It’s terrific that the guys who assembled this Mad Max: Fury Road comparison reel felt obliged to overlay the word “color” over color footage. Just in case…you know, some viewer might have a different impression. If you want my opinion the color-with-zero-saturation footage looks better — more body, flavor, character — than the black-and-chrome footage. Which means all I have to do is turn down the color on my Fury Road Bluray.
Ever since Mel Gibson played the crazy, half-suicidal Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon (which I’m having difficulty accepting as a film that’s nearly 30 years old), I’ve been carrying the idea that Gibson himself is highly eccentric and wound-up. Because I knew Riggs wasn’t just a character on a page but close in spirit and temperament to Gibson himself. It was obvious.
Purer manifestations emerged when he began directing. Braveheart (’95), The Passion of the Christ (’04) and especially Apocalypto (’06) wallowed in beatings, bruisings and gougings of an intense, graphic nature. Because something in Mel just can’t resist going there.
And now, after a ten-year absence from directing, comes Gibson’s latest, Hacksaw Ridge (Summit, 11.4), and it’s nearly as bloody and gorey as the others. This despite a World War II-era story about a real-life pacifist, Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Battle of Okinawa without firing a single bullet.
It’s unusual for critics to break into applause, but that’s what they did at the end of a Hacksaw Ridge screening last week. This reaction is reflected in the film’s 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating. But I have to say that while Hacksaw is vivid and pounding and open-hearted, I don’t get the adoration. It’s basically another half-crazy movie made by a half-crazy helmer — blood and guts, overt “acting”, saucy sentimentality, small-town patriotism, on-the-nose emotions.
I’m not calling Hacksaw a bad film, but it seemed a bit much for my tastes.
Year in and year out, Frank Perry‘s Play It As It Lays (’72) maintains its absence as a Bluray, DVD or via high-def streaming. No Amazon, Vudu, Netflix, zip. It aired on the Sundance Channel a few years year and then vanished. Every so often someone will post the film on YouTube, and eventually attorneys for Universal Home Video, which owns the rights the last time I checked, will have it taken down. It appeared again in August 2015 (and in 1.37!) and hasn’t been pulled after 14 months so here’s your chance.
Here, for the fifth or sixth time, is a lengthy assessment of the film, originally posted in ’03 and then re-posted in ’09. I especially admire Tony Perkins‘ performance as B.Z., a gay Hollywood producer with a kind heart and a flip attitude. I’ve long felt it’s the finest of his career, and probably the most reflective of his own manner and personality.
Miles Teller has been staying at the Marshall House since Sunday, and will take bows after tonight’s Savannah Film Festival screening of Bleed For This (Open Road, 11.4), which I saw and favorably reviewed at Telluride. Director-writer Ben Younger along with former world-champion boxer Vinny Paz, whom Teller portrays, will attend also.
I saw Teller a couple of days ago in front of the Marshall House. Shooting shit with fans, posing for selfies, etc. He was wearing shorts and a pair of flaming turquoise-blue cross-training shoes. He no longer has the blonde hair he was wearing last August for his role in Joseph Kosinski‘s Granite Mountain, so I guess that’s done. Yesterday he sat down for a Master Class (i.e., a sit-down discussion) with SCAD students.
This morning I tried to arrange a fast interview wth Teller (we’re both in town, our hotels only six blocks apart), but the word came back that Teller is “too busy.” Too busy posing for selfies, they meant. Or too pissed off about my “don’t be a pervert, man” posts. But that’s okay. He’s a live-wire actor who never bores. He just needs to keep being that.
A few days ago it was reported that Paramount Pictures has acquired the rights to the biography ‘Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll,” with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to produce and star. A little voice is saying DiCaprio should ease up on portraying real-life guys — Jordan Belfort, Frank Abagnale, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes. Plus he’ll never top his Belfort performance — he knows it, we know it.
If a Sam Phillips biopic is going to happen for sure, the best guy to play him would be a time-machine version of Dallas Roberts. Yes, the guy who played Phillips in that one burn-through scene from Walk The Line (’05). I believed 100% in that scene. Roberts was perfect, owned it. He was 34 or 35 back then, is now 46.
Yes, Phillips created the legendary Sun Records label and discovered nascent blues rockers like Howlin’ Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, and in so doing gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll. But his peak period only lasted five years (’51 to ’56). So the movie would be basically saying “this visionary Southern guy lived for 80 years and is a bona fide legend, but mostly because of a bright-burning period that began to draw to a close when Presley began appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, which was eight years before the Beatles arrived.”
Posted on 2.6.09 during my visit to Memphis: “I loved visiting the fabled Sun Studios because it hasn’t been expanded or glitzed up. It looks and feels a lot like what I imagine it used to be back in the ’50s. I bought an Elvis at Sun CD and listened to it twice during the 90-minute drive south to Oxford. ‘Y’heard the news, thayuhs good rockin’ tonight.'”