If the tag line for the Deliver Us From Evil poster used “New York Police Department” instead of “NYPD,” the copy would read “Inspired By The Actual Accounts Of A New York Police Department Sergeant.” So why does this version say “…An NYPD Sergeant”? Am I missing something? Writing and grammar are what I do for a living, and this isn’t right. On top of which I don’t particularly want to see or know about Scott Derrickson and Jerry Bruckheimer‘s horror film, which opens on 7.2.
“If you’ve ever done any independent filmmaking, you might have heard a producer say: ‘Good, on time, on budget: pick two.'” — from Da7e’s 6.27 Latino Review piece called Star Wars: December 2015 or Bust.” The origins are…I don’t know what they are but there’s a Wikipedia topic called the Project Management Triangle. I could spend hours going through all these links.
John Carney‘s harmless, almost entirely pleasant Begin Again (Weinstein Co.) opened Friday in New York and Los Angeles. On 3.28.14 I called it an “agreeably dreamy, up-spirited Manhattan street musical…nowhere near as good or authentic feeling as Carney’s Once but not half bad, and some of the music is genuinely on-target and enlivening.” I also said the following about costar Adam Levine, who plays Keira Knightley‘s famous musician boyfriend: “Not good-looking enough, for one thing. I also hated Levine’s dress sense and his fake serenity and slightly detectable air of entitlement. (He’s the lead vocalist for Maroon 5 and a rich entrepeneur who’s marketed his own fragrance and menswear collection.) I also felt a tiny bit alienated from Knightley for being with Levine in the first place. How come I could see through this asshole right away and she couldn’t? I began to feel repelled by images of Knightley (or anyone for that matter) having sex with Levine. I honestly wanted to see him get hit by a bus or die in a plane crash, or at the very least get beaten up in a fight. Levine is rat poison.” Similar or opposing reactions?
What’s the nicest way to tell an employee of an apparel store that you’d rather just browse than be helped (i.e., hustled)? I used to just smile and say “I’m good” but lately I’ve been half-heartedly raising my hand in a friendly kind of “stop” or “no offense but not now” gesture. About an hour ago I was a teeny bit snippy with a girl in a shop on Robertson. She said the usual “Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?” and I said “Well, yeah, but it’s kinda between me and me for the time being…no offense.” A few weeks ago I was tired or something but I was also a bit of an asshole when this question was asked. “Actually, I don’t really know what I want,” I said with a vague smile. “I guess I’m kinda hoping that a salesperson will come along and make suggestions and nudge me into buying this or that. I mean, I can’t seem to focus on my own and I have a little coin to throw around so…uhm, could you help me decide?” I said this with enough sincerity that the woman wasn’t sure how to respond. My pet peeve is the hurt farewell. After doing my best to ignore the sales staff I’ll head out the front door, and just before I’m out of earshot one of the sales girls will chirp out “Bye!” in a way that means “well, you certainly weren’t very communicative and you definitely didn’t buy anything and that kind of hurts our feelings, but we can roll with that!” When they try this I always turn around and look at them in a way that says “you’ll survive.”
There was a fair amount of talk a couple of years ago about Andy Serkis deserving a Best Actor (or Best Supporting Actor) nomination for his performance as Ceasar in Rupert Wyatt‘s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Which of course SAG voters ignored because they feel threatened by the idea of digitally-assisted performances. Which of course is delusional. Hollywood actors have been cool with old-fashioned theatrical makeup for decades but not digital makeup, which is all that WETA is providing here. If you ask me Serkis’s follow-up performance in Matt Reeves‘ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is even more impressive than his work in Rise because it’s a bit sadder with a more deft and gentler touch — a subtle, carefully measured portrayal of a leader who has the weight and the fate of the ape world on his shoulders. It once again seems an entirely reasonable if not necessary thing to state that Serkis again deserves a Best Actor nomination. SAG blue-hairs will probably never understand that Serkis alone is doing the performing here. 80-plus years ago AMPAS members managed to accept the fact that Frederic March and not the makeup guy was the performer in 1931’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which led them to give him a Best Actor Oscar (along with The Champ‘s Wallace Beery). Try it again — Serkis’s performance is not about motion capture or performance capture. The WETA guys are simply providing a kind of augmentation that’s no different than a makeup or wardrobe person applying a fake beard or putty nose or offering the right kind of apparel.
In the same 2.28.05 column in which I lamented the disrespectful treatment of Marlon Brando on a just-aired Oscar telecast, I ran a not very prescient piece called “Really Big Change.” It began as follows: “Somewhere down the road, movies will probably open simultaneously in both theatres and on rental-only DVDs. Or maybe through some kind of broadband download service. Maybe not all the movies at first, but some and then eventually more.” Rental-only DVDs on a film’s opening day? The DVD market was fated to dry up even then and I wasn’t even smelling it. But HE reader Rich Swank saw it all and then some.
“That was an excellent piece on day-and-date DVD releases, but I don’t think you went far enough,” he wrote. “You alluded to new technologies and delivery systems, but I think that’s the whole ballgame. The future is in broadband, on-demand delivery and Digital Video Recorders (DVR). And unless something changes in the near future, the studios are about to assure that’s the case.
“As you’re probably aware, a VHS/Beta-type war is brewing over the next generation of hi-def DVDs. Roughly half the studios (with Sony as the team leader) are supporting Blu-Ray; the other half (led by Warner Bros.) is supporting HD-DVD.
“Most consumers probably won’t make the switch right away, especially since both systems are backwards compatible with current DVDs. But the format war, if it is drawn-out enough, will likely scare off the ‘early adopters.’ This will further delay penetration of the new technology into homes.
Tuesday, 7.1, will mark the tenth anniversary of Marlon Brando‘s passing. I’m not proud to admit that I’m mentioning this only because I happened to notice last night that the New Beverly Cinema is screening a couple of his films in mid-July as a kind of tribute. What does it say about his legacy that I, a lifelong Brando worshipper, needed this little nudge? Don’t ask. Everything and everyone turns to dust sooner or later, but it breaks my heart to think that in the minds of most Millenials Brando’s legacy probably doesn’t even exist. People in their teens, 20s and early 30s regard the ’80s as ancient history so do the math on a guy who peaked for a little more than seven years between late ’47 and early ’55, and then bounced back in ’72 and ’73 with The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris.
The fact is that for audience members like myself (and not his industry friends, acquaintances and colleagues) Brando began to gradually wither and water himself down right after this bounce-back period, and he stayed in that slow downturn mode for 30 or 31 years. So when he finally went it almost felt like an afterthought.