All I have time for this evening are the two opening-night TIFF screenings — Jean Marc Vallee‘s Demolition at 6:30 pm and Michael Moore‘s Where To Invade Next at 9:30 pm. These plus some running around activities between now (3:15 pm) and 6 pm or thereabouts. Demolition and Invade are throwing after-parties, of course.
“Atom Egoyan’s ongoing search for his own best form makes no real breakthrough in Remember, a state-hopping Nazi-hunt mystery that puts a creditably sincere spin on material that is silly at best. At worst, tyro writer Benjamin August’s screenplay is a crass attempt to fashion a Memento-style puzzle narrative from post-Holocaust trauma. Toggling variables of disguised identity and dementia, as Christopher Plummer’s ailing German widower travels across North America in search of the camp commander he recalls from his time in Auschwitz, the pic is riddled with lapses in logic even before a stakes-shifting twist that many viewers might see coming. Crafted in utilitarian fashion by Egoyan, Remember does little to earn the poignancy of Plummer’s stricken performance.” — from a 9.10 Variety review by the often accommodating Guy Lodge.
The right owns blacklisting, or rather their fathers and grandfathers earned it back in the late ’40s and ’50s, branding it into American conservative legacy like red-hot iron. The idea of blacklisting anyone for their political convictions is reprehensible, of course, but if, let’s say, anyone on the left wanted to play around with the idea of blacklisting a rightie or even flirt with a fantasy along these lines just for amusement’s sake, contemporary righties would have no choice but to take it and like it. They could complain but they have no leg to stand on. Their forebears bought the farm.
I’m sorry but I was listening last night to “Walking In The Rain,” the ’64 Ronettes song that was written by Barry Mann, Phil Spector and Cynthia Weil. And out of the blue the chorus just seemed…well, poorly thought out. I’m not saying it’s on the same level as those King Kong natives building a huge gate in that wall intended to keep all those dinosaurs and giant apes from invading their village, but it sure as hell is illogical.
The lead-up to the chorus goes “He’ll be kind of shy / But real good lookin’ too / And I’ll be certain he’s my guy / By the things he’ll like to do.” And then the mind-blower: “Like walking in the rain / And wishing on the stars up above / And being so in love.”
Has anyone in the history of the planet earth ever been able to look up and see stars in the middle of a rainshower? Ever? Particularly the kind accompanied by thunder, which “Walking in the Rain” producer Phil Spector threw in for added emotional effect?
Obviously one can interpret the lyrics as being about a would-be boyfriend who likes to (a) walk in the rain as well as (b) wish on stars after the weather has cleared, but to the casual listener the lyric clearly suggests that the rainstorm stroll and the star-wishing are happening on the same dreamy date.
It’s fucked up, and to my knowledge nobody has pointed this out in over half a century.
To judge from David Rooney‘s 9.8 Hollywood Reporter review, Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow‘s De Palma, a A24 doc about the once-dazzling auteurist who’s been downswirling for at least the last 15 years, is a lot of fun, or more precisely “a blast.” It’s just played in Venice and will screen at the N.Y. Film Festival…but not, apparently, here in Toronto.
My view is that De Palma was a truly exciting, must-watch director from the late ’60s to mid ’70s (Greetings to The Phantom of the Paradise to Carrie), and an exasperating, occasionally intriguing director from the late ’70s to mid ’90s (Dressed To Kill, Scarface, The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible, Snake Eyes). But he’s been “over” in the sense of failing to read or respond to the culture for years. I used to love the guy but then he made Mission to Mars (’00), Femme Fatale (’02), The Black Dahlia (’06), Redacted (’07) and Passion (’12)…over and out.
Non-pros who’ve never attended the Cannes Film Festival won’t care about the following, but a persistent and profoundly irritating sound problem in the Grand Lumiere theatre, the largest inside the sprawling festival bunker known as the Grand Palaix, hadn’t been solved as of last May’s festival, and so this morning I wrote Cannes honcho Thierry Fremaux about asking Boston Light and Sound’s Chapin Cutler to take a look at things:
“I’ve written you once before about what I and several others regard as a troubling sound issue in the Grand Lumiere. Too much bass and echo, not enough middle-range, and a resulting inability to understand much of the dialogue in certain films. I’m not a sound technician but there’s an acoustical condition called ‘standing waves‘ that may be a factor. Or not — I’m not sure. But I know that the Grand Lumiere’s sound has definitely compromised the dialogue in certain films shown there over the last two or three years, and that a solution needs to be found.
“Last May the dialogue in two films that I saw in the Grand Lumiere — Denis Villenueve‘s Sicario and Justin Kurzel‘s Macbeth — was all but unintelligible. More than a few journalists have reported the same. I can say for sure that in the case of Sicario it’s not the mix. A week ago I re-viewed Sicario in CAA’s screening room in Los Angeles, and the dialogue was fine — I understood every last vowel and consonant.