Hollywood Elsewhere will be smack dab in the middle of Vietnam (specifically somewhere between Dong Hoi and Hue) when local second-tier journos have their all-media looksee at Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice on Tuesday, 3.22. Like I said before, I’m cool with this. I’ll catch this Warner Bros. release when I return on 3.28, by which time its fate will be sealed so what do I care?
Too many respected critics who’ve seen Richard Linklater‘s Everybody Wants Some (Paramount, 4.1) at South by Southwest have given it strong thumbs-up reactions (RT 93%, Metacritic 85%) so it’s looking like my previously voiced concerns or suspicions about SXSW “ether” may not have been warranted.
I’m told by a reliable source that the One-Eyed Jacks restoration, which began last fall under the aegis of Universal and Martin Scorsese‘s The Film Foundation, will be completed “sometime in April.” And yet the classic Marlon Brando western will not have its first-time-anywhere screening at the TCM Classic Film Festival (4.28 thru 5.1), which is generally regarded as a prized destination for recently restored classic films.
The source states that while Jacks “will not premiere at TCM, it should have its first theatrical viewings “in late spring and/or early summer.” The Jacks Bluray, he says, will “more than likely not be coming out until early fall after a series of screenings that are currently being planned in conjunction with TFF.”
My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that One-Eyed Jacks might have its big premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off two months hence. I’m figuring that with Scorsese expected to be in Cannes for the world premiere of Silence, which I’ve heard is a likely festival pick, it would make sense for him to also introduce and bring attention to Jacks. A Cannes debut would obviously result in a bigger, broader journalistic impression than a showing at TCM, which is basically a gray-haired film buff event that only resonates nationally.
Another suspicion is that the restored Jacks might have some kind of special screening at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, at which Silence may possibly be shown.
A partial rundown for the 7th annual Turner Classic Movies Film Festival (4.28 to 5.1) was unveiled today. I always look for first-time-ever screenings of recently restored films that haven’t hit Bluray or streaming, but somehow seeing a 25th anniversary restored version of John Singleton‘s Boyz in The Hood doesn’t exactly tingle the blood. I was also hoping for a screening of the nearly-completed restoration of Marlon Brando‘s One-Eyed Jacks, but that’s not in the cards.
For me the only announced festival attraction that excites so far is a special presentation of Jack Cardiff and Mike Todd, Jr.‘s Scent of Mystery (a.k.a. Holiday in Spain), which will be presented at the Cinerama Dome in “Smell-O-Vision.”
What could have motivated the highly respected Jack Cardiff to direct this thing? (Besides money, I mean.) The costars are a remarkably young-looking Denholm Elliott (he was 37 during filming) and a bloated Peter Lorre. A foxy, bikini-wearing Diana Dors has a marginal role. Elizabeth Taylor (i.e., widow of the deceased Mike Todd, Sr. and therefore the producer’s mother-in-law) isn’t in the trailer, but she makes an uncredited cameo appearance.
Wiki page summary: “Scent of Mystery was developed specifically with Smell-O-Vision in mind. Although Scent was not the first film to be accompanied by aromas, it was the most technologically advanced. Todd, son of the late Mike Todd, engaged in such hyperbole as ‘I hope it’s the kind of picture they call a scentsation!’ He also got help from newspaper columnists such as Earl Wilson, who lauded the system, saying Smell-O-Vision ‘can produce anything from skunk to perfume, and remove it instantly.’ New York Times writer Richard Nason believed it might be a major advance in filmmaking. As such, expectations were high.
“Scent opened in three specially equipped theaters in February, 1960 — in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Unfortunately, the mechanism did not work properly. According to Variety, aromas were released with a distracting hissing noise and audience members in the balcony complained that the scents reached them several seconds after the action was shown on the screen. In other parts of the theater, the odors were too faint, causing audience members to sniff loudly in an attempt to catch the scent.
In my glowing review of Bob Nelson‘s The Confirmation (Saban, 3.18) I wondered why it didn’t play at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The absence in Park City made no sense. Either Saban didn’t submit it, I figured, or they did and it was turned down, which is nuts as it’s obviously good enough to have made the cut. Well, guess what? I just finished doing a phoner with Nelson, who’s here in Los Angeles for interviews plus tomorrow night’s premiere screening, and he says, believe it or not, that Sundance programmers saw it and passed.
I’m sorry but ixnaying a film as good as The Confirmation is absurd, especially when you consider that Sundance is obliged to screen a certain number of films each year that one could describe as mezzo-mezzo or mediocre. It’s inevitable. So a film like The Confirmation comes along, a film that definitely works and coheres and holds water and all the other superlatives of a B-plus or A-minus film, and Sundance says no? There’s really no excuse.
At the start of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival I walked out on Bryan Buckley‘s The Bronze (Sony Pictures Classics, 3.18). I lasted 15 minutes, to be exact. I was criticized for this, of course, but my policy is firm — if a film clearly stinks or is going to make me suffer grievously, I walk. If you have the perceptions that I’ve been given and have more importantly developed them over decades, you can spot a piece of shit from a mile away, and so when push comes to shove you decide to commit yourself to something more rewarding or purposeful, or at least less wasteful.
There is no honor in sitting through a film that is clearly going to be awful.
The Bronze has 11% and 40% ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively, and one reason the Metacritic rating isn’t lower is because Drew McWeeny wrote a review that was (a) less than approving but at the same time (b) not entirely damning.
Filed on 1.23.15: “For whatever perverse reason Sundance programmers will occasionally select a mostly dreadful, all-but-unendurable film to play in the Premieres section. The common consensus is that Bryan Buckley‘s The Bronze is one of these films. I can’t speak from authority because I left around the 15-minute mark, but I could smell trouble even before it began.