Archaeologists announced Wednesday that the remains of Richard III may have been unearthed in the shadow of the University of Leicester. The hump-backed monarch is believed to have been buried in Leicester after his defeat in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The bones unearthed during the dig have been sent for DNA testing and experts believe the skeleton is “a very strong candidate” to be genuine. This at least allows for a posting of Laurence Olivier‘s “now is the winter of our discontent” speech.
I’m supposed to see James Ponsoldt‘s Smashed at 6 pm at the Ryerson, and then attend a dinner for talent. Pic is about an elementary-school teacher who realizes she needs to get control and sober up. Word around town is that Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a stand-out, possibly award-worthy performance. Speaking as an ex-wine and vodka drinker who’s currently sober, there’s something in me that doesn’t want to see this. Is it because alcoholics are incredibly dull people to hang with?
There’s one good thing about being Phillip Seymour Hoffman, apart from his talent and wealth and bright future. He’s only 45 but he looks at least 65 — white-haired, bearish, bearded, bespectacled. Which means that he can’t age any more because he’s already succumbed to most of the things that happen to people when they get into their final third. In other words he’s like Max Von Sydow, who looks roughly the same now as he did almost 40 years ago in The Exorcist.
One of the things that bothered me about Juan Antonio Bayona‘s The Impossible is that right in the middle of being carried along by tsunami currents and trying to stay afloat and not be gored or gashed, Naomi Watts is shown crying and moaning. Ditto her kids. That is not what people do when they’re struggling to stay alive.
People in serious trouble are like animals — their eyes are wide open, fierce and glaring, and their mind is always focused entirely on what to do and not to do that might avoid or prevent death, and that’s all. The weeping and all that other crap comes later, after it’s over and the person can take a breath. Watt’s moaning and wailing is entirely about “acting” — she and Bayona want the less intelligent people in the audience to understand that things are really tough and scary for her at this moment.
If anything, a person who’s succeeding at staying afloat and not drowning is likely to experience a certain exhilaration. Your’e not going to laugh or go “whoopee!”,” but it would feel awfully damn good to not be overcome by the currents and to keep your nose above water, etc. Remember that Winston Chrurchill quote about how “there is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result”? Same principle.
A lot of people have been giving me goo-goo eyes up here because they think I’m Chris Walken, who costars in Martin McDonagh‘s Seven Psychopaths, a TIFF entry. Two guys have asked me for autographs. Women’s expressions have been like “well, whoa-ho! Wanna talk?” Except I’m younger and a bit smoother looking than Walken. Walken is craggier and saggier looking with significant gray hair. And he has crinkly eye bags and a neck waddle and a pot belly that I don’t have. And I can’t imitate him for shit.
After the Vertigo-screening debacle at last April’s TCM Classic Movies Festival, Universal admitted error and invited me to come see a corrected version when ready. I finally saw it on the lot late last month. Thanks to Universal for this courtesy, but I’m sorry to say that Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1958 classic still doesn’t look right. I’ve heard there’s an issue or two with other titles in Uni’s forthcoming Hitchcock Masterpiece Bluray Collection (9.25), so this seems like the right time to air reactions.
The Vertigo I saw on 8.28 — a DCP that represents the new forthcoming Bluray — is crisp and detailed and certainly more lustrous and colorful than the version shown last April.
But the color has been over-cranked and over-saturated to the extent that it looks like a mistake. It’s incorrect and untrue by way of looking far too intense, and definitely too red, and not just in those intense red wallpaper scenes in Ernie’s.
The woman’s face in the opening credits before the camera goes in on her eye is supposed to be nearly black and white with a just a faint touch of sepia. (The above YouTube clip is a good representation of how it should look.) And they got it wrong again — the tint is definitely too orange.
Jimmy Stewart‘s brown suit is brownish violet or brownish purple (I can’t decide what to call it) throughout the first half or so. But it’s supposed to be plain brown. We all know what brown looks like. Brown is brown. It doesn’t have a violet tint.
Stewart wore pancake make up and eyeliner during filming — all actors did in the ’50s and the general big-studio era — but the over-saturated color scheme makes his face look like a mixture of Monument Valley sand and orange and creme biege makeup base.
And Stewart’s blue suit worn during the San Juan Batista inquest scene is ludicrous. It’s blinding, it’s luminescent — like something out of Tim Burton‘s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Almost all the men in the inquest scene, in fact, are wearing vivid blue suits. I’ve seen the color done correctly in the 70mm restored version, and they’re all basically wearing black, dark blue and gray suits — NOT crazy electric LSD blue.
Bottom line: it’s still effed up in the sense that the color isn’t accurate or life-like, but it looks better than the disastrous version shown last April. I guess the color will be adjustable, as always, when it comes out on Bluray. But if what I saw on the Universal lot is in fact what the forthcoming Bluray will look like, then the people who mastered the DCP have once again degraded the film. They should have used the 1996 Robert Harris-Jim Katz restored version and just digitized it and cleaned it up.
This is a plain, honest representation of James Stewart’s brown suit in Vertigo. Verily I say unto thee that this color was nowhere to be found in the Vertigo DCP I saw in late August. In this new digital version Stewart wears what must be described as a mauve-brown or violet-brown suit.
Summary: Why did Universal’s Peter Schade and Mike Daruty decide to finalize a DCP of Vertigo that cranks and intensifies the colors to such a strong degree? Why did they sign off on a credit sequence that delivers an orange-tint to the woman’s face instead of the correct black-and-white with just a touch of sepia? Why is Stewart’s brown suit brownish violet or brownish purple? Why are Stewart and those other guys wearing suits during the inquest hearing that are madly, wildly, psychedelically blue?
More to the point, what persuaded Schade and Daruty to believe they could get a better looking, more vivid representation of Vertigo by going back to the negative and ignoring the Robert Harris-Jim Katz restoration of Vertigo, which represented 18 months of painstaking work? They presumably felt they could achieve better results by bypassing the 1996 photo-chemical restoration and re-do it digitally, but it’s abundantly clear that the colors looked right in ’96 but look wrong in the current DCP version.
A 70mm print of the Harris-Katz Vertigo is showing at the American Cinematheque on Saturday, 9.29.
Every year the Toronto Film Festival runs hot and heavy for the first five days with too many high-interest titles playing against each other, forcing guys like myself to choose and miss out. And then the energy starts to drop on Tuesday and by Wednesday things are all but dead. I’ve got two and a half more days of screenings (I leave early Friday afternoon) and there’s almost nothing going on.
I saw Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master here — a searing, intense, brilliantly acted film that defies any and all attempts to tally and make clear-cut sense of. I saw Joe Wright‘s Anna Karenina and David O. Russell‘s The Silver Linings Playbook here, and I was 100% delighted. I didn’t have to see Ben Affleck‘s Argo here because I saw it in Telluride — a sharply made, highly satisfying, cranked-up political thriller.
I saw Terrence Malick‘s To The Wonder here two days ago — a whispery, all-but-silent Emmanuel Lubezski art-gallery film that is all but doomed to be shut out by distributors and fated to never be seen by mainstream ticket-buyers. I saw Lana and Andy Wachowki & Tom Tykwer‘s Cloud Atlas yesterday, and I just couldn’t stand it. I saw Juan Antonio Bayona‘s The Impossible here and it breaks my heart to say that while I was technically impressed I was otherwise disappointed.
I didn’t need to see David Ayers‘ End of Watch here because I saw it in Los Angeles — I’ll post a review later today or tomorrow. I saw Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond The Pines here and called it a problem on numerous levels, and also declared that Eva Mendes and Rose Byrne are “too hot for Schenectady.”
I saw Pablo Larrain‘s No in Cannes and again in Telluride — gripping, inspired, essential. I saw Roger Michell‘s Hyde Park on Hudson in Telluride — meh. I saw Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha in Telluride and really loved it all around — Greta Gerwig‘s performance, the screenplay, the supporting performances. (I’ll post a proper review one of these days.) I saw Martin McDonagh‘s Seven Psychopaths here and was let down — it’s nowhere close to the level of In Bruges and far below the level of McDonagh’s A Behanding in Spokane, one of his beter stage plays. I saw Rian Johnson‘s Looper in Los Angeles and didn’t much care for it. And I saw Sally Potter‘s Ginger And Rosa and felt very little enthusiasm.
I saw Ziad Doueiri‘s The Attack in Telluride, and was…well, my response was respectful, for the most part. The day before yesterday I saw Shola Lynch‘s Free Angela And All Political Prisoners and was 90% positive.
Later today I will see Yaron Zilberman‘s The Late Quartet and then James Ponsoldt‘s Smashed.
I’ve seen eight or nine TIFF films that didn’t inspire me to write anything one way or another.
And I’ve missed Toronto screenings of Billy Bob Thornton‘s Jayne Mansfield’s Car, Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep, Stephen Chobosky‘s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Susanne Bier‘s Love is All You Need, Brian De Palma‘s Passion, Peter Webber‘s Emperor, Neil Jordan‘s Byzantium, Dustin Hoffman‘s Quartet, Laurent Cantet‘s Foxfire, Paul Andrew Williams‘ Song for Marion, Spike Lee‘s Bad 25, Francois Ozon‘s In The House, Costa-Gavras‘ Capital, Mike Newell‘s Great Expectations, Sergio Castellitto‘s Twice Born, Mira Nair‘s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Robert Puccini and Shari Spring Berman‘s Imogene, Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing, Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers (tried to get into p & i screening yesterday and there were no seats), Josh Boone‘s Writers, Chen Kaige‘s Caught In The Web, Marco Bellochhio‘s Dormant Beauty, Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg‘s Kon-Tiki, Nick Cassavettes‘ Yellow and Scott McGehee‘s What Maisie Knew.
Some of the films in the preceding paragraph are viewable today and tomorrow, but most are finished and have left town. And that’s mildly infuriating. I’ve been festival humping for 12 days straight (Telluride + Toronto with two-day timeout) but I’ve got plenty of energy and curiosity left, and there’s next to nothing going on. It just feels like “why am I here again?” and “maybe I could just duck out early?”
What a proud moment for Islam this morning with Middle Eastern man-on-the-street Muslims having once again revealed themselves to be absolutist homicidal yahoos. How animal-level dumb do you have to be to look at clips from Sam Bacile‘s grade-Z satire The Innocence of Muslims and say to yourself, “That’s it…Americans must die for this!” And then shell the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and in so doing take the lives of Libyan ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others?
Bill Maher would say that the lesson, once again, is that all religions attract and energize the cretins of the world — those who have some kind of primal need to process life in good-bad, black-and-white, be-saved-or-be-damned terms.
Low-rent, low-information Christians have shown themselves to be appallingly ignorant in their support or condemnation of this or that film (I’ll never forget arguing with some of them when The Last Temptation of Christ opened in Century City 24 years ago) but have Christians ever killed anyone over a satiric anti-Jesus film? The Muslims who took part in the killing of Stevens and the others were like dogs, like wolves.
It’s been suggested that The Innocence of Muslims “would have hardly have been noticed, some say, had it not been for its promotion by U.S. pastor and bigot Terry Jones, who incited past protests for burning the Koran.
Bacile, a 52-year-old real-estate developer from southern California, has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal as calling Islam “a cancer.” He told the WSJ that he’s the film’s director-writer, and that he had “raised $5 million to make it from about 100 Jewish donors, whom he declined to identify.”
Here’s a just-posted “Judge Mohammed” video put out by the Florida-based Jones:
if foam-at-the-mouth Muslim dumb-asses want to fly over to Florida and Southern California and have it out with foam-at-the-mouth Christian bigots, fine. They deserve each other.