Yesterday Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy mentioned a couple of dozen interesting possibilities for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival (5.13 to 5.24), which is only nine weeks away. McCarthy starts with two locks I’ve heard about myself — Todd Haynes‘ Carol, a period lesbian romance, adapted from Patricia Highsmith‘s “The Price of Salt,” with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and George Miller‘s Mad Max: Fury Road, a likely festival opener as it debuts in France on 5.13 and stateside two days later. McCarthy is also more or less predicting that Brad Bird‘s Tomorrowland, which will open in the U.S. on 5.22, will make the trek.
I’m not saying these are the hottest attractions, but they’re the first three to be more or less vaguely confirmed for Cannes, and I for one am feeling underwhelmed. Mad Max is fierce popcorn, Tomorrowland might very possibly be infected with the meandering mood virus of co-producer and co-writer Damon Lindelof, and Carol…okay, maybe, but it’s not gobsmacky enough.
I’m just going to offer a suggestion for the hell of it: Thomas McCarthy‘s Spotlight, the drama about the Boston Globe‘s 2001 investigation of sexual molestation by Catholic priests with costars Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schrieber, Johnny Slattery, Jamey Sheridan, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Billy Crudup and Stanley Tucci. Financed by Participant Media and due to be U.S.-distributed by Open Road, Spotlight is just low-profile and modest-sounding enough for Open Road to perhaps seek out an agreeable bump from Cannes that will help it stand up to the competition during award season. Plus McCarthy needs to remind the industry that he’s not the guy who directed The Cobbler, the Adam Sandler film that wiped out in Toronto, but a guy who’s got his mojo back with a moralistic journalism drama.
I’ve mentioned repeatedly that I’m a total fool for color photography taken during the shooting of classic black-and-white films. Today I happened upon this snap of Fred Zinneman and crew shooting the breakup scene between Deborah Kerr‘s Karen Holmes and Burt Lancaster‘s Milt Warden during the filming of From Here To Eternity in Oahu. The shot below was taken by yours truly in May 2001 during a break from my coverage of the Pearl Harbor junket. The location is Halona Cove on the southeast coast of Oahu, where the famous sexy beach love scene between Lancaster and Kerr was filmed.
A couple of days ago director Abel Ferrara didn’t call, as scheduled, to discuss his dispute with Wild Bunch honcho Vincent Maraval and IFC Sundance Selects over the decision to offer an R-rated cut of Welcome To New York on 3.27 (theatrical and VOD) instead of Ferrara’s original cut, which Ferrara believes was contractually guaranteed to be shown. But Ferrara did call today and so we kicked it around for 15 minutes or so. Ferrara insisted that he hasn’t worked without final cut “for the last 30 years” and that his final-cut rights are absolute and sacrosanct. He said that Maraval’s characterization of him as a tempestuous artist who compulsively “bites the hand” is “bullshit.”
During our chat Ferrara sent along the following statement: “As a filmmaker and a human being I detest the destruction of my film Welcome to New York, which is now being distributed by IFC and Wild Bunch and exhibited on Showtime and in IFC theatres. Behind all these entities are individuals, in this case Arianna Bocco, Jonathan Sehring and Vincent Maraval, who feel they can deny my contractual right of final cut, which is simply my freedom of expression. Some people wear hoods and carry automatic weapons; others sit behind their desks but the attack and attempted suppression of the rights of the individual are the same. I will defend the right of free speech until the end and I ask all who believe as I do to not support the showing of this film, on their networks, in their theatres, or wherever.”
A happy life is, I think, mainly about serenity, discipline, curiosity and the right kind of stimulation. Either you’re curious about stuff or you’re not, and “the right kind of stimulation” obviously means everything except drugs, alcohol and compulsive eating. Serenity has many ingredients, but I tend to define it as good enough, taking care of yourself, great theatre, soul-stirring music, nothing terrible or toxic, bills paid on time, healthy food, exercise, long walks in big cities, great cappucino, spirituality if you want it, even-keel relationships, et. al.
The problem for most people, I suspect, is that the kind of happiness they knew or at least occasionally tasted in their late teens and early 20s resulted from the riding of a special kind of spiritual wave with really close friends, good drugs, breathtaking sex, etc. This kind of life led at times to feelings of joy, ecstasy and even a form of transcendent satori, but it simply can’t be sustained when you embark on your solo journey to adulthood and have to start focusing and getting ahead and shouldering responsibilities.
Most adults aren’t fully honest when you ask them if they’re “happy”, but if they were they’d probably answer, “Well, yeah, mostly…I mean, I was truly happy at times during my sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll days but that stuff’ll kill you.”
From a 9.11.14 Toronto Film Festival review by Indiewire‘s Kevin Jagernauth: “With a premise based on the salacious murder trial of Amanda Knox, the most curious aspect of Michael Winterbottom‘s The Face Of An Angel is that it’s not about the case at all. Instead, the filmmaker takes a self-indulgent approach, reorienting the project to tell the story of a director (Daniel Bruhl) researching and writing a movie about the sensational crime and who promptly begins to spiral out of control the more he keeps digging for the truth. A mismatch of genres, coupled with a pretentious attitude regarding the art of moviemaking, this film strains for significance, referencing Dante in the same breath as Knox.
Winterbottom’s film will open later this month in England, and on 6.30 in the States. Almost four months from now? We’re living through a dull, dispiriting season. It should appear concurrent with the British release.
“Shot by Hubert Taczanowski (The Look Of Love, The Opposite Of Sex), the film is visually lifeless, [using] a grimy visual palette that matches Bruhl’s perma-sour demeanor. And the overall tone never coheres, partially due to the shifting nature of the triptych-ish structure. The film’s auntish indictment of tabloid culture is tedious, and as a portrait of an artist grappling with truth and his own personal demons, Thomas just isn’t all that interesting. He’s his own worst enemy, and it’s hard to care about what he’s going through if he doesn’t either.