Phillip Noyce‘s Salt began shooting today in Washington, D.C. I know what it is, having read the original Waldo…kidding!…having read the original Edwin A. Salt, which Tom Cruise had thought seriously about starring in. Nobody kicks big-studio thriller ass like Noyce, but I honestly believe they have to come up with a more engaging title. Salt is either abrasion and agitation (i.e., “salt in your wounds”) or something you sprinkle on chicken.
Angelina Jolie as she’ll alternately appear in Phillip Noyce’s Salt.
This USA Today story by Anthony Breznican describes Salt as a spy thriller about a rogue CIA operative who tries to clear her name after she is accused of being a Russian sleeper agent — perhaps falsely, perhaps not.” Is the reputation of the Medvedev Russian government as negative as the rep of the Russian KGB commies in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s? In a popcorn sense, I mean?
MCN’s David Poland has posted a list of the last film critics still working in America (and numbering 117 as we speak). But he wants to hear about anyone he might have missed from anyone who knows for sure. Poland is looking only for full-time death row film critics who do nothing else but go to movies and write reviews and sit at their desks waiting to be canned.
The vast majority of the threatened work for publications that are primarily print (or at least which began on paper way back when). Are there any online-only film critics facing the axe? It goes without saying that the print-based critics who also do interviews, essays and online bloggy-blogs are probably in much better shape than those who seem to be more or less “waiting for it.”
It seems to me that Poland is looking to more or less elbow aside the Salt Lake Tribune‘s Sean P, Means, who’s been keeping the definitive list of laid-off film critics for the last two or three years. Same difference except that the shorter the Poland list, the longer the Means will be. Either way Poland is saying, “Hey, who says Means owns this beat? Or at least, who says I can’t reverse the POV and get into it that way?”
“‘To live my my life like I want to,’ he said, ‘is the least I can do.’ And that had worked for him. And when it was over, he knew it was over and required no explanation. He had spent half a life blowing his brains out with booze, and the bullet was just a period at the end of no sentence in particular.” — the last line of dialogue in a 2006 draft of Bruce Robinson‘s The Rum Diary, an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson‘s revised version of a novel by the same name which he originally wrote in 1959.
I received the Rum Diary script last weekend, and when I read that final page I said to myself, “Whoa.” I mean, is that Thompson talking about his own life or what? Talk about an epitaph.
The Rum Diary, which Robinson will begin directing in San Juan later this month, will star Johnny Depp as expat journalist Paul Kemp, Amber Heard as the temptressy Chenault, Richard Jenkins as the likable Lotterman and Aaron Eckhart as the adjective-defying Sanderson.
Both the book and the film tell Kemp’s story, a malcontent journo who moves from New York to work for a small newspaper, The Daily News, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you know Thompson’s stuff, you know what this will be — and that’s okay by me.
In a disconnect-from-reality interview that will live in the annals of psychedelia, French Connection director William Friedkin has waved off cinematographer Owen Roizman‘s very sharp disparaging of the recently-released French Connection Blu-ray, which Friedkin supervised. The result was an abomination that made this classic 1971 cop drama look (and this is me talking) bleachy, blotchy, ultra-grainy and, by any visual standard, degraded. And Friedkin, not unexpectedly, thinks it’s just peachy.
In an online audio interview last week with Back By Midnight‘s Aaron Aradillas , Roizman called the transfer “atrocious” and “horrifying.” Freidkin, talking with Aradillas last night, said that Roizman “happens to be wrong” and called the French Connection Blu-ray “by far the best print that’s ever been made for that picture. You’re hearing this from the director. Not a frame has been changed, but the process is deeper and richer than anything that’s come before….[it’s been made] as good as we could make it look using the new home technology.”
If your definition of “best” means the closest restoration of the original theatrical print that was approved in ’71 by Friedkin and Roizman and seen by first-run audiences, then Friedkin, no offense, is completely full of shit. If your definition of “best” means a sharper, cleaner, less scratchy, and more visually vivid DVD or Blu-ray of an older film, then Friedkin, no offense, is completely full of shit. If your definition of “best” means re-imagined, revised and altered in a nearly monochromed and sand-stormed way according to a whim in Friedkin’s head, then Friedkin is totally correct.
Aradillas, of course, let Friedkin get away with this. He took forever to raise the subject of the French Connection Blu-ray in their interview, and when the subject came up and Friedkin callled it “deeper and richer than anything that’s come before,” Aradillas didn’t challenge him a bit. He wussed out.
When Friedkin asked Aradillas what he thought of the French Connection Blu-ray, Aradillas manned-up and said it was “pretty impressive…pretty impressive.” What does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means. It means Aradillas wants Friedkin to come back on the show.
At one point Friedkin compared the French Connection Blu-ray scorn to the boos of the folky faithful who tore into Bob Dylan for going electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Nice try, Billy.
Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny came on the show after Friedkin and he, too, tap-danced around the elephant in the room, which is that the French Connection Blu-ray is an unmistakable desecration. That’s my view anyway, and the view of many Blu-ray fans out there. The vast majority, I suspect.