“It may be a bit, um, premature to say so, but Judd Apatow‘s Knocked Up strikes me as an instant classic,” N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott wrote yesterday, calling it “a comedy that captures the sexual confusion and moral ambivalence of our moment without straining, pandering or preaching.”
No straining, that is, except for that believability issue that I wrote about twice and was shouted down for from every corner of the globe. I’m speaking (for the third and last time, I swear) about a mature, well-employed hottie who looks like Katherine Heigl going for a drunken one-night-stand with a layabout who looks like Seth Rogen. Wouldn’t happen, couldn’t happen..absolutely no way in hell. But everyone’s loving the movie so the issue is moot. I enjoyed and respected this film a great deal, but I couldn’t let it go. I tried to push it away but it kept poking me in the ribs and breathing in my face.
“Like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, it attaches dirty humor to a basically upright premise,” Scott continues. “While this movie’s barrage of gynecology-inspired jokes would have driven the prudes at the old Hays Office mad, its story, about a young man trying to do what used to be the very definition of the Right Thing, might equally have brought a smile of approval to the lips of the starchiest old-Hollywood censor.”
“The wonder of Knocked Up is that it never scolds or sneers. It is sharp but not mean, sweet but not soft, and for all its rowdy obscenity it rarely feels coarse or crude. What it does feel is honest: about love, about sex, and above all about the built-in discrepancies between what men and women expect from each other and what they are likely to get.”
“Unfortunately, the good folks at Warner Brothers [Home Video] didn’t tax themselves with the most stellar print transfer” of the new double-disc DVD of Sidney Lumet‘s Prince of the City. “The anamorphic widescreen picture is of uneven quality. Nighttime and darkly lit scenes tend to have grain, and images are often soft.” — from Phil Bacharach‘s review on DVD Talk. If true, this is a shocker. The WB team has done such fine restorative work on other older titles in recent years. Could they have possibly just bonked this one out without giving it any extra effort? Opinions?
After a good eleven or twelve years of trying, Diane English will begin shooting her remake of George Cukor‘s The Women in early August. Picturehouse, a partial financier, will distribute it sometime next year — probably in the fall, I would guess. Variety‘s Michael Fleming is reporting that the costars are likely to be Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing and Candice Bergen. This cast would have felt right maybe six, seven years ago…but not now, sorry to say. Ryan is over — is there anyone who disputes this? — in part because of those collagen-balloon lips she paid for three of four years ago. If the lips are repaired (i.e., de-ballooned), there’s a chance she won’t get in the way of English’s film working out. If not, forget it.
“If you’ve ever been perplexed by the small photographs used to represent YouTube clips, you’re not alone,” writes Tampa Tribune staffer Gregg Williams. The reason is that “the photos are selected automatically, with no regard to its actual content: It’s the frame that falls precisely in the middle of the clip. From a promotional standpoint, these ‘middle frame’ images are hit-or-miss. As the basis for a pop-culture quiz, on the other hand…”
This is Drudge Report material, but this qualifies as…I was about to say “moderately exciting video footage” but the server is so slow over here that it’s taken 12 minutes to load 18 seconds worth. I’m hereby relying on readers with faster connections to determine the value.
Inspired by a brief but intense Cannes Film Festival argument between Robert Duvall and We Own The Night director James Gray about the merits of Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty‘s < Bonnie and Clyde, Toronto Star critic Peter Howell re-examines this 1967 classic and its several bold strokes in particular:
“It would be a serious movie about serial killers, but there would be plenty of laughs. And these outlaws would be seen not as dangerous and evil outlaws, but as sexy young lovers fighting a morally unjust society. There were other innovations: shooting was done mostly on location in Texas, editing was brisk and brutal and the sex and violence was pushed as far as possible. Almost too far: the bullet-strewn finale shocks even by today’s bloody standards.
“When Bonnie and Clyde opened in New York after premiering nine days earlier at the Montreal Film Festival, critical reaction almost killed it. N.Y. Times critic Bosley Crowther panned it as “a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy.” Warner Bros. quickly withdrew the film from circulation, but Beatty pushed for its return, aided by a rapturous review by The New Yorker‘s Pauline Kael.”
A fairly well-written take on MPI’s Becket DVD by Discland‘s Michael Adams, although he’s dead wrong in saying that Peter O’Toole‘s performance as Henry II “doesn’t come close to matching” his work in Lawrence of Arabia. The former is O’Toole’s crowning achievement.