The Sapphires director Wayne Blair at yesterday’s Telluride Film Festival patron picnic. A healthy portion of his film, which I caught in Cannes, “is cool, snappy, rousing, well-cut and enormously likable,” I said on 5.20. “And dancable.”
(l. to r.) Also at yesterday’s brunch: Ezra Scott, N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott, Focus Features honcho James Schamus, Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson.
Walter Salles‘ On The Road “is
masterful and rich and lusty, meditative and sensual and
adventurous and lamenting all at once. It has
Bernardo Bertolucci‘s ‘nostalgia for the present’
except the present is 1949 to 1951 — it feels completely alive in
that time. No hazy gauze, no bop nostalgia. Beautifully shot and
cut, excitingly performed and deeply felt.
“It’s much, much better than I thought it would be given the
long shoot and…I forget how long it’s been in post but it feels
like ages. It’s so full of life and serene...
We gondola-ed down from the Argo screening at the top
of the mountain, but it took a while and by the time we got to the
Masons theatre, the 4:30 pm screening of Dror
Moreh‘s The Gatekeepers — one of the big buzz
films so far — was sold out and locked down. So we sauntered over
to a coffee cafe so I could write a little something about
Ben Affleck‘s period drama, set during the 1979
and ’80 Iran hostage crisis and based on fact, is a partly
light-hearted, partly riveting drama about a kind of Mission
Impossible scam about smuggling six American foreign-service
workers who had taken shelter in Tehran’s Canadian embassy after
the storming of the U.S. embassy and the taking of hostages.
An enterprising CIA guy named Tony Mendez (Affleck) devises a
plan to hoodwink Iranian...
My brief chat with Argo director-costar Ben
Affleck at today’s Telluride Film Festival patron’s brunch
was mostly about Terrence Malick‘s To The
Wonder, in which Affleck “stars,” so to speak. A friend who’s
seen Malick’s film tells me Affleck has been all but cut out of it,
just as Adrien Brody was edited out of Malick’s
The Thin Red Line and Sean Penn‘s role
was reduced to almost nothing in The Tree of Life.
In any event I asked Affleck if he’s seen To The Wonder
and he said, “Yes, I’ve seen it”….(beat) (beat) (beat)…”and it
makes The Tree of Life look like Transformers.” I
didn’t take notes so the remainder of his comments are only
approximately recalled, but he basically said it’s not a commercial
film, that it’s the kind of...
At a dinner party last night I listened to the views of a hardcore Obama hater, an older woman who was otherwise perfectly agreeable. I say “hardcore” because she not only embraces the nonsensical view that we’re currently worse off than we were four years ago (when the country was teetering on the brink of financial catastrophe, caused entirely by a Republican-enabled Wall Street gangsta free-for-all), but she’s also a bit of a birther. Sorry, but I rarely come into first-hand contact with these people. They’re out there by the millions, I realize. I had to suppress the urge.
I’m staying at the home of producer Glenn
Zoller in Telluride so I can’t complain, but my son Jett
and I are staying in a large room with three bunk beds plus a
15-foot-high loft, and one of the worst snoring incidents
of my life occured at 2 am. I’m hardly one to talk since I
snore, I’m told, but I’m also a very deep sleeper — right at the
bottom of the lake — and I was nonetheless awoken by some truly
grotesque noises coming from one of the bunks.
It was like that howling satanic growl heard in the third act of
The Exorcist. Something beastly, appalling…a human
couldn’t be the source.
I’ve found that if you clap your hands and go “hey!” the snorer
will shut up for a while, and that technique worked for a while
this morning, but the snoring returned two or three minutes later.
I finally had to grab the blankets and sheets and throw them down
Our most recent mass shooting happened early this morning in a Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge, New Jersey. At least three dead, reportedly including the shooter, who may be an ex-Marine. If only a packing NRA member had been there.
During his acceptance speech this evening before the Republican
National Convention, Mitt Romney
blew another dog whistle by saying “when the world needs
someone to do really big stuff, you need an
American.” I’m presuming the import of that statement
doesn’t need explaining. (And no, I can’t figure why the embed code
won’t adapt to the 460 pixel width I’ve assigned it.)
Update: I’ve just hit Telluride and I’ve
learned that Ben Affleck‘s Argo is indeed
playing here, albeit as a sneak preview.
Earlier: I got out the iPhone the instant my
Phoenix-to-Durango plane landed (about 50 minutes ago) to review
the final Telluride 2012 lineup…and I was soon
feeling faint. The blood had drained from my cheeks.
Why isn’t David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings
Playbook showing here? There’s a reason, of course, but I
wanted that kind of film here and it’s not. What happened to the
rumor about Trouble With The Curve and a possible Clint
drop-by? People were tweeting “wait, wait…this is it?”
No Master, no Malick, no Clint, not
even DePalma…no established power-hitters.
I spoke yesterday afternoon with Matthew Modine about his Full Metal Jacket app, which I downloaded last week. Great photos, haunting recollections, etc. And a nice guy to chat with. The anecdote about Kubrick’s burning of the pie-fight sequence from Dr. Strangelove broke my heart.
The Telluride flight is a two-legger — LAX to Phoenix leaving at 10:05 am, arriving at 11:25 am. (Arizona doesn’t observe daylight savings.) The Pheonix to Durango flight leaves at 12:20 and arrives in Durango, Colorado (which does roll with daylight savings) at 2:30 pm, or 1:30 pm Arizona time. And then a rental car and a 100-minute drive to Telluride. Or something like that.
What films did you once love or have a thing for, but which you’ve lately or gradually come to regard as over-valued or somewhat less charming? Films you’ve grown past and/or seen through. Or, if you want to be buoyant about it, films you didn’t much care for when young, but which you’ve come to appreciate with age and experience or whatnot.
I’ve never told this story before, but I experienced it
first-hand in Manhattan about 30 years ago. Sit me down with a lie
detector and I’ll pass with flying colors because it’s all
perfectly true. The details won’t stagger anyone, but I want it
fully understood I’m not making it up. It’s just one of those
life-lesson stories that repeats the old adage about “you are your
friends and vice versa.”
I was inside a new Italian restaurant on Columbus Ave., a block
or two south of the Museum of Natural History. It had opened maybe
a day or two earlier, and I remember sipping a vodka and lemonade
(my drink back then) and talking to the bartender. There was a big
noisy party at a big table in the main dining room, and I asked the
bartender what the ruckus was and he said, “Oh, that’s the owners
and their investors…big dinner.”
I stuck my head inside and noticed that one of the guys at the
At 3 pm this afternoon I attended a Sony Studios screening of
(9.28). I can’t discuss this imaginative sci-fi actioner until it
plays Toronto next week, but I can at least get into the fact that
Sony felt obliged to hire a security guy to stand on the side aisle
of the screening room (#23 inside the Jimmy Stewart building) and
stare intently at the viewers, most of whom appeared to be veteran
editors, journos and columnists.
I understand about security goons keeping an eye on all-media
invitees inside large theatres, but inside a small screening room?
What are the odds that Hitfix‘s Greg
Ellwood or MCN‘s David Poland or
TheWrap‘s Steve Pond or
Deadline‘s Pete Hammond (who were there
Yesterday afternoon I drove out to Universal to watch a new DCP
of Vertigo, which is the basis of the forthcoming Bluray.
I’m not going to share my reactions until later, but it did leave
me wondering if Vertigo really and truly deserves its
position in the 2012 Sight and Sound poll. Every time
I see it it gets a little creakier, just a little bit harder to get
lost in. I used to think this 1958 film was eerily haunting and
slightly spooky and totally swimming in emotional obsession like
few other films in history, but it’s getting old and the
Eisenhower-era seams are showing.
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen Vertigo too many times,
but more and more I’m noticing and getting stopped by the
exasperating, flat-footed aspects. That expository dialogue in that
early scene in Midge’s apartment. James...
This is how I spent roughly 16 minutes yesterday afternoon. My Twitter comment: “WeHo post-office agony. Two people won’t stop chatting at counter with postal workers. Line of people standing like statues. In a coma.”
noting that four costars in Terrence Malick‘s
To The Wonder — Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper,
Michael Sheen and Amanda Peet — have been
cut out of the final version, Deadline‘s Nancy
reporting from the Venice Film Festival that the film, due to
screen on Sunday, “more closely resembles Badlands rather
than, say, Tree of Life.”
This, at least, is what Tartaglione “understand[s]” from having
spoken to some buyer or distributor or tipster of some kind.
I’ve spoken of this sequence before but I couldn’t find the right clip until this morning,. This is Charlotte Rampling‘s most searing moment. Half of the power of this sequence is in the cutting, of course, but it’s nonetheless one of the most emotionally naked exposures any actress has offered in any mainstream film.
My second reaction risks sounding insensitive or brutish, but it’s true: this is the kind of woman who tends to be mostly problematic if not impossible in a working-it-through, day-to-day relationship sense, but is breathtaking in bed. I’m sorry but this is what my life experience has taught me. Moderate, emotionally healthy, well-rounded women are surely better, more dependable partners, but they tend to be less mad and less perverse in an erotic sense.
Andrew Sullivan: I was only wrong in sensing
that the Republican party might just have the good grace and
patriotism to cooperate with an incoming president…in the worst
recession since the 1930s. I’m sorry, but they set out to
destroy this guy from the get-go. Of all the countries in
the world…we’ve done better [in recovering from the '08 meltdown]
than any western country over the last three years.”
How did Governor Fat Fattie do tonight? Like others I like his feistiness, directness, New Jerseyness. He connects more than Romney — that’s for sure. But I didn’t get much of a launch feeling from his speech, certainly not on the level of Barack Obama‘s 2004 speech in Boston. Not a word about the ruinous acts of the Bush administration. Not a word about the obstructionist, hell-bent, loony-tune Congress.
There is well-fed, portly, bulky, fat, grotesquely overweight and Jabba the Hut obese. Gov. Christie is somewhere between the last two. Did you catch his profile? The man is clearly out of control — much bigger than Jackie Gleason‘s Ralph Kramden — and a couple of his kids are lardos besides.
Ben Lewin‘s The Sessions (Fox Searchlight, 10.26) “is a touching, thoughtful and comforting film about touching, needing, being open and the finding of fulfillment,” I wrote on 1.24.12. “It’s an emotionally erotic variation on the themes in My Left Foot, The Sea Inside and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly with a little dash of Who’s Life Is It Anyway?. John Hawkes will almost certainly get some awards action eight to ten months hence; ditto Helen Hunt.”
“The only thing the film (i.e., Lewin) lacks is a strong visual imagination. Any film about a paralyzed protagonist needs to somehow free itself from that immobility. It can’t just be a series of static interiors or the viewer will start to be hemmed in to some degree.”
Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon‘s The Central Park Five will play Toronto and may — I say “may” — turn up in Telluride. Obviously another miscarriage-of-justice doc, etc. The trailer shows nothing but almost complete blackness for the first minute or so — ballsy or boring? There’s a pre-Toronto screening happening in Manhattan later this week but not, apparently, in Los Angeles.
“In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of brutally beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. New York Mayor Ed Koch called it the ‘crime of the century’ and it remains to date one of the biggest media stories of our time. The five each spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a shocking confession from a serial rapist and DNA evidence proved their innocence.”
“The enormity of their flat brain, the enormity of their stupidity, is just overwhelming. Try to look [at one] in the eye with great intensity, and the intensity of stupidity that is looking back at you is just amazing.” This is Werner Herzog talking about chickens in a clip directed by Siri Bunford. I naturally associated the quote with various biped encounters I’ve had over the years in…aahh, let’s say sports bars.
This Nathaniel Hawthorne/”Scarlet Letter” Miracle Whip ad is about four months old, but it’s been playing on MSNBC the last couple of days. Farcical acting, of course, but handsome visual values, atmospherically sophisticated — as nicely done as Ridley Scott‘s The Duellists. Cheers to mcgarrybowen of Chicago, chief creative officer Ned Crowley, Park Pictures and director Joachim Back.
On the left, the real Dwight D.
Eisenhower — 34th President of the U.S., a Republican and a
activist liberal by today’s wacko-conservative standards. In
the middle Henry Grace, who was chosen to play Ike
in The Longest Day for obvious reasons. And on the right,
Robin Williams as Eisenhower in Lee
Daniels‘ The Butler —
not joke casting, exactly, but...