General Stanley McChrystal has to be canned or President Obama will look like an even bigger wuss. Those are terms — he must to do an Abraham Lincoln upon his own General George McClellan (who was disrespectful to his commander-in-chef). Because McChrystal “and his hard-bitten, smart-aleck aides nuked the president, vice president and other top advisers as wimps, losers and clowns in a Rolling Stone profile meant to polish the general’s image,” as Maureen Dowd puts it in her current column. No third chances, no slaps on the wrist…fire his ass.
As I wrote on May 2nd, Amir Bar Lev‘s The Tillman Story is “far and away one of the finest films I’ve seen this year, and a likely contender for the 2010 Best Feature Documentary Oscar. It has the stuff that engages and holds and sinks in deep.” Which means, as Movieline‘s Stu Van Airsdale predicted earlier today, that the fiends at Big Hollywood will probably try and trash it in some way.
Sure enough, BH’s John Nolte responded as follows: “Big Hollywood hasn’t seen The Tillman Story. It wasn’t even high on our radar. But when two of Tinseltown’s top leftist water-carriers” — the L.A. Times‘ Stephen Zeitchik also wrote about it on 6.20 — “carry this much water to assure us there’s nothing political to see here and then assume the highly defensive crouch of challenging us to ‘smear’ it…well, something’s up. And we very much appreciate them letting us know.”
Returning to my 5.2 review: “I felt just as stirred up last night — seething, close to tearful — as I was after my initial Sundance viewing three months ago. Because this is not a film about the Middle East conflict but about a stand-up American family and how they responded (and continue to respond) to an orchestrated governmental obscenity that tried to diminish the memory of a fallen son.
“I’m speaking, of course, of former Arizona Cardinals safety and U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman, and particularly his April 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan — a result of his being shot three times in the head by a fellow U.S. soldier. It happened because of the usual idiotic confusion, and some young intemperate guys who wanted to be in a fire fight and acted foolishly in the heat of the moment. Tillman was enraged that his own fellows were shooting at him, of course, and his last words were an attempt to get them to wake up — ‘I’m Pat fucking Tillman!’
“The obscenity was the attempt in ’04 by the U.S. military and Bush administration to make political hay out of Tillman’s death by manufacturing a bullshit scenario that claimed he was killed by Taliban troops and that he died in an effort save his fellow troops.
“Of course, 97% of American moviegoers are going to ignore The Tillman Story when it opens because (a) they’re resolutely opposed to seeing any film that has anything to do with the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan and (b) they don’t much like documentaries anyway, and (c) they just want to chill out and be entertained. The fact that The Tillman Story leaves you feeling angry and alive and engaged with the actual world will most likely have no effect on this determination.”
A Reuters story broke today about Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) being on-board as the new director of the troubled Paramount remake of Footloose. Wait…what? That clattering sound you just heard is 10,000 fans of Hustle & Flow falling out of their chairs.
A paycheck job, obviously. Brewer needs the scratch. He’ll do the work as best he can, and then he’ll presumably make the next “real” Craig Brewer movie.
In a prepared statement Brewer said “he’s been a fan of the original 1984 Footloose, which features hit songs ‘Let’s Hear It For the Boy’ and ‘Holding Out for a Hero’, since he was 13 years old,” the Reuters story says.
“I can promise Footloose fans that I will be true to the spirit of the original film,” Brewer is quoted as saying. “But I still gotta put my own Southern grit into it and kick it into 2011.”
25 year-old Kenny Wormald, a veteran of the MTV series Dancelife, will play the Kevin Bacon role of a rebellious teen who shakes up a small town. Dennis Quaid will play the John Lithgow role — i.e., stern-faced, butt-plugged Reverend Moore. Dancing With the Stars champion and country singer Julianne Hough will play the Lori Singer role, i.e., the minister’s virginal daughter.
The Paramount release will open on 4.1.11.
“The remake has also lost two directors — Hairspraydirector Adam Shankman and High School Musical helmer Kenny Ortega — over the past two years,” the Reuters story says.
Two or three days ago Ken Russell‘s controversial, long-submerged, curiously-delayed The Devils (1971) turned up on iTunes for sale or rental. This got a little attention in the online press, and then last night….phffft! Yanked, one assumes, by some bigwig at Warner Home Video who hadn’t realized that the digital distribution guys had made it available, or something like that.
Oliver Reed, Vanessa Redgrave in dream sequence from Ken Russell’s The Devils.
This morning I asked a WHV spokesperson to explain this strange turnaround.
“Please help me regarding the issue of The Devils being put on iTunes for a day or two or three and then hastily withdrawn,” I wrote. “This is the second time that The Devils has been put before the public and then withdrawn — the first time in early ’08 when a Devils DVD release was announced and then un-announced, and now with the movie having been recently made available for download and then suddenly withdrawn.
“What in the name of Christ is going on with Warner Bros. and this title?
“I can guess but with this second incident I really do think Warner Bros. owes the intelligent viewing public a frank explanation. This is a highly respected film and arguably Ken Russell‘s greatest, and after going to the trouble of digitally remastering it for distribution (it looked beautiful on my iPhone when I watched it the night before last) Warner Home Video is once again treating it like some kind of ugly hot potato.
“And it’s not right. You know it isn’t. It’s disrespectful and, forgive me, cowardly if, as some suspect, WB is in convulsions about the film because it has the potential to offend the religious right. I have to report about this now because it just happened, but it really is time to explain what is behind all this Warner Bros. weirdness about The Devils.
Do a search for Devils on iTunes movies and this is what comes up. A day or two ago Ken Russell’s The Devils was one of the offerings. I made the mistake of renting it instead of buying. Now I’m out of luck.
“I’ve been told that certain studio guidelines have to be observed, etc. And that’s fine, but what about the studio guideline that says when you issue a press release saying a DVD is coming out, you issue the DVD commercially — no ifs, ands or buts. Or the studio guideline that says when you make a Warner Bros. film available for purchase or rental on iTunes, you make it available for a year or three years or indefinitely but you sure as hell don’t remove it from iTunes after three days?”
At last night’s South of the Border party at the Monkey Bar, staged by Peggy Siegal following the premiere of Oliver Stone‘s doc at Cinema II. I’d seen it twice and written about it two or three times, so I just showed for the schmooze. So did Stone, Mickey Rourke, Fair Game director Doug Liman, Tyson director James Toback, New York Film Festival co-honcho Scott Foundas, and Great Directors helmer Angela Ismailos.
(left) Sean Stone and (second from right) South of the Border director Oliver Stone — Monday, 6.21, 11:10 pm. Didn’t get the ladies’ names..sorry.
(l.) Great Directors helmer Angela Ismailos, Fair Game director Doug Liman. Monday, 6.21. 10:25 pm.
I’ve gotten some heat from persons of Latin heritage over the last 24 hours due to yesterday morning’s “Loud Latinos” post. One of the gentler reprimands came last night around midnight from an HE reader named HoopersX. “Generally speaking I attempt to live my life by the physician’s creed of ‘first, do no harm,'” he wrote. “Sometimes it’s a lot easier to say it than live it. That said, gross generalizations of sex, creed or ethnicity don’t do much to advance one’s point of view.”
I responded as follows: “You say you try to live by the physician’s creed — ‘first, do no harm.’ The reason I wrote that piece yesterday morning is that harm was done to me, or rather my eardrums and sense of decorum. Those three braying, boomy-voiced guys in the cafe drew first blood. I was just quietly sitting and reading and these three donkeys turned the cafe into a Latino AM talk-radio show with the volume level turned up to 8 or 9.
“I lived for a year [11.08 to 11.09] in a middle-class Hispanic community in North Bergen, New Jersey and know whereof I speak. New York-area Latinos tend to converse (not always but often enough) in a loud and grossly exuberant manner. They speak much more loudly than they need to because…I don’t know why. Because they fucking feel like it? Because it’s in their blood? And like I said yesterday, I’ve been among Latin people in other parts of the world and they really do seem to be classier people than their New York cousins.
“As BCarter3 said yesterday, ‘It’s a class thing, not an ethnic thing. The further down the social scale you go, the louder the public conversations.’
“And this doesn’t make me Don Imus — it makes me someone who’s unafraid to say what he’s heard and seen and felt out in the real world. It’s not a rumor — common, coarse people are out there in force.
“We’re not living in a Henry James world or a John Reed-and-Louise Bryant world or an F. Scott Fitzgerald Egg Harbor world or an Ernest Hemingway-in-Paris world of the 1920s or even a Bob Dylan West Village world of the early 1960s. In many if not most of our 2010 social realms, refinement is out the window for the most part. The best seems to have come and gone in terms of culture. Things are cool in my realm — I like my gig and love what I do — but they do seem to be generally downswirling at the same time in an educational cultural Ms. Manners sense. As Jose Ferrer‘s Turkish Bey character said in Lawrence of Arabia, ‘I am surrounded by cattle.'”
A friend wrote the following this morning: “Hey, Jeff…not sure if you heard but your “Loud Latinos” post has caused a bit of a stir with the guys at Latino Review. And others on Twitter…it was a topic of much discussion on Twitter last night.”
This morning an email from Ralph Morales said, “You think Hispanics are loudmouths? We think uou [sic] are a jerk.”
Another guy called “Loud low-rent Latino” wrote, “Well, for your information I have observed savage white men speak and behave at obnoxious levels without consideration on Several occassions [sic] so next time muster up some balls and let those loud savage Latino men know that they are disturbing you or else move into a monastary [sic] everyone is free to be loud you narrow minded bigot.”
Did everyone get that? “Everyone is free to be loud.” I rest my case.
“Can you imagine that goofy gravelly voice of his coming out of a masked crimefighter?,” an IMDB guy wrote a few months back. Well, we don’t have to any longer with the trailer out. Clearly, Seth Rogen is not taking the “earnest” and “committed” approach to playing newspaper heir Britt Reid in Michel Gondry‘s The Green Hornet. That’s for Christian Bale, he clearly decided, but not me.
Rogen is playing the part joshingly, one step removed, like a superhero fan not quite accepting or believing that he can be one himself, nose pressed against the glass but enjoying the show for its rock-out aspects.
Rogen initially committed to making a comedic farce version with director Stephen Chow, but then Chow was muscled off the project (“We can make a lot more money, guys, if we make a semi-conventional, same-old-crap superhero flick instead of a comedy”) and replaced by Gondry.
So what we’re left with is basically The Drunk Knight becoming the Sardonic Smart-Ass Knight as he gets to do all kinds of cool, loud, bang-smash crime-fighting stuff with Kato (Jay Chou) that might be diverting if superhero flick fans hadn’t seen this exact same stuff 1749 times over the last ten to fifteen years.
Cameron Diaz is playing Lenore Case, the classy and compelling would-be girlfriend (a thoroughly stock role by way of the Batman movies). Christoph Waltz snags his first Inglorious Basterds straight-paycheck role as Chudnofsky — a gangster/crime-lord bad guy. And Tom Wilkinson plays Britt’s disapproving father who gets offed by the ne’er do wells at the end of Act One. Who else? Oh, yeah….Edward James Olmos and Edward Furlong. Fine.
I haven’t seen The Green Hornet, so why do I have this strong feeling that I have seen it? I can see it in my dreams right now. The watching of it six or seven months hence is going to be a mere formality.
A decision was made two months ago to push back a scheduled 12.22.10 opening of The Green Hornet to 1.14.11, ostensibly to allow tecchies more time to work on the 3D conversion. (This came after the original 6.25.10 release date had been jettisoned, of course.) My suspicion had been all along that Sony management decided to convert because they felt the goods hadn’t quite been delivered and that a dimensional enhancement might make a box-office difference. I also think they were punting, a January release being cheaper and less competitive.