Like almost everyone else, I became a fan of jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri through his music for Bernardo Bertolucci‘s Last Tango in Paris, and particularly the moody composition that plays during the opening main titles. I’ve never forgotten that score…never. Nor Barbieri himself. I bought the soundtrack album way back when, and…okay, I’m going to be really honest and admit that I never listened to his stuff off iTunes, but mainly because I’m not a jazz buff. (Sorry.) Respect for Mr. Barbieri, a native Argentinian, upon news of his death. He was 83, man.
Five or so years ago Brody calledIshtar “one of the most original, audacious, and inventive movies — and funniest comedies — of modern times. It isn’t just a movie worth rescuing for a few choice bits; it’s a thoroughgoing, beginning-to-end masterwork.”
All right, that’s just horseshit. Over-cranked, over-exuberant, not trustworthy. And yet Ishtar, on the whole, is worth seeing. Here’s how I explained it in January 2010:
(1) “The general…well, at least marginal view that Ishtar is better than its rep and is actually hilarious in portions”;
At the end of David Grubin‘s LBJ, the landmark 1991 documentary about the tragic story of Lyndon Johnson, historian Ronnie Duggersays that Johnson “was just interesting as hell. I mean, you know, compared to most people who kind of go through life vainly, making their dreadful moral points of condemning this or hoping for that or scratching the back of their head, Lyndon really moved. He was moving all the time. The few times I was with him, it was…he was just fun to be around.
“And you liked him. You liked him. I liked him when I was with him more than I did when I was thinking about him…heh-heh.”
It struck me last night that the dual worlds of politics and the film industry are overflowing with people of this type. Slick operators who are quite likable and charming and have really gotten around and seen the world and learned about human behavior first-hand — people you always enjoy talking to, hanging with and are always waving to at parties — but when you take a couple of steps back and seriously consider what they do, what they’ve done and what they’re actually about, you can’t help but go “hmmmm.”
I went to see To Kill A Mockingbird at the Aero last night. 53 and 1/2 years after its initial release, Robert Mulligan, Alan Pakula and Horton Foote‘s Oscar-winner is still three things — (a) a great children’s POV drama that doesn’t pussyfoot around when it comes to the darker side of human nature, (b) a poised liberal fable about measured, compassionate humanism (as embodied by Gregory Peck‘s Atticus Finch) vs. vile backwater racism, and (c) a very moving film that still gets you in the gut.
It was screened in 35mm, and once again the celluloid experience disappointed me. The detail wasn’t all that sharp, and the monochrome tint (grayish, half-sepia, murky swamp) shifted from reel to reel. The Universal Bluray is a much richer, smoother and more needle-sharp rendering.
For whatever reason the producers decided against filming exteriors in some authentic-looking small town and chose to shoot the whole thing on the Universal back lot. And so the first shot of Maycomb, Alabma (a stand-in for Harper Lee’s Monroeville) still looks absurd with the smoggy air and the mountains of Burbank visible in the near distance.
The first-wavers saw Richard Linklater‘s Everybody Wants Some! last night. Responses are requested. Key portions from my 3.29 review: (1) “The good news is that [it’s] cool, smart, fresh, atypical…a refreshingly unusual jocks-on-a-college-campus comedy, which is to say something quieter and more oblique and introspective and curious about what makes this or that guy tick”; (2) “The bad news is that it’s mostly about a bunch of baseball-star jocks sharing a fraternity house”; (3) “It’s a little too much of a laid-back, easy-time mood trip for its own good…[nobody] pursues anything wth any real hunger or urgency”; (4) “I was frowning as much as smiling through this thing [but] I really love that Linklater couldn’t care less about satisfying the submentals who want a certain kind of hormonal college sex romp, and that Everybody Wants Some! takes its time and plays its cards in a nicely unhurried way.”
If Donald Trump snags the Republican Presidential nomination, a scenario that’s seeming less and less likely despite his current lead in delegates, he will absolutely get murdered by Hillary Clinton in the fall. Clinton may not pull off a landslide in the tradition of Reagan-vs.-Mondale in ’84, Nixon-vs.-McGovern in ’72 or Johnson-vs.-Goldwater in ’64, but a 4.2 N.Y. Times analysis by Jonathan Martin and Nate Cohn states that “without an extraordinary reversal — or the total collapse of whoever becomes his general-election opponent — Mr. Trump could be hard-pressed to win more than 200 electoral votes.”
The general fear among Republican establishment types, of course, is that a brutal Trump defeat could lead to across-the-board losses of Republican candidates on a Senatorial and Congressional level, which could conceivably lead to a loss of the majority that Republicans now enjoy in the Senate and a weakening of its numerical majority in the House…maybe.
It’s becoming more and more likely that the Cleveland gathering will be an historic shitshow in which Ted Cruz or John Kasich could overpower Trump on the second and third ballot. In so doing the Republican heirarchy will essentially be saying to all those rural, nihilistic, under-educated, pot-bellied, heroin-snorting Trump bubbas out there that the party’s over, fellas, and tough shit.
Cruz would also lose against Clinton, of course, but if Kasich were to be nominated (a seemingly all-but-impossible scenario) he could emerge victorious. Either way the idea that seems to be taking hold is that Republicans need to at least lose honorably in the fall, and that means without Trump as a deciding factor.
As widely predicted, Batman vs. Superman is down, down, down on its second weekend — an 81% drop from last Friday or, as Deadline‘s Anthony D’Allessandro has qualified, a 72% plummet if you eliminate the $27.7 million earned in pre-weekend previews. Last night’s BvS haul was $15.3 million, down from last Friday’s $81.55 million. The majority obviously hates this movie — the word-of-mouth is overwhelmingly negative. BvS is doing so poorly that it’s only made $224,422,793 domestic and $587,822,793 worldwide so far…appalling! The all-but-universally despised film is projected to take in $50 million by Sunday night.