Kind Of A Drag

I think it’s fair to say that the people running the TCM Classic Film Festival are a little too restrictive and traffic-coppy and dare-I-say obstructionist in their dealings with the press. Okay, with me. They’re running a very well-organized, very popular film festival here (all the screenings I’ve been to have been 80% or 90% sold) but today’s experience in trying to get into a q & a with Warren Beatty and Alec Baldwin at the Chinese sixplex following a screening of Reds was needlessly problematic.

I just wanted to cover the q & a but I dropped by the screening about 45 minutes before the film was due to end to get a seat and be ready. But I was told I couldn’t go in because they weren’t letting people in midway — I needed to be seated at the very...

Opening-Night Jitters

The usual concerns and distractions kept me from attending the TCM Classic Film Festival until 8:50 pm last night. I arrived at the big Chinese (a.k.a. “the Samaha-Kushner club“) to see how Spartacus would look on the big screen. Answer: okay to so-so, and definitely not great.

I don’t know if the projection was film or digital but the lamp wasn’t that bright, the focus was soft, there was no extraordinary detail, the image felt a little too dark and shadowy and the sound was okay but unexceptional.

Honestly? What I saw last night was nowhere near as satisfying as watching the bad “shiny” Spartacus Bluray (i.e., the one we’re not supposed to like) on my 50″...

Hard Times

When I first bought my Nissan 240 SX in the mid ’90s, a fill-up cost $28 or $30…something like that. Before I moved back to NYC in late ’08 a tank cost $40-something. Food prices are definitely going to rise. People need to start growing their own vegetables. I’m glad to have a bicycle in good repair.

My ex-wife Maggie and I used to have a view like this from our place at 8682 Franklin Ave. We lived there from mid ’87 to late ’88. Jett came along in June ’88. We moved to Maggie’s apartment in Santa Monica to save money, and then bought a home in Venice at the end of ’89. Pic taken last night around 10 pm.

On the set of Rio Bravo in 1958.

Satanic Banality

I try to isolate myself from the Kardashian gas chamber as much as possible, but every now and then it flanks and surrounds. Yesterday I ran into two Kim posters — one on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, another in a Hollywood Blvd. parking garage near the Chinese. Nobody blames KK, of course, for pushing her brand and hustling around. I’d pocket the dough if I were her.

But what can be said for under-educated women who even half-believe that a Kim Kardashian endorsement = coolness and intrigue? Could there be a more unmistakable manifestation of 21st Century worthlessness? No striving, no singing, no intelligence to speak of, no acting, no book-writing, no athletic glory, no...

True To Form

Earlier this evening on Twitter: “In the latest chapter of Quentin Tarantino‘s lifelong effort to make movies about other movies or books, but NEVER, EVER about life as he’s lived it, thought it, felt it or dreamed it ALL BY HIMSELF & based on his own personal ‘walk the earth’ journey…

“…he’s decided to direct a remake or re-imagine or re-stylize or amplify upon a 1966 ultra-violent Franco Nero spaghetti western called Django, which he’ll be re-titling Django Unchained. Brilliant. Crawling even further up his own ass.”

I meant to say it took me three tweets to say this.

Zen Busch-ed

There’s a 4.29 Wrap story about how former hotshot Hollywood journalist Anita Busch is still pushing her civil lawsuit against Michael Ovitz and AT&T for damages stemming from the Anthony Pellicano wire-tapping scandal, which will always be linked, of course, to that June 10, 2002 episode with the dead fish on Busch’s windshield and the note that said “stop!,” etc. Almost nine years ago and counting.

I understand why it’s taken so long, and I definitely understand and respect tenacity and staying the course and snagging the dough if you can get it, but man…nine years of this? And how many yet to go? You gotta get what you can get — I get that — but you’ve also gotta let things go when you reach a...


One of the reasons that hustlers like Elie Samaha and Don Kushner believe they can get away with what they’re apparently planning to do with the legendary cathedral that is Grauman’s Chinese is that they know that most Movie Catholics are caught up in their own stuff and will pay closer attention to Transformers 3 trailers than to Samaha and Kushner’s maneuverings.

HE is supposedly read and followed by a vocal and highly aware readership, and so far there are four lousy comments on the story about the Chinese-Studio 54 conversion (which was posted at 9 this morning)? if you’re not going to say something about a true temple of cinema being turned into a part-time temple of Charlie Sheen-style pleasuring, who and what are you?

Too Few Times At Bat

What a drag that it all ended with Eyes Wide Shut — obviously engrossing and very carefully assembled but altogether the most lifeless and embalmed Stanley Kubrick film ever made. (Yet another hat tip to Awards Daily‘s Ryan Adams.)

They Know

Why go with this kind of photograph and particularly one with this angle if you’re going to apply subtle Photoshopping to a part of the anatomy that would be otherwise visible? I don’t really care and it’s obviously not a huge deal, but the absence makes it noteworthy. (Hat tip to Awards Daily‘s Ryan Adams.)

Pleasure Of Their Company

The TCM Classic Film Festival began last night with a screening of An American in Paris, but they wouldn’t let me attend because…I don’t know why and don’t really care. There was a Vanity Fair-sponsored after-party following the Paris screening and VF reps are always giving off chilly-vibe, go-away, more-exclusive-than-thou attitudes. Or maybe Hollywood Elsewhere just isn’t cool enough in a general sense.

I’ve already missed the 9 am screening of Becket due to writing about Elie Samaha and Don Kushner, but here are some of the classic films I’d like to see projected on big (or at least moderately large) screens between now and Sunday night, not because I haven’t...

She “Doesn’t Appreciate,” etc.

Manhattan-based film curator Miriam Bale has called to complain about my having described a recent press release statement that the delayed Ishtar Bluray is “impending” as “apparent conjecture” on her part. I was told by 92Y’s Sarah Morton that the term “impending release” came from Bale, but Bale says it was Elaine May‘s “people” who submitted that term.

The press release about May’s 5.17 appearance at the 92nd Street Y in concert with the Ishtar Bluray release will be amended next week, she says.

I reported the other day that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment “will eventually, no doubt, release their Ishtar Bluray (i.e., the one that almost came out last...

Grauman’s Chinese To Become Samaha’s Studio 54?

LA movie fanatics need to savor the Old Hollywood aura of Grauman’s Chinese theatre as much as they can between now and May 20th because after that date the notoriously oily Elie Samaha and his partner Don Kushner, the film and video-game producer (Tron: Legacy), will be transforming the legendary Chinese into a kind of mixed-venue Studio 54.

This is what I’ve been told by a source I spoke to this morning who’s closely affiliated with the Chinese and has been observing walk-throughs by Samaha and Kushner and their associates and overhearing conversations, etc.

The currently-unfolding TCM Classic Film Festival may turn out to be the last serious film-buff event ever...

Branagh “Steals” My Week With Marilyn

An HE reader attended a research screening last night at Manhattan’s AMC Lincoln Square for Simon Curtis‘s My Week With Marilyn. The British-made drama, highlighted by a knockout performance by Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, is based on two books by the late Colin Clark about Clark’s relationship with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) during the making of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956.

Kenneth Branagh in some period film and not as Laurence Oliver in Simon Curtis’s My Week With Marilyn…although he’ll probably look vaguely similar to this in Curtis’s film, minus the moustache.


“I Take Thee, Baldie…”

I thought and thought and thought about it, and decided it was better, no disrespect, to get the sleep rather than wake up at 2:30 or 3 am Pacific to catch Prince William and Kate Middleton’s marriage ceremony. Congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple.

On their own terms and in the minds and hearts of the principals, all weddings are joyous and hopeful events that everyone feels very good about, myself included. I was married in Paris at a small Catholic church called St. Julien le Pauvre in October 1987, and it was quite perfect all around. But this one, from a public standpoint, is of course a matter of some tabloid conjecture and fantasy.

From my

The Gayness

“At one point during the preordained throwdown between the two colossi who stride through Fast Five, Dwayne Johnson rips off his bulletproof vest with the practiced economy of a 17th-century courtesan flinging off her corset,” writes N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis. “His character, a professional tough guy bluntly named Hobbs, has just found his fugitive bad twin, Dom, the gnomic guru of the Fast and Furious franchise, played by Vin Diesel.

“They are the fast and, yes, the furious. Yet as these giants grasp each other’s bulging muscles, their bald heads rearing in the frame with tumescent vigor, it’s easy to imagine that they’d like some alone time. They don’t get it, largely because the earth might spin off its axis if they did, though also...

Bargain Bin

The cost of “Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made,” a serious film buff coffee-table book that started out costing many hundreds of dollars, is now down to $40.47 on Amazon. I think this might be the poor man’s abridged version and not the first-edition, velvet-bound 35-pound version. Still, the markdown indicates that it didn’t sell like Taschen was hoping it would.

Color Dabs

Legendary fast-food haunt at 7475 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood — Tuesday, 4.26, 9:55 pm.

Outdoor promenade adjacent to western wing of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 20 minutes prior to watching Robert Bresson‘s Diary of a Country Priest at LACMA’s Bing theatre — Friday, 4.22, 7:10 pm.

The recently opened Civilianaire on West Third Street, prior to a breakfast with the Relativity gang (Adam Keen, Kristin Cotich, Emmy Chang) at Toast Bakery & Cafe.