Here’s Part 4 of Matt Zoller Seitz‘s epic video essay on Terrence Malick, focusing on The New World.
“This feels like closure to me in some strange way,” Seitz says in an email. “The whole reason I got into blogging was to bang the drum for The New World, which has grown in reputation since 2005 but which was shamefully underestimated at the time.”
A guy named Sean with a web advertising company asked earlier today if Hollywood Elsewhere would be interested in running an ad for Direct TV. “I can send you $150 via PayPal as soon as an agreement is made,” he wrote. I wrote back and said, “What about you keep your money and I give $150 to a homeless guy?”
With all the hoo-hah last week about Warner Home Video’s bizarre decision to crop the Barry Lyndon Bluray at 1.77 to 1, it’s ironic that impulse buyers wandering around Best Buy won’t even see the Lyndon Bluray on the shelves. Or the Lolita Bluray.
That’s because of an Amazon exclusive deal for both titles, meaning there’s no retail at all. For the time being, that is. I’m sure there was a big kickback arrangement for Warner Home Video, but after all this time….forget it. I’ve got my order coming to my LA home tomorrow so what do I care?
Adam Curtis‘s multi-part All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, which began last night on BBC2, is flat-out brilliant. Or at least brilliantly composed and sold. I could call it a fascinating, absorbing, well-told story, but it strikes me above all as an unusually perceptive explanation of the ’08 global financial collapse, and how its origins stem from the philosophical imaginings of Ayn Rand.
Take an hour and watch this first installment. Really. Take an hour and do this today or tomorrow.
I’m not saying that all the blinding and jolting wisdom of the ages is contained in Curtis’s latest doc, but it does provide a sharply honed point of view and what seems to me like highly intelligent assimilation. It’s fascinating. I’m a Curtis fan from way back. Those who haven’t seen Curtis’s The Century of the Self (about how Sigmund Freud‘s perceptions led to the idea of marketing to people’s emotional desires and psychologies rather than offering them what they might really need) and The Power of Nightmares (which explained how American Neocons and Islamic radicals are essentially cut from the same cloth) need to do so.
Here’s a passage from the doc that I’ve transcribed: “At the end of 1992 Alan Greenspan went to see President-elect Clinton a few days after Clinton had been elected. And what Greenspan said in that conversation was the beginning of a revolution. Greenspan was then the head of the US Federal Reserve Board, and what he told Clinton was that his election promises of social reform were impossible.
“The government deficit was so large, Greenspan said, that if Clinton borrowed any more to pay for his social programs that interest rates would go up and damage growth. But, Greenspan said, there was a radical alternative. Clinton should do the very opposite. Cut government spending and interest rates would go down and the markets would boom. Greenspan’s idea was simple: Clinton should let the markets transform America, not politics. He later said that he was surprised that Clinton agreed with him.”
As much as I’ve always loved James Toback‘s Fingers, I fell a little bit harder for Jacques Audiard‘s 2005 remake, The Beat That My Heart Skipped. One reason being that this critically-acclaimed, French-produced film twice used The Kills’ “Monkey 23”, which for me was the film, at least in a residual way.
I was just sitting here and remembering getting into Audiard’s film and “Monkey 23” and The Kills’ Keep On Your Mean Side in the sweltering summer of ’05, when I was living in Brooklyn. What a time that was. It doesn’t feel like six years ago. More like…I don’t know, three or four.
No one outside of the Tolkien lemming community cares about Peter Jackson‘s two Hobbitt films….nobody. Nobody gives a toss that the first one (opening on 12.14.12) will be called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, or that the second (due on 12.13.13) will be called The Hobbit: There And Back Again. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, blah, blah. The old Lord of the Rings gang — Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving — feeding at the trough, etc.
“Destined to be together but indecisive and unable to pull the trigger for 20 years” is not my idea of an engrossing concept. It’s my idea, actually, of a repellent one. The narration (“…but life got in the way”) is very cliched, and the British narrator’s speaking style has that same “talking down to idiots” tone that the last trailer had.
So trailer-wise this film has basically gone O for 2 (here‘s my reaction to trailer #1), and in my book that indicates a possible disaster.
Janice Min‘s radical revamp of The Hollywood Reporter “seems to be working,” reports N.Y. Times media decoder David Carr in a 5.30 article. Over the last year THR’s ad revenue has gone up 50%, unique visitors to hollywoodreporter.com have risen 800%, according to comScore, and circulation for the weekly print edition “has inched up over 70,000, which seems small, but it reaches a pretty rarefied demographic,” Carr writes.
“It’s all very lovely to behold, but of course, that’s no guarantee that [Min’s Reporter] will be a great business as well,” Carr concludes. “It will be several years before we know whether the big investment in the good-looking magazine will yield pretty numbers as well.”
Update due to jetlag fatigue: At the close of the five-month mark, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris and Bridesmaids need to be added to the best 2011 films list. The others are still Win Win, Hanna, Source Code, Cedar Rapids, In A Better World, Meek’s Cutoff, Super, Applause and The Lincoln Lawyer.
When I landed yesterday I tweeted that I’d read a draft of The Descendants, the Alexander Payne-George Clooney December release, during the flight. It has this smart, up-close, well-observed quality…a family movie with a solemn meditative anchor. If it’s well-handled, I could easily see The Descendants (Fox Searchlight, 12.16) being one of the ten B.P. nominees. Seriously. Or it could just be a good film. I posted the trailer four days ago.
A 5.26 Jason Newman piece about Bradley Cooper being a “polarizing” Hollywood actor set me off on a jag. “Over the last year or so I’ve developed a small cancerous tumor because of Cooper,” I wrote on 2.24.11, “whose appearance on last June’s MTV Movie Awards proved that he’s a fizzy-souled showbiz whore.”