Jamestown Tremors

Here’s Part 4 of Matt Zoller Seitz‘s epic video essay on Terrence Malick, focusing on The New World.

“This feels like closure to me in some strange way,” Seitz says in an email. “The whole reason I got into blogging was to bang the drum for The New World, which has grown in reputation since 2005 but which was shamefully underestimated at the time.”

Proposal

A guy named Sean with a web advertising company asked earlier today if Hollywood Elsewhere would be interested in running an ad for Direct TV. “I can send you $150 via PayPal as soon as an agreement is made,” he wrote. I wrote back and said, “What about you keep your money and I give $150 to a homeless guy?”

Odd

With all the hoo-hah last week about Warner Home Video’s bizarre decision to crop the Barry Lyndon Bluray at 1.77 to 1, it’s ironic that impulse buyers wandering around Best Buy won’t even see the Lyndon Bluray on the shelves. Or the Lolita Bluray.

That’s because of an Amazon exclusive deal for both titles, meaning there’s no retail at all. For the time being, that is. I’m sure there was a big kickback arrangement for Warner Home Video, but after all this time….forget it. I’ve got my order coming to my LA home tomorrow so what do I care?

Rand, Silicon Valley, Greenspan, Radical Individualism…Exactly!

Adam Curtis‘s multi-part All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, which began last night on BBC2, is flat-out brilliant. Or at least brilliantly composed and sold. I could call it a fascinating, absorbing, well-told story, but it strikes me above all as an unusually perceptive explanation of the ’08 global financial collapse, and how its origins stem from the philosophical imaginings of Ayn Rand.

Take an hour and watch this first installment...

Then, Forever

As much as I’ve always loved James Toback‘s Fingers, I fell a little bit harder for Jacques Audiard‘s 2005 remake, The Beat That My Heart Skipped. One reason being that this critically-acclaimed, French-produced film twice used The Kills’ “Monkey 23”, which for me was the film, at least in a residual way.

I was just sitting here and remembering getting into Audiard’s film and “Monkey 23” and The Kills’

Flatline

No one outside of the Tolkien lemming community cares about Peter Jackson‘s two Hobbitt films….nobody. Nobody gives a toss that the first one (opening on 12.14.12) will be called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, or that the second (due on 12.13.13) will be called The Hobbit: There And Back Again. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, blah, blah. The old Lord of the Rings gang — Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving — feeding at the trough, etc.

Oy! Dumb Girls!

“Destined to be together but indecisive and unable to pull the trigger for 20 years” is not my idea of an engrossing concept. It’s my idea, actually, of a repellent one. The narration (“…but life got in the way”) is very cliched, and the British narrator’s speaking style has that same “talking down to idiots” tone that the last trailer had.

So trailer-wise this film has basically gone O for 2 (here‘s my reaction to trailer #1), and in my book that indicates a possible disaster.

Rarifed Demo

Janice Min‘s radical revamp of The Hollywood Reporter “seems to be working,” reports N.Y. Times media decoder David Carr in a 5.30 article. Over the last year THR’s ad revenue has gone up 50%, unique visitors to hollywoodreporter.com have risen 800%, according to comScore, and circulation for the weekly print edition “has inched up over 70,000, which seems small, but it reaches a pretty rarefied demographic,” Carr writes.

“It’s all very lovely to behold, but of course, that’s no guarantee that [Min’s Reporter] will be a great business as well,” Carr concludes. “It will be several years before we know whether the big investment in the good-looking magazine will yield pretty numbers as well.”

Read The Meter

Update due to jetlag fatigue: At the close of the five-month mark, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris and Bridesmaids need to be added to the best 2011 films list. The others are still Win Win, Hanna, Source Code, Cedar Rapids, In A Better World, Meek’s Cutoff, Super, Applause and The Lincoln Lawyer.

Mulligan Ups Her Game

On Friday I bought two tickets to Through a Glass Darkly, the currently running theatrical adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s 1961 film with Carey Mulligan in the lead role. With my flight landing at 6:20 pm I’d hoped the tickets were for a Sunday 8 pm performance, but I learned post-purchase that they were for a 3 pm show, so I asked Jett and Dylan to go in my place.


Carey Mulligan, Ben Rosenfield in Through A Glass Darkly.

“I’ve never seen Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly so yesterday’s performance was my...

The Void

A Midwestern book publisher wrote about an old high school friend — a woman — with whom “we’re indirectly connected professionally through the Linked-In network.” He asked how I know her. I don’t know her at all, I said. “Linked In is as bad as Facebook in terms of utter meaninglessness,” I added. “I could be lying on the side of the road, bleeding to death and begging for an ambulance, and [your former high-school friend] could walk by and look at me and say to herself, ‘Wow, somebody who has the time should call an ambulance on their cell’ and then walk right on and hail a cab so she won’t be late to her Pilates class.”

No Protection

I woke up this morning at 8 am Paris time (i.e, 2 am Eastern) and then woke again at 5 am, or 11 am in Paris. The wifi is working perfectly in the place I’m staying in…very nice. And it rained this morning around 6 am. No screenings today because of Memorial Day. Jesus…Memorial Day. Every time it comes around I feel listless and conflicted.

It’s been over 65 years since Americans fought and won an unambiguously “good” war. I know i’ll never stop feeling sickened by the thought of over 58,000 guys having died in the Vietnam War. And I don’t feel much pride or see a whole lot of value in the death tallies from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

So it’s a holiday about despair, really. Despair and mixed feelings and, okay, little sprigs of pride. But I hate it when someone says “he...

The Dumbness

How much of a Bluray marketing genius do you have to be to not know that the photo of Paul Newman on the new Bluray of The Hustler is from The Young Philadelphians (’59)? And if the Fox Home Video marketing ace who chose this photo did know of its origin, why did he/she use it?

Any fan of The Hustler (’61) would spot the error in two seconds and be mildly irked by it, as I was when I bought this sucker last night at Kim’s Video. And any fan of The Young Philadelphians, a John...

Nazi Perv

The only Nazi fascist-perversion films of the ’70s that I could stand watching weren’t exploitation fare — Liliana Cavani‘s The Night Porter and Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s Salo. A couple of times I’ve felt a slight urge to see Tinto Brass‘s Salon Kitty (which is now out on Bluray) but I can’t make myself rent it. I just can’t. I keep hearing Peter O’Toole calling this Italian schlockmeister, with whom he worked on Caligula, “Tinto Zinc.”

Tuesday, After Christmas

It’s been a bit more than a year since I saw Radu Muntean‘s Tuesday, After Christmas at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. And now, at long last, it’s playing at Manhattan’s Film Forum until June 7th. It’s another one of those plain but gradually penetrating, long-take Romanian films in the tradition of Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days and The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, which I can’t get enough of.

I love the slow studied atmosphere of these films, and their very subtle pay-offs that seem to strengthen and deepen the more you think about them afterwards. They’re pretty much essential viewing, even when they’re not totally top-of-the-line.

Tuesday, After Christmas doesn’t have...