Is there really a crying need for a better Bluray of Richard Brooks‘ In Cold Blood (’67)? I’m presuming that the forthcoming Criterion version, due on 11.17 and rendered in 4K, will yield a more dynamic and detailed capturing of Conrad Hall‘s immaculate black-and-white cinematography, but the previous Bluray has always looked pretty good to me; ditto the high-def version you can stream right now off Amazon. Why then did Criterion decide to take a whack at it? Because peons like me are scratching their heads.
If Ingrid Bergman had the constitution and good fortune of Norman Lloyd she’d be celebrating her 100th birthday today. She stood 5′ 9″, or taller than Humphrey Bogart by a good two inches. Before coming to America to costar in Intermezzo (’39) Bergman had made twelve Swedish films, the first (in which she had a small part) being Munkbrogreven (’35). She wasn’t quite 27 when she costarred in Casablanca (’42). She was right around 30 when she costarred with Cary Grant in Notorious (’46). To think that Bergman was actually denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate for having fallen in love with Roberto Rossellini while still married to Petter Aron Lindstrom, and that she was more or less ostracized from the U.S. film industry for four or five years as a result. (The ethics and morals among high officials in this country were very odd and twisted back then.) What I didn’t know is that Bergman also cheated on Lindstrom with Gregory Peck during the filming of Spellbound. I’ve seen pretty much every significant Bergman film except for Rossellini’s Stromboli and Victor Fleming‘s Joan of Arc. She’d only just turned 67 when she died from breast cancer on 8.29.82.
Early this morning First Showing‘s Alex Billington tweeted that “this time next week, I’ll be waking up in the mountains getting ready to see some of the best films all year @ the Telluride Film Festival.” I’m excited also, but I can’t share in AB’s cherubic attitude. TFF is a sublime place to see films, for sure, but from a filing standpoint it’s a bear. The hot films don’t really begin showing until after the patron’s picnic (or around Friday at 2:30 pm), and most people have to head back around noontime on Monday so in practical terms it’s really a three-day festival, and if you need Monday morning to file and pack it lasts 2 and 1/2 days.
The following 14 films are presumed (i.e., not confirmed) to be playing TFF within that narrow time frame: Steve Jobs, Suffragette, Black Mass, Spotlight, Son of Saul, Beasts of No Nation, Carol, Amazing Grace, Marguerite, Charlie Kaufman‘s Anomalisa (probably), He Named Me Malala (maybe), Room, Hitchcock/Truffaut. There will probably be another one or two added so let’s call it 15. That means having to see a minimum of three films on Friday, five on Saturday and five on Sunday for a total of 13 — obviously missing one or two. And then maybe one final screening on Monday morning before driving back to Durango.
If I ignore Carol, Son of Saul and Hitchcock/Truffaut (which I saw in Cannes/Paris) and blow off Room (which I hear has problems) and Anomalisa (which I’m frankly not looking forward to), I’m down to 8, but I still can’t catch all those and tap out 8 seven-paragraph reviews between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. Maybe five or six.
So Telluride, for me, is basically a twitter festival with whatever writing I can squeeze in on the side in the early morning and late at night. Suggestions to Telluride guys: Start the festival on Thursday night as most people arrive that day, and show choice films on Friday morning for those who’d rather not attend the picnic.
I leave an hour before the crack of dawn on Thursday, 9.3. Burbank Airport to Phoenix to Durango plus the usual two-hour drive. Should be in Telluride by 3 or 3:30 pm. Dinner with friends that evening at La Marmotte at 8 pm.
It hit me yesterday that despite a stated intention to sit through the Bluray of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice so I could read the subtitles, I never did. And I honestly don’t think I ever will. It all came flooding back when I watched the below clip. I hate this movie, in large part because I can’t stand Joaquin Phoenix‘s performance and appearance — his slurry, muttery speech, puffy face, mandals, muttonchops, infuriating whimsicality, etc. In my book it’s absolutely one of the most detestable performances of all time. And honestly? Phoenix’s pot-bellied performance in Woody Allen‘s Irrational Man is a very close competitor. I was genuinely pleased when his character fell down the elevator chute.
This is a pretty good idea for a thread, come to think. What performances have so driven you up the wall that you briefly considered avoiding this or that actor or actress for the rest of your time on this planet? It sent you into a mood, I mean. I’ll be ready to forgive Phoenix at any time. All he has to do is crawl out of that foxhole he’s been curled up in.
During a Buzzfeed-reported Martian interview that posted on 8.27, Matt Damon said that the saga of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had ignited creative sparks that led to fifth Bourne film, which he and director Paul Greengrass have now committed to.
“[Paul and I] always looked at the Bourne movies as really about the Bush presidency, and so we kind of had to wait for the world to change,” Damon said. “Without giving too much of it away, it’s Bourne through an austerity-riddled Europe and in a post-Snowden world. It seems like enough has changed, you know? There are all these kinds of arguments about spying and civil liberties and the nature of democracy.”
So it’s about Jason Bourne, the proverbial renengade lone wolf, somehow coming into possession of information that this or that government (probably ours) doesn’t want leaked? No — can’t be that. Too familiar.
I’ll play a game of ping-pong with anyone at a moment’s notice. Except I don’t like to hold the paddle vertically like the Chinese do. Someone told me I should do that a long time ago, and right away I smiled and said “naaah.” I hold my ping-pong paddle more or less like a tennis racket, which is more or less horizontally. I like to lean in and swat or “bunt” at a sidewards angle, and I dearly love my serves and slam shots. Which reminds me: A couple I know have a ping-pong table sitting in their garage, but they haven’t brought it out or invited me over to play in ages. One more joyful opportunity removed from the realm of likelihood.
Anecdote: I was playing once with a soon-to-be ex-girlfriend (or one I’d recently broken up with), and she got annoyed with me about my playing. She said I was channeling unresolved feelings about our relationship and manifesting them in overly aggressive swatting. She really beat me up about that, come to think. She may or may not have had a point, but since then I’ve been careful to temper my slam shots when playing with any woman because I don’t want to see one of those “looks.”
You have to get out and about, and you can’t give in to paranoia. You have to trust in the basic decency of the vast majority of people walking around. I do, at least. If there’s something twitchy in some guy walking down the aisles at Thrifty or CVS you can always sense this on some level so you just have to play it by ear and hope for the best. But deep down there’s a general feeling out there that a significant percentage of wacko types (which society has always had) are ready to go postal at any moment, and the recent shooting in Virginia is the latest of many, many reminders. It’s a very small percentage, thank fate and fortune, and an even smaller micro-percentage in liberal enclaves like West Los Angeles, but there’s nonetheless a tiny sliver of the populace today that is ready to murder strangers or co-workers or children in an elementary school when they reach their breaking point. I really, really don’t remember this malignancy being as noticable or persistent in…I don’t know when it began to seem more ominous. It’s been creeping and spreading outward for decades, but it seems to have gotten worse over the last 10 or 15 years. Post-9/11, post-Obama’s election…something. Obviously I realize that “seems” is not a statistical reality. I agree, in any case, with everything Cenk Uygur says here: