Below is a shot of Indiewire film honcho Eric Kohn (black suit, shades) and a group of Halloween revelers in standard Kubrick-tribute garb (The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, etc.). I’m more into jack-o-lantern minimalism — for the last couple of years I’ve worn a simple leather face mask that I bought in Venice, Italy.
But if I wanted to wear a serious Kubrick-inspired outfit and if I had the time and the extra scratch, I would waltz around Savannah as either (a) Peter Sellers‘ President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove (bald head cap, glasses, gray suit and tie with three-pointed handkerchief), (b) Sellers’ Dr. Strangelove himself (wheelchair, glasses, light brown upswept hair, shiny black glove on right hand) or (c) Kirk Douglas‘ Colonel Dax in Paths of Glory (French officer military outfits, steel helmet, knee-high boots, metal whistle around neck).
Last night I saw all of Karyn Kusama‘s Destroyer (Annapurna, 12.25) — the whole 123-minute package. And I felt just as dismayed and under-nourished as I did after catching the first 90 minutes worth in Telluride (“Pains of Hell,” 9.1.18).
I was kicked, beaten up, spat upon and slapped around for walking out before my Telluride screening ended, but my assessment this morning is exactly the same. It’s still a nihilistic, dispiriting renegade-cop noir that is mainly about how Nicole Kidman‘s burnt-out-zombie makeup.
It’s stylistically impressive — Kusama does well by the rules and expectations of the urban cop genre — but pretentious and labored, and at least 20 minutes too long.
Kidman plays Erin Bell, a wasted, walking-dead Los Angeles detective trying to settle some bad business and save her daughter from a life of crime and misery. And I’m sorry but the verdict is the same — she gives a fully-invested performance but at least 75% of Kidman’s dialogue disappears into the ether because she whispers it in a kind of raspy, breathy, throat-cancer tone of voice.
Every so often I would hear a word or make out a phrase, but the only way I’m going to fully understand what Bell was saying is when I watch Destroyer with subtitles. And no, it’s not my hearing. It’s Kusama telling Kidman “go ahead, do the raspy, whispery thing…I like it.”
Okay, the ending is reasonably satisfying — it ties the story together by linking back to the opening scene. I said to myself “okay, not bad…a decent way to wrap things up.”
Last night’s Savannah Film Festival screening happened at the SCAD Trustees theatre on Broughton. I left with a sense of completion and satisfaction. For I am perceptive enough to recognize a problematic film without seeing it all the way to the end. The 90 minutes that I experienced in Telluride were not and are not substantially different than the full-boat version that I saw last night.
On 10.26 Collider‘s Jeff Sneider tweeted that “Seth Rogen is no longer playing Walter Cronkite” in David Gordon Green‘s Newsflash, a drama about the reporting of JFK’s assassination on 11.22.63. The project, based on a script by Ben Jacoby, was first announced around 10 months ago.
Question to God as well as HE readership: Has there ever been a dumber, more completely idiotic casting decision than the idea of Seth Rogen being the right guy to play Walter effing Cronkite? Rogen doesn’t look or sound remotely like the Real McCoy, doesn’t have the voice, and could never deliver the stodgy newsroom attitude and the diligent, old-school-commentator vibe…forget it. Plus he’s at least ten years too young.
Had it happened, this would be have been the worst casting since Leonardo DiCaprio was chosen by Clint Eastwood to play J. Edgar Hoover.
What are some of the other whoppingly absurd casting calls of the 21st Century? Include the 20th if you want.
Incidentally: If someone has a PDF of Jacoby’s script, please send it along.
Eight months ago I mentioned that my 20-year anniversary as an online columnist was approaching, and then I forgot to mention it when the day occured (roughly 10.10.18). So I’m celebrating today with a bike ride in Forsyth Park — no champagne, 20 days late. Those who believe in the HE narrative (or, if you will, the yellow-sneaker HE fairy) could, if they’re so inclined, join the throng by signing up for HE-plus. A birthday-cake cheer as I blow out the candles. Purely optional.
It’s understood that I get stuff wrong all the time. Sometimes I make factual errors, overstate things, resort to inelegant phrasing, etc. But I always correct these boners within hours so all is forgiven. What should I do to increase the chances that I’ll be in business for the next 20 years? And don’t give me that “online columnists will be extinct in 20 years” bullshit. Or that I’ll be too withered or scattered to bang out interesting riffs. Be constructive. 11:25 am update: No responses — cool. Then I’m pretty much doing it right. Thanks!
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Everyone understands that Netflix has to open Roma in a strong “look at us!” theatrical fashion in order to overcome or at least lessen old-school naysayer sentiments in the Academy and the guilds — i.e., those who’ve resented the generally non-theatrical feature release strategy that Netflix has followed in recent years.
Boiled down, Roma has to impress everyone as a movie-theatre event first and for a decent period of time, and a Netflix streamer second. The more noticable Roma‘s theatrical presence is in the early stages, the better chance it has at not only landing nominations but winning Best Picture, Best Director and so on.
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Digital Bits editor Bill Hunt has posted “pixel camera” captures of the forthcoming 4K Bluray of 2001: A Space Odyssey (WHE, 11.20). Bill’s Facebook reaction: “Yep…it’s gorgeous. And properly color-graded. No Nolan ‘unrestored’ nonsense. NOTE: These pictures are cellphone camera photos of a projection screen — NOT FRAME GRABS. Trust me, the film looks exactly as it should in HDR.”
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“We cannot afford to mince words.
“Donald Trump is directly responsible for yesterday’s mass murder in Pittsburgh. He is also responsible for the attempted murders by the MAGAbomber across the country. We already know that Donald Trump is a rapacious, violent abuser with no regard for democracy or human dignity. If he is not stopped, either electorally or by a popular uprising, this country will continue its tragic and perilous slide into authoritarian-capitalist fascism, and these horrors will be just a prelude to far greater evils to come.
“The masses of Americans who oppose Trump know that we are in the majority, and that his power is only being sustained by fellow evil-doers from within his minority, to subvert American democracy in order to cling to power at all cost. The problem is that the nation was founded by white men who designed this system to do exactly what it is doing, to ensure minority rule and ward against the danger of real, direct democracy. This reality has been expanded in the modern era by corrupt actors who have found ways to distort the system further. They have rigged elections and districts and obstructed Americans who might oppose them from voting at all.
“We know that this is what a losing minority does when it fears being cast onto the ash heap of history. But we also know that the mainstream Democratic Party has historically failed to protect millions of Americans from these monstrous actions. So we know that only we the people will fix this, by demanding its repair.” — Facebook post by documentarian Eugene Jarecki, roughly 20 hours ago.
“…and not in the towel.”
The line is from Jean Aouilh and Peter Glenville‘s Becket, during a scene in King Henry II’s bathinq auarters. Becket (Richard Burton) is vigorously drying Henry (Peter O’Toole) with a towel, and the king says, “I made you a nobleman — why do you play at being my valet?” Becket’s reply is that dignity comes from how well a person performs a given task, not so much from the status of the task itself.
I forgot to mention in yesterday’s Lee Marvin instant coffee metrosexual post (“Man Up”) that I didn’t even have a wooden swizzle stick to stir my Starbucks-instant-in-tap-water coffee, and so I used a fucking hotel toothbrush. No, not the bristles but the white handle end. Not even Marvin would do that. Didn’t faze me, water off a duck’s ass, that’s how I roll. The pertinent photo is after the jump.