A high-def version of Hal Ashby‘s Shampoo has been streamable on Amazon for about three years, but on 10.16, for the first time, a Criterion Bluray of a “4K digital restoration” will go on sale. Given what’s recently happened with Criterion’s Midnight Cowboy and Bull Durham Blurays, I’m honestly scared that Criterion will add a strong teal tint to the color. Is a brand-new Warren Beatty interview among the extras? Or perhaps with screenwriter Robert Towne? Of course not. It will, however, include a video chat between critics Mark Harris and Frank Rich plus an essay by Rich.
I can’t divulge the location, but Hollywood Elsewhere will be there in spirit if not physically. And I’ll apparently be interviewing director Matt Tyrnauer when he arrives in Manhattan early next week.
Yes, I’m a serious fan of Matt Tyrnauer‘s Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich, 7.27), in part, I suppose, because I’ve always found good backroom gossip irresistible, but mostly because I really and truly believe Scotty Bowers was a sexual go-between for gay or bisexual Hollywood stars in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. And because I admire Scotty’s intrepid attitude about everything.
“The sexual proclivities of some of the biggest stars of that era — Cary Grant, in particular — were well known to the town’s insiders,” Tyrnauer told Brooks Barnes in a 7.16 N.Y. Times article. “But people still gasp. That says so much about the enduring power of the Hollywood myth machine.”
According to the calculations of World of Reel’s Jordan Ruimy, the following Canadian and international premieres at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival are probably Telluride-bound: Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma, Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War, Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, Olivier Assayas‘ Non-Fiction, Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s Shoplifters, Marielle Heller‘s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Matteo Garrone‘s Dogman, Jason Reitman‘s The Front Runner, David Lowery‘s The Old Man and the Gun, Elizabeth Chomko‘s What They Had (an international premiere in Toronto because it premiered at Sundance, not because of Telluride) and Yann Demange‘s White Boy Rick.
Apparently not going to Telluride because they’re listed as TIFF world or international premieres: Barry Jenkins‘ If Beale Street Could Talk (a surprise given that Jenkins is a longtime Telluride friend and former volunteer), Steve McQueen‘s Widows (latest pic from the winner of 2013 Best Picture Oscar gets the brushoff), Felix Von Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy, Bradley Cooper‘s A Star Is Born (Tom Luddy and Julie Huntsinger have reservations?), Lee Chang-dong‘s Burning, Nadine Labaki‘s Capernaum, Asghar Farhadi‘s Everybody Knows, Dan Fogelman‘s Life Itself, Laszlo Nemes‘ Sunset and Jacques Auduiard‘s The Sisters Brothers.
I saw Kevin Kurslake‘s Bad Reputation, a life-and-times-of-Joan Jett doc, during last January’s Sundance Film Festival. It tells her scrappy story in a thorough, relatively straightforward fashion, and therefore earned my admiration. The whole tale, start to finish, warts and all. Eight years ago I saw and mostly liked Floria Sigismondi’s The Runaways; I would classify Bad Reputation as a respectable complement to that film, and an essential sit if you’re any kind of fan.
I had one slight issue, and that’s the decision by Kurslake to sidestep — i.e., not directly address — Jett’s sexuality. It’s not as if her tough, hard-rock, leather-clad butchy persona hadn’t been telegraphed all along, but it still seems odd that it wouldn’t be discussed at all in a wide-open, this-is-me portrait such as this one. In a 1.29.18 review Autostrada’s “Fonseca” wrote that “Jett’s sexuality isn’t relegated to its own very special narrative segment [in the doc], and that’s because it’s everywhere — as it should be for a rock star, and as it should be for all of us.” If you say so, but it still feels like avoidance. To go by Bad Reputation, Jett not only never fell in love — she never even got laid.
BMG Films is releasing the doc sometime in September.
You can tell right off the bat that Jonah Hill‘s Mid ’90s (A24, 10.19) is an exception of one kind or another. It sure doesn’t feel like just another Los Angeles skateboard flick. You can sense a focus on character and kid culture and ’90s minutiae. Fast and loose and raggedy — the rhythms and the atmosphere feel right.
Pic is set in the lower West L.A. region — Palms, Culver City, Venice — and partly focused on a Motor Ave. skateboard shop. (Born in ’83, Hill grew up in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood or just north of these regions.) Sunny Suljic (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) has a certain X-factor thing going, and I love that Hill has Lucas Hedges playing a bit of a domineering-shit older brother instead of the usual gentle-sensitive guy from Lady Bird, Boy Erased and Manchester By The Sea. Katherine Waterston plays Suljic’s somewhat unstable mom.
Directed and written by Hill; shot by Christopher Blauvelt (Indignation) in HE’s own 1.37 aspect ratio (boxy is beautiful) and edited by Nick Houy.
With the British historical drama Peterloo (Amazon, 11.9), director Mike Leigh is veering into the kind of militant political material previously owned by Ken Loach (Land and Freedom, Bread and Roses, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Jimmy’s Hall). It also feels like an early 19th Century version of Paul Greengrass‘s brilliant Bloody Sunday (’02).
Leigh is recreating the notorious Peterloo Massacre of 1819, in which government troops killed roughly 15 demonstrators and injured hundreds more. 60,000 citizens from Manchester and surrounding towns had assembled in St. Peter’s Field to demand Parliamentary reform and an expansion of voting rights, and local government officials freaked.
The massacre happened a good 20 years before the intensifying of the Industrial Revolution, 26 years before the birth of Eugene Debs, 45 years before the first stirrings of the British Labour movement, and 48 years before the publication of Karl Marx‘s “Das Kapital.”
The 2018 Toronto Film Festival (9.6 through 9.16) has announced the first crop of films under the headings of galas and special presentations. I’ve bunched them all together under my own Hollywood Elsewhere classifications — Oscar bait, high expectations, critically approved in Cannes and “hmmmm.” I’m sure I’ve omitted or mis-classified a title or two.
Oscar bait: Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma, Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, Bradley Cooper‘s A Star Is Born, Felix van Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy.
High Expectations: Steve McQueen‘s Widows, Jason Reitman‘s The Front Runner, Olivier Assayas‘ Non-Fiction, László Nemes‘ Sunset, David Lowery‘s The Old Man and the Gun, Marielle Heller‘s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Wash Westmoreland‘s Colette, Yann Demange‘s White Boy Rick, Mia Hansen-Løve‘s Maya, Eva Husson‘s Girls of the Sun, Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers, Peter Hedges‘ Ben Is Back.
Critically approved in Cannes: Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War, Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s Shoplifters, Lee Chang-dong‘s Burning, Nadine Labaki‘s Capernaum, Zhang Yimou‘s Shadow, Matteo Garrone‘s Dogman, Paul Dano‘s Wildlife.
Second-Tier Farhadi Is Good Stuff Nonetheless: Asghar Farhadi‘s Everybody Knows.
Hmmm: Claire Denis‘s High Life, Melanie Laurent‘s Galveston, George Tillman‘s The Hate U Give, Jiang Wen‘s Hidden Man, Anurag Kashyap‘s Husband Material, Sara Colangelo‘s The Kindergarten Teacher, Nicole Holofcener‘s The Land of Steady Habits, Sir Trevor Nunn‘s Red Joan, Elizabeth Chomko‘s Wish They Had, Kwith Behrman‘s Giant Little Ones, Stella Meghie‘s The Weekend, Amma Asante‘s Where Hands Touch, Don McKellar‘s Through Black Spruce, Dan Fogelman‘s Life Itself, Emilio Estevez‘s The Public.