Longtime Boston Globe and New England Cable News cricket Jay Carr has left the earth. He was chief Globe critic from ’83 to ’02, and hosted NACN’s “Jay Carr’s Screening Room” from ’98 to ’10. Carr won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and in ’89 was named “Chevalier, Ordre des Arts et Lettres” for his writings on French film.
“Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back. In the first [Lord of the Rings] movie, yes, there’s Rivendell and Mordor, but there’s sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes — it’s grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like [all] that to the power of 10.” — Viggo Mortensen on Rings/Hobbit maestro Peter Jackson in recently-published Telegraph interview.
I was too freaked about my destroyed iPhone to concentrate on Abel Ferrara‘s Welcome to New York, which screened last night at 9 pm, but Variety‘s Scott Foundas had this reaction: “The career-imploding misadventures of former IMF chief (and presumptive French presidential candidate) Dominique Strauss-Kahn get filtered through the uniquely lurid prism of director Abel Ferrara in Welcome to New York, a bluntly powerful provocation that begins as a kind of tabloid melodrama and gradually evolves into a fraught study of addiction, narcissism and the lava flow of capitalist privilege.
“Gerard Depardieu‘s audacious performance is undeniably the pic’s chief selling point….he seems more present, more committed to the role than any of the several dozen he has played since Claude Chabrol’s Bellamy in 2009, and he charges brazenly into whatever breach Ferrara demands of him — especially in several scenes that require the once-strapping, feral actor to expose his now-bloated, porcine body for the camera’s unforgiving scrutiny. When Devereaux is forced to strip nude by prison officers and must agonizingly contort his body to complete the task, it’s the actor and not the character who conjures our sympathies. Elsewhere, though, it is Depardieu the canny, empathic performer who finds a tragic dimension in the heretofore monstrous Devereaux — a man of large, insatiable appetites he is at a loss to control.”
Every critic I’ve read so far loves Damian Szifron‘s Wild Tales — easily the biggest breakout hit thus far of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. I knew it was a home run less than five minutes after it began. It’s safe to say that if you don’t love this film there’s almost certainly something wrong with you. Raves have been posted by Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn, Hitfix.com‘s Drew McWeeny, The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney, Variety‘s Jay Weissberg, etc.
I was waiting in my Salle Debussy seat for the 7 pm screening of Alice Rohrbacker‘s Le Meravaglie when my iPhone slipped off my lap and through the crack at the the rear of the seat. I realized it was missing a minute or two later and started searching around. I got down and reached around on the floor…nothing. Then I sat down again. I noticed my seat wasn’t collapsing all the way to a sitting position, and — genius engineer that I am — it didn’t occur to me that the missing phone, which was lying inside the seat-hinge mechanism, might be the cause. So like an idiot I flopped down on the seat and in so doing crushed my iPhone to death. I reached into the seat crack and pulled out the damaged remains. Lights off, inoperable, glass cracked, ruined Mophie charger — totally destroyed.
Now the same process that I went through in Germany last year begins again — buy a new iPhone for the maximum price in New York, have my son send it over via Fed Ex for God knows how much money…an instant death-hit of $1200 or more.
Until the new phone arrives I’ll just have to make calls on Skype. A pain but not that much of a problem — just expensive. It would be a howling nightmare if all this had happened, say, five or ten years ago. Synching issues are not the problem they used to be. It’s not that bad. Tonight so far this problem has eaten Le Meravaglie and the 9 pm screening of Abel Ferrara‘s Welcome to New York.
As I hear it, Hilla Medalia’s The Go-Go Boys — a largely sympathetic, warm-hearted documentary about former Cannon honchos Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus — was made to counterbalance the impact of a forthcoming, less-compassionate doc about the Israeli-born moguls from Mark Hartley called Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. I was therefore expecting an overly fawning portrait from Medalia’s doc, which I saw last night, and it does constitute a charitable view. It looks the other way at loads of lively material that could have been used. (Having worked for Cannon as a press kit writer during ’86 and ’87, I know whereof I speak.) But as obliging portrayals go, The Go-Go Boys is a reasonably accurate and fair-minded one. It feels as if it was made by an intelligent member of Golan or Globus’s inner family — intimate, admiring and even faintly critical from time to time.
The problem is that The Go-Go Boys won’t acknowledge the elephant in the Cannon room. The reason Menahem and Yoram made almost nothing but crap is that they loved the action and the chutzpah in their veins (winning awards, making money, signing big names, the crackling excitement of “being there”), but they never really got it. Their affection for movies was enthusiastic but primitive. An under-educated rug-merchant mentality could never really fit into a business that is also, at heart, a kind of religion. The best filmmakers have always operated on a devotional Catholic principle. I believe that Menahem and Yoram were never devoted enough to the faith and traditions of great, soul-stirring cinema. They never really respected the idea of wearing cinematic monk robes.
I’ve decided to once again blow off Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s Winter Sleep, which screens today at the Salle du Soixantieme at 2:30 pm. I’ll get to it one of these days or weeks, but the dispiriting reviews (reactions from Hitfix‘s Guy Lodge and Indiewire‘s Jessica Kiang) that came out of yesterday’s debut showing are enough to persuade me to wait and see it down the road. I will always respect and admire Ceylan, but currently other obligations are opportunities are elbowing his latest aside.
My plan for today is to see the much-buzzed-about Wild Tales at 11:45 am, followed by the 2 pm Salle Debussy screening of Ned Benson‘s The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, the 6:30 pm showing of the 150-minute-long Saint Laurent (perhaps only an hour or 90 minutes’ worth…we’ll see) and then, finally, Abel Ferrara‘s Welcome to New York at 9 pm, which will be followed at 11 pm by some kind of press schmoozer with Gerard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset.