The first thought when I saw this one-sheet this afternoon was how much better it is — more crackling, intriguing — than Arthur Penn‘s 1965 film. I would give this poster at least an 8 or an 8.5, and the film a 5…okay, maybe a 6. What other one-sheets seemed to deliver more than the films they were selling? Nearly all of the Saul Bass one-sheets for those 1950s Otto Preminger films, surely. The Man With The Golden Arm one-sheet is several artistic realms above the movie. Others? There must be dozens.
I have to leave for Hoboken and an outdoor screening of On The Waterfront by the Alamo Drafthouse‘s Flying-Fuck-at-a Rolling-Donut Travelling Picture Show…or whatever it’s called. It’s happening on Pier A right off Frank Sinatra Drive at 8 pm, and I’ve also been invited for drinks at a bar beforehand so I’d better shag ass.
Joe Baltake says he’s “weary of the ‘strong strain of misogyny’ (Kim Morgan‘s apt expression, from her Sunset Gun site) that seems to routinely follow Jennifer Aniston in film review after film review (written mostly by snarky young critics). I find Aniston to be a reliable actress, a terrific comedienne, a most companionable screen presence and, by all accounts, a very generous co-worker. It’s gotten out of hand. So, fed up, I posted something.”
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with Aniston. She specializes in making mediocre movies. She’s really not that great an actress. She doesn’t tremble with soul. And she keeps bopping around from one guy to another. Never settles down, no babies, no laying down of roots, no standing up for the dolphins (like Ben Stiller does), nothing deep or risky. She just seems to glide along and be content with being herself and being rich and having a great ass. Other than that I’m sure she “plays a helluva game of golf,” to steal a line from Paddy Chayefsky‘s The Hospital.
I saw this New York magazine cover last night in a news store on Third and 69th, and decided then and there this is undoubtedly one of the coolest things Katie Holmes has done in any realm or arena. And it’s meaningless — the wearing of clothes, simulating a famous photo, and so what? Nothing at all. But it’s close to perfect.
Another thought is how free-spirited and alive to mood and possibility and aroma Mrs. Onassis seemed this particular day. She’s obviously gone now but the idea of being gone couldn’t have been further from her mind the second that Ron Galella snapped this shot. It’s like that for all of us. New York street life can be rude and noisy and glorious, and one day you’ll be dead as Dillinger…believe it. As Jack Nicholson said in The Departed, “Act accordingly.”
I was just told that the director of a film I’ve recently seen and greatly admire currently lives in Rochester, New York. The second I heard this his stock immediately dropped. If you’re a serious director you can’t live in Rochester. I’ve been there and it’s absolute Nothingville — sprawling, architecturally bland if not ugly, economically depressed, living in the past (when Eastman Kodak was a booming company), overrun by corporate chain stores, schlubby fat people shuffling around, older cars everywhere, gun stores, yahoos with sideburns, etc.
The world is full of wonder and intrigue and immense beauty, and I can’t help but suspect that directors who seem to go out of their way to avoid this are, no offense, a little strange. Directors can live any damn place they choose — in the wilds of Montana, San Francisco, Austin, London, New York, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Vancouver, Croton-on-Hudson, New Mexico, western Massachucetts, southwestern Ireland, France, Brooklyn, northern Vermont, Italy, Sydney, Mendocino, New Orleans, Barbados, Chicago, Los Angeles and dozens of other cool places. But you can’t live in end-of-the-world Rochester without making people who’ve had a little education and experience go “what“?
In an 8.18 interview with Christiane Kubrick, the 78 year-old widow of Stanley Kubrick, Guardian contributor Jon Ronson reveals what seems to me like an exceptionally sad fact. Vivian Kubrick, 50, who played “Squirt” in 2001: A Space Odyssey and who shot that Making of ‘The Shining’ doc, succumbed to Scientology about a decade ago, and now her mother considers her “lost.”
Vivian Kubrick about 10 years ago, and during her bush-baby scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“She was hugely loved, and now I’ve lost her,” Christiane says. “You know that? I used to keep all this a secret as I was hoping it would go away. But now I’ve lost hope. So. She’s gone.”
“It all began, she says, while Stanley was editing Eyes Wide Shut, which starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Stanley asked Vivian to compose the score, but at the last moment she said she wouldn’t. Instead, she disappeared into San Francisco and Los Angeles. ‘They had a huge fight,’ Crhistiane recalls. ‘He was very unhappy. He wrote her a 40-page letter trying to win her back. He begged her endlessly to come home from California. I’m glad he didn’t live to see what happened.’
“On the day of Stanley’s funeral, Christiane says, ‘Vivian arrived with a woman nobody recognized. She just sat in Vivian’s room. Never said hello to us. Just sat. We were all spooked. Who was this person? Turns out she was a Scientology something-or-other, don’t know what.’
Scientology “is [Vivian’s] new religion,” Christiane explains. “It had absolutely nothing to do with Tom Cruise by the way. Absolutely not.”
“I think she must have been very upset [by her father’s death],” Christiane says, “but, again, I wouldn’t know. I know nothing. That is the truth. I can’t reach her at all. I’ve had two conversations with her since Stanley died. The last one was eight years ago. She became a Scientologist and didn’t want to talk to us any more and didn’t see her dying sister Anya, didn’t come to her funeral. And these were children [who] had been joined at the hip.”
The following portion of Ronson’s interview stopped me short: “[Christiane] says that when Stanley was alive, he kept her and their daughters cosseted from stress, from life’s legal and financial arrangements, allowing them to float through Childwickbury without worries.”
Let me explain something. If anything is going to interfere with the ability of a younger person to cope with life as they begin to make their way on their own, it is having been “cosseted from stress” and shielded from “life’s legal and financial arrangements” as a child.
Parents believe that allowing a child “to float through” his or her early life “without worries” is a profound expression of love. It is in fact one of the worst things you can do to a son or daughter. I know three or four people who lived somewhat shielded lives as children, and now they could arguably be called hiders in one way or another. They aren’t unhealthy or uninteresting people, mind, but they seem to have sought to recreate that sense of being “sheltered from the storm” that they knew during childhood. The strongest people tend to be those who’ve experienced a little up and down and rough and tumble in their formative years. Like me.
My understanding is that Christian Alvart‘s Case 39 was shot in ’06. This is indicated by the fact that Bradley Cooper, whom I’ve totally written off since The A-Team and his sickening appearance on the last MTV Movie Awards, has his chubbier face — i.e., the one he had in The Wedding Crashers, before he buffed up in order to look like a smokin’ hot movie star.
One might think that the combination of (a) the three-year delay and (b) Renee Zellwegger‘s presence would be more than ample reason to stay away from this. For me Chubby Cooper seals the deal. Is that thoughtful? Have I not read comments that Case 39 is better than its reputation indicates?
In an hours-old Facebook posting, Daniel Plainview (a.k.a., Matthew Wilder) has criticized documentarian Thom Andersen as an “inexplicably revered megasnob.” He also raps him for having said that Point Blank “was liked only by people who hate L.A.” Wilder is alluding to a quote from Andersen’s L.A. Plays Itself, but that’s not the exact phrasing. The line is “people who hate L.A. love Point Blank.”
The growing number of right-wing ignoramuses who believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim (and therefore, by implication, more in sympathy with the aims of Middle Eastern wackjobbers than those of the U.S.) is beneath comment. And yet while Obama’s support of the Ground Zero mosque is noble, the issue itself is arguably muddled.
To build a mosque directly adjacent to the site of the greatest slaughter of noncombatant U.S. citizens in this country’s history, a slaughter perpetrated by young Muslim loons who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” right before the planes hit, would obviously be an act of spiritual generosity. Magnanimous, Christian, loving, compassionate, mature.
It’s not the same thing as, say, a Jewish synagogue being built on the site of a World War II-era Nazi concentration camp. We all get what that means — a renunciation of evil and the triumph of tolerance and brotherhood. A Ground Zero mosque obviously wouldn’t make the same statement. It would be more about who and what we are. It would say “we’re more than just revenge monkeys — we’re about genuine Christian values, and the rights of each and every U.S. citizen.”
Most American yahoos, many of whom are illiterate or ill-informed dumbasses, equate the Muslim faith with anti-U.S. sympathies and terror cells. If you want to process the situational ins and outs with crude mental tools, I can see how they might think that way. But a U.S democracy can’t hope to function with his kind of rank stupidity influencing the conversation.
What can you do about such people, really, except wait for them to die? There’s the age-old Hollywood Elsewhere solution of putting them into green reeducation camps for minimum one-year terms, but people snicker at such thoughts. Green camps, by my way of thinking, are about compassion and enlightenment and investing in human potential. Don’t punish or imprison your enemies — help them to see the light.
David Fincher‘s The Social Network “is splendid entertainment from a master storyteller, packed with energetic incident and surprising performances,” writes former L.A. Weekly critic and NYFF associate director Scott Foundas. “It is a movie of people typing in front of computer screens and talking in rooms that is as suspenseful as any more obvious thriller.
Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network
“But this is also social commentary so perceptive that it may be regarded by future generations the way we now look to Gatsby for its acute distillation of Jazz Age decadence.
“There is, in all of Fincher’s work, an outsider’s restlessness that chafes at the intractable rules of ‘polite’ society and naturally aligns itself with characters like the journalist refusing to abandon the case in Zodiac and Edward Norton‘s modern-day Dr. Jekyll in Fight Club. (It is also, I would argue, what makes the undying-love mawkishness of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seem particularly insincere.) So The Social Network offers a despairing snapshot of society at the dawn of the 21st century, so advanced, so ‘connected,’ yet so closed and constrained by all the centuries-old prejudices and preconceptions about how our heroes and villains are supposed to look, sound, and act.
“It would be easy enough, of course, to vilify” controversial Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) “as a greedy twerp who betrayed his friends (what few he had) and partners on his way to the top — we are, after all, talking about a 24-year-old billionaire who once carried business cards reading ‘I’m CEO…bitch.’ It would be even easier, perhaps, to exalt him as a nonconformist deity, a Holden Caulfield of the information superhighway.
“But to the sure nervousness of the studio, and the potential discomfort of some viewers, Fincher and Sorkin chart a more treacherous course straight down the middle of Zuckerberg’s many contradictions, one in which there are no obvious winners or losers, good guys or bad — only a series of highly pressurized social (and genetic) forces.
(l. to r.) Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield
“Adapted by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin from Ben Mezrich‘s nonfiction best-seller The Accidental Billionaires, The Social Network was one of those ‘buzz’ scripts that seemed to be on everyone’s lips in Hollywood for the past couple of years, and it’s easy to understand why. The writing is razor-sharp and rarely makes a wrong step, compressing a time-shifting, multi-character narrative into two lean hours, and, perhaps most impressively, digests its big ideas into the kind of rapid-fire yet plausible dialogue that sounds like what hyper computer geeks might actually say (or at least wish they did): Quentin Tarantino crossed with Bill Gates.
“Just as All the President’s Men — a seminal film for Fincher and a huge influence on his Zodiac — was less interested by the Watergate case than by its zeitgeist-altering ripples, so too is The Social Network devoted to larger patterns of meaning. It is a movie that sees how any social microcosm, if viewed from the proper angle, is no different from another — thus the seemingly hermetic codes of Harvard University become the foundation for a global online community that is itself but a reflection of the all-encompassing high-school cafeteria from which we can never escape.”
It’s funny that Foundas (whose “review” is obviously colored and perhaps modified by his responsibilities and alliances with the NYFF) notes that (a) the warts-and-all portrayal of Zuckerberg “risks the potential discomfort of some viewers” and yet (b) Foundas himself has no supportive words for Eisenberg’s performance. Hah! Especially since it appears that Eisenberg’s portrayal of the manic Zuckerberg is the most relentless expression of The Social Network‘s “no heroes or villains” viewpoint.
Foundas does, however, congratulate the “superb” Andrew Garfield, who plays Eduardo Severin, and Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker, “who’s like Zuckerberg’s flamboyant, West Coast id.”