HOLLYWOOD – The Secret Actor is a new blog written by an Oscar nominated actor who still lives and works in Los Angeles in the film industry but wishes to write in a state of anonymity so he can fearlessly lift the lid on the industry and spill the beans on Hollywood.
Hi, I’m Josh Brolin and I’d like to tell you about how … wait a second. Let me start this again. I’m the Secret Actor. I am working in Hollywood and have done so ever since I was a kid. Hell, I kind of grew up on screen you might say. There are lots of secrets that I could tell and under the shield of anonymity and with no fear of litigation, I finally have the opportunity, thanks to my good friend, the Studio Exec, to do so.
When I was filming No Country for Old Men with the Coen Brothers, they came up to me… Sheet. Goddamn it. What I meant to say was when I was filming a film with … two directors … who might have been brothers, but I don’t know, it might have been The Lego Movie, because that has two directors. Anyhow, when I was in that film they came up to me and they said, ‘Josh, we want you to try it another way.’ ‘Oh,’ I said. ‘How would you like me to do it?’
‘Well,’ said Ethan. ‘We’d like you to turn towards the window and…’
‘Mr. Brolin, here’s your hotdog,’ said a runner, handing me the hotdog. Don’t go thinking that’s a clue to my identity. I know lots of people who eat hotdogs.
‘Go on,’ I told the director.
‘And smile sadly.’
Hmmm. I thought about it as I munched. I nodded because I’m quite well-mannered and I don’t speak with my mouth full. And no. I’m not Roger Moore.
We did the scene and I followed what the director had suggested. They seemed happy with the scene and we went on to the next set up. I felt bad that I hadn’t asked more questions. I wasn’t sure if I had perhaps acquiesced too readily in their version of the story. What about me I thought as I drove back to the hotel? What about my vision? But when I saw the finished film I noticed that I looked great turning to the window and smiling sadly. So it was a good thing that I had done this. It taught me an important lesson. Listen to the directors.
Oh, and don’t eat hot dogs. I had dysentery that night.
More Secret Actor Writes… soon.
SICARIO – REVIEW: Denis Villeneuve’s cross border thriller is a dark, complex investigation into the front line of the drug war.
Emily Blunt plays Kate Macer, a Police officer who graduates from kicking in doors to join a special task force led by Josh Brolin’s amoral agent Matt. Matt is unconventional and so is his squad. The flipflop wearing dudester is obviously into rule breaking, with some kind of blessing from on high and we’re prepared for a classic Hollywood narrative as the young straight laced rookie learns to bend the rules to get results, getting a little crooked on the way. But like many things with Sicario, expectations are raised only to be subverted. Lines are crossed as well as borders as the team motor into a Mexico town to collect a potential witness, a thundering convoy into a hellish Mexican town is executed with brutal excitement, an almost documentary immersion into the world. A fog of compromise and doubt pervades the movie, which each character tries to cut through in their own way. The half-light of the Mexico-US border is caught by Roger Deakins amazing cinematography that imbues proceedings with a the kind of badlands noir that No Country for Old Men hinted at.
Another member of the squad is the apparently stateless Alejandro, played by a magnificent Benico Del Toro. No one is sure where he comes from or what his relationship is to the cartels, or what his legal role is. And he glowers with the kind of dark history of a dead man walking, an instrument of darkness who Matt employs but never truly controls. Former TV actor Taylor Sheridan has crafted a screenplay that provides the sort of grim fare that made the Seventies brilliant and Emily Blunt does her best to maintain her calm even as the film veers away from her and into much darker territory. By the end we don’t really know where we are and for the first time, I was genuinely looking forward to the Blade Runner sequel.
EVEREST – REVIEW: John Connor and Donnie Darko go up a mountain but Josh Brolin finds it is No Country for Old Men and the whole thing collapses on Michael Kelly like a House of Cards.
The problem with Everest is that the damned thing is so f*cking big. You can’t really see it. And if you see it from the sky as a way of really getting it all in, you’re automatically taking away from it, its key characteristic: which is that it is is higher than everything else. Baltasar Kormákur’s film does a solid job of telling the true story of the disastrous 1996 expedition which was told in Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”. Jason Clarke plays Rob Hall, the leader of one of two commercial enterprises that takes its clients to the summit of Everest. Jake Gyllenhaal is his competitor and friend Scott Fischer who with Russian climber Anatoli Boukreev (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) is leading the other group. With so many at Base Camp there is a genuine worry that something might go wrong, but there are commercial pressures of getting their expectant clients Beck (Josh Brolin) and Doug (John Hawkes) up especially as it all takes place under the watchful eye of journalist Krakauer (Kelly).
The strength of the film is in a wonderful lead performance by Clarke who is quietly fashioning a series of brilliant character pieces amidst the more generic pay days. His Rob Hall is a gentle, solid, reassuring presence: his expertise and humanity, a tribute to the man. The rest of the cast don’t quite rise to the same level but they are all solid enough. Once the storm arrives and with it disaster, there is a sense of genuine loss – though in its attempt to not point the blame, confusion seeps into the narrative so that we are never quite clear what is going on. The CGI mountain and the real thing clash occasionally, and base camp is so obviously studio bound as to be a real distraction, but in general the mountain comes over as a worthy adversary and the drama is well done if not exactly the peak that its subject seems to demand.
INHERENT VICE: REVIEW – Paul Thompson Anderson remakes the Big Lebowski, but without the wit.
First things first: Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those directors who – any movie of his I’m watching, that becomes my favorite movie, his Alien Vs Predator movies aside, which are bafflingly poor. Magnolia is a masterpiece; Boogie Nights, a masterpiece; There Will Be Blood, obviously a masterpiece; Punch Drunk Love, a small quirky masterpiece and The Master is so much a masterpiece he even put half the word in the title. So what the f*ck is Inherent Vice?
Oh, and an addendum to that, I also love Thomas Pynchon and think V is a masterpiece; Gravity’s Rainbow is a masterpiece… okay? Yeah, you follow me. So again what the f*ck is Inherent Vice?
It’s not bad, it looks handsome and sounds fantastic, the performances are all good, Wacky Phoenix a likable comic lead. And PTA does TP justice, but that might just be the problem. Pynchon’s dialogue in the novel is a gag filled delight, taking from Chandler both plot and raison d’etre and giving us Marlowe played by Elliot Gould via the ‘Dude’ Lebowski, with Wolverine’s sideburns. But in PTA’s adaptation, the scenes are simply too long and too similar; one feels he’s too in love with his source material. More bothered about being true to it than creating a good movie.
At the behest of an ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterson), private investigator ‘Doc’ Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) investigates a pair of linked disappearances. Doing so, Doc comes across a parade of semi-crazy characters from a hopped up dentist (Martin Short) to a flat top cop called Bigfoot (Josh Brolin). The lugubrious narration is given by a beach babe astrologer Sortilège (Joanna Newsom) not so much to clear up the intentionally complicated plot, but to read out chunks of the novel. Pynchon’s prose is good, cinematic even, but it does not need to be here. Just as his wise-cracking dialogue crackles on the page but burns up way too much screen time. What should be snappy comes across as gassy. And people tells us too much that sounds more interesting than what we are seeing. A dentist dies in weird vampiric trampoline accident? Let’s see it.
Again Inherent Vice is not bad. It’s just – and it pains me to say it – not a masterpiece.
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HOLLYWOOD – It came as some relief today that the AMA declared that those unfortunate enough to have watched Gangster Squad when it was released earlier this year have – for the most part- already forgotten it.
‘The symptoms of slack mouthed drooling and bleary eyed alienation have for the most part passed,’ remarked Dr. Shuman in a 400 page report. ‘It’s almost like it never existed.’
No one was more relieved than cast member Ryan Gosling, who candidly admitted to having slept through his own performance.
I thought the gig was up. I was blander than one of the entrees in my macrobiotic restaurant Gosling’s Guzzler Hole. But fortunately not that many people went to see it and those who did have now filled that brain space with some other inanity.
Co-star Josh Brolin also declared himself ‘happy and exhausted from the trauma’ of Reuben Fleischer’s soporific grind. He apologized to all his fan and promised not to do it again. Sean Penn was a lone voice, declaring he thought ‘it wasn’t that bad’, confirming many people’s opinion of him as an out and out fruit cake who always takes the opposite view in order to be controversial.
We asked Dr. Shuman if there was any danger that the publication of his report ‘The Blessed Forgetfulness that Followed Gangster Squad‘ might revive memories, to which he replied:
Shit! You know, we never thought of that.
Gangster Squad 2 will be available on pay per view.
HOLLYWOOD – Today shock waves fractured the fragile calm that had reigned in Hollywood since the news of Josh Brolin’s arrest, when a metaphorical bombshell exploded unleashing a hailstorm of burning fact shrapnel through the innocent bus queue of Southern Californian film life: famed and celebrated British Shame and Hunger film director Steve McQueen ended months of speculation and admitted that he was not Steve McQueen, the long dead American film actor.
Film historian Mark McKicklely said that the revelation only came as a surprise to idiots:
He’s black, he the wrong age, he’s a different body shape, he’s British, but most importantly, he isn’t dead.
However, die hard McQueen fan, Donna Shack said that she was devastated:
We were hoping that he would return to acting and we could have had a whole bunch of sequels: The Great Escape 2, Papillion 2, The Magnificent Fourteen. Now that dream has gone. I feel like someone has literally ripped my heart from my chest.
What do you think? Is Steve McQueen Steve McQueen or is Steve McQueen not Steve McQueen?
HOLLYWOOD – Character actor and former American President Josh Brolin has been arrested on New Year’s Day following a tip off that there were rowdy noises coming from Darlington Beer Factory.
Mr. Brolin told the officers that they were great guys and he ‘really loved them, no, really with all my heart’.
The news will come as no shock to fans of Mr. Brolin who have loved him in films such as No Country for Old Men and W. Only last year he was arrested after his pet bear Enoch ‘defecated in a forestry area’ according to the citation. Before that he caused controversy by revealing that Pope Benedict the13th was secretly a practicant of the Catholic faith, an extreme Christian sect hell bent on convincing the world that Ewan MacGregor is worthwhile.