Yesterday’s business sections of some papers tried to sound the emergency alarm for The Weinstein Company.
But four of last night’s Tony winners carried the Weinstein name into battle both at the boxoffice and in the awards skirmish: “God of Carnage,” “Billy Elliott,” “Hair,” and “West Side Story.” Those were the Best Play, Musical, Revival of a Musical, and nominee for the latter.
This is no apologia for Harvey Weinstein. Some of the films he’s put out since starting the Weinstein Co. have been headscratchers. There was one with Mandy Moore, another with ‘Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen, something with Bruce Willis, and, of course, the tragic “Soul Men,” which I personally loathed more than I have room to say here.
But never count out Harvey. It does seem he’s financially restructuring for fall. But that doesn’t mean anything dire. For one thing, footage of the musical “Nine,” directed by Rob Marshall, blew away everyone who saw it in Cannes. “Nine” looks like it’s a stunner, an Oscar nominee and worthy successor to Harvey and Rob’s “Chicago” success.
Then there’s Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.” Hopefully, Tarantino is in the editing room right now. You run a risk by rushing a screening at Cannes, and so Quentin showed the world a work in progress. Length is not the problem with that movie. It’s emphasis. Tarantino had so much material to work with, and he became enthralled with the story involving Melanie Laurent’s character of a Jewish French girl avenging her parents’ murders.
Tarantino will likely add more of Brad Pitt and his cronies, and explain more about why they’re obsessed with scalping Nazis to help the Jews. (Pitt’s character isn’t Jewish.)
What will remain no doubt is the award-winning performance by Christoph Waltz as Col. Landa, the Nazi “Jew hunter” who steals the movie. Waltz won Best Actor in Cannes. He will be nominated for everything next fall. A star is born! “Basterds” will be a hit, there’s no doubt about it.
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