Warner Bros. refuses to issue The Devils on DVD stateside or on iTunes, but for some reason they’ve released a DVD of Ken Russell‘s film in Spain. Which I don’t get. If it’s bad for the U.S. market, why is it good for the Spaniards?Read More »
Cinemablend‘s Katey Rich, a sharp reviewer but never a take-no-prisoners Christopher Hitchens type, has torn The Expendables a new one. She’s calling it “a bloated mess, a bunch of guys past their prime punching and kicking each other and pretending its for our benefit, when it’s really just one last self-congratulatory hurrah.
“The giant list of beefy male names is the major draw of The Expendables, but it’s also what kills it. A movie about Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham‘s lead characters kicking ass and taking names in a foreign country might have gone somewhere, but the movie is utterly overstuffed, making room for a Dolph Lundgren vs...Read More »
I was in the upper lobby of AMC’s Lincoln Square the night before last when two ushers started dismantling the Expendables standee. “Whaddaya doin’?” I asked. “Takin’ it down…it’s opening, time to take it down,” he said. If I’d been Sly Stallone I would have said, “Wait…whadda ya mean, take it down? Movie doesn’t open for another two weeks!” But I just watched. “Are you trashin’ the figures?” I asked. I thought I could take Jason Statham back to the apartment and put him in the kitchen. “Naah, just the structure part.”
I regret to report that last night’s Film Society of Lincoln center showing of Ken Russell‘s The Devils — a kickoff of a seven day, nine-film Russell tribute — was a disappointment in some respects. Russell attended with Devils costar Vanessa Redgrave, and it was of course delightful to see them sitting together, and to share in the love. But they showed the wrong version of this 1971 classic, the print was less than mint, projection was substandard, and a befogged Russell offered no hard answers about the Devils controversy.
Legendary director Ken Russell, Vanessa Redgrave following last night’s FSLC screening of The Devils — Friday, 7.30, 9:55 pm.
I’m not faulting the 83 year-old Russell for not being a...Read More »
Joe Queenan has written a Hollywood ripjob piece for the Wall Street Journal that basically says 2010 is the suckiest movie year since…ever. Maybe or maybe not, or (my view) unsupported by the facts. But the best portion of the piece reads as follows:
“Every year, by tacit agreement with the public, Hollywood is expected to produce at least one surprise hit, one out-of-nowhere dark horse or, in a pinch, one cunningly hyped movie that either exhumes a noted actor from the grave or greases the skids so some solid journeyman can ascend to the ranks of the Oscar Winners of yore.
“The movie doesn’t have to be especially good — Crazy Heart and My Big Fat Greek Wedding certainly weren’t. Nor does it have to be a homegrown product — La Vita e Bella,...Read More »
There’s nothing especially wrong with Brigitte Berman‘s Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel (Metaphor, 7.30) except that it’s (a) a half-hour too long, (b) utterly lacking in dramatic judgment, and (c) way too obsequious. It feels or plays like a Playboy-commissioned blowjob documentary intended to glorify Hefner’s rep (which it does) but which is mainly or currently intended for viewing by stockholders and potential investors.Read More »
As initially reported some 40 days ago by “Page Six,” Piers Morgan — a sharp and fairly aggressive British journalist and TV personality — is taking Larry King‘s CNN gig. I’ve never watched Morgan interview anyone of any substance (he always seems to be talking to women who are famous for being famous, who’ve never actually “done” anything) but he seems like he may be a bit nippier than King.
The 45 year-old is a former editor of News of the World (’94 to ’95) and the Daily Mirror (’95 to ’04). HisRead More »
Dinner for Schmucks “is not a great movie, or even a coherent one, but in nearly every scene it draws laughter from an impressively eclectic array of sources, both obvious and new. People fall down, things break, funny accents are used, crazy misunderstandings occur, and an impressively high number of witty, bizarre and outrageous lines are uttered. It is less a full-scale comic feast than a buffet of amusing snacks, and while it does not necessarily exalt or flatter your intelligence, it doesn’t treat you like an idiot, either.” — from A.O. Scott‘s N.Y. Times review.Read More »
People voted for Barack Obama because they wanted transformation, a house cleaning, religious uplift, fervor. Instead he became Jimmy Carter — moderately progressive, mild accomplishments, turn the other cheek, currying favor with Republican scum, mildly mellow, Bush lite in terms of Afghanistan, etc. What people wanted (and still want) is the kind of moral clarity and righteous hellfire that Rep. Anthony Weiner let go with on the floor of the House yesterday afternoon.Read More »
In a 7.30 piece called “Lure of The Dark Side for Bright Young Things,” The Independent‘s Tom Teodorczuk explores the syndrome of younger big-name actors (Kristen Stewart, Amanda Seyried, Robert Pattinson, Zac Efron, Amber Heard, Emma Roberts) making low-budget indie flicks alongside tentpole blockbusters.
The pattern, of course, is that the mob that pays to see these actors in tentpole flicks usually avoids their indie-ish outings. It’s not the stars they’re interested in as much as the moods and colors and exhilarations that big movies tend to deliver. Name-brand stars matter to some extent when appearing in...Read More »
It’s perfectly allowable to take shots at Get Low and thereby lower its Rotten Tomatoes rating to 88 and Metacritic rating to 78. But I’m having trouble comprehending how any critic could say to himself or herself, “Wow, this film really deserves to be slammed and I’m going to tear it a new asshole.” I know that feeling and the qualities that tend to motivate it, and, trust me, Get Low doesn’t deal those kind of cards.
(l. to r.) Bill Murray, Lucas Black, Robert Duvall in Aaron Schneider’s Get Low
Aaron Schneider‘s period drama is one of those laid-back fable movies — not quite “real” but carefully done and honestly rendered as far as it goes and therefore real...Read More »
I got stuck on a story late yesterday afternoon and consequently missed my last shot at seeing Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Universal, 8.13) for free. Okay, maybe I half-wanted to miss it due to serious concerns about sitting through another default, deadpan, deer-in-the-headlights Michael Cera performance.
Michael Cera (l.), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (second from left) and the cast of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (including Allison Pill, second from right).
It’s gotten to the point where the very thought of Cera and that annoying look on his face — a look that says (a) “Uhhm, do I want to be here?,” (b) “My mind is slightly blown but I’m also kinda bored at the same time,” (c) “Whoa, she’s kinda hot” and (d) “It’s not easy being the...Read More »
Okay, Biutiful may not be a Sony Classics movie after all, I heard today. Maybe it will and maybe it won’t, but don’t bet the farm. Sometimes the winds shift.Read More »
A forthcoming Bluray combo-pack of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (Universal Home Video, 9.21) will include a director’s cut running 156 minutes, or 15 minutes longer than the 141-minute theatrical version. The question, of course, is whether the extra length will make it a stronger film or just another case of directorial indulgence or lost “darlings.” Scott’s longer version of Kingdom of Heaven was, of course, far superior to the theatrical cut, so here’s hoping.
The only officially announced Venice Film Festival selections that seem even vaguely pulse-quickening are Juian Schnabel‘s Miral, Vincent Gallo‘s Promises Written in Water (nice title), Tom Tykwer‘s Three, Ben Affleck‘s The Town (out of competition), Casey Affleck‘s I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix (ditto), Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones‘ A Letter to Elia (ditto), and John Turturro‘s Passione (ditto).Read More »
This recently released trailer for Titanic 2: Electric Boogaloo is not a mash-up. It’s selling an actual, honest-to-God, straight-to-DVD movie about a second Titanic hitting a second iceberg. The stars are Bruce Davison and Brooke Burns. Okay, I’m kidding about the Boogaloo but everything else is genuine. Really.Read More »
According to DVD Beaver’s Gary Tooze, Criterion’s forthcoming Bluray of Terry Zwigoff‘s Crumb “has bright colors, heavy grain and looks far more film-like than either of the previous Sony DVDs (1999 and 2006 Special Edition). However, I don’t know that it is a film that benefits extensively from the move to Bluray 1080p.”
Wells translation: Who’s running the show over there? They take a funky little film like Crumb and Bluray it? Why?
Back to Tooze: “Although saying that, it is true that much of the comic art and...Read More »
On the left, a 31 or 32 year-old Jeff Bridges in a scene from Tron (’82). On the right, a CG plastic-surgery version of “young” Bridges in the forthcoming Tron Legacy. The latter was achieved by youthing down the present-day Bridges, 60, with digital scrubs and touchups. Except the result doesn’t really look like Bridges. It looks like a cross between a celebrity lookalike and a Bridges dummy you might find inside Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. It’s a lazy effort.
Jeff Bridges in Tron; 60 year-old Bridges de-aged through CG scrub-down in Tron Legacy.
Imagine how cool it would have been if Bridges had been convincingly youthified — if the 31 or 32-year-old version had literally been brought back to life. For...Read More »
The Pursuitist has posted the trailer for Kenneth Branagh‘s Thor that was shown a few days ago at Comic-Con. Branagh + Thor = whore. You can’t tell me that an esteemed middle-aged British actor-director who knows from William Shakespeare did this film for any other reason than a large stinking paycheck, or that he didn’t retire to his hotel room every night during shooting and throw up.
Look at Chris...Read More »
Yeesterday Cinematical‘s Eric Snider posted a hilarious review of the trailer for Ben Affleck‘s The Town, which will debut on this continent at the Toronto Film Festival. Snider should do a separate trailer-reviewing column. Here’s a portion:
“‘From the acclaimed director of Gone Baby Gone…’ The acclaimed director of Gone Baby Gone happens to be a fellow named Ben Affleck, who also...Read More »
Apocalypse Now cinematographer Vittorio Storaro is (in)famous for having long insisted upon cropping Apocalypse Now, originally filmed in 35mm widescreen Panavision at an aspect ratio of 2.35 to 1, to a somewhat less wide shape — either a 2.00 to 1 aspect ratio (which are the dimensions of Storaro’s Univisium system, which he would like to see adopted as a universal standard) or a 70mm aspect ratio of 2.21 to 1.
But now the gates have been stormed and Vittorio’s rule has been overturned. Lionsgate announced today that the forthcoming Apocalypse Now Bluray, set for release on 10.19, will be presented in 2.35 to 1. Yes!
Francis Coppola‘s legendary 1979 film was shown in the 70mm widescreen aspect ratio (2.21 to 1) during its initial...Read More »
Can the reputation of the late Simon Monjack sink any lower? Yes! People is reporting that according to Brittany Murphy‘s former business manager and accountant Jeffrey Morgenroth, Monjack was “squandering the late actress’s fortune just before his own sudden death in May from pneumonia and anemia, which also killed Murphy.
“‘There were huge amounts of money in [Brittany's] pension plan and bank account, and all of that’s gone,’ Morgenroth tells People. “I would see it on the statements. There was money being withdrawn by Simon, hundreds of thousands.” Monjack had spent nearly 80 percent of the 32-year-old star’s assets in the months between her death and his own, rattling the financial future of Murphy’s mom,” who technically inherited her daughter’s assets upon her death.Read More »
Every time I read about an attractive female school teacher getting popped for predatory behavior with a teenage male student, I frown and shake my head and mutter to myself, “If only I’d been so fortunate.” I was miserable when I was 15 or 16, and would have dropped to my knees and thanked God if I’d been hit on by a hot 40 year-old blonde of this calibre. And if I wasn’t interested I certainly wouldn’t rat her out by sharing her provocative photos with my friends. The authorities obviously aren’t “wrong” to enforce the law, but…well, I’ve said it.Read More »
As I stated yesterday, the controversy about the half-Jewish Oliver Stone being an alleged anti-Semite is hysterical and anti-historical and petering out as we speak. It follows that reported attempts by action-cartoon schlockmeister Haim Saban (of Saban Entertainment) to persuade big-wheel pallies to try and suppress Stone’s “A Secret History of America” Showtime series are the actions of a thug.
A Wrap story says that Saban has urged CBS chief Leslie Moonves, WME...Read More »
Vulture‘s Emma Rosenblum has called Cathy Horyn‘s Sunday Styles profile of Jersey Shore costar Snooki “a cheap shot.” Horyn’s descriptions of this elfin egomaniac are “shocking,” she writes, because one never reads anything negative at all about any celebrity these days, but at the same time the piece is “an unnecessarily nasty takedown of a somewhat oblivious target.”
Jersey Shore costar Snooki (as photographed by Michael Falco for the N.Y. Times).
Except honest...Read More »
I’m very sorry about Maury Chaykin‘s passing, which happened yesterday in Toronto. A seemingly kind and delicate fellow, Chaykin, 61, was best at conveying bottled-up rage. My two favorites in this vein are the software-programming beardo in War Games (with his rage directed at the Jerry Lewis-like Eddie Deezen) and his four appearances as Harvey Weingard (based on you-know-who) in Entourage.Read More »
Aaron Aradillas and Matt Zoller Seitz have posted the fifth chapter in a six-part series called “Razzle Dazzle.” The focus is “a disreputable offshoot of the traditional hero: an eloquent, exuberant, often impolite figure who serves as a town crier or truth-teller figure (or seems to).” A very wise and well-cut piece, but who’s the female narrator?Read More »
What does this kid know? Okay, he knows what he likes. He’s seen a lot of Stallone films (even Paradise Alley!) but has he seen The Dogs of War? “Taste is a result of a thousand distastes” — Francois Truffaut.Read More »