Just Hired

This 5.31 video announces Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Megan Fox‘s replacement on Transformers 3, at the invitation of director Michael Bay. I’ll tell you right now she’s no actress. Her beautiful face has that poised, porcelain look that some models have; her eyes say come-hither but not much else. Rosie makes Fox look like Jo Van Fleet. Nice gams though.

Godfather Town

As we began our Sicilian journey it seemed important to visit Forza d’Argo, a small, centuries-old village near Taormina that Francis Coppola used for scenes in The Godfather, Part II. It’s the village that young Vito escapes from while local mafioso are seeking him out. The film conceals the fact that it overlooks the Ionian sea — quite an eyeful.

Cardboard Glasses

With 3D Blurays sure to catch on eventually, I’m guessing that sooner or later the first wave of Hollywood’s 3D movies (released between ’53 and ’55) will eventually hit the home market. The 3D version of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Dial M or Murder (which I’ve seen once in a theatre) would be well worth the price. Ditto the 3-D black-and-white version of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. As well as Hondo, Miss Sadie Thompson and Money From Home, the Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy.

The Dweeb Pack

A web journalist interviewed me last week about the way Jesse Eisenberg, whose latest film is Holy Rollers, seems to play the same guy all the time. That led me to conclude that this isn’t just true for Eisenberg but also Michael Cera and Jay Baruchel. They’re the leading lights of this spindly-Jewish aesthetic, I think — the smart-sensitive nerd triumvirate of 21st Century cinema.


(l. to r.) Jesse Eisenberg, Jay Baruchel, Michael Cera

They tend to play the same kind of thin, hesitant, cerebral types. Always susceptible to romantic delirium at the drop of a hat. Always with a girl who’s a little bit (or a whole lot) hotter than they deserve to be with, or...

Scott Pilgrim Wake-Up

There’s a fundamental disconnect factor at the heart of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Universal, 8.13) that no one I’ve read has mentioned, so I guess I’ll have to. Why do fans of comic-book adaptations always seem so undiscriminating, so willing to unconditionally embrace despite distinct warning signs telling them to hold up a sec? Because this issue is about as big and broad as a barn door.

Directed and co-written by Edgar...

Not A Bad Thing

The first news that I read upon arrival at JFK was Guillermo del Toro‘s decision to abandon The Hobbit…yes! I realize it’s a major heartbreaker for the guy, obviously, but I’ve long regretted his commitment to this project per my staunch belief that nothing of any profound value can result from any kind of Peter Jackson collaboration.

Guillermo is his own man, of course, with his creative hand always decisively in place, but I’m convinced that somehow or some way the hand of Jackson would have made the watching of the two-part Hobbit a laborious, forehead-smacking experience. For people like me, at least. And now that grim prospect has been erased.

I’m sorry for Guillermo and his team — they must be...

Nobody Blew It

I was (and am) very pleased with the Easy Rider Bluray that I bought a few months ago. It looks rich and alive and intensely celluloid-y (which is starting to become a welcome distinction). Under-30s who haven’t had the pleasure need to see it this way. The Bluray reminds (or instructs) that this 1969 film is not a dimissable (as David Thomson recently implied) but something that knows itself and the culture from whence it sprung, and which works according to its own mantra and ticker.

Last...

The Dutch Get It

I got into Amsterdam airport a half-hour ago and went right to my favorite spot — a cool-climate, Jetsons-designed multi-media internet lounge with great wifi and all kinds of desks and chairs and drinks at a nearby bar. It’s beautiful — nirvana for someone like myself. I’ve seen an operation like this in Zurich and maybe one or two other European cities, but I don’t know of any U.S. airport that has anything remotely like it.


A greeting for passengers on their way into the departure terminal at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

Shane‘s Moment

It feels mildly irksome that Paramount Home Video has never to my knowledge stated an intention to issue a Bluray of George StevensShane. Wouldn’t this fit almost anyone’s definition of a no-brainer? It’s all but de rigueur for major studios to give their classic titles Bluray upgrades, so it seems odd that one as beautiful-looking as Shane would be sitting on the sidelines.

It’s been almost seven years since Paramount Home Video’s Shane DVD, which was fine for what it was. But it’s time to step up and do this film proud and give a nice angel erection to George Stevens, who no doubt has been wondering from whatever realm or region why Paramount hasn’t yet bit the bullet on this thing.

The Bluray...

Digi-Bathed?

At the end of a thoughtful assessment of Sergio Leone‘s “Man With No Name” trilogy, L.A. Times contributor Sam Adams says that the new MGM Bluray versions (available Tuesday, 6.1) are afflicted with the Patton/Spartacus virus.

“[Featuring] exemplary audio commentaries by biographer Christopher Frayling, the ‘Man With No Name’ set duplicates earlier editions in terms of features, giving the images a high-definition...

Boomer Bond

The Special Relationship…ah, yes. An “entertaining period piece” and a pleasurable trio of performances, it is widely agreed, from Dennis Quaid (Bill Clinton), Michael Sheen (Tony Blair) and Hope Davis (Hillary Clinton). I won’t be seeing it until tomorrow night, when I arrive back home, so if anyone’s had the pleasure, please share.

Return to Rome


This morning’s sunrise (taken around 6:15 am) from the deck of the Palermo-to-Napoli ferry that we took last night. Nice quiet cabin w/shower. Good way to go.

I bought a warm salami panini for this guy in Capua this morning, and then laid the slices on the ground before him, and he just sniffed it. No sale.

Hopper Into Space

My all-time favorite Dennis Hopper imprint, on the occasion of his passing earlier today: “You can’t travel in space, you can’t go out into space, you know, without, like, you know, with fractions, man. What are you going to land on — one-quarter, three-eighths? What are you going to do when you go from here to Venus or something? That’s dialectic physics. You either love somebody or you hate ’em.”

Howell vs. Burton (and Boonmee)

Forgive the tardiness (which I’m blaming on Sicilian distractions), but Peter Howell‘s 5.27 Toronto Star piece on the decision by Tim Burton‘s Cannes jury to hand the Palme d’Or to Apichatpong Weerasethakul‘s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is delicious stuff.

“In the same week that Burton’s box-office champ Alice In Wonderland hit the $1 billion mark globally, one of just six movies ever to do so, he presided over golden laurels for a film so resolutely uncommercial, even Thais can’t figure it out. The gesture struck me as one of the most political and cynical moves ever from a Cannes jury. Burton and his crew, acting on his cue, wanted to show how cool and cutting-edge they...

Without A Trace

Reviewing Peter Weir‘s recently Blu-rayed Picnic at Hanging Rock (1979) some 31 years ago was a kind of cliff-leap experience. I didn’t know at first how to explain what it actually amounted to (at least according to the cinema-appreciation terms I was used to), or where it had actually “gone” in a narrative sense, but I knew it had a curiously haunting (and haunted) quality, and that the unsolvability of the disappearance of two or three schoolgirls wasn’t the thing as much as how the mystery just hung there in the air, and how the humid Australian sun seemed to gradually melt the characters’ brains.

Martin & Allyson

This clip from a 1978 Jimmy Stewart roast, HE’s third Orson Welles post since Wednesday, includes remarks from emcee Dean Martin and a brief shot of June Allyson laughing along. I was immediately reminded of Nick Tosches‘ descriptions of their 1948 affair, surely one of the strangest extra-marital couplings in Hollywood history, in Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams.

Nice Dream

Non-Verbal

“And I don’t know your noises yet.”

That’s one of Renee Zellweger‘s lines in Jerry Maguire, spoken to Tom Cruise. I for one was glad to hear her say that. Because this is one of the things that well-written movies always do (while doing other things, of course). They remind us of recurrent, recognizable, sometimes banal things about ourselves, but with a little English.

One of my noises is a simulation of a very old man groaning in pain. I won’t attempt to simulate it phonetically, but I make this guttural sound when I’m tired and walking and under some physical stress. Jett commented on it the other day, and I found myself explaining where it came from. I began using it in my teens as a form of quiet mockery (i.e., for my own ears, not meant to be heard) whenever I would see a...