“In addition, Ben Affleck will turn 45 in August, so he would be pushing 50 before Matt Reeves‘ The Batman arrives in theaters. If Reeves makes a trilogy, Affleck would be in his mid 50s at best by the time that’s done. Maybe Tom Cruise could pull that off, but Affleck’s body hasn’t exactly been a temple.” — from “Ben Affleck’s Batman Future in Doubt as Warner Bros. Plots Franchise,” posted on 7.21 by Hollywood Reporter columnist Kim Masters, just after 10 am.
From “We’ll Miss You, Sean Spicer,” a 7.21 N.Y. Times opinion piece by Erin Gloria Ryan: “Reports indicate that Sean Spicer quit because President Trump had appointed Anthony Scaramucci White House communications director. After all that’s happened in the last six months, for Mr. Spicer, The Mooch was a bridge too far.
“The door slam was more befitting a moody teenager than the man whose job it is to communicate, but it was the perfect, flouncing end to Mr. Spicer’s tenure. How else could a six-month run of lying, whining and whining about being asked about lying end? All that was missing was a shrieked ‘I hate you!'”
Before proceeding the reader and prospective viewer of Detroit should understand that the film isn’t some intense panoramic sweep about the Detroit riots of ’67 but about the notorious Algiers Motel incident. A serious portion of the film takes place inside Manor House, a three-story brick building behind the motel where three black teenagers — Carl Cooper, Auburey Pollard and Fred Temple — were killed by authorities.
Before reading Boal’s piece I somehow missed that Detroit will open in select cities on 7.28 before going wide on 8.4.
“I chose this story from the ’60s in part because the decade evokes such lively and contradictory associations,” Boal explains. “The summer of 1967 witnessed two of the worst civil disturbances in American history — first Newark, then Detroit. It is troubling even now to watch the news coverage of all that violence and destruction, but make no mistake about it — this was an uprising, a rebellion. This was black America lashing out against an entrenched culture of repression and bigotry.
“And yet the far more widely remembered (and celebrated) spectacle of rebellion from that same moment in time is of the Summer of Love, all those hippies, mostly white, joyfully grooving out in San Francisco. [Today] the love-potion stuff has run its course, diffused into little more than an advertising trope, but the events in Detroit are hard evidence of a cultural crisis that remains unresolved, of two Americas that still don’t know quite how to deal with each other.
“The underlying intention of Detroit was always…to unpack the riot and this one incident at the Algiers from the point of view of its many participants, and thereby enable the audience to experience the events themselves. We wanted viewers not so much to watch the story as absorb it like a physical sensation. This necessitated certain narrative devices, in order to slip the whole thing past the resistance viewers often have [in] allowing troubling feelings to get in.
Straight from Wikipedia, no comment or elaboration needed: “In a political sense, bread and circuses (or bread and games, from Latin phrase panem et circenses) alludes to a superficial means of appeasement. It alludes to the generating of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion and distraction, or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered ‘palliative’.
“The term’s originator, the poet Juvenal, used the phrase to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the commoners.
“Panem et circenses identifies the only remaining cares of a Roman populace which no longer cares for its historical birthright of political involvement. It alludes to Roman politicians having passed laws in 140 B.C. to retain the votes of poorer citizens by introducing a grain dole: giving out free wheat and entertainment, ‘bread and circuses’, became the most effective way to rise to power.”
Four months ago an HE tipster caught a research screening of George Clooney‘s Suburbicon at the Sherman Oaks Arclight, and passed along some comments. Now that there’s talk of this Fargo-esque ’50s noir comedy debuting in Venice six weeks hence, it can’t hurt to reconsider what was posted last March.
The tipster called Suburbicon Clooney’s “best-directed film ever…more bell-ringy than The Ides of March, Monuments Men, Good Night and Good Luck, Leatherheads and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. The stars are Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac and young Noah Jupe. Paramount will open it on 10.27.
Suburbicon star Julianne Moore, director George Clooney during shooting last fall.
Joel and Ethan Coen‘s mid ’80s script was reworked by Clooney and Grant Heslov — the current Wikipedia page gives the Coens sole writing credit.
The other film Suburbicon resembles besides Fargo, the guy says, is Martin McDonagh‘s unreleased Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight, 11.10).
I’ll skip over the plot particulars, but it involves deceit, murder and hired hitmen a la Fargo with a pinch or two of Double Indemnity. Speaking of that 1944 Billy Wilder film, Oscar Isaac, portraying an insurance investigator, has a great interrogation scene towards the end in the tradition of Edward G. Robinson‘s Barton Keyes character.
The trade rumble is that Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which appears to be more of a personal-scale Pan’s Labyrinth-type deal than anything he’s made since Pan’s Labyrinth, may be going to the Venice Film Festival. That’s good — gentle-souled Guillermo needed to step out of that realm of big-ass fanboy movies with big-ass, Comic Con-friendly production values.
I’ll admit that I was hoping that Darren Aronofsky‘s mother! would be included as a Venice/Telluride thing, even though that piece-of-my-heart JLaw poster strongly hinted that mother! is some kind of intense, high-style genre film, albeit possibly outside the box in this or that respect. Generally speaking films of this nature are rarely given a Venice/Telluride launch, although I wanted to see it happen for my own perverse reasons. The opening has been advanced from 10.13 to 9.15.
Martin McDonaugh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri may also debut in Venice, they’re saying. But as noted on 7.19, it may not stage its North American continent debut in Telluride but Toronto. The rural drama seems like a perfect Telluride thing + a nice stateside complement to a possible Venice launch, but maybe Toronto offered a big first-weekend gala. We’ll hear soon enough.
HE readers will recall that I posted a favorable research-screening response last March to George Clooney’s Suburbicon. If it’s indeed as fetching as the research-screening guy said it was, a slot at the Venice Film Festival would be in order. The two questions that follow, of course, are (a) will it go to Telluride also or (b) will Paramount be pulling a Fox Searchlight and giving it a possible Toronto debut?
Alexander Payne‘s Downsizing was previously confirmed for Venice, which also means a likely Telluride launch.
I don’t know from Andrew Haigh‘s Lean On Pete, Paul Schrader‘s First Reformed, Lucrecia Martel’s Zama or Abdellatif Kechiche‘s Mektoub Is Mektoub. Forget Denis Villeneuve‘s Blade Runner 2049 going to Venice or Tellruide — more likely Toronto. Our Souls At Night, the Robert Redford-Jane Fonda romantic reunion Netflix release, will be enjoying a “go easy” out-of-competition Venice debut.
I’m not buying reports about Dunkirk having cost $150 million or thereabouts. I heard second-hand from an inside-the-loop guy that it was definitely more in the range of $200 million. I do believe, however, that it’s looking at $35 to $40 million by Sunday night. Which is a reasonably good weekend figure, considering the lack of stars and perceptions of arty somberness.
But it also means that a fairly significant sector of those who routinely pay to see hot-ticket films on the first weekend are saying to each other “it sounds good but maybe it’s not emotional or dumb enough, right? We don’t want to see a movie that belongs on a museum wall…we want to have fun and relax.”
Younger mainstream moviegoers will pay to see the latest superhero CG mulch at the drop of a hat and without breaking a sweat, but open a critically hailed, super-sized art film and some of them get the willies. A movie of this stellar calibre comes along two or three times a year, if that, and these bozos have to think it over.
A PostTrak audience poll, gathered by comScore/Screen Engine and posted by Deadline, says that under-25 guys have given Dunkirk a 95% score while under-25 women have given it a 94%. Over-25 males accounted for 47% of the audience and an 88% upvote, while over-25 females counterparts comprised 22% of ticket buyers with an 81% “yeah yeah.” 47% of viewers were lured by the subject of Dunkirk while 18% attributed their interest to reviews.
I’m going to repeat that: Less than one in five viewers were motivated by those rave reviews. You stupid cows in the field, swinging your tails at flies.
I like the idea of a young New York guy (Callum Turner) discovering that his married dad (Pierce Brosnan) is having it off with a significantly younger hottie (Kate Beckinsale), and then slipping into the situation and boning the girlfriend himself. And I’m willing to forgive director Marc Webb for those two Andrew Garfield Spider-Man reboots that no one really cared about, primarily because he directed 500 Days of Summer. And I’m willing to forgive screenwriter Allan Loeb for having written Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps because he also wrote Things We Lost In The Fire.
The only thing that gives me slight pause is the fact that Turner has eyes like Johnny Hallyday‘s, which is to say eyes like a timber wolf — a timber wolf in stylish, round-rim glasses. Some guys have warlock eyes (Stephen Frears), some have big cow eyes (Cary Grant), some have Walken eyes, some look like otters (Benedict Cumberbatch) and others have eyes like Turner…just saying. It’s also fair to ask where these eyes came from genetically. Brosnan obviously doesn’t resemble a timber wolf and neither does Cynthia Nixon, who plays his mom. Look at the guy…come on! (Nobody ever seems to notice this stuff, much less comment about it, except me.)
Roadside/Amazon will open The Only Living Boy in New York on 8.11.
I’ve nothing left to say about Comic Con, but I’m gonna say it anyway.
For the last few years this infernal San Diego gathering has been Hollywood Elsewhere’s idea of Evil Central — the absolute dregs of cinema culture congregated en masse, goofballing and cosplaying in one ten-square-block area of downtown San Diego, ripe for strafing as they fiddle with this or that pathetic fantasy…anything to distract them from the general drift and hollowness of their day-to-day lives.
Last year I said I wouldn’t go there with a knife at my back and a $1000 cash bribe in a brown paper bag. My refusal price has since gone up. This year I wouldn’t attend Comic Con with an offer of (a) $1500 in cash, (b) a RT flight to San Diego in a private jet, (c) ten gratis sushi dinners, (d) a year’s supply of dark Italian Starbucks Instant and (e) a $300 gift certificate from The Kooples.
Okay, the British guy who managed to actually fly around like a low-altitude Iron Man deserves a round of applause.
“Cons are for partying and cosplay and raucous behavior,” a “retired organizer of genre cons” named faustidisq wrote last year. “This attitude attracts so many different people now and not just the fat basement dwellers who used to be the only types. But at least those comic book guys weren’t pushovers to taste. They were well-read and quite articulate and knew their movie history. Nowadays, it’s a ‘look at my costuming group’ and ‘can I sneak into that press event, dude?’ attitude.”
Me too: “Except for noteworthy exceptions like Ant-Man, Avatar, portions of the 2014 Godzilla, the original Guardians of the Galaxy, the first two Captain America flicks and others I’m forgetting right now, the Comic-Con influence is the nexus of evil in the action-movie realm.
I would seriously pay to see a movie about Will Smith trying to get along and stay cool in a hood, cleaning his house, trying to sell it, swinging a push broom, wearing a maroon bathrobe, jawing with the locals, fixing himself breakfast, etc. If it stayed on that level, I mean. But another buddy cop flick, slightly rearranged or re-fitted with Orcs, serving the old saw about racial disharmony and distrust and pushing past resentments? Naah. No unholy alliance of David Ayer and Max Landis for me.