“Three harassment claims” presumably means that three persons (I’m guessing women in the case of AMPAS president John Bailey) have come forward, but did they do so as a group? Or did the harassment complaints surface of their own volition and time clock, and they just happened to arrive at roughly the same time? I wonder.
Academy statement given to Deadline: “The Academy treats any complaints confidentially to protect all parties. The Membership Committee reviews all complaints brought against Academy members according to our Standards of Conduct process, and after completing reviews, reports to the Board of Governors. We will not comment further on such matters until the full review is completed.”
Bailey, a 75-year-old cinematographer (Groundhog Day, American Gigolo, As Good As It Gets), replaced Cheryl Boone Isaacs as the Academy’s president last August.
Give the Academy’s pledge of due diligence, I wonder if it’s fair to mention the politically-incorrect comments of director Terry Gilliam, 77, in the same space. They surfaced earlier today in an interview with AFP (Agence France Presse). Not because Bailey and Gilliam’s situations are in any way similar, but I wonder if Gilliam will take any heat for his remarks (The Man Who Killed Don Quixote could debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May), or will the Robespierres cut him a break on the strength of his sounding a bit like a dinosaur?
Gilliam said the atmosphere around #MeToo has “got silly…people are being described in ridiculous terms as if there is no real humanity left anymore.” HE response: How is it silly or inhumane to demand that sexual harassers and other misbehavers face some kind of community pushback if they’ve hurt or exploited women in some kind of cruel way?
Kang basically argued that if you’ve given white male directors a pass after making a mediocre film or two or three, be fair about it and cut DuVernay a little slack also.
Everybody drops the ball at one time or another, she basically said, and DuVernay, at least, screwed up because she took a chance, which is the best excuse or rationale for failure that you can offer. A “messy script with too many affirmational platitudes and not enough character development”? Okay, but also “wildly ambitious” and “intensely personal.”
“It’s important to note the ludicrously unfair burden that A Wrinkle in Time was saddled with as soon as DuVernay signed on,” Kang writes. “It had to be both artistically dazzling and a commercial hit in order for it to be considered any kind of success. Grossly put, the ‘system’ was rigged against it.
“A truly inclusive industry would give a pass to DuVernay as it has to so many white male directors (not that her career is now in any sort of trouble). Diversity that demands all people from marginalized groups never make a mistake is no diversity at all. It’s also annoying that advocates of diversity are forced once again into a defensive posture, making a case for one of our own, when the problem has always been the scarcity of opportunities, not the merits of inclusion.
From a Neil Sinyard essay inside the plastic jacket of Criterion’s Tom Jones Bluray, and more particularly from a translation of Horace by the 17th century English poet John Dryden.
Last November I riffed about Tony Richardson‘s Tom Jones (’63) and the then-forthcoming Criterion Bluray. Right away there were concerns about whether the 4K remastering would significantly improve the look of the film, which, as shot by the late Walter Lassally (A Taste Of Honey, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner), always had a gamey, grainy, rough-hewn appearance.
HE commenter David Matychuk claimed that the laserdisc of Richardson’s recut version was “bad [with] weird colors and very murky in the night scenes.” Bob Cashill noted that “the lack of a decent-quality presentation has hindered Tom Jones‘ reputation for decades…the Criterion disc should correct that.”
Well, I finally watched it last night, and it’s a revelation — sharp and clean and fresh from the lab in ’63. Or like fresh milk from a cow. All my life I’ve been saying that Tom Jones is a great film but it looks a wee bit cruddy — no longer!
The Bluray delivers a certain unforced radiance — very celluloid-looking, of course, and no better or worse than what anyone with a good eyes would see, but quietly robust and alive with natural color. There’s no chance of discovering new detail in scenes that were shot at dusk and meant to look dark, of course, but when there’s decent indoor or outdoor light, wow! I actually sat up in my seat and leaned forward and started muttering “whoa, whoa, wait…this is good.” It delivers, in short, the kind of “bump” that I’m always looking for from a good Bluray.
The colors in the below Vimeo clip, a portion of an essay in which Duncan Petrie “discusses some of the creative choices that made Tom Jones so influential”, are close to what I saw last night but at the same time not quite. The Jones Bluray has to be seen — experienced — on a good 4K HDR monitor (preferably on a 60-inch screen or larger) to be fully appreciated. The YouTube capturing of the hunt sequence [after the jump] is how previous versions have looked for decades — i.e., muted, a bit brownish, not good enough.
Three weeks ago I referenced a Digital Bits report from Bill Hunt about Warner Home Video planning to release a 50th anniversary 4K Bluray of 2001: A Space Odyssey. As Stanley Kubrick‘s classic opened in the U.S. on 4.3.68, it seemed reasonable to assume it would “street” sometime next month.
Well, it’s not — the 4K 2001 will pop on 5.8.18. And the Amazon price is $41.99 — gougers! The perfectly rendered 2007 Bluray version sells for $22 to $28 less, depending on where you buy it. An HD streaming version sells for $12.99.
The alleged jacket art that I posted on 2.22 looked suspicious, I said, because it lacked any mention of “remastered UHD 4K,” and then HE commenter Carl LaFong explained that the jacket art was from a French steelbook Bluray release from 2015. Except the WHV 4K disc is using it anyway — the final jacket art is below.
On 9.27.17, L.A. Times real-estate reporter Roger Vincent posted a mild-mannered piece about the newly renovated Westfield Century City mall. It mostly reads like a publicity release, but one phrase stands out: “In keeping with the more modern notion of encouraging visitors to linger…” Boy, do they ever!
I’ve roamed around this $1 billion environment six or seven times since it re-opened last fall, and it’s clearly been designed to discourage shoppers from knowing where they are in relation to the overall layout of the damn place. It wasn’t easy to find this or that store before the renovation, but you could manage it if you had any kind of directional sense. I’ve always had a pretty good nose. Now the walking areas no longer follow basic rectangular grids, and it’s more than a little difficult (unless you’re a frequent visitor) to determine where anything is except for Bloomingdales and Eataly.
Before you could rely on Century City office buildings as beacons, but the mall is now mostly a two-story affair and you can’t see them as easily. I mostly visit for screenings at the AMC plex, but the other night I had to ask twice after losing my bearings. No color-coding, no districts, no arrows on the cement, no Westfield app that would allow you to blue-dot your location, etc.
The basic scheme is unmistakable: encourage shoppers to blindly shuffle from store to store without any directional markers or any clear idea of the general layout. Rats in a maze, shopping zombies, etc.
Yes, there are mounted mall maps here and there, and yes, security guards will offer assistance if you ask, and yes, if you visit often enough you’ll start to develop an idea of where this or that store is, but the Westfield guys obviously decided to emulate the malevolent IKEA scheme, which I wrote about last April. And don’t get me started on finding walk-up exits and walk-down entrances to the underground parking area.
The basic impulse I have now about the Westfield C.C. mall is one of contemplative avoidance. Do I really want to go there and cope with a feeling of being in J.J. Abrams‘ Lost? The answer is “naah, not really.”
Three or four hours ago I saw this boldly colored Todd Alcott post on Facebook. I couldn’t remember the last film that genuinely unnerved me, but one of my all-time unnervers is Michael Tolkin‘s The Rapture, which I first saw…God in heaven, 26 and 1/2 years ago. I started to tap something out, and then it hit me that I’d already written a couple of things about it — a ditty in ’15, a few words in ’11.
It doesn’t take much to get me to riff (or re-riff) on The Rapture. A 7.5.15 posting of a Trailers From Hell commentary on the 1991 film by Tolkin will more than suffice. To expand upon the headline, The Rapture is not just the greatest anti-Christian nutter film of all time but the spiritual father of HBO’s The Leftovers and generally one of the creepiest non-horror films over made.
Posted on 5.20.11: “The Rapture weirded me out on a level that I didn’t fully comprehend at first. So much so that I’ve only watched it twice. It’s not what you’d call a ‘pleasant’ film, but it sinks in and spreads a strange malevolent vibe — a profound unease, disquiet — into your system.
“Mimi Rogers hit her absolute career peak playing a telemarketing swinger-turned-convert who (a) sends her daughter to God with a bullet in the head and then (b) tells God to shove it when He/She is levitating Rogers up to Heaven during the finale.
“David Duchovny and Will Patton costarred. I was so taken by Patrick Bauchau‘s performance as a libertine that I sought him out at a party sometime in the late ’90s and wound up interviewing him at his Hollywood home.
“It’s a thinking-man’s horror flick, and one of the most chilling and profoundly creepy films ever — a perfect bitchslap directed at Godfreaks and the religious right.”
From 3.12 Guardian review by Monica Castillo: “While the movie is visually whimsical with its design and neon colors, the weakness of the source material still pokes out. Plot holes remain, despite screenwriter Zak Penn and Spielberg’s efforts to liven up the visuals and punch up the dialogue. I’m not sure I have a great understanding of how the game mechanics are supposed to work. If movement is required to move an avatar in the game, how do people play in the Oasis while standing in their living rooms?”
Last weekend Selma Blair was quoted by Metro‘s Katie Bailey saying that Cameron Diaz, who hasn’t made a film since Will Gluck‘s Annie (’14) and whose last good film was Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor (’13), has more or less bailed on her film career.
“I had lunch with Cameron the other day,” Blair reportedly said. “We were reminiscing about [The Sweetest Thing]. I would have liked to do a sequel but Cameron’s retired from acting. She’s like ‘I’m done.'” Blair was presumedly screamed at that night by Diaz and her reps, and so she tweeted the following day (Monday, 3.12) that Diaz “is NOT retiring from ANYTHING.”
Today, or four days after Bailey’s Metro story, People‘s Mike Miller posted a story about how the 45 year-old Diaz “is loving her life outside the Hollywood spotlight.” Quoting “a source”, Miller writes that Diaz and her 39 year-old, tattoo-covered musician husband Beji Madden are “great” and “both very happy living the quiet life.”
Translation: Diaz’s career is in eclipse but she doesn’t want anyone thinking she’s not ready to return if the right part comes along.
Diaz’s career started to lose steam as she got older and her looks started to fade. You can’t say she didn’t appear in better films during the ’90s and early aughts. We all know that actresses often have a rougher time when they start to show mileage. Or something like that. I didn’t invent the system. I deplore it. But that’s how it goes in some cases.
The same thing happened with Brendan Fraser — career peak between ’92 and ’05, and then he began to age out.
If you ask me Diaz peaked from ’94 to ’05, or from age 22 to 33 — from her breakout debut in Chuck Russell‘s The Mask (’94) to Curtis Hanson‘s In Her Shoes, in which she gave her career-best performance.
Yesterday Variety‘s Peter Debruge and Elsa Keslassy spitballed about possible 2018 Cannes Film Festival selections — Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma, Jennifer Kent‘s The Nightingale, Luca Guadagnino‘s Suspiria, Asghar Farhadi‘s Everybody Knows (in Spanish) and Olivier Assayas‘ E-Book.
Not to mention Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers, Paolo Sorrentino‘s Loro, Laszlo Nemes‘ Sunset, Terrence Malick’s Radegund (in German), Matteo Garrone‘s Dogman, Terry Gilliam‘s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and Xavier Dolan‘s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.
It’s worth noting that Debruge and Keslassy, mindful of antsy industry currents, didn’t mention an especially enticing possibility — Woody Allen‘s A Rainy Day in New York, which will probably be dumped by Amazon (those antsy currents!) but which would be a major score for this world-class Cote d’Azur festival.
Timothee Chalamet, Selena Gomez in Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York.
Woody’s films have played Cannes three or four times in the recent past, and a booking of his most recent effort, which partly deals with an inappropriate-age-gap relationship between Jude Law and Elle Fanning, would be a way for festival topper Thierry Fremaux to not only honor a relationship with a still-important filmmaker but declare that Cannes is about cinematic art first and nervous-nelly politics second.
Because you just know that a certain sector of American journalists will freak out if and when the Woody is chosen. Does Fremaux have the balls? Will Allen have the sand to face the Cannes press corps?
Debruge and Keslassy also suggest in their piece that Cannes should adhere to a gender quota system. “From the international success of Wonder Woman to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the world is a much different place than it was in May 2017,” they remind. “Will Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux get with the program and include more female directors?”
I would imagine that Fremaux would indeed want to increase the presence of female directors this year, but HE’s Jordan Ruimy has a response to Debruge and Keslassy that I agree with 110%:
“Cannes is not a quota festival. It recognizes excellence in cinema. If a smaller number of female directors fail to produce excellent movies in a given year, that fault is on those directors, not Cannes. Lowering the bar to meet some dumb quota hurts women, not helps them. Festivals are supposed to be merit-based, and Cannes most of all in this regard.”
Greg Berlanti‘s Love, Simon (20th Century Fox, 3.16) is definitely half-decent — an antiseptic, intensely suburban gay teen romance that’s also about coming out. It’s the first big-screen adaptation of a YA novel (Becky Albertalli‘s “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”) that I’ve actually half-liked, and it is kind of a big cultural deal that Fox is releasing a gentle, emotionally pliant, same-sex love story in 2400 theatres.**
Love, Simon is smartly written (the screenplay authors are This Is Us showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger) and straight-friendly, but — here come the caveats — it feels like a professional sell-job. Like an advertisement for the way things ought to be in Young Gay Utopia. It feels too tidy, too TV-realm, too “produced” and not, you know, laid-back enough. (Like Call Me By Your Name, say — a totally settled, unforced vibe flick from start to finish.)
But Simon‘s heart and head are in the right places, and it’s a whole lot better than Kelly Craig‘s The Edge of Seventeen, which struck me as vaguely similar and which I hated with a passion when I saw it a couple of years ago.
Amiable, mild-mannered Simon (Nick Robinson) is a closeted high school senior living with his parents (Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner) and younger sister (Talitha Bateman) in a well-tended Atlanta suburb. But the realm is essentially a blend of Disney World and a 21st Century update of John Hughes Land — an affluent, multi-cultural, progressive-minded hamlet where almost everyone (except for one appalling sociopath, played by Logan Miller, who causes all the trouble) is cool about everything.
Although his parents and friends are fair-minded and accepting of whatever, Simon has decided to wait until college to announce that he’s gay. But then he falls into this anonymous online chat with another gay guy — a local kid who calls himself Blue. The movie is partly about guessing who Blue might be. It’s also about Miller’s batshit-insane character, Martin, who discovers Simon’s flirtation with Blue and uses this knowledge to blackmail him into helping him get together with one of Simon’s close friends (i.e., a girl). I was saying to myself “if this was Goodfellas Martin would get an ice pick in the back of the neck.”
Simon suspects (and we are led to presume) that Blue might be one of three guys — all good looking, one of a POC persuasion and the other two Caucasian, one dark-haired and one semi-blonde. They all seem like good candidates, but I was a bit disappointed when the real Blue was revealed. (Not my choice.) Simon, however, is ready to roll with all of these guys.
Want a better, less conventional ending? Simon is really attracted to A, vaguely attracted to B and not that attracted to C, and then Blue turns out to be C. And Simon says, “Aaah…okay…life is unfair. But it’s nice to know ya, brah. I like what you have to say.” And they become good friends.
- Duke Scowls From Above As MGM CEO Gary Barber Ignores Malignant Neglect of 70mm Alamo Elements
This morning I read a 6.9 profile of MGM CEO Gary Barber by Deadline‘s Peter Bart (“A Resurgent MGM Builds...More »