I’m looking for a PDF of Tom Shepherd‘s Hey, Stella!, a screenplay about the early days of Marlon Brando in the mid ’40s. It was on last year’s Black List. Deadline’s Michael Fleming reports that Kevin McCormick is producing Hey, Stella!, and that a director is being sought. Update: a copy arrived a little after 10 pm. Thanks!
I’m guessing (and tell me if I’m wrong) that 70% or 80% of those glancing at this won’t immediately recognize the actors or recall the title of the film. It’s been out of the conversation for a while now and there’s been no Bluray treatment, only DVDs. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again if they spiffed it up. My most vivid memory is the bullet-into-the-brain shot.
I saw a little bit of footage from Nicholas Winding Refn‘s Only God Forgives (Radius-TWC, 7.19) during last year’s Cannes Film Festival. I sensed right away that this Bangkok-shot cheapie would be some kind of festishy wallow in blood, swords, Ryan Gosling‘s pecs, bad hombres,Kristin Scott Thomas, more bad hombres, etc.
Wiki synopsis: “The film follows Julian (Gosling), who runs a Thai boxing club as a front organization for his family’s drug smuggling operation, as he is forced by his mother Jenna (Thomas) to find and kill the individual responsible for his brother’s recent death.”
Today’s Disconnect press conference featured costars Jason Bateman (whose performance as a stressed-out dad is the best of his career), Paula Patton, Alexander Skarsgard and Max Theriot. Here’s the mp3. At the very beginning Bateman refers to “Jeffrey’s website” being an educational thing. I’m presuming he was referencing HE as Bateman told me a year or two ago that he’s a reader. If so, thanks. If not, fine.
Disconnect costars Jason Bateman, Alexnder Skarsgard; press conference moderator Dave Karger reflected in glass on left.
The gathering happened at the SLS hotel (465 La Cienega Blvd., south of Burton Way) at 2 pm. Fandango‘s Dave Karger moderated and fielded questions.
The SLS is basically a pricey kid hotel — everybody on the staff and in the lobby was in their 30s and late 20s. I hate kid establishments of all kinds — kid bars, kid sushi restaurants, kid beach clubs. On the other hand I don’t like places that are mostly patronized by white-haired types either. So I don’t like places that are too young and I don’t like places that are too old — I like ’em in between.
The mp3 is fairly short, by the way — only about 9 minutes.
*l. to.) Thieriot, Bateman, Skarsgard, Patton.
During last night’s KCET post-screening q & a: (l.) moderator/host Pete Hammond, (r.) Disconnect producer William Horberg.
The great Tim Buckley died of a smack overdose at age 28 in 1975. Twenty-two years later his son Jeff, also a respected musician, drowned at age 32. I’m sorry but when I think of the Buckleys I think (a) “dad’s second album (i.e., “Goodbye and Hello“) was great” and (b) “both checked out early, and what was up with that?”
Studio publicity guys used to shrink actresses in studio-issued glossies so they wouldn’t be taller than their male costars. Ingrid Bergman was around 5’10” and Humphrey Bogart was around 5’7″ or 5’8″. It looks as if Bergman’s feet were bigger than Bogart’s. She probably could have taken him in a wrestling match.
I missed Henry Alex Rubin‘s Disconnect (LD, 4.12) in Toronto, but I finally saw it last night and it’s my idea of a 90% wowser. Except for a questionable slow-mo moment at the very end this is a grade-A ensemble drama that ranks right up there with Amores perros, Traffic and Short Cuts. Seriously. I’d read about the standing ovation in Venice but the plot summaries put me off and I was afraid it might be another Crash of some kind, but it’s much, much better than I expected. It’s certainly among 2013’s best so far.
There are 40 or 50 ways this movie could have blown it or gotten it wrong in some way, and time after time it gets it right. I was sitting there in my seat going “okay, that worked…that was good…no problem with that one…yup, that was good…solid delivery”…and it just kept going like that. Don’t listen to Variety‘s Guy Lodge — he was in a pissy mood or something. I realize this is a social-concern drama about everyone being out of touch with themselves and those closest to them due to cyber absorption and yaddah yaddah, and I know that sounds like a bit of a groaner but it’s not, trust me.
Disconnect works because it delivers in the writing, direction and acting. Andrew Stern‘s screenplay feels credible and compelling and is very finely threaded, always pushed along by believable turns and real-seeming characters behaving in what they believe are their best interests. Rubin’s direction is unforced naturalism par excellence, and the result is a story that always feel right and steady-on-the-tracks — nothing ever feels like a stretch (except perhaps that one moment at the very end when slow-mo kicks in). And the performances are honestly inhabited and true-feeling and just about perfectly rendered.
Jason Bateman is so good as a somewhat distracted and over-worked but essentially decent dad that he is hereby forgiven for having costarred in Identity Thief and as far as I’m concerned has earned himself a “get out of jail” pass for the next two or three years. Also planted and persuasive are Andrea Riseborough as a go-getter TV news reporter, Max Thieriot as a kid who performs on a sex website, Frank Grillo as an ex-cop who works as a cyber security expert, Colin Ford as a kid who, along with a heartless pal, deceives and humiliates a fellow student, Paula Patton and Alexander Skarsgard as marrieds coping with the death of a child but more precisely identity and financial theft, fashion tycoon Marc Jacobs as a sex-site exploiter, Hope Davis as his Bateman’s wife and the mother of Ford’s victim and so on.
I have to finish a couple of things and then shower and get down to a Disconnect junket press conference at 1 pm, but I want to make clear the things that moved Arianna Huffington to write this 3.26 praise piece aren’t the same things that got to me. Yes, our social behavior has changed over the last decade with everyone texting and emailing and not really paying attention to the organic with perhaps some of us not nurturing family relationships the way we should, but what matters to me are believable characters and motivations, straight-sounding dialogue and performances that feel right and un-actorly.
I guess what I’m really saying is that I’m probably one of the most cyber-absorbed people in the planet right now and this isn’t going to change. Constant writing and texting and checking Twitter and whatnot is my life and my vitality and my security. And I love it. I’m happier now than I was in the print days, that’s for sure. Give me more of this, and please let me just cruise along like this until I die of a heart attack on a street corner in Montmartre while clutching a Bluray of a 1.37 version of Shane. When I’m 88 years old or something. Or 98.
Huffington’s synopsis is well written: “Disconnect interweaves three stories, each involving characters whose lives have reached a crisis exacerbated by their dependence on technology at the expense of real human connection. There’s a couple that has recently lost a baby. Instead of grieving together, they turn away from each other and lose themselves in online distractions. There are two boys who use the power of social media to take advantage of another boy’s loneliness and isolation — itself partly caused by his father’s obsession with work and email. And there’s a woman reporter who becomes involved with a 18-year-old webcam porn performer who lives in a house run by a porn kingpin, played by Jacobs.”
I’ll have more to say about this as the release date approaches. I can only reiterate this is one of those films you might glance at from a distance and say to yourself “okay, maybe Netflix” but it’s much better than that — definitely an exception to the rule.
Jeffrey Wells to Roger Ebert: Are you going to weigh in on the Shane aspect-ratio brouhaha? Team 1.37 needs guys like you to stand up and do the right thing. Too many political-minded people who know better are saying “well, maybe the 1.66 version will look good!” and “George Stevens Jr. is such a wonderful and gracious and respected man that maybe it’s okay if he helps to suppress or restrict his father’s original vision.” The thinking seems to be that if you’re a member of the family it’s okay if you let the matter of original artistic intent fall by the wayside. Do you agree, Roger?
Let it never be said that Roger Ebert isn’t a brave and classy fellow who knows how to negotiate the ups and downs of life and play whatever cards he’s been dealt like Steve McQueen in The Cincinatti Kid. Always be doing, always be closing, always the task at hand…work, engagement, up and at ’em.
The venerated critic announced yesterday that he’ll be cutting back on his reviews (which will mean…what, 100 or 125 more reviews over the next nine months considering that he wrote 306 last year?) because his cancer has recurred and he has to adapt and do the best he can.
Which is a pretty good deal in a certain sense. “I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing,” Ebert wrote on his website, “[which is] reviewing only the movies I want to review.” Which means only the prime-cut films and then only the ones he really loves or hates. Which is pretty much how I play it, come to think.
I recognize, however, that you can’t be too picky and choosy (which is what I’ve been telling my friend and colleague Sasha Stone all along). You have to routinely submit to the smell of shit in order to fully appreciate the really fine bouquets. “80% of everything is crap” and “taste is a result of a thousand distastes.” — Francois Truffaut.
Ebert also announced that he’ll be buying Rogerebert.com from the Chicago Sun-Times and relaunch the site.
“And I continue to cooperate with the talented filmmaker Steve James on the bio-documentary he, Steve Zaillian and Martin Scorsese are making about my life,” Ebert wrote. “I am humbled that anyone would even think to do it, but I am also grateful.
“At this point in my life, in addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it’s like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you,” Ebert wrote. “It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.”
As always, Ebertfest will continue at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Ebert is also launching a Kickstarter campaign to bring At the Movies back to television. Oh, come on! That dog won’t hunt any more.