I was up in Connecticut this weekend for a memorial gathering for my recently deceased brother. And being subliminally distraught or whatever (i.e., I tend to push things down) I left my apartment keys somewhere up there — either in the Wilton/Georgetown cottage I stayed in last night or the rental car. So I got back to the Brooklyn pad this evening and no keys. But I got into the building anyway and went up on the roof and climbed down the fire escapes and tried the windows — no dice. So I went over to the only hotel in the neighborhood and was told it’s $59 and change for four hours. A hooker hotel — great. So to get eight hours sleep I need to wait until 11 pm to check in and pay $120 to stay in a total dump.
11:30 pm Update: I got in! 100 minutes ago I left a note for the second-floor neighbors, saying that I needed to use their fire escape to place a step ladder on in order to climb up and into my kitchen window, which is always kept open. They called around 10:55 pm and said come on over. I borrowed a step ladder from the guy managing a 24-hour market three doors down. I carried the ladder into the neighbor’s apartment and onto their fire escape, but it wasn’t quite tall enough. So the guy in the 2nd-floor apartment rummaged around and found a wooden fruit crate. I put the crate on top of the step ladder and, with the guy holding the base of the ladder, carefully stepped up and lifted myself up and in. Success! Good-neighbor values, ingenuity…a perfect New York story. All is well.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Zeitchik reported this morning that Robert Zemeckis and Jim Carrey‘s A Christmas Carol, the 3D motion-capture pic opening Friday (11.6), “is a faithful retelling (in tone and dialogue) of the Dickens classic” and “a technical marvel, uncannily beautiful and attentive to detail. But narratively, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s visit to his past, present and future feels less compelling.
“Some of the biz and media people we talked to at Wednesday’s screening weren’t showing overwhelming support,” Zeitchik writes. “The buzz was of a masterful filmmaking feat that’s nonetheless lacking in charm. (The movie has its dark moments, and while it’s not like we wanted easy uplift, it still feels like only a wonderfully constructed series of set pieces without the emotional and storytelling swells you’d want from a story like this.)
“Meanwhile, the kids — or at least the kids sitting behind us — could be heard registering several times that it was ‘scary.’ Which is fine if your movie is Paranormal Activity and your target audience is 16-year-olds, but it’s less encouraging if your movie is a holiday tale and your target audience is 8-year-olds.
I’m ignoring the paragraph that suggests that a film filled with wintry snowfall moments might have a problem coming out in early November with jacket-and-sweater only just beginning…that stuff doesn’t matter.
“:If Disney did manage to turn the film into a hit, then it would validate Zemeckis — who, strangely, sees this brand of motion-capture filmmaking as the future of the movies (after Beowulf two years ago failed to do same). And it would reinforce the 3D-first strategy increasingly adopted by studios. There’s also a comeback story for Jim Carrey, who’s had two consecutive live-action underperformers.
“But the fact that there’s so much riding on it also has is downside. If it’s not a hit, some of these ideas/people could be…well, Scrooged.”
Which reminds me that the finest Christmas Carol ever made — the 1951 British version with Alistair Sim — has a Bluray version coming out on 11.3
In a 9.12 piece called “Sumptuous Devastation,” I described John Hillcoat‘s The Road (which I had just seen) as “two hours of rotted, ash-covered, end-of-the-world remnants captured in ravishing, desaturated, ugly-beautiful photography with highly admirable production design. Viggo Mortensen and the kid are very good…yes, fine. But what they bring isn’t nearly enough.
“I read Cormac McCarthy‘s novel for the exquisitely plain prose, but the movie is quite unnecessary. It really and truly goes nowhere, enhances nothing, offers no poetry of any transformative value and adds nothing to the conversation. Plus it has a lousy story. You can have it. I’ll never watch The Road again. You can give me the Blu-ray and I’ll never pop it in.”
After being shown “a few minutes of footage” from Peter Jackson‘s The Lovely Bones (as well as “an exceptionally handsome trailer”), N.Y. Times writer Terrence Rafferty writes that Jackson “appears to have made the attempt to be faithful to Alice Sebold‘s wistful, lyrical tone, but there are indications, too, that he hasn’t entirely abandoned his hyperbolic horror style: the looming close-ups, the ominous shadows, the fast, vertiginous tracking shots.
The Lovely Bones star Saoirse Ronan.
“It’s always tricky for filmmakers who have earned their reputations in fantasy and horror to go respectable without losing the disreputable vigor that made their work worth paying attention to in the first place. And Mr. Jackson’s early career is more vigorously disreputable than most.”
Exactly. This is what I’ve been saying all along. Jackson has gotten to a point in his career in which subject matter or theme or tone, even, matters less than it used to. There is really only one law, one rule — he must be “Peter Jackson.” He must underline, be frenzied, be show-offy, whip up the lather, goad his actors into emphatic modes, etc.