Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Armie Hammer

Armie Hammer Is Now A Time-Share Salesman

Armie Hammer and wife (2018 SXSW Festival, photo by Connie Wilson)

I never thought I’d type the words “Armie Hammer is now working as a time-share salesman.” I’m guessing that Armie Hammer never thought he’d become one, either.

I met the actor at SXSW (with  his then-wife) hyping a film directed by Stanley Tucci. The film, released in 2017, was “Final Portrait.” It was “the story of Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti.” The movie starred Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer and Tony Shalhoub. It was written and directed by Stanley Tucci. Tucci—who is, also, coincidentally, the brother-in-law of “A Quiet Place” star Emily Blunt (married to her sister)—was not there in person, but he sent Armie Hammer and it was shown in the theater right next door to the Paramount, the Stateside (formerly the State Theater) on Opening Night, a theater where I had previously seen a troupe of trained cats entertain my granddaughters. [Some of the cats escaped during the show and we were cautioned about opening the door to the lobby.]

“Final Portrait” Red Carpet at SXSW.

This theater was built in 1935 and, after renovations through the years, what remains looks every one of those 86 years of age. It comfortably seats 305 today. In 1950 it was announced that it seated 997; I cannot imagine how that was possible, unless the patrons were stacked like cordwood. The theater itself fell on hard times in the 70s and suffered a water main break in June of 2006 that  delayed its 70-year anniversary celebration.

“A Quiet Place” was going to be opening the festival next door at the Paramount.  I had secured a ticket to “A Quiet Place” because the writers of that film were Bettendorf (IA) natives Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. I decided to see if I could hit both at once, leaving “Final Portrait” early because, honestly, I had little interest in this obscure Italian painter and sculptor, but was intensely interested in how “A Quiet Place” would do as Paramount’s Opening Night Film at SXSW. It was a wise decision.

Armie Hammer at the Red Carpet at the Stateside Theater in Austin (Tx) for Final Portrait, Stanley Tucci’s directorial debut. (Photo by Connie Wilson).

Troubles began immediately. We were all crowded into a tiny lobby of the Stateside Theater, but the projector wasn’t operative or the film was flawed or some other technical problem was causing those in charge to attempt to carry a laptop computer to the control booth. The plan, as I overheard it, was to show us the film from the computer stream. That didn’t sound like the Opening Night experience I had in mind, so, after meeting and greeting the extremely handsome Armie Hammer, I split for “A Quiet Place” next door at the Paramount—but not before taking the pictures you see here.

Then came news of Armie’s infidelities and his texts about cannibalism and other such revelations. Still, he was the “star” of “Death on the Nile” and was in too many scenes to remove him, so Armie had another day in the sun. And Armie’s family is extremely wealthy, as profiled in a “Vanity Fair” article.

Now, according to the “Daily Globe,” Armie’s days in the sun are spent in the Cayman Islands selling time shares for $2,000 a week or $21,000 for 10 years at Morritt’s Resort. At least, he was spotted there in June pricing a unit with potential buyers, although his agent denied  this when asked.

In another weird story, Elon Musk is not going to spend $44 billion buying Twitter and will probably be sued for backing out of the deal.

I was tempted to entitle this story “Death in the Caymans” (but you’d have to be aware that Armie Hammer was in that 2022 movie).

After all, Armie’s family is still filthy rich and he’s still extremely handsome, so it’s hard to feel too sorry for him, even now. His downfall was caused by inappropriate texting, a fascination with cannibalism, and infidelity; hard to blame anyone but Armie for his demise.



Stay Tuned Here for SXSW From March 11-20th!

Rosario Dawson in new series “DMZ” at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

I’m here at SXSW 2022 and preparing to travel down to the Convention Center on Thursday to collect my badge, get my Nikon tagged, and prove I’ve been vaccinated—3 times.

This is not my first rodeo, but it is one of the most screwed-up, pandemic or no pandemic, mostly because of my own computer  shortcomings.  My computer was hacked, which ended up costing me close to $200 to fix AND an important announcement regarding things in general got lost in my SPAM folder, I had surgery on 1/27 and missed some important deadlines because we were driving to get here. Probably just as well that I won’t be standing in as many lines for as long as usual, since I’m not yet 6 weeks post-surgery until tomorrow.

Also, one year ago in Austin we had the infamous freeze and had to melt down Frosty the Snowman in order to flush our toilets. (Yikes!) Remember that? We went without water for about 5 days, but did not lose our power–although our son and wife, 3.3 miles away, lost both for about a week. Ah, the golden memories.

Armie Hammer. at SXSW in 2018 (my photo at the Stateside Theater.)

I’m just so pleased that SXSW seems to be emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever because, as you may remember, they were one of the first Big Events to cancel that year and go all online, (whereas Mardi Gras just went ahead and exposed a bunch of party-goers in the Big Easy.) Not all of the celebrities of past years will be there this year, as evidenced by THAT guy!

I’m going to be taking in a lot of the films on my home television set, because, due to recent surgery and being on the road when the deadlines occurred, I seem to have missed the deadline for signing up for Red Carpet photo ops. I’m still invited to chat with the stars of a variety of new streaming shows one-on-one, including the new “DMZ” (a fictional new Civil War with Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt, where Rosario is searching for her missing son).

Another big new sci-fi offering that Steven Spielberg has a hand in will be “Halo,” which is being touted and the entire working group behind Ben Stiller’s “Severance” (minus Stiller, himself, or Adam Scott) will be meeting with registered press who wish to ask questions about that intriguing series (I’ve seen 3 episodes, so far).

All together, there are 99 features, 76 World Premieres, 4 International Premieres, 4 North American premieres, 2 U.S. premieres, 13 Texas premieres and 111 short films.

I’m torn between attending the up-close-and-personal meeting with the stars of the new “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” since I remember the original with David Bowie, or participating in a Lizzo promotional event that sounds really fun. I almost certainly will be the oldest person at any of these get-togethers, and I will often opt for the really interesting documentary over the so-so feature. (How many reviewers have been at this non-stop since 1970?)

Pick up a copy of my book on 70s movies, “It Came from the 79s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now” on Amazon to celebrate SXSW and prove that I’ve been at this a looong time.

Who can choose between “Linoleum,” a Jim Gaffigan-starring light comedy (also sci-fi-ish) and Ethan Hawke’s examination of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward entitled “The Last Movie Stars?”

Stay tuned to this page as I share with you, my faithful readers, the upcoming SXSW offerings that I’ll be seeing from March 11 to March 20th.

“Death on the Nile” is DOA

There’s a scene near the end of “Death on the Nile” that shows Sir Kenneth Branagh walking onboard the luxury yacht/riverboat that is the setting for most of “Death on the Nile.” He is moving very slowly and deliberately. I couldn’t help but think of how that slow walk down the deck represented the entire film.

The beginning of “Death on the Nile,” however, opened in the exciting trenches of WWI, where we learn about Agatha Christie’s ace detective Hercule Poirot in his youth, and why he began wearing his signature facial hair. As another critic wrote, “I wanted to see THAT movie!”

I agree with the critic who wanted to have the vibrancy of the prologue to the “real” film. The 2 hour and 7 minute movie was a slow slog.

Armie Hammer.

The film has had its issues, ranging from Armie Hammer’s cannibalism scandal on down. Unlike some movies that were re-shot to remove a lead involved in a media mess, Armie Hammer stayed. Near the beginning of the film, he performs some salacious dancing with the two female leads. It’s kind of offputting, given what we now know of Armie’s texts to his paramours.. However, Armie is central to the plot, portraying a handsome big lug named Simon Doyle, who is the much-sought-after fiancé of the two female leads: Emma Mackey as Jacqueline de Bellefort and Gal Gadot as the heiress Linnet Ridgeway.

There was a role written into the plot expressly for Annette Bening, as Euphemia Bouc, a painter and the mother of Tom Bateman. The action moves to Egypt and we see her son flying a kite while perched on a pyramid. The plot, based on Agatha Christie’s novel, informs us that the younger Bouc is completely dependent on the good will of his mother.  “Behind every kite-flying man there is a woman.” That line, scripted by screenwriter Michael Green, is fairly klunky but leads into the Bouc quote, “Money matters, and mine comes monthly from Eugenia Bouc.”

It’s  a bit difficult decoding the various accents of the characters, ranging from Poirot, of course, but, also the French-influenced dialogue of Rose Leslie (“Game of Thrones,” “The Good Fight”) as maid Louise Bouegot.

Green’s script also contains the line, “When you have money, no one is ever really your friend,” which ultimately leads to the death of Linnet Ridgeway, the wealthy heiress in their midst, played by “Wonder Woman’s” Gal Gadot. She will definitely find this out firsthand, as the first (of five) murder victims.

On the plus side, the costumes that Gadot and Mackey wear are gorgeous. There are some sultry scenes in a blues bar where Salome Otterbourne, played by Sophie Okonedo, re-imagines a character for this revamp. In the 1978 film, the character was an erotic novelist.

Okonedo is magic whenever she’s onscreen. She and her niece manager, Letitia Wright as Rosalie Otterbourne, are definite eye candy, especially given two middle-aged characters who used to be a comedy duo who have pivotal roles that seem largely unnecessary. It was also interesting to see that Russell Brand cleaned up nicely to play a doctor named Windlesham, who was once involved romantically with Godot’s rich heiress.

After the opening in the WWI trenches and the night club dancing scenes, with Armie Hammer sexy dancing up a storm with the two female leads, which amps up the “sex scandal” vibe going on IRL, the action moves to Egypt because the newlyweds, Gadot and Hammer, are honeymooning there.

Kenneth Branaugh on the Red Carpet at the Music Box Theater on Thursday, October 21, 2021, at the 57th Chicago International Film Festival.

Hammer’s jilted ex Jacqueline (Mackey) keeps showing up wherever he and the new wife are, (sort of like Jennifer Lopez’s ex Alex Rodriguez, who has been trailing her around to various vacation hot spots now that she’s on Ben Affleck’s arm). [Otherwise, I’d be saying, “Who does that?”]

Jacqueline’s unwanted presence becomes so onerous that the handsome Hammer—who seems to have nothing going for him beyond good looks—takes the entire party down the Nile on a luxurious riverboat.

One question we had was how, exactly, Jacqueline (Mackey) managed to get on the riverboat, when the entire boat was chartered specifically to take the wedding party far away from her. That was weak plot point #1.

Weak plot point #2 was the Grand Finale key murder. In terms of trajectories of weapons, etc., it was mystifying.  We watched this thing for over two hours—most of them gorgeously photographed, but boring—and, at the end, it was unclear how, exactly, the final murder could be pulled off. There were only four people in the entire theater; we missed our chance to ask the other couple if they found the resolution of the “key first murder” realistic, because we found it entirely implausible.

The entire plot was pretty implausible, as Poirot lays it out in the movie’s closing minutes in hard-to-decipher accented English. Some have suggested that Sir Kenneth would have been better off if he had simply directed this star-studded offering and not also starred in it.

Since the entire reason for inviting Hercule Poirot onto the boat was to protect the lovebirds from the unwanted attention of the jilted fiancé and make sure they were kept safe, let’s just put it out there that Poirot did an extremely poor job in that capacity. Five mummified bodies are carried off the boat, one by one, during his time on board. (Some detective!)

I wanted to see this movie at the IMAX theater, because the chances of me making it to Egypt are slim to none and the cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos was outstanding. I’ll never get to see the Temple of Abu Sembel up close and personal, so thank you to the expert cinematographer who allowed me to see it this way.

The film finally wound down, slowly and in a confusing and artificial manner. We compared notes on the (somewhat obvious) culprits and asked each other HOW the denouement could be brought about in the manner portrayed.

This movie is not going to keep you on the edge of your seat, although it is a nice travelogue. The plot seems dated and the movie is long. If you know all that going in when it streams, you might enjoy seeing Egypt this way.

If You Are A Hammer, Everything Looks Like Meat

In the ongoing effort to provide some “lighter side” thoughts, here are a few, courtesy of the Borowitz Report:

  1.  Queen Elizabeth offers to re-annex the United States.
  2. Ivanka Trump applies to become Joe Biden’s daughter.
  3. Obama proposes canceling cable at the White House to get Trump to leave.
  4. Dr. Fauci says alcohol may be an aid during coronavirus briefings.
  5. Scientists say that Earth is endangered by a new strain of fact-resistant humans.
  6. Putin warns that the United States could wind up controlled by Americans.
  7. Kim Kardashian wonders if big-bottomed girls (with 4 kids and 3 marriages) will be in demand in 2022.
  8. Lou Dobbs applies for job at Four Seasons Landscaping.
  9. Canada declares Proud Boys to be domestic terrorists, just as Trump was preparing to give Medal of Freedom to former General Michael Flynn for his service to the group.
  10. Army Hammer announces he and latest girlfriend have become vegans.

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