Stirring praise for Factotum star Matt Dillon from
“He may also be savage, swiping Lily Taylor off her barstool with a backhand smack, and he is certainly wounded, rising from his bed to throw up and then swig his first beer of the day, yet there is something graven and classical in the brow and bearded chin which speaks of disappointed hauteur; he is like a leftover Roman, beaten up by the places he once aimed to conquer and falling, inch by inch, on his sword. In the words of one onlooker, ‘You look like you√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢ve been around. You look like you√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢ve got class.’
“Of all the pretty boys of the 1980s, Dillon has not just ripened most convincingly; he has discovered that the weatherings of age were exactly what he was waiting for.
“His racist cop was the best thing in Crash, and his rescue of Thandie Newton from an upturned car, with the flames crawling closer, has rightly burned a hole in viewers√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢ minds. A sloppy actor would have made the scene redemptive; he would have smiled upon the woman as he dragged her free, and his enfolding hug would have told of lessons learned. Instead, Dillon was aghast, stiffened with something unredeemable, and he clutched at Newton as if he, not she, had been trapped inside the fire.”
I first saw Factotum at the May 2005 cannes Film Festival. I wrote last February after speaking to Dillon at Sundance tat his performance “as Bukowski’s alter-ego Henry Chinaski isn’t just more nuanced and naturalistic than Mickey Rourke’s riff on the boozy writer-poet in Barfly and Ben Gazarra’s in Tales of Ordinary Madness — it exudes an exceptional dignity.”
This London Times Online piece about the most audacious and penetrating envelope-pushers in terms of sex, drugs violence and religion is old and crumpled and covered in dust — it was published last Saturday, 8.19 — but it’s a pretty good rundown.
It doesn’t mention what a ground-breaker Mike Nichols‘ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff was in 1966 for its first-time-ever use of terms like “screw you” and “up yours”. It sounds comically lame in today’s context but no studio- funded film had used coarse street dialogue before.
Sam Peckinpah‘s Straw Dogs (’71) is mentioned for the Susan George rape scene, which for years has made compassionate and senstive people feel guilty when they watch it because it delivers a kind of dark twisted turn-on. (Yes, yes…Peckinpah was a sexist dog but the arousal factor is still there.)
And I’ve never even heard of No Orchids for Miss Blandish (’48), a crime drama about a relationship between a gangster and an unsullied woman in her 30s. The film isn’t on DVD or even VHS, but the Times piece says that one British critic called it “the most sickening exhibition of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on a cinema screen.”
I’ve seen the initial one-sheet poster for Werner Herzog‘s Rescue Dawn, which will screen at the Toronto Film Festival, and it’s close to awful. It’s not Herzog’s doing but the film’s producers, Gibraltar Films (or perhaps its distributor, Conquistador Worldwide Media), and it’s utter mediocrity. The decision to allow the poster be dominated by Christian Bale‘s fleshy, overfed, clean-shaven face sends exactly the wrong message.
Bale’s puss is overbearing and the concept has no soul, no texture, no implication of poetry — nothing that suggests that the movie being sold is a Werner Herzog creation, which is as close of a guarantee of something layered and profound as you can find anywhere.
In fact, the poster says nothing except for the fact that Bale (represented with a photo that has nothing to do with how he looks in the film) is the star. It looks precisely like the kind of Cannes market screening poster/trade ad that a low-life distributor looking to cash in on Bale’s Batman popularity would throw together in a state of huckster desperation. There’s a coarse mentality at work here — you can smell it 100 yards off.
Rescue Dawn is an “action drama” (i.e., the producers wish it would simply be that) costarring Bale and Steve Zahn. Based on Herzog’s 1997 documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly, it’s about German-born Dieter Dengler, a German-born U.S. military pilot who was shot down over Vietnam/Laos in ’65 and captured and then escaped from a jungle prison camp and eventually made it back to safety.
Here, apparently, is a black-and-white shot of Herzog speaking with Marlton — the hulking sumo wrestler-type gentleman with the black toupee/wig in the black sunglasses standing to the right. It’s a photo taken from the Gibraltar Films website.
In this brief excerpt from a forthcoming Mean magazine interview with director Chris Nolan, Better than Fudge columnist Josh Horowitz gets Nolan to say two clear-cut things about his second Batman flick, to wit:
The green-haired, jut-jawed Joker, as he appears in the pages of “The Killing Joke”.
(a) “The title of the film” — The Dark Knight — “has been chosen very specifically… it’s quite important to the film”, and that (b) Heath Ledger‘s Joker will be less Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson than the Joker portrayed in a comic like “The Killing Joke.” Or, as Nolan puts it, “I would certainly point to ‘The Killing Joke’ but I also would point very much to the first two appearances of the Joker in the comic. If you look at where the Joker comes from there’s a very clear direction that fits what we’re doing very well.”
Roger Friedman‘s analysis of the Cruise-vs.-Paramount fallout covers a lot of ground, but a lot of it sounds like follow-the-bouncing-ball speculation.
Did Paramount allegedly being in some kind of temporary cash-poor position have anything to do with Sumner Redstone’s announcement that the studio wasn’t renewing its deal with Cruise/Wagner Prods.? (This sound especially questionable.)
Doesn’t Redstone’s stated reason for Paramount severing ties with Cruise — “unacceptable” off-screen behavior — smack of hypcocrisy considering the various bad behaviors (including studio chief Brad Grey‘s past dealings with Anthony Pellicano) that have been tolerated at Paramount? (Deadline Hollywood‘s Nikki Finke raised this point also in her column about the mess.)
What impact, if any, did the alleged rift between Cruise and Paramount/ DreamWorks honcho Steven Spielberg (which stems from Spielberg’s alleged concern that Cruise’s summer of ’05 Scientology antics hurt the War of the Worlds box-office) have on Paramount’s attitude about maintaining its ties with C/W Prods.?
Is Warner Bros. the studio most likely to extend a new housekeeping deal to Cruise/Wagner?
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