I’d always wanted to see Fred Zinneman‘s
Hatful of Rain on a big wide screen (rather than on a
small television set, which is what I saw it on when I was 15)
because it’s in black-and-white Scope — my favorite format. So I
last night at the Aero, and briefly spoke with star Don
Murray (who’s looking very fit and vibrant at age 82) and
listened to a q & a with Murray and costar Eva Marie
Released in 1957 and set mostly in a small lower-Manhattan
apartment, A Hatful of Rain is an on-the-nose melodrama
about middle-class drug addiction. Murray plays...
I realize, of course, that hundreds of thousands of people who
don’t know any better make fools of themselves in karaoke bars on a
nightly basis, but I can’t understand why intelligent journos who
have a clue would degrade themselves in this fashion. “Hey, I have
an idea! Let’s all go to a karaoke bar and prove to drunken
strangers that we can’t sing or phrase as well as professionals!
And are sometimes flat or off-key!” HE rule #39:
if you’re not all that good at something, keep it to yourself.
Manhattan-visiting friend: “Just a reminder to
call anyone you know who can help you score tickets to The Book of
Mormon. I saw it last night, and it’s the real deal. It’s
thrilling, and, yes, irreverent, blasphemous and
an equal-opportunity offender. But would you
expect anything less from Trey Parker and
“But what’s amazing is their real love and understanding of
musical theatre, and the fact that is has a huge palpitating heart
at its center. I don’t remember sitting in a Broadway theatre
surrounded by a more thrilled audience (which last night included
Sting and Sandra Bullock.)
My response: “I called [a producer friend] and
With today’s release (and concurrent critical
savaging) of Cat Run, it’s time
to once again lament the saga of John
Stockwell — an extremely bright, hip and likable guy who
started out as an actor in the ’80s (Top Gun) but really
found his footing as a director — first with the entirely decent,
well-shaped, movingly performed Crazy/Beautiful (’01) and
then Blue Crush, one of the best
modestly-proportioned surfer movies I’ve ever seen.
While waiting for last night’s 7:30 pm showing of A Hatful
of Rain to begin at the Aero, Empire‘s Helen
O’Haratweeted that I owed her an
apology for having
written last Monday that her 3.28
story about Britain’s Icon planning to open Terrence
Malick‘s The Tree of Life on May
4th, or several days before its expected debut at next
month’s Cannes Film Festival, was “probably incorrect.”
Because O’Hara’s story is apparently
Icon’s 5.4 Tree release was confirmed yesterday (or the
day before?) on the...
With the recent dispute between Donald
Sutherland and Peter Bart over the
filming of that legendary Don’t Look Now sex scene (which
Bart has more or less
admitted error on by telling The Hollywood Reporter‘s
Merle Ginsberg that the
scene in question was shot “over four decades ago!”), there’s
considerable interest right now in Nicolas Roeg‘s
thriller. Which bodes well for the
British Region 2 Bluray that streets on 6.27.11.
In a speech given today at CinemaCon, the exhibition industry’s annual convention in Las Vegas, James Cameron has announced he’ll make Avatar 2 and 3 “with a native frame rate of 48 or 64,” which will deliver fluid motion in the vein of Maxivsion (which Roger Ebert has been promoting for years) or Showscan. Cameron will demonstrate various frame-rate samples tomorrow at the Coliseum theater inside Ceasar’s Palace.
MSN’s James Rocchi tweeted as follows: “James Cameron keeps talking about Avatar 2/3. It’s the only time in history the nerd who wants a sequel nobody else does has the power to do so.”
$275 is too much for a seat at a Yankee game. It’s not even outdoors on the first or third-base line where you can smell the dirt and grass — it’s an ambassador club box over the right-field bleachers. They used to charge 25 cents for a bleacher seat in Babe Ruth‘s day. I don’t know what prices were like when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were slamming homers, but I’ll bet they had some relationship to the price of rice…unlike today.
TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman has reported that there may have been “significant misinformation” about the shooting death of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen last November. Apparently she may have taken three in the arm and two in the back rather than five in the chest…whatever. The feeling here has always been that the official explanation is ridiculous. The late Harold Smith shot Chasen at a Sunset Blvd. stoplight after chasing her along that high-speed avenue on a friggin’ bicycle? It may have happened, but no self-respecting screenwriter would dream up such a scenario for fear of being laughed out of town.
Last Tuesday Deadline‘s Michael
outlined the latest configuration of Sony’s Cleopatra biopic —
Angelina Jolie in the lead, David
Fincher possibly directing, Scott Rudin
producing from a script by Brian Helgeland (but
with a new punch-up writer possibly being sought),
based on Stacy Schiff‘s Cleopatra: A Life. An inside source says it’s all
“conjecture” at this point, but I’m hearing the project may
actually come together.
FilmDistrict’s decision to open Bruce Robinson‘s The Rum Diary, an apparently troubled adaptation of the Hunter Thompson book with Johnny Depp in the lead role, on 10.28 is well and good. FilmDistrict co-founder Graham King has said he’s “extremely proud to bring this novel to film and to honor Hunter’s legacy”…hah!
But let’s not forget that the film may be opening tomorrow (3.31) in Moscow, according to a longstanding IMDB listing. And if it is, let’s hope someone is there to review it. I mentioned on 2.5 that I’d love to fly to Moscow for the occasion, but you have to live within certain limits.
In my head, Farley Granger
has always been and always will be “Guy Haines,” the anxious,
darting-eyed, pinch-mannered tennis player in Alfred
Hitchcock‘s Strangers on a Train (’51). The 85
year-old actor, also known for his performance as an anxious,
darting-eyed, pinch-mannered gay murder accomplice in Hitchcock’s
Rope, passed on 3.27, but for some reason the news is
only just breaking now.
Granger copped a long time ago to being openly bisexual or
mostly gay or what-have-you.
Remember that ComicCon 2010 buzz about Tron: Legacy
helmer Joseph Kosinski
being “the new James Cameron“? After Tronmade
the rounds he began to look like the new Peter
Hyams. And now Kosinki’s latest project, a dystopian,
post-apocalyptic graphic novelly action-quest thing called
Oblivion, has been scuttled by
Kosinski, 36, will bounce back and may even make something good
some day, but it’s entirely possible that he won’t. He’s one of the
gamer/comic-book generation directors (Battle LA‘s
Liebesman, 35, is another) and I just don’t trust these guys.
At all. Their heads are all about...
If you’ve ever looked at slapped-together covers for bootleg DVDs, you know that the pirates who put them out sometimes create their own cover art based on generic but reality-divorced concepts of what will appeal to Average Joes. So when boots of The Tree of Life begin to show up on the streets of Tijuana and Beijing and Manila, it’s not inconceivable that the jacket art might look something like this. (Jacket design by Mark Frenden.)
I don’t know what exhibitors and distributors felt about
Terrence Malick‘s Badlands or Days of
Heaven or The Thin Red Line or The New World
when they first saw them, but I’ll guess they weren’t swooning.
Exhibitor and distributor types are always bitching about art
films, and that’s the only kind of movie Malick makes so he and
they are natural-born adversaries. Industry guys have always
hated ambitious cinema — Francis Coppola once told
me about exhibitors complaining about how dark and gloomy The
Godfather was — so their views need to be taken with a
I was reminded of this mindset by a producer pal when I told him
yesterday that a journalist friend, quoting a US distribution
source, had told me that a group of foreign distributor-investors
saw Malick’s The Tree of Life almost exactly a year ago
(i.e., March 2010) and felt...
Early last May I ran a complaint
piece about Paramount Home Video’s failure to punch out a
Bluray. It’s my responsibility, I feel, to bitch about this until
they finally give in and agree to fund the proper restoring and
remastering of George Stevens‘ 1953
classic. An off-the-lot source says it’ll be a moderately
expensive project, which is mainly why Paramount has been stalling
for so long. Except Shane is one of the respected jewels
in the studio crown, and what monarch would allow one of its legacy
symbols to lose its shine?
Shane is one of the most beautiful color films shot
during the big-studio era, but if...
Robert Aldrich‘s Kiss Me Deadly (Criterion Bluray, 6.21) is pure black-and-white splendor. You can can take or leave the plot/dialogue/theme, but you can’t ignore the magnificent visual capturings of mid ’50s Los Angeles. All those downtown locations that are gone now plus Ralph Meeker/Mike Hammer’s still-standing apartment building (10401 Wilshire Blvd, NW corner of Wilshire and Beverly Glen and the Hollywood Athletic Club (6525 W. Sunset Blvd.), where Hammer finds the black box with the bright light inside.
I’m not a coffee snob, but I’ve owned a couple of cappuccino machines and been to dozens of European cafes and have acquired a mature understanding, I believe, of what makes a really good cup. Imagine my surprise, then, when it hit me two or three weeks ago that this kind of instant coffee is really delightful — rich, rounded, full-bodied.
This is the raptor seen in one of the micro-squares on that one-sheet for Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life. Would it be out of line to ask for a poster for a screaming Sean Penn and Brad Pitt being chased by a raptor, Jurassic Park-style? If anyone has the Photoshop ability and the time….well, obviously many people do. But do they give enough of a damn to work on it and send it along?
I’m almost getting a supernatural, time-trippy Purple Rose of Cairo vibe from this Midnight in Paris trailer. Or maybe more like A Stop at Willoughby? That’s good, I think. Woody Allen hasn’t gone off the imaginative deep end in quite a while.
I know one thing for sure: I felt more than a little nauseous the second that Michael Sheen‘s character began talking about wine. So he plays (a) Tony Blair, (b) mad vampires kingpins with white hair and crazy glazed expressions, (c) soccer coaches and (d) assholes?
David Gordon Green‘s Your Highness (Universal, 4.8) was shown to select press last Friday, and I was waiting for hate tweets all weekend…and they never happened. The trailers have made it clear that this medieval stoner comedy is (a) unfunny, (b) loathsome even by stoner-improv standards, and (c) a blend of downmarket sloth and Danny McBride toenail shavings. I really can’t wait to get my hate on for this thing. So who saw it last weekend and suffered involuntary convulsions?
So once again, two years ago Natalie Portman decided on a strategy of making one good film (Black Swan) and then signing up for one contemptible piece-of-shit paycheck movie after another? Is she ever going to be in anything good ever again? Or is it all downhill from here on?
A month ago MCN’s Kim Voynarwrote about the Girls on Film clips in which famous scenes from great films starring guys are recreated with women. I paid no mind, and for whatever reason Girls on Film‘s Ashleigh Harrison waited a whole damn month to say to herself, “Let’s see, is there anyone else we haven’t gotten some attention from? Oh, yeah, this Jeff Wells guy…okay, let’s write him.” The No Country For Old Men caught my fancy most of all.
“Here is the reality,” his statement
reads. “I had my editor count shots. There are
139 dance shots in the film. 111
are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance
double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 80% Natalie...
A distribution guy who knows everyone and has been around forever saw Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life a good while ago, and while discussing it with a friend several weeks ago said somewhat perfunctorily, “I’m a fan.” Now, you have to understand what it means when a distribution exec says “I’m a fan.” That’s like some dude who’s just gone out on a blind date saying the next morning that the girl has a nice personality. It means (a) the film has problems, (b) the distribution guy is being polite, and (c) he doesn’t want to say anything too strong for fear of being identified as a rapt admirer. (I almost said “raptor” admirer but that’s another thread.)
It appears as if some kind of mistake was made
by England’s Icon Distribution in announcing (or failing to
convincingly deny) that it would commercially release
Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life on May
4th, as reported
earlier today by Empire‘s Helen
A shock wave went around for a couple of hours later this
morning when it seemed at least possible that the story
might be true because such a move would have completely
undercut the hoopla effect of the expected Cannes Film
Festival debut of Malick’s film, which will probably happen a week
after the questionably-reported British opening.
I was told by two senior execs with Fox Searchlight,...
I guess I’ll be signing up for the $35-a-month hit, dammit, so I can get all-device access to the N.Y. Timesstarting tomorrow. But I resent being asked to pay that much. I’d be much cooler with $20 or $25 a month. That I could handle without a hiccup.
I was surprised by the results of a
3.24 poll, published by Awards Daily‘s Ryan
Adams, revealing his readers’ favorite gay-themed
films. It’s a respectable list, but the absence of
William Friedkin and Mart
Crowley‘s The Boys in the Band (’70) — arguably the most
groundbreaking-in-its-time gay film ever made — tells me Adams’
voters weren’t interested in films that weren’t about
them, or which failed to provide comfortable and/or stirring