I had intriguing discussions earlier today about the
Ben-Hur restoration and Bluray with Warner Bros. mastering
vp Ned Price and director Fraser
Heston, and I recorded them even. But I have to get over
to the New York Film Festival opening-night screening of
Carnage and then the after-party at the Harvard Club, so
the substantive Ben-Hur filing will have to wait.
Ned Price, vp mastering for Warner Bros. Technical Operations,
earlier today at Manhattan’s Essex House — Friday, 9.30, 2:20
Director Fraser Heston, son of late Ben-Hur star Charlton
From master film restorationist/preservationist guru
Robert Harris on
When Herman “the Hermanator” Cain said two days ago that
African-American voters vote overwhelmingly liberal due to
“brainwashing and people not being open-minded, pure and simple,”
he was stating a basic fact. Substitute “brainwashing” for
“cultural conditioning” and he was describing how most of
us are shaped by our native cultures, at least in our
youth. There are specific reasons for African-American political
allegiances that don’t apply to some of us, but we’re all “brought
up” to think and vote in a certain way.
I was conditioned to be a liberal because of the left-liberal
views of my parents and the left-liberal values of Westfield, New
Jersey, and Wilton, Connecticut, where I was living when I figured
out what my cutural and political values were...
In one fell swoop, Hollywood Elsewhere has significantly altered the imbalance between the greedy haves and the desperate have-nots. By going down to Zuccotti Park (Broadway and Liberty Street) this afternoon and taking pictures of the Occupy Wall Street crowd and posting them, I’ve…well, at least helped somewhat. Storm the barricades!
Jonathan Levine‘s 50/50
and Jeff Nichols‘ Take
Shelter are far and away the best new films to see this
But please understand that 50/50 is
not a comedy, despite what
Lou Lumenick and others are saying.
I explained it thusly
earlier this month: “All mature art is mixture of drama and comedy.
Any film that insists on being a drama-drama or a comedy-comedy
doesn’t get this. Life is always a mixture of the two, and so
naturally 50/50 is flecked or flavored with guy and gallows humor
here and there plus one or two anxious-mom jokes and/or chemo jokes
and/or jokes about being in denial,...
It doesn’t matter if Occupy Wall Street (which has expanded to Boston and San Francisco and elsewhere) is lacking a specific goal, or if it feels unfocused or futile or whatever. The fact that a miniscule speck of GenY anger is being expressed is at least something. Or…you know, is better than watching Jimmy Kimmel. Any expression of dismay or loathing or rage about the sociopathic stacked-deck, rich-favoring U.S. economy led and exploited by the Wall Street machine gets my vote. That’s why I’m going down there this afternoon…yeah!
I spoke last night to a guy who caught a research screening of
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close last Sunday night at
Leows’ Lincoln Square (B’way at 68th). And he agrees with
Kris Tapley’s guy that Max Von Sydow‘s
wordless performance as Thomas Horn‘s grandfather
“will certainly get an Oscar nomination, perhaps the award
And he has a slight dispute with Stu Van
Airsdale’s guy about the opening with “falling bodies, crushing
thuds, and other vividly horrifying reminders of the initial scene
at the World Trade Center.” My guy’s dominant impression is “an
obliquely falling body in a white suit. If this wasn’t a
Movieline‘s Stu Van Airsdale has
spoken to a guy who’s allegedly seen Extremely Loud and
Incredibly Close, and one of his reactions, Van Airsdale
writes, is that “the film’s current introduction — which features
falling bodies, crushing thuds, and other vividly horrifying
reminders of the initial scene at the World Trade Center — was less
emotionally affecting than just inappropriate” and “too soon.”
Ten years later is too soon? I got fairly angry with
people who were saying this five years ago when
93 was about to open, but anyone who says this now is
taking the post-traumatic thing into obsession. “Too soon!” is the
I think that the close-up image of Thomas Horn in the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close poster is oddly intriguing. Hands to the face means shock or alarm, but Horn’s eyes are laid-back, almost serene. He could be listening to a lecture by a teacher or watching a TV show or staring at a sleeping cat. An opaque expression in the midst of heavy drama about 9/11 and death and whatever else…cool.
I always thought that DreamWorks’ decision to open Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse on 12.28 was a little strange to begin with, so switching the opener to Christmas Day feels like a shoulder-shrugger.
“After seeing the film, it became clear to us that War Horse is something audiences should be able to see when they’re together with their families on Christmas Day,” DreamWorks spokesman Chip SullivantoldEW‘s Anthony Breznican. “They have the time to see multiple movies during the holidays, and we want to be one of their choices when they are most available.”
And the reason for the previous determination that War Horseshouldn’t be a Christmas holiday option was what again?
In a 9.29 piece called “Generation Next: The
Realignment,” Marshall Fine makes various
calls about where certain actors are in their careers, sinking- or
rising-wise. Most of Fine’s assessments are no-brainers, but I’m
wondering if HE readers generally agree or not.
Assertion #1: “Larry Crowne marked
Tom Hanks, who is now 55, as a star who
can no longer open a movie. [He] isn’t a star who is
attractive to the demographic — the 18-to-34 crowd — that crowns
box-office stars. And the audience that is interested in Hanks —
i.e., those closer to his own age — aren’t rushing out to see
movies on their opening weekend.” Wells response:
Larry Crowne fizzled because it wasn’t good enough.
For about 40 years Arthur Krim (1910 –
1994), the distinguished chairman of United Artists
and then Orion Pictures
from the early ’50s to early ’90s, put out a run of quality-level,
award-winning films that eclipses the record of Harvey
Weinstein in terms of Oscar nominations and awards.
On top of which the soft-spoken Krim never took a producing
credit and because of that “he was trusted by talent,” a former
Under Krim’s guidance and final approval a long healthy run of
Academy Award-winning productions as The African Queen, Marty,
The Apartment, West Side Story, Tom Jones, In The Heat of the
Night, Midnight Cowboy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky,
Annie Hall, Amadeus, Platoon and The Silence of
In an interview
posted today (9.29), Empire‘s Helen
O’Hara quotes Steven Spielberg saying a
couple of things about Lincoln, which begins shooting in
October. Spielberg begins by explaining that the source material,
Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s Team Of Rivals, “is much too big a book to be a movie,
so the Lincoln story only takes place in the last few months of his
Presidency and life.
“I was interested in how he ended the war through all the
efforts of his generals…but more importantly how he passed the 13th
Amendment into constitutional law. The Emancipation Proclamation
was a war powers act and could have been struck down by any court
after the war...
It took me a while to upload this clip from yesterday’s New York
Film Festival press conference with A
Separation director-writer-producer Asghar Farhadi,
moderated by NYFF honcho Scott Foundas.
During a Telluride Film Festival chat Tilda
Swinton mentioned her admiration of Farhadi’s About Elly.
A questioner at yesterday’s press conference brought it up also.
I’ve never seen it so I obviously need to man up and
buy the DVD on Amazon.
A little less than a month ago Wall Street Journal
critic Joe Morgenstern mentioned an alleged fact
to myself and a few others at a Telluride Film Festival dinner. He
said that the colloquial term “loser” was first coined in
Walter Tevis‘s 1959 book “The
Hustler.” It caught on in a bigger way two years later when
Robert Rossen‘s The
Hustler, an adaptation of Tevis’s book, opened.
The line was spoken at the end of Act One by George C.
Scott, referring to Paul Newman‘s Eddie
Felson: “Stick with this...
Five’ll get you ten A.O. Scott decided to do a “Critics Picks” assessment of Karel Riesz and James Toback‘s The Gambler (’74) when he heard about the reported Paramount remake that became briefly notorious when Toback, who based his script partly on his gambling-addicted life, complained that no one from Paramount had given him so much as a courtesy call. If the remake happens, Martin Scorsese might direct with Leonardo DiCaprio in the James Caan role.
I saw Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin That I Live In once again this evening, having initially seen it five months ago at the Cannes Film Festival. Review excerpt: “It’s more of a wicked-camp thing. More than a few times the crowd I saw it with erupted in giddy chuckles. And yet Skin, after a fashion, is played more-or-less straight. Always the best way to go with a wink-winker.”
Deadline‘s Michael Fleming is reporting that the new life-of-Moses movie, which Warner Bros. is allegedly trying to get Steven Spielberg to direct (yecch!), is “not a remake of the 1956 Cecile B. DeMille-directed The Ten Commandments.” And yet it covers “Moses from birth to death” including “his awakening to the plight of the Hebrew slaves that led Moses’ struggle against the Pharaoh for their freedom out of Egypt, the Burning Bush, the Ten Plagues, the daring escape across the Red Sea, receiving the Ten Commandments, and delivery to Israel.” Which is precisely what the DeMille film covers, so what’ll different about this one, Mike, besides less corny dialogue? We all know the answer: better visual FX.
I saw Asghar Farhadi‘s A
Separation at this morning’s New York Film Festival press
screening, and yes, it hit the mark again. This well-honed,
deep-well family drama is now the official Iranian submission for
the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, and is destined to be among
the five nominees…unless the foreign language committee gives it
the same kind of blowoff that they did with Four Months, Three
Weeks and Two Days. Let’s call that highly doubtful.
(l. to. r) Sony Classics co-prez Tom Bernard, A Separation
director Asghar Farhadi, Sony Classics co-prez Michael Barker at
Gabriel’s — Wednesday, 9.28, 2:05 pm.
I caught most of A Separation earlier this month at the
Telluride Film Festival but this time I saw the first 40...
While sitting at the bar last night at Phebe’s I accidentally knocked some
water onto the keyboard of my Macbook Pro. I didn’t have a hair
dryer with me, but I naturally picked up the device and wiped it
off and hung it upside down and swore and hissed. Which didn’t
help. The screen freaked out, flashing an insane psychedelic
collage of pink and white and purple and black impulse doodles,
like some kind of alien sanskrit code…meltdown, crash,
I turned it on and off a few times, hoping and praying. But it
seemed pretty much dead and dysfunctional. The crazy colors stopped
after a couple of restarts, and then it reverted to the desktop
image and all the usual-usuals, but the cursor was still and
immovable. I looked into the abyss and gulped. I have an iMac back
in West Hollywood but I figured I’d have to buy a new Macbook Pro
right away, and knew this would set me back about $1200 and...
My first reaction to hearing about Roman Polanski: A Film
Memoir, Laurent Bouzereau‘s documentary about
the filmmaker recalling aspects of his life during his house arrest
in Gstaad two years ago, was “why did Polanski sit down with
Bouzereau instead of Marina Zenovich, whose
exacting and persuasive Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired doc surely earned
her Polanski’s allegiance?”
My second reaction was to search for reviews of Bouzereau’s doc,
which screened last night at the Zurich Film
Festival with Polanski in attendance. Others besides
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott
I’ve just come out of a 3:30 pm press screening of Roman
Polanski‘s wickedly hilarious Carnage, and on top
of all the cackling and chortling and guffawing I was delighted to
discover that The Playlist‘s Oliver
dead wrong when he wrote from the Venice Film Festival that
there’s “almost nothing to enable the identification of [this]
movie as a Polanski picture.” What horseshit!
Carnage felt to me as much a part of Polanski’s realm
as The Pianist or Repulsion or Tess or
Cul de Sac or The Ghostwriter. I felt relaxed and
soothed and charmed because i knew whose world I was in right away,
no question, and I felt double pleasured with all the
October 1st is just around the corner, and New York City has been slamming me with hot weather and high humidity and occasional showers. It’s too hot to wear a suit or sports jacket or anything but slacks and a T-shirt. I’m constantly damp. It’s not like equatorial Africa but it’s in that general ballpark. I guess I’ll have to wait until I return to Los Angeles if I want a little cool fall weather. I sure as hell am not getting that here.
“To love a film by Roman Polanski, as I know
from other irate readers, is to guarantee that you will be accused
of going easy on a criminal,” writes Manohla
Dargis in a
9.21 N.Y. Times piece that appeared in Sunday’s print
edition (i.e., the day before yesterday).
“Some of this anger can be blamed on avid Polanski supporters
who assert that he did nothing wrong, or that he’s an old man now
and has suffered enough. And, true, that Swiss chalet of his where
he stayed after he was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 while
waiting to hear if he would be deported to America sure looked as
chilly as a medieval dungeon.
“Some Polanski apologists repellently portray his victim as a
culpable seducer rather than a 13-year-old who was drugged and
marinated in booze. Others...
The beautiful amber-pinkish red sunset clouds and the obvious
bond between Joey the horse and Albert (Jeremy
Irvine) tell us that Steven Spielberg‘s
Horse (Touchstone, 12.28) is going to lay it on thick.
This is basically going to be an emotional family-friendly film
about caring and love and the romance of beautiful photography (by
Janusz Kaminski, of course) and
the always affecting strains of John Williams‘
If you’re the sort of moviegoer who lives for stark,
this-is-life, take-it-or-leave-it, matter-of-fact realism, chances
are you’re going to feel a bit starved by War Horse in
this respect. Maybe.
Which is fine in and of itself. There’s nothing wrong with
making this kind of movie...