This is the end of the once-respected Marc Forster — a total capitulation of a man who showed he knew how to make emotionally sensitive material play on-screen in Monster’s Ball, but whose instincts have been off ever since, especially in the woefully sloppy Stranger Than Fiction. (His direction of Finding Neverland was the first serious indication of trouble), And now, finally, comes the final dropping of the pants with this Variety story announcing that Forster will direct the 22nd James Bond film.
Michael Moore piracy quote #1: “I’m glad that illegal downloaders] were able to see my movie. I’m not a big believer in our copyright laws. I think they’re way too restrictive.
“I just read Don DeLillo‘s book √É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√ã≈ìFalling Man’, a wonderful book. If I were suddenly to take this out of my bag and say to you, √É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√ã≈ìHey, you should read this, it’s great’ would I be breaking the law? No. I’d be sharing something with you. I’m sharing a work of art with you, and what happens is that if you like that book, there’s a very good chance you might go on Amazon next week and order three more of Don DeLillo’s books, because you got the free book from me.
“I’ve never supported this concept of going after Napster. I think the rock bands who fought this were wrong. I think filmmakers are wrong about this. I think sharing’s a good thing. I remember the first time I received a cassette tape of a band called The Clash. I became an instant fan of the Clash and then bought their albums after that and went to their concerts and gave them my money√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√Ç¬¶ but I first got it for free. C’mon. Everyone in here’s either young or were young, and that’s how it happens, right?” — as reported by Coming Soon‘s Edward Douglas.
Michael Moore piracy quote #2: “Every filmmaker intends for his film to be seen on the big screen. [The mass pirating of Sicko] wasn’t a guy taking a video camera into a theater. This was an inside job, a copy made from a high-quality master and could potentially impact the opening weekend box-office. Who do you think benefits from that?” — from a Hollywood Reporter article by Gregg Goldstein.
Nikki Finke is reporting that Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese will team on a Paramount film called The Winter of Frankie Machine, based on Don Winslow‘s book about a retired hit man, although the title will be shortened, she says, to just Frankie Machine. The story’s about an aging hit man (De Niro) who’s hounded out of a respectable retirement as the target of a hit himself.
I really can’t stand the idea of watching another movie about another hit man. I’m hit-manned out, although this one sounds more like a meditation on old age and the end of the road. The real problem is that De Niro is looking way too bulky and roly-poly these days. It’s good that Scorsese will be doing another mob movie, but he needs to summon the courage to tell De Niro that he’s over the hill and has lost his mojo. He’s eaten too many plates of rich food and gotten too soft and jowly….he looks like an old Russian wheat farmer.
Howard Hawks (or was it John Ford?) came to the conclusion sometime in the ’60s that John Wayne had gotten too old to convincingly play the same tough-guy hero he’d been playing since the early ’40s. It was a hard decision to come to, but Hawks/Ford bit into the leather and stood their ground because they were men of their word who could hear the bell tolling. You think I’m making this up? I’m not. When you’re past it, you’re past it….and that’s that.
Jett and I were at a Carl’s, Jr. around 1:15 pm today, and there were about 25 or more Latino kids there, and every last one was either bulky, chunky, over-fed or fat. I was watching a Braves-Red Sox game yesterday on ESPN, and I was struck by two Atlanta pitchers — one who was relieved in the ninth inning, and the guy who relieved him — who were both pretty big…barrel-chested, round faces, Babe Ruth-ish. Earlier this month Jett and I stayed for two nights at a youth hostel in Positano, Italy, and I noticed several zaftig American college-age girls…female Seth Rogen‘s with surprisingly large girths.
“What’s with all the pot bellies on the girls?” I asked Jett. “If you’re going to be in great shape, there’s no better time than your early 20s.” Jett, about to start his sophomore year at Syracuse University, laughed and said, “All college girls look like that…well, almost all of them. It’s college and all those fatty foods.” I don’t think it’s college as much as good old American sloth. This is not my usual-usual — this country is getting fatter and fatter. I know, I know…who cares? Order another whopper, have some more fries, turn on the tube. Were the Greeks fat? Were the Romans waddling around like Jabbas in togas? What great civilizations have had populations who were this abundant? It’s another sign of the wind-down of the American empire.
If the ghost of Julius Caesar were to visit this country, he would take one look and sneer, “These people aren’t warriors or conquerors…look at them! They’re cattle!”
I remain a loyal Obama supporter, but this Sopranos finale spoof is the best thing Hilary Clinton has done for herself and her campaign since she announced her candidacy.
And it was done so quickly…my God! It costars Bill Clinton (“No onion rings?…my money’s on Smashmouth”) and the Sopranos‘ “Johnny Sack”, it alludes to Chelsea Clinton parallel parking her car outside, and it has a lot of the same shots and some of the same rhythm.
The spot was shot to announce that Hilary’s official campaign song is Celine Dion‘s “You and I.” I am constitutionally opposed to any and all things Celine Dion so that’s a problem as far as this column is concerned.
A friend has seen Ben Affleck‘s Gone Baby Gone (Miramax, 10.17.07), a Boston-based crime drama about the search for a missing four-year-old girl by a pair of private detectives, played by Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan. And he’s telling me it’s a break-out performance for Casey, which makes the early fall an especially flush time when you add the younger Affleck’s reportedly exceptional turn in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which Warner Bros. is bringing out in September.
Gone Baby Gone is based on Dennis Lahane‘s novel (one of four he’s written about the two fictional detectives, Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro). Ben Affleck both directed and co-adapted the screenplay (with Aaron Stockard). How can it not be at the Toronto Film Festival in September? In fact, how can Jesse James not show up there? Easy — it’s a Warner Bros. release, and there’s a view among WB marketers and publicists that a Toronto Film Festival association isn’t necessarily a plus (or else they would have offered The Departed last year).
The saga of George Hickenlooper‘s Factory Girl will be reshuffled once again with a third version set for release on July 17th. The cliche would be to call the film’s arduous shape-shifting “a long strange trip,” but it really has been that.
I was lucky enough to see the first version — ’60s Andy Warhol-ish, instinctual and somewhat raw, downtownish — last summer, and I raved about it soon after, and particularly about Sienna Miller‘s tragically fluttery performance as Edie Sedgwick.
Then I saw the second version — Harvey-ized, newly shot footage, Santa Barbara psychiatric flashbacks, beefed up Guy Pearce‘ dialogue — last December. I wrote that the second version “is a much better film — far more precise and filled in and rounded out — but I liked Factory Girl a bit more when it was funkier, rawer and less ‘complete’. Strange but strangely true.
I realize, of course, that the choppier, more instinctual, not-quite-as-layered version that I liked or believed in a bit more wouldn’t play as well with general audiences. I’m just saying that the old Factory Girl felt less self-conscious — it seemed hipper and more fuck-all Warholian.”
The third Factory Girl is apparently closer to the first version. Hickenlooper reports that Factory Girl producer Harvey Weinstein “was so happy with it he is only releasing my version on DVD…he isn’t going to release the theatrical cut at all.”
Hickenlooper further reports that the New York Times got wind of this and wanted to get to the bottom of all the mythology, and so critic Charles Taylor is writing a piece about the whole back-and-forth mishegoss. The piece will run be in the 7.15 Sunday edition, or two days before the release of the Factory Girl DVD.
Of course, you’d never know any of this from the DVD packaging, which is only selling it as sexier (i.e., a presumed reference to Sienna Miller‘s nude scenes). But that’s DVD marketing for you.
2019 Update: An HD version is now streaming on Amazon.