What’s your first reaction to this shot of legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who’s been a regular contributor to the New Yorker since the ’90s? Mine was an immediate assumption that if you took a similar shot of an equally hard-working younger journalist — certainly anyone from the GenX or GenY pool — you wouldn’t see them talking on a corded handset.
Three Blu-rays of interest on the not-too-distant horizon: (a) a Criterion Bluray of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (due 7.28.09), which is especially welcome since only kick-around DVDs of this 1965 psycho-suspenser have been obtainable in recent years; (b) an MGM Home Video Bluray of Mike Nichols’ The Graduate, due on 6.2.09; and (c) a Disney Bluray of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, due 10.6.09.
Am I hallucinating, or has N.Y. Times reporter Michael Cieply written a Hollywood Elsewhere-styled observation piece about how more and more leading actors are looking heavier and heavier? Do I not own this topic? Have I not staked out once-thin-but-now-overweight actors and filed a claim? Cieply even mentions the tendency of movie stars to have big heads, which I’ve also been riffing on for years.
“Based on a close look at trailers, still photos and some films already released, at least a dozen male stars in some of the year’s most prominent movies have been adding on the pounds of late,” Cieply says.
He mentions the girthy Denzel Washington, 54, and John Travolta, 55, in The Taking of Pelham 123. The wider-faced Hugh Grant in Did You Hear About the Morgans? The “better padded” Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island. Plus Tom Hanks, Jason Segel and Vince Vaughan.
Let’s see — that’s seven. Didn’t Cieply say twelve? He mentions Seth Rogen but Rogen, of course, has lost weight recently. He could have mentioned upcoming comedy star Jonah Hill, I suppose, although Hill has always been fat. There’s certainly a striking difference in Kevin Costner of today vs. the one who starred in Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, but who doesn’t thicken as they age?
11 days ago Variety‘s Tatiana Siegel reported that Sony has bought all int’l media rights (excluding U.K. TV) plus domestic home entertainment rights to Edward Norton, Amy Rice and Alicia Sams‘ By the People: The Election of Barack Obama. It will open in U.S. theatres via HBO Documentary Films, Siegel wrote, although she didn’t include a projected release date. In fact, she didn’t even spitball about a possible ’09 release.
That suggested to me that the doc would probably come out in ’10, which “will feel too late in the game,” I wrote. Well, scratch that. I don’t know why Siegel wasn’t told but By The People will come out this year (sometime in the mid to late fall, or possibly December), and in fact is right now in a finished-enough state that certain parties have seen it and raved. Which means it could qualify for ’09’s Best Feature Documentary Oscar. (Maybe.) Which means it could play at the Venice or Toronto Film Festivals…maybe. But it’ll definitely be in theatres before 12.31.09, to be followed by HBO cable playdates.
Norton’s Class 5 Films produced By The People; Rice and Sams directed.
I love how kneejerk righties are using this photo to sell the idea that President Obama is being somehow intemperate and/or naive in extending a limited form of friendship towards Cuba and Venezuela (and that country’s president Hugo Chavez) based on future cooperation. Anti-Americanism is always made, never born. Caribbean and South American leaders who’ve called out American politicians for acting with arrogance and authoritarianism and looking no further into any situation other than to determine what’s best for corporate interests aren’t necessarily wrong.
Late last month the History Channel began airing a show on Predator X, the aquatic superbeast that swam the seas and ate everything and everybody some 147 million years ago. 50 feet long, 99,000 pounds, foot-long teeth, four flippers, etc.
I would pay to see a movie about this guy, seriously, but I wouldn’t want to see it made by McG or Stephen Sommers or Roland Emmerich. I’d probably want something more in the vein of John Sayles‘ Alligator, which is to say adult and knowing but with a slight wink. And yet real. If I were Tom Rothman I would give orders to shoot it in black and white 3D, which would obviously proclaim an ironic attitude. But then I’d flip this around by making the special effects as good as they possibly can be. And I’d somehow work in a scene in which Predator X eats a boatload of Somali pirates.
Yesterday was warm and fair and almost summery. It was easily 2009’s best walking-around weather so far, and a declaration from nature that the horrid cold has pretty much come to an end. The whole city, it seemed, was on the streets; nobody was indoors; everyone you ran into seemed to be in at least a fairly good mood. (All photos taken with iPhone.)
Prince Street near Thompson — 4.17.09, 6:45 pm.
Just after picking up a copy, standing in 42nd and 7th Avenue subway — 4.17.09, 2:25 pm.
Hanging under the marquee for 33 Variations, the Jane Fonda play.
It appears as if 19 year-old Emma Watson, like her Harry Potter costar Daniel Radcliffe, is unusually short. As is Macaulay Culkin, another former child star. Not to mention Mickey Rooney. I’m sorry, but it seems a curious irony in their having become rich and famous for having played children while children, but their genetic inheritance, curiously, doesn’t hand them an opportunity to physically grow out of that phase and move on. I know I’m not supposed to say this and that the HE scolds will jump on me for doing so, but it does seem a bit odd.
I tapped out some stories, lunched with a journalist friend, visited the Apple store in Soho, picked up my Tribeca Film Festival pass, etc. A friend and I walked around the meat-packing district last night, which seemed to me (being a recent arrival) to have transformed itself into the garden district of New Orleans or the Left Bank/Sorbonne area in Paris.
The news broke yesterday that the Paris transport authority, RATP, has transformed itself into a kind of bureaucracy of the absurd by removing the trademark pipe of Jacques Tati, the legendary absurdist French director and actor, from a poster advertising a Tati retrospective at the Cinematheque Francaise over concerns that an image of a pipe violates laws preventing the advertising of tobacco products.
The poster image is a famous shot of Tati/Hulot riding a bike in his classic 1958 film Mon Oncle. The pipe is Hulot’s trademark as much as the bowler hat and cane are trademarks of Charlie Chaplin, but p.c. dictums have erased it as far as the retropsective is concerned. In it place the Paris censors have inserted a yellow children’s windmill.
Tati played Monsieur Hulot in four classic films, each time with the exact same manner and accessories — M. Hulot’s Holiday, Mon Oncle, Play Time and Traffic. (There’s a fifth Hulot film, Evening Classes, that I’ve never seen or even heard of until I checked today.)
Metrobus, the publicity wing of the Paris public transport network, told reporters that “allowing Monsieur Hulot to smoke on buses and underground metro platforms would be an infraction of the law banning advertising of alcohol or tobacco.”
Director Costa Gavras, president of the Cinematheque Francaise, told Le Parisien that the ruling “is absurd and risible…I think it would have made [Tati] die of laughter.”