American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…
Q: If Cate Blanchett were to win the Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth I at next year's Oscars, would Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II give her the Oscar? And do you think the actual Queen Elizabeth will be watching the Oscars just to see such an event?
Q: I, like you, fell in love with "Across the Universe." However, I am somewhat taken aback by how many critics seem to HATE it. There's quite a lot of vitriol toward this movie. Why do you think this is?
Q: In your review of "Trade," about child sexual trafficking, you raise the issue of how or why such a serious subject should be made "entertaining." I believe you answered that question in your last line when you stated that "the movie seems to have an unwholesome determination to show us the victims being terrified and threatened. When I left the screening, I just didn't feel right." As an adult survivor of these atrocities, I felt that this movie gave a realistic expose of human trafficking. Do you think that a movie like "Trade" needs to try even harder to be entertaining so that viewers can move beyond indifference and allow themselves to be emphatically disturbed as you were, yet find enough relief in the lighter entertaining moments to actually leave feeling moved in a sad but wholesome way?
Q: Last summer I moved from Vancouver to Toronto, pretty much just so I can attend the film festival here; during my spare time, I am a Ph.D. student studying physics at the University of Toronto. I am curious as to how Toronto Film Festival's People's Choice Award is determined each year. Surely there are many variables involved in the balloting and interpretation of the results.
Q. In your Great Movie review of "Casablanca," you refer to Claude Rains' character as subtly homosexual. I thought that his character was portrayed as a complete, though effete, womanizer.
Q: You wrote from Toronto: "Ang Lee's other films have included 'Eat Drink Man Woman,' 'The Ice Storm,' 'Sense and Sensibility,' 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and 'The Hulk,' and find if you will the connecting link."
Q: Please provide a definition for the "hyperlink film," to which you have made reference in prior reviews. There is a now widespread belief that such films need international flair (as in "Syriana," "Traffic" or "Babel") and multiple languages. Would you agree, or need the parameters be broader so that the earlier works can be included in the definition (as suggested in your review of "Cape of Good Hope")? How many storylines do you need/how connected need they be to constitute a hyperlink film?
Q. Just read your Great Movie addition of Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," with its discussion of the New Mexican Cinema. Although you didn't mention it, I wanted to point out that Alfonso Cuaron's absolutely superb G-rated film "A Little Princess" from 1995 is a great companion to "Pan's Labyrinth." They are worlds apart in their execution and yet strikingly similar in many ways, as both follow a young girl escaping to fantasy worlds in the face of the harsh reality of war. Both movies stand on their own, but seeing them again recently in the context of knowing more about the collaboration and friendship of the directors has added greatly to my appreciation of each.
Q. In the Answer Man for Aug. 17, Phil Giordano asks about a Sixth Man in “The Godfather” who is never identified when the Corleones plan the execution of a police captain. The person he is wondering about is Rocco Lampone, played by Tom Rosqui, who is uncredited in the film, according to the IMDB. Mr. Giordano will remember the earlier scene in the film where Rocco executes Paulie in the car as Clemenza urinates outside (the “leave the gun, take the cannoli” scene).
Q. Neil Gaiman claims he holds the record for having sold the most screenplays to Hollywood that were never produced. I thought Harlan Ellison was the gold medalist in that event.