I bought the idea of Robert Redford playing a career thief in Peter Yates‘ The Hot Rock (’72) because he wasn’t really invested in the character, John Dortmunder. Redford was obviously cruising easy as he went through the escapist motions, plus he was only 35 and really good-looking back then.
20 years later, the 55 year-old Redford played a computer hacker in Phil Alden Robinson‘s Sneakers (’92), but his character, Martin Bishop, wasn’t a ne’er-do-well as much as a clever operator looking to play both sides.
In David Lowery‘s upcoming The Old Man and the Gun (Fox Searchlight, 10.5), the 81 year-old Redford plays the real-life Forrest Tucker, a career criminal and prison escape artist. It looks and sounds like good fun. I don’t really believe the elderly Redford as a hardcore bank robber, but the trick of these films is to nudge you into going along despite your reluctance. Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits and Elisabeth Moss costar.
The Old Man and the Gun director David Lowery, Robert Redford during filming.
Let me tell you what exciting would be. Exciting would be an announcement that the three big no-show Netflix titles — Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma, Paul Greengrass‘s Norway and Orson Welles‘ The Other Side of the Wind — will screen following a surprise resolution of the Cannes-Netflix dispute.
I’m intrigued by the addition of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree (competition) and Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney (midnight), but not so much by Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built (sans competition), Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (screening on closing night) and Ramin Bahrani‘s Fahrenheit 451 (midnight).
HE’s Jordan Ruimy has heard that Ceylan’s film is “slow as molasses and his most experimental movie,” and that Cannes accepted the film “with reservations.”
No one was a greater Von Trier fan than myself during the period of Breaking the Waves (’96), The Idiots (’98), Dancer in the Dark (’00), Dogville (’03) and The Boss Of It All (’06). But Antichrist, Melancholia and the Nymphomaniac films underwhelmed. I’m sensing shock and brutality from The House That Jack Built, which isn’t a competition film — unusual for Von Trier.
The Gilliam won’t screen until after the awards ceremony on the evening of Saturday, 5.19. My plane back to the States (actually to Dublin) leaves that night at 11:35 pm so I guess not.
Bahrani’s 99 Homes, his Florida real-estate movie with Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, was a predictable slog; ditto At Any Price, the Dennis Quaid-Zac Efron father-son drama. You can see what Fahrenheit 451 is up to at a glance — same 99 Homes dynamic only with Michael B. Jordan in the Garfield role.
McDonald’s Whitney doc may be dismissible unless he’s straight-from-the-shoulder about Whitney Houston‘s drug problems, and especially her self-destructive relationship with Bobby Brown. I’m getting tired of people tippy-toeing around the facts.
I finally caught Betsy West and Julie Cohen‘s RBG, a clean, concise and well-ordered doc about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Watching it wasn’t electric or thrilling or breathtaking, but then neither is Ginsberg. But for years she’s been been a steady, exacting and quietly brilliant workhorse who has focused on women’s right issues and helped to nudge the culture and the patriarchy along in her own way. RBG is one of those deliberate, connect-the-dots biographical portraits, but I was very pleased with it. It radiates sincerity and respect, and is good humored when the material warrants. West and Cohen made me wish with all my heart that Ms. Ginsburg might continue to serve on the Supreme Court for another 40 or 50 years. I sincerely hope this will happen.
In an interview with Paris Match‘s Dany Jucaud, Javier Bardem stood up for former collaborator Woody Allen. The thought! Asked by Jacaud if he was “ashamed” of having worked with Allen on Vicky Cristina Barcelona (’07), Bardem replied: “Absolutely not. I am very shocked by this sudden treatment. Judgments in the states of New York and Connecticut found him innocent. The legal situation today is the same as in 2007. If there was evidence that Woody Allen was guilty, then yes, I would have stopped working with him, but I have doubts.”
Bardem has presumably considered various points raised by Robert Weide last December and in a previous piece dated 5.30.16, not to mention what Moses Farrow has said about the whole matter.
A week ago I was invited to participate in a silent theatrical environment thingy called PLAY (242 South Broadway, LA 90012), which is the creation of actress (and Damian Chazelle’s partner-fiance) Olivia Hamilton.
I was instantly terrified, of course. I didn’t want to be dismissive or impolite, but Hollywood Elsewhere doesn’t pretend or play or dance around or any of that carefree pre-school stuff. Life is duty, focus, nose to the grindstone, devotion, manning up, late hours, etc. I don’t want to revert to being a five-year-old, but I’m not putting anyone down who might enjoy this. It’s just not me. I’m too grumpy, too deep, too Siddhartha. (Or do I mean Steppenwolf?)
But I didn’t have the courage to level with Olivia and just tell her this. I just kept putting it off. And then six or seven hours before showtime last weekend, I couldn’t stand my cowardice any more so I wrote her a “sorry with apologies” note.
HE to Hamilton: “It just hit me that ‘the silent PLAY‘ begins sometime after 10 pm this evening. Please forgive me, but (a) I’m too afraid of attending in general and (b) I can’t attend something that starts this late. I’m sorry for not reading the particulars until just now. I’m a daily columnist and on too strict of an early-morning wake-up schedule. Plus I’m a coward.
“If there’s any way I can help by posting, say, a video piece about ‘the silent PLAY,’ I’d be happy to do that.
“My blood ran cold at the thought of attending this to begin with — socks, silence, play, masks, wigs, etc. But I was going to throw caution to the winds and attend anyway because [Santa Barbara Film Festival director] Roger Durling told me it’s great.” HE Interjection: I’m not exactly “blaming” Durling for getting me into this, but he was definitely the instigator.
“Please forgive me, Olivia. I don’t want to hurt your feelings or not show support as far as I’m emotionally able. Please send me any video clips or essays or anything of that nature, and anything in the way of a first-person review or what-have-you, and I’ll be glad to post it. I really want to help and do what I can short of ‘playing.’ I feel guilty, but I feel even more intimidated and terrified of attending. Not to mention the late hour.
“Love and mercy, Jeffrey Wells, HE”
Michael Cohen dropping his lawsuits against Fusion GPS and Buzzfeed means what? Obviously that he doesn’t want to submit to the discovery process and/or testify under oath that he was or wasn’t in Prague in the late summer of 2016. But in the wake of a two-day-old Washington Times article in which a Mueller staffer warned that “many” articles about the Trump-Russia probe have been “wrong,” there is pressure upon McClatchy’s Peter Stone and Greg Gordon to deliver a follow-up to their 4.13 story that said Team Mueller has “evidence” that Cohen did in fact visit Prague, according to “two sources.”
Cohen is basically a thuggish, Trump-beholden Michael Clayton…right? Without the moral awakening. Instead of Cohen saying “you’re so fucked” to Tilda Swinton or some other steely adversary at the end of the third act, knowledgable attorneys along with the entire Twitterverse are saying this to Cohen, day in and day out.