I’ve been persuaded that I need to add Ursula Meier‘s Sister to my Cannes 2012 must-see list, although I’ll probably have to find a market screening or something. Jeff Lipsky‘s Adopt Films acquired the much praised drama during last February’s Berlin Film Festival.
N.Y. Times guys Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes are reporting that the AMC (i.e., “all movies compromised”) theatrical chain “is in talks to sell the company or a significant stake in it to the Wanda Group, one of China’s largest theater owners, according to people briefed on the discussions.
“If completed, the deal will begin a new phase in China’s push into the global film industry by sharply increasing its leverage with Hollywood and creating the first theater chain to have a commanding presence in the world’s two largest movie markets.”
There’s only one question if this deal happens. Will the Wanda guys make a sincere and significant commitment to delivering better light and sound levels in AMC theatres, or won’t they? That’s the whole thing. Because if not, forget it. My understanding and experience is that AMC theatres are very catch-as-catch-can as far as quality projection is concerned.
Toronto’s Cumberland fourplex on Avenue Road, which served the Toronto Film Festival for decades after opening in 1981, has closed. And I’m sorry. A 5.7 posting from I Heart Movies says that “on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:30pm, the last 35mm film to run through a projector at the Cumberland 4 Cinemas was Joseph Cedar‘s Footnote.”
My most vivid Cumberland memory happened two and two-third years ago when I took a picture of a snoring guy during a showing of Werner Herzog‘s Bad Lieutenant: New Orleans Port of Call.
For me, one of the most appalling episodes in Hollywood Elsewhere history happened a month ago (on 4.10) when I ran a qualified rave of Bobcat Goldwaith‘s God Bless America.
I called it “a very moral film” with which Goldthwait “is really saying something about the increasing levels of rampant egotism among the mall mongrels and people failing to behave in a considerate, compassionate fashion, and that things would be much nicer all around if people showed more class and manners,” etc.
The appalling part came when some readers said my review was lacking in irony and/or self-awareness, meaning that I, in their opinion, would be a target of Goldwaith’s Frank character (played by Joel Murray) if I happened to exist in the world of the film.
Sure thing. I didn’t feel all that comfortable with the metaphorical wanton slaughtering that occupies the second half of the film (which didn’t seem to build or lead anywhere) but one of the observational veins in this column for the last seven years has been about the coarse, loudmouthy, movie-theatre-texting uglies out there. Frank’s views, in short, are where this column lives to a certain degree so I’m afraid I need a little help in understanding the irony aspect.
What happened, I believe, is that the right knows or senses that God Bless America is about them and their family so they came out guns blazing. As I noted last moth, “Most of the targets in this movie are Middle-American mall people and anti-Obama, anti-gay righties and Tea Party slime, but Frank also hates showbiz lefties in certain ways.”
Various egotists and me-me-me vulgarians eat lead in this film. The only types missing from the hit list, I realized later on, are those wonderful people who lean their seat back 45 degrees in coach on commercial flights.
I’d be surprised if Tom Cruise‘s performance as Stacee Jaxx in Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages (New Line/Warner Bros., 6.15) isn’t some kind of hoot. Cruise always slams into a role, gives it 110%, etc. But something about this image doesn’t fly. He just doesn’t seem believable as a Steven Tyler-ish rock ‘n’ roll horndog. Has he exuded any palpable sexual vibes since Risky Business? Cruise always plays guys ruled by passion, determination, doggedness. But getting into women’s pants? Not so much.
Last night Gullermo del Toro delivered a master class lecture inside Toronto’s Bell Lightbox about Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. The classic 1946 espionage thriller was also screened. Peter Howell called GDT’s remarks “masterful.” I wrote GDT and a couple of others about whether digital footage will be made available anytime soon.
Yesterday Sasha Stone, Phil Contrino and I did our usual-usual, focusing for the most part on last weekend’s phenomenal Avengers numbers and how this is somewhat or slightly lamentable, given the pounding repetition and unexceptional nature of the film. This led to all kinds of segues and digressions. Here’s a stand-alone mp3 link.
If I’d eaten even half of this I wouldn’t be alive to post these photos.
Location of long-destroyed Hitler bunker on Gertrud-Kolmar Strasse (between An der Kollonade and in der Ministergarten), only two or three blocks from Memorial to Murdered Jews of Europe.
“There’s no denying that Dark Shadows is a bit of an oddity, flip-flopping between comedy and gothic melodrama,” Adams begins. “These tonal swings are not always convincing, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that the film is a good chunk of nonsense fun, clearly made with love and style.
“Just as importantly, the film is one of the more gratifying of the now eight collaborations between director Tim Burton and leading man Johnny Depp — eschewing the irritating character quirkiness for quirkiness’ sake that crept into Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.
“[But] in the film’s final third, Barnabas suddenly becomes sexual catnip for the forward women of the 1970s, and the film starts losing its grip. And unfortunately Eva Green sits at the centre of the chaos. It’s no fault of the actress, but her scarlet-lipped Angelique seems present simply to introduce all-too-predictable conflict and drive the plot…when a focus on the tender courtship between Barnabas and the sweet Victoria (Bella Heathcote) would have made for a better narrative.
“In fact Dark Shadows would probably have been a very different film if it was centered on Heathcote’s character, and scrounged up some real substance instead of sticking to the slick, superficial and obvious.
“[So] it’s a genuine pity that everything becomes such a mess during Dark Shadows‘ climax. This is not an uncommon problem with Burton films actually (remember Beetlejuice?), as they stumble over their own feet racing for resolution after a lengthy set-up. So suddenly there are betrayals, explosions and angry townsfolk as well as a supernaturally powered battle, peppered with ‘WTF?’ revelations and nifty special effects.
“Ultimately the film works best as a black comedy – a quirky tale of family dysfunction with a dash of horror for extra flavor. It gets completely overblown by the end, but that doesn’t detract from the initial enjoyment it provides. Fun, but very flawed.”
I know how the Cannes Film Festival tends to go. If I’m lucky I’ll fit in maybe 23 or 24 films over a nine-day period. Nonetheless I’m choosing 26 and hoping for the best. I’m not listing the discards but the ones I definitely intend to see. As explained before, N means neutral, HE means special interest and M = meh.
Competition (17): Moonrise Kingdom, dir: Wes Anderson (N), Rust & Bone, dir: Jacques Audiard (HE), Holly Motors, dir: Leos Carax (N); Cosmopolis, dir: David Cronenberg (HE); The Paperboy, dir: Lee Daniels (N); Killing Them Softly, dir: Andrew Dominik (HE); Reality, dir: Matteo Garrone (HE); Amour, dir: Michael Haneke (N); Lawless, dir: John Hillcoat (HE); Like Someone In Love, dir: Abbas Kiarostami (M); The Angel’s Share, dir: Ken Loach (N); Mud, dir: Jeff Nichols (HE); Post Tenebras Lux, dir: Carlos Reygadas (M); On The Road, dir: Walter Salles (HE); Paradis: Amour, dir: Ulrich Seidl (N); The Hunt, dir: Thomas Vinterberg (M); Beyond The Hills, dir: Cristian Mungiu (HE).
Un Certain Regard (1): 7 Days In Havana, dirs: Benicio Del Toro, Pablo Trapero, Julio Medem, Elia Suleiman, Juan Carlos Tabio, Gaspard Noe, Laurent Cantet (HE)
Out of Competition (2) Io E Te, dir: Bernardo Bertolucci (HE); Hemingway & Gelhorn, dir: Philip Kaufman (N).
Special Screenings (4): Polluting Paradise, dir: Fatih Akin (HE); Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, dir: Laurent Bouzereau (HE); The Central Park Five, dirs: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon; Les Invisibles, Sebastien Lifshitz.
Restored Revivals (2): Once Upon A Time in America, Lawrence of Arabia.