Wow…the finale of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book has already been spoiled. Apparently. I’m not at all sure but that’s how it appears. I mean, this zendurl.com saboteur has posted precise and exacting summaries plus photos of the final chapter pages — an epilogue that lasts nine pages and takes place “Nineteen Years Later.” Thanks to HE reader Peyton Westlake. I won’t reveal anything but if you’re so inclined…
“Relentlessly juvenile and awash in stereotypes, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is the kind of buddy comedy Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau might have starred in 40 years ago, when the material would have felt less dated, if no less silly. Kevin James and Adam Sandler hardly approach that standard, and it will be slightly depressing if a barrage of schoolyard gay jokes passes for ‘edgy’ a quarter-century after Victor/Victoria.” — from Brian Lowry‘s 7.13 Variety review.
Four days, three hours and 45 minutes before the spoiling of the finale of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The first spoiling will come from the East Coast, of course. Figure sometime around 9:30 pm Pacific time. Okay, 10 pm. Make it 10:30 with all the steps involved — buy the book, run outside, read last five pages, hook up laptop in wi-fi-area, write spoiler with details, post spoiler.
Here’s a pint-sized trailer for Charles Ferguson‘s No End in Sight (Magnolia, 7.27.07 in NYC — 8.3 or 8.10 in Los Angeles). Like I wrote a week or so ago, Ferguson’s analysis of the Bush administration’s appalling handling of the ground situation in Iraq starting in May 2003 is truly arousing and sickening….in a good way. I had a marginal, not very detailed grasp of the situation in Iraq before seeing Ferguson’s film. After seeing it I felt as if someone had leaned over and turned the lens and sharpened the focus.
Repeating again, and I really mean this: No End in Sight is a serious contender for Best Feature Documentary. I know full well that 97% of the moviegoers out there will do the typical vegetable thing — i.e, will never see it, never rent the DVD, never think about it. It would be nice if some would think about responding differently.
Today’s press conference by Republican Sen. David Vitter and his wife Wendy, which I watched on MSNBC, was an attempt by the Louisiana-based legislator to put the D.C. Madam hooker scandal behind him. The press should probably stop camping out on his front lawn, but any guy who allies himself with Bush administration attempts to push “family values” by voting against stem-cell research and making things tough for gays, and is then caught in a moral issue of his own deserves every last thing he gets.
Sen David Vitter and wife Wendy
I love it when righties suffer in this manner, but I felt sympathy for Vitter when I realized why he’s prone to playing around. His wife is physically bigger than he is, especially in terms of head sizes, and she’s got a very fearsome stare.
According to Politico, “Vitter was included in a Newhouse News Service story [in 2000] about the strain of congressional careers on families. His wife Wendy was asked by the Newhouse reporter: If her husband were as unfaithful as Livingston or former President Bill Clinton, would she be as forgiving as Hillary Rodham Clinton?
“I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary,” Wendy answered. “If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.” She added,”I think fear is a very good motivating factor in a marriage. Don’t put fear down.”
So that explains it. Wendy’s got anger and violence in her, she’s tough, she’s physically threatening, her head is bigger than David’s and she could probably whup his ass. Obviously he cats around so he can feel like more of a man-with- the-power, so he can hang with eyelash-batting women who are less challenging.
Late July is traditionally regarded as the beginning of Dump Season. I don’t know if that applies to the next six weeks the way it has in years past. There are many films coming out between now and Labor Day that I’ve seen and know are good, or that at least have me going — Goya’s Ghosts, The Devil Came on Horseback, Moliere, No End in Sight, This Is England, Blame it on Fidel, The Bourne Ultimatum (obviously), Charlie Bartlett, 2 Days in Paris, The 11th Hour, Superbad (obviously), Resurrecting the Champ, Right at Your Door, etc.
But for the least two or three weeks most of the excitement on the screening circuit has been about the fall films, which is to say Toronto Film Festival films, which it say the first wave of Oscar maybes. Into The Wild, In The Valley of Elah, The Brave One, No Country For Old Men, In The Shadow of the Moon, Michael Clayton, The Golden Age, Lake of Fire, Things We Lost in the Fire, Gone Baby Gone (which publicists don’t want to show me just yet), Reservation Road, Margot at the Wedding, etc.
In effect, the ’07 Oscar season is here and happening right now. The four-and-a-half to five-month vacation period (from early March to late July) is over, and it’s time to get back on the hog.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Warner Bros., 9.21) was shown last week to a group of elite Fifth Estate cool cats. Digitally projected, sans credits…despite the 9.21 release date only two months away. We all know by now that poor, embattled, unloved Jesse James needs all the help it can get from sympathetic journos — i.e., those with a vulnerable soft spot for a long, painterly, Terry Malick-styled western shot by Roger Deakins, no matter how it plays otherwise.
Lord knows there’s very little sense that WB distribution execs have been burning the midnight oil to promote the film. They can’t even be bothered to send out any new photos (i.e., the same four or five shots have been kicking around since last fall). The Jesse James website hasn’t changed either.
It’s funny, but I’ve heard so much about Andrew Dominik‘s much-delayed, kicked- around film that I almost feel I’ve seen the darn thing. Lots of dialogue, beautiful- ass photography, “not really a western,” much more Casey’s movie than Brad’s, etc. The version shown last week ran about two hours and 40 minutes, I’m told. In one conversation the word “attenuated” was used. The same guy said “it could be tightened” by “15 minutes,” and that the story “tends to play out without things that really add to it.”
Brad Pitt‘s performance as Jesse James is one of his better turns, a viewer feels. Unlike the various James portrayals of yore, Pitt’s version is “sort of a psycho.” Sam Shepard plays Frank James, and the viewer I spoke said there’s no problem believing that Shepard could be Pitt’s brother despite the former being 20 years older than the latter. The film belongs more to Casey Affleck‘s Robert Ford, “a bumpkin who wants to be part of the gang.”
The film doesn’t end with James’ shooting, but deals interestingly with the aftermath. “It’s sort of about celebrity,” the viewer says. “By killing Jesse Ford figured he’d become a celebrity. [To this end] he reenacts the murder in a show around the country, but he becomes a pariah.”
HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me, which isn’t featured at all on the HBO website but is scheduled to air on September 9th, is about the emotional but mostly sexual lives of three middle-class couples. I haven’t received any HBO screeners yet, but it’s being described here and there as a precedent-setter in its depictions of graphic, no-holds-barred sexuality.
Tell Me You Love Me costar Michelle Borth
“No previous series, on pay cable or anywhere else, has dared show anything even close to this much skin,” writes L.A. Times guy Scott Collins. “The climax, if you will, of the first episode finds a woman (Sonya Walger) in her 30s masturbating her husband (Adam Scott) to orgasm, with the entire act and all relevant body parts plainly visible. Even Jane Alexander — yes, that Jane Alexander, the snow-domed, regally poised 67-year-old former chief of the National Endowment for the Arts — drops trousers for some frisky senior sex.”
The Kansas City Star‘s Aaron Barnhart conducted an informal poll of TV junket journalists who’ve seen an advance episode or two, and found “that while eyebrows were raised by the sex scenes involving the younger couples, jaws positively fell open when Alexander got it on with her husband. No ageism on this show!”
Barnhart also reports that “perhaps the actress who will get more attention than any other on this show is Michelle Borth, who plays Jamie, a 20-something whose frequent romps with her fiance, Hugo (Luke Farrell Kirby), are, to borrow the phrase of another HBO program, real sex.”
As I wrote before, the notoriety of “Obama Girl” Amber Lee Ettinger is mildly troubling because of what that website video she performs in (www.barelypolitical.com) says about the intellectual and spiritual vistas of average 20-something women, which is that they can only get excited about a Presidential candidate (Rudy Giuliani has a few “girls” also) based on their perceptions of sexual power and/or charisma — i.e., the “Daddy factor.”
Imagine if Hilary Clinton looked like Valerie Plame. Can anyone imagine a guy (or guys) performing in a music video that expresses how aroused they are with her, and how much they’d like to do her? C’mon…
It’s a safe assumption that Ettinger isn’t very knowledgable about Sen. Barack Obama‘s political positions or personal philosophies, and that she hasn’t read his book. Barely Political is ultimately about Ettinger trying to hook herself up with everybody and everything and wind up with a divorce, a Porsche SUV and a McMansion. And yet something tells me she’s probably helping the Obama campaign.
One of these decades mainstream print editors are going to give up on their absurdly stubborn insistence on referring to this or that “Web site” or “Internet traffic.” Wired magazine editors put this issue to bed three or four years ago…hello? It’s either “web site” or “website” (i.e., my preference) and “internet” is always lower case. It’s infuriating running across these damn caps in old-line print publications.
My Toronto sources won’t cough up, but the odds are favoring a Toronto Film Festival unveiling of Todd Haynes‘ I’m Not There, the apparently episodic/impressionistic/multi-stranded Bob Dylan film that has six actors (Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw) playing the legendary poet/singer. It’ll probably show up at the slightly-earlier-breaking Venice Film Festival also, but Weinstein Co. publicists are claiming they don’t know the score with that. (The Venice lineup will be announced on 7.26.)
The U.S. release date, however, is clear: November 21st and not September 21st (which is what the IMDB is wrongly reporting).
A guy identified as Ericwithak is claiming some degree of familiarity with I’m Not There, having written that ” the movie is running way too long, [in part because] the flow from between Dylan’s is strained, at best. I got the impression that its a really great idea that was not fully developed on the page. The idea of multiple Dylan’s could work really well, but in its incarnation, it feels like there’s no reason for it beyond the fact that it’s a cool idea. I found myself often wishing we would spend more time with Blanchett, who is the heart and soul of the movie and gets Dylan better than everybody else.
“Don’t get me wrong — no one in this is outright bad (except maybe Gere), but I just don’t know what the hell they were all doing there. There is a really good movie in there. I do believe that. It just needs a very gifted editor to get it out.”
Take this with a grain of salt, of course. I don’t know Ericwithak, although he’s declined to get in touch. That makes him suspect in terms of his character or at least in terms of his internet vigilance. That said, what he’s written does square with what I was told about the film by a somewhat knowledgable trade guy prior to Cannes.