“It wasn’t until the 20th century that modern-type sunglasses came to be. In 1929, Sam Foster, founder of the Foster Grant company, sold the first pair of Foster Grant sunglasses on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ. By 1930, sunglasses were all the rage.” — from ideafinder.com‘s page on sunglasses.
Robert Downey, Jr., as Sherlock Holmes — fictionally born in 1854, first appearance in an Arthur Conan Doyle story in 1887, etc. It’s fairly safe to say that shades weren’t around during Holmes’ youth or middle age. Unless, of course, Holmes invented them.
I knew something was wrong last night when a friend and I walked
Ambreous, a little restaurant at the corner of West 4th Street
and Perry Street. It was around 9:30 pm. The atmosphere felt a
little too stiff and formal, and they were all too glad to
see us. Restaurants that have their act together never
show excitement when a customer walks in. It’s always a sign of
desperation. They need to just smile and keep their zen cool.
On top of which the waiters wore pink shirts with black ties.
Village restaurants should always use waitresses who look like
Sylvia Plath and who wear black leotard tops or
somewhat tight sweaters, or…whatever, young, sharp-looking guys who
may or may not be gay but who look it. But nobody
wears ties — what is this, the Radisson in St. Paul?
Another trouble sign was that the bartender, a young girl
I was talking an hour or so to this Expedia customer service guy about a flight to Spain that would initially land in Lisbon, Portgual. Which this Expedia guy kept referring to as Lizbonn — Liz Taylor plus Bonn, Germany. My irritation grew with each mispronunciation. “Look, it’s pronounced Lizbuhn…okay?,” I finally said. “Lizbuhn. You should kinda know how to pronounce these cities.” How cut off from civilization do you have to be to get a six-letter word wrong? Is it a matter of education, ethnicity, rural dialect? I knew how to say Lisbon when I was seven or eight after watching Casablanca on the tube.
“With just five features in 13 years, Wes
Anderson has established himself as the most influential
American filmmaker of the post-Baby Boom generation,”
saysMatt Zoller Seitz in the first of a
five-part narrated video series (along with a printed essay) that
run over the next five weeks.
(The video is very nicely done, Matt — hats off. But the
automatic play-reboot function is impossible. Send me a code
without it and I’ll put it up again.)
Publishing a pro-Anderson manifesto is, at the very least, an
idiosysncratic if not brave thing for Seitz to have done. I mean,
is it not the prevailing view that Anderson pretty much shot
his wad with Bottle Rocket and Rushmore? And that
I met briefly with We Live in Public director Ondi Timoner and her five-year-old son Joaquim early this afternoon inside the Manhattan offices of Murphy P.R. Her film, which won the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury prize, is about living virtual at the expense of natural, and how we’re all sinking deeper and deeper into it. (It’s certainly the story of my life, I can tell you.) We Live In Public is showing at New Directors, New Films this week. I’ll most likely run the piece along with the audio tomorrow.
The legendary movie-score composer Maurice
yesterday in Los Angeles at age 84, following a long bout with
cancer. I’m probably not the only one who’s feeling a bit forlorn
about this. Jarre’s music could be a little sappy at times, a
little too on-the-sleeve. But his melodic gifts seemed almost
heavenly at times, and he was one of Hollywood’s most impassioned
old-time maestros — right up there with Miklos Rosza,
Dimitri Tiomkin, Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Herrmann, Alex
You can love or admire various films, directors, actors,
screenwriters, choroegraphers, directors of photography,
screenwriters, etc. But music goes right into your heart and makes
the spirit take flight. Jarre’s Lawrence of Arabia music
is arguably a more...
The first thing I saw on the iPhone after coming out of my
second viewing of State of Play this afternoon was the
given to Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Bruno. This
is surprising? What kind of rep would this 7.10 Universal release
have if the MPAA’s ratings board had given it a nice obliging R?
The idea with Bruno is to make average folks in all
socio-political realms (i.e., not just red-state males) cringe and
go “eeeww!”, and to do that right it has to top the naked wrestling
“eewws” in Borat, so what else could have happened?
The Wrap‘s Sharon Waxmanreported last night that
the offensive footage includes Cohen having “anal sex with a man
Another story I missed last Friday (and all weekend, for that matter) was the last gasp of L.A. City Beat, the smallish alternative weekly. They’re dead, buried, a memory. I was going to use “financially afflicted” as an adjective, but is there any print publication anywhere that isn’t sliding down the slope?
The only reason I picked up City Beat year after year was to read the esteemed film critic Andy Klein, and when they whacked Klein last January in a cost-cutting move I said to myself, “The hell with these guys.” I was actually thinking of a scene in Out of the Past when Jane Greer hopes for the quick death of Kirk Douglas . To which Robert Mitchum replies, “Give him time.”
“The New York Times, as we know it, has been
disappearing for some time,” Newser‘s Michael
wrote last Friday morning. “It may — diminishing as though by
half-lives — have degraded to the point where, in any practical
sense, it has long since ceased to be the leading voice in either
journalism or the establishment.
“This is partly of its own doing: Almost all of its strategies
to deal with the changes in the newspaper business — its national
strategy, its online strategy, its regional strategy (buying the
Boston Globe), its international strategy (buying the
International Herald Tribune) — have bitten it in the ass.
Nor have its strategies to deal with the changes in news itself
been so successful — the featurizing and softnews-ifying of the
front page has made the...
I woke up this morning and looked up at the ceiling — or rather, at the low-cost bullshit styrofoam ceiling (favored by low-end contractors, all the rage in North Bergen) that I’m stuck with for the time being. And it hit me that each styrofoam rectangle is precisely the same proportion as a widescreen 70mm aspect ratio — 2.21 to 1. I was recalling this and that scene from Apocalypse Now, particularly Martin Sheen inside that bamboo cage. This is my life.
A friend sent along this video
piece featuring Once
Upon a Time in America costars Rusty
Jacobs and Scott Tiler — the guys who
played young James Woods and Robert De
Niro in Sergio Leone‘s 1984 gangster
classic — visiting some Manhattan-Brooklyn locations. “But they’re
wearing T-shirts!,” came my reply. “So it was taped last summer. Or
maybe two years ago. Or five. In any case, what’s the point?”
It’s interesting to hear Tiler say the following about Leone:
“It’s almost unheard of that a director spends 11 years
conceptualizing a film and not making any other movies in the
It’s criminal and appalling, but the apparent fact is that quality-level DVD rips of The Hurt Locker have been on Pirate Bay for a long while now. And last night a journalist pal told me that a bootleg bum sold him a “clean” DVD of Kathryn Bigelow‘s film the day before yesterday in the Bronx. For a dollar. Which means that other bootleg gypsies are selling it also, not just in New York but in grubby, down-at-the-heels areas of every city in the country.
A Manhattan all-media Observe and Report screening is happening tomorrow night. I consider it vital to attend and report. I was told last night that the ending is (this may be putting it too specifically) Travis Bickle-ish. Whatever. The guy I spoke to called it Seth Rogen‘s last fat role — his no-holds-barred kiss-off to the fat chapter in his life.
Collider‘s Steve Weintraub has just posted some pics of various new standee posters being displayed at Showest, which starts tomorrow in Las Vegas. The only one that got me besides the Hurt Locker poster is the one for Robert Downey, Jr., and the Curse of the Crystal Indiana Holmes.
“If he doesn’t die today, there’s always tomorrow.”
As I began to
say last Thursday, Greg Mottola‘s
Adventureland (Miramax, 4.3) is modestly pleasing — a
period relationship drama with comedic spritzing that’s unforced,
settled down, not bawdy or coarse, and proportionately buyable.
That’s another way of saying it’s a piece of recognizable realism
with two solid, nicely unpretentious performances from
Jesse Eisenberg and the always sublime, rock-sexy
Interview has done Zac Efron no favors. He’s too generic, too pretty, too mild, and too accomodating to be any kind of tomorrow guy. If anything he’s the past in the sense that he’s Guy Madison, Troy Donahue, Tab Hunter, the Bay City Rollers, etc. His best performance so far was in Me and Orson Welles (which I saw in Toronto). His cautious manner in that film is oddly appealing in that he seems to know he’s not much of an actor and is wisely staying within a safe perimeter.
3.26 story about Summit Entertainment buying film rights to
William Kalush and Larry Sloman‘s
Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First
Superhero” invites mockery, as Summit intends to do the same
thing with Harry Houdini that Joel Silver and
Guy Ritchie are doing with Sherlock Holmes in
their upcoming film, which is to turn him into a generic
bullshit superhero with washboard abs.
The operative portion of Kit’s story says that “the studio is
not looking to make a biopic but rather an action
thriller featuring a character who is...
Ramin Bahrani‘s Goodbye Solo, which no one invited me to see at a press screening but which I was going to pay to see at the Angelika this weekend (largely because of Tony Scott’s review), has reportedly grossed $40,540 from three screens in New York and Chicago. The reason I didn’t go Friday night or yesterday is because I’m only feeling intrigue and/or interest, which is not the same thing as serious hunger.
Yesterday afternoon Variety‘s Tatiana
reported that David O. Russell is attached to
direct The Silver Linings Playbook, his own adaptation of
Matthew Quick’s novel, for the Weinstein Co.
Russell’s last teaming with the Weinstein brothers was on
Flirting With Disaster, which was released in ’96.
Wow….doesn’t seem like 13 years ago.
Seigel rotely mentions Russell’s Nailed, the
Jessica Biel-Jake Gyllenhaal dramedy which had a
troubled stop-and-start shoot due to Capitol Films’ shaky financial
footing. But she doesn’t even hint when the film may be seen. Isn’t
that the chief pressing issue...
Death threats from Mexican gangs have reportedly persuaded the
makers of Queen of the South, an adaptation of a
popular pulp novel about murder and revenge among Latino
mafiosos, to not only abandon shooting in Mexico but shut down
Queen of the South costars Josh Hartnett, Eva Mendes, Ben
The initial graph in Guy Adams‘
3.29 story Independent story reports that the death
threats led director Jonathan Jakubowicz and his
producers to abandon plans to shoot...
Maureen Dowd is in double-lite mode this morning, reacting to Lula’s statement that the worldwide economic crisis was caused by “irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes.” Which he meant metaphorically, of course, which Dowd chooses to ignore for humor’s sake. Life does occasionally favor those with blue eyes, but the things that can trip you up despite this supposed advantage are myriad. I should know, having (a) blue eyes and (b) made more mistakes than I’d care to mention.
There are so many newspaper buyouts, layoffs, firings and salary rollbacks these days that every time I see a flurry of fresh reports along these lines, I write anyone I know who’s working for one of the beseiged publications and I say “how goes it?” I wrote this to two friends today. One of them wrote back with the following: “Am I okay as in ‘do I still have job security’? Yeah. Am I okay as in ‘how do I cope with an 11.5% paycut’? Remains to be seen.”
In an essay that introduces Newsweek‘s Paul Krugman-profile cover
story, titled “Obama Is Wrong,” editor Jon Meacham
notes that “every once a while, a critic emerges who is more than a
chatterer — a critic with credibility whose views seem more than a
little plausible and who manages to rankle those in power in more
than passing ways.
“As the debate over the rescue of the financial system–the
crucial step toward stabilizing the economy and returning the
country to prosperity–unfolds, [Krugman] has emerged as the kind of
critic who, as Evan Thomas writes, appears
disturbingly close to the mark when he expresses his ‘despair’ over
the administration’s bailout plan. …
“There is little doubt that Krugman — Nobel laureate...
The Film Forum’s 12-day Jules Dassin retrospective began yesterday. I’ve never seen Night and the City (Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, 1950), and so I’ll be catching the 5:40 pm show. I’ve never seen Dassin’s Up Tight! either, but the rep on this one — a militant black revolutionary riff on The Informer — is pretty bad. Such that it’ll probably never make DVD. I’m guessing that another late ’60s black-militant melodrama, Robert Alan Aurthur‘s The Lost Man with Sidney Poitier and Joanna Shimkus, will never see DVD either. Like they never existed.
Posters for Dassin’s Up Tight!, Authur’s The Lost Man.
Eight days of play and Tony Gilroy‘s
Duplicity, by any measure an above-average, extremely
satisfying film on the terms that it lays out and works with, did
$2.3 million yesterday, and will probably end up
with $6 million and change by Sunday night. That’s a
greater-than-50% drop from its opening weekend tally of
$13,965,110, which wasn’t that great to begin
with. Which basically means over and out.
Gilroy’s Michael Clayton cost about $26 million to
make, and took in $92,991,835 worldwide not
counting DVD and whatnot. Duplicity was much pricier — a
guy in a position to know told me $80 million, give or take — and
will probably finish with less than half of Clayton‘s
take, ancillaries aside.
I’m sorry. Life is unfair. Gilroy did as good a job as anyone
could have with a sophisticated corporate-suspense brain
I’ve been fuming all my life at the martian-head rule that
dominates each and every full-body statue in every corner of the
world. A naturally proportioned full-body statue will create an
impression, viewed from below, of the figure’s head being too
small. The age-old solution has been a rule that all statues must
have disproportionately large heads. Except every sculptor in the
known world has over-submitted to this rule, and —
this is the odd part — to the exact same degree. I’m talking
The bizarre result is that every statue in the world, from
Beijing to Bangor to Timbuktu, seems to have a genetic commonality
in the same way that people afflicted with Down’s Syndrome seem to
have the same kind of slanted eyes and doughy bodies. Every statued
figure in the world (including John Wayne on his