There’s never been any question in my mind that Straw Dogs is Sam Peckinpah‘s second-best film, The Wild Bunch being first and Ride The High Country being third. It’s a dark, creepy, ugly film, and yet wholly, primally fascinating. It certainly contains one of Dustin Hoffman‘s strongest-ever performances. The editing by Paul Davies, Tony Lawson and Roger Spottiswoode, especially during the violent finale, is flat-out brilliant. And yet John Coquillon‘s muted, grayish cinematography looks pretty good on the 2011 MGM Bluray — actually the best-looking version I’ve ever seen. The forthcoming Criterion Bluray (out on 6.27) is from a 4K scan and contains a lot of intriguing extras, and I’m presuming it’ll looks slightly better than the 2011 disc but you have to draw lines somewhere. Right now I’m disinclined.
And now you’re sorry, you say? You fucked up? Okay, you get points for manning up — I respect that — but you and your kind are still the reason we’re stuck with this animal until 2021 unless he gets impeached. Sorry but you caused this catastrophe, and it’s going to take a decade or two to reverse a lot of the damage, and the ecological damage can’t be reversed at all. It’s your fault that New York and Miami are going to be partially flooded 10 or 20 years sooner, not mine. It takes character to openly admit error, but you can still kiss my ass.
Four days ago (3.13) Screen Daily‘s Melanie Goodfellow posted a rundown of possible Cannes 2017 titles. Last night Deadline‘s Pete Hammond and Nancy Tartaglione posted their own forecast. It seems clear already that the festival’s biggest highlights won’t come from the U.S., and that the American-made films that will likely screen are going to rank as good or interesting rather than wowser or earth-shaking.
I’m not calling it another deadbeat Cannes in terms of U.S. entries, but, as I noted a couple of years ago, the counsel of Oscar strategists along with generally cautious instincts across the board have all but killed this festival in terms of potential award-season titles.
Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk hasn’t definitely been scratched, but if you know Nolan (fiddle and fine-tune until the very last minute) and Warner Bros. (why risk even a mezzo-mezzo reaction from Cannes’ notoriously picky critics?), you know it’s unlikely. Hammond says festival honcho Thierry Fremaux has been told that Dunkirk, which will open on 7.21, won’t be ready to screen in Cannes in late May. Do you believe that?
My hunch is that while Nolan and Warner Bros. might well have strong cards, they’re scared of Cannes and would prefer to hide their hand until late June or early July, press-wise.
Nolan knows the knives have been out for him ever since the Interstellar debacle of ’14, and particularly the aghast responses when he confessed that he deliberately mixed the sound so that a good portion of the dialogue couldn’t be discerned, which was easily one of the biggest fuck-you messages sent to critics and paying audiences in Hollywood history. This is why people are gunning for Nolan. For years he’s regarded himself as Mr. King Shit, and they want to get him for his aloof Kubrickian airs, for maintaining an image as a Moses-down-from-the-mountain auteurist earth-shaker as opposed to the lithe and nimble-footed guy who made Memento and Insomnia, and particularly for that fucking Interstellar sound mix.
Hammond notes that just as esteemed director Alexander Payne went along with a May 2013 Cannes debut for Nebraska, which subsequently embarked on an award-season march all the way into February 2014, he might also go along with showing Downsizing, a dryly comic sci-fi thing, in Cannes two months hence. I can tell you that Downsizing was all set for a research screening on the Paramount lot two nights ago (Tuesday, 3.14), but they sent out a sudden cancellation notice to those who’d rsvp’ed, only seven or eight hours before the screening.
If anyone can send me a recent draft of Liz Hannah‘s script for The Post, the fast-track Steven Spielberg film about the Pentagon Papers crisis of 1971 that landed the Washington Post and the N.Y. Times in the crosshairs of the Nixon administration, please advise.
As recently reported by Deadline‘s Mike Fleming, The Post will begin shooting this May with 20th Century Fox intending to open it by December. Obviously a locked-in, ratified, slam-dunk Best Picture contender. So far it has Tom Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Post publisher Katherine Graham.
Just as United 93 focused on the entire air-traffic control confusion of 9/11 and not just the specific incidents aboard that fateful United Airlines flight, The Post will need to tell the whole Pentagon Papers story — most of it happening over a 17-day period in June 1971 — and not just the Washington Post‘s side of things,
First and foremost because Sheehan and the Times were the first to spill the beans, and in so doing proved that the Johnson administration lied over and over about the Vietnam War. The Post got in on the action five days after the Times began publishing Pentagon Papers excerpts on 6.13.71, and of course they and the Times got into a major Supreme Court battle with the Nixon administration over the right to publish such material.
On 6.30.71 the Supremes decided in favor of the Post and other newspapers who had published Pentagon Papers content, 6–3, stating that the Nixon gang had failed to meet the heavy burden of proof required for prior restraint injunction.
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