I’m looking to read a PDF of Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Hail Caesar!, a 1950s period piece about a kind of shady Hollywood fixer and scandal-squasher. The character may be based on former ex-cop and private investigator Fred Otash, or on former MGM vp and general manager Eddie Mannix. Or perhaps a mixture of the two. I don’t know if the lead role is being played by George Clooney or Josh Brolin. I don’t know anything, really, but half the fun of any Coen Bros. film is reading it first. I’ve been doing this since Raising Arizona.
I can’t respect a storyteller who doesn’t respect the finality of death. You can’t finesse or modify or bullshit your way around the Big Finish. To say this or that deceased character can be brought back to life is like saying that leaves on the ground can be dyed green and moistened and pasted back on the branches of trees. It was a stretch when James Cameron divulged a couple of years ago that Stephen Lang‘s Colonel Miles Quaritch would return for one or more of the Avatar sequels…after taking a huge arrow in the chest at the end of the 2009 original. Now it’s been announced that Sigourney Weaver‘s character, who also died in Avatar, will return in the three sequels. Cameron’s rationale, offered three years ago, is that “no one ever dies in science fiction.”
A little less than eight years ago I posted a qualified rave about Michael Mann‘s Miami Vice. I made a big passionate deal about the “fumes” in this film, and have taken a lot of shit for using that term ever since. But it’s one of the better-written reviews I’ve ever posted, I feel. I did a nice job of qualifying my praise, and it’s not easy to do that fairly when you’re talking about an 8 rather than a 9 or a 10. I own a Bluray of Miami Vice but I haven’t re-watched it in a long while. Seasons change, things fall away and you move on. But now I’m committed to going there again and experiencing what happens. Here’s the 7.11.06 review in full:
Michael Mann‘s movies are so good and so Rolls Royce that when a new one comes up 8, it’s an easy 9.5 or 10 by everyone else’s standards. If you know his stuff, you know what I’m saying is true. I’m not using the Rolls Royce analogy casually. The elation I felt yesterday from Miami Vice (Universal, 7.28) wasn’t just about tromp-down speed or engineering or a perfectly-tuned engine — that’s standard content in any Mann film. And it wasn’t quite about the sadness and the soul, which is in this film but not in the abundant qualities found in Heat and Collateral and The Insider.
Congrats to the obviously gifted Tony Award-winning Jessie Mueller for her triumphant performance as ’70s songwriter and singer Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” (Which I should have seen when I was in Manhattan five weeks ago.) I think her singing and particularly her phrasing of King’s “You’ve Got A Friend” is more arresting than King’s version, if you want to know. But a sinking feeling poured into me when I read that Mueller said the following during her acceptance speech at the Tonys: “I have to thank God because without him, nothing is possible, and that is true — that will always be true. I’d never want to tell anyone what to believe or not believe. But there’s no doubt in my mind that God put me in the right place at the right time.” Terrific. Because when God joins forces with special-glow humans on this or that endeavor, only wonderful things result. Because God is selective in his alliances. He never buddies up with people of questionable character or motives.
By God’s grace or some other influence, non-Scope films produced by United Artists in the ’50s and ’60s have been mastered for home video (laser disc, DVD, Bluray, streaming) at 1.66 for the most part. This tradition has led Kino Lorber to issue their forthcoming Bluray of Stanley Kramer‘s On The Beach (’59) in that blessed aspect ratio and not, thank fortune, in the dreaded 1.85. I’m presuming there is ample documentation to prove that On The Beach was projected in many U.S. theatres at 1.85, and I’m fairly certain that aspect ratio historian Bob Furmanek would be happy to provide this documentation and in so doing push for a 1.85 masking if Kino Lorber asked him for advice, but thank God they haven’t.
You too can look like a clueless, fashion-following metrosexual dipshit with the “short suit,” which Business Insider‘s Hayley Peterson says “is finally going mainstream.” J. Crew, Topman, Asos and Barneys are among the retailers selling the short suit. “They may be taking cues from fashion icon Pharrell Williams, who donned tuxedo shorts to the Academy Awards earlier this year,” Peterson writes. The short suit “is definitely having a moment, particularly with younger guys,” Jon Patrick, the creative director at menswear company J.Hilburn, tells Peterson. Especially among brain surgeons who live in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Fargo.
Yesterday’s “What Does Edge Under-Performance Say About Cruise’s Drawing Power?” piece got a lot of replies, but the best was written by HE regular Anna Zed. This might be the nub of it, I’m thinking. Maybe not the whole enchilada but a very significant portion:
“In the AMC in Arcadia where I saw Edge of Tomorrow there was a technical snafu of some kind after the warm-up trailers and ads,” she writes. “We had a blank screen for a full five minutes right at what was supposed to be showtime. I finally went off down the hall in search of an usher (no one else did). Typically, the theater had no idea that the full house was sitting there with no feature playing. The projection booth literally had nobody in it.
“I’m telling you this story because when I found somebody to complain to (all the way out front) I could not remember the title of the film.
“I told him there was a lights-out problem with ‘the Tom Cruise thing.’
“The guy said ‘huh?’
“I said again ‘the Tom Cruise movie.’
“Oh, okay, we’ll get someone there right away to fix the problem!”
“So what does that tell ya? I couldn’t remember the name of the damn thing and I spend all of my leisure hours reading movie blogs and had just bought a ticket to it, and the guy working in the theater didn’t even recognize what I was talking about.
“I think they should have gone with Live.Die.Repeat, as someone suggested somewhere on here.