The broken-mirror moment in The Apartment (starting at 4:10) is a great bit because it shows a major character absorbing a major plot point (and realizing where a significant secondary character is coming from) without dialogue. Of course, the linkage between Shirley MacLaine‘s character and the broken mirror has been set up a couple of scenes previously. What 21st Century films have conveyed something strong and surprising about a major character in a similar way? I’m asking.
By my sights the two biggest Bluray embarassments of 2011 were (a) the Great Ishtar Delay Saga (which I explained in detail on 4.26.11) and (b) the Great West Side Story “Fade to Black During the Overture” MGM Home Video Snafu (which I reported on 10.25.11).
For the first time in my professional life I’m thinking I could squeeze in (i.e., afford) the first four days of the Palm Springs Film Festival (1.5 through 1.16). I’ve submitted my press credential application and have found a motel that rents rooms for $65 per night. I’d like to attend from Thursday, 1.5 through Sunday, 1.8. Salmon Fishing in Yemen, Turn Me On Dammit, The Flowers of War, Cafe de Flore, The Island President, Elite Squad and a George Clooney chat.
An excerpt from a 12.30 article by Matt Brennan on Anne Thompson‘s Indiewire page: “More than The Artist, the Oscar frontrunner, Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants — the only other legitimate contender — presents emotion as complicated, world-worn, human.
“Don’t get me wrong; The Artist is a lovely little film. It’s a nostalgic blast from the past and impeccably made, the very kind of perfect that The Descendants is not. But whereas The Artist is a slip of a film, a shiny bauble without much weight, The Descendants takes on the heft of life’s messy actualities. Though my real favorite of the year, The Tree of Life, has no chance of winning (if it even snags a nomination), it’d behoove the Academy to stand behind a film so fierce, and funny, and wise as The Descendants.
“Compared to The Artist, it’s not the easy choice, but it’s the right one.”
In an intro to a video interview with The Artist costars Jean Dujardin and Bernice Bejo, Sasha Stone wrote the clip “gives you an idea of what it’s like to interview them, lovely people that they are.” Well…what else are they going to be? Are they going to be sullen or snippy or evasive? Are they going to channel Tommy Lee Jones (whom I love for not doing the usual gushy-smiley during junket interviews)?
Dujardin and Bejo may be the nicest people in the world when they’re not being interviewed by entertainment journalists. I’ve spoken to Dujardin and he’s a very likable fellow. But that’s what movie actors do. They perform and they charm. As we all (try to) do when we’re up to anything public. Nobody wants to deal with unpleasant types, but what’s the point of saying anyone on the interview circuit is “lovely” when they have no choice but to play that part? Whenever I’m at a party and somebody says about someone else “oh, he/she is so nice!,” I always want to say “well, that’s nice but what does that really mean?”
“When admirers asked Mack Sennett how he went about creating his classic silent comedies, he would describe the basic principle as ‘one thing leads to another.’ Far from being a comedy, A Separation is an enthralling drama — with some kinship to Kramer vs. Kramer — and the subtitled Persian dialogue is fluent and copious. All the same, one thing leads to another with such ease and inexorable logic that the script could have been created by the filmmaker taking dictation from the people on screen.
“And as long as I’ve invoked the name of Mack Sennett, I should also note that everyone having their reasons is a maxim most famously enunciated by Jean Renoir, who might have recognized his own spaciousness of spirit in the film’s generosity toward its conflicting and conflicted characters.” –from Joe Morgenstern‘s 12.30 Wall Street Journal review.
Hollywood Reporter award-season columnist Scott Feinberg posted a “contender castoffs” piece last night — a look at 13 of the films “that many thought, at one time or another, would factor into this year’s awards race but never did.” But there are only two…no, three…okay, four that have my interest.
These are (1) Terrence Davies‘ The Deep Blue Sea (which I missed in Toronto); (2) Walter Salles‘ On The Road (it can’t be that bad if it’s from the Motorcycle Diaries maestro); (3) John Hillcoat‘s Wettest County; and (4) Lasse Hallstrom‘s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (another Toronto miss).
I also saw Sarah Polley‘s vaguely unsatisfying but decently composed and well acted Take This Waltz in Toronto; ditto Francis Coppola‘s Twixt, which had some nice spooky atmosphere but is mostly disposable. I also saw Barrymore in Toronto and loved Christopher Plummer‘s virtuoso performance. I missed Toronto screenings of Eye of the Storm and Friends With Kids.
Feinberg summarizes the Butter situation in his piece; I saw it in Telluride and basically panned it.