Le hype de Superman Returns seems pretty well cranked in Paris this week…bus ads, metro ads…a fairly persistent presence — snapped on Isle de la Cite (facing south) on Saturday, 5.27.06, 6:55 pm.
And with not much else to do or say today (i.e., having decided to mostly take the day off and just wander around), a passel of non-movie-related pics: (a) lean over the catch of the day on a bed of ice, and the aroma fills you up and does more than intoxicate, at a fish market on rue Lepic — Saturday, 5.27.06, 3:25 pm; (b) sanitation engineers on rue Lepic…the sound of clinking-clattering glass is shattering –Saturday, 5.27.06, 3:30; (c) Snapped in front of the Pantheon, looking west — Saturday, 5.27.06, 7:36 pm; (d) Snapped at a small cafe on rue Mouffetard — Saturday, 5.27.06, 8:55 pm; (e) Brad Pitt wristwatch ad in Friday’s print edition of the London Times; (f) a postively captivating floral delight on rue Lepic — Saturday, 5.27, 3:40 pm; (g) Ben Sliney, the FAA chief who played himself in United 93, looking about 20 pounds lighter with a cool haircut and a great tan (like he wants to be in more movies perhaps?…he was real and likable and solid as a rock in the film) at Friday’s Cannes press conference for the Paul Greengrass film; (h) Brass plaque on sloping hill street approaching the Pantheon; (i) Pantheon glimpse on way back from dinner — Saturday, 5.27.06; 9:40 pm; (k) Notre Dame — Saturday, 5.27.06, 7:55 pm; (l) The Louvre has a soul all its own, but for the time being it half-feels like a Ron Howard-Tom Hanks tourist attraction — Saturday, 5.27.06, 5:35 pm; (m) Montmartre windowsill — Saturday, 5.27.06, 3:55 pm; and (n) with the AC cord suddenly failing to power up the laptop and no wi-fi in the closet-sized studio I’m crashing in, here’s Hollywood Elsewhere’s publishing headquarters for the next few days; naptime under a tree in small park adjacent to St.-Julien-le-Pauvre — Saturday, 5.27.06, 6:40 pm.
This is definitely burying the lead, but the $65,000-per-screen opening of An Inconvenient Truth on 4 screens, which MCN’s Len Klady is calling “the strongest exclusive opening of the year,” lifts my heart more than the $44.6 million Friday that X-Men 3 achieved…although you really have to say “wowza!” ’bout that. And yet (and I know what this is going to sound like, but I have to say it) there’s something a wee bit disspiriting…just a wee bit…about an okay-but-far-from-thermonuclear Brett Ratner downgrade performing this well. I don’t mean the champagne shouldn’t be passed around (a projected $120 million weekend is a hell of a number), and I really do understand how sourpussy this sounds, but…screw it….congrats to Ratner and Fox and the rest of the team . I just wonder sometimes (more than sometimes) where people’s heads and souls are at. The ticket-buying public, bless ’em, has just given a hearty frat-house slap on the back and a Times Square-sized flashing green light to Hollywood’s fuck-it, cheese-it-up, downgrade-it, the-fans-won’t-know-the-difference mentality as far as tentpolers are concerned. The X-Men 3 triumph isn’t a negative thing at all — it’s fine, it’s good, it’s money-money-money…but I’m feeling a somewhat muted response about it. I can say “okay, good take,” etc., but I can’t in all good conscience go wheee!
“So did those who boo perhaps have a Yankee accent? Or British, Italian, or Austrian? Who can say? The important point is that Marie-Antoinette was not hated. The daily ‘critics’ jury’ of Screen International, a cross-section of nine international critics, gave it 2.44 points out of a possible 4; it’s tied for fifth out of 14 films. In another poll, Michel Ciment rated it worthy of the Palme d’Or. I’ve also noticed that opinions on the film seem to be growing more favorable as time passes .” — Roger Ebert in his 5.25 column. All due respect to Roger, Michel Ciment and the others who admired Coppola’s pic, but this is not the truth as I knew, gauged and assimilated it in Cannes. My reaction and those of several journalists I spoke to after the film ended was one of aesthetic and moral revulsion. I stand absolutely by my original observation that this is “arguably one of the shallowest and dullest historical biopics of all time.” As I said earlier, Coppola does a pretty good job craft-wise, and she obviously has rendered a view of the French queen’s life of her own devising. The problem is that this view is atrociously lame. If Coppola were to apply the same aesthetic to a life-of-Christ movie, it would be just as bland and value-less, and it would end as Judas and the Roman soldiers enter the Garden of Gethsamene. Let’s call a spade a spade — Coppola identified with Marie-Antoinette and wanted to cut her a break.