“[When] a window-washing platform gave way last Friday, two brothers preparing to clean the black-glass skin of an apartment building on the Upper East Side fell 47 floors. Why did one die and the other survive, though he is grievously injured?
“Five days later, the answer can still be only guessed at. Officials and window-washing colleagues of the two brothers speculated that they tried to ride their platform to the ground, as one window washer said he had been trained to do in such an accident.
“If so, they were relying on basic physics — the platform would have generated some small amount of wind resistance, slowing the fall — and luck.
“Fortune, if there is any to be found, was with the brother who survived, Alcides Moreno, 37. He was conscious and sitting up soon after firefighters arrived.
“He was on top of what was left of the platform that they were working on,Ã¢â‚¬Â said one official who was at the scene.
“The brother who was killed, Edgar Moreno, 30, may have been thrown off the platform as it hurtled toward the ground. The official, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about the investigation, said part of his body was under the platform.
“It was a distinctly urban kind of tragedy, one that brought to mind a distinctly different kind of accident — long-distance falls by military pilots or sky divers whose parachutes failed to open, and who survived.” — from an actual 12.12.07 N.Y. Times story by James Barron and Al Baker.
It might be a good thing all around for the sourpusses out there to stop trashing Mamma Mia (Universal, 7.18.08) sight unseen. The director, after all, is Phyllida Lloyd. The suspicion that ABBA’s music may be the all-time ultimate in sickening ’70s Euro synth-pop needn’t be a stopper. And just because Mamma Mia has been a hugely popular rube musical for years …that’s what I’m talking about. This sort of thing ends here. Wait six months. Give the film a chance.
Cinematical put up some new Mamma Mia photos today…cool.
The plot (straight from the IMDB): 18 year old Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) has a problem. Its almost her wedding day and she doesn’t know who her father is. It could be any of her mothers (Meryl Streep) past suitors: Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) or Harry (Colin Firth). The only way for her to find out is to invite all three to her wedding to see what happens.
Broadway World has an exclusive video clip of the opening credits to Tim Burton‘s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Dreamamount, 12.21). It’ll certainly give you an idea about where the aesthetic emphasis lies, or at least what’s important to Burton. My favorite parts of the film have little if anything to do with vivid red plasma. I’m speaking of at least 95% of the running time.
L.A. Times writer Rachel Abramowitz recently did a dual interview with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about The Bucket List (Warner Bros., 12.25) and various notions related to the film’s subject, which is nominally death but primarily the things that give life value. In so doing she got three good Nicholson quotes about (in this order) life, religion and smoking.
Quote #1: “Because of living a checkered life, I have a lot of different…views about it. Really, what you’d better know is, you’re in the laps of the gods about it all. I’m not an adventurer and a traveler like [Freeman] is…I am kind of a home person that way, and I traveled a lot earlier on in my life, but still there’s plenty of places I want to go to. There are endless things you want to do, books you wanted to read, corners you wanted to clean, this you wanted to get right, that thing you wanted to put right with, it is endless.”
Quote #2: “I’m not anti-religious in any way, but I like ‘The End of Faith’ [by Sam Harris] because they just took Galileo off the heretics list. There are certain areas where I’m not going to challenge anyone’s sense of mystery, but I don’t want reason to be held back by someone’s idea of fundamentalism, and that happens….you can’t go on behaving as though the world is flat.”
Quote #3: “Look, nobody should smoke. It is not so much that you fear that moment when somebody comes in and says, ‘That’s it. You’re dead. You smoked too much.’ Well, that’s not the real fear. The real fear is going through now the process and thinking, ‘I’m dying of stupidity.’ This is the self-recrimination about it.”
“As for There Will Be Blood, about which you will be reading much more in the pages of the L.A. Weekly over the coming weeks, I will say only this: There are great films (like No Country For Old Men) and then there are films that send shock waves through the very landscape of cinema, that instantly stake a claim on a place in the canon.
“Often, such vanguard works fail to be fully understood or appreciated at the moment they first appear, as some of the initial reviews that greeted Psycho, 2001 and Bonnie and Clyde attest. There Will Be Blood belongs in their company, and I consider myself fortunate to belong to a group with the foresight to recognize it in its own moment.” — from L.A. Weekly critic Scott Foundas‘s 12.9 rant against certain interpretations voiced by myself, Variety‘s Anne Thompson and Kris Tapley and The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil about last Sunday’s Los Angeles Film Critic Association voting.
Hey, how come Foundas didn’t rap David Poland‘s knuckles also? Variety critic Robert Koehler complained last Monday that the MCN know-it-all wrote a LAFCA-voting interpretation that was along the same lines as what Thompson and I had penned.
There Will Be Blood is certainly a seismic piece of work that’s been generating temblors and aftershocks, but it’s also something of a sick puppy. It embodies “diseased greatness” (and yes, I realize this is the third or fourth time I’m used this term since coining it last month), but surely Foundas and Koehler understand there are groundwater reasons why a critic like Time‘s Richard Corliss would call it an “audience punisher.” A woman friend wrote the other day to confess that she “hated it and felt trapped in my seat…I just wanted to leave immediately after and never sit through it again. Which I guess translates into Best Film of 2007…lol!”
I’m not calling this “odd,” but it’s certainly worth noting that two Warner Bros. releases opening within three weeks of each other — Kirsten Sheridan‘s August Rush (11.21) and Francis Lawrence ‘s I Am Legend (12.14) — appear to have used the exact same colonial-era or 19th Century townhouse building on Washington Square Park north (a building or two east of Fifth Avenue and a stone’s throw from the Washington Square arch) for a key location in their respective films.
Either the brick building on the lower right or the one right next to it. (I think.)
If not, they used two buildings adjoining each other or certainly no more than two buildings apart. And both very close to the Arch with shots in both films capturing the exact same neighborhood perspective.
A fair portion of the action in I Am Legend happens inside the brick-facade, three-story townhouse in which Will Smith‘s “Robert Neville” character lives, with the camera catching sight of the nearby Arch at least a couple of times. In August Rush, Jonathan Rhys Meyer and Keri Russell‘s characters meet at a party in either the same building or one very close. They go up to the roof and talk and eventually make love (which results in Russell getting pregnant with a kid who is played later in the film by Freddie Highmore).
I don’t know when I Am Legend and August Rush were shot in Manhattan, but it can be presumed either late ’06 or winter-spring ’07. If their schedules touched, one imagines that the location scouts for the higher-budgeted I Am Legend tipped the indie-level August Rush team about sharing the building. Maybe some kind of deal was finagled in which the Rush guys were able to come in and use the location for a day or two just before (or just after) Legend used it. If no such arrangement was made, fine…but it’s a hell of a coincidence.
I would make calls about this, but I’ve got enough aggravation. I know how it works when you try to get info from below-the-liners, who are always terrified about talking to the press. It can sometimes take a couple of days before anyone will call you back, much less level with you…and for what? I know what I know. If anyone knows anything beyond the visually obvious, please get in touch. Thank you.
Indiana Jones fans have been scrutinizing the bridge of the nose on the skull in the poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Dreamamount, 5.22.08). Look closely and you’ll see what appears to be an “alien face.” (Think “Puck” in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) Pretty damn bald of the marketing guys, no? This is naturally triggering talk that outer-space guys factor into the plot as an “extra kick” on top of the bad-guy Russians (one of whom is played by Cate Blanchett).