As MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann quipped today, when Hillary Clinton spoke today to legislators about her future plans and whether or not she should concede to Barack Obama, a majority said to her, “What are you doing?” Anyway, she’s agreed to finally be gracious, show a little class — the thought! — and concede on Friday.
Asked by Media Bistro’s David S. Hirschman how many print years the L.A. Times has left, the paper’s editor Russ Stanton answers as follows:
“One hundred twenty-six! [laughs] But, you know, somebody, somewhere soon is going to throw in the towel on print. For us, I think that for now, our core base of readers are the baby boomers, and I think that we’ve got at least another 35 year run in print. On the other hand, someone, somewhere is going to grow the revenue from online enough that it can support a newsroom of our size and talent. And when that happens, that’s when you can start, if you so choose, to pull the plug on the paper.
“If you have the revenue to pay for the journalism, you can eliminate the print. I mean, the people are only half of the cost — the stuff that costs so much are the paper and the presses you need to print the darn thing. But I don’t see that happening around here in my lifetime.”
I respectfully disagree. I think that newspapers printed on paper will be exctinct by….oh, 2020? 2025 at the latest? Fifteen years, give or take. Not 25 and certainly not 35.
Hollywood Interrupted‘s Mark Ebner is now the star of truTV’s Rich & Reckless,” which debuts on Friday, 6.6, at 10 pm. It’s being described as a “tabloid-style take on crime that focuses on the kind of rough stuff that got Ebner a reputation for being a bad boy reporter who will go where others fear to tread.” Here’s a clip and an endorsement.
I’m feeling this need for a new DVD of Bill Forsyth‘s Local Hero, the last version of which came out in 1999. This 1982 film is too classic, too amusing, too character-rich, too quietly special, too “other” and too mystical to just be a rote bare-bones DVD. Respect and attention ought to be paid.
Defamer‘s Stu Van Airsdale has spoken to Werner Herzog about his Bad Lieutenant film that will star Nicolas Cage and will shoot in New Orleans for budgetary reasons. It is not, Herzog says, a remake of Abel Ferrara‘s original but a continuation in a James Bond franchise sense. He also tells Van Airsdale that he has no clue who Ferrara is. Right.
SVA: “So, yes or no — is Bad Lieutenant a project you’re working on with Nicolas Cage?
Herzog: “Yes, but it’s not a remake. It’s like, for example, you wouldn’t call a new James Bond movie a remake of the previous one — although the name of the bad lieutenant is a different one, and the story is completely different. It’s very interesting because Nicolas Cage really wants to work with me, and just anticipating working with an actor of his caliber is just wonderful.”
SVA: “Why this project, though? You could have worked on anything.”
Herzog: “There’s an interesting screenplay, [and] it’s a very, very dark story. It’s great because it seems to reflect a side of the collective psyche — sometimes there are just good times for film noir. They don’t come out of nowhere. There was some sort of a mysterious context with the understanding of people in that particular time. And it’s going to be in New Orleans, which is a fascinating place.”
I finally looked at this iPhone 2.0 video from two or three months ago. I thought the new phone, due later this month, was supposed to be (a) faster loading in terms of websites, (b) have a sharper, higher pixel-level camera, and (c) offer a longer-lasting battery. The 2.0 allows you to selectively delete mail, which is very welcome, but if it doesn’t have the three features I’ve listed, is it worth shelling $400 if you already have last year’s iPhone? I’m asking.
iPhone firmware 2.0 hands-on from Engadget on Vimeo.
David O. Russell‘s Nailed, which has had its filming schedule halted at least twice due to money problems on the part of its financier, “will resume filming Wednesday thanks to a late-breaking financing deal” between the notoriously shaky Capitol Films and Comerica Bank,” according to Hollywood Reporter guys Gregg Goldstein and Leslie Simmons.
“Key cast members, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel and Catherine Keener, were en route to the South Carolina set Tuesday to begin shooting the next day. But the ultimate future of the film from the economically troubled Capitol remains uncertain.
“Sources say the Comerica financing, secured Monday, will help the film meet its projected $25 million budget and additional costs from a week of missed shooting days and union penalties. But some of the filmmakers aren’t sure if the funds will last through postproduction.”
Tomorrow night Clint Eastwood will attend a q & a session at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre following a showing of Michael Henry Wilson‘s Clint Eastwood: A Life in Film, a year-old 81 minute doc about Eastwood’s career.
The Aero interview will follow a 7:30 showing and before a subsequent screening of Don Siegel‘s The Beguiled (’71), a Civil War-era drama with Eastwood, Elizabeth Hartman and Geraldine Page.
Oddly, Wilson’s film is not included in the just-released Dirty Harry box set. As this Amazon listing states, the DVD doc is Bruce Ricker and Dave Kehr‘s Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows, a doc released nearly eight years ago.
Warner Home Video didn’t respond to queries, so I asked an Eastwood assistant at Malpaso Prods. if the box-set doc is the Ricker-Kehr and not the Wilson, and she said yes.
Here’s a piece I wrote nearly eight years ago about the Ricker-Kehr doc, called “Through A Glass Mildly“:
“I caught a showing Monday evening of Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows, a 90-minute documentary about the actor/director’s celebrated career. It will show on PBS on Wednesday, 9/27, as part of the “American Masters” series. I was invited by the doc’s writer, Dave Kehr, the well-known film critic who’s reviewing these days for CitySearch, an online site, and who is also a regular contributor about film for the New York Times.
“Directed by Bruce Ricker, Shadows is a first-rate job. It points out every important or noteworthy step in Eastwood’s evolution from bit-player actor (under contract to Universal in the ’50s) to TV actor to tough-guy icon to Oscar-winning director for Unforgiven, his one unmistakable masterpiece. Kehr weaves together every knowledgeable point anyone could make about Eastwood’s oeuvre. The influences and growth experiences along the way are fully noted and reflected upon.
“But there’s no dodging the observation it’s also a bit of a gloss. I wasn’t looking for a tear-down job, exactly, but docs with a warts-and-all approach to their subjects always seem to have more resonance. It may be that Eastwood has lived a relatively wart-free life (he’s obviously not the ‘bothered’ type), but it was also clear to me that the filmmakers weren’t very interested in digging too deeply into this area.
“What major artist hasn’t grappled with demons, or been driven by some festering inner fear, or plagued by some behavioral shortcoming? Eastwood, apparently. He emerges here as a determined but mild-mannered artist who developed his brushstrokes skillfully but slowly, and who dabbled with second-rate material too often and never really went for broke except with Unforgiven.
“I’ve long admired Eastwood. I especially liked the way he made The Bridges of Madison County into a much better and more touching film than the book. But his directing style has sometimes felt too casual to me, and he’s frequently been too accommodating in his choice of material. The doc acknowledges he may have made one or two too many Dirty Harry films, but it never really takes him to task for directing swill like Firefox and The Rookie. Nor does it ask why A Perfect World and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil played so flat.
“On the other hand, it doesn’t even mention a film of his I haven’t seen in years but which I remember as being not half bad — Breezy, the 1973 May-December romance with William Holden and Kay Lenz — which Eastwood directed but didn’t star in.
“Narrated by Unforgiven co-star Morgan Freeman, the doc benefits from interviews with Eastwood, director Curtis Hanson, Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel, Unforgiven co-star Gene Hackman, Bird star Forrest Whitaker, Eastwood’s mom, and many others. I especially enjoyed the black-and-white clips from Eastwood’s bit parts in ’50s sci-fi movies and from the TV series Rawhide, which he stayed with for seven years as surly cowhand Rowdy Yates.
“Out of the Shadows plays like a very smart, gently perceptive valentine. No harm in this. It’s a good piece. I was just hoping for more.”
Ridley Scott‘s Body of Lies (Warner Bros., 10.10.08), the Middle East spy drama with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, is now, according to Scott, being called A House of Lies. Was this announced recently? If so, I missed it. The “A” is unnecessary — just House of Lies will do. Actually it doesn’t. It sounds like a domestic drama about a couple with marriage problems.
Here’s a portion of a q & a Scott gave to Eclipse magazine’s Scott Essman:
Essman: “You directed Blade Runner and Alien, which are seminal science fiction films. Why have you not done more science fiction films?”
Scott: “I am going to do one. I waited for a book for 20 years and I have got the book. I am not going to tell you what the book is but that film is going to probably be written within the next month. That will definitely be what I do next after Nottingham, the Robin Hood film that I am doing now in England.”
Essman: “Are you working with Russell Crowe again on the Robin Hood film?”
Scott: “I am, I just finished with him and Leonardo DiCaprio on Body Of Lies, which is now going to be called A House Of Lies. It is pretty good. I am very happy with it. In Nottingham Russell is the Robin Hood figure.”
Essman: “Are you still planning to make Blood Meridian?”
Scott: “We got it down as a screenplay and the problem is that it is so savage. But that’s what it is. If you did it properly it would be an X-certificate. But you can’t apologize for the violence and you can√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢t quantify the violence and you shouldn’t try to explain the violence. It is what it is√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√Ç¬¶an exercise in brutality, savagery and violence. For the most part it is probably relatively accurate. It shows the flipside to Dances With Wolves of how the United States was probably taken. It was taken by the throat.”
Director Rod Lurie (Nothing But The Truth, Resurrecting The Champ) sent the following to my e-mail box this morning: “The Democratic primary campaign has been electric,” he began. “It’s been better than any fictionalized version could be. Better than The Best Man, Recount, The American President, The Candidate or The Contender.
“But when people talk about Obama’s experience, it seems like a dead argument to me. That’s because I look at White House governing the same way I do filmmaking.
“Directors, like any Oval Office occupant, bring vision and ideas to the world that they now control. They are not necessarily experts at the technical aspects of the game. A director has a director of photography and a President has a Secretary of the Treasury. The director has a production designer and a President has a Secretary of State. All the below-the-line guys have to respond to the big idea of their boss.
“”First-time directors with no experience, after all, have given us Citizen Kane, The 400 Blows, Reservoir Dogs, Breathless, American Beauty, Buyz in the Hood, Sling Blade, The Maltese Falcon and Ordinary People. Young directors with some but not much experience (liek Obama) have given us The Godfather, The French Connection, Pulp Fiction, Mean Streets, The Killing, Jaws, American Graffiti and so on.
“Once directors gain that experience — once they taste success — they tend to get not so much lazier as they are careful. Safe. There are some directors like Eastwood and Huston who improved as they aged, but not many others.
“The same thing tends to apply to our leaders. When he was younger, John McCain was a reformer and a bull that carried his own china shop around with him. It was commendable when he opposed Reagan putting our marines in Lebanon, for example. It was commendable when he lashed at Christian evangalists like Fallwell and Robertson. But now, he’s playing it safe in his old age. He’s not tweaking the base, not insisting that the Republicans take a good look in the mirror and adjust their tie or realize that the need a haircut. Its as if he needed the advantage of youth’s energy to go against the grain.