Tom Hardy needs to radiate this kind of attitude and energy in his next film — lithe, fleet and fancy-free. He plays too many brutes — The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior, Lawless. He’s best when he’s playing smart and sharp — Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, whatsisname in Inception. It’s impossible play smart and sharp in any McG film, and was doubly so when it came to This Means War.
In a 7.27 Audio Visual Club interview, Killer Joe director William Friedkin tells Sam Adams that the first French Connection Bluray — the wretched, bleachy-toned version that came out in February 2009 — was the result of technical errors by Fox Home Video and that Friedkin didn’t know how bad it was until dp Owen Roizman showed him a commercial copy. This brazenly contradicts Friedkin’s vigorous defense of this disc when it first came out, of course.
Adams: So what was your reaction to the criticisms of the French Connection Bluray? You personally re-timed the colors for Bluray, and some people felt you’d defaced a masterpiece.
Friedkin: “Oh, the French Connection Bluray, the master that we made was absolutely perfect. Then when Fox took it out to reproduce it, mass production, it goes through four different companies. It got screwed up badly, and I didn’t know that. I had only seen the master; I never saw any of the playback copies. And Owen Roizman, the cameraman, got a copy at Best Buy and said it looked like shit! He denounced it. I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He brought his copy in, and we ran it next to the master, and he was right. The prints were badly made. So we remade them, he and I supervised a new version of the Blu-ray, which went into a Best Buy exclusive, for I think six months, and then it’ll go broad — it’ll replace the other one. What I learned was that Fox, when they put that DVD out, there was a little warning inside the box that said, ‘This may not play well on your home receiver. If it doesn’t, write to w-w-w dot so-and-so, so-and-so. We’ll send you a disc that will make your own playback receiver compatible.’ This was like a caveat emptor. And Roizman was right. The copies were all over the place. That’s not a perfect process, either. We made new ones that should be great, because we had a different company do the mass release. They’re at Best Buy, and when their exclusive expires, they’ll be everywhere.”
Friedkin also says that the ownership of Sorcerer is still hard to pin down, but that it has something to with a defunct “tax-dodge” company called CIC.
Adams: “You’ve made films that were successful and films that weren’t, but it seems like the failure of Sorcerer is particularly painful for you.”
Friedkin: “All of my films are not successful. I don’t have the same affection for all of them. Sorcerer has been a noose around my neck since 1977, but I can’t let it die that way. The films that you make are very much like your children or someone you feel very close to. Not necessarily a relative. You would do everything you could to save them. And that’s what I’m doing. It’s all in God’s hands, and I know that. Believe me, when I heard that both studios were claiming that they didn’t own the film and they didn’t know who did, my first reaction was, ‘Oh, the hell with it. Let me just let it die.’ And then something else kicked in, you know, where I can’t do that. So I have no idea how it’s going to wind up, but if it does wind up that either I can get them to put it out or somebody else, it’ll be out there for whoever wants to see it. That’s all.”
Adams: “It’s always been true, but it seems especially so now that a film is forgotten if it’s not in circulation on DVD, let alone available in a nice new 35mm print.”
Friedkin: “There are no 35mm prints. A 35 print has a shelf-life of about two years before it starts to fade and die. You take The Godfather, Paramount’s crown jewel. A couple of years ago they went to make a Bluray of it, they went into their vaults to get the negative, and it had all faded. In their own vaults! Because that’s the shelf life of a 35. I had a print of Sorcerer. We put it up on reels, projected it, and it was all red! But Paramount had made a brand-new print of Sorcerer a year ago for the American Cinematheque. Or ‘Cinema-drek,’ I’m not sure of the pronunciation. They ran it there; it was a full house, and lines around the block. I was there; the print was beautiful; I did a q & a. Now they say they don’t own the film and they don’t know who does. And I know what’s going on. I know what’s behind it.”
Adams: “Which is what, in your opinion?”
Friedkin: “They’re trying to get rid of all 35s, by hook or crook. They don’t even want to have a bookkeeper up there logging this stuff in and out. What both studios did when they made it, they put it into ownership by an offshore company. It was a company called CIC, Cinema International Corporation, which was only licensed to release films overseas, not in the U.S. That company is out of business. They folded it and they now each have their own distribution, Paramount and Universal. That was like a tax-dodge thing, CIC. And now that’s gone, and I think they have a bookkeeping problem about admitting where the hell it is. A lot of films got caught up in this. A friend of mine at Lincoln Center tried to get Blade Runner and was told they didn’t own it and they didn’t know who did! It was weird, because I happen to know the guy who owns it. He’s a close personal friend. He’s a guy named Bud Yorkin, who with Jerry Perenchio put up the completion bond for Blade Runner. When the film was made and went $8 million over [budget], they had to come up with $8 million in return for which they owned all the ancillary rights: T-shirts, toys, whatever, video. They own the sequel and remake rights, so they’re developing a prequel to Blade Runner. But the studio won’t tell you that Bud Yorkin owns Blade Runner and they don’t.”
Adams: “You’re obviously enthusiastic about getting your films out on the DVD.”
Freidkin: “I love it. DVD and Bluray is the real American Cinematheque. Without DVD or Bluray, millions of people will not have seen some of the greatest classics made around the world. All sorts of films, good or bad, they’re now available, and not only in an accessible format, but in a terrific reproduction. I love Bluray and DVD, and I watch them all the time. And I don’t know what’s playing at my local cinema. Or care.”
We all know that Rotten Tomatoes can be a little sloppy or imprecise in determining if this or that review is “positive,” but that a red tomato is supposed to indicate friendliness of one kind or another. By this standard, it appears that if it weren’t for McLatchy’s Roger Moore, L.A. Times critic Betsy Sharkey, Box-Office‘s James Rocchi, Film.com’s Laremy Legel and San Jose Mercy News critic Randy Myers, The Watch would have a zero rating instead of a 10.
Relaxed, settled in, self-aware, comfortable in her skin. If only there was a nice, easy YouTube version of the long Cloud Atlas trailer that broke today, all would be cool. But there’s not because of stupid, pain-in-the-ass exclusivity deals with EW or whomever.
People‘s Michelle Tauber reported earlier today that in the wake of yesterday’s discovery and admission of infidelity on the part of Kristen Stewart, the monumentally ungifted Robert Pattinson has given in to the usual feelings of anger and pride that come to all cuckolds and packed his bags and moved out of the LA home he was sharing with KStew.
A bigger, stronger, more confident man might have gotten through this. Once it’s been admitted to and apologized for, infidelity is simply an opportunity for a re-negotiation. If RPatz had played his cards differently he could have cut a new deal that might have worked out. Unless, as I wrote yesterday, KStew fooled around with Rupert Sanders with the expectation of getting caught because she subconsciously wanted out over concerns that RPatz is on the way down and she doesn’t want to be Vicki Lester/Esther Blodgett. In which case (and I’m not assuming anything), RPatz made the right call.
The Vizio remote offers visual adjustment options that the Time Warner cable remote doesn’t, so I really need them both. The Oppo and Sherwood Bluray remotes are essential, of course, and the Samsung sound bar remote is vital because sound for regular cable plus the two Bluray players feeds through the sound bar. But this is the end. I’ll never have more than five remotes. My fear is that I’ll misplace one or more so I always keep them in the same spot.
I just want to tell you something that I think you should hear. I know something, and I could tell you how I know but you wouldn’t believe me or you’d think I’m nuts so let’s skip that part. But I know this and I want you to really try and…well, not reject it outright. Just let what I’m going to say hang there, at least. Just let in hang in the air and be still.
I’m eccentric, okay, but not any crazier than you or anyone else in your circle, and I’m telling you this because you have a potentially rich and rewarding life ahead of you, and possibly even a beautiful life. Really. You do. I’m telling you this because…because I want you to try and listen because this is a good thing, not a bad thing, what I’m about to say. I’m telling you that unless you change some things you’re going…I’m sorry but you’re going to be dead a little more than two months from now, and it’s completely avoidable. No, I’m serious. I know, I know…but believe me, I know.
Stop taking sedatives, start working out with a personal trainer, stop drinking and start eating more vegetables. And stop with the basket-case behavior. You’re a superb actress, you’re relatively young, and the ’60s as you know them are about to change. In a sense we’re still part of the late ’50s, but huge convulsions are about to happen socially and culturally, and one of them is that in just a few years women are going to start holding each other and organizing and celebrating themselves and telling those paternalistic shits who’ve been suppressing your spirit and treating you like an object and giving you such grief where to go, and really, I swear…you just have to get healthy and tough it out and you’ll be part of a different world and everything will start to change.
And you’ll be amazed. Just hang in there and try and love yourself a bit more, and forget about the Rat Pack and JFK and that whole demimonde. You’re just going through a bad patch.
Two or three days ago I read a comment that post-Aurora “movie theatres have become the new airplanes.” That alluded to a certain air of psychological anxiety or uncertainty about a slight possibility that a nutter or two might crawl out of the woodwork and attempt a copycat shooting. There are always a certain percentage of Nervous Nellies in any situation, but are relatively sane and stable people actually toying with that fantasy, even on some deep repressed level?
A little while ago Nikki Finke reported that “NRG research is currently showing that 20% to 25% of the domestic moviegoing audience is still very hesitant to go [to The Dark Knight Rises] this weekend because of the Colorado theater shooting.” Great — it’ll be that much easier to get an IMAX seat on Saturday or Sunday.
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘s Ruby Sparks opened yesterday with a D (74% positive) from Rotten Tomatoes and an E (60% positive) from Metacritic. Presumably an assortment of HE readers have seen it by now — the forum is yours. I’m not feeling much of a current out there, but maybe I need to pay closer attention.
I chickened out in my brief 7.19 review by not commenting on Paul Dano‘s lead performance. It doesn’t really invite you “in” because Dano doesn’t have the easy, confident charm that a romantic film (even a curious one) needs, and because there’s something a little too character-quirky or dorky or super-sensitive about the guy.
I didn’t say anything before because Dano and I both come from the same Connecticut town (Wilton) and I’ve run into him four or five times socially and like him personally and didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He’s an excellent actor but I don’t see myself in him. He has his own particular energy, but he lacks that cocksure vibe, that attitude that results in many of us saying, “This guy’s cool…I want to hang with him a bit.”
Yesterday CNN political research director Robert Yoon reported that Robert Downey, Jr. has donated $40 grand to Barack Obama ‘s campaign. On top of which he dropped a big amount attending George Clooney’s fundraising party for Obama a couple of months ago.
I’m trying to figure how this squares with my December 2011 piece about Downey allegedly being a conservative and a philosophical ally of Mel Gibson. I stand by what I wrote and certainly by what Downey told N.Y. Times reporter David Carr four years ago. Maybe Downey is just one of those guys who is large and contains multitudes or harbors a split personality or…whatever, compartmentalizes various philosophies or something.
Bill Maher has give $1 million to Obama’s campaign, of course, and so has Morgan Freeman.
Other flush Obama contributors (if you want to call a $40,000 or $50,000 donation the sign of a flush bank account) include Bette Midler ($50,000 in June, $60,000 to date), Midler’s actor husband Martin Von Haselberg ($50,000), Billy Crystal ($40,000), Kirk Douglas ($40,000), Eddie Murphy ($40,000), Tom Hanks ($35,800 in May), Rita Wilson ($35,800 in May) and Anne Hathaway ($25,000).
Lesser Hollywood contributors include Jamie Lee Curtis ($2000 in June, $14,000 to date), Bridget Fonda ($600 in June, $2000 to date), Jason Sudeikis ($500), Sam Waterston ($2250 in June, $5000 to date), Olivia Wilde ($2500), Maria Bello ($2500), Topher Grace ($500) and Bernadette Peters ($250).
It’s worth noting that producer Jerry Bruckheimer has given Mitt Romney‘s campaign $40,000. Remember that when you’re forking over your $15 bucks to see The Lone Ranger.
How jazzy and spirit-lifting will the forthcoming 69th Venice Film Festival be? All we can do is spitball at this point, but you have to regard the word of regular Venice Film Festival-attending, emotionally invested critic-journos with a grain of salt. You’re probably better off listening to someone like myself, someone who’s never attended this festival and doesn’t give that much of a shit one way or the other. I’m strictly a Telluride-Toronto-New York kind of guy these days.
Honestly? The only thing that has made me snap to attention is the rumored/expected announcement that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master will have its world debut on the Lido.
Otherwise it feels/looks/seems like a mid-level meh festival…to me anyway. If you want another opinion, ask Guy Lodge.
As expected, Terrence Malick‘s unrated, distributor-seeking To the Wonder, “about a couple in a crisis after returning from a pilgrimage to a holy site in Italy,” will play Venice. The drama, which or may not be laden with internal dialogue-whispers, misty dreamscapes and a tossed-salad structure, costars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem.
Brian De Palma‘s Passion, a remake of the middling Love Crime with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, will play the Lido. Unless the tectonic plates have shifted and the world has totally re-ordered itself, it will disappoint, or should I say it will meet the expectations of anyone who knows what the term “late DePalma” or “21st Century DePalma” means? The man peaked in the ’70s and ’80s, hung on to some degree in the ’90s, and is now all but over.
Ramin Bahrani‘s At Any Price, starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron, will play in compettion.
Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep (aging ’60s radical chased around by dogged pain-in-the-ass journalist pursuing him) will screen out of compettion. As will Jonathan Demme‘s Enzo Avitabile Music Life, a doc, and Spike Lee’s Bad 25, about the 25th anni of Michael Jackson‘s Bad album (i.e., “your butt is mine”).
Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers, which stars James Franco as a rapper named ‘Alien’ preying on a couple of teenaged girls…forget it.
Olivier Assayas‘ Something in the Air.
Susanne Bier‘s All You Need is Love.
Marco Bellocchio‘s Dormant Beauty.
Daniele Cipri‘s E stato il figlio.
Takeshi Kitano‘s Outrage: Beyond…sure thing!
Kim Ki-duk‘s Pieta.
The Venice Film Festival will open with Mira Nair‘s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, but the phrase “starring Kate Hudson” instantly takes it down a few pegs. Hudson cannot be redeemed…ever.
Amos Gitai‘s Carmel…never dismiss Gitai!
A doc by Jury president Michael Mann called Witness: Libya.