Ben Lewin‘s The Sessions (Fox Searchlight, 10.26) “is a touching, thoughtful and comforting film about touching, needing, being open and the finding of fulfillment,” I wrote on 1.24.12. “It’s an emotionally erotic variation on the themes in My Left Foot, The Sea Inside and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly with a little dash of Who’s Life Is It Anyway?. John Hawkes will almost certainly get some awards action eight to ten months hence; ditto Helen Hunt.”
“The only thing the film (i.e., Lewin) lacks is a strong visual imagination. Any film about a paralyzed protagonist needs to somehow free itself from that immobility. It can’t just be a series of static interiors or the viewer will start to be hemmed in to some degree.”
Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon‘s The Central Park Five will play Toronto and may — I say “may” — turn up in Telluride. Obviously another miscarriage-of-justice doc, etc. The trailer shows nothing but almost complete blackness for the first minute or so — ballsy or boring? There’s a pre-Toronto screening happening in Manhattan later this week but not, apparently, in Los Angeles.
“In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of brutally beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. New York Mayor Ed Koch called it the ‘crime of the century’ and it remains to date one of the biggest media stories of our time. The five each spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a shocking confession from a serial rapist and DNA evidence proved their innocence.”
“The enormity of their flat brain, the enormity of their stupidity, is just overwhelming. Try to look [at one] in the eye with great intensity, and the intensity of stupidity that is looking back at you is just amazing.” This is Werner Herzog talking about chickens in a clip directed by Siri Bunford. I naturally associated the quote with various biped encounters I’ve had over the years in…aahh, let’s say sports bars.
This Nathaniel Hawthorne/”Scarlet Letter” Miracle Whip ad is about four months old, but it’s been playing on MSNBC the last couple of days. Farcical acting, of course, but handsome visual values, atmospherically sophisticated — as nicely done as Ridley Scott‘s The Duellists. Cheers to mcgarrybowen of Chicago, chief creative officer Ned Crowley, Park Pictures and director Joachim Back.
On the left, the real Dwight D. Eisenhower — 34th President of the U.S., a Republican and a flaming activist liberal by today’s wacko-conservative standards. In the middle Henry Grace, who was chosen to play Ike in The Longest Day for obvious reasons. And on the right, Robin Williams as Eisenhower in Lee Daniels‘ The Butler — not joke casting, exactly, but obviously not to be taken “seriously” either.
Yesterday morning Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet posted a Collateral location map with assistance provided by Movie Locations and Seeing Stars. It reminded me of the one absolute rule when it comes to Los Angeles film locations — if at all possible, never shoot west of Highland or north of Playa del Rey. But the Valley is okay.
What was the last genuinely cool film that was mostly shot on the west side? The Long Goodbye? Plenty of ’80s, ’90s and aught films surely qualify.
Before I watched this I was almost ready to use the headline “All Master-ed Out” but then wait, whoa…hold up. This one has sex, audacity. energy, menace, flicking tongues, cops, fisticuffs. Forget the Piss Christ one-sheet that half-smothered interest and those “jeez, uhm, I think I need to see it again” Music Box reviews. The Master is back to urgent, bracing, necessary.
That aside, the apparent decision by the Weinstein Co. and Paul Thomas Anderson to blow off the Telluride Film Festival (8.30 through 9.3) is a highly bothersome thing, if not a tiny bit tragic. It’s been said that for the second year in a row that this much-loved Rocky Mountain festival feels a little light in the loafers. It needs at least one cold-cocking power hitter from the auteurist ranks, and the absence of both The Master and Terrence Malick‘s To The Wonder is being felt and meditated upon, let me tell you.
A third hunt-for-Osama-bin-Laden film, possibly from Steven Spielberg? On top of John Stockwell‘s Code Name: Geronimo, a hunt-for-bin-Laden film that the Weinstein Co. may release sometime this fall, and Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal‘s Zero Dark Thirty, a highly anticipated film about the same topic that Sony is opening on 12.19? Two is a stretch — three is ridiculous.
Here’s a good riff about Shia LeBeouf’s bootlegging character, Jack, in John Hillcoat‘s Lawless, written by New Yorker critic Anthony Lane: “LeBeouf has the expression of a panicking puppy and a name like an Islamic steak house…but he gives Hillcoat’s film a pulse and a purpose that it sorely needs.
“Jack is the runt of the litter who longs to be top dog and the sheen of desperation on Labeouf’s face, as he hares off in a truck with a cargo of alcohol or poses for a photograph like a proper outlaw, tells us everything about the cravings of a small-time crooks.”
The only way I’ll be paying attention to the goings-on in Tampa this week is if somebody blurts out a gaffe of some kind. It’ll show up on Twitter and we’ll all take it from there. I tried to watch some pre-convention discussions with Andrea Mitchell this morning and I realized right away that I can’t do this. It’s pollution. It’s gas.
Tomorrow Lars Von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac, “a wild and poetic story of a woman’s erotic journey from birth to the age of 50,” will begin filming in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany (northeast of Dusseldorf). This means that costar Shia LeBeouf, who has said he’ll be performing real-deal sex scenes with star Charlotte Gainsbourg (or perhaps with someone or something else), is now in Germany and almost certainly going through a little pre-performance anxiety as he paces back and forth in his hotel room. Who wouldn’t be?
The thing to remember is to not repeat the Cillian Murphy full-frontal experience in 28 Days Later, and that means following the golden rule, to wit: between bouts of athletic engagement, always maintain a state of maximum tumescence in repose. In other words an unclothed actor, as Sid Krassman put it in Terry Southern‘s “Blue Movie,” needs “a little heft” to start with before getting down and going to town. To not have that could be deeply embarassing and perhaps even career-wounding.
A Trust Nordisk press release announced today that Nymphomaniac, which costars Jamie Bell, Connie Nielsen, Mia Goth, Jens Albinus, Severin von Hoensbroech, Peter Gilberg Cotton, Nicolas Bro, Tabea Tarbiat, Janine Romanowski, Jesper Christensen, Tania Carlin, Felicity Gilbert and Shanti Roney, is scheduled to last 11 weeks, mostly in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany and for a shorter period in Flanders, Belgium. Pic is expected to be released in 2013.