In a 6.28 piece about the arrival of Zak, an 11 week-old ragdoll kitten, I wrote that occasionally foul-tempered Mouse (a.k.a., “Fatty”) and even good-natured Aura were hissing and very pissed off about this. Well, a month has passed and two things have happened. Aura has calmed down and is more or less okay with Zak, but Mouse has turned foul. He’s impossible. He won’t stop with the growling and the hissing and has more or less turned into a complete asshole. When he’s inside, I mean. He’s warm and friendly when I see him outside but his personality flips over when we’re in the pad because of Zak’s proximity. Mouse won’t sleep or hang out here — he only comes in for food and then growls and hisses and won’t stop kvetching until I let him out. He really hates me for bringing Zak into his realm, and he absolutely refuses to chill about it. But that’s what life asks of us now and then. Bend with the wind, go with the flow. I feel badly that Mouse has become an outside cat — pretty close to feral. No comforts of home, no TV-watching, no lolling around, no purring. I’m thinking of buying him a cat igloo so he can at least sleep in it from time to time. It’s rough. I figured he’d eventually adapt but he just won’t.
Mutt-and-Jeff comedies are always a little funnier, I think, when the characters are older than usual unless, of course, they’re playing serious dumbasses, in which case it’s not as funny as it could or should be. But what works, I think, is when one of the characters is in the grip of genuine self-loathing, and yet the kind of self-loathing that’s been pushed so far down that he’s not even aware that it’s there. Jason Bateman and Billy Crudup appear to be in their mid 40s or thereabouts. In ten years we’re going to see comedies about guys in their 50s still trying to grow up and act like adults.
An excerpt from Glenn Kenny‘s Phaidon/Cahiers Du Cinema’s “Anatomy of an Actor” book about Robert De Niro. Except that…well, the portion I’m interested in is lifted from the N.Y. Times. No biggie. Just saying.
“It was understood [during the shooting of Midnight Run] that Charles Grodin might have some opportunity to improvise. The ‘night boxcar scene,’ as Grodin calls it, was, he said, improvised entirely. The situation begins with Grodin shutting a boxcar door on De Niro’s face in an effort to escape him. De Niro, in the role of Jack Walsh, promptly boards the car from the other side — enraged.
“But, Grodin said of the scene, ‘We knew it had to end with De Niro revealing something personal about himself’ — the history of a wristwatch that has sentimental value. ‘How do you get to that point in a couple of minutes where he’s going to reveal himself? What do you say?’
Leaving aside the uninspired-bordering-on-cheeseball cover design of those Cahiers du Cinema “Anatomy Of” profile books (tinted and bendayed closeup of actor/actress’s face with ransom-note lettering on upper-left portion), where does the art director find the arrogance to paste the author’s name in a point-size so small you can’t even read it if the image is reduced? The author worked his or her ass off for two or three or four months to deliver a definitive study of this or that actor, and Cahiers du Cinema’s cover design seems to almost say to the reader, “The writer…okay, we have to put the writer’s name on the cover, fine, but he/she is a minor cog in our mechanism.” What is that, nine- or eight-point bold? Why not make it seven- or six-point? If you’re going to try and diminish the value of the writer, why not go all the way? Why put his/her name on the cover at all? Why not just mention it inside somewhere?
Michael Egan’s sexual-abuse case against director Bryan Singer has all but collapsed over dumb pride. Egan’s attorney Jeff Herman has apparently washed his hands of the guy because he wouldn’t agree to a $100 grand “take-it-and-shut-up” deal offered and signed late last month by Singer and his attorney Martin Singer. A couple of hours ago Buzzfeed reported that as a result of Egan refusing the deal, the specifics of which are viewable via an apparently legit “Memorandum of Settlement” obtained by Buzzfeed and verified by Herman, Herman’s firm is “in the process of withdrawing from representing Mr. Egan in all his cases and [has] no further comment concerning his matters at this time,” according to a statement given to Buzzfeed.
Way to go, Egan! Your claims again Singer may be truthful but they’ve been portrayed as questionable at the very least, and you’ve already dropped three sexual abuse or exploitation lawsuits against three other guys — producer Gary Goddard and TV execs David Neuman and Garth Ancier — so you’re not exactly looking like a pillar of reliability or stability. The only thing you could have gotten out of this whole mess was a cash payoff and now you’ve apparently blown even that…brilliant.
I don’t mean to sound aloof or unaffected by the carnage that’s currently engulfing Gaza, but I was startled this morning by Wissam Nassar‘s photo of a firefighter reacting to a huge inferno. It’s included in a 7.29 Times story about Israel’s latest barrage (“Israel Broadens Targets in Gaza Barrage; Power Is Out” by Ben Hubbard and Jodi Rudoren). The photo looks like something out of a Ridley Scott or Oliver Stone film. Composed rather than caught on the fly.
I’ve already got 21 Toronto Film Festival films on my priority list so there’s not a lot of room to jam in selections from this morning’s announcement of fresh titles. I’my definitely adding four or five but I can’t fool around. I can’t be whimsical or open to exotic experiments. Well, I usually wind up succumbing to precisely those experiments due to occasional scheduling gaps and pocket-drops but for the most part I have to be hard and mean.
I’m definitely adding Michael Winterbottom’s The Face of an Angel because it’s Winterbottom doing a real-life, Italy-based murder tale “inspired by” the Amanda Knox case (i.e., Kate Beckinsale and Daniel Bruhl as journalists looking into the case, Cara Delevingne as the femme fatale). MW’s last real-events recapturing, A Mighty Heart, was quite good. Pic is more or less based on “Angel Face,” a 2010 investigative study.
I’m expecting to catch my second viewing of Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan in Telluride (following my first immersion in Cannes two and a half months ago) so there’s no need for a third go-round in Toronto, but it’s an absolute must-see for anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure.
Mark Hartley’s Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is a definite add-on. I’ve been hearing all along that Hartley’s doc is tougher and snarkier than Hilla Medalia’s The Go-Go Boys, which I saw and reviewed in Cannes last May. (Medalia’s doc was produced, I’m told, to counterbalance the expected impact of the Hartley.) I’m also invested as I worked as a Cannon publicity press-kit writer in in ’86, ’87 and early ’88.