To me, learning that two respected actors (Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard ) have officially been added to the cast of Chris Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises is like reading that Ozeki Masuiyama and Sekiwake Fujizakura have been named as Japan’s top sumo-wrestlers.
Ten days from now millions of emotionally needy Californians will be getting up at 2:45 am to watch the royal nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton. I got up at that hour nearly 14 years ago for Lady Diana‘s funeral, but as Hal Holbrook said in All The President’s Men, “This is different.” I think this attitude might put me in the minority with 2 billion viewers expected to tune in.
Mostly females, of course. I know for a fact that no self-respecting straight male will pay the slightest heed.
The wedding will be a celebration of an exceptionally lame fantasy that tens of millions of under-educated, Sex and the City-worshipping, Star magazine-reading women the world over hold extremely dear, which is that they might one day luck into marrying an exceptionally rich guy from a rich and powerful family and live a life of fabulous, mostly thoughtless leisure for the rest of their lives. And have kids who will enjoy the same luxuries and get to to do the same thing as adults-with-their-own-kids when they come of age.
My concern here is solely with the baldness of Prince William. Well, not “concern” but a kind of mystification and/or confusion. Baldness can be very cool if you’re Ed Harris or Sean Connery or Bruce Willis, etc. Those guys wear it well and with style, you bet. But the whole bald-is-cool thing kicks in only if you’re middle-aged. Because raging 20something baldness is a kind of tragedy, I feel. Tragic and depressing not just for Prince William (now 28, turning 29 on June 21) but all of us because the metaphor — i.e., the idea that some aspects of your life are unchangable and immovable due to genes, and that we’re all prisoners of our fathers and grandfathers — is kind of shattering.
To me anyway. What is life is not something that can and should be imagined and built and molded according to your own will and creativity and determination? But bald genes say “fuck all that….you’re going to be bald, pal…deal with it.”
There are numerous remedies for what ails Prince William. Ask John Travolta, Elton John, Nic Cage…ask the Hair Club for Men. I’m not saying he should add to what he has now — that would look dopey — but he could, at least, hold on to what he has and maybe thicken things up a bit. He could at least hold on to a kind of royal Jack Nicholson look. But no — he’s apparently ready and willing to lose it all. Because anyone in his condition at age 28 is going to be a total cueball by the time he’s 40 or 45, if not sooner.
I realize that the trailer for Chris Weitz‘s A Better Life (Summit, 6.24) has persuaded some that it’s more or less a white man’s movie about a Hispanic father’s issues (i.e., struggling within the LA immigrant workplace to retrieve a stolen truck and save his teenaged son from a gangbanger life).
The reason, of course, is that the trailer is showing too much English-speaking among Latino characters who, in reality, almost always speak Spanish to each other in casual conversation.
And yet L.A. Times reporter John Horn wrote last February that the film “contains a significant amount of Spanish dialogue” and that Weitz employed “any number of Latino crew members” (which presumably means he hired more than a few). For all I know A Better Life might be 30% or 40% Spanish-speaking. (I have a call into Summit about this.)
So let’s try to forgive Weitz’s deplorable direction of New Moon and give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that he’s made every conceivable effort to avoid any sort of culturally ungenuine flavoring in this Bicycle Thieves-inspired drama.
And yet — here’s the marketing rub — the trailer does convey a kind of sensitive white man’s perspective. This, naturally, is because the Summit team is looking to reach Anglo and Hispanic moviegoers. Marketing people have a job to do, and that job almost always entails some kind of lie or distortion. Or perhaps it’s telling the absolute truth. I’m presuming in either case that A Better Life doesn’t have authenticity of, say, Cary Fukunaga‘s Sin Nombre.
And to be perfectly honest, the Spanish-accented speech of the father (Demian Bichir) does sort of half-remind me of Jack Palance‘s Spanish-accented English in Richard Brooks‘ The Professionals (’66).
I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that the beauty of Oscar Poker outside awards season is the ramble-on quality. Only somewhat important things to talk about but a fair amount of free association and sometimes way outside the usual topics. Awards Daily ‘s Sasha Stone, Boxoffice.com‘s Phil Contrino and I poking at the campfire with thick pine branches with the needles shaved off. Here’s a non-iTunes, stand-alone link.
We all have a sense of what’s right and fair when we open a menu. Last night I went to Malibu’s Paradise Cove eatery, which is okay but nothing special and almost kind of a trailer-parky place. And it struck me that the prices for their blue-collar plates were all about four or five or six bills higher than they should be in a fair and just world. A hamburger and tasteless, room-temperature fries for $16 dollars? Why don’t they man up and charge $20 or $25?
And yet this is one of the very few restaurants in Malibu or Los Angeles, even, that have a feeling of serious history on the walls. Right near the bathrooms are autographed stills of 1930s, ’40s and ’50s movie stars (Clark Gable, Jack Benny, Rosalind Russell, Bert Lahr) with compliments about the food at Jack’s at the Beach, the old Pacific Ocean Park restaurant that may or may not have some vague connection with the Paradise Cove cafe. And after you’ve eaten you can take a long walk on the beach heading north alongside the bluffs, and if it’s warm and not too windy and you’ve brought a blanket and towels you can skinny dip in the moonlight.
A burger plate like this in an Average Joe restaurant should run around $12 bucks, give or take.
Isolated and mostly undeveloped Malibu Colony in the late 1920s or early ’30s.
This radio broadcast copy appears on page two or three of Lorene Scafaria‘s Seeking A Friend At The End of The World, which Scafaria will reportedly direct with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley costarring. Shooting begins in Los Angeles in May. I’m not convinced that the term “romantic comedy” quite describes it.
“Melancholia, [which is the name of] the planet, is kind of ten times bigger than the Earth, and I liked the idea of being ‘swallowed’ by Melancholia. I thought that was quite nice. And then I read today that that’s actually one of the virtues of romanticism — willingly being purified by dying. In fact, the film contains maybe more of the original idea of romanticism. I’m just saying that a lot of films today, their interpretation of romanticism is…quite boring, I think.” — director Lars von Trier talking about Melancholia with Empire‘s Damon Wise.
I’m always getting beat up for having an allegedly cavalier spoiler attitude, but I would never run the kind of spoiler piece that Movieline‘s Dixon Gaines posted on 4.17 — let’s at least be clear on that. I have almost no respect for Scream 4 and don’t feel from a reader’s perspective that Gaines’ article is that big of a deal, but I would never divulge a big third-act reveal this early in the game (i.e., two days after opening).
This morning Napier News’ Daniel Sarath reported that Great Britain’s Icon Distribution UK is still claiming (or freshly claiming) that they’ll open Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of LIfe in England on Wednesday, May 4th, or about a week or so before its scheduled “debut” at the Cannes Film Festival.
This despite a 3.31 statement from Summit Int’l senior vp marketing and publicity Jill Jones (which I ran that same day) that Icon “does not have the right to distribute The Tree of Life in the UK, as it is in default of its agreement.”
Jones added that “the matter is pending before an arbitration tribunal in Los Angeles,” so the only way Icon’s statement to Sarath could be half-legit would be if the LA tribunal delivered a decision in Icon’s favor.
I naturally wrote Jones and Icon’s Zak Brilliant immediately for confirmation or denial or a clarification of some kind. Brilliant didn’t get in contact with HE the last time this story was in play so one assumes he’ll continue to be a dick. But I’m presuming Jones will be in touch sometime soon.
Update: A Summit source said earlier today nothing has changed to her knowledge since Jones’ 3.31 statement. Then why would an Icon rep write such a thing to Sarath? Is he/she delusional or what?
From Sarath’s story:
“Icon previously announced the early release date several weeks ago to Empire Magazine, however, Fox Searchlight, who own the rights to the movie’s Stateside distribution, claimed the statement was entirely false.
“Fox have continuously stated that the premiere at Cannes in mid-May will be the film’s first official screening.
“Jeff Wells from Hollywood Elsewhere, furthermore, got in touch with Jill Jones of Summit International, who were film’s sales agent, and she told him:
“‘The information regarding the May 4th U.K. release is incorrect. Icon Film Distribution Ltd. does not have the right to distribute The Tree of Life in the U.K, as it is in default of its agreement. The matter is pending before an arbitration tribunal in Los Angeles.’
“As a result, there has been widespread confusion in the UK as to whether they’ll see The Tree Of Life any time soon should there be a legal battle or conflict between the distributors. Some have even speculated whether it’ll even get a release at all.
“Nevertheless, despite the aforementioned claims that Icon has no authority, there will be an arbitration tribunal and the people of Cannes will have the first taste of Terrence Malick’s newest epic, Icon responded to one of my numerous emails today and simply said these 6 words: ‘Hi Daniel, We release May 4th.’
“So it’s confirmed: The UK WILL get The Tree Of Life before the rest of the world!”
I ran this eight years ago in the old HE Movie Poop Shoot column:
Guy #1 has just walked into a convenience store, only to notice that Guy #2 is lying on the floor next to the cash-register guy, who’s obviously not the cash-register guy but some hot-head thief who just happened to be ripping off the store. Guy #1 doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, so when he spots Guy #2…
Guy #1: Oh, Jesus, don’t shoot him. Please. Don’t…
Hot-head thief pulls a gun on him.
Guy #1: Let me tell ya, there’s a crime scene right down the block. You shoot, they’ll hear. Please… you want the money? Just take it. Go out the back. Did you take it yet?
Guy #2 (mockingly): “Did you take it yet?” Jesus Christ…
Hot-head thief: Shut up!
Guy #1: You want the money? You want the money? Just, here…
He deftly causes cash register to open with left hand, and thief puts the cash in his pockets.
Guy #1: You smoke? Whaddaya smoke? Huh? Take some cartons here. You like some candy?
Guy #2: “Do you like candy?” Why don’t you give him a fucking back rub while you’re at it?
Hot-head thief: I said shut up!!
Guy #1: [to thief, pleading] Please, go out the back. Ya gotta go now. Go out the back. You gotta go quiet. Please. You can make it. Ya gotta go now, though.
Guy #2: Call him a cab, huh??
Hot-head thief: [to Guy #2] Get the fuck up! [Guy #2 gets onto his knees, staring straight at thief.]
Guy #1: Please… please.
Guy #2: [to Guy #2] Do you like Rice-a-Roni? How ’bout a nice Diet Sprite?
Guy #1: I’m tellin’ ya, they’re right down the block!
Guy #2: [To thief ] Hey!?
Guy #2 spits into thief’s face. Thief hits him in the head with gun butt, runs out the back door& gone. Guy #1 starts in direction of back door, then turns and looks at Guy #2.
Guy #1: Are you okay?
Guy #2: [Pure contempt] Fuck off.
Guy #1: [heading toward rear of store] Call 911. Tell them police officer needs assistance.
Guy #2: [Incredulous] You’re a cop?
Name the film, the year of release, the director, the screenwriter[s], and the actors who played Guy #1 and #2.