Now That It’s Over

The difference between the original R-rated version of The King’s Speech and the PG-13 version that The Weinstein Co. released after the 2011 Oscars was significant. The vulgarisms that Colin Firth‘s King George VI used during his therapy sessions with Geoffrey Rush‘s Lionel Logue were amusing and illustrative, and their absence diluted the film. But the f-bombs that will be bleeped out for a PG-13 version of Bully, as reported by the L.A. TimesSteven Zeitchik, added nothing vital to the R version in the first place. The f-bomb thing has been smoke all the way.

Wide Immense Stare

That streaming performance of Orson Welles‘ 1939 screenplay of Hearts of Darkness that happened a few hours ago led to me to a PDF of the screenplay itself. Welles’ idea was that the audience would absorb everything through the POV of Marlow, the story’s traveller/narrator — the same idea that Robert Montgomery used in The Lady in the Lake. Here‘s a rundown of what happened. I’ve posted a few pages from the script:

“They buried something in the river…and then they nearly buried me…I nearly died of fever myself…I nearly said my own last words there on the river, and I found that probably I’d have nothing to...


“”In true Toure style, the take-no-prisoners commentator went straight for the jugular and attacked Morgan face-to-face for not questioning Zimmerman about his comments regarding important moments of the night Trayvon Martin died. Of course, Morgan was having none of it and quickly became defensive, chiding Toure for MSNBC’s attempt to get Zimmeran Jr. on their network as well, and for the network’s running the interview in question all day without criticism.” — Daily Beast‘s Allison Samuels.

“Purfect With Thuh Chicken…”

I post this video every so often. It’s very calming. I love, love, love, love the way Chris Walken pronounces “chicken” and “pears.” Certain people says certain words perfectly, and I mean better than anyone else in the world. Walken saying “pears” (“peahrs“) is like Peter O’ Toole pronouncing “ecclesiastical.”

I visited Walken’s Upper West Side apartment twice in ’79. I had an excellent thing going with a lady named Sandra who was working for Walken and his wife as a kind of au pair or house-sitter. I remember the oriental rug on the living room floor, you bet, and the wood-burning...

Napoleon Hat

Many and perhaps most Americans who pay to see Tom Hooper‘s Les Miserables (Univeral, 12.14) will call it Lay Mizzruhbulls. This is how the girl with the mall accent will pronounce it when you call for showtimes on Moviefone. Gradually everyone will call it Lay Mizz, the default term for the B’way musical that ran from March 1987 through May 2003 (i.e., 6680 performances).

Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert during filming of Les Miserables.

The all-singing, all-dancing Les Miserables — “Layh Meezehrabluh” — began filming earlier this month with Hugh Jackman, Russell...

Fat Girl

Francis Coppola‘s “little fat girl from Ohio” quote has stuck for the last 21 years. Obit writers will, I suspect, include this along with Coppola’s great films — The Godfather movies, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now — and his winery and Zoetrope and everything else. Have any YouTube girls with the genius of Mozart sprung up since? I guess you could put Lena Dunham on this list.

I called Coppola cold at his Sherry Netherland suite one night in 1981. It was just before One From The Heart opened at the Radio City Music Hall in 1.33 to 1 — an event that 1.85 fascists are quietly seething about to this day. I taped the whole thing and ran the conversation as a q & a in two installments in

Bread On The Table

I’ve got a song stuck in my head again and I can’t kick it out. It’s been with me since last night when I was buying stuff at Pavillions. The only way to get rid of the constant replay in your head is to listen to the track over and over on your iPhone until you can’t stand it any more. And yet I love this track and Los Lobos in general. Fucking great guitar.

People Like Us

The trailer for Alex Kurtzman‘s People Like Us (DreamWorks, 6.29) suggests a James L. Brooks-like relationship drama about romance, values, happenstance. But what sticks is the sound of Elizabeth Banks‘ nasally voice in the intro. In the mid ’40s Howard Hawks told the struggling Lauren Bacall to lower her voice — to make it sound smokier and huskier. She did that and the rest is history. Banks needs similar guidance. Or she needs to de-nasalize, at least.

Back Into It

Tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, 3.31) in London, a reading of Orson Welles‘ script of Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness by actor Brian Cox (and presumably others) will be live-streamed starting at 5:30 pm. (9:30 am in Los Angeles, 12:30 pm in NYC.) The reading is being staged by artist Fiona Banner with the use of “a riverboat installation modelled on the Roi des Belges, the vessel Conrad captained on his journey up the Congo in 1890,” the Telegraph‘s Tim Robey reports.

What’s The Biggie?

As anti-Obama hitjobs go, this one is fairly clever. Then again, what’s so heinous about stating an obvious fact? If and when Obama is re-elected next November he will have more flexibility. He’ll have more freedom to do and say whatever the hell he wants. What do righties think he meant when he said this to Dimitry Medvedev? “Don’t worry, bro…after I’m elected I’ll capitulate all over the place and you guys can do anything you want”?


The newly revealed Man of Steel logo (which looks like something mounted on the wall of an executive conference room) emphasizes the somber, downish tonalities first revealed in that August 2011 shot of Henry Cavill in his blue-gray Superman suit with the rose-colored cape and the knife pleats. But what about the decision by Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and producer Chris Nolan to have Cavill run around with a hard-to-ignore wad in his pants — a bull-elephant package that would make any Chippendale’s dancer envious?

I don’t know how...

GenY Is Beyond Screwed

In a 3.26 Esquire piece called “War Against Youth,” David Marche explains how the degree to which Boomers (and, to some extent, older GenXers) have stuck it to GenY is really without historical precdent. No generation has ever robbed and undermined another generation quite like this. In fact, when has an American generation ever made things worse for a younger one?

“Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, human potential has been consistently growing, generating greater material wealth, more education, wider opportunities — a vast and glorious liberation of human potential,” Marche begins. “In all that time, everyone, even followers of the most corrupt or most evil of ideologies, believed they were working for a better tomorrow...

First Dibs

So Woody Allen‘s To Rome With Love will open theatrically in Italy 22 days from now. Which apparently means Allen’s film is a no-go for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Update: To Rome With Love “is definitely not going to Cannes,” a friend confides. “It never was.”

Idea: I arrive in Cannes around noon on Tuesday, 5,15. If Allen’s film is still playing three weeks after opening (which it should be), maybe I could rent a car at Nice Airport and drive to San Remo, Italy — roughly 30 minutes east of Nice — and catch it at a local cinema. It would be nice if Sony Classics would consider showing To Rome With Love to Cannes-bound journalists in order to spare guys like me the cost of renting a car and all that. Maybe a screening in NY/LA concurrent with the Italian debut?

Down By The Tiber

In Contention‘s Kris Tapley and his wife April Smith, married last weekend, flew to Rome a couple of days ago for their honeymoon. They’re staying in a historic district apartment provided by Giuseppe Amorisi, a guy I know who sublets cool pads to me and certain friends. Yesterday afternoon I sent Giuseppe an email: “Did Kris and April arrive in Rome yet? Are they okay?” Giuseppe back to me: “Kris arrived and everything was fine for them. They are nice people. I’m sure they’ll enjoy Rome and the apartment.”

Enormous Hair Changes

When a lead character in a big-studio franchise has a longer hair style in the second film it’s because the actor happened to grow his hair and didn’t feel like making it short again, and because the director and the producers didn’t give a shit either about hair continuity. Hence Sam Worthington‘s “Danny McBride perm” in Wrath of the Titans.

Eff the audience if they don’t like my longer hair. I wore it short for Clash of the Titans because my Avatar character had short hair and it hadn’t grown out. Or because I was in a short-hair groove at the time. Or whatever. Deal with it.

Tom Cruise‘s Ethan Hunt has a Marine-style...

Nowhere Men

You have to hand it to the designers and distributors of these one-sheets. They’ve made it clear which film is worthwhile, and which is the toss-away. The characters played by Robert Pattinson in Bel Ami and Cosmopolis are not dissimilar. Alone, aloof, not overly concerned with ethical behavior, etc.

Bitch Queen vs. Everyone Else

Tarsem Singh‘s Mirror Mirror (Relativity, 4.4) is a visually appealing but low-energy comic farce that never leaves the ground. I didn’t laugh once. I didn’t guffaw. I didn’t titter. The pacing is too relaxed or something. It plays a bit like the medieval chapter in Woody Allen‘s Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Sex…and that wasn’t funny either. I didn’t hate it exactly, and I was charmed by Armie Hammer‘s performance as the hunky prince, but I was checking my watch every 15 minutes or so.

The best part, as I noted last night, is a Bollywood-style song-and-dance sequence during the closing credits.

The main story points in the classic Snow White tale are kept, but with lots of satirical tweaking. (The script is by Melissa Wallack and...