The overture fade-to-black in the West Side Story Bluray starts at the 29-second mark. The video is from the British Bluray, which arrived today. It comes from the same high-def master that was used for the U.S. version that streets on 11.15.Read More »
I completely agree with an opinion by Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet that the cow-being-killed clip in Ridley Scott and Kevin McDonald‘s Life In A Day (around the 43:35 mark) is appalling and sickening. The poor beast senses what’s about to happen and…I don’t want to talk about it. But it’s awful. Otherwise I found the first half of this film (I’m watching it on the flight back to L.A.) slightly boring.Read More »
Way back when people from Georgia used to speak with delicate Georgian accents. I remember hearing them at gas stations and diners when I drove through Georgia on my way to Florida. Vivien Leigh‘s Scarlett O’Hara spoke like a Georgian. Jimmy Carter still does, pronouncing “oil” as “awwl” and so on. But I heard no Georgian dialects during my three and a half days in Savannah. Okay, one or two but just about everyone sounded like they came from Connecticut or Maryland.
Atlanta has always been an uptown burgh, but I’ve always thought of Savannah as some kind of genteel hamlet where you could hear elegant, well-bred Southerners talk like elegant, well-bred Southerners. Remember Kevin Spacey‘s mint-julep patois in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil? Nobody talked like that in...Read More »
I’ve long admired a certain veteran publicist for his ability to remain completely focused and lucid while letting go with red-faced rage. It’s a bad idea, of course, to let emotional ferocity color any sort of discussion, but a lot of people go there regardless. Some of us can hold on to our thoughts after getting pissed, but a lot (most?) of us can’t. Anger makes you spit and sputter and your sentences sound lumpy and primitive. The angrier you become the less able you are to deliver your points with any finesse. But this publicist, whom I worked for in the ’80s, used to let people have it with both barrels and still debate with knife-like precision. That’s a mark of exceptional intelligence.Read More »
Sam Levinson‘s Another Happy Day, which has been on the film festival circuit since bowing last January at Sundance and which will open on 11.18, played last night at the Savannah Film Festival. It’s definitely not The Family Stone, as Levinson exclaimed during the q & a. And it has “Red Twitter Queen” Ellen Barkin delivering the most searing, over-the-waterfall performance of her life as one of the most sensitive and well-intentioned crazy-torpedo moms of all time.
Barkin and...Read More »
I’ve told a few journalist acquaintances about a Sundance condo share…zip. They’re all set up elsewhere and/or can’t be bothered to reply so I’m going public. It’s a very large & spacious one-bedroom apartment at the Park Regency that easily accomodates three (i.e., myself and a journalist friend plus tenant X.) There’s a whole separate bunk bed area for the third person. The rental term is Saturday to Saturday so we’re taking it for two full weeks (1.14 through 1.28) for $2675. Divided by three = $891 or $89 per day if you’re Sundancing for the full 10 days.
The place has one regular big bedroom (me) with a full bathroom that I can share with someone, two bunk beds in their own area and a living room couch-bed...Read More »
A filmmaker friend saw The Descendants last night (i.e., Sunday) at West Hollywood’s Soho House screening room. “Amazing movie, should go all the way,” he wrote. “The whole cast including George Clooney and Judy Greer plus all the kids were there along with [director-writer] Alexander Payne w/ Pacino, Jack N., Reese W. and Albert Brooks in the audience.
We’re on the same page then, I replied. “It’s got to be the front-runner,” he said. “And Clooney for Best Actor. Shailene Woodley could get nominated and maybe Judy Greer also on the basis of just four scenes.” Three scenes, I countered. “No, four,” he replied. “Beach, house X 2, hospital.” (I’m not going to explain this.)
“Wasn’t Robert...Read More »
Late this morning I finally saw Neil Labute‘s Sexting, an eight-minute short that premiered at Sundance 2011. A typically sharp and blunt LaBute piece. It’s basically Julia Stiles as the proverbial girlfriend talking straight into the lens but actually or anxiously to the wife of the married guy she’s been having an affair with. The nature of their exchange is hinted at around the 25-second mark.Read More »
I took two Olympus digital recorders to yesterday’s Barry Lyndon discussion with Alec Baldwin and James Toback. I pushed the record button on the newer one and placed it on the stage just before the session began, and somehow it recorded nothing. I successfully recorded their discussion with an older device from my seat, but after a while I wondered what the point was of having two recordings so I turned it off.
Director-writer James Toback (l.), actor Alec Baldin during yesterday afternoon’s hour-long chat at Savannah’s Lucas theatre.
Baldwin was funny and brilliant and so was Toback, and there I was in the fourth row, technically blowing it all to hell. Here‘s the short miserable clip that I recorded with the older device. Oh, and I accidentally deleted my photos so I...Read More »
I almost had words with a driver of a dark sedan during this morning’s bike ride through Savannah’s historic district. “Almost” is actually overstating it. I could have had words with this guy if I had a little less self-control.
I was stopping to take a picture on a small cobblestoned street, and a friend pulled her bike over to the opposite side. Along comes asshole in his dark sedan, and he doesn’t like that she’s taking up 18 to 24 inches of space in the right lane. He stops and waits for her to walk the bike entirely out his way before he proceeds. Except she doesn’t, meaning he’ll have to veer ever so lightly into the left lane to pass her. There was plenty of room, trust me.
So he starts in with the expressions. He scrunches his face up to express his contempt for her bike-riding skills. Then he does one of those head-wagging, “tsk-tsk” loud-exhale expressions that says...Read More »
At 5 pm (95 minutes from now) Alec Baldwin and James Toback will be leading a post-screening discussion of Barry Lyndon (’75) at Savannah’s Lucas Theatre. The Stanley Kubrick film began showing around 2 pm. I waited in the green room before it began to do a chat with Toback (which I’d been told I was scheduled to do), but he wound up doing a longish TV interview and I was shunted aside. I didn’t care that much. I took a nap in an easy chair instead.
I went upstairs to see how Barry Lyndon looked, and was amazed and very pleased to see it projected at an aspect ratio that almost looked like 1.37 to 1 but was definitely boxier than 1.66 to 1. If any 16 x 9 or 1.85 crop fascists had been there they would have been furious. “Chop those tops and bottoms off!,” their mantra...Read More »
I have to be honest and report that I felt under-nourished and bored during my second viewing of Michel Hazanavicius‘ The Artist, which opened the Savannah Film Festival last night. I felt mostly pleased and charmed when I saw it in Cannes five and a half months ago, but it’s too cloying and simplistic — too much of a peanut- gallery pleaser — to stand up to a second viewing.
Last May I called The Artist “a winning ‘success’ and at the same time a half-and-halfer — a film that delivers beautifully but also leaves you wanting in certain ways. It’s basically a very well-done curio — an...Read More »
Low-key offbeat mood movies like The Rum Diary have always been tough sells, even if they’re relatively assured and “well made” as far as that goes. The odds are that half the critics are going to take a dump on them because they aren’t dramatic or wacko or plotty enough. But dry, rambling, mild-mannered half-comedies are okay in my book, and I was surprised to discover earlier this week that this long-delayed Bruce Robinson-Johnny Depp film is far from a burn.
Either you let it in or you don’t. It is what it is, and it ain’t half bad.
“No, wait…that’s not what we want!,” says the public. “We want madness, cojones or some kind of extremity. We want deep-river emotion or major nutso insanity or…whatever, something weird or new or...Read More »
Gas lighting “refers to creating of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, propane, butane, acetylene, ethylene or natural gas. Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most popular means of lighting in cities and suburbs. Early gas lights had to be lit manually, but later gas lights were self-lighting.” — from Wikipage.Read More »
I’ve been saying for years that it’s cool with me if the Motion Picture Academy wants to give Doris Day a Lifetime Achievement Oscar. She was fairly big during the ’40s and huge in the ’50s and early ’60s, and what she stood for — prim, old-fashoned, pure-of-heart virtue in a perky persona — was unmissable in its time and essential for any film scholar or historian to acknowledge today.
But to me Day’s aversion to any suggestion of real sexuality always seemed a bit curious and even weird. I always thought of her as a kind of Singing Nun or Virginal Funny Girl. The hard truth is that in any kind of real-world context, Day played willful, persistent and exceedingly strange women, especially from the early ’50s on. Try watching her labored performance in Alfred...Read More »
Michael Cieply 10.28 piece about War Horse director Steven Spielberg, called “What Makes Spielberg Jump?”, will appear in Sunday’s print edition. The invisible subtitle is “Spielberg really wouldn’t mind winning an Oscar for War Horse (Best Picture or Best Director or both), and this is the opening salvo in an attempt to make that happen.”
Here’s the portion that got my attention: “For those who wonder what drives him, money is no object: The Los Angeles Business Journal recently listed Spielberg as this city’s eighth richest person, with a net worth estimated at $3.2 billion.”
Meaning that his liquid worth is…what? With those kind of holdings Spielberg...Read More »
Let’s say for the sake of argument I’m having this hypothetical conversation with these other guys, and someone asks if there’s a clear Best Picture frontrunner out there now. Let’s imagine this conversation and see where it goes.
“The Descendants has it all,” I would say. “And so does Moneyball. You or yours may not like that idea, but they both mix honest emotionalism (as opposed to cloying sentiment) with smarts and great style and thematic wholeness. They’re the top dogs of the quality-movie fraternity right now.
“The Artist is a lovely homage to Hollywood’s silent, black-and-white past as well as the tradition of A Star In Born and Singin’ in the Rain. It’s a must-see for even half-hearted Movie Catholics. But it’s...Read More »
Today’s activities include a small noon lunch thrown by my Savannah Film Festival hosts (which I’m late for as we speak) and some writing/filing this afternoon along with a little bike-riding around the city. There’s some kind of street party this evening along with a screening of The Artist. Maybe James Toback (who’s doing a q & a with Alec Baldwin tomorrow afternoon) will fly in today or tonight, and we can do a little carousing.
Thanks to the Savannah Film Festival and the Marshall House for allowing me to stay in rom #314 (i.e, the one with the desk, pictured last night) and not sending me back to the broom closet.
Breakfast/lunch atrium inside the Marshall House.
Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone is arriving at the Savannah Film Festival tomorrow. She told me a day or two ago that she heard it might be “cold.” (When women say “cold,” they mean cool, brisk, sweater weather, etc.) Well, I got here about two hours ago and it’s almost like Palm Beach — it’s T-shirt weather, a bit warmer than Los Angeles.
I arrived at the Marshall House, the festival’s nerve center, around 9:15 or so, and right away I got into it with the staff about my midget-sized room, but that issue’s resolved now…or at least for the time being.
They tried to put me in a room the size of janitor’s...Read More »
HE’s Continental Airlines prolonged agony day continues unabated. I sat in a munchkin-sized middle seat from LAX to Houston, next to a guy eating stinky barbecue Doritos. Awful. My first-class sensibilities don’t synch with flying coach or sitting next to riff-raff. Currently standing next to Gate B75 — “hellgate” — at Houston Airport. Charging phone. No wifi or wall outlets, of course. No massively obese people waiting for the flight, which is good. Flight is delayed 85 minutes and counting. At best I’ll check into Savannah’s Marshall House by 7:30 pm.Read More »
Yes, I always favor the earlier, black-and-white version. Whenever, whatever. But I’m also convinced in this instance that the dead-eyed expression on Robert Mitchum‘s face is somewhat scarier and more malignant than the one on Robert DeNiro‘s. Right now the 1962 Bluray version (which costars Gregory Peck in the 1991 Nick Nolte role) is available only from Amazon.co.uk.
Robert Mitchum as Max Cady in J. Lee Thompson’s Cape Fear (’62).
Robert DeNiro as Max Cady in Martin Scorsese’s's Cape Fear (’91).
“Bloggers and the writers who turn out well-crafted pieces on their own websites are free to write what they want. The best of them, such as Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule or Kim Morgan at Sunset Gun or Farran Nehme Smith at The Self-Styled Siren, give public voice to the way movies function as private obsession.
“Their film knowledge is broad and deep, but they wear that knowledge lightly. They understand that the true appreciation of any art begins in pleasure (and not in the “work” of watching movies). To read them is to read people grounded in the sensual response to movies, in what the presence or look of a certain star, or the way a shot is lit stirs in them. Reading these writers, I often feel that I’m in the presence of...Read More »
I’ve just been told that Carey Mulligan, being interested in Hollywood Elsewhere in advance of our scheduled phone interview, read yesterday’s post about her evolving appearance (“Transformer“) since early ’09. And her feelings were hurt by some of the comments. And so she doesn’t feel safe appearing on HE, given this atmosphere, so the phone chat is a no-go.
I don’t blame her. I deleted a couple of the nastier ones yesterday (one by “my brain is melting“), but I guess I should have been more slash-and-burn about it. As soon as I was told the interview had been cancelled, I read all 40 comments that were sitting there as of 6:15 pm, and four, I have to admit, fit my definition of cruel or harsh or needlessly insensitive. I...Read More »
Today has been one of the slowest, most agonizing filing days in memory. With every post I’ve felt as if my arms and hands were covered in molasses and maple syrup on a cold day in February…physically and mentally drowned in the stuff, and with both of my computers (iMac and Macbook Pro) running slow and lumpy and requiring re-starts etc. I really give up. Two screenings to get to now. Back at it after 10 pm. Awful.Read More »