Personal Shopper director-writer Olivier Assayas, Kristen Stewart following Monday night’s screening at LACMA. Whether Joe & Jane Popcorn choose to see it this weekend or not, Stewart’s performance as the antsy, stressed-out Maureen is her finest ever.
I’ve been looking at King Kong all my life, but I honestly never noticed any tata captures. Until I came upon this last weekend, I mean. Sorry.
Dan Gilroy, Riz Ahmed, Jake Gyllenhaal during filming of Nightcrawler. (Pic stolen from Esquire link.)
In a 3.3 Hollywood Reporter piece by Aaron Couch, Logan co-screenwriter Scott Frank explains the genesis: “We made it an emotional, smaller personal story where it’s not the fate of the world. It’s his own kind of sanity and redemption at stake, instead of some sort of larger, apocalyptic scenario that these movies are always confronted by. I always believed you could locate a superhero in a really adult genre story. And I pitched it to Jim as, ‘Let’s do a super, ultra-violent version of Paper Moon.'”
Love that analogy-description, and Frank’s acknowledgment of Logan‘s “ultra-violent” nature is respected for its candor. I loved the Paper Moon aspects (although Dafne Keen isn’t Tatum O’Neal as much as Natalie Portman in Leon The Professional) but the decision to assault the audience with relentless brutality is what put me off. I wish it had been turned down. I wouldn’t have minded sporadic violence.
“I’ll never forget my first and only viewing of Irwin Allen‘s The Swarm at the Quad Cinema on 13th Street. It was maybe a week or two after the 7.14.78 opening. By then it had tanked and word has gotten around it was mythically awful, so a few feisty types were seated in the smallish Quad theatre. The heckling started between the one-third and halfway mark, and then it got better and better.
“But the film was so impossibly square and tedious and ogygen-sucking that you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the mostly middle-aged or long-of-tooth cast — Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, Jose Ferrer, Patty Duke, Bradford Dillman, Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda. They were being humiliated, plain and simple.
“As it ended with a shot of Caine and Ross watching the killer bees burn to death at sea, I remember the guys sitting in the front going ‘aaauuughhhhh!,’ like they been gored by a bull.” — from a 4.6.14 post called “Shoulda Been There.”
I worked with the late Robert Osborne — not closely but editing-wise — during my time at the Hollywood Reporter in 1983 and ’84, back in the clackety-clack era of typewriters and white-out and red-ink pens. This was when the Reporter headquarters were on Sunset at the corner of Las Palmas…Tichi Wilkerson, Bruce Binkow, Lynn Segal, Jefferson Graham, Hedy Kleyweg, Jeff Ressner, Duane Byrge, Ruth Robinson, et. al.
Osborne wrote a daily column back then. He had a desk in the outer area, but now and then he’d saunter into the main news room and shoot the shit.
He got angry with us once when we mistakenly corrected what we thought was a misspelling of Michelle Pfeiffer‘s name, only to find out Bob was referring to some guy whose name was similarly spelled, Michael Pfeffer or something like that. He really let us have it, but then again we couldn’t reach him when we were debating what to do so it was at least partly on him.
The great Osborne passed last night at age 84, and I’m sorry. He was a good, sharp, amiable fellow who really knew his stuff. I loved his TCM summaries as much as the next guy, but he was best when he was off-camera and really spilling the beans among friends.
In an L.A. Times story Osborne’s partner of 20 years, David Staller, said two things — one, that Osborne died of natural causes in his sleep at home in New York City, and two, that “he made the choice to call it a day, and he wants everyone to know that he’ll see them at the after party.” Hold on…you can pass from (i.e., get taken out by) natural causes or you can choose to call it a day, but you can’t do both.
Olivier Assayas‘ Personal Shopper finally opens theatrically this Friday, almost ten months after jolting and dividing the Cannes Film Festival last May. It’s being shown tonight at LACMA with Assayas and Kristen Stewart sitting for a post-screening q & a. The excitement that I felt just after the Salle Debussy screening — a sensation I’ll never forget — will be semi-rekindled one last time, and then the movie will die like a mouse trying to cross the Santa Monica Freeway at rush hour.
Yes, this brilliant fear-and-anxiety flick is going to perish faster than you can snap your fingers, which is all the more reason to see it immediately. Unless, of course, you couldn’t care less about theatrical submissions and would rather wait for streaming, in which case I say “go with God” or “go fuck yourself” — take your pick.
Either way Personal Shopper is irrefutably one of the most original and unsettling ghost flicks ever made and certainly the nerviest this century. This has been proven, in a sense, by the pooh-poohers and naysayers. There’s never been an important, game-changing piece of art that hasn’t been trashed in the early stages by milquetoasts and conservatives.
Personal Shopper‘s brilliance is partly about the fact that it’s not so much a “ghost story” as an antsy mood piece about…well, a whole jumble of ingredients but all of them drawn from the here and now. It’s more of an uptown cultural smorgasbord that’s seasoned with a ghostly current that you can take or leave, but it certainly doesn’t hinge on standard shock moments — cracked mirrors, moving furniture and all that.
Remember that Assayas won the Best Director prize last May, and that honors of this sort are never given out lightly.
If you like typical bullshit fast-food ghost movies…if you’re a Conjuring fan…if you like your goose bumps served with pickles, onions and extra cheese in a to-go wrapper then I sincerely hope you have a miserable time with Personal Shopper. The more I think about paying customers who are too stupid or rigid-minded to get it, the better I feel. But if you liked The Innocents and The Haunting, there’s hope for you.
An Australian critic wrote last summer that “I didn’t know that all I wanted in a movie was Kristen Stewart scootering around Paris buying expensive designer fashions for rich people while texting a ghost who may or may not be her dead twin brother.” See? He didn’t know what was coming but he got it all the same. I’ve scootered all over Paris for years on end, and watching this film for the first time…I’m not exaggerating…was simply one of the greatest summaries of that transcendent Paris scooterbuzz thing…it was heaven.
Help me, God…help me to return so I can once again use my wits and agility to dodge all that Paris traffic at night and feel like Jean Paul Belmondo in Breathless.
Personal Shopper is partly about how urban life can feel at times, creepy and cold and yet exciting at the same time, but it’s also about the way it all felt in the fall of ’15 (i.e., when Personal Shopper was filming), and about the vibe when you were roaming around Paris or any big-league burgh and coping with that current and feeling varying shades of fluidity and flotation. It’s a darting, here-and-there thing, a fleeting experience about the flutterings and rattles of spirits around the corner. Or deep within. Or out in the ether.
This is what the hinterland Bumblefucks have given us, done to us — an ongoing padded-cell psychodrama for the next three and seven-eighth years. A President completely divorced from receptivity to reason, facts, decency and emotional stability. The Trump Presidency is a crazy pulpit — a fount of scattershot alt-right brain farts. We don’t get to debate or solve problems between now and 2021 — we have to debate what kind of measures or medication (and in what doses) would be the best way to moderate this maniac. Oh, to live in a world in which the public discussion is not about alt-right lunacy but primarily about beliefs, quality of life, practical applications of common sense, inspiration, justice, potential solutions and degrees of compassion. Instead we’re living in an asylum.