“In the wake of David Letterman‘s apology for his joke last week about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin‘s daughter, a number of protesters flocked around the Late Show studios in Midtown Manhattan late Tuesday afternoon (June 16) to show their support for Palin — albeit not in the numbers previously expected,” reports MTV News’ Jett Wells.
“Approximately three dozen protestors stood across the street from the studios, chanting “Dave Must Go! Fire Dave! Shame on CBS!,” and spoke about Letterman’s joke, for which he has twice apologized with Palin accepting his second mea culpa a day or so ago.
“Last week, Letterman joked in his monologue about an ‘awkward moment’ for Palin at a New York Yankees game, when “her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.” Letterman did not refer to the daughter by name, though he later claimed he was referring to 18-year-old unwed mother Bristol, not 14-year-old Willow, who actually accompanied her mother to the game.
“‘It’s a disgrace what’s going on in our country today,’said a protestor named Ellen. ‘We wouldn’t do that to Obama’s daughters.’
“Before Palin accepted the apology, it was rumored that nearly 2,000 people would protest outside the em>Late Show studios Tuesday. Some of the Palin supporters who did show up, like Robert Gretczko, said they didn’t think Letterman’s apology was good enough.
“‘It doesn’t matter,’ Gretczko said. ‘Don Imus was still fired for his comments.'”
With Sean Penn‘s departure from the Farrelly Bros. Three Stooges film, the Farrelly’s naturally want to hold onto Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro as well as the locked-in release date for their potential tentpoler. Potential Larry replacements, I’m told, include Paul Giamatti, Adrien Brody, Simon Pegg, Zach Galifianakis and — believe it — Larry David.
The Playlist‘s Rodrigo Perez has read an Inglorious Basterds analysis piece by Patrick Z. McGavin, assessed various issues and assertions and come up with his own summary, which he calls “40-MinutesGate: The Bullshit Report Of The Inglourious Basterds Cut.”
McGavin writes that “according to the Cannes program, Inglourious Basterds is 160 minutes. [His] editor Mike Goodridge wrote in Screen International it was 160 minutes. Anne Thompson says 148 minutes, Variety‘s Todd McCarthy clocked it at 152. The Weinstein press book says 151 minutes.” And Perez says 148 minutes.
I’m not exactly pining for the return of jaded cruelty-and-snobbery dramas like Luchino Visconti‘s L’Innocente, but it’s a little sad that films of this sort have pretty much disappeared. The darkly perverse Italian kind, I mean, with that upper-class erotic element that Visconti used to explore from time to time. I don’t miss those dopey Italian sex comedies that Laura Antonelli used to make in the ’70s. But I do miss the special combustion that came from Visconti + Antonelli + class contempt. (I can say this, can’t I? Without getting ripped?)
The Film Experience‘s Nathaniel Rogers has posted two text-message reviews of Bruno, from a friend he presumably trusts. The first one called it “predictably hilarious …even more shocking and envelope-pushing than Borat and just as funny. But at the same time it’s no longer new, so it feels somewhat ‘safer’ [in that] you know what to expect. Still awesome, though. Gay stuff will keep it from doing Borat $. And I have no idea how they got an R rating.”
The followup: “My crowd was largely filled with gay tastemakers and VIPs (Ivanka Trump and her loudly-talking douchebag date were sitting near me), so perhaps the cringing and revulsion weren’t as pronounced/discomfiting as they would have been in a multiplex, but I couldn’t believe the sort of things Cohen got away with. Lots of penis and explicit (comic, obviously) gay sexuality.
“There’s an extended sequence early on that is so wildly over-the-top (the capper for me involved a bottle of champagne), that I almost think Sacha Baron Cohen included it as a warning/button-pusher (i.e., if this part doesn’t make people walk out of the theater, they should be fine for the rest of the movie).
“Like Borat, I know there’s been a bunch of talk about whether the satire of homophobia/homosexuality could be misconstrued as mocking of gays (thus validating homophobes), but it’s difficult to imagine too many audience members proud to see themselves in Cohen’s targets. The one who you start to feel bad for is Ron Paul (he looks like a senile grandpa being taunted/seduced)…until he’s filmed angrily calling Bruno ‘a queer.’ Lots of funny/broad/silly set-pieces, with intermittent bits that resonate/provoke – a short encounter Bruno has with the ‘God Hates Fags’ folks was a highlight for me.”
Just as there is a long list of films that I can watch and over again, there are also those that I will never again submit myself to. I’m not talking about films I don’t care for. I’m talking about films that I wouldn’t watch again if someone offered me a cash bribe. Would you sit through Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for $20 bills? Would you watch A.I. or Always again? The Cannonball Run II? Sylvester Stallone‘s Cobra? Practical Magic?
Robert DeNiro during first Russian Roulette scene in Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter
I was moved to write this when I learned of an upcoming British Bluray of Michael Cimino‘s The Deer Hunter. Oh, the memories. That idiotic Russian Roulette device. Those absurdly majestic Northwestern mountain peaks that happen to be in rural Pennsylvania. Those working-class townspeople singing a wedding song like practiced professionals in a Russian opera. The relentlessly cloying and obnoxious working-class camaraderie. Easily the one of the most full-of-shit films about the American proletariat ever made. The way it simultaneously used and ignored the Vietnam War was sickening.
The other day I mentioned the classic character arc known as the Three D’s — desire, deception, discovery. Comedies with moral underpinnings are mostly out the window these days, but The Proposal, which snuck last weekend, seems to adhere to the Three D structure. The main character resorting to elaborate subterfuge to obtain temporary satisfaction, grappling with a moral-ethical quandary as a result, and finally coming to a resolve that puts an end to the bullshit. Surely some HE readers saw it last weekend. Verdict?
The Sun‘s Gordon Smart has posted the first-anywhere (I think) review of Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Bruno (Universal, 7.10). There are any number of tumescent shock pull-quotes but let’s go with this one for starters: “To say Bruno makes uncomfortable viewing is an understatement of Battle of Britain proportions.
“When I wasn’t giggling like a 14-year-old, I was cowering behind my hands. And I wasn’t just hiding from the acres of kugelsack, Bruno’s word for the lunchbox, shown during the 90 minutes.The term will become the new ‘Booyakasha’ or ‘Jagshemash.’
“Bruno has only been in love twice. Once for just seven minutes with ’80s pop act Milli Vanilli and the second time with his pygmy boyfriend who dumps him when he loses his TV show. And here lies a warning — the pygmy sex scene is one of the most horrific incidents ever committed to celluloid.
“I’m talking fire extinguishers, champagne bottles and mechanically adapted fitness equipment. Teenage boys should under no circumstances watch this with their parents.
“Just like with Ali G and Borat, Sacha-as-Bruno tricks famous faces into doing ridiculous interviews.” The duped include singers Paula Abdul and Latoya Jackson, “who both leave within minutes after being served sushi on a naked Mexican.
“Bruno decides to become heterosexual ‘like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kevin Sacey.’ And an interview with a pastor, who specializes in turning gay men straight, is priceless.
“A Jerry Springer-style talk show scene in Dallas, when Bruno has his ‘adopted’ African baby confiscated, will go down [as one of] Baron Cohen’s…three best scenes.
“The character does lose a bit of steam towards the end but the musical climax, with cameos from Chris Martin, Bono, Sir Elton John and Snoop Dogg is a fitting finale.”
No one matches my strategic expertise at missing screenings of much-admired films. Like The Cove, for instance. The next Manhattan screening happens the day I fly back from LA…great! Louie Psihovos‘ documentary, which won the Best Documentary Audience award at last January’s Sundance Film Festival, is basically about mass murder. An engaging description was posted today by Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet, to wit: “An intelligent/action/adventure/Ocean’s Eleven-like horror film wrapped around a tale of redemption and ultimate revenge — oh, and it’s a documentary.”
You don’t need a review of Michael Bay‘s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to know where it’s coming from. The soul of the film (if the word “soul” doesn’t constitute an oxymoron in this instance) is contained in the trailer‘s opening bit. Shia “no no no!” Lebouf tells Bumblebee that he wants to “talk about the college thing, okay?” And the amped-up “Bee” starts swaggin’ to the sounds of the Pointer Sisters‘ “I’m So Excited.” The mentality is aimed at mall monkeys.
But if you want a review, here‘s Variety‘s Jordan Mintzer: “With machines that are impressively more lifelike and characters that are more and more like machines, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen takes the franchise to a vastly superior level of artificial intelligence. As for human intelligence, it’s primarily at the service of an enhanced arsenal of special effects, which helmer Michael Bay deploys like a general launching his very own shock-and-awe campaign on the senses.
“Otherwise, little seems new compared to the first installment, except that this version is longer, louder, and perhaps ‘more than your eye can meet’ in one sitting.”