Hollywood has been making Tarzan flicks for over 80 years now, and the basic concept — a white child from a wealthy family lost in the jungle and raised by apes — has never changed. If you’re going to make yet another one, as Warner Bros. has done, you can’t mess with this. I’m making this point because Lewis Beale‘s 7.1 complaint piece for CNN.com (“The Problem With Tarzan“) doesn’t seem to agree. He writes that “this new take on the Edgar Rice Burroughs creation, which first appeared in print in 1912, is…a total anachronism in an era of heightened race consciousness. And by greenlighting this film, it seems that Warner Bros., the film’s distributor, did not get the memo that the new movie, while not overtly racist, remains the product of an early 20th-Century colonial mentality — yet another example of the developed world patronizing the Third World.” Warner Bros. greenlighted The Legend of Tarzan for the same kneejerk reason they greenlight everything else — i.e., because they figured the brand is still marketable. Over and out.
“This 1960 picture, long considered lost, and newly restored courtesy of the bold indie distributor Cinelicious Pics, is a sex-crime thriller that teeters on the edge of morbidity before its galvanic climax. Seen today, it’s also a fascinating mélange of cinematic semiotics.” — from Glenn Kenny‘s 6.30 N.Y. Times review (“Once Lost, Private Property Is A Genuine Rediscovery”) of Private Property.
I’ve never used “semiotics” in a review and I probably never will, but that’s okay — there’s no right or wrong way of conveying passion. I don’t recall having used “galvanic” either, but give me time.
Sidenote: The aspect ratio of the Private Property trailer seems to be 1.37, which is probably some kind of mistake, right? I’m sure that the film itself will be presented in 1.85. The 1.85 fascists have been explaining for years that almost all standard Academy-ratio films were projected at 1.85 from roughly 1954 onward. (Occasional detours into 1.66 happened from time to time, but 1.85 generally ruled the roost.) If Private Property is screened at 1.37 at the Aero I’m sure that Bob Furmanek or Pete Apruzzese will have an explanation.
The out-of-print Twilight Time Bluray of Bring Me The Head Of Alfred Garcia is going for $153 on Amazon. I bought this Spanish Bluray for $28 or something like that. Isolated English track. First-rate mastering. Perfectly acceptable. The Twilight Time version couldn’t look any better. Update: I just watched the whole thing, and have therefore been reminded what I managed to forget over the years — the ending of this 1974 Sam Peckinpah film stinks.
Variety‘s Dave McNary is reporting that Steven Spielberg‘s The BFG is a shortfaller, based on early Friday estimates. This is music to my jaundiced ears, of course, but why? Why have American families said “maybe but not so much” to an expensive, technically accomplished giant-in-a-fairytale movie by the great Spielberg? I was no fan after catching The BFG in Cannes, but I didn’t fantasize for an instant that families wouldn’t embrace it.
McNary says The BFG “is underperforming forecasts, which had projected an opening in the $30 million range. Friday’s debut day looked likely to hit between $6 million and $8 million [for a] disappoint $25 million. The Roald Dahl adaptation has received plenty of affection from critics with a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, thanks to Mark Rylance’s motion-capture work as a giant who befriends an orphan girl. But The BFG will likely struggle to break even, given its high-priced $140 million budget, funded by Amblin Partners, Disney and Walden Media.”
I don’t know if this is a Photoshop job of Hillary Clinton or a shot of a woman who resembles her or what, but the instant I saw this I knew. It hits exactly the right note, expresses exactly what she needs to project about herself. I’m not being facetious. One look at this serene, gently smiling Hillary and all of the bad shit just flies out the window — no conniving, no private email server, no Goldman Sachs, no malevolent plotting. It’s the perfect image. It came to me like the essence of Three Women came to Robert Altman, like a dream or vision of some kind. This plus choosing Elizabeth Warren for her vp will completely change Hillary’s image. I look at granny blueshades moonface and say to myself, “Oh, God…do I really have to vote for this biddy?” But I feel the absolute opposite when I look at granny blueface goldstar hippiechick. It totally flips the pancake. Do I expect anyone to realize what a great idea this is? Of course not. But this isn’t some idea I cooked up — it came from God. I’ve had these visions before and I know what I’m talking about.
In a thread about Terrence Malick‘s forthcoming Voyage of Time and more particularly the dismissive comments that have greeted the trailer, HE reader Spicerpalooza said, “I just can’t wrap my head around dismissing something that looks this staggeringly beautiful. This is the kind of thing only the cinema can create, and with the biggest possible screen.”
Wells response, posted this morning: “I’m not ‘dismissing’ it. I’ll be catching the Brad Pitt-narrated IMAX version and it might be really trippy and levitational. It probably is that in portions, at least to some extent, at least for stoners. I’m just saying it won’t matter, that Malick doesn’t matter. If you throw a Malick stone into a pond, the impact will create subtle little ripples, of course…but few will notice or care. Because no one’s looking at the pond in the first place. Malick’s tossed-salad way of composing movies and regarding things from a passive-cosmic perspective has as much connection to the culture of 2016 as the social views of Art Linklater or the golf swing of Bing Crosby.”
Two and a half years ago I suggested that two making-of-Jaws scripts — Richard Corinder‘s The Shark is Not Working and Nick Creature and Michael Sweeney‘s The Mayor of Shark City — should be merged. Excerpt: “In ’81 Tootsie director Sydney Pollack pieced together four or five different versions of the script (by different authors) to make a semi-coherent whole. 40-plus years ago Sterling Silliphant merged two burning-skyscraper novels (The Tower, The Glass Inferno) into a single script called The Towering Inferno. Maybe the two Spielberg projects could come together in a similar way?” But I guess the whole idea of making any making-of-Jaws movie has gone south.
My discovery is late by a month, but this 5.30 piece by photographer & Guardian contributor Chris Arnade offers the most concise and illuminating explanation of the moronic mentality of your average downscale Trump voter that I’ve read thus far.
The hinterlanders have basically become Pvt. Gomer Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, living in what they feel is a world of shit. They’ve stopped being reasonable, they don’t believe in positivism or constructive solutions, they drink a lot and they’re holding a loaded gun in their hands and telling themselves that things are so bad — stuck, no hope, no future — that pulling the trigger couldn’t make things any worse, and it might just make them better.
Arnade: “As any trader will tell you, if you are stuck lower, you want volatility, uncertainty. No matter how it comes. Put another way, your downside is flat but your upside isn’t. Break the system.”
Seven Arnade paragraphs + Wells comments:
(1) “Large parts of the U.S. have become completely isolated, socially and economically. Kids are growing up in towns where by six, seven, or eleven, they are doomed to be viewed as second class. They feel unvalued. They feel stuck. They are mocked. And there is nothing they feel they can do about it.”
Wells comment: There’s at least a possibility of a way out for under-30s through self-education. Higher learning and all kinds of unforeseen creativity via the internet is free. They don’t need college. And the more they listen to their out-of-work dad or mom or uncle, the more fucked they’ll be. Leave them behind. Their future is mapped out for them, but it isn’t for people who believe in tomorrow. They can do anything or at least die trying.