My sense of things when I wrote my Water for Elephants pan two days ago was that Christoph Waltz had (a) erred by playing the Hans Landa card again or (b) has no other cards in his deck. But goofing on it somehow makes it less bothersome. Waltz will have his best shot at putting Landa to bed in Roman Polanski‘s Carnage (formerly known as God of Carnage).
Lindsay Lohan doing another 120 days for parole violation (and not, apparently, over that “borrowed” necklace episode) isn’t a bad thing as long as it doesn’t get in the way of her playing Kim Gotti. Jail builds character, gives you street cred, persuades you to improve your social skills, etc.
I’ve watched the All The President’s Men Bluray a couple of times since buying it last February. And the thing that sticks out right away is the over-saturated color, especially the appearance of the red and blue chairs in the Washington Post newsroom. The overall appearance looks like celluloid and that’s cool, but someone turned up the saturation plus it looks a little too dark here and there.
I shared my opinion yesterday morning with a technical guy who knows all about Bluray and DVD masterings, and he told me that Warner Home Video, incredibly, had never even called much less consulted Gordon Willis, the film’s legendary dp, about how the colors should look, etc. So I called Willis myself about an hour ago and he said he’d seen the ATPM Bluray on his 46″ screen and “it’s all fucked up…all the medium tones [are wrong] and contrast is way higher than it oughta be….it’s overloaded.”
Willis confirmed that no one from WHV had contacted him to consult or discuss prior to creating the Bluray. “All they had to do was use the most recent DVD as a reference because that’s fine,” he said. “They probably think they’ll get [me] in there and it’ll turn into a problem but it’s definitely a problem when they don’t. They don’t get it. They get on those fucking dials…it’s a disease. Their idea for a Bluray is to make it for guys who are watching football.”
I asked if he’d called anyone at Warner Home Video since the All The President’s Men Bluray came out to tell them they’d gotten it wrong and that they should have called, etc. “And what are they gonna say?,” he said. “We’re sorry and we’ll do it all over again? You call these guys, it’s like talking to a head on a stick.”
“You didn’t hear this from me,” says a Boston-based movie critic, “but Paramount just moved the press screening of Thor, a PG-13 film, from Tuesday, 5.3 — or three days before the 5.6 opening — to a 4.30 Saturday morning screening at 10 am, presumably with a packed kiddie audience. And this is Boston’s only press screening, mind. My guess is that they’re doing this everywhere outside New York and LA.”
If I was back east I’d be doing all the Tribeca Film Festival screenings and events this weekend and running around and seeing everyone and taking pictures — pig heaven. But I’m stuck in Los Angeles…well, not “stuck” but I have to say no to certain things or I’ll be broke by Labor Day…and relying on the filings and photography of Jett Wells, HE’s TFF New York correspondent. And…well, the theoretical option of watching a few festival entries online.
I say “theoretical” because I just tried to watch Massy Tadjedin‘s Last Night on the ’50” plasma via Vudu and YouTube and…you know what? I’m not bad at some of this stuff technically but I’m not smart enough to figure out digital downloads on Samsung’s Smart Hub. To hell with it. I really hate that my Samsung BD remote makes it difficult to punch in letters…jerks. If a semi-attuned but slow-in-some-respects guy like myself can’t figure this crap out, imagine what Joe Popcorn is going through. It’s a great idea but the technology just isn’t there yet. Eff it.
“Tribeca Film, in partnership with American Express, brings you the best of independent film (including titles from the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival) wherever you are,” blah blah. “From romantic dramas starring Keira Knightley and Zach Braff to a hilarious comedy co-directed by and starring Dax Shepard to films like The Bleeding House, guaranteed to bring you chills, there’s something for everyone…films will be available on demand starting April 20.” Not so fast, fella! They might be available to guys who really know what they’re doing but not semi-dumb guys like me.
Two months ago Wordsandfilm‘s Christine Spines wrote about Harvey Weinstein‘s reported recutting of Richard Ayoade‘s Submarine (Weinstein Co., 6.3), and hence the return of the mythical Harvey Scissorhands. I’m not aware that much has been cut from this well-reviewed film, but I’m still wishing I’d made a greater effort to catch it in Toronto.
Shekhar Kapoor‘s tribute to India’s admired-and-deeply-loathed Bollywood genre — Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told — will screen out of competition during the 64th Cannes Film Festival. I probably despise Bollywood musicals a little more than Asian martial-arts films so I can’t wait not to see this thing. The doc was directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist. It runs 81 minutes.
Gavin Wiesen‘s Homework was recently retitled as The Art of Getting By. During Sundance 2011 I wrote that star Freddie Highmore “delivers every line and emotion exactly the same way with the same faintly self-amused expression, the same faint intellectual-hipster smile, the same space cadet/distracted-artist vibe, the same glassy-eyed stare. I wanted to see him get hit by an MTA bus.”
Fox Searchlight is opening the quirky Manhattan-based romance on 6.17.11.
Received this morning at 12:12 am Pacific: Pool Report #5, Los Angeles, CA
04/21/2011 / Maeve Reston, Maeve.Reston@latimes.com:
“President Obama arrived at his final fundraiser of the evening at around 8:20pm after speeding down Interstate 405, which had been completely shut down for the motorcade ride from Culver City to Brentwood. The dinner was held at The Tavern in a private room that held about 50 people. Major celebrity wattage at this event.
“Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife were seated a table in near the middle of the room. Other celebs included George Clooney (whom the President acknowledged), Steven Spielberg as well as Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, and Will Ferrell. Tables were covered with forest green tablecloths. Potted trees and twinkling white lights created an atrium-like setting. About 50 guests seated, possibly a few more.
“Obama was introduced by Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation SKG’s chief executive. Katzenberg noted that about three years or so ago most ‘everyone in this room embarked on a great journey and adventure with you,’ he said, directing his remarks to the President. ‘I think we all would agree that nobody has ever inherited a set of challenges — and nobody I think could possibly be better in tackling them. So we all feel very lucky to have you as our president (applause) for four more years.’
“‘Four more years…,’ Obama said, taking the microphone. Speaking from a slightly elevated position that appeared to be a small set of stairs or stage, he added: “Technically it’s actually five and a half more years.’ (Laughter).
“[Obama] thanked Jeffrey and Marilyn, calling Jeffrey ‘an extraordinary friend.’ (Jeffrey Katzenberg’s wife name is Marilyn; Can only assume it is the same Marilyn)
“A lot of you got involved at a time when the prospect of electing Barack Hussein Obama to the Oval Office was slim. None of you asked for my birth certificate. It was complete leap of faith,” he added to laughter.
POTUS said he wanted to spend most of the evening moving from table to table and wasn’t going to give a long speech. He acknowledged Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown – to applause – and the U.S. ambassador to Bahamas: Nicole A. Avant.
“‘It’s a nice gig isn’t it?’ he said to laughter.
“When we started this journey — it was actually about four years ago — I think we understood that the country was at a cross roads and we were going to have to make some fundamental changes so that we could make sure our kids, our grandkids, the next generation inherited the same kind of big-spirited America that we inherited from our grandparents and parents,” the President said. “We didn’t maybe know how steep the climb was going to be to get to where we needed to go. But we understood it was not going to be easy. The campaign wasn’t easy. There’s a lot of revisionist history going on now — ‘Boy, his campaign was so easy.'”It didn’t feel that way at time. It was hard.”
“But we kept at it, because we understood that a country that is generous and compassionate; that is looking after our children and grandchildren making sure that they’ve got a shot at the American dream; is making sure that our seniors have dignity and security in old age; that is looking after families that have got a disabled child; that is investing in our infrastructure so that we can move products and services and people and information around rapidly; that is a benevolent influence in world and respected around the world. We understood that getting to where we needed to go wasn’t going to be easy.
“And it hasn’t been, but we have made extraordinary progress over the last two and half years. We’ve pulled this economy out of a recession. We’ve stabilized the financial system. We’ve passed historic health care legislation to make sure that 30 million people aren’t going to go without coverage (applause). We’ve repealed ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell.’ We have put two women on the Supreme Court including the first Latina (applause). We’ve passed equal pay for equal work. We can go down the list, but we also know we’ve got a lot more work to do. We’ve just started and we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
“There have been times, I’m sure, during the past two and half years where you read in the papers or you’re watching on TV and you’re saying ‘Ah, Obama, why did you compromise with the Republicans.’ Or why did health care take so long. I want a single-payer plan anyway.’ ”Golly if he was just as good a communicator as George Clooney,'” the president said, looking at Clooney to laughter, “I’m sure the American people would understand exactly what needs to be done.'”
“That’s understandable, because there have been times when I’ve been frustrated,” the president continued. “But I don’t want you to lose sight of how much we’ve gotten done. What we’ve done here has been historic and we’re only a quarter of the way through.”
The President said the budget debates “crystallizes the debate that we are going to be having in this country over the next 18 months about who we are, what we care about, what our values are, what our commitments are to each other.”
POTUS noted that his poll numbers “go up and down depending on the latest crisis — and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people.”
“But when I talk to ordinary folks, they are not always paying attention. If you ask them what the makeup of the 25 percent is, they will say 25% of it goes to foreign aid. If you ask them about Medicare, they will say I love that program, but I wish the government wouldn’t get involved in it,” he said to light laughter.
“Just because they are busy,” POTUS interjected. “They’re tired, they are working hard; they are looking after their families; they are looking after their kids. If I wasn’t professionally in this – I wouldn’t be following all these debates in Washington. But when you talk to them about your values – what they care about – they say of course we should make sure every child has a good education and gets opportunity. And absolutely we’ve got to make sure our commitments to seniors are met. And of course, we want a family whose child has a disability is getting everything possible to allow them to succeed. And yes internationally we want to stand on the side of human rights and democracy.”
“Added that the world is complicated: ‘But we have a vision about what America should be in the world and we want to live up to that.’
“POTUS said government has to live within its means, but said “we think we can live within its means and still ensure that we’re delivering for next generation.”
“POTUS closed by saying he had faith in them (the next generation) and faith in ‘you.’
“Just remember the camp in 2008, it wasn’t about big crowds and nice posters and it wasn’t even about me. It was about commitments we made to each other as Americans. And those commitments have not ended; they didn’t end on Election Day; they don’t end when I take office. Those are commitments that we have to fight for and work for and be true to, each and every day. That’s what the next 18 months are going to be about.”
“Pool was ushered out of the room at this point.
“At 9:56pm, the motorcade is holding at the restaurant in Brentwood. But departure appears to be near.”
“Christoph Waltz plays August, the tyrannical leader of the Benzini Traveling Circus, as if he has nothing to lose…except, that is, the respect he gained from his Oscar-winning turn in Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds. For Waltz is channeling the villainous Hans Landa one more time in a performance he could have done in his sleep.” — edited/compressed quote from Brad Brevet‘s 4.22 Rope of Silicon review of Water for Elephants.
A little more than a year ago I saw and reviewed James Rasin‘s Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar as part of the New Directors, New Films series at the Museum of Modern Art. It opens tomorrow at the IFC Center so here’s the review again.
Boilerplate synopsis for Ruben Fleischer‘s 30 Minutes or Less (Columbia, 8.12): “After hiring an assassin to murder his father for his insurance money, chubby asshole antagonist Dwayne (Danny McBride…who else?) and partner-in-crime Travis (Nick Swardson) kidnap a pizza delivery driver (Jesse Eisenberg) and force him to rob a bank with a bomb vest attached to his chest in order to pay for the hit job.” Aziz Ansari costars.