So what’s the actual down-and-dirty motive for Mark Cuban having put Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures up for sale? What’s the real “real” reason, I mean? And what’s the connection between this and TheWrap‘s Steve Pond having written about the difficult task of Film Independent replacing the Academy-bound Dawn Hudson without throwing in names of possible candidates? I’ll tell you the connection. Neither of these stories has nutritional value.
Before reading about his death earlier today, the last time I’d even thought about actor Michael Sarrazin was when I ran into him at Barney’s Beanery ten or eleven years ago. He was a very friendly guy with a nice easy laugh, but I couldn’t help feeling badly that he was hanging out at a joint that’s only a couple steps up from a dive.
Sarrazin had a strong jaw and gentle eyes and a face that exuded vulnerability and a slight but persistent sadness. His two strongest performances were in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and The Flim-Flam Man. Okay, you can add Sometimes a Great Notion. He and Jacqueline Bisset were lovers for some 14 years (’68 to ’82), and that ain’t hay — any relationship that makes it past five or six years is something to point to with some pride. Sarrazin’s final appearance will be in Walter Salles‘ On The Road. My condolences to family and friends.
The same five or six stills from Pedro Almodovar‘s The Skin I Live In are all over the web. Clearly a metaphor for certain social tendencies and surgical practices of our time, and most certainly not a horror film. Pedro doesn’t do “genre” — he does Pedro movies. Although it seems to contain echoes of George Franju‘s Eyes Without A Face and, to a lesser extent, William Wyler‘s The Collector.
“Richard Lafargue (Antonio Banderas) is an eminent plastic surgeon haunted by dirty secrets. He has an operating theatre in the basement of his chateau and keeps his partner Eve (Elena Anaya) imprisoned in her bedroom, a room he has equipped with an intercom and 300-watt speakers through which he bellows orders. Lafargue humiliates Eve by forcing her to perform lewd sexual acts with strangers while he watches through a one-way mirror.”
The 64th Cannes Film Festival competition jury is as follows: Robert De Niro (honcho), Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Argentinian actress-producer Martina Gusman, Chinese producer Nansun Shi, Norweigan critic/writer Linn Ullmann — daughter of Liv Ullmann) and directors Olivier Assayas (Carlos), Mahamat Saleh Haroun (A Screaming Man) and Johnny To (Exiled, Election).
The one I feel closest to and who seems the most vital among this bunch is Assayas, mainly because of Carlos. De Niro is Mr. Cash-In, Law is thought to be either over or fading, Thurman has been fading since Kill Bill, and To is a respected action-crime guy, etc. I regret to say I don’t really know Haroun or Gusman or Nansun Shi, and I’ve ever never read a single article by Ullmann. I have a little learning to do.
To me, learning that two respected actors (Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard ) have officially been added to the cast of Chris Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises is like reading that Ozeki Masuiyama and Sekiwake Fujizakura have been named as Japan’s top sumo-wrestlers.
Ten days from now millions of emotionally needy Californians will be getting up at 2:45 am to watch the royal nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton. I got up at that hour nearly 14 years ago for Lady Diana‘s funeral, but as Hal Holbrook said in All The President’s Men, “This is different.” I think this attitude might put me in the minority with 2 billion viewers expected to tune in.
Mostly females, of course. I know for a fact that no self-respecting straight male will pay the slightest heed.
The wedding will be a celebration of an exceptionally lame fantasy that tens of millions of under-educated, Sex and the City-worshipping, Star magazine-reading women the world over hold extremely dear, which is that they might one day luck into marrying an exceptionally rich guy from a rich and powerful family and live a life of fabulous, mostly thoughtless leisure for the rest of their lives. And have kids who will enjoy the same luxuries and get to to do the same thing as adults-with-their-own-kids when they come of age.
My concern here is solely with the baldness of Prince William. Well, not “concern” but a kind of mystification and/or confusion. Baldness can be very cool if you’re Ed Harris or Sean Connery or Bruce Willis, etc. Those guys wear it well and with style, you bet. But the whole bald-is-cool thing kicks in only if you’re middle-aged. Because raging 20something baldness is a kind of tragedy, I feel. Tragic and depressing not just for Prince William (now 28, turning 29 on June 21) but all of us because the metaphor — i.e., the idea that some aspects of your life are unchangable and immovable due to genes, and that we’re all prisoners of our fathers and grandfathers — is kind of shattering.
To me anyway. What is life is not something that can and should be imagined and built and molded according to your own will and creativity and determination? But bald genes say “fuck all that….you’re going to be bald, pal…deal with it.”
There are numerous remedies for what ails Prince William. Ask John Travolta, Elton John, Nic Cage…ask the Hair Club for Men. I’m not saying he should add to what he has now — that would look dopey — but he could, at least, hold on to what he has and maybe thicken things up a bit. He could at least hold on to a kind of royal Jack Nicholson look. But no — he’s apparently ready and willing to lose it all. Because anyone in his condition at age 28 is going to be a total cueball by the time he’s 40 or 45, if not sooner.
I realize that the trailer for Chris Weitz‘s A Better Life (Summit, 6.24) has persuaded some that it’s more or less a white man’s movie about a Hispanic father’s issues (i.e., struggling within the LA immigrant workplace to retrieve a stolen truck and save his teenaged son from a gangbanger life).
The reason, of course, is that the trailer is showing too much English-speaking among Latino characters who, in reality, almost always speak Spanish to each other in casual conversation.
And yet L.A. Times reporter John Horn wrote last February that the film “contains a significant amount of Spanish dialogue” and that Weitz employed “any number of Latino crew members” (which presumably means he hired more than a few). For all I know A Better Life might be 30% or 40% Spanish-speaking. (I have a call into Summit about this.)
So let’s try to forgive Weitz’s deplorable direction of New Moon and give him the benefit of the doubt and presume that he’s made every conceivable effort to avoid any sort of culturally ungenuine flavoring in this Bicycle Thieves-inspired drama.
And yet — here’s the marketing rub — the trailer does convey a kind of sensitive white man’s perspective. This, naturally, is because the Summit team is looking to reach Anglo and Hispanic moviegoers. Marketing people have a job to do, and that job almost always entails some kind of lie or distortion. Or perhaps it’s telling the absolute truth. I’m presuming in either case that A Better Life doesn’t have authenticity of, say, Cary Fukunaga‘s Sin Nombre.
And to be perfectly honest, the Spanish-accented speech of the father (Demian Bichir) does sort of half-remind me of Jack Palance‘s Spanish-accented English in Richard Brooks‘ The Professionals (’66).