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Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Wells’

Deathbed State of Film Criticism Plays Key Role in Endless Awards Prognostication

BanehamOscarWe joked the other day that perhaps they should just move the Oscars to the first weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival. So as to kill two North American birds with one statuette and get the whole damn awards season thing over with, at a time when pundits are shuffling the deck at a most furious Twitter pace.

But then it hit us. While film criticism as a legitimate form of journalism has been flat-lining for years, the eleven-and-a-half-month annual rigamarole through which an increasing number of film journalists calibrate the chances of this actor and that studio for a BATFA, SAG, Golden Globe and Academy Award is a phenomenon that would meet with the hearty approval of a character played by Paul Bettany, Tom Hiddleston and others. It’s survival of the aisle-seat fittest.

If you filter the enterprising work of folks like Anne Thompson, David Poland, Jeffrey Wells, Sasha Stone, Roger Friedman and Anthony Breznican through the prism of changing-with-the-film-criticism-times, awards season journalism becomes suddenly a very different animal. It’s not just an attempt to keep the ad dollars rolling in. It’s also a clever and necessary way for film journalists to keep their opinions relevant.

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Oscar Bloggers Get Biblical Treatment from New York Magazine

GoldDerbyLogoThe marquee sit-down took place at Musso and Frank, one of the very few remaining vestiges on Hollywood Blvd. of Tinseltown’s Golden Age. However, despite writer Boris Kachka‘s description of Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil and Awards Daily’s Sasha Stone as the Oscar blogging realm’s respective Adam and Eve, the professional picture painted seems a far cry from the Garden of Eden. More like a den of inequity.

According to Kachka, for those who make up this “motley and contentious” bunch, “no film buzz is too preliminary or perfunctory.” The writer raises with Pete Hammond a conflict-of-interest that has become fairly entrenched and carries his cheeky Old Testament allegory to the next, illogical level:

If Stone and O’Neil were the Adam and Eve of Oscar blogging, frenemies David Poland and Jeffrey Wells were its Cain and Abel. (Which one was Cain depends on whom you ask.) Poland started Movie City News in 2002 and began broadcasting his jaundiced perspective…

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Jeffrey Wells Tangles with NYC Movie Theater ‘Psychopath’

Every once in a while, Hollywood Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Wells relates a nightmarish moviegoing experience.

HollywoodElsewhereLogoIn October, the colorful chronicler generated a torrent of angry reaction with his take on a Connecticut screening of Gravity disrupted by a youngster with Down Syndrome. This time around, Wells recounts the trouble caused by an African-American loud talker at a December 26 afternoon showing of The Wolf of Wall Street at the Loews 34th Street complex. Wells was accompanied by his two sons, Dylan and Jett:

After Dylan’s first verbal altercation I looked over and glared at the guy, and he glared right back and said, “What the f*ck are you looking at, man? Rude-ass mothahf*ckah… Guy givin’ me sh*t!” I knew then and there this guy was very possibly disturbed and beyond the reach of any appeal.

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Blogger’s 911 Call Blows Up the Toronto Film Festival

The Sacrament arrived at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival with a lot of drama already built-in. It’s about a pair of fictitious VICE correspondents who convince a friend to visit a family member at a Jim Jones/Guyana style religious compound so they can tag along for documentary purposes.

But the real drama at a Monday press & industry screening of the movie – per the dozens and dozens of subsequent news reports- occurred when New York-based blogger Alex Billington (firstshowing.net) dialed 911 to report what he thought was someone trying to pirate the film with a cell phone. The individual appears instead to have been a boorish film buyer with a reputation for flaunting electronic devices at screenings.

Billington’s actions have become a tipping point for something many other journalists in attendance at TIFF this year have been grousing about: the festival’s lack of a defined policy governing the use of cell phones and tablets at press & industry screenings. TIFF VP of communications Jennifer Bell is on record in some of the reports as confirming that TIFF does not have an official set of such rules, other than asking at the beginning of screenings that attendees silence/turn off their devices. (And we all know how well that works.)

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LA Journos Defend Latest Roman Polanski Doc

Should a documentary conversation between filmmaker Roman Polanski and one of his closest friends and associates have essentially skirted the topic of the 1977 sexual assault above Mulholland Drive? That’s one of the first questions being addressed by local reporters covering this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

At Hollywood Elsewhere, Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir reviewer Jeffrey Wells suggests that “Polanski pitch-forkers will dismiss” the movie. He and colleague Sasha Stone are themselves quick to dismiss in the comments user Abbey_Normal, who innocently asks and then follows up about the topic of whether or not the episode is covered:

Dude, I’m not a pitch-forker, I’m just curious how they addressed it. Did they not even mention it? Wouldn’t most people watching a documentary on Polanski expect them to say SOMETHING about an incident that has haunted him for decades, effectively exiled him from a number of countries, and left him reviled, fairly or not, by massive swaths of people?

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When Wells Met Woody

The fall of 1978 was not kind to Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffrey Wells. In between working as a Connecticut tree surgeon on weekends and borrowing rent money from his dad, he was writing film reviews for free and sharing magazine article pitches with individuals who seemed to have attained their position by means of something other than editorial competence.

Then it happened. Blogging wistfully over the weekend, Wells recalled crashing a film shoot at an art gallery near West Broadway and Prince, where he availed himself of craft service and stumbled into a bespectacled muse:

I walked into the main gallery room and there, sitting in a canvas chair and reading something intently, was young Woody Allen. He was being left alone, nobody hovering. Glasses, dark brownish-red hair, flannel shirt… and sitting absolutely still, like a Duane Hanson sculpture.

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Jeffrey Wells Gets a Favorable Columbia Journalism Review

By his own admission, Jeffrey Wells‘ goal since 2004 at Hollywood-Elsewhere.com has been to provide film industry coverage that is unfair and unbalanced. If his stats are correct, it seems to be paying huge dividends.

According to traffic figures provided by the journalist for a Columbia Journalism review by Joel Meares of his one-man West Hollywood operation, Wells says his site is read by “30,000 odd people a day.” That is quite honestly way more than what FishbowlLA thought he was getting, with ostensibly the accent on “odd:”

“The idea is to deliver reporting, but I’ve mainly got to deliver the brand of writing of Hollywood Elsewhere, which is knowledgeable, been around for a long time, mouthy, smart-ass, opinionated,” Wells said. “Fair and modest and very careful and cautious reporting is not what I’m doing here. I’m doing incautious reporting.”

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Some Lucky LA Journos Gear Up for Cannes Film Festival

Although the Cannes Film Festival leaves a much bigger international than American footprint, it remains the most important such event on the annual calendar. Among the LA based critics hitting the Croisette for this year’s 64th edition are Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere.com), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily.com), and James Rocchi, a contributor to MSN and other outlets.

After flying to France on Monday, Rocchi filed a scene-setting piece that sources fellow reporters such as EW‘s Anthony Breznican, the Wall Street Journal‘s Anthony Kaufman, and MSN colleage Glenn Kenny. Says Kenny:

“Cannes is where you can trip over Sidney Poitier one minute and Harmony Korine the next. It’s where you can be outraged by one film at sunup and utterly transported by another film at sunset and then argue with someone who had the exact inverse experience of the same films.”

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Follow the Bouncing, Annette Bening Ball

Personally, we always thought “Elsewhere” was a better reporting base than Lalaland for Hollywood-Elsewhere gadfly Jeffrey Wells. Since his recent return to New York City, the items on his blog have tended to encompass places, people, articles and events more in line with his in-your-Oscar-balloon-face personality.

Take this November 18th item, which relays a conversation between Wells and a New-York based publicist about the Best Actress Oscar campaign for The Kids Are All Right. It provides fascinating insight into the petty politics and perceptions of a west coast For Your Consideration blast, on behalf of Focus Features.

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Good Stuff On The Web Today

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The “Dear John” letter Shelly Leachman wrote to her long-term boyfriend, Journalism? Either her proudest hour or the biggest source of embarrassment for her at her going away party.

Stephen Box is totally going to get his ass kicked. By the LAPD.

Likely no one will be moving into Times Mirror Square (not that they haven’t been busy tossing bodies out to make space).

Jeffrey Wells is not getting himself invited to anything. Anywhere.

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