Criterion has finally announced the release of its single-disc DVD of Peter Yates‘ The Friends of Eddie Coyle (’73). It comes out May 19th. Nothing much besides a remastered high-def version of the film, which Yates approved. Okay, there’s a Yates commentary track, a stills gallery and a booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Kent Jones and a 1973 Rolling Stone profile of Robert Mitchum, based on a set visit. Here‘s an mp3 of the coffee shop gun-talk scene between Mitchum and costar Steven Keats.
Hollywood & Fine’s Marshall Fine didn’t much care for Matteo Garrone‘s Gomorrah. It brought him down, made him feel badly. Well, you’re not supposed to “like” it. You’re supposed to let it in, sink into it, believe it, taste the ugliness, feel the menace, and be glad you’re not part of it, even with the recession and all.
Gomorrah is just not that into “entertaining” you. It’s supposed to make you go, “Holy shit, what a truly cold and unsparing depiction of an absolutely hellish existence, which I believed every friggin’ frame of.” After it’s over it’s supposed to make you run out of the theatre and down the main street of your home town (like Jimmy Stewart did in It’s A Wonderful Life) and happily yell out, “Howz it goin’, Walmart! How’re they hangin’, Ben and Jerry’s? Really good to see ya, Subway! How about a nice foot-long salami and cheese and jalapeno and lettuce and chopped tomato grinder? Heeeyyyy!”
Anyway, here‘s Fine, whacking this hard little film like some Bay of Naples hitman:
“Dark and downbeat, Gomorrah is another film that critics will champion and average filmgoers will scratch their heads over, while wondering how they let themselves get snookered — yet again — into coughing up the price of a movie ticket (or a video-on-demand fee) for a so-called important film.
“The book [it’s based upon] detailed how deeply the Mafia-like Camorra crime organization has burrowed in (in a Bush-era locution) to everyday Italian life in Naples and Italy in general. They haven’t just corrupted law enforcement and government officials; they’ve made themselves part of every facet of commerce, tainting all they touch.
“To his credit, Garrone does nothing to glamorize the criminals in his film. To call them gangsters would be to give them the same veneer of romantic fiction with which American movies have painted them — as though living outside the law is actually a noble calling, a strike against an unjust system.
“It’s not. And these aren’t gangsters. They’re criminals, thugs — some with more power or cunning than others but thugs nonetheless. They’re petty, murderous, and spreading rot to everything they touch. They don’t merely corrupt society; they infect it, causing despair and decay.
“Which is what makes Gomorrah such a joyless cinematic experience – more an assault than anything else. The director pulls the viewer directly into this mire and leaves him to fend for himself in a hellish, hopeless environment.”
Consider these current opinions of the film by an assortment of N.Y. Times readers.
Missed it at Sundance, Focus Features opening it limited on 3.20, recently screened in L.A., no screenings in NYC yet. For me anyway. I’m not entirely sure Manhattan publicists understand that I’m here and not there for the next several months. Whatever. Day by day.
“If I were to select a topic now [for my next film] I think it would focus on a woman’s story. I have two daughters. My films have been ‘guy stories’ and I think maybe its time to change course.” — Slumdog Millonaire director Danny Boyle recently speaking to Variety editor/columnist Peter Bart.
Imagine a woman director saying she thinks it’s time to do a guy’s story because she has two sons, her films have all been primarily about or made for women and maybe it’s time change course. Imagine it, I’m saying, because it’ll never happen. No, take it back — Kimberly Peirce shot her brother’s story with Stop Loss. I stand corrected.
But generally women directors don’t feel they have the freedom or the options to flip it over and explore the other side. It’s too much of a lopsided deal as it is with over 93% of the films out there being directed by guys. They feel they have no choice but to guard and work their turf. I don’t blame them. I’d probably do the same.
A little digging into chat boards about Lars Von Trier‘s Antichrist, a horror film with Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Gaspar Noe‘s Enter The Void — both of which are looking like good (or at least somewhat likely) bets for the 2009 Cannes Film Festival — has revealed some unreliable but harmless poop. Take it with a grain.
Antichrist star Willem Dafoe, director Lars von Trier, costar Charlotte Gainsbourg
Antichrist is said to be “quite good, special and bloody” with one poster speculating that Von Trier was perhaps “a little bit inspired by some Asian directors out there.” He/she also calls it “a movie with lots of layers” (as opposed to a single layer?) with amazing performances from Dafoe and Gainsbourg.
Another guy claims “it is not the same film [Von Trier] originally announced he was making. The producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen gave away too much of the plot to journalists, and in response Lars wrote an entirely new script with another writer. It was originally a horror film about a demiurge” — a deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe — “but now it’s a horror movie about two bankable actors in a forest with a few trained animals.”
That is absolutely the cleanest and funniest one-line horror film synopsis that I’ve ever read in my life.
Twitch‘s Todd Brown reported from the Berlin Film Festival about an eight-minute promo reel from Enter The Void that Noe introduced at the European Film Market.
“The screening came with a number of caveats — unfinished color correction, unfinished sound design, temporary effects, etc — and while I can certainly understand why Noe would want to declare those things up front there was really no need. This thing looks absolutely stunning as is. Considering that very little has been said about the film publicly so far I’ll refrain from commenting on plot points and keep myself to just this.
“First, Noe will show you Tokyo as you’ve never seen it before. Second, while this is very clearly the work of the same man who made Irreversible and no less difficult and troubling, it seems as though much of the anger of that film has been stripped away and replaced with a sort of sad, wistful nostalgia — instead of railing at life gone wrong as he did previously — Noe seems to be moving to a sort of quiet acceptance and resignation. This is truly potent, stunningly visual stuff from one of the world’s most talented and unique directors.”
“The visions described in the script are inspired partly by the accounts of people who have had near-death experiences, who describe a tunnel of light, seeing their lives flashing past them and ‘astral’ visions, and partly by similar hallucinatory experiences obtained by consuming DMT, the molecule which the brain sometimes secretes at the moment of death and which, in small doses, enables us to dream at night.
Noe is quoted as having said that the film “should sometimes scare the audience, make it cry and, as much as possible, hypnotize it.”
An apparently legitimate poster for Enter The Void warns viewers of “heavy drug use, graphic sex and extreme violence.” Sounds like good ole Gaspar to me. What was that about “sad, wistful nostalgia” and “quiet acceptance and resignation”?
Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, Steven Soderbergh‘s The Informant and The Girlfriend Experience, Lars von Trier‘s Antichrist, Cristian Mungiu‘s Tales From the Golden Age, the Coen Brothers‘ A Serious Man, Gaspar Noe‘s Enter the Void, Ang Lee‘s Taking Woodstock, a new Michael Moore documentary, Fatih Akin‘s Soul Kitchen, Michael Haneke‘s The White Ribbon, Ron Howard‘s Angels and Demons, Jane Campion‘s Bright Star, Todd Solondz‘s Forgiveness, Jim Jarmusch‘s The Limits of Control, Ken Loach‘s Looking For Eric, Neil Jordan‘s Ondine, Terry Gilliam‘s The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus, Alejandro Amenabar‘s Agora, Andrea Arnold‘s Fish Tank…good Lord!
All these and more have been rumored/projected to show at Cannes 2009 in a 2.11 piece by Screen International‘s Mike Goodridge. (On top of Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds, of course.) It’s enticing enough to just re-print in its entirety:
“Pedro Almodovar‘s Broken Embraces opens in Spain on March 18 and is expected to land on the Croisette for its international premiere as is customary with the Spanish master’s past few films.
“Lars Von Trier‘s psychological horror movie Antichrist which features Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg has been getting strong advance word and should secure a competition slot for the 2002 Palme d’Or winner.
“Similarly Michael Haneke is primed to return to competition with The White Ribbon featuring his Funny Games star Susanne Lothar. And Quentin Tarantino is working to ready his World War II epic Inglourious Basterds starring Brad Pitt and told in a host of different languages. It opens in the US on August 21.
“Two years after The Edge Of Heaven, Fatih Akin is back with Soul Kitchen, and Jane Campion, 1993 Palme d’Or winner for The Piano, is back with her Keats romance Bright Star.
“Ang Lee, who hasn’t played in competition since 1996, could find a berth with his comic period piece Taking Woodstock which opens in the US on August 1.
“Other US titles likely to unveil in May include Jim Jarmusch‘s latest, The Limits Of Control featuring Isaach de Bonkole, and Todd Solondz‘s Forgiveness, a follow up of sorts to his Quinzaine 1998 hit Happiness, will be ready with a cast led by Charlotte Rampling and Paul Reubens.
“Cannes favorites and Palme d’Or winners the Coen Brothers have A Serious Man, featuring a cast of little known character actors.
“Palme d’Or winners Michael Moore (untitled documentary) and Steven Soderbergh both have new films – Soderbergh actually has two in The Girlfriend Experience and The Informant, while studio tentpoles which could attend include Ron Howard‘s Angels and Demons which might follow its predecessor The Da Vinci Code to the Croisette in advance of its May 15 worldwide opening.
“Other English language titles ready in time include Terry Gilliam‘s The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus which features Heath Ledger‘s final performance, Philip Ridley‘s return to the screen Heartless, Jaco Van Dormael‘s $50m fantasy Mr. Nobody with Jared Leto, Neil Jordan‘s Ondine with Colin Farrell, Danis Tanovic‘s Triage, and Alejandro Amenabar‘s ancient Egypt epic Agora.
“From the UK comes Cannes favorite Ken Loach with his Looking For Eric starring soccer star Eric Cantona and Andrea Arnold‘s second feature Fish Tank with Michael Fassbender.
“As always, the French contingent is a powerful one. Jacques Audiard should be ready with Un Prophete, Sylvain Chomet with his animated L’Illusioniste, the Larrieu brothers with This Is The End, Bruno Dumont with Hadewijch, Jan Kounen with Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, Claire Denis with White Material (although the fact that it stars jury president Isabelle Huppert could preclude it from competition), Marina de Van with Ne Te Retourne Pas and, if he can complete the special effects in time, Gaspar Noe could return for the first time since he shocked the Croisette with Irreversible in 2002 with Enter The Void.
“From Romania, Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu is back with Tales From the Golden Age, a personal history of the late communist period in Romania in six separate stories, two of which he will direct.
“From Germany Margarethe Von Trotta returns with Vision – Hildegard Von Bingen which reteams her with Barbara Sukowa. From Australia, Sarah Watt (Look Both Ways) has a new film, My Year Without Sex.
“2009 offers a particularly strong lineup of films from Asia led by Park Chan-wook‘s vampire drama Thirst (Korea), Tsai Ming-Liang‘s France-set Face (Taiwan), Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s Air Doll (Japan), Johnnie To‘s Vengeance (Hong Kong/France) starring French legend Johnny Hallyday, Tian Zhuangzhuang‘s The Warrior And The Wolf (China), Pen-Ek Ratanaruang‘s supernatural drama Nymph (Thailand), Bong Joon Ho‘s Mother (Korea) and Hong Sang-Soo’s latest (Korea) which has yet to be titled in English.
“The Cannes lineup is announced at a press conference in Paris on April 23rd.”
I want The Wrestler‘s Mickey Rourke taking the Best Actor prize, of course, but if it doesn’t happen I’ll need an Oscar upset of some kind. Doubt‘s Viola Davis taking the Best Supporting Actress Oscar would work. Her costar Meryl Streep nabbing the Best Actress Oscar would be a major shocker. In my totally disconnected and untethered dreams Revolutionary Road‘s Michael Shannon shoots out of nowhere and takes the Best Supporting Actor Oscar…right. I’m going to be stuck in another mood pocket if the safe bets win everything.
That’s Variety critic and friend-of-HE Joe Leydon, a first-rate sage, who says in this trailer, “A lot of people view George Lucas as the Anti-Christ.” The doc is The People vs. George Lucas, which is due in 2010. Why wasn’t a doc like this out in the immediate wake of The Phantom Menace, or certainly after the casting of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker?
Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny and Onion writer Todd Hanson are also among the talking heads.
A trusted friend was told by an Oscar consultant/publicist that out of the 5810 members eligible to vote for nominations, last year roughly 500 came in on the final balloting day. That figure, however, was “way lower” this year. Nonetheless, I wonder to what extent this history applies to the number of last-minute voters this year. The ballot deadline, once more, is this Tuesday, 1.17, at 5 pm.