This trailer for Terrence Malick‘s To The Wonder isn’t too bad. It’s actually quite beautiful. And it does expertly convey what the film, which has many transporting passages, plays and feels like. You just have to imagine watching this kind of thing for 112 minutes with very little dialogue and a lot of whispering that you can’t understand and starting to feel your soul pour out of you like sand.
When the spirit is upon N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis, whether in positive or negative mode, it’s always a great read. So I love her disemboweling of Sam Raimi‘s Oz The Great and Powerful, and especially this graph:
“Oz the Great and Powerful is exactly the kind of extravagant misfire that professional pessimists offer as proof that ‘they’ — as in the big studios and that amorphous easy target called Hollywood — don’t make movies like they used to. One of the delightful things about the original Wizard of Oz film is that it turns a girl’s reverie, specifically her dream of escape and her own imagination, into a beautiful metaphor for movies. When Dorothy opens her front door onto a Technicolor wonderland, the moment evokes what a 1930s moviegoer might have experienced when watching a color film for the first time. Come into this magical place, the filmmakers and, by extension, Hollywood itself seemed to be telling the audience, and share in this dream — a dream called Oz that we also call the movies.
“The studios sometimes still gamble on fantasies that sweep audiences up and away, though often the biggest-budgeted releases are war movies in superhero drag or cartoons about characters whose adventures, much like that of Oz in this telling, track like therapeutic journeys (follow your dream of self-actualization) instead of transcendent excursions (just dream!). Loaded with special effects, big bangs and generic narrative beats, these movies nonetheless sometimes take you where you’ve never been before. Mostly, though, like Oz the Great and Powerful, these fantasies drag you back to the same dreary, heavily trod destination, to the same exhausted formulas, gender stereotypes, general idiocy and a mind-set that values special effects over storytelling. Yes, companies make movies for shareholders; they have for decades. But who is the audience for the numbly mistitled Oz the Great and Powerful?”
You could be cruel and unfair and say that Taylor Swift‘s comments in a just-published Vanity Fair interview indicate that the 23 year-old singer is (a) a bit of a hair-trigger personality and (b) not exactly an embodiment of the phrase “still water runs deep.” One look at those shopping-mall eyes and you know she has a long way to go. But then so do most 23 year-olds.
I was reminded that the folks behind the reportedly forthcoming musical biopic Girls Like Us — director-producer Katie Jacobs, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Sony’s Amy Pascal and Elisabeth Cantillon — are (let’s be polite) greatly mistaken if, as I’ve read, they’ve actually cast Swift to play Joni Mitchell, of all people.
The idea of choosing a notoriously shallow lightweight to play one of the most gifted and influential poet-musicians of the 20th Century almost feels like some kind of sarcastic “fuck you” to the culture of the ’60s and ’70s that produced Mitchell, Carole King and Carly Simon. These legends (an overworked term except here it actually applies) are the subjects of the film as well as Sheila Weller‘s 2008 book, which is the basis of John Sayles‘ screenplay.
What would be analogous to the Swift-Mitchell casting? Tony Curtis being chosen in 1952 or ’53 to star in a biopic of John Barrymore in his theatrical heyday? Early ’90s Pauly Shore being cast as Will Rogers or Groucho Marx? The mind reels, flops around like a flounder.
This animated doodle, assembled by Hyejin June Hong and Ori Kleiner and recently linked to by Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet, is the lamest Stanley Kubrick tribute I’ve ever seen in my life. For perspective compare it to Krishna Senoi‘s recently-posted Spielberg tribute. No contest.
Los Angeles Kubrick-philes will be attending a 3.22 DGA screening of David Spodak‘s Anatomy of a Film, a 125-minute doc that analyzes the “structure, methodology and themes” of Kubrick’s Paths of Glory by way of “scripted narration, production stills, documents, slow motion, freeze frame and image comparison.” It sounds a little dweeby and classroom-y, but it was produced in cooperation with Team Kubrick and POG‘s star-producer Kirk Douglas.
Pic features an introduction from Douglas and interactive commentary from producer James Harris and supporting player Richard Anderson. Spodak says he’s “planning to distribute the documentary to universities, film schools and museums and hoping to create awareness for it and gather feedback from potential users.” The screening is happening under the auspieces of the DGA’s Directors Finder Series.
This trailer for Todd Phillips‘ The Hangover Part III (Warner Bros., 5.24) along with the one-sheet suggests it’s less of an ensemble piece (i.e., Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifiniaki, Justin Bartha going back to Vegas) than about the travails of Galifiniakis’s Alan character. A 6.4.12 story by Robin Leach said the plot begis with an attempt to rescue Alan from a mental hospital.
I was planning on hating this movie (which will apparently be the last and final installment) regardless, but I really despise Galifiniakis. And I stopped being a Ken Jeong fan after he revealed his cashew-sized dick in Hangover II. Listen, I see my own small dick every day. I don’t need to see one in a movie. That joke is played, OK guys?
Wells to Phillips and co-screenwriter Craig Mazin: That highway bit in which Galifiniakis murders a giraffe by decapitation is really funny! Hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah! I can see why you didn’t show the giraffe’s head being shattered or his neck being severed and split open and the blood and guts splattering all over the road. That would interfere with the joke. Comedy is hard to pull off. You guys know your stuff.
I can remember a bit in a Laurel & Hardy movie in which a gorilla and a piano fall off a cliff and land hundreds of feet down. You can hear the faint sound of piano chords crashing into the earth and rock. So I guess animal cruelty is part of the history of Hollywood comedy.
This taste of Sofia Coppola‘s The Bling Ring (A24, 6.13) isn’t anyone’s idea of assaultive or frenetic. Not too much information but enough to entice. Attitude, entitlement, Emma Watson, swagger, cops, trouble, Taissa Farmiga, flash-bang, Halston Sage (cool name!), Leslie Mann.
Wiki page: “The Bling Ring was a group, mostly of teenagers based in and around Calabasas, California, who burgled the homes of several celebrities over a period believed to have been from around October 2008 through August 2009. In total, their activities resulted in the theft of about $3 million in cash and belongings, most of it from Paris Hilton, whose house was burgled several times. However, over 50 homes were reportedly targeted for potential burglary.
“Nancy Jo Sales, who covered the story for Vanity Fair, called the events “completely unprecedented in the history of Hollywood”
Here’s an Emma Watson interview about the film, conducted last September by Vanity Fair‘s Krista Smith.
A pleasant chat happened Thursday night between Lenny star Valerie Perrine and director-screenwriter Larry Karaszewski at Santa Monica’s Aero. She was relaxed and open and self-effacing and put everyone in a good mood. But Perrine has no love for W.C. and Me costar Rod Steiger, a foul-mannered “jerk” who treated her horribly during filming, she said.
(l.) Director-screenwriter Larry Karaszewski, (r.) Lenny and Slaughterhouse Five costar Valerie Perrine at Santa Monic’a Aero on Thursday, 3.7, around 9:45 pm.
And guess what? Bob Fosse‘s Lenny, which screened before their discussion, hasn’t aged very well. Mostly because Dustin Hoffman‘s Lenny Bruce material is either unfunny or tedious or old-hat. The film is no longer provocative — it now feels way behind the curve. If Hoffman had played Bruce as a slightly less likable guy, if he hadn’t smiled so much and been a little snippier or more combative, and if he’d made more of an attempt to “become” Bruce rather than just perform Bruce’s material in a thoroughly Dustin Hoffman-like fashion, his performance would play better by today’s standards.