The first-ever showing of a full-boat version of Orson Welles‘ The Other Side of the Wind — presumably rough and ragged but resembling the final cut — screened the night before last (Tuesday, 1.16) at the Ocean Avenue Screening Room in Santa Monica. Restricted invitations, 36 seats. Study the below photo and identify the viewers — Rian Johnson, Peter Bogdanovich, Quentin Tarantino, Larry Karaszewski, Crispin Glover, Danny Huston…who else? Yes, that’s Alexander Payne in the center with the white shirt, and he’s talking to partially obscured screenwriter-director Scott Alexander.
David Hare, S.J. Clarkson and Carey Mulligan‘s Collateral (BBC Two/Netflix) is a just-premiered investigative crime thriller about an investigation into the murder of a pizza delivery guy. Set over the course of four days in present-day London, the drama is about Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie (Mulligan) becoming persuaded that the murder wasn’t some random thoughtless act.
Boilerplate: “Glaspie is caught up in a whirlwind investigation to track down the killer and uncover the darker underbelly behind the attack. Meanwhile, politician David Mars (John Simm) gets caught up in the drama through his turbulent relationship with his troubled and unpredictable ex-wife Karen (Billie Piper), and vicar Jane Oliver (Nicola Walker) is forced to conceal her affair with the only witness to the crime.”
This sounds potentially awesome. I adore smart and layered police procedurals, especially when written by someone as storied as Hare. So where’s the trailer? And when will Netflix air it?
After attending the London premiere, Mulligan was quoted in a Deadline piece as follows: “I just want to play [an] interesting, complicated real person. Interesting, complicated real people in film are really, really rare. I think essentially following great writing, trying to play real people and not play the girlfriend [or] the wife. I’ve done that a lot and it’s not fun, and this is the opportunity to play a fully rounded, flawed interesting person.”
Mulligan will presumably be in Park City this weekend to promote Paul Dano‘s Wildlife, in which she costars with Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Camp. The first screening is on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm.
Mark Harris may have been thinking of someone other than Timothee Chalamet, the brilliant 22 year-old actor and Call Me By Your Name costar who revealed an opportunistic streak when he aligned himself with the Woody Allen kangaroo court two days ago, but the shoe fits regardless. Chalamet made a tactical error, at least as far as the Movie Godz are concerned. But he’s also smart and adaptable enough to learn from this and move on.
I’ve always been a “Hal Ashby devotee”, but what does that phrase really mean? That I’ve long had to balance my worship of Ashby’s legendary ’70s films with the awkward, less than fulfilled, in some cases cocaine-flaked failures of his ’80s features.
All hail Harold and Maude, The Last Detail — generally regarded as Ashby’s masterpiece — Shampoo (which Ashby didn’t really direct as much as submit and relinguish to the will of Warren Beatty), Bound for Glory, Coming Home (Ashby’s second-best film) and Being There (which has lost much of its potency since ’79, at least in my own head). And offer a sad shrug to Second-Hand Hearts, Lookin’ to Get Out, Let’s Spend the Night Together (a better-than-decent Rolling Stones concert doc), The Slugger’s Wife and the half-resurgence of 8 Million Ways to Die.
So I’ve long been uncertain about his legacy — who hasn’t been? But six and a half years ago Nick Dawson‘s “Being Hal Ashby: Life of a Hollywood Rebel” convinced me that with any kind of half-fair perspective, Ashby’s decade of ’70s glory definitely out-classes and outweighs the tragedy of the ’80s and how the derangement of nose candy enveloped and swallowed the poor guy.
Hence my strong interest in Amy Scott‘s Hal, a 90-minute doc about Ashby’s high and low times that will debut at Park City MARC on Monday afternoon, and then screen three more times — Tuesday evening at the Prospector, Thursday morning at the MARC and Friday morning at the Holiday 2.
From Sundance program notes: “As befits a subject whose stretch of work especially in the 1970s included Harold & Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo and Coming Home (he was Oscar-nominated for that one), interviewees include collaborators Jeff Bridges, Jane Fonda and Louis Gossett Jr. as well as Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko, Beau Bridges, Haskell Wexler and Norman Jewison.
At long last, IFC Films is releasing Armando Ianucci‘s much-admired The Death of Stalin (97% Rotten Tomatoes, 88% Metacritic) on March 9th. I missed it in Toronto five months ago, but it’s screening at Park City’s MARC on Saturday, 1.20, at 5:45 pm. I’ll definitely be there, but it’s taken too long to open. It feels weaker that it did six months ago. I love Ianucci’s ability with aggressively rude farce, but something’s off.
I dropped by the brand-new Ray theatre this evening, just to peek around and take video. It appears to be nearly ready for business, but there’s a lot of construction equipment and material lying around so they’ve got a bit more to do. The very first Sundance ’18 movie that will play at the Ray is Carlos López Estrada‘s Blindspotting, which will screen on Friday morning at 9:30 am.
After Travis drops Betsy off at her Grammercy Park brownstone, he pulls back into traffic, half-driving and half thinking about his lingering desire along with his notoriety due to the East Village shoot-out, etc. And then, at the 2:34 mark, Travis is suddenly alarmed. His eyes go hard as he stares into the rearview mirror. Because he can’t see his own reflection, because he’s not there, because he doesn’t exist. He died from his shoot-out wounds, and all that stuff he’s imagining — Iris’s Midwestern parents thanking him for saving their daughter, those news clips about a vigilante cab driver doing the right thing, Betsy gazing at him from the back seat — is a dead man’s dream.
Undaunted by the recent Montecito fire-and-mudslide tragedy, the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival (1.31 to 2.10) will proceed apace. Never say die, and never forget that exec director Roger “Nick the Greek” Durling is regarded as a Dunninger-like seer in the annual Oscar race. Nobody’s perfect, but his tributes are often accurate predictors.
And yet Roger is hedging his bets in the Best Supporting Actor category by giving The Florida Project‘s Willem Dafoe and Three Billboards‘ Sam Rockwell their own separate tributes — a Cinema Vanguard Award for Dafoe on Thursday, 2.1, and an American Riviera Award for Rockwell on Wednesday, 2.7.
I’m not saying that Durling foresaw that Best Actor contender Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) would seriously hurt his chances of winning by throwing Woody Allen under the bus a couple of days ago, but Durling’s instinct to give Darkest Hour‘s Gary Oldman the festival’s Maltin Modern Master Award on Friday, 2.2 was a smart one.
The Virtuosos Award, being presented on Saturday, 2.3, will go to Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Hong Chau (Downsizing), John Boyega (Detroit), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) and — yes! — Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name).
Lady Bird‘s Saoirse Ronan will receive the Santa Barbara Award on Sunday, 2.4.
Hollywood Elsewhere arose at 5 am, left for Burbank Airport at 5:55 am, the Southwest flight left at 8:06 am and I was in Salt Lake City airport by…I forget, 10:45 am or something. $40 shuttle to Park Regency. Not much snow on the ground, but a storm is coming. Met flatmates Jordan Ruimy and Ed Douglas, and walked over to the Park City Marriott for press passes. I then sat down in the Marriott lobby and filed the story about Indiewire’s “Woody Allen is dead” piece. Update: It’s now 1:27 pm. Heading back to condo to unpack, maybe nap for an hour, then hit Fresh Market for foodstuffs.
Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn, Kate Erbland, David Ehrlich and Jude Dry have posted a piece that basically says “we don’t know if we believe Dylan or Moses Farrow…well, we’re mostly on Dylan’s side because we want to be with Greta and Timothee and the other cool kidz…but whatever the truth may be, we’re mainly interested in announcing that Woody Allen‘s career is almost definitely at an end. But why did this take so long?”
HE to Kohn, et.al.: “So your response to the obviously debatable if not disreputable Woody hoo-hah is to run a POST-MORTEM about the end of his career because the jackals are circling? Because Timothee Chalamet was pressured into washing his hands by his agent and publicist? Ballsy move, guys. Incisive journalism. Have you read the Robert Weide piece that answered the Farrow essay?
“If you’re so certain that Allen is suddenly MORE GUILTY THAN EVER BEFORE because of Dylan Farrow’s L.A. Times piece, why don’t you stand up LIKE MEN and post an essay titled ‘MOSES FARROW IS FULL OF SHIT’?”
Kohn replies: “The piece is an honest assessment of the last few weeks. So many actors are distancing themselves from Allen and the actions of his recent cast speak for themselves. I love many Allen films; that’s not the point here. He has been rendered commercial anathema and it’s obvious that very few actors will work with him now.”
HE retort: “There are many actors of character (Alec Baldwin for one) who will stay with Allen. There is also the option of European financing. Allen might fold his cards, yes, but if I were Allen I would commit to making films forever and ever until he dies, if for no other reason than to deliver a hearty ‘fuck you’ to you, due respect, and David Ehrlich and the rest of the Indiewire team for declaring that he’s over & done with.
“And WHAT ABOUT MOSES FARROW? Is he a liar? If you believe that, fine, but please explain your reasons for thinking so.
“Yeah, I didn’t think so.”
Kohn replies: “Again, the piece is an analysis of the commercial situation surrounding his career, not an argument for or against allegations against him. Easy, tiger.”
My response: “But the commercial situation surrounding his career has been triggered by the conflating of #MeToo and Dylan Farrow’s L.A. Times essay, and a general non-analytical presumption that he molested his daughter. If you’re not saying that Dylan is truth-ing and Moses is lying, then you should be. Or not. I happen to believe Moses, but that’s me. In any case all you guys are saying is ‘uhm, yeah, whatever but his career is probably over.’ You’re sitting on the sidelines, and that ain’t much.”
Read the Weide, read the Weide, read the Weide.
Congrats to Criterion for releasing a new 4K digitally restored Bluray of Leo McCarey‘s The Awful Truth (’37), a classic screwball comedy about wealthy urbanites Jerry and Lucy Warriner (Cary Grant, Irene Dunne) attempting a divorce but failing to follow through. But Grant’s top hat on the jacket cover is like something out of the 19th Century, and it really spoils the art. I saw it and I scowled.
Unless I’m greatly mistaken Grant never even wears a top hat in The Awful Truth, although he does wear one in a nightclub scene in Bringing Up Baby. Secondly, the hat Grant is wearing on the Criterion jacket cover is way too tall — it looks like Abraham Lincoln‘s famous stovepipe. Stylish top hats of the 1930s were more modestly scaled, as an after-the-jump photo of Grant makes clear.
Screwball aficionados know that in The Awful Truth Grant’s character made light, sophisticated fun of Ralph Bellamy‘s Oklahoma Dan Leesen, Lucy’s new suitor, in exactly the same way that Grant’s Walter Burns would gently mock Bellamy’s Bruce Baldwin, another country bumpkin, in His Girl Friday three years later.
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