Cinema Chat: Gary Oldman's Playboy Rant, Transformers And More

Jun 26, 2014

  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has updated its campaign rules, with the most significant changes in the music category.  The revised rules, available at oscars.org/regulations, state that “Music branch members may not contact other music branch members to promote the nomination of their own song in any way, including via mail, email, telephone or social media account.”  Additionally, music branch members may not attend any special live performances of eligible songs unless attached to a screening. The Acad’s clarification on campaign rules was no doubt spurred by the disqualification this year for the “Alone Yet Not Alone” song nomination.  Composer Bruce Broughton had sent an email to 70 of the music branch’s 240 voters, pointing out that his song was #57 on a DVD that contained clips of all 75 eligible songs. He said “Alone Yet Not Alone” was a small, independent faith-based film and might be overlooked. Broughton, a former music-branch governor and current member of the executive committee, wrote the music and asked for their consideration in the email, attaching his name to it. The music branch toppers decreed he had broken no rules, but in late January, the board decided otherwise and revoked the nomination.

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Gary Oldman at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Gary Oldman at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / Wikipeda.org

  Gary Oldman has blasted Hollywood for what he perceives as a double standard — asserting that Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can get away with politically incorrect humor while others like Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin cannot.

The profanity-laced statements are included in an interview with the July-August issue of Playboy. The most explosive part of the interview includes attacks on Maher, Stewart and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, following his declaration that political correctness is “crap.”

“Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a c*** — and I’ll go one better, a f****** useless c*** — I can’t really say that. But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it. Bill Maher could call someone a fag and get away with it. He said to Seth MacFarlane this year, ‘I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.’ He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, ‘You fag’? I don’t get it.”

Oldman, star of such films as “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and the “Dark Knight” trilogy, also asserted that the culture in Hollywood during the past awards season was such that “if you didn’t vote for ’12 Years a Slave,’ you were a racist. You have to be very careful about what you say.”

He also expressed sympathy for Gibson, who declared in 2006 while being arrested that “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”

Gibson later apologized for the remarks.

“Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews, and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him – and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough,” Oldman said. “He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know?”

“I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things,” the actor told Playboy during the interview, which began with a discussion of Oldman’s role in “Dawn of Planet of the Apes.”

“We’re all f****** hypocrites,” he added. “That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word n***** or that f****** Jew?”

“I’m being brutally honest here,” Oldman said. “It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy.”

Oldman also defended Baldwin’s use of homophobic language: “Alec calling someone an F-A-G in the street while he’s pissed off coming out of his building because they won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame him. So they persecute.”

“I have looked at the Playboy interview a few times now—in fact I was in the room during the entire 8 or 9 hours. I am unaware—as I have seen reported–of Gary Oldman defending any anti-Semitic remarks in the interview, or, for that matter, anyplace! He would not do so, and in fact he finds any kind of bigotry, homophobia, anti-Semitism, racism or sexism unacceptable and disgraceful. Period.”

“If you read the Playboy piece correctly and entirely, and in context, it is the hypocrisy of political correctness that Gary is addressing, nothing else. It simply cannot be read any other way, and to put it any other way is simply cherry picking something, stating it inaccurately, and creating news where there is none. If you read the thru line of that segment closely, it is clear that it has only to do with Political Correctness and is in no way a defense of anti-Semitism. Political Correctness is a thing that drives Gary and many many others crazy!—goodness, this theme he addressed in his film ‘Nil By Mouth,’ in 1997!”

“In this interview Gary is doing what many intelligent people do: he is illustrating the absurd by being absurd.”

  AND THEN…

Amid a storm of controversy over remarks made in an interview with Playboy magazine, actor Gary Oldman has issued an apology.

“I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people,” Oldman wrote in an open letter to the Anti-Defamation League late Tuesday. “Upon reading my comments in print — I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype.”

The Anti-Defamation League was unimpressed by Oldman’s apology for defending Mel Gibson’s past anti-Semitic comments.

“We have just begun a conversation with his managing producer,” said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL. “At this point, we are not satisfied with what we have received. His apology is insufficient and not satisfactory.”

Foxman amplified those remarks on Wednesday: “While his apology may be heartfelt, Mr. Oldman does not understand why his words about Jewish control were so damaging and offensive, and it is therefore insufficient.”

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Eli Wallach pictured with Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro after receiving his honorary Oscar in 2010.
Eli Wallach pictured with Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro after receiving his honorary Oscar in 2010.
Credit http://theclinteastwoodarchive.blogspot.com/

  Prolific character actor Eli Wallach has died at the age of 98.  He appeared in “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,” “The Magnificent Seven,” and “The Misfits,” just to name a few.  Wallach, who in recent years had small roles in films such as Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic Rover,” Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” and Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” received an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 2010. The citation called him “the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role.”

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Opening Downtown

A hit at Cinetopia 2014, “Obvious Child” follows popular Brooklyn comedian Donna (Jenny Slate) as she slips into depression when her boyfriend dumps her. A drunken fling puts an end to her moping but leaves her pregnant. Not quite ready for motherhood, Donna is tossed into a variety of awkward situations. Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal says, “the heart of the film lies in what it manages to say, without boldface or italics, about how hard it is for Donna, like so many of her anxious cohort, to make genuine connections, to break free of narcissistic constraints and become a stand-up grown-up.” Also starring Gaby Hoffman, David Cross, and Richard Kind, “Obvious Child” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

“Jodorowsky's Dune” takes the viewer to 1975, as Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose films “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain” launched and ultimately defined the midnight movie phenomenon, began work on his most ambitious project. Starring his own 12 year old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, featuring music by Pink Floyd and art by some of the most provocative talents of the era including HR Giger and Jean 'Moebius' Giraud, Jodorowsky's adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel Dune was poised to change cinema forever….if it could ever get made. Ian Buckwalter from NPR says, “for those with any interest in cult cinema or just the bizarre behind-the-scenes stories of any film production, ‘Jodorowsky's Dune’ is a fascinating document of one of the most legendary films ever not made.” “Jodorowsky's Dune” plays July 1-3 at the Michigan Theater.

“Snowpiercer” from director Bong Joon Ho finds earth the victim of a failed global-warming experiment which kills off most life on the planet. The final survivors board the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine. When cryptic messages incite the passengers to revolt, the train thrusts full-throttle towards disaster. Scott Foundas of Variety hails the film as “an enormously ambitious, visually stunning and richly satisfying futuristic epic from the gifted Korean genre director Bong Joon-ho.” “Snowpiercer” opens Wednesday, July 2 at the State Theater.

Opening at the Multiplex

Transformers: Age Of Extinction opens nationwide 06/27/2014
Transformers: Age Of Extinction opens nationwide 06/27/2014
Credit Paramount Pictures

  Michael Bay directs fighting robots (again!) in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”  An automobile mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down the Autobots and Decepticons - and a paranoid government official - on them. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” opens Friday.

In “Deliver us From Evil,” New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Edgar Ramírez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Inspired by the book, which details Sarchie’s bone-chilling real-life cases, “Deliver Us From Evil” opens Wednesday July 2.

“Tammy” (Melissa McCarthy) is having a bad day. She’s totaled her car, gotten fired from her job at a burger joint, and instead of finding comfort at home, finds her husband getting comfortable with the neighbor.  It’s time to take her boom box and book it. The bad news is she’s broke and without wheels. The worse news is her grandma, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), is her only option—with a car, cash, and an itch to see Niagara Falls.  Not exactly the escape Tammy had in mind. But on the road, with Pearl riding shotgun, it may be just what Tammy needs. “Tammy” opens Wednesday July 2.

Special Screenings Downtown

Winner of the Tribeca Film Festival Best New Narrative Director Award, “Manos Sucias” takes viewers to the port of Buenaventura–the most dangerous city in Colombia– where three men embark on a journey over the dark murky waters of the Pacific. A set of mysterious coordinates is their guide, a fishing net is their cover, and a narco-torpedo filled with 100kg of cocaine is their cargo. “Manos Sucias” plays Wednesday, July 2 at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater. Presented by the UM Center for Latin American and Carribean Studies. Featuring a post-screening Q&A with director Josef Wladyka and producer Elena GreenleeFree admission.

All About Eve DVD cover
All About Eve DVD cover
Credit 20th Century Fox

  Winner of six Academy Awards, “All About Eve” is a backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Tattered and forlorn, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing (Bette Davis), weaving a melancholy life story to Margo and her friends. Taking pity on the girl, Margo takes Eve as her personal assistant. Before long, it becomes apparent that naïve Eve is a Machiavellian conniver who cold-bloodedly uses Margo and her circle of friends to rise to the top of the theatrical heap.  “All About Eve” continues the Michigan Theater’s Summer Classic series on Sunday June 29 at 1:30 PM & Tuesday, July 1 at 7 PM.

See you at the movies!