I’ve just received a “Dear John” email from the AFI Festival publicists telling me that they can’t slip me a ticket to Thursday’s opening-night (11.3) screening of Clint Eastwood ‘s J. Edgar. This despite sporadic begging and pleading to all pertinent parties over the last two weeks. My next opportunity will be the all-media screening at the Grove on Monday, 11.7.
I don’t know how legit this is, but a Twitter colleague of Awards Daily‘s Ryan Adams has forwarded an online announcement that Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse will play in six hinterland theaters tonight and tomorrow night.
We’re talking about possible showings thsi evening in Bellevue, Washington, Leawood, Kansas and Cleveland Heights, Ohio. And tomorrow night (Wednesday, 11.2) in Beaverton, Oregon, Bethesda, Maryland and Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
There’s another screening on 11.10 in Olathe, Kansas, according to the info.
if this turns out to be real and any HE readers happen to attend tonight or tomorrow, I’d love to hear reactions. Not to post anything (no point in jumping the gun) but just to hear what people are saying.
So what’s this about, if true? Bypassing big-city journos in favor showing a new film to Average Joes could indicate that the film in question might be facing an uphill situation with bloggers and critics…maybe. Then again Jason Reitman‘s Young Adult, which has a rep of perhaps being a less emotionally engaging film than Reitman’s Juno or Up In The Air, has been shown to heartland types also. I’ve heard that War Horse may not screen for another month to the LA-NY crowd.
Obviously the Masters of Cinema guys who prepared the double-disc Bluray release of Orson Welles‘ Touch of Evil didn’t get the memo from the 16 x 9 fascists that all 1950s films have to masked at 1.85 or 1.78 to 1 because that was how they were shown from 1953 on.
Who needs the boxy headspace in this frame-capture of the 1.37 version of Touch of Evil, right? Whack it down, the fascists say. Put those actors in a 1.85 or 1.78 jail and keep them there!
In an act of stubborn, mystifying rebellion that will almost certainly infuriate the dictatorial 16 x 9 crowd in the U.S. and England, this Masters of Cinema release offers the 111-minute-long 1998 reconstruction of Touch of Evil in both 1.85:1 and 1:37 aspect ratios, and the 95-minute long 1958 theatrical version in both 1.85:1 and 1:37:1 aspect ratios.
I’m hereby inviting those who’ve been insisting in past discussions that 1.78 or 1.85 to 1 croppings are the only way to go with ’50s and ‘early to mid ’60s films (guys like Joe Gillis and C.C. Baxter and A Pop Calypso and BadHatHarry and lawnorder and, yes, the eminent Robert Harris) to write a letter of public scolding to the Masters of Cinema team.
These guys need to explain in detail how the MofC techies were wrong and misguided and perverse to offer 1.37 versions of this Orson Welles classic along with 1.85 versions. Because they were…right? I mean, who needs this boxy shit? Whatever possessed the MofC guys to even consider including 1.37 versions? Are they wise guys? Have they been reading our explanations on this site over the past few years that 1.78 or 1.85 croppings are the only way to go or haven’t they?
The only problem for me is that this Bluray is Region 2 only. I just received region-free British Blurays of the 1962 Cape Fear and West Side Story. Why can’t all British Blurays be region-free?
From DVD Beaver’s description: “Quite a phenomenal package from The Masters of Cinema. This is 2 dual-layered Blu-ray discs — the first has the 1 hour, 51-minute long 1998 reconstruction of Touch of Evil offered in both 1.85:1 and 1:37 aspect ratios. The widescreen version has a 2008 recorded optional commentary by the restoration producer, Rick Schmidlin.
“The full-frame version has the 1999 recorded optional commentary with Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Mr. Schmidlin. Sharing that disc are the two video extras; Bringing Evil to Life [21:00] and Evil Lost and Found [17:06] as well as a theatrical trailer (which includes alternate footage) — all three video extras in 480i.
“Disc 2 has the 1 hour-35-minute 1958 Theatrical version of Touch of Evil offered in both 1.85:1 and 1:37:1 aspect ratios. There is also the ‘Preview Version’ in widescreen. The Theatrical Versions offer an optional, duplicated, commentary by critic F. X. Feeney (2008) and the 1 hour-48-minute 1.85:1 ‘Preview Version’ has a commentary by Welles scholars James Naremore & Jonathan Rosenbaum (rated the BEST commentary of the Year HERE).
“All commentaries and digital extras are found on the 2008 50th Anniversary DVD from Universal. So we get the theatrical in the optional 1.37:1 and the image and audio in HD and a magnificent 56-page booklet featuring essays by Orson Welles, Fran√ßois Truffaut, Andr√© Bazin and Terry Comito; interview excerpts with Welles; a timeline of the film’s history; and extensive notes on the film’s versions and ratios.
The last HE-supported screening of Paddy Considine‘s Tyrannosaur happens at the Sunset Screening Room on Wednesday, 11.2 (i.e., tomorrow) at 4 pm. There’s one more after this at the Royal theatre on Tuesday, 11.8 at 10 or 10:30 am. So if morning screenings aren’t your cup of tea you’ll want to attend tomorrow’s. Just saying.
Film Nation’s announcement about a deal to handle sales and distribution for two Terrence Malick projects, Lawless and Knight of Cups, is somewhat surprising, yes, but it’s not exactly a waffle iron knocking everyone off-balance. The films will shoot back-to-back next year with Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett costarring in both.
(l.) Terrence Malick (in hat and shades), (right-middle) Christian Bale during shooting of footage in Austin in mid-September.
Remember that video clip that was posted in September of Malick shooting some kind of footage of Bale strolling around an outdoor concert in Austin? (My post was called “Live Sasquatch.”) That was obviously the beginning of something. And remember also that Emmanuel Lubezki told me at the recent Hollywood Awards presentation that he hoped to be shooting Malick’s next project?
Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara will costar in Lawless but not Knight of Cups.
The fact that Bale and Blanchett will star in both Lawless and Cups suggests that the films will probably be narratively linked on some level. It would be…I don’t know, strange or curious for Bale and Blanchett to appear in back-to-back Malick projects playing wholly separate and unrelated characters…no?
This American Reunion trailer helps because I’ve now seen the movie without having to sit through the full-length version. We all know that early 30s, “what happened to my wild and randy youth?” angst so what’s new here? Nothing. Badass Digest‘s Moises Chiullan noted this morning that Faceboook has killed the necessity for class reunions. True?
Here’s some advice for late 20something or early 30something guys. Don’t get married until you’re 40 or thereabouts, and when you do tie the knot make sure it’s to someone who really loves you with your pants off and doesn’t just see you as a guy who will one day get there and fulfill his potential (even if that’s what you need to do).
I’m afraid there’s something I don’t quite understand, Aleksei. Are you saying that Donald Trump’s rant about Jon Stewart (uploaded on 11.1) was triggered by last night’s Daily Show riff about the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain? Because it didn’t strike me as inappropriate in the least.
Longtime Oscar telecast producer Gil Cates keeled over last night in a UCLA parking lot (he reportedly taught at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television) and passed into eternity. My condolences to family and friends. He was 77 years old, and very well liked and by almost every indication a fine fellow.
Gilbert Cates — 6.6.34 to 10.31.11
Cates also directed features and TV movies, of course, and was a fairly good one in his day. His creative peak as a director happened between ’70 and ’74 when he made I Never Sang For My Father (’70), Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (’73) and a TV movie of Arthur Miller‘s After the Fall (’74)
Cates produced 14 Oscar telecasts between 1990 and 2008, and if truth be told over the last ten years Cates had become a symbol of the been-around-forever Academy fraternity that has enforced the schmaltzy, status-quo aesthetic and personality of the Oscars, which came to be seen as a bit fogeyish and dissipated by the under-40 set.
Here’s an excellent interview that Cates gave to DGA Quarterly’s Jeffrey Ressner. It ran last summer. There’s a great story at the end about a kind of rapproachment between Orson Welles and Robert Wise with Cates as the middle man.
Dying in a UCLA parking lot on the way back from a class is a fine way to go if you ask me. Not at home or in a hospital but in the midst of doing something, living to the fullest, actively striving, etc. People who work and produce right to the end get a gold star in my book.
When death comes I want to be strolling down a Paris street on my way back from a great meal or a bar or a party. I want to expire while lying flat on a Paris sidewalk (somewhere in Montmartre would be nice) as I look up at the stars and hear the distant roar of cars and scooters and take one final whiff of that sublime night air.
Sidenote: It must in all fairness be recalled that Cates and producer Lou Horvitz did a horrible thing on the February 2005 Oscarcast when they failed to run a special tribute-montage to the great Marlon Brando — probably the most influential actor of the 20th Century, a God, a sphinx among men — and instead ran a special tribute to former Oscar host Johnny Carson. Because Carson was better liked and Brando was a pain in the ass.
Hands down this was one of the most shameful moments in the entire history of the Oscars, right up there with giving the Best Picture Oscar to Driving Miss Daisy, Around The World in Eighty Days and The Greatest Show on Earth.
I never got over feeling angry about the Brando diss. Here’s how I put it the next day:
“There’s no question Marlon Brando was the most influential actor of the 20th Century. No one had the same impact-grenade effect…nobody. He’d been among the deity of reigning pop icons for as long as I can remember (along with Humphrey Bogart, Elvis Presley, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, et. al.), and he’ll still be there 50 years from now. He rewrote the damn book.
“But he was a bad (indifferent?) politician and a bit of a self-loather, and he let his unresolved screwed-up stuff define too much of his life and image over the last 45 or 50 years, and Johnny Carson, whose departure happened just recently, was better liked by the industry and public, and he was a sublime Oscar host all those years.
“And so Oscar show producers Gil Cates and Lou Horvitz took the politically easy road and revealed their personal colors, not to mention the industry’s basic value system, in their decision to pay a special extended tribute to Carson and not Brando.
“Cates and Horvitz lumped the great Marlon Brando in with all the other dear and departed during last night’s ‘In Memoriam’ tribute…all right, they gave him the last slot at the end of the montage and used four stills instead of one or two…but it was like someone saying matter-of-factly, minus any sense of sufficient sadness or reverence, Marlon Brando is merely dead.
“The Brando tribute reel that Cates and Horvitz didn’t show (and probably never even cut together) should have proclaimed — trumpeted — that Marlon Brando lived.
“He lived and screamed and wept and re-ordered the universe as people knew it in 1947 in New York City, and then rocked Hollywood in the early to mid ’50s, and left them both in a state of permanent shakedown and reexamination by the time of his effective departure from creative myth-making in 1954 or ’55….and then he shook things up again when he briefly re-emerged as The Man in the early ’70s.
“And all the Academy could muster was a more-or-less rote acknowledgement that he left the room in 2004.”