I tried digging into the bootleg trailer for J.J. Abrams’ new hair-raiser called Cloverfield, attached to Transformers in theatres but captured by video cameras and posted online. It’s ostensiby “about a creature from the sea that attacks Manhattan” and sends, in the final shot, what looks like the head of the Statue of LIberty rolling and thumping down a street.
The trailer was forcibly removed from YouTube sometime this afternoon (Paramount legal takes credit for tha action in a posted statement in red letters). I wrote a guy who’s in the loop for a little inside-baseball reporting, but so far it’s been nada enchilada. Here’s another link.
The only way that Sex and the City movie will emerge with any depth or distinction is if director-writer Michael Patrick King (i.e., the long-running HBO show’s exec producer) makes it into a kind of Susanne Bier movie, or one that might have been directed by Lars von Trier.
It would have to be about serious female nerve-core stuff. Something tough, brutally honest — the kind of woman’s film in which the actresses are frequently shown without makeup and the chatty-girly dialogue isn’t overdone. Not conventionally “entertaining” in any way, shape or form. In short, a film that would need to risk angering fans of the show.
Another way to go would be to shoot it without any sex scenes whatsoever. A third way would be to make it as provocatively sexual as In The Realm of The Senses.
I’m just saying the obvious, which is that movies have to stand tall above TV — they have to take the higher, more refined road. I doubt very much doubt if King has the balls or the power to try any of these three options. With New Line Cinema close to a deal to finance and distribute, you can bet your life savings and your life insurance policy that the film will will pander to the schmoes. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon will all reprise their roles.
“Wherever there is greatness — great government or power, even great feeling or compassion — error also is great. We progress and mature by fault. Perfect freedom has no existence. The grown man knows the world he lives in.” — possibly written by Gore Vidal and spoken by Frank Thring (as Judea governor Pontius Pilate) in William Wyler‘s Ben-Hur.
I finally got into Clap Your Hands Say Yeah early this summer, primarily due to my son Jett buying their ’05 debut album at a music store in Rome and playing it to death, and then doing the same with their second album, Some Loud Thunder, when we got back to L.A.
I’m not exactly in love with these guys but their stuff grows on you. The lead singer’s voice is kind of David Byrne-y, but with a whiney, spazzy, cracked-voice quality that’s very much its own thing. I don’t know music all that well, but various rock crickets seem to agree they’re a cool (i.e., increasingly popular, in a good grove) band.
Now their hip rating has been thrown into question. N.Y. Daily News gossip columnists George Rush and Joanna Molloy reported today that “Tom Hanks got some support — in more ways than one — from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on the L.A. set of The Great Buck Howard. The hot indie band appears in the flick and has written a batch of songs for its soundtrack. The film stars Tom, son Colin Hanks and John Malkovich. ”
Produced by Hanks’ Playtone and co-produced by Philip Anschutz‘s Walden Media, The Great Buck Howard is a father-son relationship movie. The fact that Playtone mainly produces middlebrow, family-friendly stuff (ditto Walden Media) indicates where this film is coming from. The IMDB plot: “As the career of renowned illusionist (Malkovich) continues its decline, a young man (Colin Hanks) fresh out of school becomes his new assistant. But his father (Hanks) is not enthused about his son’s career choice at all.” In short, a non-Bronx version of A Bronx Tale with magic substituted for mob values.
It’s generally not cool for an edgy GenX rock band to compose music for a family-friendly, vaguely square-sounding PG or PG-13 movie, especially one that’s being partially funded by a social conservative like Anschutz. In one fell swoop Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has gone from “wow, really exceptional, catching on bigtime” to “what the fuck where they thinking?” and “are these guys closet milquetoasts“?
“As I watched Transformers yesterday at the new Cine Capri in Tempe, Arizona, I was noticing, as you said, that the non-CG visuals lacked polish. Then about 2/3 of the way through, a question came to mind. Did Michael Bay intentionally use a lower-quality film stock in shooting this thing?
“The robots seemed to be a genuine part of the picture and background, better than I would have expected, even with ILM and Digital Domain doing the work. So I thought perhaps the grainy clammy texture in the medium and closeup shots of human actors was intentional, a way for Bay and co. to sell the absurdity of giant robots destroying cities and Army bases. Or perhaps I’m just seeing things.” — a letter from HE reader Marc Mason.
“When Mort Sahl first swooped, in the ’50s, there was a much more homogenized, middlebrow media landscape — fewer than a handful of television networks, no internet, no satellite radio, no iPods,” James Wolcott observes in a profile of the legendary comedian in the just-delivered August issue of Vanity Fair.
“Except for cable-news junkies, keeping up on current events is practically an aristocratic pursuit these days. And cultural allusions? Forget it. You can’t assume the audience knows anything beyond the latest thong-snappings in the supermarket tabloids. Fewer and fewer ticket buyers may go to Lindsay Lohan‘s movies, but everyone knows who she is.
Conversely, “when Sahl mentions Estes Kefauver in a Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross on NPR, he’s drawing a name from an abandoned well. Even I, a phony student of history, have to rub a couple of sticks together in my head before the name Estes Kefauver computes.”
This prompted a question: which former household names from yesteryear’s Hollywood realm — major stars, big box-office, former cultural icons — have so dropped off the planet that you average 28 year-old movie buff has not only not heard of them, but wouldn’t want to know who they were with a knife at his/her back? Who, in other words, tops the list of the filmdom’s most historically dead, forgotten and irrelevant?
If you ask me, there’s no one who more forgotten than Bing Crosby. Nothing he did in movies plays appealingly in today’s terms. He comes off as smug and bland and about a half-inch deep. Loretta Young and Glenn Ford are right behind Crosby. The list could go on and on, but contributors have to confine themselves to people who were serious megastars in their time.
More investigations about how to pronounce Shia Labeouf. Shia, which you’re supposed to pronounce with an “eye” sound (as in shyster), delivers the exact same sound as “Chaya” as in Chaya Brasserie, an L.A./San Francisco restaurant, and that gave me pause. I’ve been hearing his last name pronounced by college-educated adults as Leboaf (loaf of bread) and Leboof, but it’s a French name, of course, and “oeuf” (French for egg) is pronounced “uff” so I’m figuring the correct way to say it is Shya Labuff. This answers-for-kids page agrees.
I overlooked this two-day-old graph in a story by L.A. Times staffer Steve Lopez about L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa‘s admitting to a no-big-deal affair with Telemundo anchorperson Mirthala Salinas: “We need to know if the former Tony Villar, who blended his last name with that of wife Corina Raigosa, will now be Mayor Antonio Villarsalinas.” Cheap and cruel, yes, but “the cruelest jokes are often the funniest,” as Mort Sahl (subject of a great James Wolcott profile in the new Vanity Fair) once said.