That brief kissing scene (it’s over in a flash) between Toby Young‘s Truman Capote and Daniel Craig‘s Perry Smith is one of many things in infamous (showing this weekend in Telluride and next week in Toronto) that feel askew. Craig’s rugged boxer-like English features couldn’t look more different than the real Smith’s face, which was soft, round and semi-mournful and half-defined by his mother’s Cherokee blood. Craig’s black hair dye and dyed black eyebrows don’t begin to make him look right physically, not to mention the fact that he’s at least a head taller than Young whereas the real Capote and Smith, both shrimps, were almost exactly the same height. And I’m not even mentioning the two rough-up scenes between them that probably didn’t happen, according to a guy I’ve spoken to who was close to Capote.
David Poland, who saw Todd Field‘s Little Children a week and a half or two weeks ago along with a handful of other critics, is calling it the “best American film” and “first American masterpiece” of 2006, as well as on Fields’ part “one of the great sophomore efforts of all time.”
Another guy who’s seen this New Line release admires it but feels it may be a little too cool and detached to rank as a big-time Oscar contender…we’ll see.
Poland says Children “is the film that Ang Lee and Alan Ball and Robert Redford and Paul Thomas Anderson and even Woody Allen have been trying to make for a long time. New Line’s terrific, but narrow, trailer for the movie, understandably, focuses on ‘the affair’ in the film. But man, I am here to tell you — it’s just the appetizer.
“The film is very, very funny, but audiences are afraid to laugh at a lot of the humor.” (How does Poland know that? Is he quoting data from test screening reactions? If so, who’s feeding him tthis?) “After all, how funny are cheating and perversion and mean-spiritedness and outright stupidity? Very funny. But it’s a Kubrickian humor…tough and more than a little shocking. There isn’t a shot in the movie that feels wrong. Whether it’s a table scene with four characters who are each in a completely different place emotionally or a scene underwater meant to force/allow us to see through the eyes of a sex offender or a satirical take on football,
“Field uses the whole toolbox with assurance and detail. And any time you get the feeling that maybe he got the wrong performance out of someone, the reason why it is perfection is right around the corner.”
Here’s another slightly-less-admiring review by Emanuel Levy.
I didn’t go to that 10 pm promotional screening of Neil LaBute‘s The Wicker Man at the Chinese last night after all, but a few reviews are up on Rotten Tomatoes and so far it has a 22% positive rating. Comments about that animal outfit (a “bear suit“, two guys called it) that Cage wears in one scene are troubling. Screen Daily‘s Allan Hunter saw it in Edinburgh and says it’s “particularly ill-judged, diluting, distorting and demeaning virtually all the qualities that made the 1973 British original so haunting. The result is a clunky, conventional mystery yarn that will appeal to aficionados of the Robin Hardy classic that is frequently voted the best British horror film ever made. Younger genre fans without the baggage of old allegiances will merely find it tame and old hat, moreso given its lack of gore and gimmicks.”
I’m flying to Toronto early this afternoon and won’t arrive there until 8:30 Toronto time this evening. I went there a bit early last year and caught two or three of the pre-festival local press screenings, and it helped a bit. Plus I’m training down to Syracuse on Saturday morning to see Jett, who just began his freshman year there last Monday. Later this evening I’ll hopefully be getting a dispatch from a friend or two about the first day at the Telluride Film Festival.
A filmmaker friend has passed along some info about David Fincher and Zodiac, by way of an editor pal who knows a sound mixer who worked on Zodiac a while back.
“This girl is very smart and cool,” this guy says. “She’s very much the San Franciso arty girl who hates a lot of Hollywood shit and is funny talking about working on all the shit she does. Anyway, she said Zodiac is fucking brilliant and so amazing and smart. I really, really trust this girl. She says the movie is great and that George Lucas was blown away by it.
“She also said that Robert Downey, Jr. gives an incredible Oscar-level performance.
“But here’s my favorite detail. The first half of the movie, which takes place in the late ’60s, is mixed mono when all of radio was AM and with the advent of FM, in the chronology of the film as the calendar moves into the ’70s, the movie turns stereo. Such a great idea. She said that Fincher has the best ears of anyone other than David Lynch.
“The other point to make here is that if Zodiac sucked there’s noway Dreamamount would ever greenlight Fincher’s Benjamin Button project, which will star Brad Pitt.”