It was announced this morning that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married five days ago inside “a small chapel” near their huge chateau in the French hamlet of Correns. Congratulations and best wishes, but what has my interest is Pitt’s use of the term “concretized.” He used it in an AP interview that ran after their engagement was announced in November 2012, to wit: “[Marriage] is an exciting prospect, even though for us, we’ve gone further than that. But to concretize it in that way, it actually means more to me than I thought it would. It means a lot to our kids.” I can honestly say that I’ve never once read or spoken the word “concretize” before this morning. Pitt obviously meant the word to be synonymous with “affirm” or “ratify”or “consecrate.” It would have been equally grammatically correct if he had said “epoxy-ized” or “Elmer’s-Glue-All-icized”…right?
With everyone on their way this morning to the 41st Telluride Film Festival (I’m heading out to Burbank Airport at 8 am), the slate has been officially announced. No surprises this year with Toronto having pretty much given the game away by classifying this and that film as a Canadian premiere, which meant a Telluride debut. The only film I wasn’t necessarily expecting to see in Telluride was THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT (d. Martin Scorsese, David Tedeschi, U.K.-U.S., 2014). What are the expected or hoped-for titles that didn’t get chosen? I can’t get into this now. Taxi’s waiting, blowing his horn…already I’m so lonesome I could cry.
In alphabetical order: ’71 (d. Yann Demange, U.K., 2014 — saw it in Berlin last February); 99 HOMES (d. Ramin Bahrani, U.S., 2014); BIRDMAN (d. Alejandro González Iñárritu, U.S., 2014); DANCING ARABS (d. Eran Riklis, Israel-Germany-France, 2014); THE DECENT ONE (d. Vanessa Lapa, Australia-Israel-Germany, 2014); DIPLOMACY (d. Volker Schlöndorff, France-Germany, 2014); FOXCATCHER (d. Bennett Miller, U.S., 2014 — seen in Cannes last May by almost everyone); THE GATE (d. Régis Wargnier, France-Belgium-Cambodia, 2014); THE HOMESMAN (d. Tommy Lee Jones, U.S., 2014 — debuted in Cannes, decent but don’t get overly excited); THE IMITATION GAME (d. Morten Tyldum, U.K.-U.S., 2014); LEVIATHAN (d. Andrey Zvgagintsev, Russia, 2014); THE LOOK OF SILENCE (d. Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark-Indonesia-Norway-Finalnd-U.S., 2014); MADAME BOVARY (d. Sophie Barthes, U.K.-Belgium, 2014); MERCHANTS OF DOUBT (d. Robert Kenner, U.S., 2014); MOMMY (d. Xavier Dolan, Canada, 2014….saw most of it in Cannes); MR. TURNER (d. Mike Leigh, U.K., 2014); THE PRICE OF FAME (d. Xavier Beauvois, France, 2014); RED ARMY (d. Gabe Polsky, U.S.-Russia, 2014); ROSEWATER (d. Jon Stewart, U.S., 2014); THE SALT OF THE EARTH (d. Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Brazil-Italy-France, 2014); TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER (d. Nick Broomfield, U.K.-U.S, 2014); TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (d. Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Belgium-Italy-France, 2014); WILD (d. Jean-Marc Valleé, U.S., 2014); WILD TALES (d. Damián Szifrón, Argentina-Spain, 2014)
The announcement also says, as per custom, that “additional sneak previews may play outside the main program and will be announced on the Telluride Film Festival website over the course of the four-day weekend.”
Reviews of Jon Stewart‘s Rosewater (Open Road, 11.7), a drama about political imprisonment and torture inflicted upon Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari (Gale Garcia Bernal) in 2009 under Iran’s Ahmadinejad regime, were posted last night by trade critics. The response from Variety‘s Scott Foundas is respectful and encouraging, but the other three critics — The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy, Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn and TheWrap‘s Steve Pond — are saying “approved but rewards are modest.” Pic is expected to screen at the Telluride Film Festival this weekend as well as play the Toronto Film Festival next week.
Sopranos creator David Chase has stated through representative Leslee Dart that in an 8.27 Vox.com interview piece, author Martha P. Nochimson misquoted or misunderstood Chase about the fate of Tony Soprano. I’ll try re-explaining things to Nochimson and everyone else who insists on denying the obvious. Tony Soprano sleeps with the fishes. He took one in the right temple and probably two more in the back of the head. He was clipped by that Italian-looking guy in that Members Only jacket…you know, that guy who was eyeballing him and then went into the bathroom and then came out. Thunk! Thunk, thunk! The cut to black was Tony’s abrupt loss of consciousness as the bullets slammed into his head. Carmela freaked and screamed; Anthony, Jr. probably tried some kind of tough-guy shit which the Members Only guy…who knows, maybe he clipped Anthony also. Then he went out the back exit. That’s what happened, trust me.
The none-too-bright individual known as Michael Egan has dropped his sexual abuse lawsuit against Bryan Singer, according to a Variety report. The guy goes to all kinds of trouble and then he blows off a modest cash offer (which so alienated his attorney Jeff Herman that he severed relations with Egan) and now this — a complete collapse. If you’re going to do something, man up and see it through. (As Bugsy Siegel put it, “If you’re gonna get tough with a guy, stick to it.”) And if you don’t have the horses to win your case, at least be smart enough to accept a “take it and go away” cash settlement when it’s offered. Egan previously dropped sexual abuse lawsuits against former Disney hotshot David Neuman and former TV exec Garth Ancier. What a lame-o.
I was reminded this morning that David Dobkin‘s The Judge (Warner Bros., 10.10) runs two hours and 21 minutes. My first reaction was one of surprise. This is not a solemn courtroom drama like The Verdict, which ran 129 minutes. And it’s not Scent of A Woman, which needed 156 minutes to let a blind Al Pacino rant and rave and threaten suicide and chew the scenery. The Judge is a formula movie about a brilliant yuppie-prick attorney (Robert Downey, Jr.) gradually forgiving his estranged father (Robert Duvall) when he defends him in a murder trial, and in so doing becoming a human being. Films like this are supposed to get the job done in, oh, 110 to 115 minutes. 120 is pushing it, and if they can wrap things up in 100 minutes so much the better. I realize that no good film is too long, and no bad film is too short. I get that. But I was still surprised to hear “141 minutes.”
“It’s delightful, and delightfully eccentric…it is very satisfying, after years of watching [Josh] Charles on The Good Wife, to see him take possession of a new character, especially one whose motivations are as much a mystery to the character as to you. For an hour, you discover a man finding himself, incremental layer by layer, expression by expression.” — N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis, 5.22.14, from Cannes Film Festival. “It’s the most inspired thing I’ve seen…not only don’t you know how it got made — you also don’t quite know how what’s been made has made you this happy [and] this profoundly.” – Grantland‘s Wesley Morris, ditto. Pascale Ferran‘s film opens 9.12 via Sundance Selects.
Remember Inez, the Central American motel chambermaid whom Luke Wilson fell in love with in Bottle Rocket?
“Have you ever seen Jean-Luc Godard‘s Contempt? You, sir, are a fitting object. Please, please sit in front of me in coach someday. I can’t wait to ‘accidentally’ spill a cup of scalding hot coffee on your head. In the words of Gordon Gekko, ‘Hot coffee is good. Hot coffee scalding the scalp of an avaricious entitled slimeball is even better.’ I don’t mind sitting behind a person who reclines a little bit, but people who recline more than that deserve whatever aggressive pushback may come their way. You don’t mention your fee, by the way, for agreeing not to recline. What would it be? $50? You, sir, are a deplorable life form.” — My response to an 8.27 piece by N.Y. Times guest contributor Josh Barro (@jbarro), titled “Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me.”
It would appear that the first snaps of the reclusive Nikki Finke have been posted by a nasty little site that has made no secret about wanting to get her. Finke has written harshly about others and now it’s payback time, or so goes the site’s rationale. I’m no fan of tabloidy “gotcha!” pieces or the snippy, bitchy vibe of sites like this, but these fellows seem to have done their homework and captured the Real McCoy. I think it’s permissible to post these as there have been no photos of Finke for many, many years and these snaps appear to be legit. It also appears that Nikkifinke.com has stalled as the last story, about the death of Robin Williams, was posted on Monday, 8.11.
A movie is usually one thing, the marketing materials another. Because the latter almost always lies. But if — I say “if” — Stephen Daldry‘s Trash is anything like the “sell”, watch out. I don’t trust movies that use a poster in which the lead character is raising his arms in triumph or joy. I don’t trust stories about poor, pure-of-heart kids vs. rich, venal criminals. I don’t trust movies in which a character says he/she has decided on a course of action because it’s “right.” I’m concerned about the basic mindset of any film that costars liberal do-gooder Martin Sheen. And I’m highly suspicious of this capsule description: “Set in Brazil, three kids make a discovery in a garbage dump soon find themselves running from the cops and trying to right a terrible wrong.”
Enough with the “I can’t find a project that really excites me” shpiel. After a certain number of years of relative inactivity it’s just not cool. Lynch sees “no future in cinema“? Fine. Create a cable longform of some kind, something for Netflix…anything. No more sitting on the bench. It’s unbecoming.
This morning I read a 6.9 profile of MGM CEO Gary Barber by Deadline‘s Peter Bart (“A Resurgent MGM Builds...More »