Update: Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah has earned a C on CinemaScore…not good. Previously: Now that Noah is off and floating and doing fine on the high seas, presumably a portion of the HE community had a looksee last night and can offer opinions about whether it plays satisfactorily or sufficiently or whatever. I’d especially like to hear about the lobby chatter after the show let out.
George Pal‘s The Time Machine (’60) is too old-fogeyish to connect with Millenials or even young GenXers, but you can’t beat the metaphor of the Eloi — undereducated lightweights robotically submitting to the call of their corporate masters. It’s interesting that Eloi behavior didn’t really manifest in appreciable numbers until….when, sometime in the early ’80s with the arrival of MTV and mega-malls and other corporate lures? Initially contained in H.G. Wells‘ 1895 novella but delivered with greater impact by the sight of Yvette Mimieu and her brainless brethren walking blindly into the Morlock caves, “Eloi” became a favored HE term starting about six or seven years ago. Does anyone even remember Simon Wells‘ The Time Machine (’02)? I don’t. A Bluray of the ’60 version will street in mid July.
I was reading a Vulture piece by Silicon Valley creator Mike Judge about early influences from the art/entertainment realm. He mentioned the National Lampoon and its artists, among them Drew Friedman. I suddenly remembered I haven’t seen (and am not presently seeing) enough Friedman illustrations in my life. Yes, naturally, of course — I’ll always feel indebted to Friedman for that Last Action Hero/Arnold Schwarzenegger drawing, which appeared in Spy sometime in the fall of ’93. It’s been hanging, framed, on my living room wall for over two decades.
I don’t relate to the Cadillac guy (played by Neil McDonough) for two reasons. One, he’s obviously a Republican and probably worships the idea of one-percentism and income inequality and doesn’t give a shit about climate change. And two, he’s got pale, pinkish, all-but-hairless legs. His worldview is almost identical to the one voiced by Stephen Boyd‘s Messala character in that courtyard scene with Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur. But I don’t relate to the Ford-promoting Pasho Murray either. What’s with the super-sized Afro? (And what time is the Free Angela Davis rally?) And collecting zoo manure? Locally-grown food is an excellent way to go but I draw the line at picking up giraffe and lion turds with chopsticks and putting them into plastic baggies.
From Anita Busch‘s Deadline box-office report, updated this morning: “Noah was playing like a mainstream movie when it opened, but that [box-office] bump indicates that it had some cross-over from the faith-based audiences which [are continuing] to keep God’s Not Dead in business. Although based on the Biblical story, Noah doesn’t mention the name God once. How funny that God’s Not Dead [has] made such a surprise second weekend showing, as if to say, ‘Oh yeah?’”
What is this, a revival meeting under a tent in Corpus Christi, Texas?
Perhaps Busch didn’t get the memo so I’ll resend: Cheering for the God team isn’t cool among Los Angeles industry types. With this crowd you’ve gotta go agnostic, atheistic, dispassionate, Bill Maher‘s Religulous…whatever. If you’re a spiritual-leaning type go with Hinduism, Buddhism or Taoism but leave “God” out of it. It’s a cultural thing — you don’t want to side with the fundamentalist yokels. Why in any event would you want to believe in “God” as some kind of cosmic moral force who has a rooting interest in the human condition? The idea of reducing an eternally perfect cosmic symphony of science and math and mystery and altogetherness into an entity with a personality who ponders the moralistic fate of the residents of a speck of micro-mulch known as planet Earth….why, it’s insulting!
“Wickedest of all is the casting of the in-house temptress, who praises Arthur’s work to his face and then destroys it in front of others. (A colleague excuses her fickleness as an ‘amorous gesture.’) Her governing principles are clear: Treachery! Disunity! Lingerie! She is played by Julie Gayet, who was in the news recently as the woman to whom the real French president, Francois Hollande, was paying regular visits to on his little scooter. And the name of her character is Valerie, which is the name of the partner whom Hollande was allegedly spurning for Mme. Gayet. This is not life imitating art. This is art going to bed with life and staying there for the rest of the afternoon.” — from Anthony Lane‘s New Yorker review of Bertrand Tavernier‘s The French Minister (IFC Films/Sundance Selects, date), otherwise known as Quai d’Orsay.