This is hilarious — Terry Gilliam on the streets plugging the Manhattan opening of Tideland (IFC, 10.13) and looking for loose change in the bargain. I’ve seen most of Tideland (I walked out after an hour) and this clip is fifteen times more entertaining. Gilliam’s spirit is infectious.
But why has David Lynch arranged to self-distribute Inland Empire, his 172 minute, digitally-shot “fever dream” flick, before the end of the year? What were Lynch’s concrete options before he decided to go this way? Manohla Dargis wrote some respectful things about Empire, but what are the buyers really saying about it behind closed doors? Was nobody was making a serious offer? Gregg Goldstein‘s Hollywood Reporter story is vague about this stuff.
Diane Sawyer: “How much did you read of people who came out and said, Do not work with him again? What do you feel about them?”
Mel Gibson: “I feel sad because they’ve obviously been hurt and frightened and offended enough to feel that they have to do that. Um, and it’s their choice. There’s nothing I can do about that.”
Columnist Ray Richmond has mentioned a half-assed site called Celebrity Ranker that claims to calculate how popular and sexy someone with a lot of internet exposure may be. It ranks people by sifting through Google and tabulating the pages focusing on this or that celebrity, which Ranker says number 23,706. (That’s appalling in itself — 23,706 celebrities pressuring maitre d’s to seat them in restaurants before others.)
But the rankings sound like total bullshit. As Richmond points out, George Clooney is only the 3,486th most popular celeb and the 4,618th sexiest. Really? I put in the names of the three Departed stars. Leonardo DiCaprio is behind Clooney in popularity (ranking at #3940 — his popularity rating is 5.127 on a scale of 0 to 7) but ahead in sexiness (#3947). Matt Damon wipes the floor with DiCaprio in terms of popularity (#2500 with a 5.706 rating) but loses out in terms of sexiness (ranked as # 5312). And Jack Nicholson is behind them both with #3689 popularity ranking and a sexy rating of # 6670….whoa!
Among internet columnists, David Poland out-rates me in tems of popularity — he’s #7941 and 4.033 compared to my ranking of #8949 and 3.762 — but I’ve been judged to be much sexier — #4502 compared to Poland’s #6305. But we’re both sexier than Nicholson. (How exactly does this site equate sexiness with internet page views again? Just trying to understand this as best I can.)
Let’s see…Fox 411‘s Roger Friedman is the 8,249th most popular guy online and the 4322nd sexiest. (Beating out Poland and myself in the latter category.) The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil is the 9122nd most popular and the 7709th most sexy. Harry Knowles is more popular than Poland with a #6689 ranking but less sexy with a ranking of #6511. Hollywood Wiretap columnist Pete Hammond is the 9916th most popular and the 6200th most sexy. L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein has an #8787 popularity rating and a sexy ranking of #7719. And Hollywood Reporter columnist Anne Thompson has a #6098 popularity ranking and has been judged the 7010th most sexy. Eat my dust, Goldstein!
What I’d like to know is, who the hell are all those celebrities with popularity and sexiness rankings in the realms of 12,000, 15,000 and 20,000, given that most big-name celebrities seem to have numbers in the 3000 and 4000 range and internet columnists are more in the range of 4000 to 9000? You’d have to be a real scumbag with hair growing out of your nose to have, say, a popularity ranking of 14,978 and a sexy rating of 16,235. Think about this. You’d have to be a Serbian war criminal with hives, halitosis and a chronic farting problem to rank in the 20,000 range.
And just think — some psuedo-celebrity out there has been ranked in last place. Who could that be?
“Given the times we live in, Sofia Coppola‘s Marie-Antoinette (Columbia, 10.20) could well become a box-office hit,” wrote Sean O’Hagan in last Sunday’s Guardian. “While not quite as shallow as Liberation critic Agnes Poirier paints it (‘history is merely decor and Versailles a boutique hotel for the jet set, past and present’) nor as visionary as Lady Antonia Fraser insists, it is an oddly empty film.
“Having moved away from the cool contemporaneity of her previous mood piece, the lauded Lost in Translation , Coppola seems adrift in the ancien regime. The result is a historical drama for the Wallpaper generation, all sumptuous interiors, dresses to die for, and an oh-so-ironic ’80s glam-pop soundtrack. As Bow Wow Wow’s trash classic ‘ Want Candy’ blares out its blatant message of self-gratification over yet another baroque party scene, you wonder what happened to Coppola’s signature style, the hazy, impressionistic, understated languor of her two previous outings.”
I have a military underwear problem with Flags of Our Fathers (Dreamamount, 10.20). Nobody will see what I’m talking about for another ten days and it may seem like a chickenshit thing to bring up, but the final scene of Clint Eastwood‘s Iwo Jima film shows the small group of Marines who raised the U.S. flag atop Mt. Surabachi taking a swim in the Pacific Ocean, and they’re all wearing white underwear.
The problem is this: no G.I.’s wore white underwear during World War II — they were all issued olive drab briefs for camouflage purposes. I’m not trying to make a major deal out of this, but it’s definitely a significant error.
As soon as I saw the white briefs I suspected it wasn’t correct, but I wasn’t 100% sure. So I called my father, a former Marine lieutenant who fought at the battles of Iwo Jima and Guam, and he said yup, olive-drab underwear, the film has it wrong.
Then I found a military uniform and accessory site called What Price Glory that says, in discussing 1940s-era underwear, that “soldiers who fought in World War II were introduced to the concept of colored (olive drab) cotton boxer shorts with elastic waistbands.”
I then found another site about cotton apparel that says “during this era of WWII, American troops discovered that the freshly washed white underwear that they hung out to dry attracted enemy fire. A wartime ad for Jockey headlined: ‘Target: White Underwear’ and explained why the armed forces switched from white underwear to OD (Olive Drab), because the latter color blends in with its surroundings more effectively.”
The guys-swimming-in-the-ocean scene doesn’t work for two other reasons. Eastwood deciding to have them wear underwear (two guys jump into the water with their pants on) seems prudish. Was Clint looking to avoid an R rating from all the bare asses and long-shot genitalia? My dad says whenever soldiers took a swim after a battle they always skinny-dipped — nobody wore underwear. He also said that nobody went swimming off the island of Iwo Jima because the water was too cold, the location being in the northern Pacific (only about 650 miles south of Japan) and the time of year being February-March. So the whole scene doesn’t work for me.
Clint has to take the bullet on this one because he’s the boss, but other guilty party appears to be Marynn Scinto, whom the IMDB lists as the “wardrobe costumer” on Flags of Our Fathers.
It doesn’t seem fair, I realize. You work your ass off and get it historically right in dozens of different ways — uniforms, weapons, every last little thing– and then you screw up on the underwear and some guy like me comes along and gives you noise about it. But getting every last detail right is a big part of the challenge in making first-rate films.
IndieWIRE’s Anthony Kaufman is spotlighting the big contenders in the Best Foreign Language Oscar category: Pedro Almodovar‘s Volver (from Spain), Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico), Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s The Lives of Others (Germany), Deepa Mehta’s Water (Canada) and Daniele Thompson‘s Avenue Montaigne (France).
HE can’t decide which of the three biggies — Volver, Pan’s Labyrinth, The LIves of Others — to stand up for. I love all three equally, but in different ways. The Pedro is one of the finest films ever made about what it takes to keep a family together…a film about women working hard and needing/loving/caring for each other…grounded, emotional, impassioned and yet disciplined at every turn. The von Donnersmarck is well crafted, political, sensuous, uplifting, a thriller…a great German stew. And Pan’s Labyrinth is del Toro’s most soulful, disciplined and deeply felt film to date — a masterwork by any standard.
The runners-up, say Kaufman, are Zhang Yimou‘s lThe Curse of the Golden Flower (sign unseen, HE is dimssing any Zhang Yimou film with the word “Curse” in the title), Emanuele Crialese‘s Golden Door, Paul Verhoeven‘s Black Book (a.k.a. Showgirl’s List), Susanne Bier‘s Danish drama After the Wedding (not up to par with her previous films) and Lee Sang-il‘s Hula Girls.
The Queen costar Michael Sheen arrived in Los Angeles a couple of days ago, and one of the first things he attended to after touching down at LAX was join Pete Hammond and Helen Mirren in last night’s discussion about the Stephen Frears- directed drama following a Variety screening at the Cinerama Dome. I’ve seen The Queen three times now, and Sheen’s performance seems to become richer and more spot-on with each viewing.
(l.) Michael Sheen as David Frost in Nixon/Frost; (r.) Frank Langella, Sheen
Sheen is on hiatus from his on-stage role as David Frost in the London production of Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon, an acclaimed drama based on the interviews that David Frost did with ex-president Richard Nixon in the mid ’70s. The play, which Ron Howard has arranged to direct as a feature film, will re-open at a West End theatre in three or four weeks. Howard, of course, works only with big-name stars, which seems to put Sheen and costar Frank Langella (whio plays former president Richard Nixon) at a disadvantage as far as casting is concerned.
I haven’t seen Frost/Nixon or even read it, but Sheen and Langella have been highly praised for their respective performances, and something about Sheen’s occasionally unctuous Tony Blair in The Queen tells me he’s probably right on the money as Frost. And I don’t know…it seems a shame that Howard and Imagine have come along and stuck their mitts into this thing (i.e., buying the film rights, adapting it into a film). You just know on this or that level that it’s going to come out…I don’t know, Opie-fied.
I was in some kind of diminished state when I first read this 10.1 piece on the best Boston movies by Newsweek‘s bureau chief Mark Starr. Inspired by the Boston-y locales, accents and Irish machismo in Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed, Starr tapped out a laundry list of films shot in Boston, some of which (Between The Lines, The Boston Strangler, The Verdict) exude some of the cultural atmosphere of that town, and some of which (the Steve McQueen-Faye Dunaway Thomas Crown Affair) are mere Hollywood visitations.
Of course, there is only one real Boston crime movie — only one that really and truly gets the aroma and texture of gritty, pretzel-and-beer-breath Beantown and its surrounding areas, and that is Peter Yates‘ The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973). And I’m getting very tired of writing this year after year because the company holding the rights (Paramount released the film) refuses to remaster and release it on DVD in the right way.
You can buy a cheesy Z-grade DVD taken from some highly dubious source, but watching, much less buying, a DVD of this quality is degrading. A film as funky and flavorful as Eddie Coyle — particularly one with one of Robert Mitchum‘s finest performances — deserves to be treated with a modicum of respect.
“Mitchum has always been one of our best screen actors: sardonic, masculine, quick-witted, but slow to reveal himself,” Roger Ebert wrote 33 years ago in his Eddie Coyle review. “He has never been in an absolutely great film; he doesn’t have masterpieces behind him like Brando or Cary Grant. More than half his films have been conventional action melodramas, and it is a rare summer without at least one movie in which Mitchum wears a sombrero and lights bombs with his cigar. But give him a character and the room to develop it, and what he does is wonderful.
“The character of Eddie Coyle is made for him: a weary middle-aged man, but tough and proud; a man who has been hurt too often in life not to respect pain; a man who will take chances to protect his own territory. Teh Friends of Eddie Cioyle is not a high-strung gangster film, it doesn’t have a lot of overt excitement in it, and it doesn’t go in for much violence. It simply gives us a man, invites our sympathy for him, and then watches almost sadly as his time runs out. And it works so well because Eddie is played by Mitchum, who has perhaps never been better.”
I love this observation in Vincent Canby’s review, to wit: “It has an ear for the way people talk — for sentences that begin one way and end another, or are stuffed with excess pronouns. ‘What you don’t know, it don’t bother you,’ a friend might say to Eddie.”
Quick, ill-advised drop-by at the marginally disgusting Oki-Dog stand on Fairfax and Willoughby on way home from last night’s Variety screening of The Queen — Monday, 10.9, 10:35 pm. And during the post-Queen screening q & a between host Pete Hammond, and stars Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen (i.e., Tony Blair) at the Cinerama Dome: (a) grainy-blurry photo #1 (b) grainy-blurry photo #2; (c) grainy-blurry photo #3