“Will Once, the recently released Irish film, turn into this summer’s indie hit? It’s showing early promise. Starring Glen Hansard, the lead singer of Dublin’s the Frames rock band, as an Irish street singer and his sometime musical collaborator, Marketa Irglova, as a classically trained pianist who sells roses on the street, the film opened May 18 on just two screens, both in L.A., to an abnormally high $30,000-per-screen average. An unvarnished ode to musical discovery, Once expanded to 20 screens in 13 cities over the Memorial Day weekend, averaging $21,626 per screen.” — from Sheigh Crabtree‘s L.A.Times piece, which is actually more about the music.Read More »
Stanley Kubrick “always admitted he took too
long to make Barry Lyndon,” former Kubrick assistant Leon
Vitali tells The
Reeler’s Jamie Stuart. “There was about a year
of pre-production, a year-plus of shooting, then he took an awful
long time to edit. And by the time it was ready to come out, I
would say, the blockbuster action movies had become de
rigeur. That was what the people really wanted to see. So when
this film came out it was received as strange, slow,
completely out of context to what was going on.
“And I think people were expecting something a little closer to A Clockwork Orange, which, of course had caused such a furor. It was living! A Clockwork Orange was playing for over a year in London. And Barry Lyndon was trashed by many critics, equally so in the UK...
If anyone’s going to hire Lindsay Lohan after
her latest drunken meltdown, she “might have to be more than
reports the N.Y. Times‘ Sharon
Waxman. “She would need perhaps to post her salary as
bond, or pay for her own insurance, even on an independent
film.” And what’s so terrible or unfair about that?
The bigger problem is that the supermarket-tabloid version of Lohan, as has been the case with so many others who’ve grappled with her disease, has almost totally eclipsed what little power or aura she had as an actress before this latest episode. (The quick death of Georgia Rules indicated her diminished popularity a few weeks back).
Waxman briefly mentions that Lohan’s various enablers and wink-winkers are perhaps a factor in her...
With spooky, half-shaped visions of Roman
Polanski‘s Pompeii flashing in my head, Hollywood
Elsewhere visited the actual Pompeii ruins yesterday. I’m very glad
I went — this is the best-preserved ancient Roman city anywhere,
covered as it was and frozen in time by tons of ash that spewed out
of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD. The problem
is that I was too cheap to buy a map or go with a
tour group, and by the end of our visit I’d come across only
one lousy plaster-covered body.
The frescoes and the pottery and the precisely preserved apartments and villas are fascinating, but let’s be honest — if you come to Pompeii, you want to see how the citizens met their doom. You want freeze-frame death statues of people going “aaaah, this hurts!” And in this respect, Pompeii struck me as a faint ripoff. There should be bodies everywhere, in...
If the casting rumors are true, Orlando Bloom
will play an upstanding engineer named Marcus Attilius
Primus in Roman Polanski‘s Pompeii,
which will start shooting in August. The rumor mill is also saying
that Scarlett Johansson may be cast as as
Cornelia, the “defiant daughter of a vile real estate
speculator who supplies Marcus with documents implicating her
father in a water embezzlement scheme,” according to an
How did Johansson become the dominant period actress of our time? She was right for her role and quite good in Match Point, playing an insecure 21st Century neurotic, but did anyone really believe her as a subservient Dutch maid in The Girl with the Pearl...
In honor of tomorrow’s opening of Judd Apatow‘s Knocked Up, here’s a re-run of that HE-vs.-Joe Leydon piece I wrote after seeing it 40 days ago. And that Seth Rogenis-the-new-John-Belushi piece. Doing so conveys as impression I’m linked up to the USA hubba-hubba, which, let’s face it, I’m not. Not in the laughing Mediterannean culture of sunny Italy, which is still living in the Bill Clinton internet era. It is easily the biggest and darkest black internet/wifi hole I’ve ever struggled with in my professional life.Read More »
L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein
takes a gander at the script for Peter
Jackson‘s The Lovely Bones, and thereafter
understands “why the film’s supporters see it as less of a brooding
Little Children-style drama and more of a supernatural
thriller, packed with creepy chills and a sense of wonder.”
It doesn’t matter. Even if it’s a dark adult drama about a 14-year-old girl who is brutally raped and murdered, which sounds nervy at the very least. If it’s a Peter Jackson film, I know I’m going to suffer one way or another. All of you Jackson haters out there know exactly what I’m talking about. He can’t and won’t go home again and revert into the filmmaker who made Heavenly Creatures. He’s become like Federico...
The Weinstein Company will distribute Woody Allen‘s Cassandra’s Dream, which “has been said to be in a darker vein, similar to Match Point,” according to one published report. Forget darker — it’s pitch black, this film. (I happened upon a massive third-act plot spoiler on the Cassandra’s Dream Wikipedia page.) The drama costars Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell as two brothers under financial pressure who fall for a femme fatale (Haley Atwell), who steers them into a criminal scheme.Read More »
Reader Dennis Costa feels this is “the epitome of the mash-up trailer trend…a downright inspired piece of comedy using Star Wars footage (specifically Vader scenes) with audio clips of other James Earl Jones movies…approaching genius-level…the first three and a half minutes could be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” etc. My 1998-level flat screen inside a cafe in Greve (south of Florence about 25 kilometers) doesn’t play video so I’m trusting Costa.Read More »
Because the $142 million earned by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End over the Memorial Day weekend opening was the absolute biggest ever, that means that Movie Nation is delighted, Gore Verbinksi and Jerry Bruckheimer are crowned geniuses who are supremely in touch with the hoi polloi, and all the Pirates haters are curmudgeons who need top re-screw their heads on….is that it?Read More »
Two movies made about Mark David Chapman’‘s killing of John Lennon, and they both apparently have major problems and are both sitting around in theatrical-release limbo. Is there something about the material that enforces a kind of cinematic curse? I was told late last year by a director friend that J.P. Schaefer‘s Chapter 27, which showed at last January’s Sundance Film Festival with Jared Leto as Chapman and Lindsay Lohan as a girl he befriends in the days/hours leading up to the Manhattan shooting, had been edited and re-edited to little success. And then there’s Andrew Piddington‘s The Killing of John Lennon, a British-produced drama that’s played two or three film festivals since the summer of ’06 and…nothing.Read More »
The Cannes jury has officially stiffed the Joel and Ethan Coen‘ highly praised No Country for Old Men, largely, I suspect, because it ‘s not very women-friendly and therefore didn’t go over with the youngish females on the jury — actresses Maggie Cheung and Toni Collette, director-actress Maria de Medeiros and director-actress Sarah Polley. The Palme d’Or went instead went to a deeply admired, very fine abortion movie — Christian Mungiu‘s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
The Grand Prix (a runner-up award) was handed to Naomi
Kawase‘s The Mourning Forest
Julian Schnabel won the Best Director prize for The...
I’m sitting inside the southern branch of the Venetian Navigator (i.e., the one closer to the San Marco district) as I wait the Cannes Film Festival winners to be announced online. And as we were all taught in school, a watched pot never boils. Tell you what….here are two heavyweight video clips of yesterday’s rainstorm. Watch ‘em or don’t.Read More »
A moment last night by Venice’s Accademia Bridge, looking across the Grand Canal; Adrian Grenier at Cannes’ Majestic Hotel on the first day of filming the Cannes footage for Entourage; vague object of desire; Mike Binder, Kevin Costner and Joan Allen’s lingering vibe in the display window of Venice Tabacchi; internet cafe near Accademia Bridge
I never got around to running this pic earlier, and I somehow want to convey that Josh Brolin did especially well for himself during this festival — his stellar performance in Old Men, his breezy and yet bluntly confessional manner with the press last weekend, his hilarious performance in the Coen Bros. Chacun son Cinema short. He was kind of an amiable kick-around guy before who was okay or pretty good in this or that film — now he’s moved up a couple of notches.
No Country for Old Men star Josh Brolin at last weekend’s press luncheon — Saturday, 5.19.07, 1:55 pm.
Everyone’s already linked to this, but having just been through
ten days at the Cannes Film Festival I can say with some authority
that Shane Danielsen‘s short
Guardian piece is one of the most honest assessments
of what journalists go through there that I’ve ever read,
particularly for these two observations:
(a) “The discomforting and little-known truth is, if you’re a filmmaker in competition, your film’s success or failure is largely decided in about five minutes at the bottom of the steps outside the Salle Debussy or the Grand Palais Lumiere, by about four groups of highly film-literate critics, who tend to cluster according to nationality. There are the Americans, the Brits, the French (with a necessary distance between the Cahiers du Cinema and Positif camps, bien sur)...
Hollywood Wiretap‘s Liza Foreman has written that the Cannes Film Festival parties and the promotions were sometimes better than the parties, and lists a certain ” black truck advertising Burn energy drink booming music up and down the Croisette” as one of the go-getters.
Let me explain something — the people behind this special promotion were and still probably are agents of Satan. That utterly detestable black truck with its rancid disco-beat music pounding and throbbing like a jackhammer didn’t just give everyone a headache — it exuded a vibe so ugly and repulsive it had to be felt to be believed.
I ran into it right after seeing The 11th Hour last weekend, and I feel ashamed that I didn’t have the nerve to go over and spit a mouthful of beer at the guys driving it and the ersatz Lindsay Lohan babes dancing on the flatbed.
Fox 411′s Roger Friedman reported yesterday that the Cannes jury is said to be “completely deadlocked over which film to choose [for the Palme d'Or], and that no clear favorite has emerged.” In other words, some of the jurors want to give it to Julian Schnabel‘s The Diving Bell and Butterfly to help it along commercially, perhaps sensing that it’ll be facing a difficult sell in the U.S. without it. The other two camps are said to be behind Joel and Ethan Coen‘s No Country for Old Men and Cristian Mungiu‘s 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. The awards will be announced about four or five hours from now.Read More »
The mark of any exceptional film is the won’t-go-away factor — a film that doesn’t just linger in your head but seems to throb and dance around inside it, gaining a little more every time you re-reflect. This is very much the case with Anton Corbijn‘s Control, the black-and-white biopic of doomed Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.
I finally saw Control at a market screening last
Wednesday night (5.23) at the Star cineplex, and it’s definitely
one of the four or five best flicks I saw at Cannes — a quiet,
somber, immensely authentic-seeming portrayal of a gloomy
poet-performer whom I didn’t personally relate to at all, but whose
story I found affecting anyway.
Corbijn, a music-video guy, was obviously the maestro, but a significant reason...
“Unless you’ve been living in happy isolation, you know that newspapers face a cascading series of problems. Declining revenues. Declining circulation. Uncertainty about the future. No need to recite the entire litany here, except by way of noting that the words ‘layoffs’ and ‘buyouts’ have appeared in far too many stories about too many newspapers lately, including this one.” — Rocky Mountain News film critic Robert Denerstein, in a piece announcing his departure due to the above factors.Read More »
I was hoping for something much sharper and smarter from James Gray‘s We Own The Night, which showed at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, and which Columbia will be releasing stateside sometime later this year. It’s a slam-bang urban action piece by way of a Brooklyn family-ties melodrama…the kind in which everyone bellows their feelings. It’s good to see Gray back on his feet after years in movie jail (his last film was The Yards, which opened seven years ago) but this is too often a crude, unsubtle, difficult-to-digest film.
Joaquin Pheonix; Eva Mendes
I’ll tell you right now that there’s a mild spoiler or
two in this piece.
The most recent high-water marks for family crime films, in my book, are The...
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End has a 37%
positive from the Rotten Tomatoes elite. Even MCN’s
David Poland, who wrote last year that the second
Pirates film gave him “joy,” says it’s “the
least of the three films.”
If you read the reviews by two of the easygoing friendlies — N.Y. Daily News critic Jack Matthews, and Variety‘s Brian Lowry — you’ll realize they’re not that friendly. The Chicago Tribune‘s
“One reason for joy [at this year's Cannes Film Festival] is
that word ‘art,’ which isn’t always mentioned in the same breath,
much less the same paragraph, when Americans talk about movies,”
writes N.Y. Times critic Manohla
Dargis in a good sum-up piece about the best snob
highbrow films that have played there.
“One of the sustaining pleasures of Cannes is that it allows you to immerse yourself fully from early morning to evening in the kind of aesthetically adventurous, intellectually exhilarating cinematic practices that end up in the American art-house ghetto or being shut out of theaters completely.”
The reasons for the shut-out are sad or tragic or both, but I’ve always said and still believe that the greatest films are those that appeal to not just the...
“Amid the glamour and the French Riviera sun, more and more Wall
Street banks, private equity firms and hedge funds are coming to
the 12-day Cannes festival — the world’s largest international film
market — to try to arrange and finance entertainment deals,”
Liza Klaussmann reported yesterday for the
And yet, despite the story’s solid writing and sturdy reporting, it instantly put me to sleep. Money guys in suits put people to sleep the world over every day and night…boring, boring, boring. And what do they get out of it? Massive salaries, absurdly spacious McMansions, nifty cars and the power to attract the tastiest and classiest arm-candy women as prospective wives, girlfriends or mistresses.
“More money is streaming into the industry, and that has helped raise the number of American firms present at Cannes, which is up 7 percent this year,...
Woke at 4:30 am and then drove for eight hours — 7:30 to 3:30 pm. I’ve been in Venice for about five and a half hours now, and it’s really great the way almost nothing about this town changes. I feel too whipped to file anything tonight, but I’ll jump into it tomorrow morning. Venice is a fairly dead wi-fi environment, I can tell you that.Read More »
My ten days of trying to cover the hard-slamming Cannes Film Festival, which has always involved 18-hour work days broken up by sleep periods of five or six hours, has wound to a close, even though the festival will continue for another three days including today — Friday, 5.15. I’ve been hanging with Jett, who reviewed and covered for the Boston Pheonix online for the last six days, and this morning we’re pushing on to Italy for a few days. I’ll still do my daily filing, but from a somewhat more tranquil head-space. I did and saw many things during the festival that I haven’t yet gotten into, so…Read More »