In the wake of an earlier scoop by The Playlist, Deadline Hollywood Daily’s Michael Fleming is reporting that the bad-news Moneyball project that went south under director Steven Soderbergh is back on its feet and slated to begin filming under director Bennett Miller this July. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill will costar as Billy Beane and Paul De Podesta, respectively, the Oakland A’s guys who upgraded the team big-time via the application of “modern analytical sabermetrics system,” blah, whatever. The budget will be around $47 million, Fleming reports.
Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny was undoubtedly heartened to read that director Richard Linklater considers a certain landmark Vincente Minnelli film, released in 1958, to be nearly as important as Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane. “It really resonated with me,” Linklater tells the Observer‘s Hermione Hoby. “It’s about the prodigal son come back to his home town and it’s about art and sex and who you want to be — all those important things.
Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine in Vincente Minnelli’s Some Came Running.
“It’s a Frank Sinatra vehicle but I love it because it’s about an artist who’s flopped, and that’s hard to depict. There’s the person Sinatra’s character, Dave Hirsh, kind of aspires to be – he had the chance to be the very greatest, but then he’s this boozing gambler guy too, and Dean Martin, playing Bama Dillert, represents that world. I have different feelings about those guys every time I watch it.
“Sinatra always made it all about him, and this is maybe his best-ever performance. But the fun guy, as he was in real life, is Dean Martin’s character – he wears a cowboy hat and, like Dean, doesn’t give a shit about anything. It reflects how those guys really were – Sinatra: conflicted, easily wounded, striving. Dean Martin: not caring so much, just a cool guy. Sometimes I think I’d rather be Bama Dillert than Dave Hirsh, but it’s fun to side with each of them.
“It’s based on a novel by James Jones, who wrote From Here to Eternity; Some Came Running was his follow-up novel and even though it didn’t do as well, they managed to get a really wonderful screenplay out of it.
“Have I taken things from it for my films? I wish! They don’t make ’em like that any more. I would love to, but I don’t think people would buy that kind of 50s melodrama. There are sequences that are intimate, one-room scenes, but then there are beautiful crescendos, like the one at the end – he can deliver that too. Minnelli’s sensibilities were perfect for it – the sensitivity and the bravado. It hits all the notes.”
Sinatra, Dean Martin
I for one would be impressed and delighted if author and noted biologist and author Richard Dawkins and author Christopher Hitchens could manage to actually arrest Pope Benedict for crimes against humanity during a planned visit to England in September. The Pope “is not above or outside the law,” Hitchens has said. “The institutionalized concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment.”
This absurdly murky, horizontally squeezed YouTube clip from Richard Lester‘s The Three Musketeers slurs the reputation of David Watkins‘ handsome, Vermeer-lighted cinematography. (Watkin also shot the 1974 sequel, The Four Musketeers.) I don’t own the DVD but this cruddy clip alerted me to the aesthetic necessity of a Three Musketeers Blu-ray before long.
Stephen Herek‘s 1993 version with Keifer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Chris O’Donnell and Oliver Platt was nothing compared to Lester’s. I’m not much of a fan of the 1948 Gene Kelly-Van Heflin-Walter Abel version either.
I love the bit in the narrow castle passage when Charlton Heston‘s Cardinal Richilieu and Christopher Lee‘s Rochefort walk by starved unfortunates inside metal cages, and one of the Cockney-accented prisoners says, “G’morning, your grace.”
Rochefort: “I failed. One does occasionally.”
Cardinal Richelieu: “If I blundered as you do, my head would fall.”
Rochefort: “I would say from a greater height than mine, Eminence.”
Cardinal Richelieu: (surprised) “You would?”
Rochefort: “The height of vaulting ambition.”
Cardinal Richelieu: “You have none?”
Cardinal Richelieu: “Do you fear me, Rochefort?”
Rochefort: “Yes, I fear you, Eminence. I also…hate you”.
Cardinal Richelieu: “I love you, my son. Even when you fail.”
The 85 year-old Watkin is presumably retired now, but he also shot Catch-22, Out of Africa, Yentl, Chariots of Fire and several other films for Lester — Cuba, Robin and Marian, Help, etc. As well as Ken Russell‘s The Devils and The Boyfriend.
Saturday’s calculation of Date Night‘s opening-day average of $2021 didn’t indicate anything a stupendous weekend figure, so the fact that Clash of the Titans managed to beat Date Night in terms of Monday actuals isn’t hugely surprising. The Wrap‘s Daniel Frankel reports the final tally as $26.7 million for Clash vs. Date‘s $25.2 million. Meaning that Date did okay but failed to realize the apparent potential Friday’s take of $9.3 million, which would have been more in the vicinity of $27 to $28 million. And Titans still experienced a sharp drop from its last weekend’s opening.
My expectations for Cannes 2010 have been raised to the point that I will be flat-out disappointed if not bummed if some kind of big-thunder presentation of Chris Nolan‘s Inception isn’t part of the show. (If not the fully-finished thing then at least an extended reel of some kind.) I’m also insisting on an out-of-competition showing of Doug Liman‘s Fair Game.
A friend with ties to Cannes Control who just came back from Paris says it’s been a tough process finding the right films, an indication that some disappointments have already been felt. It’ll be “a very weak Asian year,” he’s heard. But Olivier Assayas‘ Carlos (and not Carlos the Jackal, according to an IFC guy I just spoke to) is very likely, he says. Right away I’m thinking that a five-hour film plus an intermission is going to be quite an energy and attention hog on whatever day it shows. Right now it’s in three parts but that may change by the time Cannes begins. IFC Films will release it in the fall.
A Variety story reports that Cannes programmers had yet to even see Liman’s film as of last weekend, so that’s almost a bummer in itself given that Fair Game was locked last month. The Paris guy says he hasn’t heard zip one way or the other about Liman’s film — another possible bad sign.
It’s also been suggested that Terrence Malick‘s Tree Of Life not being included in Thursday’s official announcement doesn’t mean it won’t show in Cannes, only that Malick is still dithering in the editing room. Malick’s family relationship-slash-radical dinosaur time-tripper was shooting in the spring of ’08 and has been in cutting for a good year — maybe he needs a few more months? Maybe Apparition should push the release back to 2011? They don’t want to rush the guy.
This much hemming and hawing indicates (to me anyway) that Tree of Life is most likely some kind of exercise in high-minded artful doodling, or at the very least an argument-provoker by way of being a “what in the name of Christ was that?” Rest assured that the morning Life screens in Cannes will be one hell of a moment if it can be wrestled out of Malick’s hands — no small feat.
Variety also hears that Clint Eastwood‘s Hereafter, Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan and Gus Van Sant’s untitled film definitely won’t appear there.
All I know is that Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood, Oliver Stone‘s Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, Woody Allen‘s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Jean-Luc Godard‘s Socialisme, Takeshi Kitano‘s Outrage, Lee Chang-dong‘s Poetry, Bertrand Blier‘s The Sound of Ice Cubes and Cristi Puiu‘s Aurora are not enough any more. My heroin tolerance has gotten greater and I need more. I needs my Liman and my Nolan.
I’m fully prepared to take a depression dive on Thursday morning.
So what queered the talks between Conan O’Brien‘s reps and the Fox Network about a new late-night talk show? This is the tale that needs to be told in the wake of the wowser announcement — which popped through about 45 minutes ago — that O’Brien will launch his comeback talk show on TBS starting in November. The one-hour show will air weeknights at 11 pm.
“The news comes as a stunner because Mr. O’Brien was known to be in talks with the Fox network,” reports the NY Times‘ Bill Carter, “and most predictions had him moving there in September or January. TBS was not known to be in the picture. But Mr. O’Brien’s representatives had been quietly talking with that cable network as issues continued to arise with the potential Fox deal.
“The move will surely be closely examined for its implications for the future of broadcast vs. cable television, with one of the biggest stars of recent years in network television abandoning that side for cable.”
I’d like to think (i.e., it would flatter my perception of things) that deep down O’Brien never really wanted to be on the Fox Network because of their ferociously evil, Tea Bagger-pandering agenda. The associations with that network are just too toxic, especially for an entertainer with ties to the under-40 generation. If this was part of the thinking you can bet that O’Brien and his reps will never cop to it in official statements, but maybe O’Brien will give away indicative tidbits in his stand-up comedy tour over the next few weeks.
Or maybe it was reluctance by Fox affiliates to run with a new late-night talk show in an already over-crowded environment.
In a 4.7 Business Week story (thanks to Rich S.), Ronald Grover and Andy Fixmer reported that Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly “enjoys a strong relationship with O’Brien, with whom he worked while both were at NBC. But Fox first needs to persuade its affiliates to take a chance.
“‘It’s been a very challenging environment for the station business coming off a recession,’ Reilly says. And he acknowledges that if he can strike a deal with affiliates it could take several years to stitch together a single time slot because some stations will continue to run sitcoms after their news programs.
“One strategy might be to start the show at 11 p.m. in some markets and later in others, according to TV executives with knowledge of Fox’s options. News Corp. could also air O’Brien on some of its less watched affiliate group MyNetworkTV’s stations in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere. With shows like Glee and The Cleveland Show, Reilly has boosted Fox’s ratings by 3% this year and leads in the sought-after 18-to-49-year-old age group. O’Brien would help extend Fox’s edgier brand to late night as well, says Horizon’s Adgate.”
The announcement didn’t say what city O’Brien’s TBS talk show will originate from, but Atlanta — home for TBS — couldn’t be on the table. Los Angeles, I’m guessing, since O’Brien has moved out there lock, stock and barrel.
The stand-outs for me are Nolan stating (a) that he’s not all that down with shooting for 3D because “you have to shoot on video [to do that], which I’m not a fan of…I like to shoot on film,” and (b) that one of the formats used for Inception was VistaVision, the side-to-side 1.66 to 1 aspect ratio process hatched in 1954.
Of all the 2010 films in the pipeline, the one that seems the most ideally suited for genuine Avatar-level 3-D would be Inception, and yet Nolan, ironically, just wasn’t interested. Think of that already-famous shot of an entire section of Paris bending up and onto the sky in 3-D — it could be the most stunning 3-D sequence ever seen. But it’ll never happen, or at least not in proper 3-D.
“We shot the film with a mixture of mostly the predominant bulk of the film is anamorphic 35mm, which is the best quality sort of practical format to shoot on by far,” Nolan says. “We shot key sequences on 65mm, 5 perf not 15 perf, and we shot VistaVision on certain other sequences.”
Nolan is referring to special effects sequences, of course. As VV’s Wikipedia page states, “Although the last American VistaVision picture was 1961’s One-Eyed Jacks, VistaVision’s high resolution [has made] it attractive for some special effects work within some later feature films.”
Inception therefore “has a negative — a set of negative — that’s of the highest possible quality except IMAX,” Nolan explains. “We didn’t feel that we were going to be able to shoot in IMAX because of the size of the cameras because this film given that it deals with a potentially surreal area, the nature of dreams and so forth, I wanted it to be as realistic as possible. Not be bound by the scale of those IMAX cameras, even though I love the format dearly. So we went to the next best thing which was 65mm.
“So we have the highest quality image of any film that’s being made and that allows us to reformat the film for any distribution form that we’d like to put it in. We’re definitely going to do an IMAX release. We’re excited about doing that and using our original negative 65mm photography to maximize the effect of that release.
“3D, I think, is an interesting development in movies, or the resurgence of 3D. It’s something we’re looking at and watching. There are certain limitations of shooting in 3D. You have to shoot on video, which I’m not a fan of. I like shooting on film. And so then you’re looking at post-conversion processes which are moving forward in very exciting ways.”
“Exciting”? How about embarassing? Especially after the Clash of the Titans debacle.
“So really, for me, production of a large-scale film is all about recording the best, highest quality image possible so that you can then put it in any theatre in the best way possible. And 65mm film, IMAX film, VistaVision, 35mm — that’s the way you do that.”
I wish Michael Mann would give up on digital photography — it was a phase, let it go — and follow Nolan’s lead.
The death-of-MSM-film-criticism meme is what, at least five or six years old? Things have become more urgent over the last two years, one indicator being N.Y. Times media-watcher David Carr examining the trend in early April ’08. But for whatever reason it didn’t become fully obit-worthy to Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz until the 3.24 cancellation of At The Movies, and particularly A.O. Scott‘s 3.31 take on the Big Changeover.