“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest. And then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest. And now it’s the tallest.” — Donald Trump speaking to interviewer on 9.11.01. (Hat tip to Marlow Stern for his posting of same earlier today.)
Here's the disgusting audio of Trump on 9/11 bragging about how his building is now the tallest in Lower Manhattan: pic.twitter.com/4ufikWwOom
There will be five screenings of Pablo Larrain‘s Jackie at the Toronto Film Festival — tonight at 8:30 pm at the Winter Garden, a pair of Monday screenings — 2:30 pm at the Elgin along with a 3 pm p & i showing at the Scotiaplex — along with a Wednesday 2:45 pm Scotiaplex repeater and finally a Bell Lightbox screening on Sunday at 3:45 pm. But tonight’s showing is the hot ticket, and Hollywood Elsewhere has managed to score a seat. Ditto the after-party.
From Jonathan Romney‘s Screen Daily review, dated 9.7: “Not so much a biopic as an essay on history and what happens to people who become part of it, Pablo Larraín’s Jackie is an elegant, highly intelligent attempt to humanize a legend — while showing its subject’s acute awareness of what it means to become a legend.
“Natalie Portman excels in her most demanding and most complex performance to date as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, shown living through the immediate aftermath of her husband’s assassination in 1963. Larraín’s highly varied visual invention and command of complex structure serve as a reminder of how vitally an imaginative director can skew what otherwise might have emerged in more mainstream colors.
Hillary Clinton left a 9/11 memorial service early today, apparently due to feelings of weakness, and then she fainted as she was helped into her SUV, her knees buckling, her shoe falling onto the pavement. You know who almost certainly wouldn’t have fainted under these conditions? Bernie Sanders — that guy knows the meaning of “to live in this town, you must be tough tough tough tough tough tough tough.” Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t have fainted. No healthy person in his/her late 60s faints from warm weather. That’s for people in their late 70s or 80s, if at all.
It would be one thing if the temperature had been in the mid to upper 90s, but the temperature in Manhattan right now is roughly 80 degrees (27 celsius) give or take. The incident happened this morning around 9:30 am, according to a N.Y. Times report, which indicates that temps were somewhat cooler, probably somewhere in the upper 70s.
This is very, very bad — the alt-right is going crazy with this video.
It’s still likely that Hillary will beat Donald Trump on November 8th, but I’m honestly wondering now if she’ll run for a second term. It’s fair to feel concern about this. The Presidency is a tough job, and the image of a chief executive fainting and unable to stand up due to temps in the high 70s indicates that other signs of frailty will manifest down the road.
“For me, [The Birth of a Nation] isn’t the Nate Parker story,” said Penelope Ann Miller, who plays a slave owner in the film, during a TIFF press conference held today. “This is the Nat Turner story. I would say from most of the interviews I’ve done [that] most people don’t know about the Nat Turner story. I think it’s an important story to learn about. I hope people would give us a chance.”
That has been my feeling all along. If at all possible (and I realize it may not be for some), the subject of The Birth of a Nation — Turner’s leading of an 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia — should be the focus. Nate Parker‘s Penn State history is a tough thing to get around, but Turner’s legend demands respect. He was the first African American in U.S. history to push back forcefully against slavery, some 30 years before the beginning of the Civil War.
Incidentally: A colleague who caught a screening of Parker’s film the other night said that my descriptions of the film have been “too kind.” Among his complaints was his belief that the film takes too long for the rebellion to happen — i.e., roughly 90 minutes.
In my 1.25.16 Sundance review I said that Birth “will almost certainly be nominated because it delivers a myth that many out there will want to see and cheer, but don’t kid yourself about how good and satisfying this film is. It’s mostly a mediocre exercise in deification and sanctimony. I loved the rebellion as much as the next guy but it takes way too long to arrive.”
Two days ago Politics Forum’s Todd VanDerWerff posted an interesting two-sided piece about Manchester By The Sea. On one hand he derided “sad white people” dramas with two observations — (1) the notion of white guys contemplating their sadness is a fundamentally privileged thing, and (2) sad white guy movies almost always rely on some sort of third-act redemption. On the other he notes that Manchester is an exception to this pattern by eschewing or subverting said tropes.
A few seconds after reading this a suspicion came to mind. By all appearances and indications David Frankel‘s Collateral Beauty (Warner Bros., 12.16) is one of VanDerWerff’s sad white guy movies, except the sad white dude is Will Smith.
The recently-popped trailer seems to fit VanDer Werff’s description to a T: “A white guy with enough of a financial cushion to contemplate his inner life realizes just how empty it is. (He probably lives somewhere in the Northeast.) He tries to fill the void with other things but continually fails. The thought keeps gnawing at him, until he returns to some sort of foundational trauma that made him who he is. With the help of others, he moves past the trauma and has a chance at something new — not necessarily better, but new.”
I don’t know if Smith’s Collateral Beauty character gets past his sadness and experiences some kind of third-act rebirth, but the trailer sure indicates this.
Basic compassion demands an acknowledgement of today’s 15-year anniversary of the 9/11 massacre. The memories are seared deep and we’ll never stop recalling them. In a strange way I’ve always regretted not being in Manhattan that day. I’ll never forget how it felt with the film fraternity up in Toronto, and everyone huddling together in a kind of daze. I recall standing on the corner of Bay and Bloor Street and telling myself over and over, “This is the new Pearl Harbor.” My strongest recollection is everyone (including Brian De Palma) staring at the video footage from the lobby of the Cineplex Odeon, and some of us (myself included) still going to TIFF films after the news broke.
Yesterday a friend sent me this TIME essay about Richard Drew’s capturing of that legendary photo of the upside-down guy.
I posted a similar shot of a guy in mid-fall on the one-year anniversary. Later that day a big-name critic wrote and said I’d crossed a line. I’ve always been of two minds regarding the 9/11 horrors. On one hand I understand the feelings of people who don’t want to remember things too vividly; on the other I think it’s fundamentally wrong to heavily edit or smother the reality of what happened, at least for those who might want to go there.
Posted on 9.9.11: “I’ll be appalled for the rest of my life that my Reel.com editor (whose name I’m not going to mention) chose to summarize the column that I wrote from the Toronto Film Festival on the evening of 9.11.01 as follows: “Jeffrey Wells reports on the toll that current events have had on the Toronto Film Festival, and tries to muster enthusiasm for films that have screened, including Lantana, Monsoon Wedding, and Last Orders.”
During last Thursday’s Magnificent Seven TIFF press conference, Denzel Washington described the 9.16 Columbia release as “just a movie” and “a good time.” He’s blowing smoke, of course. I had an awful time watching Antoine Fuqua‘s film. Nobody loves good, crafty escapism more than myself, but when a lazy wank-off flick like The Magnificent Seven comes along and makes you feel drained and nauseous, people like Denzel and critic Lewis Beale say “hey, relax…it’s just a movie!” But there’s no relaxing when a film is flagrantly empty except in terms of the photography (Mauro Fiore‘s lensing is first-rate), and has nothing in the way of cleverness or fresh attitude up its sleeve. There is nothing so detestable as people who dismiss the potential of cinema by saying “it’s just a movie.” Can you imagine Arthur Miller saying “it’s just a play” or a respected architect saying “it’s just a home” or a clothier saying “it’s just a suit” or a gourmet chef saying “it’s just a souflee”? Or that any of these were created so you can have “a good time”?