$150 for the used bike (Craigslist, used as a prop on a TV show) and $180 for the front light, the horn, the rear blinking light, the rear-wheel rack, the black basket, a three-pronged bike wrench and a snake lock with two keys. My last bike was stolen; good to have one again.
I know what this sounds like (i.e., “aah, the good old days!”), but I really can’t imagine someone making a more satisfying, better-photographed, delightfully performed and tonally spot-on Three Musketeers than Richard Lester‘s 1973 version…or versions, I should say, since a not-quite-as-good Part 2 installment was released the following year. Plus you have to assume that 3-D will degrade things.
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So in addition to buying stand-alone, multi-region Blurays of Stanley Kubrick‘s Barry Lyndon and Lolita as well as a French-language-only Bluray of Rififi during a half-week stopover in Paris following the Cannes Film Festival, I’ll also be visiting the Stanley Kubrick exhibit (now through July 23rd) at the Cinematheque.
You have to laugh at Universal Home Video’s smirking chutzpah in announcing a $999 Bluray of Brian DePalma‘s Scarface, out on 9.6, which will include a specially designed wood-humidor packaging and other pointless perks. They’re obviously pitching this to the music industry’s rapper-gangsta culture. There will also be normally priced Blurays of same for those of us who just want to watch the film.
During an LA visit in 1982 I snuck onto the Universal lot. I literally climbed over a fence, and after some wandering around found a soundstage where Scarface was shooting. The huge set was Tony’s Miami mansion where the final shootout with the Columbians takes place. I walked right onto the stage like I belonged there, and nobody said anything. I remember a nicely dressed Michelle Pfeiffer and a couple of assistants leaving as I was arriving. There was a huge 12-foot-high oil painting of Pacino and Pfeiffer on the main floor, and I remember standing in front of it and thinking to myself, “Wow…nicely done.” And you can see the painting for about a second in the film.
This is a coward’s way to get shot:
And this is how a man does it:
I was assured by a director friend earlier today that Donald Sutherland‘s version of the Don’t Look Now “did they or didn’t they?” dispute is the more reliable. That doesn’t settle anything, of course. But my source knows a thing or two about the shooting of intimate scenes and the odds of a non-essential visitor somehow sneaking a peek, and is persuaded that Peter Bart‘s memory might be a wee bit sketchy.
There was one couple that definitely didn’t pretend, he added: Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen during filming of a sex scene in George Hickenlooper‘s Factory Girl. It’s also been long rumored that actual couplings occured during the shooting of Monster’s Ball (Billy Bob Thornton and Hallie Berry), Angel Heart (Mickey Rourke and Lisa Bonet) and 9 1/2 Weeks (Rourke and Kim Basinger)…not that anyone knows or has said for sure.
I would presume that none of these stories are true except for the Factory Girl one. Miller and Christensen were seeing each other at the time.
Movies usually try to conceal the size of extremely tall or short actors. You can’t tell from watching Black Swan that Mila Kunis is unusually tiny (I’ve stood next to her); ditto Emma Watson in the Harry Potter films. But there’s no missing the fact in Sucker Punch that Emily Browning (.a.k.a, “Babydoll”) is roughly the size of a typical eight- or nine-year old.
Ellen Page, Natalie Portman, Kunis, Jessica Alba, Snooki, Lil Kim, Eva Longoria, Watson, Hilary Duff, Rachel Bilson, Elisha Cuthbert, Isla Fisher — there’s something a bit queer about so many super-short actresses (5’3″ or below) being at the top of the heap these days.
If you ask me this has a lot to do with the appetites and attitudes of 40-and-under guys. A sizable percentage of GenX/GenY seems to worship that little-hotpants, gooey-lipped, boop-boop-pee-doop aesthetic, and seems (emphasis on that word) to have decided that women the size of pre-tweener children are…what? Forbidden stuff? Perverse? Can sexual fantasies get any sicker than imaginary grade-school diddling?
I’m not that tall (6′ 1/2″) and I’ve never had the slightest interest in going out with anyone who isn’t at least or 5’5″ or 5’6″. (Okay, I’ve been with one or two who were 5’4″.) I know there’s something more than little bit icky about a guy being significantly taller that a woman he’s with (like Vince Vaughn and Isla Fisher in The Wedding Crashers), and I think there’s something about the under-40 erotic dreamscape that doesn’t just enjoy this little-schoolgirl aesthetic, but openly hungers for it. And the proof is that so many younger actresses these days are kewpie-doll sized.
“Tall…and that’s not all” — that’s me. Or at least semi-tallish. 5’7″ or 5’8″. I’ll even go 5’9″ or 5’10”.
Here, in order of preference, are my favorite Sucker Punch judgments. Along with a portion of one of the two or three semi-favorable reviews currently out there, written by Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir, and which I respect.
“It might be better to say that all levels of the story in Sucker Punch are self-evidently ludicrous,” O’Hehir’s final paragraph reads, “and that the point of the movie is the vertiginous thrill ride that takes us through them. If you want to understand Snyder’s central narrative gambit, it’s right there in the title. He gives us what we want (or what we think we want, or what he thinks we think we want): Absurdly fetishized women in teeny little skirts, gloriously repetitious fight sequences loaded with plot coupons, pseudo-feminist fantasies of escape and revenge. Then he yanks it all back and stabs us through the eyeball.”
Some Came Running‘s Glenn Kenny: “You know, I didn’t exactly have high hopes for Sucker Punch, but I wasn’t expecting it to EAT MY SOUL. Good lord, it is ghastly!”
Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips: “Director/co-writer/co-producer Zack Snyder must have known in preproduction that his greasy collection of near-rape fantasies and violent revenge scenarios disguised as a female-empowerment fairy tale wasn’t going to satisfy anyone but himself. Well, himself, plus ardent fans of Japanese-schoolgirl manga comics. ‘Close your eyes. Open your mind. You will be unprepared,’ is the movie’s ad slogan. Indeed. You will be unprepared for a film packing this much confusing crud into a little less than two hours of solitary confinement, which feels more like dog hours, i.e., 14.”
Village Voice‘s Nick Pinkerton: “[Snyder’s] mash-up set pieces blend into so-awesome-they’re-awful slo-mo monotony, and the awful sisterhood stuff in between makes you anticipate the action as though waiting for the bus.”
Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Stephen Rea: “A barrage of green-screen effects, comic-book portentousness [and] brain-dead delirium, Sucker Punch is hands-down the most nightmarishly awful film of the year.”
Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum: “The music screeches, the actors vamp, the knives and weapons and bombs and fireballs fly around the screen. Meanwhile, the well-prepared moviegoer slips into her or his own private fantasy of a world in which movie effects are themselves locked away in an institution for the criminally insane until such time as those effects are really, truly necessary for the story.”
God, I can’t do this any more…it’s too depressing. I have to leave it.