Three days ago The Ankler‘s Richard Rushfield passed along a Martin Scorsese / Paramount/ Netflix rumor, to wit:
“There has also been a spate of…rumors that Netflix [is] about to step in and take over the Scorsese/Leo Killers of the Flower Moon film about to start shooting [under] Paramount, or at least that Scorsese would like them to. I’ve heard that in Scorsese fashion, the budget has already soared to an amazing $225 million and Paramount is getting understandable heartburn about this.
“Scorsese for his part, having drunk (like a drunken sailor) from the cup of Netflix’s bottomless budget, is not enjoying a return to earthbound budgeting and presumably would like another slug of what they’re pouring. Will his Oscar shut-out persuade him that maybe that’s not the way to go? Will the Oscar shut-out persuade Netflix that handing Martin Scorsese a blank check for $200 million isn’t a great strategy? Or will the blinding light of Leo be too much for VCT to resist?” Note: “VCT” is an acronym for Video City Ted (Sarandos).
How in the world could a fact-based period thriller, set in the Midwest of the 1920s without any de-aging CGI, wind up costing north of $200 million?
Logline: “Oil-rich members of Oklahoma’s Osage tribe are murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s sparking a major F.B.I. investigation involving J. Edgar Hoover.”
Leonardo DiCaprio plays an investigative good guy; Robert De Niro plays the real-life Richard Hale, a bad guy.
Glenn Close as Ma Bumblefuck in Ron Howard‘s Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix, Oscar season). Apparently a supporting role. Her character is actually called “Mamaw”…accent on the second syllable, rhymes with Macaw. Check out the wardrobe and grooming! An oversized pink KMart T-shirt, spotted baby blue slacks, gray and white brillo-pad hair.
Close almost won the Oscar for The Wife in early ’19, and then The Favourite‘s Olivia Colman snatched it away. Close has to win this time…she has to.
J.D. Vance’s 2016 novel, a portrait of how things got worse and worse for white downmarket Americans over the last 30 or 40 years, was adapted into a multi-generation narrative by Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water).
Vance’s book is more of a personal recollection than a narrative. “An extraordinary testimony to the brokenness of the white working class, but also its strength”, said one reviewer. “A harrowing portrait of much that has gone wrong in America over the past two generations,” said another. HE prediction, sight unseen: “A stirring tribute to the yokels who put Donald Trump into the White House and in so doing nearly destroyed the country…thanks!”
Costarring Amy Adams as Bev Vance and Freida Pinto as Usha Vance…can we just stop right there? Has anyone who’s visited a bumblefuck town or region (Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Mississippi) ever noticed native women who look as pretty as Adams and Pinto? Drop-dead beatiful is not exactly an everyday feature of Bumblefuck culture…be honest. Beautiful eyes or wonderfully symmetrical facial features don’t come with the territory.
Costarring Gabriel Basso as J.D. Vance, Haley Bennett as Lindsaym, and Bo Hopkins as “Papaw.”
Glenn Close during filming of Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy.
Guy Lodge‘s review of Abel Ferrara‘s “witty, woozy” Siberia tells me it’ll be hard to see. Just like Ferrara’s Pasolini took five years to turn up on DVD, and Tomasso will probably be missing in action for some time. Either I catch Siberia at next September’s Toronto Film Festival or forget it.
Excerpt: “Those who require a standard A-to-B narrative would be best advised to check out at this early stage, for Ferrara has something far more sinuous and subconscious-led in mind.
“The term ‘dream logic’ can be casually used with regard to any film that dabbles in surrealism, though Siberia, in a manner comparable to Lynch at his freakiest or Leos Carax’s admittedly more expansive Holy Motors, genuinely earns the descriptor with its irregular, shape-shifting successful of images, vignettes and occasional erotic visions that sometimes melt together in sequence, and brashly disrupt each other elsewhere.
“Dissatisfied with his attempts to find true peace in isolation, Clint hauls out his dogsled, gees up his huskies, and embarks an a journey that could be literal, metaphysical or both.” Right!
Michael Winner‘s Scorpio (’73) is a midrange, mostly unexceptional spy thriller about CIA management trying to assassinate an apparent double agent named Cross (Burt Lancaster) who, they believe, has probably been sharing information with the Russians. The would-be assassin is Jean Laurier aka “Scorpio” (Alain Delon), a Cross protege from way back.
Sydney Pollack‘s Three Days of the Condor was a much better film of this sort (i.e., amoral CIA higher-ups scheming to murder one of their own), but at least Scorpio came early in this cynical cycle. Shot in the early summer of ’72, just before the Watergate break-in. Released on 4.19.73, just as the Watergate coverup was beginning to unravel.
And yet Scorpio, for all its underwhelming aspects, has a great payback scene in which Lancaster and a couple of wily freelancers manage to quietly plug the hardnosed CIA chief (John Colicos) who’s been out to eliminate Lancaster and whose CIA henchmen have murdered Lancaster’s wife.
I like this scene so much that I’ve watched Scorpio a couple of times over the last couple of decades, despite my less-than-enthusiastic view of it. I’m even considering buying the Twilight Time Bluray, mainly because it’s ten bills with shipping. I don’t know if this is a category or not, but what other films (if any) are people soft on because one and only one scene works especially well?
Scorpio boasts a couple of scenes between Lancaster and Paul Scofield, as a kind of Russian counterpart, that aren’t too bad. It also has an amusing bit in which Lancaster slips past U.S. customs by disguising himself as a bearded African-American minister.
Post-release Lancaster said Scorpio was “nothing incisive, just a lot of action” and was “one of those things you do as part of your living, but you try to avoid doing them as much as you can.”
Two days after the helicopter-crash death of Kobe Bryant and eight other victims, Forbes.com estimated that Bryant’s estate was worth in the vicinity of $600 million.
Since then evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that the victims of that 1.26 chopper crash died because pilot Ara George Zobayan fucked up.
Bryant’s grieving widow Vanessa is obviously justified in filing a lawsuit against Express Helicopters. I also understand her emotional motives in deciding to also sue Zobayan’s family. But think about the latter situation.
Yes, an apparent miscalculation by Zobayan killed her husband and her 13 year-old daughter, Gianna. I would be livid if I’d suffered through a similar tragedy. But there’s something wrong with the idea of a woman who’s apparently worth $600M (and with an obvious potential to earn tens of millions more) looking to siphon funds from people whose holdings are probably in the lower six-figure range, if that. For the crime of being related to Zobayan.
Bryant’s suit reportedly claims that “heavy fog and low clouds prompted law enforcement agencies and tour companies to ground their helicopters, but [Zobayan] requested special clearance from air traffic control to keep flying.” The lawsuit points out that “Island Express’ FAA operating certificate barred pilots from flying under such conditions and that Zobayan had previously been cited by the FAA for violating the rules.”
The underlying factors, of course, are that (a) Bryant, like most super-wealthy, highly accomplished go-getters, was an exacting, most likely demanding Type-A personality, and (b) Zobayan, not wanting to exhibit hesitancy or indecision while serving such a wealthy client, probably adopted a somewhat reckless get-it-done attitude when Bryant said he wanted this or that.
This is good, plain-spoken stuff. A humanist and a rationalist, Bernie is stating common sense. Realism. I’ll be voting for Sanders, of course, but God protect us from the tens of millions of none-too-brights who will fall (and who’ve already fallen) for Trump’s bullshit. Bumblefuck boomers, in particular, who were raised to associate Democratic socialism with totalitarian Communism, and haven’t the curiosity or intellectual vigor to try and understand the difference.
Not to mention the fact that Bernie’s Medicare For All arithmetic is questionable.
Bernie is cooked, and so are we. Sensible, practical Pete could win…he really could. But Bernie bruhs, crazy twitter, progressive absolutists and African American voters have repeatedly speared him in the side. Stubborn, self-destructive purists.
“I’m not saying personal stuff isn’t important. I’m kind of a private person, in a sense, and I’m…y’know, not particularly anxious to tell the world about everything personal in my life.” — Bernie Sanders to Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes.
Appeals will result, of course, but at the end of the process…two or three years? Justice James Burke ordered Weinstein cuffed, taken into custody, given an orange jumpsuit, etc. He’ll be sentenced on 3.11. Tramp tramp tramp…Each Dawn I Die. Do the crime, do the time.
The Aero was totally packed for Saturday night’s (2.22) screening of Elem Kimov‘s Come and See. A strange, surreal, odd-behavior film during the first half, and a devastating antiwar horror film during the last 50 to 60 minutes. Brutal, savage, compassionate art — a landmark effort.
Commendable 4K restoration, 1.37:1, excellent sound — couldn’t have looked better.
L.A. Times critic Justin Chang was there; ditto Peter Rainer and Paul Merryman, producer of Rod Lurie‘s The Outpost, which will soon debut at South by Southwest. I discussed it earlier today with Lurie briefly. I also kicked it around with my son Dylan, who’s watched it two or three times.
Lurie: “The last time I met Roger Ebert he asked me to recommend a film that I’d assumed he’d never seen. I gave him Come and See. A few weeks later he wrote about it in his Great Films series. That ending shot of the lead protagonist, Florya (Aleksei Kravchenko), shooting the framed Hitler photo is what I think inspired that shot of the killing of Hitler in Inglourious Basterds.”
Lurie believes that Come and See “is maybe the best war film I’ve ever seen, certainly once the invasion of Belarus begins.”
Born in October of ’69 and somewhere around nine or ten years old (older?) during filming, Kravchenko is now 50. I’m not exactly certain when principal photography started and ended, but I think it began sometime in ’77.
Last summer Richard Dreyfuss sat for a Vanity Fair interview and didn’t talk about John Badham‘s Stakeout, which is arguably the most entertaining throwaway flick Dreyfuss ever starred in. Now he’s sat for another interview, this time with CBS Sunday Morning‘s Ben Mankiewicz, and again no one mentions the Badham film.
“Stealth Date Movie,” posted on 7.17.08:
“I know I give the impression of disliking popcorn movies for the most part, but nobody loves good crap as much as I when it’s really done right. I was thinking last night about John Badham‘s Stakeout, which I saw and loved 21 years ago at the Cinerama Dome, and wondering why no-big-deal caper movies like this don’t happen more often.
“The reason Stakeout works, of course, is that it’s not some throwaway buddy-cop movie about trying to catch an escaped fugitive. It’s a movie about a thoughtful 40ish policeman suddenly and surprisingly falling in love (i.e., Richard Dreyfuss + Madeline Stowe), and his knowing without question that the girl in the house across the street is vitally important to know, be with, care for and protect.
“The trick is that Stakeout is disguised as as an amiable jerkoff buddy-cop thing. Plus it’s one of the best films ever about voyeurism, second only to Rear Window.
“‘Stealth’ is what genre filmmakers never seem to get, or don’t have the talent to follow through upon. The way to make a run-of-the-mill genre film special is to pay attention to the undercurrent and shape it so it’s about something personal and intimate — any kind of heart issue, including creative ambition or career or whatever — while adhering to genre conventions.
“98% of genre filmmakers (fantasy, crime, you-name-it) always seem to think in terms of elements. They think success of failure is defined by stars, plot, fights, car chases, FX. They never seem to realize that while these things work as selling points, they don’t matter to all that much to anyone (except for the under-20 morons) and are actually profoundly secondary.
“Movies that really work are always about characters trying to connect with some fundamental emotion or goal. If you get that part right, then you can add in the genre conventions any old way and you’re off to the races.”
Six months before Bernie Sanders and his new wife, Mary Jane O’Meara Sanders, spent a 10-day April honeymoon in the Soviet Union, my then-wife Maggie and I were honeymooning in Prague, which at the time was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1917 Soviet revolution.
The city was packed with Communist party delegates and officials, and it was awfully hard to find a hotel room. There were relatively few western tourists, the smell of soft coal was in the air, there was no English spoken (Maggie knew a little German), and there were few street lights compared to Western cities — a seriously different realm.
All to say there was nothing especially curious or bizarre about honeymooning in Eastern Bloc countries of the late ’80s. (We also visited East Germany.). Maggie and I wanted to honeymoon in a realm that was free of western corporate signage. I’m glad we did this. It was bracing, exotic.
“Now you listen to me, I’m an advertising man, not a red herring….and I can hear colors.”
Having written three or four times about Cary Grant’s therapueutic LSD experiments in the late ’50s and early ’60s, I find it hilarious…okay, amusing and intriguing…that James Lapine, Tom Kitt and Michael Korie are about to present Flying Over Sunset, a stage musical about Cary Grant, Claire Booth Luce and Aldous Huxley dropping acid together inside a Malibu home in 1957. Previews will begin at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont on 3.12; the show opens on 4.16.
Grant will be played by Tony Yazbeck (a half reasonable look-alike), Luce by Carmen Cusack and Huxley by Harry Hadden-Paton.
Problem #1: In the below video Yazbeck is wearing an undercut with the usual whitewalls — i.e., super-short hair around the ears that exposes scalp. Cary Grant never, ever wore an undercut. His thick black hair was always cut with a little length around the ears. After casting Yazbeck why didn’t the producers tell him to grow his hair out a bit? No one is expecting Yazbeck to look or sound exactly like Grant (his voice is way too thin and high-pitched to even attempt an imitation) but why alienate viewers by contending that Grant wore a Hitler Youth?
Problem #2: Yazbeck looks like a handsome cross between Oscar Isaac and a dapper Palestinian. (Yazbeck is “a common family name and surname of Palestanian origin,” according to Wikipedia.) Am I allowed to sat that Yazbeck’s nose is clearly larger than Grant’s? This is another example of “woke” casting. Are you telling me that if there was a new musical about, say, a Palestinian surgeon that producers would hire a guy who looks and sound typically English? Not in this day and age — they’d find an actor who looks Middle Easternish. So why didn’t Lapine hire an actor who looks like he might’ve actually been born to Anglo Saxon parents in early 20th Century Britain?
Problem #3: The “trip” in the show happens in 1957, and yet Grant’s first trip happened under professional supervision in 1958. (This, at least, is what’s reported in “Cary in the Sky With Diamonds,” a 2010 Vanity Fair article by Judy Balaban and Cari Beauchamp.) Obviously a minor detail, but on the other hand why fudge it?
Huxley, Grant, Luce.