Why doesn’t DVD Beaver’s Gary W. Tooze let his hair down and just say it? A Bluray of Jean Luc-Godard‘s Breathless (1960), which was shot on the cheap using natural light for the most part, can’t look that crisp or shimmering. It’s just a cool little landmark black-and white film, but hardly a Greg Toland masterwork. Restoring it was a good thing, but a regular Criterion DVD (which is also available) will more than suffice.
Jean Seberg in a frame capture from Criterion’s Bluray of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, an essential film to see and know and discuss with some authority, but which can’t look that good.
“Christopher Nolan proved there is always room at the multiplex, even in swimsuit season, for a smart, original story. Will Ferrell bounced back. Michael Cera fell flat. Animation was the No. 1 genre. Sorry, Sex and the City ladies: It’s over.” — N.Y. Times reporter Brooks Barnes in a summer-wrap-up piece that will appear in tomorrow morning’s print edition.
The big winner was Sony, which “owned all of its wide releases and delivered hit after hit, albeit on levels lower than most of its rivals,” Barnes reports. “Sony’s modestly budgeted remake of The Karate Kid was one of the summer’s biggest surprises, rocketing to $176 million in North America. Although Eat Pray Love was soft, the studio also scored with Grown Ups, Salt and The Other Guys.”
Yesterday’s news that Anton Corbijn and George Clooney‘s The American would out-perform Machete by a million or so was surprising enough, but now guess what? Machete has fallen to third place behind Takers and is now looking at $11 million or so for the weekend. What a tumble! I presume it’s that word-of-mouth Trejo + Rodriguez + too-much-blood-and-wanking-around factor. A major stunner for Team Rodriguez. Right now they’re all sitting around with forlorn faces and asking themselves, “What happened?”
The American is now estimated to finish with about $16.3 million, Takers (down 44% from last weekend) will snag about $11.4 million, and Machete, as noted, will earn about $11 million. Followed by The Last Exorcism ($7.6 million), Going the Distance ($6.8million), The Expendables ($6.6 million with a $92.2 milllon cume), The Other Guys ($5.4 million, $106.9 million total), Eat Pray Love ($4,850,000 with a $69 million cume) and Inception ($4,550,000 with $277 million total).
So what have we learned so far from the dual unfoldings of the Venice and Telluride film festivals? Neither has ended, of course, and there are always different perspectives and views, of course, and no one senses finality, of course, but here’s a stab:
At today’s Sunday panel at Telluride Film Festival (l. to r.): Real-life arm-slice guy Aron Ralston, 127 Hours director Danny Boyle, James Franco, moderator Annette Insdorf, The Way Back director Peter Weir, Werner Herzog. (Photo by Glenn Zoller)
(a) Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan may or may not be more of a favorite among impassioned dweeb critics (i.e., the Guy Lodge contingent) than a staunchly consensus-propelled Best Picture contender, but red-eyed Natalie Portman is apparently close to the front of the pack for a Best Actress nomination.
(b) Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours is a very possible Best Picture contender, and James Franco is looking like a close-to-locked Best Actor contender…maybe. Depending on visceral reactions to the red-arm factor.
(c) Tom Hooper‘s The King’s Speech is an audience-pleaser and an awards contender. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are looking at possible acting award noms. “No doubt Harvey’s already got one of the ten Best Picture slots locked up for this,” Deadline’s Pete Hammond wrote yesterday.
(d) Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go is apparently going to encounter divided reactions, half of them having kitten litters in the David Poland mode (“masterpiece”) and half of them saying “but why don’t they rebel or run for it?” in the Kris Tapley-Anthony Breznican-Roger Moore-ish view of things.
(e) A consensus is forming that Peter Weir‘s The Way Back, which many if not most critics admired or at least respected, needs to be at least platform-released at the end of 2010. Newmarket is reportedly planning to release the survival drama in early 2011 without any kind of minimal awards-qualifying release in late 2010. (And why, by the way, isn’t The Way Back showing at Toronto?)
(f) Sofia Coppola‘s Somewhere, generally regarded as a minor effort compared to Lost in Translation, is out of the awards game altogether (although Stephen Dorff‘s performance is the best career move he’s managed in a very long time).
(g) Errol Morris‘ Tabloid has a better-than-decent shot to finish as one of the five Best Feature Documentary nominees…maybe.
(h) Shlomi Eldar‘s Precious Life, “the agonizing story of a young Gaza woman who goes to an Israeli hospital to save the life of her five month old son Muhammad suffering from the same genetic disease that took the lives of her other two children,” may also become a Best Feature Doc contender by way of the industry factor.
(i) No one is going to pay any attention to Kelly Reichardt‘s Meek’s Cutoff, in part because Meek’s Cutoff is one of the worst movie titles ever imagined by anyone in the history of dramatic presentation. I mean, it’s worse that Winter’s Bone.
Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours “has been expertly brought to the screen by [a] director who finds a way to put ‘urgency’ in every frame,” Deadline‘s Pete Hammond writes from Telluride, “despite the fact that the entire film is basically one man vs. the elements.”
The film is “a tour-de-force for James Franco,” he adds, noting how the 32 year-old actor “is virtually never off screen in the same way Spencer Tracy triumphed in the similarly spare The Old Man And The Sea (1958). Franco’s performance could put him in contention for a best actor Oscar nod just as Tracy’s did over 50 years ago.”
Hammond notes, however, that “Franco’s ‘farewell to arm’ scene is graphic and not for the squeamish.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Jay A. Fernandez reported yesterday that the real-life character played by Franco “went to the extreme to free himself from the boulder that trapped him for five days, and the climactic scene of his escape generated groans and squirming from the audience.
“At the end of the screening, paramedics were called in to assist an unidentified man” at the 127 Hours screening. “Festival press representative Shannon Mitchell told The Hollywood Reporter that she had no information on whether the man’s illness had to do with 127 Hours‘ escape scene or an unrelated medical condition.”
Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson reports that “Telluride correspondent Meredith Brody [saw] ‘somebody being taken out on a gurney from the Galaxy’ showing of 127 Hours and later that night at a second screening of the Danny Boyle film, ‘ambulances with multicolored flashing lights pulling into the Palm.'”
I attended one of the earliest L.A. screenings of The Bourne Supremacy (’04), the second Bourne film that is easily the most shaky-cammy of the three. A woman threw up on the floor about halfway into it. I was sitting on the other side of the room, and noticed a little commotion. I honestly didn’t connect this with the rapid cutting and crazy-cam photography, but a publicist with Universal publicity did. She howled and brayed and threatened me with death if I reported about the vomiting.
I’ve sat and chilled at The Bean (1st Avenue and 3rd Street) three or four times. A week and a half ago I got out the laptop and did some work there for 90 minutes. Early this morning some jackass yellow cabbie hit another car and crashed into The Bean, injuring five and seriously maiming one guy in particular.
I used to drive a cab in Boston. I can guess what that cab driver was thinking and doing.
This kind of thing happens in urban action films from time to time, usually for comic effect, but it’s a different deal when it actually happens. If I’m not mistaken, something similar to this occured in Richard Rush‘s Freeebie and the Bean (1974).