“The World Cup probably isn’t even on your radar, but on July 7th, two days before the final, Miramax is opening Once In A Lifetime , an incredibly entertaining documentary about the astonishing rise and fall of the New York Cosmos soccer team in the 1970s and ’80s. Founded on a whim by Time-Warner chairman Steve Ross and the Ertegun brothers, the Cosmos, for a too-brief period, boasted the talents of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto, three of the biggest stars in the world. And they were selling out games at 77,000 seat Giants Stadium. And stars like Mick Jagger visited the locker room. And the team members were welcomed as VIPs at Studio 54. And by 1985, only eight years after Pele retired, the team was defunct. And now two Brit documentarians, Paul Crowder and John Dower, have turned this story into a very hip film on power, excess, stardom and the wild and crazy ’70s in New York. Once in a Lifetime has a great soundtrack filled with soul and disco music of the time, and plenty of tasty interviews with the parties involved. What makes it so great is also the fact that you don’t have to know anything about soccer or the Cosmos to enjoy it — it’s just flat-out entertaining and informative. A real winner.” — Lewis Beale
Good God…of course, of course! Rachel McAdams should have played Lois Lane in Superman Returns. Maybe Bryan Singer offered her the part and she passed or something got in the way. Given the reaction to Kate Bosworth so far, one imagines that Singer is probably wishing deep down he’d somehow gotten McAdams. Nothing on Google about this. Was she ever approached? She’s the friggin’ “it” girl. How could Singer not have wanted her?
The ’06 Toronto Film Festival, which kicks off two and a half months from now, is going to be a kind of old-home week for anyone who went to Cannes. Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu‘s widely-praised Babel will be screened there…great. Ditto Ray Lawrence‘s Jindabyne, Ken Loach‘s Palme d’Or-winning The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Andrea Arnold ‘s Red Road and Aki Kaurismaki‘s Lights in the Dusk. Hey…what about giving Richard Kelly another shot with a new cut of Southland Tales? And what about showing Sofia Coppola‘s Marie-Antoinette for another round of whatever happens? (I was going to type the words “deeply loathed” before the title, but then I remembered that some people, including French critic Michel Ciment, stood up for it.)
Sincere regrets over the death of Marine Staff Sergeant Raymond Plouhar, who was featured in a sequence in Michael Moore‘s Fahrenheit 9/11 as he and another Marine went around Flint, Michigan, trying to recruit local youths. Plouhar, 30, was killed by a roadside bombing on Monday “while conducting combat operations in Iraq’s Anbar province”, the Defense Department said Tuesday. HE’s condolences to Plouhar’s family and friends. I’m sorry to report that as of 4:42 L.A. time, Michael Moore’s site hasn’t reported the news of Plouhar’s death…unless they’re hiding it somewhere. I don’t think is good form on Moore’s part.
Every online go-getter has been publishing that nude Britney Spears photo that will adorn the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar. I’m hours behind the pack (blame Superman Returns and James Ellroy) but no harm in following suit.
I’m guessing that sometime tomorrow morning an e-mail from an attorney for the magazine will arrive telling me to take it down or else…but maybe not. Remember when Spears was hot and thin? She’s obviously pregnant now, but during her recovery period from the last baby she was a sea lion.
I should have asked hard-boiled crime writer James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential,” “My Dark Places”) the obvious question during his L.A. Film Festival appearance on Monday night at the Italian Cultural Center — what is his view of alleged wiretapper and hard-guy Anthony Pellicano, and particularly Pellicano’s declaration that he’ll never rat out his clients?
Knowing Ellroy as I do (i.e., only slightly), he probably would have called Pellicano a punk and a poseur, but I won’t know for sure until the next time.
Crime-novel author James Ellroy, who’s shaved his moustache and lost a few pounds since the photo was taken five years ago.
The question I did ask was about the fictional plot of The Black Dahlia, Brian De Palma’s noir thriller based on Ellroy’s book of the same name. I was trying to get at the present-day interest among audiences in watching yet another fictional Dahlia tale on top of three or four cheapy TV movies plus Ulu Grosbard’s 1982 True Confessions**.
The Black Dahlia cow been milked too many damn times, and the teats are red and sore.
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I’m especially convinced of this due to the fact that the “unsolved” murder of aspiring actress and troubled party girl Elizabeth Short has, to some people’s satisfaction (including my own), been solved.
Ellroy dismissed the “solve” as speculative on Monday night and he may be right, but read this 4.2.03 Washington Post article by William Booth about a book called “Black Dahlia Avenger” by former LAPD detective Steve Hodel, and go over all the disclosures and allegations and apparent facts.
When you’ve done that, convince me that Hodel’s father, a Los Angeles physician namd George Hodel, Jr., who ran a clinic treating venereal diseases (and who died in 1999 after leaving the U.S. and moving to Asia in 1950), doesn’t sound awfully damn guilty.
That’s right…Steve Hodel’s father.
Black Dahlia costars Hilary Swank, Josh Hartnett
L.A. Times writer Larry Harnisch voiced another persuasive theory about a man he believes was the Black Dahlia killer (a surgeon named Walter Bayley) in Vikram Jayanti’s excellent 2001 doc James Ellroy’s Feast of Death. Read Harnisch’s site for the whole kit and kaboodle.
Ellroy wouldn’t discuss Bayley or Hodel on Monday night, I’m guessing, because notions of a solve would obviously drain the DePalma film of whatever allure it may have going in, and that would obviously lessen interest in people wanting to buy Ellroy’s fictional book about the case.
Another angle is the fact that Ellroy’s interest in cops, sex crimes and the seamy underbelly of Los Angeles stems in large part from the strangulation murder of his mother, Jean Ellroy, in 1958, when James was 10.
In the mid ’90s Ellroy published “My Dark Places,” a book about an unsuccessful attempt to solve her killing. The murderer was probably a guy she was seeing on some basis, but no final investigative score ever happened. I have an idea that because Ellroy doesn’t have closure on his mom’s death, he’s not comfortable with wrapping things up on Elizabeth Short.
Universal’s The Black Dahlia, which costars Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhardt, Scarlett Johansson, Mia Kershner and Hilary Swank, is slated for release on 9.15.
Ellroy said on Monday night that he’s watched hours of dailies from DePalma’s film and said he would be doing promotion for it and, like with L.A. Confidential, that he’s fairly happy with the end result.
His favorite element in The Black Dahlia, he said, is Josh Hartnett, who plays a haunted cop named Bucky Bleichert who, along with partner Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart), is assigned to look into Short’s (Mia Kirshner) grisly murder. (Her nude body was found in two pieces, sliced at the waist, on south Norton Avenue.)
Ellroy said, “Hartnett reads lines that I wrote with near perfect inflection every time.”
Ellroy is living in Los Angeles now, and that’s good. (I tried offering a link to a video piece about him discussing his return home while dining at one of his favorite haunts, the Pacific Dining Car, but it’s dead.) And he’s a lot slimmer these days than he was four or five years ago, and full of energy and in jolly spirits.
It was lot of fun listening to Ellroy’s well-honed shpiel the other night, although he’s not much of a conversationalist. Zap2it’s Hanh Nguyen has written a pretty good rundown of the highlights. You just need to scroll down a bit.
** True Confessions isn’t out on DVD by the way. What’s up with that?
“Isn’t it odd that Superman is here to save the world, but the things that end up threatening the world are elements he brought with him to earth? Isn’t it strange that a guy who could, perhaps, save the world, spends eight hours a day sitting around in an office where everyone is obsessed with celebrating him, and then a few hours performing a few random acts of rescue instead of addressing the world’s fundamental problems?” — excerpted from a response to the “Superman Again” feature, written by Looking Closer‘s Jeffrey Overstreet
A very curious decision has been made by the people at Taschen, at the request of Miami Vice director Michael Mann , to delay the release of what that big Taschen book about Mann’s career until sometime in the fall, instead of releasing it concurrent with Miami Vice‘s 7.28 opening, which is what the plan apparently was a few weeks ago.
What could Mann’s motive possibly be? Does he want the Taschen book coming out at the same time as the Miami Vice DVD, which I presume will street sometime in November? The only other fall-release motive would be to goose awards consideration, but Miami Vice is not being seen, good as it may be, as an awards-level thing. What a shame, in any event. For me Miami Vice is the Big One to watch for, and I was so looking forward to leafing through this book (and through F.X. Feeney’s essay about Mann) sometime next month as a kind of anticipation exercise.
Now Playing‘s Scott Collura had some problems with the IMAX 3-D portions of Superman Returns, and here’s a summary: “The technology still leaves something to be desired…there was some blurriness and darkness… folks sitting near me had the same take… perhaps the theater we were in was not calibrated correctly? Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that we were sitting on the side of the theater and not directly in the middle? But at other times one could garner an idea of what the technology can offer.”
I hear what Scott’s saying. For me, the issue is mainly one of “ghosting“, a kind of cigarette-smoke, double-image effect that kicks in very faintly from time to time. Superman Returns wasn’t shot in 3D. What you’re seeing in IMAX theatres is a new-generation 3D that’s been artificially created in post. I presume it will get better as the process moves along, but the Superman 3D is somewhere between pretty good and not bad. It seemed just as satisfying as the 3D in that James Cameron underater-exploration IMAX thing, or even a touch better. And all tech concerns are out the window when it comes to that scene in which Superman saves the jet plane from crashing into terra firma, which is knock-your-socks-off fantastic.
A whole lotta people were lined up at the Universal Studios 18-plex last night to get into three screenings of Superman Returns, the big draw being the IMAX 3D presentation at 10:30 pm. I saw the throngs as I came out of a Supie-3D 7 pm show, and I stopped and took a few blurry-ass photos. The after-effect was such that I forgot to set the camera to auto-focus.
Outside Universal Citywalk plex — Tuesday, 6.27.06, 9:42 pm
As I was doing this, however, I was indulging in my usual-usual — i.e. having second thoughts after a second viewing. And I’m now persuaded that Superman Returns should have been shorter. A really fine editor could go to work on it and (just spitballing) get it down to two hours and 15 minutes, say, or maybe a wee bit shorter with a thousand tiny cuts.
The spiritual current in this film is still, for me, wondrous and profound — Superman Returns is The Passion of the Christ for non-Christians. And the bring-it-home sequences — i.e., the ones involving disaster, rescue and redemption — are no less jaw-dropping, and each and every second of Brandon Routh tearing through the clouds and the heavens is spectacular. But the pace could be picked up…it really could. It didn’t seem labored when I saw it the first time, but last night it did here and there.
Not to the degree that it’s a major problem, but…well, put it this way. When the big-growing-Krypton-island sequence began, with those wretchedly ugly rock-spires starting to emerge through the waves, I started muttering to myself, somewhat fatigued, “All right…here we go again.” But not long after came the fantabulous 3D version of the scene in which Superman rescues Lois and family aboard Luthor’s sinking yacht, and everything was right again.
If only Singer had done what every good tree-trimmer does before finishing the job — if he had grimmed up and lashed himself with birch branches and said, “Okay, now comes the really hard part” and been a man’s man and gone back into the editing room and taken out the orange hand-snippers and started to shave little bits here and there…he could have delivered a film that would feel a little bit tighter and righter to guys like myself.
Otherwise it’s a kind of gem, although to understand this you have to get that it’s primarily about the current within. Anyone saying they didn’t get enough of a sense of fun or frolic from this movie is missing that. Superman Returns isn’t “like” a church service — it is one.
Anyone bitching about Clark’s lack of loyalty and supportiveness for Lois (i.e., getting her pregnant and then disappearing for five years) and being a no-account absentee dad (which he is) doesn’t get what’s going on either. Did you ever hear any New Testament scholars dishing critiques about Yeshua’s not being more attentive to the ladies, or not getting married, or not being a more dutiful son to Mary?
I can sympathize with those complaining that Superman shouldn’t be able to carry that rocky land mass out into space because it’s laced with Kryptonite and therefore he shouldn’t have the strength, but I saw this as an act of will, devotion and self-sacrifice first and super-human strength and Kryptonite-vulnerablity second. Besides, the act obviously brings Superman to the brink of death…or perhaps to death itself.
Mary Magdelene (Carmen Sevilla) discovering Christ’s empty bed in Nicholas Ray’s King of Kings
And I love, love, love the scene at the very end in which the nurse comes into the hospital room and finds only an empty bed and rumpled sheets.