Directed and written by Darren Grodksy and Danny Jacobs, Humboldt County (Magnolia, 9.26) is an eccentric comedy about a failed medical student (Jeremy Strong), his new girlfriend (Fairuza Balk) and a community of eccentric pot-growers (or pot users or whatever) in northern California. Peter Bogdanovich, Frances Conroy and Brad Dourif costar.
A dull and poorly focused shot of the new Body of Lies billboard in Times Square, posted by some guy at Reel Suave. It looks like it was taken with a cell-phone camera. If I’d been there with my Canon I’d have gotten something. I am the Times Square billboard-photographing Zen master when I’m there.
I thought that basic primer articles about the RED digital camera happened a couple of years ago and now we’re on to bigger and better things. Nonetheless, here’s an 8.18 Wired aticle by Michael Behar that reads like one of those “hey, have you heard about this?” run-downs. There must be something new about it that I’m missing.
I’ve seen a Red Cam up close and it didn’t have this metal insect look with the extensions and doohickeys.
“It’s the first digital movie camera that matches the detail and richness of analog film,” Behar writes, by “recording motion in a whopping 4,096 lines of horizontal resolution — 4K in filmmaker lingo — and 2,304 of vertical.
“For comparison, hi-def digital movies like Sin City and the Star Wars prequels top out at 1,920 by 1,080, just like your HDTV. (There’s also a slightly higher-resolution option called 2K that reaches 2,048 lines by 1,080.) Film doesn’t have pixels, but the industry-standard 35-millimeter stock has a visual resolution roughly equivalent to 4K.
“And that’s what makes the Red so exciting: It delivers all the dazzle of analog, but it’s easier to use and cheaper — by orders of magnitude — than a film camera. In other words, Jim Jannard‘s creation threatens to make 35mm movie film obsolete.”
A 8.18 Hollywood Reporter story by Elizabeth Guider and Paul J. Gough says that the Hollywood actors expected to attend at least some of the Democratic National Convention events in Denver (Monday, 8.25 through Thursday, 8.28) includes Ben Affleck, Josh Brolin, Annette Bening, Spike Lee, Anne Hathaway, Susan Sarandon, Richard Schiff and Kerry Washington.
That’s it? Feels thin. There must be many, many more going than this. Especially if you throw in directors, producers and screenwriters.
Maybe some celebs are keeping their Denver plans deliberately under wraps? If I were running the Obama Denver effort I would want to keep news about Hollyweirdos attending the convention and going to private parties down to a bare minimum. The rurals who believe that wearing flag pins on your lapel is a significant issue will surely resent hearing about celebs drinking Pinot Grigio at elite Mile High gatherings. But then they’re good at that. Resentment, I mean.
Once again the question about an upcoming movie possibly being “too long” is giving concern to writers with quarter-of-an-inch-deep sensibilities. (Like, for example, the Vulture writer behind this piece.) Unless a movie is absurdly long, all that matters to anyone who knows anything is “how good is it?” Nothing else matters.
I didn’t feel that Steven Soderbergh‘s 4 hour and 20-something minute Che was long in the least when I saw it in Cannes. But I guarantee that House Bunny (Sony, 8.22) is going to feel very draggy for some of us within 15 or 20 minutes. (Unless there’s lots of nudity.)
Anne Thompson has reported that “the early word on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is that [director] David Fincher has handed in a movie to Paramount that is quite long.” Please! Then she delivers an update that says, according to the studio, that Button ran two hours and 43 minutes as of their last research screening. Fincher is still cutting to find “the length he is happy with,” said one spokesman. “The final print is due in October.”
It’s become such an absolute given that Terry Gilliam‘s movies have stopped selling tickets that I couldn’t find the energy to comment on Stephen Zeitchik‘s 8.15 Hollywood Reporter piece. It said buyers were wary of Gilliam’s latest, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, despite the presence of Heath Ledger in this, his very last film. The title alone puts the fear of God into me. Zeitchik is hearing what he’s hearing because every distributor in the world knows it will put the fear of God into everyone on the planet Earth.
Sad to say, the signs and indications are that Gilliam is probably over. The last film of his that I even half-liked was Twelve Monkeys, which came out 13 years ago. The most interesting thing he made before that was The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (’88), which I loved in certain respects but nonetheless made me fidget around in my seat and constantly scratch myself. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (’98) was a chore to sit through — be honest. And Tideland (’05) was sheer torture. And yet Gilliam is a film artist, and the world of movies is richer even for his attempts to make his films work on some level. The thing no one wants to admit is that the more recent ones have been hell to sit through.
If I were Saul Dibb, director of The Duchess (Paramount, 9.19), I would have changed my name the day I decided to become a filmmaker. Saul Dibb could be an architect, a restaurant owner, a tailor, a stockbroker, the owner of a roofing company, a garment-district clothier, a cab driver or even a stage director, but something doesn’t feel quite right about a guy with that name delivering an upscale period piece aimed at the ladies. It seems to somehow diminish that sexy, elegant 18th Century vibe that films of this sort are supposed to deliver.
No comment on the film itself, mind — I’m just saying that “Dibb” rhymes with “bib,” “fib” and “squib.” I wouldn’t want to see a Barry Lyndon-era romance directed by Maury Schlotnik, Sidney Schwartz, Lenny Bruce or Mort Sahl either.
A guy in the business (not a journalist) recently caught up with The Duchess and called it “a commercially serviceable but cinematically unremarkable piece of faux lit-chick (chicklit?) fare, with all possible Diana/Charles analogies brought to the fore and spelled out in boldface.
“Keira Knightley acquits herself capably, though it’s not much of a stretch or progression following on from her strong performance in Atonement. Those who enjoyed Jason Schwartzman‘s performance as an Emotionally Bored Royal With One Expression (in Sofia Coppola‘s Marie Antoinette) will be happy to know that Duchess costar Ralph Fiennes has taken note and upped him, though at least has the benefit of adding Sexual Predator to the character arc. (Plus the dude’s in shape. Men’s Health, call his agent.)
“Production values are sumptuous, but the narrative is mind-numbingly predictable. You’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the film. The supporting perfs are okay. It’s always great to see Charlotte Rampling, but Dominic Cooper has a serious case of the David Beckhams. Looks great, and then he opens his mouth.
“It’ll make money. Women and girls will probably dig it. But anyone who has the film on their Oscar charts needs to arrange a revision, aside, perhaps, for the pretty costumes.”
George Clooney, Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading
None of ’em made this morning’s final list which means the first two weren’t submitted and that issues of one sort or another are afflicting the second two, since both are expected to open in England later this year. I don’t mind saying I’m damn disappointed.
Especially about the W no-show. The 10.17 opening, just over a month after the close of TIFF, would make the festival an ideal launch site by giving the film its first big blast of attention. But it only wrapped in July so this morning’s absence presumably means it’s not quite in “ship-ship-shape!,” as Tony Curtis‘s Jerry once said in Some Like It Hot.
The seven new world premiere galas include Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Burn After Reading (the script tells you it’s a can’t-miss comedy in a dry slapstick vein), Rod Lurie‘s Nothing But The Truth (which I reviewed last night); Gavin O’Connor‘s Pride and Glory, the top-tier crime drama with Ed Norton and Colin Farrell that WB honcho Alan Horn is reportedly willing to dump for the right price; and Neil Burger‘s The Lucky Ones, a stateside Iraq War vet drama costarring Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Pena that Lionsgate has delayed the release of over concerns about the failure of other Iraq War dramas.
Michael Pena, Rachel McAdams and Tuim Robbins in The Lucky Ones
Rear-guard galas will include Dean Spanley starring Peter O’Toole; Jodie Markell‘s The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, from a rediscovered Tennessee Williams screenplay (title sounds way too precious); Caroline Link’s A Year Ago in Winter, Jerry Zaks’ Who Do You Love with Alessandro Nivola; Anne Fontaine‘s La Fille de Monaco, Jean Francois Richet‘s Public Enemy No. 1 with Vincent Cassel as legendary gangster Jacques Mesrine, and Singh Is Kinng, a romantic comedy (forget it!) from director Anees Bazmee.
The Masters program will show Paul Schrader‘s Adam Resurrected, about a charismatic patient in a mental institution for Holocaust survivors with Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe. (Does anyone expect Schrader to even hit a strong double these days? I wish it weren’t true, but with each succeeding effort the Schrader balloon seems to leak more and more air.) The festival will also preem Werner Schroeter‘s Nuit de chien.
What fresh insights, I’m asking myself, can possibly come from Adria Petty‘s Paris, Not France, an “examination of the Paris Hilton phenomenon” that’s “modeled after 1960s pic Darling“? Does the latter statement mean it was shot in black and white? Or that it reveals the presence in Hilton’s life of an older British lover who resembles Dirk Bogarde?
Bulked-up Vincent Cassel in Jean Francois Richet’s Public Enemy No. 1
Special Presentations includes the work-in-progress omnibus New York, I Love You, composed of 12 shorts directed by Brett Ratner, Allen Hughes, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Fatih Akin, Scarlett Johansson, Ivan Attal, Natalie Portman, Shunji Iawi, Jiang Wen and Andrei Zvyagintsev.
25 titles were added to the Contemporary World cinema lineup, including Nigel Cole‘s$5 a Day with Christopher Walken, John Stockwell‘s Middle of Nowhere with Susan Sarandon and Anton Yelchin; Ole Christian Madsen‘s Flame & Citron (a sort-of Dogma movie, apparently) and Olivier Assayas‘ L’Heure d’ete.