Oh, God…I forgot to review Mark Hartley‘s Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films when I was in Toronto. I said I would and I didn’t. Earnest apologies to Adam Kersh of Brigade who invited me to a cool Electric Boogaloo dinner during TIFF that was hosted by producer Brett Ratner…working on it! It’s fast and funny and full of terrific tales, I can say that much. Here’s Scott Foundas’s review. Here’s my Cannes review of Hilla Medalia‘s The Go-Go Boys, as somewhat friendlier portrait which was produced to counter-balance the impact of Hartley’s film.
By committing to directing all of the episodes for this forthcoming Showtime mini-series, David Lynch is basically admitting he’s run out of ideas that have something to do with the here-and-now…right? Everyone will watch, of course, but this is what it feels like to me — a cash-in, a capitulation, a folding of the tent. The original Twin Peaks series went on too long as it was. What was that show about anyway? Unspeakable demonic evil in the rural Northwest takes the life of a perverse local lassie and….what else?
Imagine a troubled period romance (high-pedigree actors, written by a top-ranked playwright, directed by a renowned European) that’s not just about a pair of 19th Century lovers but also — simultaneously — about the actors playing these characters in a film in the midst of production who themselves are also immersed in a doomed affair. If such a film were to open in this, one of the weakest-feeling years in award-season history, it would blow everyone away. (People would be in a huge funk now if Birdman, Boyhood, Gone Girl and The Theory of Everything weren’t in contention) But in 1981 people took highly accomplished, adult-serving dramas almost for granted, and so The French Lieutenant’s Woman was only moderately well reviewed (a few major critics kicked it around) and was nominated for five Oscars…but won none. The big winner that year was On Golden Pond….Jesus. Meryl Streep, however, won Best Actress trophies from the L.A. Film Critics Association, the Golden Globes and BAFTA. I intend to watch a high-def rendering of this exceptional film, directed by Karel Reisz and adapted by Harold Pinter, this evening on Vudu.
Summit has announced that J.C. Chandor‘s Deepwater Horizon, which begins filming in March, will open wide on 9.30.16. I just talked to Chandor about this last Saturday night inside Avery Fisher Hall, just before the start of Inherent Vice. Mark Wahlberg has the lead role, but there’s an older actor (a fellow whose middle name used to be “paycheck” before I swore off using that moniker) who might also climb aboard. It’s not about capping the underwater oil spill after the 2010 explosion but the lead-up — the various warnings of trouble and those who knew something would probably happen vs. those who didn’t want to know. Chandor in the director’s chair means this will be a thinking man’s disaster film. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing. The script is by Matthew Sand and Matthew Carnahan. My ex-wife worked on a Gulf of Mexico oil rig.
This morning I got a press release about Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings (20th Century Fox, 12.12) from Matthew Faraci, a North-Carolina-based spokesperson for faith-driven consumers. It basically stated the usual-usual, which is that faith-driven moviegoers will be much more likely to see Exodus if it’s judged to be Biblically accurate. The poll actually reports on likely interest among three groups — Joe Popcorn types, Christians and faith-driven consumers.
The data on Exodus “comes from a previous American Insights survey conducted between 5.1 and 5.8, for Christian News Service/NICAEA,” Faraci noted. A nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults in the United States, etc.
“Thanks for your release, Matthew, but I have a couple of questions,” I wrote back. “Boiled down, the poll says that faith-driven moviegoers will be much more likely to see Scott’s film if it’s judged to be Biblically accurate. Fine. But of course you don’t explain or even imply what would constitute Biblical inaccuracy in this instance.
“Moses’ brought down a series of plagues upon Egypt when he was beseeching Rameses to let his people go. Three of these (locusts, frogs, the Nile turning red) seem to be in the film, to go by the trailer. The old story of the parting of the Red Sea is apparently depicted in the film’s climax. So what exactly are the accuracy concerns of faith-driven consumers? Let’s get into specifics here.
The legendary Patti Smith is doing interviews about “Mercy,” a lullaby she composed and performed for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah, with the idea of snagging a little award-season allure. I’ve been a Smith devotee since ’75 or thereabouts, and you will find no greater fan of Patti Smith: Dream of Life, which I caught at the ’08 Sundance Film Festival, than myself. But as I was reviewing my notes before Smith called this morning, I was telling myself that she’s Patti the Fearless and not a singer of songs that a child would take comfort in. Certainly not in any proverbial sense. In my head she’s one of the boldest and fiercest poet-troubadours to take a stage and burn it down. Which is why I blinked last spring when I first heard of her Noah song.
That’s because I haven’t been listening closely enough, or so Smith implied during our 20-minute chat. She reminded me that while on one hand she’s written and performed songs like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger” or poems like “Piss Factory“, she’s always had it in her to downshift and settle into forms of prayer, both musical and meditative. Yes, prayer. Not the kind taught in Sunday school but her own form of it, her own method…which is not something she cares to define all that precisely. And I didn’t persist. Cool.
It occured to me during yesterday’s JFK-to-LAX flight (departed around 5 pm Eastern, arrived at 7:40 pm Pacific) that we were crammed into a kind of sarcophagus. An airborne tomb for people pretending to be semi-comatose. Sitting coach on a cramped coast-to-coast flight is never pleasurable. You just have to Zen it out. You need to suck it in and button yourself down and endure it and don’t look at your watch too often or the flight’ll seem longer. Focus on your reading, listening…focus on that shitty little screen in front of you. I sat next to two 20-something women. The one next to me started eating some greasy takeout food (battered fish, fries, spicy ketchup) soon after we took off. The aroma was disgusting but there was nothing to do. Sure enough the guy in front of me eased his seat back…asshole!…but not as much as he could have….semi-asshole! I watched my True Confessions Bluray and crashed around 11 pm, or 2 am New York time.
Coach seating on a wide-body jet of some kind (a DC-10?) sometime in the mid ’60s. A wide-angle lens delivers a certain distortion but still…
No back-of-the-hand HE obit for the late Geoffrey Holder. The towering actor, choreographer, director, dancer, painter, costume designer, singer and voice-over artist had a joyful vibe. From today’s N.Y. Times obit: “Few cultural figures of the last half of the 20th century were as multifaceted as Mr. Holder, and few had a public presence as unmistakable as his, with his gleaming pate atop a 6-foot-6 frame, full-bodied laugh and bassoon of a voice laced with the lilting cadences of the Caribbean”…good writing! When I heard of his death I didn’t think so much of Holder’s 7-Up commercials or his supporting role as one of the Caribbean bugaboos in Live and Let Die. I recalled his performing “Under The Sea” and “Kiss The Girl,” the two best songs from The Little Mermaid, during the 1990 Oscar telecast. But you can’t find any videos or stills of this….odd.
Geoffrey Holder (1930 – 2014)