in the form of "The Hunt for Red October" I was sold. This was a different kind of spy game and I thought the films did a good job making the stories work on screen. Jack Ryan was played over a twelve year period by three different actors and all of those movies worked to some degree or other. It has been twelve years now since this character was on screen and the reboot seems like it should work and we can look forward to some more of Dr. Ryan over the next dozen years.
It looks as though this is an original story rather than an adaptation of one of Clancy's works. The update, getting Ryan involved through a 9/11 epiphany seems completely realistic for the times. In the long run it may date the movie, but I still can watch "Red October" even though the Soviet Union is long gone so maybe it won't matter. The helicopter accident that was mentioned in the 1990s films, becomes a part of an origins story for this movie. I liked the concept but the rapid time forward makes the focus less about Ryan and his character and more about the "evil plan" of the the moment. It is a convoluted attack on America, involving short selling of American bonds and a coordinated terror attack. It is fortuitous that the Russians have themselves rebooted to their cryptic and totalitarian ways. The current intransigence of Moscow makes this script a lot more believable in a time when most terror threats originate from the Islamic world of fundamentalist warriors.
Chris Pine is an up and coming star. He has a great look and he is capable of acting so if given a chance, the character may be sustainable for a period of time. The script here gives him some early opportunities to show us his chops, but once the plot kicks in, mostly it is action based yelling and jumping that will characterize his role. His best moments are trading lines with director and co-star Kenneth Brannagh. Each of their scenes together gives Pine an opportunity to play smart and to use body language and dialogue to tell the story. When we arrive at the climax of the attack, there is basically nothing to distinguish Ryan from all the other hard guy spies that we have seen in other movies. The motorcycle chase near the end makes very little sense except it keeps the star in the center of the action.
The director's greatest asset in my opinion is himself when playing the role of actor. Sometimes in a story like this, we are given a bad guy who has legendary skills but those are only talked about rather than displayed. Except for a perfunctory introduction to us as a bad ass character who kicks the crap out of a sloppy nurse, all of Brannagh's work here shows us his intelligence and dangerousness with skilled acting. Brannagh holds the screen with his face and his voice. He barely smiles even when it might be the right way to play off the covert agents he is up against. The traditional Russian accent is authentic enough without being reduced to a caricature of Boris Badenov. You can see menace and intelligence in his eyes. The script gives him a superfluous disease that is used only for a character point for Kiera Knightley's doctor to notice. His calm delivery of the dialogue involving the simple torture he plans for his captive is more disturbing because we are listening to a serious character and not just a bogey man.
Knightley is fine as Ryan's future wife, and the best joke in the film involves her discovery of his true job. Kevin Costner is solid in the role of recruiter and operator for the spying activities of the young Jack Ryan. He could easily have been cast in the role himself back in 1990. Had that happened it's likely that instead of two relaunches of the character, we would now be seeing some of the more mature Ryan stories that feature him in a position of political power. You can't rewrite history, so we will never know how things might have gone differently. "Shadow Recruit" is an effective action spy thriller, but it is not particularly special. The best thing about it is the performance from Kenneth Brannagh, but there is plenty of potential for long range development of the character, with some stronger plots. Generic but entertaining.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I've been to most of these venues. The newer ones with the fancy amenities are not yet an experience I've had but The Nuart, Vista, Chinese, Sunset 5, and Arclight are all gems. The Silent Movie Theater has great programming but an uncomfortable venue. Left off of this list is the great Egyptian Theater, which is only used for special programming which may be why it did not make the list.
Take a look and imagine seeing a great movie in a great theater.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
The new year starts for me with one of the great small films that got released at the end of the last year. "Nebraska" has been talked about since the Cannes Film festival way back in May of last year when Bruce Dern was given the award for best actor. Since that time, it's reputation has grown creating more anticipation and earning several end of the year accolades. There certainly deserves to be attention thrown at the actors in this film, they all do an outstanding job of playing some cantankerous, confused, concerned and conniving personalities. There are several aspects of the story that ring a little close to home at times but in the end, the story manages to be about the connection we have with our loved ones, even in the most trying of times.
Dern plays "Woody Grant", a delusional old man who is not particularly likable. He is not a mean man or particularly sneaky although once or twice he does say things that might be hurtful to his younger son. The one thing he definitely is however is determined. Having had some first hand experience with elderly dementia, I can say it was easy to relate to the frustration that his family goes through when he is determined to get to Lincoln,Nebraska in order to collect his imagined prize. He is not infirm and his level of dementia is not such that he can easily be distracted. His good hearted son David, played by Will Forte is willing to indulge him so that he does not have to lie to his old man. That desire to do the right thing, even in the face of a ridiculous assumption and obsession, makes David more and more like his Dad than he might have realized. Several times in the story, we hear how "Woody" was taken advantage of by people in the past because he could not say no to them. David repeats the pattern because even though he trys to argue and convince his father that the prize is an illusion, he can't bring himself to lying and decieving his father or putting him in a home.
It is not hard to play a grizzled old man if you are one, and Bruce Dern's long career has prepared him for the role in a lot of ways. He has been making films for more than fifty years and some of the parts he played were unsavory ones. I'm not sure the number of times he played a saddle tramp, dirty and disheveled in some Western, but it is certainly a lot. He also has played crazy before. In the late seventies, if you were looking for a disturbed character actor as an antagonist, his name was probably on the casting list of everyone in town. His performance in this film is more nuanced. He is not supposed to be insane, just mildly obsessive and delusional. His mannerisms reveal a weary frustration at times with the lack of respect that he now commands with his wife and sons. Having been a milquetoast husband and alcoholic father it might be understandable why everyone would expect him to lay down when they draw a line. Dern however shows us a man fighting for respect, far past the point that anyone might be able to earn it. This is not a sentimental portrait but it is an honest one. He does not have as much dialogue as some of the even more peripheral characters but you can tell that his quiet face and bent body are not to be taken lightly. There are no histrionic scenes of emotional revelation. At one point when it is revealed that he had an affair with a woman between the time his first and second sons were born, he does not explain or apologize. There is a mildly sheepish and guilty look on his face but it was not a moment of revelation to him the way it was to his son. Woody manages to accept the judgement that his action might have been wrong and he can see that his son feels betrayed, but Woody knows that it is the past and life needs to be lead in the future. Back in 1985, Geraldine Page won an Oscar for "The Trip to Bountiful", the story of an old woman's return to her childhood home. That film was filled with sentiment and nostalgia. Woody's visit to his family roots, stirs some old memories but they never threaten to bring a tear despite the sadness. That's not the kind of guy Woody is and Dern plays those scenes with quiet introspection but not trying to hit an emotional geyser
I probably identify with Forte's David more than is healthy. My relationship with my father was certainly closer and warmer than the relationship at the center of this story, but both of us feel protective of our old man's dignity and legacy. Despite the fact that his father is infuriating in his single mindedness and that he is a somewhat sloppy drunk, David still manages to find a well of patience to tap whenever he gets a little overwhelmed. Although there are a couple of medical emergencies that take place in the course of events, they are not used to bring the father and son together so much as they exist to show how willing the son is to make some effort to sustain the old man. I don't apologize for the way my father was but I do try to explain how he saw things and why I usually could take his side, sometimes even when he was wrong. That was the tone that Forte manages to bring to the role. The character of his brother is a little less defined, but in his own way he conveys the same sort of attitude. Woody's wife appears to be somewhat bitter and sarcastic and at times not very loving. She is also irreverent and fiercely committed to her husband despite the caustic surface. June Squibb is getting a lot of attention for her role and in the back seat of the car, as the brothers try to remove their parents from some of the situations they find themselves in, she and Dern are well matched older people who understand each others idiosyncrasies.
The pace of the film is slow, and there are some wild characters that might stretch credulity, although I have been to enough funerals and family functions to know that relatives can get crazy at times. The final resolution of the story is a bit of an indulgence for David to make but it is deeply satisfying despite the fact that those coincidences of timing on a late drive through town just are not likely. The town is full of good folks and bad ones, and the idea is a solid answer to the heart of what Woody really needs. This is a terrific film that grows on you the longer you are immersed in it. The opening hour will test your patience but if you can be like David, the rewards in the end are worth it.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Happy New Year Everyone
Before I give you my listing, the three films that moved in and out of my top ten deserve to be mentioned as well. One last minute film bumped "Saving Mr. Banks" off the list. "About Time" was on the list at one point but was bumped by "Saving Mr. Banks". "12 Years A Slave" is a fine film and hovered on the edge for me. Ultimately I was just not moved in the same ways that everyone else seems to be by it. The horrifying depiction of human cruelty may have suffered because I'm not sure how repeatable the experience is for me. This is not really a list of the "Best" films of the year, it simply represents my set of favorites. It is of course subjective, but I could enjoy seeing all of these multiple times. The original reviews are available by clicking on the posters shown below.