I love all these deadpan or raised-eyebrow attitude jokes based on generational differences between GenY and GenXers. The New Dudes who came along in the mid ’90s (Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn) and now, in the context of this story, the Old Guys…hilarious. But I’ve been smelling resistance to this film all along. Why? It looks like it might half-work.
A failing grade from Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t mean squat at the box-office. When it comes to eye-candy sci-fi Joe and Jane Popcorn always disdain or ignore what elitist critics think. But a 57% rating does mean that the riff about Joseph Kosinki being “the new James Cameron” is over. The proof is in the pudding and Kosinski has found his level as a hard working, reasonably talented provider of expensive, high-concept CG fantasias. But at best he’s a poor man’s Cameron. JK just doesn’t seem to have those JC internals — edge, discipline, super-will.
I don’t know anything but I’m getting a little bit of Beau Pere vibe from this teaser for Francois Ozon‘s Jeune et Jolie, which will play in competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The lead character played by Marine Vacth, who will turn 23 when the festival begins, is 17. Except 22 or 23 is a whole different ballgame than 17. And how do you pronounce “Vacth”?
This morning N.Y. Post critic/columnist Lou Lumenick reported the following about Warner Home Video’s Shane Bluray, which will now be issued with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio per yesterday’s announcement: “‘We may not be able to release the Bluray as planned [on June 4th],’ a Warner rep adds. ‘We are waiting word from mastering as to when we will have things ready on the new version and then will officially reschedule the release date.'”
Does it strike anyone else as curious that with all the Shane hubbub over the last few weeks and all those Home Theatre Forum aspect-ratio discussions that Warner Home Video has never officially or un-officially said squat about this? Even now they’re silent. It’s like when L. Ron Hubbard died and the Scientology hierarchy didn’t say anything until a week or two later. It’s like standing outside the Kremlin in the early ’70s and looking up at those gray walls and the armed guards pacing back and forth.
I’ve sent the following note to Woody Allen via his publicist: “Dear Woody — As you may have heard the Shane Bluray saga now has a happy ending with a Warner Bros. spokesperson telling N.Y. Post critic/columnist Lou Lumenick that the film will be released with a 1.37 aspect ratio and not the much-dreaded 1.66 a.r. that George Stevens, Jr. told me the film would be presented in. I just want to thank you for taking the time to write me with your feelings about this matter. I don’t know if your viewpoint (i.e, that Shane should only be seen in its original aspect ratio) influenced the decision of Warner Home Video executives, but I’m sure they heard what you said. Your contribution to the conversation is deeply appreciated and I’m sure many others feel as I do. You ‘stood up’ and I greatly admire that. Best wishes & looking forward to seeing Blue Jasmine later this year. — regards, Jeffrey Wells, HE.”
With Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis now confirmed for the Cannes Film Festival competition slate, here’s a portion of my 3.9.12 script review:
“The Coen’s script, typically sharp and well-honed with tasty characters and tart, tough dialogue (especially from Carey Mulligan‘s character), is about lethargy, really. And about taking care of a friend’s cat. And seeing to an abortion and trying to get paid and figure out your next move and…whatever else, man. It’s about a guy who isn’t even close to getting his act together, who just shuffles around from one couch to the next, grasping at straws, doing a session recording one day and trying to land a performing gig the next, like a rolling stone, no direction home.
“It’s about how shitty it felt to be aimless and broke without a lot of passion in downtown Manhattan during the first year of the Kennedy administration. A line from an Amazon review of Dave Van Ronk’s co-authored autobiography notes that ‘the truth is that being a folk singer in the late 1950s wasn’t very much fun.’ That sums up Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s about a guy who ‘exists’ as a folk singer rather than one who is really struggling to be heard and living the life and half-getting somewhere.
“The period details are subtle and spot-on, and yes, Bob Dylan does make an oblique appearance at the very end (and is heard singing ‘I Was Young When I Left Home’) but Davis…? What a loser, what a deadhead.
“But I loved the script. It’s a real Coen Bros. film. When you’ve finished it you know you’ve tasted the early ’60s and that atmosphere (if I know the Coens the CG recreations of 1961 Manhattan are going to be exceptional) and that kick-around way of life, and that you’ve really become familiar with Llewyn Davis’s loser lifestyle. It’s something to bite into and remember. It has flavor and realism, but it has no story to speak of, really. Shit just happens. It’s a bit like A Serious Man, but without the theme about God’s cruelty and indifference to the plight of mortals.
“What are Joel and Ethan saying (if they were the kind of filmmakers who makes movies in order to ‘say’ something, which they’re not)? If you’re not driven or talented enough, don’t try to become a performer because life will take you down if you don’t have that spark? Something like that.”
Some interesting analysis/background on the official Cannes Film festival slate has been suppled by Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione. Here are some highlights:
Festival honcho Thierry Fremaux told Tartaglione that he only saw Alexander Payne‘s Nebraska “48 hours ago” (I guess that translates to 60 to 72 hours ago in immediate terms) and very soon after confirmed its inclusion.
A reluctant Steven Soderbergh was persuaded by Fremaux to accept a competition position with Behind The Candelabra “after originally saying he’d prefer another slot,” Tartaglione reports. “Fremaux wrote Soderbergh a diatribe on why he should accept a competition berth, [and] Soderbergh responded by email with a simple ‘Yes.'” Wells comment: I’m fairly certain that Fremaux’s plea included a statement along the lines of “this is your last film before taking your Frank Sinatra retirement — you deserve the respect of having your ‘final effort’ in competition, if only as a tribute to your filmography thus far.”
Fremaux “called Nicholas Winding-Refn‘s Only God Forgives the ‘radical and punk‘ film of the selection and warned, ‘Don’t expect Drive 2.'” Wells comment: I realize that — it’s going to be Drive 2: Sadistic Slicings with swords and bruisings and gougings and buckets of sticky red vino.
If you ask me the coolest-sounding competitors in the official 2013 Cannes Film Festival slate, announced in Paris five or six hours ago, are Alexander Payne‘s Nebraska, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Takashi Miike‘s Wara No Tate, Steven Soderbergh‘s Behind The Candelabra — the latter a surprise inclusion in the competition slate — and Roman Polanski‘s Venus in Fur.
I’m also especially keen to see four out-of-competition titles — Guillame Canet‘s Blood Ties, James Toback’s Seduced and Abandoned, Stephen Frears’ Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight and J.C. Chandor‘s All Is Lost (Robert Redford doing a variation on Spencer Tracy in The Old Man and The Sea?). And Sofia Coppola‘s The Bling Ring, of course, which will kick off Un Certain Regard.
I’m taking credit for being the only person predicting that Toback’s doc would be part of this festival in some capacity (which I posted on 4.6). I’m not aware that anyone else in the entire world even toyed with this possibility. Full disclosure: Toback told me his film was in but that I couldn’t mention it until the official announcement so I “predicted” instead.
I’m not that interested in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, a competition selection, as early footage indicates an extremely fetishy ultra-violent tribute to Asian action-machismo, and as such will quite possibly feature swollen eyes, litres of spilt blood, swords, disembowelings, slicings, possible finger-and-toe choppings and you name it. I’m not trying to be a kneejerk contrarian but Ryan Gosling‘s pecs stained with dried blood and perhaps a speck or two of brain matter…later.
I was going to stay up until 2 or 3 am to file a Johnny-on-the-spot piece but eff that. I willfully screw up my sleep schedule for no man and no festival.
Payne’s Nebraska being part of the competition slate puts a nice juicy strawberry on top of the short cake and whipped cream — just what I needed and wanted.
Yesterday’s bogus leak slate was imagined, yes, but it wasn’t too far off the mark either — substitute a competition title or two and the only discredited predictions are Jim Jarmusch‘s Only Lovers Left Alive, Luc Besson‘s Malavita, David Gordon Green‘s Joe and one or two others. It’s significant that it forecasted Nebraska, I think, when certain handicappers (such as Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione) were predicting that Payne’s film would more likely play Telluride/Toronto.
I’m still trying to understand why James Gray‘s The Immigrant had been referred to in some quarters as The Lowlife. Was the more intriguing-sounding The Lowlife the initial choice or vice versa? Update: What does it matter? The point is that when a title switches around a lot it tends to mean something.
We all knew that Asghar Farhadi‘s Le Passe would be among the competition films but it’s good to have this confirmed.
I have to start boning up on the two Polanski films that will be shown during the fest — Venus in Fur and a special showing of Weekend of a Champion. I don’t know squat about either of them when you get right down to it.
My “Dream Cannes” picks would have include Paul Greengrass‘s Captain Phillips (why not?), Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years A Slave, Jason Reitman‘s Labor Day (which was test screened two or three months ago), Spike Lee‘s Oldboy and one of the two Terrence Malick films (Knight of Cups and the other one) that are still in editing and will probably remain there for another several months if not a year-plus.
Nobody in the U.S. press ensemble will express much enthusiasm much about Baz Luhrman‘s The Great Gatsby as it will have opened commercially in the U.S. on 5.10. The period drama will open the festival.