It’s not the VFX (which are only decent) as much as the fleet, elegant editing that sells this puppy. I would have preferred a roadside conversation between Cary Grant and C3PO before the attack begins. (“Good Lord, that’s odd…that TIE starfighter is buzzing droids where no droids exist!”) Hats off to Vimeo wizard Fabrice Mathieu.
A little more than three years after Steven Spielberg announced an intention to produce a version of Stanley Kubrick‘s Napoleon, HBO has announced it will pool forces with Spielberg to make the historical biopic as a miniseries. Beasts of No Nation and True Detective helmer Cary Fukunaga is in talks to direct the sprawling tale, which I’m guessing will be a four- or six-parter.
Kubrick’s Napoleon history is common knowledge. He began work on Napoleon in 1968 just after 2001: A Space Odysssey was finished, and had completed a screenplay draft by July 1969. But MGM, which had agreed to finance, got scared about the film’s earning potential and pulled out.
I’ve read Kubrick’s Napoleon screenplay (the one dated 9.29.69), which I think is the same version contained in “Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made,” which Tashen published in 2011.
A German Kubrick site (which has English translation) concurs about the intensive ’68 to ’69 Napoleon period. Kubrick’s Napoleon history is also summarized in an 11.19.12 Andrew Biswell piece in the Telegraph.
I stayed at the Hotel Moliere during my first visit to the Cannes Film Festival in ’92. Thanks to Henri Behar for the $100-a-night sublet.
If I was a Cannes jury member I would strongly urge giving a major prize to Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper if only to convey a “fuck you” to the Philistines who booed it at the press screening. To those who’ve disputed my claim that they were booing the ending and not the film itself (which is my personal favorite so far), I can only say that I was there and could feel the current in the room (it was definitely slamming it) and that the crowd was simply protesting Assayas’s decision to not wrap things with a neat bow at the finale.
A smile from the proud owners of what appears to be a 1969 Citroen.
I spoke this afternoon with renowned Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, whose ethical drama Graduation (a.k.a. Bacalaureat) was universally praised after screening yesterday morning. I called it “a fascinating slow-build drama about ethics, parental love, compromised values and what most of us would call soft corruption.”
I would be surprised if Graduation isn’t awarded by the Cannes jury in some major category, but expectations are often thwarted along these lines.
Graduation director Cristian Mungiu — Friday, 5.20, 2:30 pm.
We discussed the film’s view of things, which is basically how capitulating to soft corruption can seem at first like nothing but that it can slightly weaken your fibre and make you susceptible to harder forms down the road. I mentioned a story I passed along yesterday about my father having persuaded a Rutgers professor to give him a passing grade despite having failed a final exam, which was definitely a soft ethical lapse. Mungiu smiled and said “life is complicated.”
We talked about his two kids, ages 6 and 11, and the mostly older films he’s been showing them. Mungiu feels it’s better to expose them to classic silents at an early age before they become accustomed to today’s noisier, faster fare and lose the patience to absorb the artistry of Buster Keaton.
I’m crestfallen about Paul Schrader‘s Dog Eat Dog — a lurid, blood-splattered genre satire. It’s not that I don’t get the fuck-all, porno-violent attitude. I just don’t understand how or why a good fellow like Schrader would succumb to this kind of gaudy nihilism with such mystifying gusto. He’s taken a 1997 Eddie Bunker crime novel, which I haven’t read but is reputedly grounded in brutal reality, and made a dark, sloppy comedy of excess that only the animals will like and which only Cannes critics will praise with a semi-straight face.
Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe in Paul Schrader’s Dog Eat Dog.
The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw has called Dog Eat Dog Schrader’s “best work in years…lairy, nasty, chaotic…Willem Dafoe is great.”
Dafoe’s performance as an imbecilic loose cannon named Mad Dog is in fact awful. Awful. Over-acting, desperate, flailing around. As a longtime Dafoe admirer I was embarassed for the guy. C’mon, man!
I’ll admit that Dog Eat Dog hits the amusement button maybe three or four times (Schrader’s dry performance as a crime lord is one of the few elements that satisfy) but mainly it’s a clumsy, splattery, tonally-chaotic wallow. I know it sounds unkind but the words “diarrhea dump” came to mind as I sat in the balcony this morning.
It doesn’t even feel professional half the time, and then at other times it feels relatively sane and well-measured and reflective of how some people process reality and how they actually behave, and then it goes off the rails again. If it hadn’t been directed by Schrader and hadn’t costarred Dafoe and Nicolas Cage it would be a bottom-of-the-barrel market film that nobody would even blink at.
It’s as if the finance guys said to Schrader, “Okay, we know you were enraged about what happened with Dying of the Light so you can have final cut, no problem, but we want a movie that the ‘international audience’ will enjoy. And by that we man the dumbest guys in New Delhi and Beijing and Seoul. We want chaotic fuck-all cynicism times ten. None of that subdued art-house Schrader stuff. We want depravity-plus…your characters blowing heads off, snorting coke, stabbing fat women in the back. And we also want you to totally torpedo what’s left of your exalted reputation. If you’re willing to do this, we’re prepared to sign the check right now.”