N.Y. Post critic Lou Lumenick has tweeted that Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln had a test screening in New Jersey last Tuesday night. I’ve gotten hold of a story that Lumenick posted on the N.Y. Post website about six or seven hours ago and then took down. It’s saved in Google Archives and it seemed fair to repost it, but colleagues have persuaded me it’s better to leave it alone for now.
This is just a teaser and therefore dialogue-averse for the most part, but the cutter doesn’t let you soak into anything. Not even a two-second emotion. It’s just a blur. The film looks like tabloid slop. Lilo is 26 and going nowhere. Nobody will admit it, but some secretly want her to do an Amy Winehouse. That would be tragic, of course, but what else can she do? She’ll never be in a good film. She’s living in a mud pit of her own digging. She’s obviously manic and devoted to cheap highs.
I am often slow and sluggish when it comes to watching screeners. I’ve therefore failed to watch a screener of Paul Lacoste‘s Step Up To The Plate (a.k.a., Entre Les Bras), a well-reviewed French foodie doc now playing in NY, DC, Boston, San Diego and Denver. It opens in LA on 10.12. . As a makeup to the film’s publicist Sylvia Savadjian, here at least is the trailer and an apology.
Generic Synopsis: “In 2009, the three-Michelin-stars French chef Michel Bras decides to hands his restaurant over to his son Sebastien, who has been working with him for 15 years. Step up to the plate tells the story of these extraordinary dishes prepared by a father and a son, in the hilly landscape of Aubrac region. We follow this gastronomic transmission, and enter intimately in their family ties. Between Jonathan Nossiter‘s Mondovino and Raymond Depardon‘s La Vie Moderne, this documentary draws a moving and joyful portrait of this outstanding family devoted to haute cuisine for three generations.”
If you were running Universal film production, would you have allowed Carl Rinsch, a director of Heineken and BMW commercials, to run up a tab of over $225 million on The 47 Ronin, an Asian martial arts epic starring Keanu Reeves (who, let’s face it, peaked as a box-office attractions at least a decade ago and has been swirling downward ever since)? I’m not talking about the logistical particulars and/or who might have screwed up. I’m talking about the basic bet. If you were running the show, would you have said “sure, sounds like a big winner!” or “who the eff wants to see a period thing with Keanu Reeves and a bunch of Japanese guys in robes fight with swords in 3D?”
TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman wrote about this calamity a couple of days ago.
Last July I ordered the British Lawrence of Arabia Bluray, which was released on 9.10. It finally arrived yesterday. The quality is brilliant, hugely satisfying. The color, clarity and detail are as good as I could ever imagine them. The reds are to die for. The hair, the tunics, the fake beards, the landscapes, Peter O’Toole‘s eyeliner and the sand grains are magnificent, world-class, top of the mountain. One of the very best Blurays ever.
Kudos to Grover Crisp, his Sony team, original 1989 restoration guru Robert Harris and everyone else who contributed.
At times the Lawrence Bluray detail looks even more vivid and dazzling than the DCP I saw at the Academy last June, and that’s saying something. The U.S. version comes out on November 13th.
Beef #1: The balcony scene between Peter O’Toole and Jack Hawkins isn’t included as an extra. Why not? I called Sony Home Video p.r. chief Fritz Friedman and LOA digital restorer Grover Crisp — neither was available. Beef #2: The movie is featured on Disc #2. which is always the disc that contains the extras, and the extras are featured on Disc #1. It’s as if somebody with a drinking problem or Clarabelle the Clown oversaw the final mastering.
By far the funniest and darkest paragraph in David Denby‘s New Republic downer piece about the death of intriguing cinema (“Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies? How the richness of technology led to the poverty of imagination”) reads as follows:
“And at the end of the year, as the Oscars loom, [the studios] distribute unadventurous but shrewdly written and played movies, such as The Fighter, which are made entirely by someone else. Again and again these serioso films win honors, but for the most part, the studios, except as distributors, don’t want to get involved in them. Why not? Because they are ‘execution dependent‘ — that is, in order to succeed, they have to be good.
“It has come to this: a movie studio can no longer risk making good movies. Their business model depends on the assured audience and the blockbuster. It has done so for years and will continue to do so for years more. Nothing is going to stop the success of The Avengers from laying waste to the movies as an art form. The big revenues from such pictures rarely get siphoned into more adventurous projects; they get poured into the next sequel or a new franchise. Pretending otherwise is sheer denial.”
How would an execution dependent aversion apply in relationships? A certain guy doesn’t want to go out with a certain woman because in order for the relationship to succeed, he’d have to open up emotionally and act a lot less selfishly and give it up in all kinds of ways and think as much if not more about her than himself and so on. Naahhh…give me my iPad and my 60″ flatscreen and my poker buddies and my talking teddy bear.
“President Obama’s position inched forward in the FiveThirtyEight forecast on Thursday, 9.20,” N.Y. Times political columnist Nate Silver wrote this morning. “His chances of winning the Electoral College are 76.1 percent, according to the forecast, up from 75.2 percent on Wednesday. Mr. Obama’s projected margin of victory in the national popular vote also increased slightly, to 3.4 percentage points.
“By and large, the story that Thursday’s polls told was the same one as on Wednesday. Mr. Obama continues to get very strong results in state polls that use industry-standard methodology, meaning that they use live interviews and place calls to mobile phones along with landlines.” Silver explains that Obama “has been ahead by just two points on average in polls that called landlines only, most of which were ‘robopolls’ conducted by automated script.”
Who uses landlines these days? I don’t want to go out on a limb, but I’m supposing that the landline crowd is mostly up of old boomer farts.
Who said “stop it” yesterday? It was the quote of the day.