Randoms

Not Getting Scarjo Thing

Media people…okay, magazine editors have decided that Scarlett Johansson is extra-double-happening right now and so she’s on two big covers because…why again? Because of her tough-as-nails but not exactly earth-shattering supporting performance as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Because certain people are convinced she’ll be the absolute shit in Luc Besson‘s Lucy? Because she played a predatory, black-wigged alien picking up Scottish hitchhikers in Under The Skin, which nearly everyone agrees is a fairly rough sit? Because she played an argumentative zoo-keeper in We Bought A Zoo? Let me explain something: Scarlett Johansson has been acting in films for 20 years (her first film was Rob Reiner‘s North) and she’s delivered exactly one classic performance — as Samantha the software program in Spike Jonze‘s Her. And she was very, very good in Lost in Translation and Match Point, and she was better than-half-decent in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I’m just not getting the hey-hey-ho. Which is another way of saying I’m not experiencing the requisite libidinal stirrings.

 

Twinky Dink

Recent comments on Queerty, a tabloidy gay gossip website, about the Bryan Singer-Michael Egan scandal are probably somewhat indicative of under-40 gay community sentiment. So rather than listen to me, a lifelong straight guy who finds Egan’s stories about having been repeatedly and forcibly violated a bit questionable, consider the responses to today’s (4.18) Queerty story about Singer and director Roland Emmerich having thrown huge “twink” parties (along with a photo of Singer and a young blond kid). These guys obviously have a degree of insight and perspective that straights can’t have.

And before reading some of the comments (or all of them if you click on the page), consider the odd-sounding headline (odd in the sense that the implied offense and unsympathetic judgment doesn’t seem to fit a gay-friendly publication) and imagine the laughter if a scandal sheet had published a story in the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s about Hugh Hefner‘s wild Playboy mansion orgies and all the pot, booze, ‘ludes and cocaine that were consumed and how Hef’s obsession for young nubile women is no secret. (more…)

“Let’s Try That Uhgain…”

Scott Eyman‘s “John Wayne: The Life and Legend” has put me in a receptive frame of mind. This 1969 interview with Duke is from Peter Bogdanovich‘s Directed by John Ford (’71). I succumbed to Wayne’s charm when I first saw this way back when. 1969 was right on the girth cusp for The Duke. He allowed himself to get pretty bulky after this. (Was it Ford or Howard Hawks who complained said that Wayne had gotten too fat in his later years?) The image and sound quality are much better on the Directed by John Ford DVD, of course, that they are here. (The French guy who edited this YouTube assemblage is a talentless amateur, of course — he can’t cut worth a damn.)

Judge Mullet For Yourself

In a 1.21.14 Sundance Film Festival review, I confessed to bailing on Jim Mickle‘s Cold in July and that much of my inability to stay with it was due to a hair-styling decision by Mickle. “The part I saw felt like a Jim Thompson melodrama mixed with the kind of low-rent VOD film that throws in a totally unexpected third-act-plot-twist because viewers won’t expect it,” I said. “I’d read the reviews, I knew what was coming…later. But the main issue (and I’m not saying this just to sound eccentric or obstinate) is Mickle’s decision to have his lead actor, Michael C. Hall, wear a mullet.

“My heart sank when I saw it. A brick wall. I tried to get past it but I couldn’t. I should have just walked out when I saw the damn thing but I stupidly hung in there. (more…)

The Damned

Yesterday a Daily Mail piece about columnist Baz Bamigboye visiting the set of Justin Kurzel‘s Macbeth (’15) appeared. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard portray Mr. and Mrs. M with Sean Harris, Paddy Considine, Elizabeth Debicki and David Thewlis costarring. I’ve seen my share of Macbeths (including the notoriously panned 1980 Peter O’Toole stage version at the Old Vic), and my hands-down, all-time favorite is Roman Polanski‘s 1971 film version with Jon Finch in the title role.

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Nobody’s Had A Shower In Weeks

If you speak ‘strine, you’d be pronouncing David Michod‘s The Rover (due to play the Cannes Film Festival’s midnight section) as “the Rohvah!” Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, Anthony Hayes, Gillian Jones. Michod quote: “You put cars in the desert in Australia and people are going to think of Mad Max, And with all due respect to that film — and I stress that — I think The Rover is going to be way more chillingly authentic and menacing.” RPatz looks better with longer hair.

Harmonic Convergence

Clint Eastwood‘s Jersey Boys (Warner Bros., 6.20) is going to be at least half-decent. It’s obviously going to play it right down the middle and maybe feel a little old-fashioned, but that’s appropriate in this context. John Lloyd Young‘s voice is dead-on but couldn’t they find a guy who actually looks like Frankie Valli? (Young looks like a thin Bruno Kirby.) The Four Seasons delivered an Italian-American New York area “doo-wop,” also known among hardcore aficionados as “wop rock.” (Perhaps the most classic manifestation being The Tokens‘ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”) Everyone thinks doo-wop peaked in the mid to late ’50s, but the Four Seasons didn’t even begin to be famous until 1962. My favorite FS tune was always “Candy Girl.”

Click here to jump past the Oscar Balloon

Presumed High-Pedigree: Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman, Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar, J.C. Chandor's A Very Violent Year, Ridley Scott‘s Exodus, Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher, David Fincher‘s Gone Girl, Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. Jean Marc Vallee's Wild (i.e., the Reese Witherspoon hiking drama), Noah Baumbach's While We're Young, Matt ReevesDawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jeff NicholsMidnight Special, Tim Burton‘s Big Eyes, Saul Dibbs' Suite Francaise, Michel Hazanavicius' The Search; Jason Reitman's Men, Women & Chidren; Phillip Noyce's The Giver, Sarah Gavron's Suffragette (Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep); Mike Leigh‘s Mr. Turner. (19).

Special Wackadoodle: Nobody knows if Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups or the "intersecting love triangles" Austin-based film (formerly known as Lawless) will be unveiled this year, or perhaps one this year and the other in 2015. The flaky, hermit-like Malick usually requires a minimum of two years to edit his films, but he might need three.

Already Positively Reviewed: Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel (Berlin Film Festival review here), Lynn Shelton's Laggies, Jason Bateman's Bad Words, Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood, Craig Johnson‘s The Skeleton Twins, Damien Chazelle's Whiplash. (6)

Respected Festival Leftovers: John Curran's Tracks (Mia Wasikowska-Adam Driver Australian trek film); Steve JamesLife Itself.

Respectable Second Tier: Clint Eastwood‘s Jersey Boys, Maya Forbes' Infinitely Polar Bear, Rupert Goold's True Story (Jonah Hill, James Franco), Noah Baumbach's Untitled Public School Project; Steven Knight's Locke, Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler, Thomas Vinterberg‘s Far From The Madding Crowd, David Gordon Green's Manglehorn, Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman, Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight, Charlie McDowell‘s The One I Love, Tate Taylor's Get On Up (Chadwick Bozeman as James Brown); David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars, Thomas McCarthy's The Cobbler, Theodore Melfi's St. Vincent de Van Nuys, Justin Kurzel's Macbeth, Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, David Dobkin's The Judge, Untitled Cameron Crowe, Ama Asante's Belle, Craig Gillespie‘s Million Dollar Arm, Richard Shephard‘s Dom Hemingway, Nick CassavetesThe Other Woman; Todd HaynesCarol. (24)

Possible Cannes 2014 Highlights: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman [see above]. Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman [see above], Fatih Akin's The Cut, Mathieu Amalric's The Blue Room, Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria, Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Hibernation, Dardennes brothers' Two Days, One Night, Laurent Cantet's Retour a Ithaque, Michel Hazanavicius' The Search [also among Respectable Second Tier]. (10)

Third Tier (i.e., Possibly Respectable Megaplex Movies): Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah, Doug Liman's Edge of Tomorrow, Wally Pfister's Transcendence, Gareth Edwards' Godzilla, Evan Golderberg and Seth Rogen's The Interview, David Ayers' Fury, Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer, Joe Carnahan‘s Stretch, Ivan Reitman‘s Draft Day (beware-of-Reitman factor), Luc Besson‘s Lucy (probable crap), David Michod's The Rover, Shawn Levy‘s This Is Where I Leave You, Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s 22 Jump Street, Seth McFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die in the West, Andy and Lana Wachowski‘s Jupiter Ascending, Spike Lee's Sweet Blood of Jesus, Ryan Gosling‘s How To Catch A Monster (aesthetic judgment in question after starring in The Place Beyond The Pines, The Gangster Squad, Only God Forgives). (16)

 

“Overly Safe,” “Lame,” “Short on Surprises”

I was put down earlier today by HE contrarians for saying I felt “a tiny bit gloomy about the just-announced selections for 2014 Cannes Film Festival” and for wondering “where’s the No Country for Old Men-level rocket fuel?” But many others have expressed similar views, to go by Justin Chang‘s Variety piece (posted at 1:58 pm) called “Cannes: Looking Past the Hype and Hate.” Excerpts: (a) “Some festgoers, surveying the actual lineup today with a mild sense of deflation, even disappointment, can too often lapse into a posture of whiny, disgruntled self-entitlement when our anticipated favorites don’t materialize when and where we want them to”; (b) “Annoyed by what we’re not getting, we sure as hell aren’t going to be excited about what we are getting; (c) “One of the more general complaints you’re likely to hear over the next few weeks about Thierry Fremaux’s latest lineup is that it’s overly safe and short on surprises: What, Mike Leigh again? Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg again? Naomi Kawase again?”; and (d) “It strikes me as…premature to be criticizing programming decisions and dismissing films sight unseen — not that it hasn’t stopped some from piling on the criticism, declaring this year’s lineup ‘pathetic‘ or ‘lame and limp-wristed,’ to name some of the choice adjectives that have been thrown around this morning on Twitter.”

Show Them The Money

This TMZ video shows Bryan Singer’s accuser Michael Egan and attorney Jeff Herman during today’s press conference in Beverly Hills. Egan said his mother reported the sexual abuse allegations to the LAPD in 2000, but they were ignored. He thereafter “buried it within me as deep as I possibly could,” he said, and that the reason he didn’t file a lawsuit until yesterday (i.e., for a period approaching 15 years) is because he “had a problem with drinking” until 2012, and that he found the resolve to file the lawsuit after going through trauma therapy over the last 11 months. Herman said the timing of the lawsuit had nothing to do with the release of Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox, 5.23), but was mandated by a 4.24 statute of limitations cutoff date in Hawaii.
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20th Century Fox spokesperson Chris Petrikin has stated the following on behalf the studio: “These are serious allegations, and they will be resolved in the appropriate forum. This is a personal matter, which Bryan Singer and his representatives are addressing separately.”

Singer Lawsuit Is Shakedown

In a civil lawsuit filed yesterday (4.16) in Hawaii, Bryan Singer, the 49 year-old director of X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox, 5.20.14) was accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old lad in 1999 and forcing him to take cocaine and basically using him like a chicken hawk. The plaintiff, Michael F. Egan III of Nevada, is now 31 years old. His attorney is Jeff Herman, who has handled many other sexual-abuse cases.

This is obviously a shakedown operation, pure and simple. Egan and Herman want Singer’s money — that’s all that’s going on here.

They apparently timed the lawsuit to coincide with the upcoming release of X-Men: Days of Future Past in order to gain leverage and maximize the pressure.

You could call this the second major attempt to shake down Singer over alleged inappropriate liberties taken with younger males. Remember the Apt Pupil “boys in the shower” brouhaha? Here’s a link to Mark Ebner’s New Times piece about that.

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Don’t Bring Me Down

I feel a tiny bit gloomy about the just-announced selections for 2014 Cannes Film Festival. As my eyes scanned the list I was saying to myself “okay, some of these sound pretty good but where are the high-octane blowout titles? Where’s the No Country for Old Men-level rocket fuel?” At best this is going to be a mildly good festival. I don’t feel bummed exactly — don’t get me wrong. There are obviously some intriguing choices (like Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s Winter Sleep) and some titles yet to be announced, but I’d be lying if I said I’m in a state of mild tumescence or Brian Wilson-styled excitation.

I stayed up until 2 am this morning to file, exhausted, but they didn’t start on time (i.e., at 11 am in Paris). So I took a 15-minute nap on the couch and they still hadn’t begun the press conference at 2:15 am (11:15 am in Paris) so the hell with it. And now I’m up again and reading the rundown and going “Uhm, okay…all right…wait, is that all there is?”

No big surprises, no major lightning bolts, all expected choices and no big strutting dogs with the absence of Paul Thomas Andersen‘s Inherent Vice and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman. And no films that seem assured of being in the award-season conversation except for Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher (i.e., Steve Carrell‘s lead performance) and possibly Michel Hazanavicius‘s The Search (a remake of Fred Zinneman‘s same-titled 1948 film, set in war-torn Chechnya and costarring Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening). (more…)

Knee Deep In Gore

Will 42 year-old Eli Roth ever attempt anything other than “ironic” exploitation fare about blood and organs and disembowelings? Of course not. Before he made The Green Inferno Roth hadn’t directed a film since ’07, but he seems perfectly happy being the Herschel Gordon Lewis of the 21st Century. (If he wanted to climb out of the genre dungeon he’d have made his move by now.) Compared to Roth, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, who share his enthusiasm for grindhouse genre wallowing, are Samuel Fuller and David Lean.

We’ve been down this jungle trail before. The holy grail of cannibal movies, of course, is Ruggero Deodato‘s Cannibal Holocaust (’80). For what it’s worth I was totally down with Jonathan Hensleigh’s Welcome to the Jungle (’07).

Here’s a fanboy review of Green Inferno.

Salon Editors Can’t Be Bothered?

Allen Barra‘s 4.13 Salon review of Scott Eyman‘s “John Wayne: The Life and Legend” has at least two glaring factual errors. He writes that (a) The Petrified Forest, in which Humphrey Bogart launched his career as the fearsome Duke Mantee, was released in 1941 when it opened on 2.6.36, and (b) that The Big Trail, the 1930 Raoul Walsh western in which Wayne had his first major starring role, was in “Technicolor.” (It isn’t.) You’re obviously stuck with your errors in a print publication, but an online publication can correct wrongos immediately and repeatedly. (I post corrections almost every day.) Barr’s piece was posted last Sunday morning around 9 am, and yet as of right now — Wednesday, 4.16, at 3 pm — the errors are still in the article. What kind of bullshit absentee editing system does Salon have in place? If you want to acknowledge the errors, fine, but fix them. And not within days but hours if not minutes.

Riding The Tiger’s Back

The interesting thing about some of Tom Junod‘s more colorful observations about Tom Hardy in the current Esquire (i.e., that he’s emotionally intense, has “taken swings at directors” and duked it out with Shia LaBeouf, that Mad Max: Fury Road costar Charlize Theron found him “weird and scary and wanted him kept away from her”) is that he radiates a Zen-like calm in Locke. The film “mostly works because of Steven Knight’s superior script and Hardy’s quiet, authoritative, carefully phrased performance…his best yet, I feel,” I wrote on 4.8. I ran into Hardy two or three years ago at the Four Seasons — he’s not a day-at-the-beach type but he’s no bullshitter and is basically cool.

Heaven Will Be Profitable

Why is it that I find the the Heaven-accepting, death-defying premise of Warren Beatty‘s Heaven Can Wait deeply moving (especially the final scene inside the L.A. Coliseum), but the idea of watching Randall Wallace‘s Heaven Is For Real (Sony, 4.16) completely repulsive? Not just because of the loony-visions aspect (i.e., Jesus riding on a rainbow-colored horse), but because Gregg Kinnear‘s way of speaking to his on-screen son, played by Connor Corum, is horribly cloying and patronizing. (Never talk down to young kids — I always spoke to mine as if they were 30.) And Corum’s acting is quite grating. The trailer clips are oppressive enough — I can’t imagine sitting through the entire 100 minutes.

The film is based on Todd Burpo‘s 2010 book “Heaven Is For Real,” about a near-death death experience by his four year-old son Colton in which he visited a realm that he believed was “heaven.” Colton apparently claimed “that he personally met Jesus riding a rainbow-colored horse and sat in Jesus’ lap, while the angels sang songs to him. He also says he saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times standing beside Jesus.” Just reading that makes me quite angry. Seeing it in a film would be torture. Despite a 50% Rotten Tomatoes rating, Heaven Is For Real is expected to do very well commercially.

Trust and Lies

Right now the three Rotten Tomato reviews of Paul Haggis‘s Third Person are strongly negative, but a 9.10.13 review by Variety’s Peter Debruge differed: “With segments set in Paris, Rome and New York, this tony contempo romance serves as a Crash course in complex modern relationships, focusing primarily on issues of guilt and trust as they relate to love. Though virtually every twist on this emotional roller coaster feels preordained by its architect, [Haggis] leaves certain mysteries for the audience to interpret, making for a more open-ended and mature work all around. It’s hearty fare by arthouse standards, and should perform well with thinking auds the world over, boosted by a starry cast.”

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Chinatown, Ex-Wife, Kids, Lesbians, etc.

There’s only thing that seems ill-considered about Cedric Klapisch‘s Chinese Puzzle (Cohen Media Group, 5.16) is the title. Yes, it’s largely set in Manhattan’s Chinatown and involves a somewhat puzzling tangle of relationships centering around a French writer in his late 30s (Romain Duris), but the title doesn’t even hint at the buoyant spirit and mood of the trailer. It hasn’t caught major festival heat so far, but it’s well liked. It played the London Film Festival last October. Positive reviews have surfaced in Australia, where it opens later this week. It’ll play at L.A.’s COLCOA Festival. I’m seeing it tomorrow morning at 10 am, and I hate attending screenings at that hour.

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“You Know What…?”

Women commonly say “you know what?” before declaring they’ve had it with you because you’ve crossed some kind of rhetorical or behavioral line. They’ll say it before deciding to terminate a conversation or a relationship or whatever. “You know what? We’re finished talking” or “You know what? I don’t think this is going to work out”…that line of country. I recall producer Stacy Sher saying this to me in the mid or late ’90s when I got a little too pushy during a phone interview. I’m mentioning this phrase because I’ve never once heard a guy, straight or gay, say “you know what?” This is strictly a female expression. There are very few that are exclusive to one gender or another, but “you know what?” is apparently one of them. Unless someone has different information.

Intriguing Fatih Akin Hearsay

In response to yesterday’s mystifying news about German director Fatih Akin having withdrawn The Cut, which had been submitted to the festival, for vague “personal reasons,” a reputable distribution source offers the following: “This is totally unconfirmed and 200 percent hearsay, but word has it Akin pulled out of Cannes because Thierry Fremaux wouldn’t offer him a definite slot in the competition, but wanted him in Un Certain Regard with a chance of being upgraded to competition if some other title wouldn’t come through. Akin felt shortchanged and didn’t want to go along with that plan.”

The source suggests that Fremaux’s alleged decision to include Christian Petzold‘s Phoenix as a competition title was behind the Cut snub, and therefore a factor in Akin’s withdrawal.

“It is considered a certainty — at least here in the German industry — that Christian Petzold‘s Phoenix, a drama starring Barbara‘s Nina Hoss, will screen in competition — everything else would be a big surprise (which apparently was the reason he didn’t even submit Phoenix to the Berlinale). Petzold (Barbara‘s director) is held in the highest regard among French cinephiles. Given Cannes’ problematic relationship with German cinema in the past, Fremaux probably didn’t want to have two German titles in competition. But that’s total conjecture on my part.” (more…)

“From A Guy Who Works With Chris Nolan…”

Wally Pfister‘s Transcendence (Warner Bros., 4.17) opens on Friday. It looks and sounds like a reasonably intelligent sci-fier. Expensive-looking, lots of special effects, produced by Chris Nolan and Emma Thomas, etc. I wasn’t invited to last Friday afternoon’s screening but I’ll be attending tomorrow night’s all-media. Obviously there’s no buzz out there. I’m getting an idea that Transcendence is like a freshly-born, wobbly-legged zebra, still damp with placenta, and there are 10 or 15 wild dogs approaching. (I am not one of them. I have no interest in seeing this film get eaten.) A fair-minded, somewhat less-than-enthused friend says it’s “well made [but] I think it’s going to confuse people…I don’t know that the audience is going to latch onto it that strongly…it’s not that hooky an idea.”

In a 4.8 report by Thompson on Hollywood’s Valentina Valentini about a National Association of Broadcasters Convention panel, Pfister revealed that a dramatic line in the Transcendence trailer — Morgan Freeman uttering ‘It will be the end of mankind as we know it’ — wasn’t his idea. “That line is not in the movie,” Pfister told attendees at the panel, saying that WB’s marketing team put it in there. “I’d never write something like that.”

“People Don’t Just Enter Our Lives Randomly…”

David Cronenberg‘s Maps To The Stars, based on a script by Bruce (Force Majeure) Wagner, is obviously some kind of “absurdist comedy about the entertainment business,” as producer Martin Katz has called it. It also seems a lot more engaging than Cosmopolis, Cronenberg’s Wall Street zombie flick. Cronenberg: “It’s very typical of Bruce Wagner’s writing…sort of a condensed essence of Bruce. And while it’s satirical, it’s also very powerful, emotionally, and insightful and funny. You could say it’s a Hollywood film because the characters are agents, actors and managers, but it is not a satire like The Player.”

Laggers

Nancy Tartaglione‘s 2014 Cannes Film Festival preview piece contains a spot of dry humor: “I hear Terrence Malick’s speculated-upon Knight Of Cups with Christian Bale, Imogen Poots, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett is not yet finished.” Really? The flakiest, most whimsical director in the history of commercial cinema was shooting Cups about two years ago. If Cups is commercially released before the spring of 2015 I’ll be on the floor with amazement. I’m also wondering why there hasn’t even been speculation about Noah Baumbach‘s Untitled Public School Project (also filmed in 2012) screening in Cannes. It seems semi-logical to unveil it next month given the likelihood of Baumbach’s other in-the-can film, While We’re Young, opening later this year following what I presuming will be showings at Telluride/Venice/Toronto.”

Revenge Fuels My Soul

Leonardo DiCaprio has agreed to portray a wounded, bent-on-revenge 19th Century explorer in Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu‘s The Revenant. The New Regency pic will begin filming in September for fall 2015 release by 20th Century Fox. Based on Michael Punke’s 2002 novel (which is based on a true story) yet another survival-against-great-odds film in the vein of All Is Lost and Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken (with perhaps a sprinkling of Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridien). The difference is that the Inarritu/DiCaprio/Punke project will basically be a payback/revenge flick. The second Webster’s definition of “revenant” is “a person who returns as a spirit after death; a ghost.” Yes, there was an obscure 2009 comedic horror film called The Revenant, but the title is probably a bad idea as the vast majority of moviegoers probably don’t know what it means. Titles can’t sound too cultured or fancy-schmancy — you have to grunt them down to reach your average Joe Schmoe. Just call it Revenge (nobody remembers the 1990 Tony Scott-Kevin Costner version) or Vengeance Is Mine (megaplex popcorn-munchers have never heard of Shohei Imamura, trust me) or something like that — plain and primitive. Yes, I know — I sound a bit like Harry Cohn here but I’m just trying to address the way things are.

The Face That Killed A Movie

Olivier Dahan‘s Grace of Monaco, which will open the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, has long been presumed to be a total wash. Initially slated for release by the Weinstein Co. in November 2013, them bumped to 3.14.14, and then yanked again in favor of the Cannes slot . I’ve no interest in, much less sympathy for, a classy actress who marries for money and then realizes a few years down the road that she can barely stand the guy she married, much less feel love for him, and that she feels trapped and wants out. No sympathy at all. There’s also the highly problematic casting of Tim Roth as Prince Rainer. Consider the face of the Real McCoy — kindly expression, nice-enough features, mellow attitude. Then consider Roth’s demon-seed features — the face of a malevolent bad guy if I ever saw one. There’s no crossover, no similarity, no appeal. Roth has the face of a scowling reptile. Grace of Monaco died the day he was cast.


Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi and his wife, Princess Grace (the former Grace Kelly) on a yacht sometime around 1961 or ’62.

Tim Roth, whose rancid, pissed-off vibe and generally unappealing features killed this movie the instant he was cast. I loved Roth in Nic Jarecki’s Arbitrage, but he can’t play husbands or boyfriends or anything in that realm. He has to play feisty gargoyle characters and/or attitude monkeys. Roth was perfect in Stephen Frears’ The Hit and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

Wallowing in Sentimentality


The official poster image for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, revealed last night.

Portrait of John Travolta’s fork-tongued Vincent Vega character in Pulp Fiction was used to illustrate mid ’90s magazine article. (Possibly in the N.Y. Times Sunday magazine.) I cut it out and mounted it on foam core, and now, 18 or 19 years later, am finally having it professionally framed.

Mouse (a.k.a., “Fatty”) and Aura (i.e., female white Munchkin) endured a fairly traumatic experience last weekend with the new floors being put in — noise, strange laborers, perceived threats, etc.

Fatih Akin Pulls Cut Out Of Cannes For “Personal Reasons”

Three…no, actually two days before the unveiling of the Cannes Film Festival’s roster, German helmer Fatih Akin has withdrawn The Cut, which had been submitted to the festival, “for personal reasons.” Does this have something vaguely to do with last month’s passing of Karl “Baumi” Baumgartner, the co-founder of Pandora Film, which is listed by the IMDB as one of the producers of The Cut and which is presumably distributing? Either way it doesn’t add up. Life is a vale of troubles, but when misfortunes occur you have to man up and soldier on. Whatever it is, I’m sorry. I hope Akin’s situation will soon rectify or smooth out. All I know is that presumed Cannes hopefuls are dropping like fliesThe Cut, Birdman, Inherent Vice.


The Cut director Fatih Akin.

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AMC’s Annoying Mad Men Airings

Last night I missed all the showings of “Time Zones“, the debut episode of the seventh season of AMC’s Mad Men. I naturally presumed it would re-air once or twice today and then again tomorrow and so on, etc. But it’s not. There are no airings today or tonight. The next showing is tomorrow morning at, believe it or not, 4 am Pacific. And then nothing after that until episode #2 on Sunday. And it’s not viewable via On Demand. At least according to my Time Warner options. Yes, I realize I can watch the episode online but I vaguely dislike watching dramas on my Macbook Air. I prefer the laid-back splendor of watching high-def images on my 60″ Samsung. So no offense but eff AMC and their stingy airing policy.

Don & Jerry: Go The Gay Way

19 years ago I did a hotel-room interview with producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer during the Crimson Tide junket. A few months earlier I’d laughed hard at Quentin Tarantino‘s “go the way way” riff in Sleep With Me (’94), in which he discussed a struggling-with-homosexuality undercurrent in Top Gun. So I proposed to Don and Jerry that they should reach out to gay moviegoers by re-marketing all their films as secret gay movies that were fraught with homosexual themes and iconography (i.e., the phallic-shaped submarines in Tide). Bruckheimer froze with a grin on his face but Simpson smirked and kicked it around. When I asked them to sign my Crimson Tide script at the end of our chat, Simpson suggested that the gay subcurrent thing was more in my head than in their films.

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