Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus screens at 10 am this morning (100 minutes from now) at the Village Cinemas Andel at Radlicka 3179/1E, which is a few blocks south and across the river. A nice 30 or 40 minute stroll. Maybe hit a cafe on my way back and write something. “Get Alien out of your head first,” says Harry Knowles. “This is something different.”
“Why can’t heroines just be heroines anymore, instead of micromanaged personalities who may as well have the words ‘Role Model’ tattooed across their foreheads? That’s the fate suffered by poor Kristen Stewart as the warrior princess athlete orphan Christ figure Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman. She’s not just Joan of Arc — she’s Joan of Archetypes.” — from a 5.31 review by Movieline‘s Stephanie Zacharek.Read More »
“I was writing at a table in a sports bar last night, and there was a group of five sitting nearby — four guys and a lady — who couldn’t stop laughing uproariously. Every time it felt like someone had exploded an aural fart grenade….’hah-hah-hah-hahhhh!’ After a while I got out my watch and started timing their frequency — no lie, the boisterous noise happened about once every 75 or 80 seconds.
“Everybody explodes in laughter from time to time — it’s wonderful when this happens. But people who do it repeatedly and oppressively in a crowded room are, no offense, animals. They’re the equivalent of a guy who sits down at a communal breakfast table (which I’m sitting at right now at the Star hotel) and loudly slurps down a bowl of Raisin Bran.” — “Oppressive...Read More »
A tip of the hat to Sundance Selects/IFC Films for having the good taste and instinct to acquire Lucy Mulloy‘s Una Noche for North American distribution. I knew it was X-factor right away when I caught it at the Tribeca Film Festival on 4.28. “It’s a little raggedy at times, but always straight, fast, urgent and honed down,” I wrote. “It’s not on the level of Fernando Meirelles‘ brilliant City of God but is a contender in that urban realm, for sure. It’s a fine first film, and Mulloy is definitely a director with passion, intelligence and promise.”
IFC’s Arianna Bocco brokered the deal with UTA Independent Film Group and XYZ Films. IFC honcho Jonathan Sehring has called Una...Read More »
Warner Bros. president & COO Alan Horn is the new chairman of Walt Disney Studios, effective June 11. He replaces Rich Ross, who was drop-kicked a few weeks ago over John Carter. Horn will run the whole kit & kaboodle for Disney — production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated from Disney, Pixar and Marvel plus marketing and distribution for all DreamWorks pics released under Touchstone.Read More »
The piece was called “Pink Dress Shirts,” and it ran on 3.31.09: “I knew something was wrong last night when a friend and I walked into Sant Ambreous, a little restaurant at the corner of West 4th Street and Perry Street. It was around 9:30 pm. The atmosphere felt a little too stiff and formal, and they were all too glad to see us.
“Restaurants that have their act together never show excitement when a customer walks in. It’s always a sign of desperation. They need to just smile and keep their zen cool.
“On top of which the waiters wore pink shirts with black ties. Village restaurants should always use waitresses who look like Sylvia Plath and who wear black leotard tops...Read More »
I can’t tell if Nick Wrigley or Gary W. Tooze or some other contributor wrote DVD Beaver’s review of Fox Home Video’s new Grapes of Wrath Bluray, but the key statement, for me, is “there is…more information shown in the frame on all 4 sides.” Notice the three telephone poles on the left side of the DVD screen capture (top) of Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) walking along a country road, and then count the poles in the same image from the Bluray below it….four!
What I don’t...Read More »
So Ed Norton is the chief bad guy, eh? This looks better than fairly good. Renner has never underwhelmed (I thought he was more interesting — readable — than Tom Cruise in MI:4: Ghost Protocol) and he has the physical chops down. I don’t see any problems except that it feels like The Bourne Ultimatum again. Which is what the trailer guys want you to think, of course. Same but different.
Will director Tony Gilroy tumble for the good old reliable Paul Greengrass shakycam? Director of photography Robert Elswit shot Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, The Town, Salt, Ghost Protocol — can’t go wrong there. John Gilroy (Michael Clayton) is editing. This is going to be just...Read More »
I used to spot a hot girl in a crowd and feel the hunger and delectation, like I was looking at ice cream. Like ten million other guys hanging around bars, offices, parties, barbecues and baseball games at the exact same moment. (Girls would occasionally gave me the same look, of course, sometimes in a more direct way than I’d feel comfortable putting out.) Nowadays I spot a hot girl and I still see the ice cream, but ten seconds later it melts and I just see the vulnerability, and I think what a shame it’ll be if she hooks up with a creep.
But if we happen to chat and she seems a little boring or vain or insufficiently informed, the compassion starts to ebb a bit.Read More »
With Sorkin animating, shaping and refining, how can this anti-cradle-to-grave, narrowly focused, “point of friction” biopic not be great? I don’t care how myopic or jargony it turns out to be.Read More »
On 1.21.12 I reviewed Rodrigo Cortez‘s Red Lights (Millenium, 7.13) at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s about a pair of investigators, Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), who specialize in debunking bogus paranormal claims. Weaver is persuaded there’s no such animal as a ghost or messages from the after-life or anything along those lines — it’s all about theatre and seducing the gullible.
“The story gradually builds into an epic confrontation between the Weaver forces and Simon Silver (Robert DeNiro), perhaps the greatest paranormal performer or hoodwinker of...Read More »
In the view of Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy, Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal, 6.1) “is a film of moments, of arresting visuals, marked seriousness, sometimes surprising imagination and with nothing on its mind, really, except to provide the conventional reassurance of installing a rightful royal on the throne.
“It’s also a film in which you can’t help but behold and compare the contrasting beauty of two of the most exceptional looking women on the screen today, Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. Director Rupert Sanders studies both of them closely and from many angles, with Stewart nearly always maintaining her ethereal air clenched by angst...Read More »
Every time I return to Europe it’s a little less exotic. The mystique of past centuries is a shade less evident, the glories of classic architecture unchanged but less dominant, their impact (spiritual and otherwise) diluted and encroached upon by banal corporatism and international franchises. English is spoken or at least partly understood by just about everyone in Prague now, and that’s very welcome. But in dozens of little ways this town has begun to feel like a faux-environment in Orlando, Florida — Pragueworld. Not to any overwhelming degree, but it’s certainly noticable.
Would I have the old world back? No. It’s glorious to hang in this great apartment (apart from the drunks singing outside my bedroom window at 5 am) with perfect wifi and seven or eight English-language channels on the 21-inch 1995 Sony TV. I can kick back and churn out material without the slightest hiccup or impediment. But I miss that feeling of slight...Read More »
It feels lazy and whorey to re-post the Park City Cowboy Hat episode, which happened three and half years ago, in December 2008. But re-posting anything is kind of whorey. And even I still laugh at this: “Me to Star Hotel proprietor: “I found a place in Park City but I can’t move in until Friday the 16th. Would you let me crash on the living-room couch for the first two nights (1.14 and 1.15)? Which I’ll pay you for, of course. It would be greatly appreciated if you could grant me this small favor, as you left me in the lurch this year.
“I thought I’d made it clear as a bell that I intended to return, having stayed in your wonderful abode...Read More »
From HE reader Alan Jones, and posted in a spirit of respect for all reasonably-stated views and persuasions: “The Avengers is a bad movie. I mean it. I know it has, like, 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, but really, nerds, your super fuckin’ duper hero movie sucks. You shouldn’t be happy, you should be pissed like you were when Watchmen was unleashed on the world and it was hella lame.
“The Avengers is 60% poorly staged action and 40% superheroes bickering with each other. And LexG is right — 1.85 is no way to shoot a nlockbuster. Realistically speaking, I should have enjoyed the bickering. I enjoy it when Joss Whedon writes a script and makes his characters whine about each other. But...Read More »
With the reader’s indulgence (or not) while I take some time off, here’s a revisiting of Oxford Wifigate, which happened three years and four months ago. This was the piece, incidentally, that created the term “mood pocket,” which has since become part of the vernacular.
“Just a few more licks to post on this cranked-up, trumped-up Oxford Film Festival media-panel fracas, and that’ll be it for good,” I began.
“(a) I forgot to mention in my initial post about this yesterday morning that I tried using my AT&T air card service (which I pay $60 bucks a month for) and that it worked for a while and then it didn’t. I’m used to it being a temperamental device, but when it crapped out on...Read More »
From from HE reader Colin Biggs, an appraisal of a film that has already connected: “Wes Anderson is an acquired taste. His cavalcade of eccentric loners has spawned some of the most fervent fandom and some of the most bitter vitriol. Even previous works like Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, two of Anderson’s best, have their detractors. So it seems the young romance and warm, yellow tints of Moonrise Kingdom invite remarks of being ‘too twee’ and ‘reeking of hipster-ism’, but at the end of the day Anderson’s seventh directorial effort is one that looks at childhood from the faraway distance of an adult mind.
“A mail correspondence between Sam (Jared Gilman), a very efficient boy scout, and Suzy (Kara Hayward), the product of two intellectuals, initiates a love that soon sets a town asunder. Suzy and Sam abscond away from their...Read More »
Last night I was feeling so distraught about Criterion’s upcoming 1.85 fascist Bluray of Elia Kazan‘s On The Waterfront that I went on iTunes to buy the special edition 1.33 to 1 DVD version (the one that came out in 2001). So I bought it for $9.99 and…good God! It’s the 1.85 Bob Furmanek version!
It appears that Sony restoration honcho Grover Crisp and Sony Home Video are pre-emptively circulating the newbie in advance of the Criterion,...Read More »
MILD SPOILER CONTAINED HEREIN: Both Variety‘s Justin Chang and The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy sound underwhelmed in their just-up reviews of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus (Friday, 6.1), although not to the extent that you’d call either response a pan. They’re both more or less saying “very decent, at time very stirring and technically impressive but with a rote scary-alien finale and some philosophical questions about the origins of man…meh.” Or something like that.
At least they were kinder to it than Le Monde‘s Isabelle Regnier.Read More »
A day before today’s French debut of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus, Le Monde critic Isabelle Regnier trashed it. I’m translating it word for word as we speak, but the headline reads as follows: “Prometheus – Alien betrayed by his own creator, Ridley Scott.”
The snippiest quote in the 5.29 review doesn’t read all that eloquently (blame Bablefish) but here it is : “In the role of a company man being paid handsomely for his work, Ridley Scott follows the typical commercial road map. His mission: ressurect the Alien franchise and give the audience something a copy of something they like, nothing more.”Read More »
Wells to HBO publicists: How would you feel about sending screeners containing the first two or three episodes of Aaron Sorkin‘s The Newsroom to me in Prague? That wouldn’t be such a big deal. An int’l Fed Ex form instead of a domestic one and a bit more money. I really don’t want to be behind the eight ball on this one.
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HE reader John English found Men in Black 3 “a fun, fluffy return to form for the franchise,” he writes. “It buries all those bad Men in Black II memories, but honestly, ten years later, who remembers anything about all that specific about that decade-old film? But enough of generalities. This is about age gaps.
“The present day in MiB3 is firmly established as 2012, and the time Agent J travels back to is firmly established as 1969. That’s a 43-year difference. Now the only time anyone gives their age is Young Agent K (Josh Brolin) who reveals he’s 29. It’s a funny line. K apparently ages quickly. This also means that Current Agent K is 72. Okay, I can accept that. In real life Brolin is 44 and Jones is 65, so Agent K aged...Read More »
HE reader Jesse Crall caught Rupert Sanders‘ Snow White and the Huntsman (Universal, 6.1) last Saturday, and has sent along some impressions. Pic currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 83%. It opens tomorrow in the UK and Friday in the States.
“Shot largely in desaturated gray palettes, Snow White and the Huntsman makes impressive use of gothic imagery best exemplified by a stone castle rising high above a raging sea. The set design, spare in detail, conjures up an atmosphere both medieval and otherworldly.
“It begins as a supposed prisoner of war named Ravenna, played with biting ferocity by Charlize Theron,...Read More »
Boil down Steven Zeitchik‘s 5.28 L.A. Times piece about the impact that the 2012 Cannes Film Festival may have on the Oscar race, and you’re left with one solid: Michael Haneke‘s Amour will be a major contender for Best Foreign Language Film. (Unless the foreign language committee finds it too dispiriting.)
I would like to think that Leos Carax‘s Holy Motors would also figure strongly in that competition. (Unless the rank-and-file dismiss it as too hallucinatory.) That’s what everyone always says when a unmistakably fine film is about to open in the U.S. — i.e., how will the older slowpokes respond?
Yes, Garrett Hedlund has stepped up and out of the box with his Dean Moriarty/Neal Casady turn in...Read More »
HE reader Jenny Frankfurt submitted this Cannes-related guest piece yesterday — one that may not endear her to women who’ve complained about the lack of a female-directed film at this just-concluded gathering. She’s basically saying that discrimination is a problem, but that it serves a kind of Darwinian purpose. Frankfurt is with the LA-based High Street Management, a division of Bohemia Entertainment. [Note: I trimmed the original down a bit.]
“There has been some discussion that none of the 18 films chosen for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival were directed by a woman,” Frankfurt begins. “The suggestion was that festival organizers might have deliberately shunned such films. Perhaps, but perhaps there weren’t any female-directed films that were good enough for Cannes.
“Granted, it’s harder to make it as a female director than a male. Studios are...Read More »
I’m pleased to report that Petr Slavik of Bontonfilm.cz has graciously accepted my rsvp for a screening of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus on Friday, June 1st. So at least I’ll be up to speed on that score. The film opens in Prague on June 7th, or one day before the U.S. release. It opens tomorrow in Paris, Belgium and French-speaking Switzerland.Read More »
I love that Quentin Tarantino wore a cowboy hat while directing Django Unchained, or at least when this shot was taken. Creative submission to the material. Did he also wear a gun belt, chaps, a Good, Bad and the Ugly poncho, spurs and cowboy boots? Or would it have been cooler to wear Stanley Kubrick‘s dark blue suit, white shirt and black lace-ups and thereby create his own particular authority?
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HE reader Sean Whiteman wrote this morning with a piece about Whit Stillman‘s Damels in Distress, which he says “has lingered in a very beautiful way for me, and I thought I’d see if I could articulate how it was able to do that.
“Stillman’s return to film has been kicking around for a while now without making more than a dainty impression on audiences, but the film has shown remarkable staying power in my head. I felt smitten by a strange vitality that I hadn’t expected to find. And I’m still mulling over a number of surprisingly resonant approaches the film brings to the fight against the type of life-fatigue that my generation often wallows in.
“I wouldn’t call myself an ardent fan of Stillman’s first three films — Metropolitan, Barcelona and Last Days of Disco. To me they felt like carefully composed pieces of conversational pomp and...Read More »