TMZ is reporting that last Friday night, hours after performing in Atlanta, “Prince’s private jet made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois.” At the time his reps said he was “battling the flu”, and yet “multiple sources in Moline” have told TMZ that Prince was “rushed to a hospital and that doctors gave him a ‘save shot’… typically administered to counteract the effects of an opiate.”
Woody Allen‘s Cafe Society (Amazon, 8.12), a 1930s-era, Hollywood-based relationship film, looks like it might be his Barton Fink. Well, as far as he’s capable of making a Barton Fink-like film. It feels planted, doesn’t seem rote or tired…vigor in its veins. Pure Allen: “Life is a comedy written by a sadistic comedy writer.” Opening the Cannes Film Festival…good!
An observation in a 4.21 Ross Douthat column (“The Democrats After Sanders”) woke me up this morning.
Bernie Sanders, he says, “was in many ways a non-ideal standard-bearer for a left-wing youth movement…he struggled to win over African-American and Hispanic voters, he seemed like too much of a long shot to win endorsements from the party’s most liberal interest groups, and his obvious lack of interest in foreign policy prevented him from fully exploiting Hillary Clinton’s major weakness.”
He follows this with a no-big-deal comment that Elizabeth Warren “would have had fewer of these problems if she’d decided to run, and given how well Sanders has done it’s reasonable to suspect that Warren could have actually defeated Clinton.”
Damn! Probably right. Warren is a firm proponent of the same economic populism Sanders has been voicing for the last several years and certainly since announcing his candidacy, and if she’d run she would have said so emphatically and repeatedly, and it’s entirely possible — “reasonable to suspect,” as Douthat puts it — that she would have siphoned away a sizable chunk of Hillary’s gender-based support, and that she very possibly might have won the Democratic nomination in the end.
Yes, that’s water under the bridge but think what a shot-in-the-arm it would have been for the progressive cause if Warren had beaten Hillary. We’d have a real Democrat running against Trump instead of a corporate-friendly, center-right incremental Obama with more hawkish foreign policy views.
It felt like I was blowing this morning’s interview with A Bigger Splash director Luca Guadagnino (guahdahNEENyo), but when I reviewed the mp3 an hour later I realized it had gone more or less okay.
Luca feels like a smooth, settled-down fellow — cool, smart, knowledgable — with not just a fevered knowledge of the film realm (in college he wrote a huge essay about Jonathan Demme) but with the whole equation in his head. Or so it seemed as we spoke. To me he’s suddenly one of the most exciting directors working today. He doesn’t shoot scripts — he starts with scripts in order to make impressionistic films about himself, but he also makes sure that viewers are entertained and aroused every step of the way.
Luca Guadagnino, esteemed director of A Bigger Splash (Fox Searchlight, 5.3) at last September’s Venice Film Festival.
Guadagnino and cast of A Bigger Splash (Matthis Schoenaerts, Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Corrado Guzzanti, Ralph Fiennes).
Set on Pantelleria, an island off the coast of Sicily, A Bigger Splash is a kind of four-person demimonde piece. It has a plot or at least a situation about lingering vibes and who might be fucking who, etc. It’s technically a remake of Jacques Deray‘s La Piscine (’69), but it’s mainly about Guadagnino — his attitudes, tastes, moods, loves, memories.
In my view it’s first and foremost a sensual film about…well, living well. About vinyl sounds, dips in the pool, good wine and outdoor eating…about anything and everything that’s sublime or succulent or which smells or tastes or sounds good. It’s about sex, music (particularly early ’80s Rolling Stones), dry winds, infidelity, ricotta cheese and — last but not least — reliving and killing the past.
Who under the age of 80 or 85 dies from flu, severe or otherwise? Prince has, according to initial reports. A shocker but — be honest — also a head-scratcher. The Daily Mail is reporting that paramedics were called out to his Paisley Park estate around 9:45 am. Carver County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson has confirmed that there has been a fatality. (Ditto the N.Y. Times.) The 57 year-old pop star, legendary for sure but whom I had frankly stopped listening to ages ago and who arguably peaked over three decades ago with 1999 and Purple Rain, has expired just days after he was rushed to a local hospital with “severe flu.” When I thought of Prince before today I thought of a super-rich, once fascinating performer with an ornate wardrobe who lived on his own planet. Due respect — he made his mark in a very big way during the early Reagan years. I associate his music with cocaine, which I snorted a fair amount of when I was just getting into 1999.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the apparent intent behind John Lee Hancock‘s The Founder (Weinstein Co., 8.5) is to get audiences to accept and perhaps even respect the fact that while McDonald’s entrepeneur Ray Kroc may have been a bit of a dick, without his dickishness and go-go energy McDonald’s never would have become an iconic American fast-food franchise. That’s what I’m sensing here, and it may be a tough order for some. On the other hand one look at Nick Offerman‘s frowning, disapproving puss and you can’t help but say to yourself, “This guy is a no-vision type, a small-time Charlie, a stopper…get out of the way and let Ray handle things, dickface.” And yet Hancock seems to be pushing a half-satiric view of Kroc by telling Michael Keaton to play a crafty Republican shit rather than a flawed, vulnerable type with good and bad qualities. Maybe. It’s hard to tell. Whatever the plan, there’s a reason why The Founder is opening in early August.
This looks gymnastic. The Unforgiven echo comes from Haley Bennett reminding me of Frances Fisher and Peter Sarsgaard resuscitating Gene Hackman‘s “Little” Bill Daggett. Ignore talk about director Antoine Fuqua having abandoned the classic characters in the 1960 John Sturges version. Denzel Washington is quite obviously Yul Brynner with a sprinkling of Lee Marvin‘s Kid Shelleen, and Chris Pratt is definitely Steve McQueen…period.
I’m not sensing the old Paul Greengrass shaky-cam thing. Can’t hold on to it, right? Gotta change, adapt, move on. Shaky-cam peaked with The Bourne Supremacy, which opened on 7.23.04 — nearly twelve years ago — and which prompted a woman sitting in the fifth row in a screening I attended to upchuck on the floor. The most recent Damon-as-Bourne flick was the best — The Bourne Ultimatum. It opened a little more than nine years ago. Time flies like a bat outta hell. The newbie is called Jason Bourne (Universal, 7.29). It’ll incorporate political narratives that have surfaced over the last six or seven years…right, Matt? Shot in the Canary Islands, Greece, Berlin, London and Las Vegas.
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