It was the Dean Jones “Disney-ass name” line that did it. Warner Bros. has been screening it here and there but I won’t see it until 7.5 because I’m special. (It opens three days later and can’t be reviewed until 7.6) Directed by Seth Gordon, written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein with a story by Michael Markowitz, etc.
The whole Tom Hanks, pre-Larry Crowne premiere, scooter-brigade-down-Hollywood-Blvd. thing went out the window yesterday afternoon when I threw my right leg over my scooter and my back dress slacks ripped open at the crotch. A big gaping hole with frayed threads, and it was 6:05 pm — five minutes past the scooter get-together hour and 90 minutes before the start of Larry Crowne, the movie.
It would have been humiliating to schmooze around the Chinese and the after-party with my white briefs on display, so I definitely had to fix this. The smart thing would have been to drive straight home and slip on a new pair of dress pants, only that would have eaten up a good hour, or nearly that. I still had hopes of doing the scooter parade so I went around looking for some black underwear that would make the hole less noticable. Except I couldn’t find the right store with the right briefs. I finally found a pair at a West Hollywood Target (La Brea and Santa Monica Blvd.) and put them on in the rest room. But by the time I got back to the Chinese it was 7:10 pm. So I shined the scooter thing and just parked and went upstairs to the Chinese, all flustered and sweaty but at the same time relieved.
How was the movie…? That’s another riff. I’ll post it in an hour or two.
The Larry Crowne after-party was murder. Way too many bodies, too much noise, a terrible cavern-like atmosphere downstairs, grotesque house music…not a place of peace or fulfillment. The character known as Larry Crowne (i.e., the guy played by Tom Hanks) would have taken one look and turned around, gotten on his scooter and puttered down to the Piano Bar on Selma, which is what I did (along with the lady I was with). That was the way to go, all right. Seriously — the party was against everything that Larry Crowne tried to say and be.
Congratulations to Mark Gill, one of the more candid wise men of the indie production-distribution field, for his new gig as president of Millennium Films. The idea is to “produce and finance five to eight star-driven, wide-release films per year with budgets between $20 and $80 million” as long as Gill can convince his bosses — Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson — that this or that project is a good bet.
If you’ve been around for 20 years and are a member of the club, you will always land a job sooner or later.
I’ve been saying for a long while that superhero movies are a pestilence, and that the genre is more or less over in all senses of the term unless the superhero-film-in-question has been directed or produced by Chris Nolan or is named Thor or Iron Man.
I haven’t complained as persistently about mythological-medieval quest movies (wide-eyed innocents, cloaks, horses, shadowy forests) in the Joseph Campbell–J.R.R. Tolkien mode, partly because I feel that Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy exhausted all that jazz. Whatever juice it might have left will be re-exhausted by Jackson’s two Hobbitt films. The genre is totally over, which is to say more or less relegated to the family trade (which has always been a kind of death).
Tens of thousands of Joe Popcorn-type guys are looking at this trailer right now and going, “Oh, God….another one. Well, I guess I can take the kids.”
I’m good to go for the Larry Crowne scooter-swarm parade down Hollywood Blvd, which will start sometime around 6:45 or 7 pm. I don’t know how many scooters are going to take part, but me and my little white Chinese scooter will be a part of history tonight. I plan on taking some stills and video and posting it all tomorrow. I’ll also be attending the big-deal premiere, of course, for Tom Hanks’ film, which opens on 7.1.
During yesterday’s late-afternoon dinner at Katsuya for Ludivine Seigner, star of Love Crimes and costar of The Devil’s Double: (l. to r. rear) Greg Laemmle, L.A. Daily News‘ Bob Strauss, Lise De-Sablet of L.A.’s French Embassy; (l. to .r. front) Pete and Madelyn Hammond, Ludivine Sagnier, KCRW’s Gemma Dempsey and indie publicist veteran Marina Bailey, who arranged the dinner.
Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny, Guillermo del Toro, Marcia McWeeny — Sunday, 6.26, 10:45 pm.
Ludivine Seigner — Sunday, 6.26, 6:20 pm.
The great Guillermo del Toro told me a little something about Alfonso Cuaron‘s currently-shooting Gravity at last night’s Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark after-party. He said that Cuaron and dp Emmanuel Lubezki (a.k.a. “Chivo”) are again intending to push the cinematic envelope, although in a different way than they did with Children of Men. The 3D space-rescue drama costars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
Sandra Bullock, George Clooney within shouting distance of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity set.
I’ve gotten hold of a second draft of Cuaron’s script (written in ’09). If anyone has a more recent draft, please forward. The co-authors of a 2010 draft are reportedly Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron and Rodrigo Garcia Barcha.
The Wikipedia logline: “In Earth’s orbit, satellite debris hits a space station, destroying most of it and killing all but two astronauts. The remaining astronauts fight for survival and to return home.” One of the astronauts will be played by Bullock, apparently. I don’t know who Clooney plays, but let’s assume he’s the other astronaut in peril and nor some mission-control Ed Harris-type guy.
Several actresses were considered and/or romanced for Bullock’s role — Angelina Jolie (allegedly demanded her big fat $20 million fee), Natalie Portman (pregnancy interfered), Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Carey Mulligan, Sienna Miller, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Rebecca Hall, Olivia Wilde, etc.
Gravity will be released in 2012 by Warner Bros.
Yesterday morning Deadline‘s Nikki Finke posted a letter that Transformers 3 director Michael Bay recently sent to projectionists. The letter urged them to project the 3D version of the film at super-bright levels to combat the underwhelming “dark, dingy” appearance of 3D films that viewers have been complaining about.
“We have also created a new ‘Platinum 6 version‘ of Transformers,” Bay wrote, “for the ultimate in 3D experience, to be played in auditoriums capable of 6-foot lamberts of light on the screen (available to certified auditoriums only).”
Maybe I’m not understanding something about 3D light. The SMPTE standard for optimum desired light levels on 2D films is 16 foot lamberts, not 6. Maybe 6 foot lamberts is regarded as a good thing under 3D conditions, but in my world 6 foot lamberts isn’t satisfactory.
The obvious answer would be that the person who typed up Bay’s letter typed a typo and nobody caught it. Obviously not a biggie, but try and get someone at Paramount Pictures or at Bay’s agency, WME, to confirm or address this and say “uh, yeah, that does appear to be a typo — it should have said 16 and not 6. Thanks for catching it.” I’ve been trying to get an answer since 9 this morning and nobody will say anything.
So let’s just repeat that the foot-lambert information doesn’t sound right (to me anyway) and appears to be wrong and let it go at that.
And if you want an extra layer of evidence, Stanley Kubrick sent a letter to projectionists in 1975 about showing Barry Lyndon, and it said that the film should be shown “at no less than 15 foot lamberts and no more than 18.” Here’s a capture of the portion of the letter that applies:
I’ve decided, by the way, to see Transformers 3D at an IMAX 3D screening tomorrow night at IMAX headquarters in Santa Monica and not at one of the screenings happening today on the Paramount lot. I’m figuring the IMAX 3D will deliver much more impact, etc.
One of the unfortunate tasks for supporters of the First Amendment is that occasionally they’re obliged to stand up for it. Sometimes doing this doesn’t feel very good. Because sometimes it involves supporting creators and distributors of icky and odious ultra-violent movies and video games, which serve a termite-like function when it comes to diluting social-behavior standards that any morally decent society would want to stand by.
This is one thought, at least, in the wake of the Supreme Court having invalidated a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. The court said in a 7-2 ruling issued earlier today that the 2005 law violates the First Amendment.
“The State wishes to create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children,” the decision reads in part via TheWrap‘s Tim Molloy. “That is unprecedented and mistaken. This country has no tradition of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the Supremes essentially saying that no venal video- game content can be legally kept out of the hands of children? And in rendering this decision aren’t they basically stating that even the disgusting and unconscionable Japanese video game RapeLay needs to be protected from moral guardians of the state?
I agree that the state can’t and shouldn’t mandate moral content in entertainment and art, but there’s something sickening about courts and lawmakers giving a free hall pass to the makers of this grotesque diversion.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer dissented. I can’t believe I’m siding with Clarence Thomas.
“The law called for fining retailers up to $1,000 per game sold,” Molloy reports. “It covered games ‘in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being,’ if the violence is presented in a way that a ‘reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors.’
“The law never took effect because lower courts in 2005 and 2007 also said it violated free speech rights. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an enthusiastic backer of it, appealed it to the Supreme Court.”
Straight from Moscow, Drew McWeeny‘s Transformers 3 review posted this morning on Hitfix, and he’s calling it “easily the best film in the series” and “an overwhelming sensory experience [with] a solid hour-long action sequence in Chicago that uses everything Bay’s ever done before.”
Transformers 3 is basically the latest pass at the kind of “personal story on an apocalyptic scale that Bay loves to try to tell, and that other guys like Roland Emmerich and James Cameron and even Steven Spielberg love to do,” McWeeny writes. “And this is the best version of it that Bay’s made so far.
“For the first time since Avatar, I am going to recommend that you find the biggest and best 3D theater you can find and buy yourself a ticket, because Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, especially seen in IMAX 3D, is [the shit]. The sound mix alone is more exciting than anything in the billion-dollar-bore of Pirates 4. This is gigantic action we’ve never seen before, and Bay’s reaction to shooting and cutting his film for 3D is to get better at what he does. It raised his game, and as a result, I feel like we just saw a dare thrown down by one of Hollywood’s biggest action specialists: ‘Top this.’
“The Chicago action finale is an astonishing mix of physical staging, live-action stunt work, location shooting, and visual effects, and there comes a point where I’m really not sure what was built, what was real, what’s totally fake…and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the stakes in the film are crystal clear, the purpose of the characters is laid out carefully, and the sequence just keeps building and building until finally it comes down to three characters and a bridge.
“And since it’s a Transformers movie, I’m pleased to see that the three characters who are involved in that ending are the right three. The focus in this film finally feels like it’s on the right things and the right moments. If the Chicago sequence was the only great set piece in the film, I’d still say it’s worth seeing, but the movie actually features impressive sequences all the way through, including an early encounter with Shockwave in Chernobyl and a really creepy scene where a bird-like Decepticon hunts down and murders all the humans who have helped the Decepticons over the years.
“And through it all, it feels to me like Bay is trying new things, both in the shooting and the cutting. It’s not a radical re-invention…it’s still recognizably Michael Bay. But the small differences in the rhythms of his shooting and his cutting make a big difference in the overall impact.”
Memo to Brad Bird, Bad Robot and Paramount: Please don’t give us another effing Mission Impossible Tom Cruise franchise flick! Don’t create action sequences based on the principle that you have to top the last similar-type sequence in the last big budget-busting action movie…begging you! Just figure out what your movie is about and do what feels right for your own purposes and then play it real and to hell with the competition.
I know you won’t do this. I know you’re going to be playing the same old “top the last action movie” game. I know that big studio tentpole actioners are the sworn enemies of movies like Drive. And I know exactly how I ‘m going to feel as I sit there in the 8th row at the all-media, getting bludgeoned and pounded into submission.
Watch the Italian bootleg trailer (i/e., “bootleggia“) and tell me if my suspicions seem correct or excessive or whatever.
Directed by Bird-o with a story by J.J. Abrams and Tom Cruise, obviously starring Cruise as Ethan Hunt with Ving “Mr. Hillbilly Rapist soon to be in agonizing pain” Rhames, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner. Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) and Michael Nyqvist (the ’09 version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol opens on 12.16.11.
I wrote last year about the death of my Siamese cat Zak from pancreatic cancer at age 15. He stopped eating toward the end, prompting me to put Gerber’s baby food on his nose so he would at least lick it off. He was obviously finished. Any country vet would have taken one look and said, “Take him home and make him comfortable, and if you want to put him to sleep towards the end, we’ll do that for you. I’m sorry, but he hasn’t long to live.”
When I took Zak to TLC Animal Hospital in West Hollywood they managed to extract $600 or $700 for observation and stabilization fees before putting him to sleep. Caring shysters like TLC know full well that pet owners want to do something (i.e., spend something) when their pet is dying, and so they step right up and show love and concern for your pet and offer consolation to the owner[s] and get that money. They’re trustworthy professionals, but they know how to vacuum your wallet.
I’m mentioning this because a couple I’m friendly with just lost their dog. He was diagnosed with cancer about two and a half months ago. They were told by a vet that the cancer couldn’t be cured but that the tumor could be removed and that this would probably buy their dog some time, perhaps as much as a year. So they dropped $10 grand on the operation and subsequent medical attention, and the poor dog stopped breathing a few hours ago, just like that.
Are you going to tell me that the vet didn’t suspect that the removal of the tumor wouldn’t really help that much? Are you going to tell me that the vet didn’t exploit the emotions of the couple?
If you were a vet and you knew the dog/cat was a goner, would you persuade the owner to pay for an expensive operation that would maybe extend the pet’s life for a couple of months but tell them it might keep the pet alive for a year, just to keep them sweet and in a spending frame of mind? If you were a pet owner and you had $10 grand to spend on a pet but you knew it would only extend the pet’s life for a couple of months, would you drop the money or just take the pet home and make him/her feel loved until the time came to put him/her to sleep?