CINEJABBER: Just enjoy the show

Posted by · 3:15 pm · September 17th, 2011

So, it’s been a big week of announcements here at In Contention, and next week, a bigger week of changes. The current plan is to have the new digs off the ground on Tuesday, so we’ll have Monday to say our goodbyes. But it occurred to me I haven’t offered up a Cinejabber space for you to cut loose about any and everything in quite some time. So, let’s do that before we go.

I’m stoked that we’re going out with a bang on our “tell us what you thought” posts, as the “Drive” discussion is easily our most engaging and lively one yet. I saw the film again last night (I’m guessing it’s the first opening night film I’ve taken in in three years). It’s such a brilliant piece of work. I hope it does well this season.

I had lunch this afternoon with the soft-spoken and, following engagement on a studio film and the Toronto grind of last week, rather exhausted Bennett Miller. He’s very passionate about the themes and the main character of the film, as I knew he had to be, given how dense it is. One thing he said really stuck out: “Brad [Pitt] told me, ‘I’m proud of this movie, and I’m proud of it for how hard it was.'” Indeed, it was a “beautiful nightmare” getting “Moneyball” made, but Miller ended up giving the material a delicate touch and one that allowed it to work on his terms within the studio system. He’s proud of it for that, too. But more on all that later.

Let’s see. I’m excited for what is still an unknown season. I’ll get into this more in depth in Monday’s Off the Carpet column, but the festival circuit has done little to anoint any one contender this year, and that’s a welcome change.

I’m planning something longer on it, but I finally caught up to Thomas McCarthy’s “Win Win” yesterday. What a gem. McCarthy is a national treasure and no one even knows it. I’m so glad that guy is making movies.

The Redskins are undefeated (heh). The weather has cooled off here in Los Angeles. I’m hitting that stride of talking to smart people about their films and the choices they made along the way. I’m passionate about what I’ve seen and liked and I feel positive about what’s left to be seen this year. And, of course, I’m very stoked for our new venture with HitFix.

So that’s where I’m at. Feel free to cut loose with thoughts on this or that or things you’ve seen, whatever. This is your space. Open thread. Have at it one more time under the banner.

[Photo: Columbia Pictures]

→ 48 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Cinejabber

48 responses so far

  • 1 9-17-2011 at 3:28 pm

    TheyCallMeMrTits said...

    The interestting thing about “Moneyball” is that the trailer seems to really undersell it. If memory serves, even your own reaction, Kris, to the film’s potential based on the first trailer wasn’t too enthusiastic.

    I guess it’s just one of those things were you have to see the entire film on the big screen to feel what makes all of theses individual aspectes come through so well.

  • 2 9-17-2011 at 3:33 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Really looking forward to Moneyball. I’m not even an OMG Pitt or baseball fan. I think it’s the informed discussion on the film (here at incontention) that has me intrigued.

    Currently watching ‘Wrath of Khan’ for the first time (I know …).

    I have 35 minutes to go, but I am surprised by how stagey it is; uncinematic. I’m eating up the story and the alternately great and/or silly performances. But again, surprised.

    Eagerly looking forward to how this (HitFix) is all going to go down on Tuesday, Kris. :)

  • 3 9-17-2011 at 3:49 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    I’ll miss the exclusivity of this place.

    Nicolas Winding Refn is the next it auteur. Ryan Gosling hog him all to yourself — don’t let Dicaprio, Gordon-Levitt, or Bale get their hands on him.

    I would love to known what other famous filmmakers think of Drive.

    By the way, Gosling says the actress he’d most like to work with is Kristen Wiig.

  • 4 9-17-2011 at 3:53 pm

    /3rtfull said...


    Warth of Khan was the first Star Trek feature film to be handled by the television department at Paramount. They made those movies because the sequel production cost were much lower overall compared to other Sci-fi properties.

    By the way, Gosling was asked about Star Trek, his favorite is the one with the whales!

  • 5 9-17-2011 at 3:56 pm

    Danny King said...

    “McCarthy is a national treasure.”

    So is Giamatti.

  • 6 9-17-2011 at 4:03 pm

    Andrej said...

    So jealous of you guys at the ‘tell us what you thought about Drive’ thread. 80-something and I can’t join the fun yet! :( So left out. Hopefully it’ll be here in my country soon.

    Oh well, at least The Tree of Life will have its Bluray DVD release next month, so I’ll finally catch up with something.

    And also, yeah, Win Win is awesome, a perfect opposite to The Blind Side. Hopefully it’ll get some recognition somewhere. ☺

  • 7 9-17-2011 at 4:04 pm

    Hero said...

    “Nicolas Winding Refn is the next it auteur.”

    /3rtfull, I think you may be right. And when applied in this context, the word “auteur” doesn’t even give my the Pretentious Heebee-Jeebees like it usually does.

  • 8 9-17-2011 at 4:05 pm

    Hero said...

    Does HitFix allow you to edit your comments?


  • 9 9-17-2011 at 4:06 pm

    Rashad said...

    Random thoughts:

    The Weather Man and Matchstick Men need blu rays. Shame they’re not on it yet. Same for Juice.

    Public Enemies has Mann’s best action.

    Big Ben and Chris Johnson need to play their asses off tomorrow for fantasy.

    The difference in Tintin’s animation is quite noticeable now than where it was last year:


    recent pic

  • 10 9-17-2011 at 4:15 pm

    JJ1 said...

    That’s pretty drastic (photo 1 to photo 2). Photo 2 looks much better, to me.

    /3rtfull, thank you. Makes sense, now – what with the TV crew. I just finished it. ‘Twas good. Dramatic ending, huh?

  • 11 9-17-2011 at 4:28 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    Now you have to watch ST: III The Search for Spock?
    Ronald Reagan said its the worst movie he’s ever seen.

  • 12 9-17-2011 at 4:50 pm

    geha714 said...

    I wish you all good luck and success in your new home.

  • 13 9-17-2011 at 4:53 pm

    Mr. Gittes said...

    Terrence Malick, Haley Bennett (who?) and Christian Bale are shooting scenes for an untitled film at the Austin City Limits Festival.

    Malick doing work. Yes.

  • 14 9-17-2011 at 4:55 pm

    TheyCallMeMrTits said...

    Captain Haddock looks absolutely amazing, Rashad. Tintin is shaping up to be quite the stunner.

  • 15 9-17-2011 at 5:00 pm

    ninja said...

    Eh, Haddock was never the problem, not even in the first photo. It`s Tintin that sucks. The animation for that character is meh across the board. Uncanny valley. Watching a paint dry is more exciting than watching his face. Etc.

  • 16 9-17-2011 at 5:00 pm

    Linus said...

    Saw Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on Friday. Bloody good film. Mark Strong was easily the best in the cast for me.

  • 17 9-17-2011 at 5:03 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Ha, ok, /3rtfull/ :)

    Flipping on ‘Defiance’ on AMC. I remember a hot minute when that was predicted to be a big Oscar contender in ’08. I liked it. It just wasn’t good enough for Oscar traction, quite frankly.

    TTSS came out in England this weekend, right? I’ve read 3 accounts from other sites. 1 found it incredibly dry & confusing. 2 loved it.

  • 18 9-17-2011 at 5:08 pm

    m1 said...

    I saw Jane Eyre this weekend. If it does not get art direction and costume nominations then it will be a joke.

    I also saw Thor, and I hope that Chris Hemsworth is getting more roles.

    I am planning to finish up my second viewing of Lost in Translation within the next week.

    Win Win is at the top of my Netflix queue. I can’t wait to see it.

  • 19 9-17-2011 at 5:41 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    Jane Eyre is brilliant. I really really really really really hope something will happen with that.

    I am getting more and more anxious for trailers to drop for J. Edgar, My Week with Marilyn, and Young Adult. Do you hear me, trailer gods?!

    Anyone else check out Michelle Williams on the cover of Vogue and the accompanying interview? Looks like her awards season campaign is underway!

    I’m going to miss this place.. *group hug*… it’s been real, guys.

  • 20 9-17-2011 at 5:48 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Aww ^ ditto

  • 21 9-17-2011 at 5:55 pm

    DylanS said...

    I can’t believe I’m using this word to describe Malick, but between “The Tree of Life”, the Affleck/McAdams film and this Bale film, he’s been rather prolific lately. Does that surprise anybody else?

  • 22 9-17-2011 at 6:19 pm

    Ian said...

    Two quick questions: Is all the archived content from InContention going to be available on HitFix? And is this site going to be completely gone, will this url not exist anymore, or will the website just not be updated?

    Oh and congrats on the move! You guys deserve it. I will really miss this place, it’s always been great being able to read about wonderful films coming out…and winning my Oscar pool for three years running isn’t too shabby either haha. Thanks for entertaining fellow cinephiles over the years, I wish you guys the best of luck.

    PS: Kris, go Skins.

  • 23 9-17-2011 at 6:37 pm

    James D. said...

    I usually have seen a lot more films by this time in any given year, but I have only seen four. I have not had the motivation, especially since I have liked all of what I have seen and don’t want to ruin it.

    I was intrigued by the praise for Drive but I have not liked Refn’s work and Hartigan was not a fan, so I will probably wait until it comes to Netflix.

    I am still not sure what this HitFix thing is or what it all means. Are there going to be different writers, different content, or something?

  • 24 9-17-2011 at 6:45 pm

    Bryce H. said...

    DylanS @21
    Perhaps he’s realized, contrary to what many cinephiles may think, that he is indeed only a mortal being and now wants to get as many films finished before he no longer can…

  • 25 9-17-2011 at 6:52 pm

    Max said...

    Just wanted to offer my, belated, congratulations on the move. Very happy for the success…

  • 26 9-17-2011 at 7:33 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    I was intrigued by the praise for Drive but I have not liked Refn’s work and Hartigan was not a fan, so I will probably wait until it comes to Netflix.

    James D, do yourself a favor and check out a $6 matinee at your local AMC theater — you’ll never be able to fuller appreciate or hate Drive unless you see it theatrically. You’ll kick yourself in the ass if you love it on home video for missing it in theaters — the sound mix demands you the cinematograpy demands you.

  • 27 9-17-2011 at 7:35 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    James D.- I have some issues with Drive, but would still encourage people to see it.

  • 28 9-17-2011 at 7:41 pm

    Evan said...

    Defiance is to 2008 what The Way Back was to 2010. Both involved people hiding out in the woods while running away from their death, both released late, both ok but not spectacular…

    I haven’t seen Drive yet, but I’ve heard one of its songs and between that and Contagion, I really hope that Clint Martinez gets some serious discussion for the Best Original Score category. The pulsating beat in Contagion was spectacular.

  • 29 9-17-2011 at 7:46 pm

    Evan said...

    ^Er… I meant Cliff. Still, he’s awesome.

    I’ll see Drive on Monday. Cannot wait.

  • 30 9-17-2011 at 8:16 pm

    Rob said...

    James D:
    What have you seen? Midnight in Paris and Tree of Life and…

  • 31 9-17-2011 at 8:35 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ian: The archive will eventually be available in full, yes. This site will remain up for a transitional period, but eventually, it will redirect to the blog at HitFix, which will likely be

    James D: I’m guessing you missed the post that spelled all that out, but no, nothing will change editorially for now. It will be me, Guy and Gerard doing our thing. Soon, though, I hope to be adding one or two more voices to the mix.

  • 32 9-17-2011 at 9:09 pm

    James D. said...

    Rob: Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life, Contagion, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I keep meaning to watch Uncle Boonmee, but I know I will need a lot of preparation for that one.

  • 33 9-17-2011 at 9:09 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    @DylanS- Yes, surprised but the man is old so he better crank them out while he still has time. Idk if old age is the motivation, but hell I’ll take just about any excuse to see more Malick films in a reasonable amount of time!

  • 34 9-17-2011 at 9:13 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    @James D.- I suggest extending your list to 9 and after Drive, go see The Help, Bridesmaids, Hanna, and Super 8.

  • 35 9-17-2011 at 10:13 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Super 8 stinks…see Certified Copy, Win Win or 13 Assassins.

    Anyways contrary to what Rashad has said in the Drive thread I don’t find this to be a good year for film at all.

  • 36 9-17-2011 at 10:32 pm

    James said...

    Good luck to your Kris. And whether people agree or disagree on certain films its just nice to see people passionate about them.

    Can’t wait to see Drive again.

  • 37 9-17-2011 at 10:58 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Anyone gotten the 70th anniversary edition of Citizen Kane on Blu-ray that was released this week? I’m eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail. I’ve been in a bit of an Orson Welles kick as of late and re-watched Touch of Evil last night. So ridiculously good.

    Also, 13 Assassins was pretty insane. Probably the most violent movie I’ve seen so far this year, with Drive right behind it.

  • 38 9-18-2011 at 1:20 am

    RichardA said...

    Is the 80s song in Drive original?

    WinWin is a great, great film. It should play well in small screen DVD format.—um screener format. Hopefully, the kid and Giamatti gets a nod. The screenplay nod would be great too.

  • 39 9-18-2011 at 1:35 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    One is by College, the other by Kavinsky. Both are pre-existing.

  • 40 9-18-2011 at 5:42 am

    JJ1 said...

    Matthew Starr, I must agree. I think this has been a rather weak film year, thus far. Nothing has got me excited except for Bridesmaids and The Help.

    Sure there are tons I’ve seen that I’ve liked (including Drive).

    But by this time most years, there are a healthy handful of films I’d be gushing about for people I know to see.

  • 41 9-18-2011 at 5:58 am

    James D. said...

    Without having seen The Help, I know it will be my least favorite film of the year. I will try to see Bridesmaids inevitably, though. Probably watch it with the girlfriend or something.

    I saw the Citizen Kane Blu-Ray at Barnes and Noble, and they wanted something like 65 dollars. Oh goodness. I thought about picking it up from Amazon, since it is packaged with The Magnificent Ambersons.

  • 42 9-18-2011 at 6:43 am

    Mike Manfre said...

    When do you think the Cadillac People’s Choice Award will be announced?

  • 43 9-18-2011 at 8:07 am

    /3rtfull said...

    I disagree with those who don’t appreciate this year’s crop of films.
    Drive, the rise of Kristen Wiig, Woody Allen making something the public can enjoy, heck even people walking out of The Tree of Life has made this year interesting. Is there a lot of crap? Yes, but I’m good at spotting shit that’s going to be shit and I don’t give free passes to them because they’re above something else that’s shit.
    I’m actually positive for the future that this decade will be a mixture of 70s and 90s glory — in the type of new films we get. Studios are now spending less money for new production.
    I’m glad The Help is a hit — it means female dominated ensembles can lead the box office.
    Black Swan from last year cost 13m to make, Drive from this year cost 12-13m to make and they’re both ultra gorgeous to look at — they look like higher costing productions while you see a lot of effort from what DPs are doing on bigger budget films — since I don’t like the Nolan-Pfister aesthetic — no one can you use that as an example to the contrary.

  • 44 9-18-2011 at 8:41 am

    JJ1 said...

    My issue is not that there is a lot of crap. My issue is that I’ve thought most of the film I’ve seen are either so-so or good. And I’ve found very few to be great or superb.

    And it looks like that’s continuing, a bit, at the Festivals. Many of the big players fell slightly or significantly short of expectation. There is no big Slumdog or King’s Speech. And nothing has approached Social Network yet, either. That’s just my opinion, so far.

  • 45 9-18-2011 at 8:51 am

    /3rtfull said...

    At 28, I feel like an old man with my attitude towards new film. I can’t work myself up about them. When I do love something like Broken Embraces I have the minority opinion.

    I know the majority will disagree: the last decade was a lesser decade for movies.

  • 46 9-18-2011 at 9:22 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Mike: I think roughly a half hour from now.

  • 47 9-18-2011 at 11:41 am

    shark said...

    I’ve had a good cinema year, although my finances have prevented me from seeing much. My count is, ugh 16 films. Fuck. And this year I seem weirdly drawn to British/Irish independent cinema. Think I’m seeing The Guard tomorrow, and I’m weirdly excited for Tyrannosaur.

  • 48 9-18-2011 at 5:35 pm

    Fitz said...

    So far so good regarding Win Win, Drive, and Bridesmaids. I’m hoping Moneyball, Tinker, Shame and Ides of March are as good as I hope they will be.

    Best of luck at HitFix guys! This site has easily been my favorite for the past several years.