“I enjoy movies when they’re sincere, from personal experience. I like taking your time meandering with the music. There’s so much that isn’t said in a look. I like observing things. I’m not interested in a lot of dialogue.” — Somewhere director Sofia Coppola speaking seven years ago to Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson.
Screenwriter Derek Haas (Wanted, uncredited contributor to The A-Team) has a website for screenwriters to publish short works of fiction, called Popcorn Fiction. The conceit is that it gives writers a chance to flex their literary muscles. The underlying conceit is that these stories are treatments they might sell and see made into films. A friend notes that “it’s eye-opening to see how some successful people ‘write.'”
Sofia Coppola makes slender stylish movies about herself, her past, her head, her wanderings. The daughter of a legendary big-shot director, she’s inclined to favor films about innocent younger women floating in the orbits of older guys possessed of swagger and power (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette). Somewhere, her latest, is about a young girl (Elle Fanning) dealing with her somewhat damaged Hollywood-actor dad (Stephen Dorff ). The concern, of course, is that the title suggests a kind of listlessness. An apparent upside is that it costars Benicio del Toro and Michelle Monaghan.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to think or feel about this Megan Fox-meets-mannequin video, which has been put out as an accompaniment to an interview she has in the June/July 2010 issue of Interview magazine, which was agreed to, of course, to promote Jonah Hex (Warner Bros, 6.18), her latest film. The Louise Brooks bob is a wig.
I’m a little afraid of Jay Roach‘s Dinner For Schmucks (Paramount, 7.30). One, the trailer suggests that the humor is crude and common. Two, U.S. adaptations of Francis Veber comedies, which are fine in their native French tongue, never seem to quite work — Partners, The Toy, Buddy Buddy, The Tall Blonde Man with One Red Shoe. (The exception is Mike Nichols‘ The Birdcage, which came from Veber’s La Cage aux Folles.) And three, I don’t like Steve Carell in broad goofy mode.
Dinner for Schmucks is based on on Veber’s Le diner de cons/The Dinner Game, which came out twelve years ago.
I’ll admit to being slightly distracted by two enthusiastic IMDB commenters, who could obviously be studio plants. The first guy says “it’s hands down one of the funnier movies I’ve seen in some time…several incredibly funny lines plus a generally ridiculous performance by Steve = good times…think Michael Scott of The Office, to the extreme.” The second guy says “this literally one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my entire life…the trailer is crap compared to the movie…it made The Hangover look like Freddy Got Fingered…really smart writing, really well acted, and there was brilliant chemistry between Paul Rudd and Carell…I was not disappointed one bit.”
For most of my life I’ve had a problem with people who stand and walk like ducks with their feet spread out at a 55 or 60 degree angle. I distinctly remember feeling this way when I was eight or nine years old and eyeballing some douchey-looking guy in a TV commercial, standing with his feet spread apart as he made the pitch, and deciding then and there that I would never allow myself to do that.
I was walking behind a huge bear-like kid this morning, and he had the duck-foot thing going big-time. There’s a reason for this condition, I’m sure. I’m not trying to assign “fault,” per se, but I know that if I notice a duck-foot person I tend to cross them off right away.
I doubt if anyone has ever mentioned this in a review of film column, but Tom Cruise has this condition, at least to a slight extent. It’s faintly noticable as he’s walking across his back yard during the party scene in Risky Business, and you can see that he runs a little bit like a duck when he’s chasing Jamie Foxx in Collateral.
This image from Florian Von Henckel Donnersmarck‘s The Tourist (Columbia, 2.16.11), via Worst Previews and Awards Daily, is obviously quite handsome. Nice atmosphere, well-balanced, intriguing undercurrent. And, as noted in other columns, it shows that after looking like a 36 year-old for the last several years, Johnny Depp, 47, has finally shifted (or settled) into Russell Crowe territory — a little bit beefy, that boozy widening of the features, face like a satchel, grizzled Rennaissance man.
The Tourist is a remake of (or has certainly been suggested by) Jerome Salle‘s Anthony Zimmer, a 2005 French-produced feature costarring Sophie Marceau in the Angelina Jolie role (i.e., “Chiara” in the ’05 version, “Elise” in Von Donnersmarck’s) and Yvan Attal in the Depp role (“Francois” in ’05, “Frank” in ’11).
The ’05 film had to do with money laundering, mistaken identities, a certain amount of sex, identity substitution and plastic surgery.
“In Paris, the international police force and the Russian mafia are chasing Anthony Zimmer, an intelligent man responsible for laundry of dirty money in France,” the ’05 synopsis reads. “Zimmer has had extensive plastic surgery, and his new face and voice are completely unknown. The only means to reach Zimmer is through his beloved mistress Chiara, who is under surveillance of the police and the mobsters.
“While traveling by train to the country near Nice, a man named Francois Taillandier, who has the same body shape of Zimmer, is select by Chiara as if he were Zimmer and used as a bait to lure those that are pursuing her. When Taillandier is chased by the professional Russian killers, he seeks the aid of the French police when the real situation begins to be disclosed to him.”
Von Donnersmarck’s film, per the IMDB, “revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart” while “Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path.” This indicates that Depp will perhaps play a double role with one of his characters looking just a little bit different than the other, but not enough to make a significant difference as far as his pursuers are concerned.
Snapped by yours truly about ten years ago.
There’s something about the prose stylings of box-office analyst Paul Degarabeidan, currently with Hollywood.com, that has always driven me up the wall. His box-office assessments — bland, toothless, oppressively mundane — have time and again prompted the same “involuntary reaction,” as I wrote in ’03, emanating from “a perfectly likable box-office analyst with a warm smile and a narcotizing way with words.”
Yesterday Degarabedian hit one out of the park while speaking to AP reporter David Germain about the huge success of The Karate Kid, which is very much a Smith family affair — it stars 11 year-old Jaden Smith, and was produced by dad Will Smith and mom Jada Pinkett Smith.
Germain wrote that The Karate Kid “had an opening weekend that stacked up well against the track record of [Jaden’s] superstar father who has had only two bigger debuts — I Am Legend at $77.2 million and Hancock at $62.6 million.
And then Degaradebian chimed in with one of his little pearls: “It’s like ‘Who’s the biggest star now, dad?’ It proves the box-office apple doesn’t fall far from the money tree in that household.”
Yes, that appears to be true — the Smith family is indeed a money machine, and the son is clearly competing with the father now. And I would like very much to leap from a rooftop like Jack Nicholson in Wolf and chase Degarabedian down like a deer.
In the wake of the $76 million opening weekend for I Am Legend, Degarabedian said that “it’s no wonder Will Smith feels so lonely…everyone else on earth is in the movie theater.”
Here’s a piece I wrote about Degarabedian in ’07. It was mostly inspired by a 7.12.07 New York/”Vulture” piece called “Paul Degarabedian Must be Stopped” (written by Dan Kois), and borrowed liberally from my ’03 article.
Sunday, 6.13, 6:40 am — front porch of Ridgefield, Connecticut cabin, generously provided by cartoonist and musician pal Chance Browne during my infrequent visits.
I’ve searched online and at two or three Disney stores for these three-fingered cartoon-hand gloves, and I can’t find them anywhere. If anyone has a clue where to purchase, please advise.
A Megan Fox Armani jeans ad that I snapped in Rome three weeks ago.
Why would anyone want to buy or even rent a Criterion Bluray of Terry Zwigoff‘s Crumb (due August 10)? How good can a funky little documentary like this look? And what kind of serious visual bonus could possibly result from a Bluray of Lewis Milestone‘s Ocean’s 11 (which is coming out sometime in the fall)? It was just shot in plain old 35mm with a rote adherence to the usual framing and lighting standards of the late-Eisenhower era.
And whatever happened, by the way, to Zwigoff? He had that promising three-movie, five-year run — Ghost World (’01), Bad Santa (’03) and Art School Confidential (’06), and then he fell of some kind of cliff. I’m guessing that the box-office response to the latter ($3,296,916 domestic) led to Zwigoff’s “arrest” and being thrown into movie jail, but that was five years ago. You’d think he would have somehow worked his way out of that and gotten something going by now.