Posted from Toronto on 9.14.17: “Glenn Close totally rules in Bjorn Runge‘s The Wife (Sony Classics, 8.3.). The film is strong and precisely written and well–carved, and Close carries it along with costar Jonathan Pryce on a 60-40 basis. She brilliantly re-defines the familiar role of the discreet, classy, long-under-valued wife & partner of an ostensibly great man. Exquisite poise, rich feeling, heart full of soul & regret, eyes of spirit and chrome steel. Close’s emoting demands Oscar cred. It’s a landmark performance with a great, angry, full-throttle climax. Close has a Best Actress nom in the bag.”
Cambridge Analytica aside, I’m not a fan of Mark Zuckerberg‘s suit, shirt and tie. The tie especially. Inspired by those deliberately low-rent shirt-and-tie combos worn by Rodney Dangerfield in the ’80s? It’s all part of a general theory I’ve been developing about Millennials being the worst-dressed generation in the history of Western Civilization. Those hand-me-down Goodwill shirts and baseball caps, those dreary T-shirts and grotesque shorts they wear in the warm months, those ghastly white-soled sneakers.
I’m thinking of an old Howard Hawks story about Lauren Bacall. Hawks was interested in her for a film in the mid ’40s (probably To Have or Have Not) but told her she had to lower her voice, that she’d be more interesting if she sounded sultry and smoky. So Bacall went away and came back and her voice was just what Hawks wanted. Then he told her to stop smiling all the time and to maybe insult a man every now and then. She later told him that she ran into Clark Gable at a party and said to him in that cool, low-down way of hers, “Where’d you get that tie?” Gable said, “Oh, some Beverly Hills haberdash…why do you wanna know?” And Bacall said, “So I can tell my friends not to go there.”
Bulletin from Julien Biri, who annually sub-lets his two-story Cannes apartment to myself and Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday: “Due to the stubbornness of the [French] government, the railway workers have changed their modus operandi for the strike. Unless the government adjusts their position they’ll start an indefinite and permanent strike on Saturday, April 14th. Paris public transport (Metro), Air France and aerial control workers, postal services, and many other sectors of the French economy (supermarket workers, retirement homes, universities) will consider seriously for the general strike. Even the lawyers are on strike.
“I hope the government will back off, but take some good walking shoes for your stay in Paris, just in case. And enjoy the moment — this could be an historic event in France.” May 2018 is, of course, the 50th anniversary of the famous May Day revolt of ’68.
I told Julien I have a TGV train ticket from Paris to Cannes, and that it leaves on Monday, May 7th at 7:19 am and arrives in Cannes roughly five hours later. Key question: “Are you telling me I need to buy an Easy Jet ticket from Orly to Nice?”
Biri response: “No, you will get to Cannes by train. I did not want to panic you. The risk is the train is canceled and you may have to take the next one, and have not a booked seat. Right now 30% of TGV is working. SNCF is a different story. I don’t think it can go below that level of service. What I mean is, I think you will be able to take a train, but maybe not the one you’re booked in. And it might be very crowded and delayed. But you will get to Cannes by train. Don’t book an Easy Jet flight.”
For those who don’t read HE comment threads, some interesting riffs came out of yesterday’s discussion about the hypothetical Best Picture prospects for John Krasinski‘s A Quiet Place (i.e., “And The Oscar Goes To…”). It was triggered by a 4.8 “In Contention” article by Variety‘s Kris Tapley that basically said that the New Academy Kidz (i.e., the younger, more diverse members invited to join in 2015 and ’16 by former Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs) might decide to nominate Krasinski’s film, given their apparent view that horror-genre films can and should be regarded as Oscar bait.
This led to HE commenter “Barney Dunn” observing that “the Best Picture slate for 2019 now includes Black Panther and A Quiet Place. On top of which Hereditary was called an early Oscar contender coming out of Sundance. Maybe Ant Man and the Wasp and Incredibles 2 will generate some awards talk. This is where Oscar is now.”
Which prompted my reply: “Exactiy. In part because trade guys like Tapley are helping to fan these notions and nudge them along. I’m trading on this current, obviously, but I’m also saying ‘actually, I disagree‘ with a little sarcasm to boot and, you know, using terms like ‘New Academy Kidz.'”
A few hours later “Mark VH” wrote, “Are we seriously going to do this every time a half-decent genre movie comes out? Why does everything have to win Oscars? Why can’t we just enjoy movies on their own terms without throwing them into competition with each other? We’re a month removed from this year’s Oscars, and does ANYBODY seriously still care who won, who was nominated, etc.? Literally nobody gives a shit.”
My reply: “I care, I’ve taken note, and I’ll never forget. Because the New Academy Kidz have changed the game, revamped the landscape and DEFINITELY lowered the property values. That’s fairly seismic, when you think about it.
“On one hand, if the NAK had been influencing things to this degree back in the mid ‘50s Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers might have been Best Picture-nominated, and that’s obviously indicative of a more intelligent and perceptive Academy mentality than nominating, say, Around The World in 80 Days.
“On the other hand another smart, grade-A monster genre flick that is basically a tactical, situational thriller and which doesn’t, by any stretch or scheme, even attempt to deliver an affecting or metaphorically penetrating impression of the human condition except to say “life is scary because there are predators out there” (not to mention Krasinski’s decision to use the exact same deep-register monster gurgles that were heard in Cowboys and Aliens)…a film of this calibre (i.e., worthy but calm down) has just been thrown into the Best Picture hopper.”
Afterthought: Serious, classy, high-style horror is its own bird. Especially in the case of smarthouse horror like Robert Eggers‘ The Witch and Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook. Being a diehard Luca Guadagnino fan, I’m naturally looking forward to Suspiria, perhaps at the Cannes Film Festival.
“A descendant of the prehistoric Megalodon…the most fearsome creature that ever lived…a 70-foot, 60,000 pound Great White…jaws that could swallow an elephant whole, that could sense its prey miles away, inhaling its scent as it registered the beat of its fluttering heart and if you ever came close enough to see the monster it was already too late”…bullshit!
Jon Turtletaub‘s The Meg (Warner Bros., 8.10) is based on a 21-year-old, son-of-Jaws page-turner aimed at subliterates — “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror” by Steve Alten. The project was first set up at Disney the same year (’97). And then it languished for 18 years. On 6.16.15, Variety reported that that WB was talking to Eli Roth about directing. On 3.3.16 it was revealed that Turteltaub was in talks to direct with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.
Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis.
Like some creative people, former Silicon Valley star, actor and standup comedian T.J. Miller is known for eccentric or crazy-blood behavior. And while last year’s sexual harassment allegation, about an ’01 occurence (i.e., 17 years ago) when Miller was attending George Washington University, wasn’t the reason why he left Silicon Valley, it certainly clouded his reputation.
But I can’t process or make sense of Miller, 36, having reportedly been arrested last night at LaGuardia Airport “after allegedly calling in a false bomb threat earlier last month, according to the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.” Alcohol seems to have been a factor, but it’s still mind-boggling. It sounds as if Miller definitely needs to join “the program.”
Who calls in bomb threats? Could Miller be that nutty? Who turns into Dennis Hopper in Speed after downing a few shots?
Maane Khatchatourian‘s Variety story, quoting a press release from authorities, says that Miller “allegedly called 911 on March 18 in New Jersey, and reported that he was on Amtrak Train traveling from Washington, D.C., toward Penn Station in New York City, and that a female passenger ‘has a bomb in her bag.’ A bomb squad found no evidence of any explosive devices on the train.
“The officer who spoke to the comic, who changed his description of the ‘female suspect,’ suspected that Miller was under the influence of alcohol. Miller told the officer, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever made a call like this before…I am worried for everyone on that train…someone has to check that lady out.’