With close to $30 million earned earned late last night, the problematic Eclipse is expected to pull down $150 million by the end of the July 4th holiday, or by the evening of Monday, July 5th. As Peter O’Toole says to Donald Wolfit in Becket, “I would spit if I were not in God’s house.” Which alludes to my idea about theatres being churches. A stretch, agreed, but it allows me to quote Anouilh.
I feel so dispirited about Taylor Hackford‘s Love Ranch that I haven’t been able to write anything about it. This is primarily because the bluntly phrased dialogue — the most irritating aspect because of its colloquial boilerplate tone, particularly as spoken by Joe Pesci‘s Joe Conforte-ish character — was written by Mark Jacobson, a New York magazine contributor whom I know slightly and have admired for many years.
All I can figure is that (a) Jacobson was asked to dumb it down by Hackford because the latter felt it “right” that the characters speak this way, and Jacobson did so in order to get paid, (b) he gave the dialogue an uneducated Nevada goombah flavor as a perverse exercise of some kind or (c) his dialogue was of a higher pedigree but Hackford urged the actors (especially Pesci) to slop it down and say it the way they felt it.
Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson has summarized some of the reviews thus far.
TheWrap‘s Hunter Walker has posted a grotesque story about Robert Sanchez, 36 year-old honcho of the recently defunct fanboy site IESB.net, having run for the hills over allegations of sexual misconduct with his step-daughter.
HE mentioned Sanchez twice in ’07 concerning (a) his being involved in a police-supervised sting that recovered Indy 4 photos that had been stolen from Steven Spielberg’s office, and (b) early-bird set photos of Robert Downey, Jr. in his Iron Man outfit that Sanchez posted but then took down due to legal warnings.
Sanchez “has gone missing for roughly three weeks after allegations of sexual misconduct with his underage stepdaughter,” Hunter’s story reports.
“Detectives were seeking Sanchez in connection with allegations of sexual abuse regarding ‘things to do with his stepdaughter and the internet,’ Tracy Dorsey, a spokeswoman for the Rancho Cucamonga police department, told TheWrap on Wednesday.
“Asked about rumors going around Hollywood’s digital movie media circles that the 36-year-old Sanchez had drugged and raped his stepdaughter and videotaped the act, Dorsey replied: ‘We’re looking into all of those allegations.’ She stressed that no charges have been filed, and there is currently no warrant for his arrest; nor has he been classified as a missing person.
“Jamie Williams, one of Sanchez’ writers for IESB.com, resigned on Monday in a post on the site. Though the post is largely innocuous, he told TheWrap in an email Wednesday morning that he and the IESB staff were told a few weeks ago that there was a ‘family emergency/tragedy.’
“‘Then as of this past Friday evening, it was heavily implied that Robert had passed away,’ Williams wrote. ‘We agreed to stay on and help for the time being under these circumstances. It wasn’t until Monday evening we were aware of the details of Robert being on the run and his actions. And the icing on the cake was us being forwarded bills for IESB.’
“Sanchez’ whereabouts have been unknown for about three weeks, though he is not listed as a missing person.
“Sanchez lives in Alta Loma; his home phone had been disconnected. The IESB.net Twitter feed was taken down early this week.”
IESB is an acronym standing for “Inland Empire Strikes Back.”
I don’t believe that Francis Coppola was fired off Patton — i.e., relieved of screenwriting duties — solely because his 20th Century Fox bosses didn’t care for the opening speech-to-the-troops scene. (Other factors must have been in play.) But I love his message about how “the things you’re fired for when young are often the same things you’re given awards for later in life.” This bit appears on Patton DVD and Bluray.
I agree with all but one of the best shot films between ’98 and ’08 named in an American Cinematographer poll. I concur with the celebrating of Amelie, Children of Men, Saving Private Ryan, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, The Dark Knight, Road to Perdition, City of God and American Beauty…but I say “no” to Jeff Cronenweth‘s cinematography of David Fincher‘s Fight Club .
Sorry but I’ve always despised the somewhat murky, underlit look of that film — as if the negative had been soaked in a vat of cappucino mixed with guacamole and string beans. Throughout most of the film Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter‘s skin looks greenish-gray. The last time I watched it (on Bluray) it pissed me off and made me feel depressed all over again.
Replace Fight Club with Roger Deakins‘ capturing of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford or John Toland‘s work on The Thin Red Line or Harris Savides‘ shooting of Zodiac and we’re good to go.
I finally tried Vanity Fair‘s Movie Madness Trivia app, and it’s kind of fun because of four factors. One, many of the questions (suggested by VF contributors Peter Biskind, David Kamp, Frank DiGiacomo and Rebecca Keegan) aren’t easy. Two, you have to answer fairly quickly or you lose. Three, you have to prove your mettle before taking all the quizzes (i.e., if you’re too clueless you “stay back” like in high school). And four, the animated “Little Graydon” character gives snappy little replies whether you’re right or wrong.
I did fairly well — well, not too badly — but I also dropped the ball a few times, partly out of ignorance and partly due to the ticking-clock thing making me nervous.
The app asks two wrongos though — misleading questions in which the “answer” is incorrect.
One asks which actress has never appeared nude in a film. Two of the choices are Julia Roberts and Julie Andrews . Everyone knows Roberts has never gone there, but for some reason I chose Andrews because (a) Roberts has shown more skin than Andrews ever did with somewhat revealing outfits or bikinis, and (b) the only skin-revealing moment Andrews had in a film was a fleeting breast-baring moment in Blake Edwards‘ S.O.B (’79). But the VF app said I was wrong. No, they’re wrong. “Breast-baring” does not equal “nude scene.”
Another asks which actor “constantly wears a football helmet” during his screen time in this or that film. VF’s correct answer is Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider. Except Nicholson’s alcoholic Southern lawyer doesn’t constantly wear a football helmet — he wears it in maybe two scenes (if that) when he’s shown riding on the back of Peter Fonda‘s chopper. The rest of the time we’re shown Jack’s natural follicles (i.e., what little he had of them, even back in ’69). So I didn’t choose Nicholson, and the app said I was wrong and “Little Graydon” put me down besides…little fucker.
Otherwise the app is very cool. It’s the most difficult film trivia test I’ve ever taken since the late Stuart Byron used to run exra-difficult movie quizzes in the Village Voice in the late ’70s.
What’s wrong with the dialogue in this clip? What’s the particular disturbance, more to the point, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota? Did she bring up the midnight showings of Eclipse to suggest that Elena Kagan is jes’ folks and…what, gets what’s happening in the culture of families these days? Surreal. This assemblage has some funny stuff, though.
I don’t want to see Paramount eat it with The Last Airbender (7.1). I have no dog in this fight. And I understand why I wasn’t invited to a screening because they know I hate this stuff going in. But for a movie that cost $150 million to make and is costing a king’s ransom to market, I’m not feeling the molecular current, even though it opens tomorrow. No buzz, nobody’s talking about it, and only two negative Rotten Tomatoes reviews so far.
Everyone’s seen this East of Eden audition clip in which Paul Newman was trying for the role of Aaron, the older brother of Cal (i.e., James Dean‘s role). It’s clear who the more delicate and vulnerable actor is. Newman has that jokey-gruff streetcorner thing down as a covering mechanism while Dean is a bit more open to whatever. He obviously senses this, and so he throws Newman a line he knows will tap him off-balance.
You can see Dean’s idea beginning to happen around the eight-second mark. At the 14-second mark he says “kiss me” and Newman quickly says “can’t hear.” They both laugh it off, but it’s obvious that if Newman had been receptive Dean would have been the woman in the relationship. I mean that in a complimentary way.
A year or so later Dean had landed the role of Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me. Newman got the part, of course, after Dean’s car-crash death in September 1955.
The Robert Wise-directed boxing drama came out in December 1956. I saw it sometime in the mid ’90s. It hasn’t aged well. Newman’s dese-dom-dose accent feels conspicuously “acted” each and every second. The film has moments (the ones with Pier Angeli, the final fight scene) but it mainly feels too “scripted” in the then-popular vein of ’50s televised drama. It’s a little too sentimental, emotionally underlined, on-the-nose.
If Dean had played Graziano, though, it would probably have a more elevated reputation today. Who cares about this movie today?
Bottom line: in the mid ’50s Dean was twice if not three times the actor that Newman was. Newman found a more naturalistic, less-actorish groove starting with his legendary performance in Hud in ’63, and for all we know Dean, had he lived, might not have grown or developed as successfully. But in the mid ’50s Dean was the live-wire hare and Newman was…well, not a tortoise but a hare who hadn’t yet figured himself out.
I spoke early this afternoon with Vikram Jayanti, director of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector, which I reviewed at length last weekend. I left my Canon Elph at the Soho House last night so I was forced to use my iPhone 4. I’m now sitting in a noisy Starbucks without my earphones, so I don’t even know how loud or clear the sound is. Whatever — these two clips represent most of our 19-minute chat.
Jayanti emphasized that he didn’t choose to make an Errol Morris film that would bore deeply into the particulars of Spector’s guilt (or possible innocence) in the death of Lana Clarkson. He believes, however, that there is an area of reasonable doubt as to whether Spector shot Clarkson or not. I believe that at worst the shooting was a stupid accident. (In the video Jayanti passes along a rumor that I hadn’t heard about Clarkson and handguns that I’d rather not repeat it in print.)
Jayanti reports that the jailed Spector is being kept in solitary except for a half-hour per day of exercise, and that all he has for diversion is a lousy black-and-white TV set and that he’s basically “in hell.” He also reports that Spector got into a fracas with some Latino guy and that the guy punched Spector and knocked his front teeth out.
If you were to regard “Spector” as an acronym, what would the letters stand for?
I saw David Slade‘s Eclipse (Summit, 6.30) at last night”s Manhattan all-media screening. Whoo, boy. The first wave of Eclipse commenters who said it’s better than New Moon didn’t lie — it is. Somewhat. But it’s still not good enough to matter. It’s a slow, boring, unimaginative, tediously written slog and is not — repeat, not — better than the first Twilight film.
It’s not “organic” in the slightest, as Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson recently said. It’s about a bunch of young actors with bad wigs and conspicuous vampire makeup standing around trying to look captivating and speaking stiff soap-opera dialogue and going through the paces because they’ve been well paid to do so. It’s Fake-itude Incarnate. It doesn’t groove or flow or put the hook in even slightly. Okay, it does here and there. I’ll give it that.
Some young women in the rear of the balcony went “whoo-hoo!” when Taylor Lautner and/or Robert Pattinson did or said something sexy with Kristen Stewart. I didn’t understand why because this movie is in and out, at best. And mostly out.
I have to protect you, Bella. Here…hop on my motorcycle. I can protect you better than he can. We can deal with the The Newborns. All you werewolves need to meet us in the forest so we can train for the coming battle. I’m gonna die and become a vampire. Mom? Don’t count too much on having grandkids. Feel my warm heart beating inside my naked muscle-toned chest. Edward isn’t even alive. My feelings are hard to express but this is kinda how I’m feeling…I think. Isn’t that what finally matters? What we feel, who we love, and…like, you know, how much money this movie makes?
Why does Bella even hang with Jacob, knowing as she does that it just tortures Edward? What is this ‘torn between two lovers’ shit when she doesn’t really want Jacob in the first place? Why am I polluting my intellect by even thinking about this stuff?
I’ve had it with the faux-creepy milieu, those forests, Jacob’s torso, those werewolves, Edward’s glistening skin and red eyes, Bella’s anxious expressions and her dad’s idiotic urgings that she hang out with Jacob instead of Edward, and the whole teen angst vibe. Do these kids know how bad this dialoge sounds? Have they ever heard of Search for Tomorrow, General Hospital, The Secret Storm, etc.?
I sat next to a plump, big-haired Latina mom and her similarly proportioned daughter. As soon as they arrived and sat down the mom asked what her daughter wanted at the candy counter and said, “Okay, be right back.” She returned nine or ten minutes later with two family-sized Twizzlers, two medium-monster popcorns, two extra-large drinks and a hot dog. I tried not to listen to the sounds of their eating.
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