I was under the impression that the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation (5.26 to 6.4) was an unruly, somewhat chaotic thing. As any evacuation under duress would be. I never imagined that the defeated British troops, anxious and scared, would stand so still and quietly, and that all of that windblown sand would look so captivating. But Chris Nolan, director-writer of Dunkirk (Warner Bros., 7.21.17), has. No matter — the chilling sequence at the end (the 31-second to the 46-second mark) makes it all worth it.
Blustery character actor David Huddleston, whose career peaked with his performance as testy Republican philanthropist Jeffrey Lebowski in Joel and Ethan Coen‘s The Big Lebowski (’98), died two days ago at the age of 85. Huddleston’s career began around ’70 or thereabouts. He acted in many films and TV shows, but I honestly don’t remember any stand-outs except for the Lebowski thing. Sorry.
There’s a driveway-sized street called Michael Bay Avenue on the Paramount lot. It was christened with that name about a year ago, according to a Paramount administrator I spoke to earlier today. It’s a tribute in honor of all the money that the Transformers films have made for the studio. I noticed the street sign before catching Florence Foster Jenkins last night on the lot. Many buildings and streets on the lot are named for famous folks who made Paramount films and/or worked on the lot in some lengthy capacity.
For months I’ve been searching online for a pair of brown-and-white saddle shoes, and I’ve been coming up dry time and again. After noticing a color shot of a pair that Tony Curtis wore during the San Diego shoot of Some Like It Hot, I decided I had to have the exact same. I love those nice, thick, brownish-red soles. But it’s been a “sorry but no dice” situation so far. I wouldn’t mind buying the black-soled pair pictured below, but even these have been impossible to find in my size (i.e., 13). I’ve asked a clothes-horse friend who lives in Santa Barbara if he’s even been to a shop that carries quality saddle shoes; he said maybe but added that he always buys his shoes in New York. If anyone knows anyone or anything…
I’m presuming there’s a reason why longtime Weinstein Co. publicity honcho Dani Weinstein is leaving her post. I’m mentioning this because trade stories announcing her departure aren’t even speculating as to why. High-calibre, long-serving employees usually leave a gig because they’ve accepted a better offer from another outfit, or because the company being left is grappling with a current of uncertainty or instability. The Weinstein Co. is thought to be going through difficult financial straits but I don’t know enough to even guess the particulars. Weinstein (no relation) has been with the Weinstein Co. for 16 years, or since 2000. Working at the Weinstein Co. has never been a day at the beach for anyone, ever. Update: Weinstein acquisitions and production chief Dan Guando is also ankling the company. Coincidence, not.
Showbiz 411‘s Roger Friedman was apparently under an impression that Martin Scorsese‘s Silence might not be released during award season. I’ve been figuring all along that it has to come out by at least December…c’mon. Friedman reported today that Scorsese told him a day or so ago that Silence‘s release situation “depends on Paramount,” but that a firm date is yet to come.
Scorsese told Friedman that “he’ll be done with scoring in October, and regular people will start to see the movie then.” I for one would be delighted if Silence takes the surprise screening slot at the 2016 New York Film Festival (i.e., sometime between Sunday, 10.9 and Wednesday 10.12), even if it’s not fully finished by that point.
Friedman’s conclusion: “So throw Silence into the ring with Birth of a Nation, Rules Don’t Apply, Queen of Katwe, Sully, The Founder, Fences and a bunch of other films no one’s seen yet (like La-La Land, and so on). Why not? So far in 2016, on August 4th, we otherwise have zilch in our checkout basket for the Academy Awards. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.”
“Zilch”? Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester By The Sea and The Birth of a Nation are Best Picture locks. But not so fast regarding The Founder, Sully, Rules Don’t Apply, Queen of Katwe and Lah-Lah Land.
In the closing paragraph of his Suicide Squad review, Andrew O’Heir wrote that “it’s not one mediocre anti-superhero movie that bothers me [but] the immense cultural starvation, and the deep-seated willingness to believe that giant entertainment conglomerates hold the only possible remedy.”
Yesterday Variety‘s Guy Lodge tweeted the following:
The final paragraph of my own half-assed review of Suicide Squad (posted on 8.3), I wrote the following: “I saw the faces of the all-media invitees as I left the theatre. They were numb, drained, sucked dry and asking themselves the same question — ‘What have we done to ourselves as a culture? Why are we submitting to the vision of those malignant Warner Bros. executives, to the overall D.C. Comics grim-itude, to the rancid emptiness of the corporate greed virus? Why are we watching these films? What has happened to our moviegoing souls?'”
Are you detecting a commonality, a despairing view of things shared not just by myself, Lodge and O’Hehir but possibly many others?
If you had the power to “disappear” certain persons in the film and TV industry, who would you pick? You would only have this power for five minutes. You might only be allowed to take out three, like with the genie’s three wishes. You’d just have to find their photo online, focus on that, say their name out loud and clap your hands three times. You can include, if you wish, film critics and columnists. (I understand in proposing this that some may want to eliminate me, but I can take that.) For the general betterment of things and in the name of making movies and TV more engaging and rewarding and online discussions more elevating, who would you zotz?
Keep in mind that I haven’t titled this piece “who would you like to get rid of?”, which alludes to rubbing people out. I’m thinking more along the lines of a gentle, compassionate. all-but-silent disappearance. I’m talking about people just leaving like that (snap of fingers) and being transported to another realm or planet, just whooshing away like all those millions in HBO’s The Leftovers. No pain, no hurt, no shock, no trauma…just peace in a valley that’s not on planet earth.
I for one would leapfrog out of movies and TV and eliminate Donald Trump. Just like that…the suit, the tie, the socks and the black shoes lying in a heap on the floor.
I would eliminate the “creative” Warner Bros. team behind the D.C. Comics adaptations. I would eliminate Zack Snyder. I would erase Eli Roth. I would eliminate each and every person who signed that petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes over the Suicide Squad rating. I would wipe out certain online fanboy types, particularly the bearded, girthy, flip-flop or mandal wearers. (Except for the ones with kids.) I would eliminate Zak Galafianakis, Tom Hooper, Aaron Paul, Joel Edgerton and Ben Mendelsohn. I would eliminate McG for old times’ sake. Dennis Dugan for his Adam Sandler movies. Jan De Bont for old times’ sake.
The more I reflect upon Bill Maher‘s “Notorious HRC” riff, the more I realize he’s right. MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin said the other day that despite the manic horrors of Donald Trump, many voters still don’t trust Hillary. But in what context? They don’t trust her to restore honesty in American government, to be wholesome and transformative, to shine God’s light? Of course not. But they can and should trust her to be Madam Butch Boss — a tough, cigar-chomping “Ma Clinton,” as Maureen Dowd described her eight years ago. And there is comfort in that.
We’ve all been spoiled by Obama and that light around him, that aura. If there’s anything glowing around Hillary’s head, it’s the light of egoism and self-interest in that familiar political realm that everyone is so sick and tired of. She’s Melvyn Douglas in Michael Ritchie‘s The Candidate. But she won’t be pushed around. She plots, she connives, she negotiates like a sports agent and gives no quarter. I believe this is who Clinton is, and I therefore trust her to be that person.
“If the age calls for a strongman, Hillary in fact has the résumé for it. Like Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel, a woman who survives and flourishes at the top of this backstabbing business is surely made of steel. Donald Trump, in comparison, is rather a fancy man. But her obvious desire to be liked, and the hurt she feels that she isn’t (and, boy, she isn’t), have led her to try to want to be thought of now, in her reimagining, as cuddly, caring and inclusive. That may be a risky bit of self-delusion.” — Michael Wolff in a recent Hollywood Reporter piece.