Two factors in the forthcoming Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (yep, a title that still sounds forced and a bit desperate) have been revealed: (a) Russian baddies and (b) the South American jungle. (Back to the locale where Raiders of the Lost Ark began, and thus completing the circle.) The Indy IVflick is set in the 1950s so obviously the Nazis (the gift that keeps on giving as long the film is set in the 1930s or ’40s) couldn’t fit the villain bill. Not much of a spoiler when you get down to it. AICN, quoting a piece by the Edmond Sun‘s James Coburn) has some more details.
At yesterday’s N.Y. Film Festival press conference for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, director Julian Schnabel hinted at a “juror controversy” at last May’s Cannes Film Festival that supposedly precluded Diving Bell from claiming this year’s Palme d’Or, which was handed to the Christian Mungiu‘s Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.
The Reeler‘s Stu van Airsdale was at the press conference and is quoting Schnabel as saying that the Cannes jury “made some kind of a deal because it’s a political situation, and then I got Best Director — which is more than I ever bargained for. I shook hands with everybody, even if they didn’t vote for me. Like Michel Piccoli — I’m sure he didn’t. He’s a Communist, but I don’t have a problem with that either.”
The Cannes juries — all juries at all festivals — make deals like this all the time, or at least often enough. Nothing is pure, all politics are local.
The gay bars in William Friedkin‘s Cruising “are portrayed as a kind of hell, photographed in a near-monochromatic black-and-blue color scheme, with an emphasis on heat, humidity, human sweat and sulfuric cigarette smoke,” writes N.Y. Times DVD columnist Dave Kehr. “Though some scenes were fogged up to avoid censorship for the initial release, they are now presented [on the just-released deluxe edition DVD] as Friedkin shot them.
“The film seems to be moving toward a generalized guilt, proposing new suspects at every turn — a homophobic but secretly gay policeman (Joe Spinell), a police captain with a mysterious agenda (Paul Sorvino), the psychotically jealous roommate (James Remar) of a lovable theater queen (Don Scardino) and ultimately Burns himself — all contained in the faceless figure of a man in a leather mask who pops up at key moments” and who later, per Friedkin’s somewhat unfocused strategy, turns out to be “a disappointingly trite perpetrator.”
Nuno Antunes, a staffer at Portugal’s Premiere magazine, reports that the editors announced yesterday that the magazine is shutting down. “We received the news Monday,” Antunes writes, “and were caught by surprise. We’ll be closing the October edition this Friday. Our editor-in-chief made an official statement at our blog. Portugal will [henceforth] be without a movie magazine.”
So what else is new? Magazines are dropping like flies everywhere due to internet incursion. But Artunes believes that the French edition of Premiere is next on the chopping block. The Paris-based publication is where the whole Premiere empire began, so this (if it turns out to be ture) is fairly big news. “It is apparently the intention of the French-based Hachette group to close [other] editions of the magazine, as they did with the U.S. edition,” Antunes writes. “Our internal information is that the French edition is next.”
In keeping with the candid, sometimes hyper-dramatic tone of this column, the emergency appendectomy performed on MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann last Friday (which I read about this morning on Jossip.com) had a heavy effect upon yours truly because (and I’m just going with a gut feeling here in more ways than one) something similar may be happening right here at HE central. I’m just saying this in case the column suffers a item/story stoppage later this afternoon, but it seems really weird that I would (a) read about Olbermann’s episode and then (b) suddenly develop the notion (literally seconds later) that I, too, may have a similar concern.
HE reader James Kent saw Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead last night in Pheonix as part of a special screening series, and says that he came out believing that “pretty much everything” I’ve said about this Sidney Lumet film “is true. Intense, tragic, awesome direction, powerful performances…in a way that reminded me a lot of A Simple Plan. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke were great. As a matter of fact, when was the last time Hawke was so good?
“The crowd was primarily over 60 (the over-60 crowd in Phoenix will go to anything that’s free), maybe 6 people in their 20s, and the rest, like myself and my wife, in their 30s.
“The guy running the program told us that this was the first U.S. screening of the film and that it had just played Toronto and was getting ready to play the New York Film Festival next. He warned the audience that there was sex and violence and that if anyone can’t handle that type of thing, they should probably leave. He warned that he expected a few people to walk out anyway due to the violence ( I guess he’s used to these namby-pamby Phoenix crowds or something), but that he hoped people give it a chance because it is an amazing and powerful film.
“A lot will depend on how the rest of the year end films shape up, but this one could nab Lumet another Oscar nod for director, and you may see Ethan, Phillip and Albert Finney up for awards too. I’d throw in the editing and screenplay in that pool as well. The marketing push should be all about the great critical reaction. I give this film three and a half stars out of four.”
Yesterday David Hauslaib, Debbie Newman and Rebecca Aronauer‘s Jossip posted what looks like most of Jill Ishkanian‘s $55 million lawsuit against Us Weekly and her old bosses, particularly Ken Baker and Janice Min.
Us editors Janice Min, Ken Baker with Jill Ishkanian
I searched The Smoking Gun and they don’t have this….derelict, slacking off.
The lawsuit makes for extremely icky reading. What a nest of vipers! Straight out of a tawdry TV soap opera. Some people laugh at this stuff; I was mainly shaking my head.
It basically alleges that Baker, Us‘s former West Coast bureau chief (and then West Coast executive editor) occasionally marginalized and undermined Ishkanian while she worked at Us as a news reporter, and then, after Ishkanian left to former Sunset Photo Agency,may have been part of an information chain that led to the FBI raiding the offices of Sunset Photo Agency out of concern that Ishkanian may have taken or used contact information owned by Us (or so the lawsuit seems to imply). And yet no actions of any kind resulted from information gathered by this FBI raid.
For what it’s worth, I occasionally worked with Baker at People magazine during my stint there from ’96 to ’98. We did field reporting together in the Pacific Grove area after John Denver was killed in a plane crash in October ’97. He’s a good writer, a sharp and very thorough reporter, and a first-rate human being.
Watch the video that accompanies this 9.18.07 Gainesville Sun story by Jack Stripling about a 21 year-old University of Florida journalism student who was subdued and then tasered by campus cops during a speech sometime yesterday by Sen. John Kerry, and you’ll probably come to two conclusions. I did, at least.
One, the student, Andrew Meyer, put a three-part question to Kerry about the 2004 election (he maintained that victory was stolen by Bush loyalists..imagine that!) in a rude, boorish and overly strident manner — he seemed utterly lacking in basic disciplinary social skills. And yet he was still just asking questions. It was up to Kerry to take charge and say to the kid, “Okay, hold on, let’s address these questions one at a time”…and in all fairness, he started to do that. But he mainly just stood there and let the storm troopers have at it.
And two, the campus cops who manhandled Meyer off the floor, wrestled him to the ground and then tasered him acted like major brutes. They revived thoughts of the 1994 Rodney King beating in Los Angeles and the Chicago police riot during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Can I just say it like Abbie Hoffman used to? They acted like Nazi pigs. And then Kerry made a joke about it from the podium (i.e., something about asking the kid up to the podium so he could swear Kerry in).
Here’s the same story plus two more video feeds on rawstory.com — the one from Live Leak follows the cops and Meyer out to the downstairs lobby.
“In 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way. I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention. I asked the police to allow me to answer the question and was in the process of responding when he was taken into custody.”
“I was not aware that a taser was used until after I left the building. I hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.”