One interesting aspect of Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (20th Century Fox, 4.23) is that Oliver Stone‘s drama will be opening less than five months after its 11.30.09 wrap date. Obviously the high command at Fox marketing knows that Wall Street rage is peaking right now, and they’re figuring the sooner the better.
I spoke yesterday morning with In The Loop director/cowriter Armando Ianucci. The point or goal of our chat was to advance the notion that Ianucci and his Loop co-writers (Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche ) perhaps deserve to win the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar more than the competition. If this is so (and I wouldn’t argue against it), it’s because no other film in the history of cinema has made such ringing poetry out of scatalogical rage.
In The Loop director/corwriter Armando Ianucci
I’ve said at least once or twice before that everyone swears, but you need God’s help to make ferocious sputtering meat-puppet swearing — Peter Capaldi‘s, I mean, in his role as Malcolm — sound so delicious and uproarious that people have created websites to celebrate it. This, in a nutshell, is the argument for In The Loop. Take it or leave it. No other screenplay has ever mouthed off like this one.
It needs to be repeated that Capaldi didn’t improvise a thing. Every last fuckity-bye was hatched, honed and typed up by the screenwriters. And then memorized within an inch of its fawking life by Capaldi.
I have an idea that the tide might be running in Ianucci’s favor. Maybe. Then again people might be inclined to give the Oscar to Up In The Air co-authors Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner as a makeup award in light of the film itself apparently being out of the Best Picture running. Or perhaps they’re thinking the same thing about Nick Hornby‘s adapted screenplay for An Education.
N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott begins his Shutter Island review as follows: “[The film] takes place off the coast of Massachusetts in 1954. I’m sorry, that should be OFF THE COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS! IN 1954! since every detail and incident in the movie, however minor, is subjected to frantic, almost demented (and not always unenjoyable) amplification.”
Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island.
“The wail of strangled cellos accompanies shots of the titular island, a sinister, rain-lashed outcropping that is home to a mental hospital for the CRIMINALLY INSANE! The color scheme is lurid, and the camera movements telegraph anxiety. Nothing is as it seems. Something TERRIBLE is afoot.
“Sadly, that something turns out to be the movie itself.
“The full dimensions of [this] catastrophe come into view only gradually. At first everything is fine, or at least not quite right in a way that seems agreeably intriguing. Mr. Scorsese uses his considerable formal dexterity — his intimate, comprehensive understanding of how sound and image work together to create meanings and moods — to conjure a tingly atmosphere of uncertainty and dread.
“[But] you begin to suspect almost immediately that a lot of narrative misdirection is at work here, as MacGuffins and red herrings spawn and swarm. But just when the puzzle should accelerate, the picture slows down, pushing poor Teddy into a series of encounters with excellent actors (Emily Mortimer, Jackie Earle Haley, Patricia Clarkson) who provide painstaking exposition of matters that the audience already suspects are completely irrelevant.
“Mr. Scorsese in effect forces you to study the threads on the rug he is preparing, with lugubrious deliberateness, to pull out from under you. As the final revelations approach, the stakes diminish precipitously, and the sense that the whole movie has been a strained and pointless contrivance starts to take hold.
“[Scorsese] seems to have been unable to locate what it is in this movie he cares about, beyond any particular, local formal concern. He has, in the past, used characters whose grasp of reality was shaky — or who stubbornly lived in realities of their own making — as vehicles for psychological exploration and even social criticism. But both Teddy’s mind and the world of Shutter Island are closed, airless systems, illuminated with flashes of virtuosity but with no particular heat, conviction or purpose.”
In his brutal pan of Martin Scorsese‘s Shutter Island, N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott writes that “there are, of course, those who will resist this conclusion, in part out of loyalty to Scorsese, a director to whom otherwise hard-headed critics are inclined to extend the benefit of the doubt.”
In a thread following a 2.15 riff called “Rally Round,” I wrote that “Scorsese occupies a hallowed place in the hearts of the older, brainier, more thoughtful critics, and that it’s usually in keeping with the character of this crowd to cut Marty some slack whenever a new Scorsese film comes out. [Many of them] very much wanted to like Shutter Island when they sat down in their screening-room seats. And then they saw it. And then they found a way to sing praises.”
Roger Ebert has written a response to Chris Jones‘ touching profile of his situation and the state of his soul in the current Esquire. Roger is fairly laid back about it, although he takes exception to the line that he is “dying in increments.”
“Well, we’re all dying in increments,” he writes. “I don’t mind people knowing what I look like, but I don’t want them thinking I’m dying. To be fair, Chris Jones never said I was. If he took a certain elegiac tone, you know what? I might have, too. And if he structured his elements into a story arc, that’s just good writing.
“I knew going in that a lot of the article would be about my surgeries and their aftermath. Let’s face it. Esquire wouldn’t have assigned an article if I were still in good health. Their cover line was the hook: Roger Ebert’s Last Words. A good head. Whoever wrote that knew what they were doing. I was a little surprised at the detail the article went into about the nature and extent of my wounds and the realities of my appearance, but what the hell. It was true. I didn’t need polite fictions.
“[Jones] wasn’t precisely an eyewitness the second night after Chaz had gone off to bed and I was streaming Radio Caroline and writing late into the night. But that’s what I did. It may be, the more interviews you’ve done, the more you appreciate a good one. I knew exactly what he started with, and I could see where he ended, and he can be proud of the piece.”
“I mentioned that it was sort of a relief to have that full-page photo of my face. Yes, I winced. What I hated most was that my hair was so neatly combed. Running it that big was good journalism. It made you want to read the article.
“I studiously avoid looking at myself in a mirror. It would not be productive. If we think we have physical imperfections, obsessing about them is only destructive. Low self-esteem involves imagining the worst that other people can think about you. That means they’re living upstairs in the rent-free room.”
A blog on Austin’s The Statesman website says that the guy who this morning crashed a plane into a cluster of federal offices in Austin (including an IRS office) had posted an online diatribe, and that the site is registered to one Joe Stack of San Marcos, Texas.
If Joe is/was the suicide pilot, he seems to fit the profile of a Tea Party wingnutter. Or…you know, some variation of this psychosis. Leave the good people alone, Ayn Rand without the intellectual wherewithal, screw the government, etc. He was especially angry at the IRS, it seems.
One passage from Joe’s manifesto: “I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white-washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are.”
I for one am looking forward to Keith Olbermann ‘s commentary tonight, and I absolutely can’t wait to see how Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity respond.
The spirit of Timothy McVeigh persists.
According to a list of the 50 Most Racist Movies of all time, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the #1 mofo, Planet of the Apes is the runner-up, and Soul Man is in third place. I don’t want to dispute or disparage, but there’s above-board racism (i.e., the kind that Tarantino practices) and subterranean racism, which is the kind that needs to be pointed out and admonished. There are many films on this list that qualify as above-board and are therefore not so bad.
Anyway, White Chicks is sixth, Scarface ranks 14th, Dangerous Minds is 17th and…wait, Bottle Rocket is 49th? Because of Inez, the non-English-speaking cleaning girl whom Luke Wilson fell in love with? That seems like a huge stretch.
There’s a third kind of racism, of course — the journalistic kind resulting from the use of plain language to describe offensive appearances or behavior. If a woman has taken her two year-old daughter to a showing of Hostel 2 and you mention that she’s Hispanic, you’re a racist. But if you mention that a female judge who’s been nominated to the Supreme Court is of Hispanic descent, nobody will say anything. If you write that there’s a Swedish or Norweigan guy living upstairs who throws noisy foot-stomping parties that last until 3 or 4 in the morning, nobody says boo. But if you mention that he’s Hispanic, you’re a racist. HE p.c. haters know all about this system.
Screen Daily has posted a list of the likeliest titles up for selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The possible US entries include Woody Allen‘s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan, John Cameron Mitchell‘s Rabbit Hole, Sofia Coppola‘s Somewhere, Jodie Foster‘s The Beaver, Terrence Malick‘s The Tree Of Life and Bruce Robinson‘s The Rum Diary.
Not to mention Oren Peli‘s Area 51, David O. Russell‘s The Fighter, Julie Taymor‘s The Tempest, and Peter Weir‘s The Way Back.
Oh, and Sylvester Stallone‘s The Expendables. (This wouldn’t be included in the festival…would it? More of a rue d’Antibes market screening type deal.)
The Spanish entries could include Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Biutiful and Julio Medem‘s Room In Rome.
The possible/likely British submissions include Stephen Frears‘ Tamara Drewe, Mike Leigh‘s latest valentine to British working-class grotesques, Kevin Macdonald‘s Eagle Of The Ninth, David Mackenzie‘s The Last Word, and Peter Mullan‘s Neds. (Wait — will the Mullan film have subtititles?)
Likely French entries include Julian Schnabel‘s Miral, Bertrand Tavernier‘s The Princess Of Montpensier, Jean-Luc Godard‘s Film Socialism, Bertrand Blier‘s The Clink Of Ice, Isabelle Czajka‘s Living On Love Alone, Rachid Bouchareb‘s Hors-La-Loi, Lola Doillon‘s Sous Ton Emprise and Julie Bertucelli‘s The Tree.
Possible Asian submissions include Johnnie To‘s Death Of A Hostage (Hong Kong), Takashi Miike‘s Thirteen Assassins (Japan), and Im Sang-soo‘s The Housemaid (Korea).
And from Canada, the possible appearance of Xavier Dolan‘s Love, Imagined.