Since I have to get my Toronto
wish list down from 40 to 30 films (to be seen over nine days,
starting on 9.9), here are some films I’m thinking of jettisoning.
I’m aware of the cruel-sounding nature of this procedure, but I
don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to dump any of these — I
want to see everything — but something’s got to go.
Special Presentation Dumps (6): Brighton
Rock (d: Rowan Joffe); Cirkus
Columbia (d: Danis Tanovic); Henry’s
Crime (d: Malcolm Venville); Love
Crime (d: Alain Corneau); Stone (d:
John Curran); The Whistleblower (d:
Gala Dumps (5): Barney’s Version (d:
Richard J. Lewis);...
I’ve seen the wholly respectable Secretariat (Disney, 10.8) but can’t get into it without a green light. The rules are the rules. But it’s great watching the various YouTube videos of the 1973 Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the astonishing finale at the Belmont Stakes.
“Like many changes that are revolutionary, none of Washington’s
problems happened overnight. But slow and steady change over many
decades — at a rate barely noticeable while it’s happening —
produces change that is transformative. In this instance, it’s the
kind of evolution that happens inevitably to rich and
powerful states, from imperial Rome to Victorian England.
The neural network of money, politics, bureaucracy, and values
becomes so tautly interconnected that no individual part can be
touched or fixed without affecting the whole organism, which reacts
“And thus a new president, who was elected with 53 percent of
the popular vote, and who began office with 80 percent
public-approval ratings and large majorities in both houses of
Congress, found himself for much of his first year in office in
stalemate, pronounced an...
I tried seeing John Scheinfeld‘s Who Is Harry
Nilsson? once more a couple of weeks ago, but I could only
make it up to the point when he finishes 1971′s Nilsson Schmillson, after which it was all
I just can’t stand watching people destroy themselves. And yet
for some reason these John and Harry pics, taken during their
infamous Troubadour fracas on 3.12.74, always bring on the
chuckles. Famous and gifted people getting all primitive and
sandbox. The baser the emotions, the funnier it seems.
Earlier today Movieline reported the Jim
Cameron vs. Mark Canton battle over Piranha 3D,
which Cameron basically feels is a sleazy and essentially worthless
piece of shit.
“I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus,”
said last week, “but Piranha 3D is exactly an
example of what we should not be doing in 3D. Because it just
cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3D horror films from
the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3D. When movies got
to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last
gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3D version to get the
last few drops of blood out of the turnip.”
I “love being able to see stuff that you weren’t intended to see” —
like the pancake
makeup on Martin Balsam’s face in a certain closeup — “but
which Blu-ray has now revealed.” Danielson says he’d prefer it if
Bluray transfers looked less exacting and...
It’s being widely reported/repeated that a
CBS News/Vanity Fair poll has found that three out of four
Americans haven’t been turned off by Mel
Gibson‘s ugliness, and would probably pay to see him in
Jodie Foster‘s The Beaver.
If, that is, Summit had the smarts and chutzpah to release it,
which of course they don’t. Because they’re worried about industry
consensus and all that. On 7.10 I explained
the reasons for ignoring the
Anton Corbijn‘s The American (Focus
Features, 9.1) is a moderately soothing art piece and an excellent
Machete antidote. After you’ve had your blood sausage and
micro-waved tacos, The American will feel like a
drink of cool mountain water. It’s certainly a tasteful
walk (wank?) in the woods. You’ll feel unsullied when it’s over,
and gratified that Corbijn and Focus Features respect you, and are
not treating you the way Robert Rodriguez treats
his fans. This is the other side of the mountain.
Georeg Clooney, Violante Placido in Anton Corbijn’s The
And yet there’s something about The American — a lot
actually — that feels tastefully repressed and mummified. It’s
vaguely Antonioni-ish but at the same time not really because
Late last March Tim Blake Nelson‘s Leaves of Grass
was set to open at Manhattan’s Angelika — a bad place to see a
film. But then it was yanked at the last minute. Telepathic Studios
bought distrib rights from
First Look’s Avi Lerner, allowing for a much wider opening than
Lerner had planned.
I’m polishing my review of Anton Corbijn‘s
The American, which I saw last night at the AMC 19th
Street. But I first need to explain the absurd
circumstances it was shown under. This is one of the
quietest films I’ve seen in in my life — George
Clooney raises his voice slightly once or twice, and
nobody ever shouts — but during the entire thing the dialogue was
competing with and mostly losing to an unusually loud
air-conditioning system in the theatre.
Contrary to what Hitfix‘s Greg Ellwoodreported a day or two ago, there will be a press screening of Clint Eastwood‘s Hereafter during the Toronto Film Festival. It’ll happen a day before Sunday evening’s public screening at the Elgin (9.12, 9 pm) — on Saturday, 3 pm at the Scotiabank plex.
Update: The press screening schedule for the New York Film Festival was sent out this afternoon, and Hereafter — part of the 2010 slate — wasn’t on it.
Another no-laugh-funny “comedy”, although I grin every time I
think back on it. Director Frank Perry really knew
how to convey that lackadaisical ’70s thing — casually hip and born
to swagger. Every character was a “character” in this film. Eccentric,
imaginative, unsettled, peculiar. (Megan Fox would
fit right in if somebody were to try an exact remake.) Those
muttering scenes between Harry Dean Stanton (Curt)
and Richard Bright (Burt) were classic. I would
have films like
Diablo Cody‘s 8.29 Red Band Trailer
interview is with Megan Fox. It gets pretty good
when they talk about how shallow and predatory many journalists
have become. (A brief transcript follows the video.) I love Cody’s
observation that Fox has a skewed sensibility and that press people
don’t know how to handle beauty mixed with perversity. Fox’s
handicap, I feel, is her thin and reedy voice. It doesn’t suggest
rivers of soul or passion.
“We wanted to do a movie in the vein of the ’70s foreign films
that influenced so many great filmmakers today,” George
Clooney recently told L.A. Times reporter
John Horn for a
piece that ran yesterday. “We felt if we kept the budget low,
that the outside influences (like a studio) would be minimal and we
were lucky that Focus was on board with the concept from the
“On board”? As in believing in Clooney and director
Anton Corbijn‘s vision, embracing it, standing
behind it, and giving the marketing effort the old college try?
Focus Features marketers have run ads and TV spots and decided to
open it in 200 theatres, but they’ve all but abandoned any attempt
to sell it with interviews. Clooney has done almost nothing, and
Corbijn hasn’t even come to...
Even if Anton Corbijn’s The
Americanwas a straight-ahead popcorn thriller,
Ethan Maniquis and Robert
Rodriguez‘s Machete would kick its
box-office ass regardless. I don’t know what The American
will be specifically, but it seems to be a truffles and foie
gras and elite bullets type of film whereas Machete
is strictly a Taco Bell meal with boobs, blood sauce, bikinis and
severed limbs, and a side order of pro-Mexican immigrant,
anti-racist-cracker politics to keep it spicy.
It’s not a slur to say that Machete is aimed at a
typical twelve-year-old mentality. For me, the political satire and
anti-yahoo stance makes it...
Four days before I posted that Dutch
film critic’s review of Anton Corbijn‘s
The American, Big Hollywood‘s Kurt
reviewedRowan Joffe‘s screenplay, and I have
to say it’s moderately amusing. Even though Schlichter is one of
“them,” he can be funny. Except he needs to spell
arrivederci correctly next time.
The first thing I noticed about the new Movie City News redesign, which
looks relatively decent (or at least better than before, being more
balanced), is a preponderance of robin’s egg blue.
The typeface, the MCN Tweety-bird, the MCN Twitter box, the
bars…light blue all around. Plus some light violet. It reminds me
of the colors and the vibe in a little boy’s bedroom.
The idea is to convey a certain spirituality or placidity or
something. It’s all right or isn’t a “problem,” per se, but it
doesn’t feel like a sale. It needs to man up on some level. A
little red or orange, maybe.
The second thing I noticed is that Hollywood Elsewhere’s status
has been upgraded. After being linked and referred to by MCN
for several years as a “gossip,” I’m now included on...
With a list of 29 contenders, Scott Feinberg is figuring 2010 is the best year ever for documentaries. The list of serious award contenders is much shorter, of course. The Tillman Story, Restrepo, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Countdown to Zero, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Smash His Camera, Waking Sleeping Beauty, Tabloid, Inside Job, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Freakonomics and two Feinberg didn’t mention — Werner Herzog‘s 3D cave-painting doc, and Thom Zimny‘s Bruce Springsteen doc, The Promise: The Making of ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town‘?
What’s up with Clint Eastwood‘s Hereafter slated for only one public screening at the Toronto Film Festival (Visa Elgin, Sunday, 9.12 at 9 pm) and, according to Hitfix’s Gregory Ellwood, no scheduled press screenings at all? What’s the point of bringing a serious film by a respected, brand-name director to a big festival like Toronto and then taking steps to limit access?
I have some nagging Toronto Film Festival
questions about wifi. In my estimation TIFF has always been the
least press-friendly festival in terms of wifi press lounges that
are close to screening rooms, certainly compared to Cannes which
has two wifi rooms inside the Palais. And from what I can gather so
far things haven’t changed much.
No one will tell me, for example, if the TIFF Bell Lightbox will have
any kind of wifi press room with desks and chairs
and free cappucino, like the Palais does. Or, failing that, if the
Lightbox will at least have accessible wifi for journalists wanting
to file from somewhere within.
There will be a media lounge at the TIFF headquarters at the
Update: As the son of an alcoholic and one who
had alcohol issues in the early to mid ’90s, I have an abhorrence
for people who flirt with, invite and/or embrace destruction with
alcohol. This was the basis of yesterday’s reaction to the
ridiculous demise of Nicole John, the 17
year-old daughter of daughter of U.S. ambassador to Thailand
Yes, it’s extremely “sad” when a 17 year-old girl kills herself
through drug and alcohol abuse. I understand, rather, that saying
“how sad” is the socially acceptable way of responding to such a
thing. I for one find such stories (which do appear with some
irregularity) infuriating. And I feel it would be far healthier all
around if people were to agree that...
Stephen Frears‘ Tamara
Drewe (Sony Classics, 10.8) was easily my most
unpleasant viewing of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. So the
trailer has done prospective viewers a favor, I feel, by explaining
where the film is coming from. The narrator’s insinuating cornball
tone should suffice. If not, the pissing cow will.
The Last Exorcism (which I may see today, having heard it was worth it) is the weekend honcho, and yet down 22% from Friday and looking at a mere $22 million for the weekend — not much of a win. Second-place Takers went up 2% from Friday, looking at $20.5 million by this evening, or perhaps even $21 million. And the third-place Expendables is looking at a $9.5 weekend tally and an $82 million cume.
Fourth-place Eat Pray Love expects 6.8 to $7 million by tonight, and a cume of $60 million, but will probably hang in there with Machete and Resident Evil 4 being the only new films with any expected heat over the next 2 weeks. And The Other Guyss is fifth with an expected $6.5 million for the weekend and an overall $99.2 million haul.
Avatar: Special Edition only did $1.5 million yesterday (up 28% from Friday) for a likely $3.8 cume. (I decided to shine it after learning of the 16- or 17-minute longer version coming out in November on DVD/Bluray.)
This is an old routine but here we go. On 8.25 Christian
Lorentzen, essayist for nplusonemag, rippedJudd
Apatow a new one for his usual failings. But after reading
it I had an impulse to write Apatow and ask if he wanted to
respond, and lo and behold he did. So stay tuned.
Apatow’s films, Lorentzen said, “have come to be
perceived as the deluxe version of the current Hollywood comedy —
the sort it’s acceptable for smart people to like. They come with
self-consciousness, a running time of more than two hours, and the
implication of an Important Social Message.
“Thus they have earned the adulation of critics who have
variously claimed that Apatow has reinvented comedy, rendering
obsolete everything from Lubitsch to the
Farrelly Brothers; that his films are
First a bum Eloi trailer and now this — a Fair Game one-sheet that says nothing. What is Naomi Watts doing or thinking? What does her expression or stance imply? What is Sean Penn grinning about? This movie does something very icy and cool, trust me, and this poster doesn’t have the first clue what that thing is. (Poster swiped from Awards Daily.)
Rush, a bicycle-messenger movie starring Joseph
Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania
Ramirez, was shooting earlier today near the corner of
Sixth Avenue and 28th Street. JGL, of course, is the main
two-wheeled protagonist. The plot is driven by an envelope he picks
up from Columbia University, which a dirty cop (Shannon) is anxious
get his hands on.
Premium Rush star Joseph Gordon-Levitt (right, red
T-shirt) about to film a scene. Director-writer David Koepp (olive
shirt, red baseball hat) at extreme left. That may be Dania Ramirez
in light aquamarine top. Shannon (light blue shirt, tie) stands in
The similarity was noted by Flavorwire several weeks ago. Same director, same basic concept. Although otherwise, having read Aaron Sorkin‘s Social Network script, it’s difficult to imagine two films more unalike.
A Dutch film critic named Robert Nijman has
seen Anton Corbin‘s The
American, the George Clooney
assassin-in-Italy movie that opens next Wednesday, and has posted
an IMDB review,
having first written it for LiveforFilms.com.
I wrote Nijman this morning, and he replied right away. “I saw it
last Tuesday in Amsterdam, at a press screening hosted by Benelux
Film Distributors,” he said. “I write Dutch movie reviews for
occasionally Engish-language reviews also, for my friend Phil over
Nijman’s English is a little rough here and there, requiring a