I almost feel as if I’ve seen this already, but the trailer for The Mustang is well judged. Obviously a healing-and-therapy movie, but intriguing. The director is Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, whom I don’t know. I’m sensing the right kind of vibes. Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruce Dern, Connie Britton, etc. Slated for Sundance, opening in March.
As seriously moved, enthralled or charmed as I am by Green Book, Roma, Vice, First Reformed, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Happy as Lazzaro, Capernaum, The Mule, Black Panther, First Man and A Star Is Born, Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War sits at the top of the heap. (Setting aside the matter of the ending, which I’ve never let bother me.)
No other 2018 film rang my bell quite as loudly or distinctly. I don’t care what category it’s in — no other film is as concise and self-aware and visually glistening and fatalistic as Cold War. It’s pure silvery pleasure, perfectly distilled, the highest iteration of arthouse porn I ran into all year. And it offers the greatest female performance of the year, courtesy of Joanna Kulig.
It’s not often that identity politics & representation attitudes are spelled out as clearly as they were a couple of days ago on Facebook. [12.14 update: The author has asked me to remove a screen capture of same, claiming that it violates his privacy.] The curious thing is that the author puts down Black Panther in the course of defending it. It doesn’t need real “defending” — I’ve never assailed the craft levels (has anyone?). And I’ve said over and over that Black Panther is (a) an historical benchmark film that serves as a kind of grand totem for the social changes of 2018, (b) it’s the most socially grounded Marvel superhero flick ever made, and (c) the final hour really works.
The author also fails to acknowledge the obvious about Crazy Rich Asians, which is that it literally smothers the viewer in wealth-and-real-estate porn, and that if you have the ability to see through the bullshit attitudes and assumptions that these desperately insecure super-wealthy people are coasting on…if you allow yourself to focus on who these awful people really are deep down, Crazy Rich Asians will make you physically sick.
It’s awfully damn hard to make a film that even half-works. It’s probably just as hard to make something that stinks. Everyone is always trying to like hell to make a film that will do them and their parents proud. Even makers of dumbshit comedies and genre spoofs. So what does it take to make something that’s actually, seriously good? Serious talent or the ability to channel divine inspiration…whichever is available. And the ability of above-the-line creatives to keep sweaty, thick-fingered, Sam Spiegel-ish producer types as far away as possible from the creative levers.
Hardnose46: She looked like the ragged end of nowhere.
Aloof Urbanite: I’m beginning to think I’m underpaid.
Hardnose39: Got a match?
Straight-shooter: Don’t you ever have any?
Hardnose39: No — don’t believe in laying in a supply of anything.
[she hands him a match]
Straight-shooter: Matches, marbles, money or women, huh?
Hardnose39: That’s right.
Straight-shooter: No looking ahead, no tomorrows, just today.
Hardnose39: That’s right.
From Peter Bradshaw‘s 9.12.18 Guardian review of James Marsh‘s King of Thieves: “The Hatton Garden safety deposit robbery of 2015, hilariously carried out by a bunch of geriatric criminals who tunnelled through a concrete wall, has been turned into an excruciating tongue-in-cheek film version with bus-pass movie icons in the leading roles.
“Screenwriter Joe Penhall and director James Marsh [have delivered] what can only be described as their less-than-finest work.”
The fact that the real-life geezer gang “fell prey to dirty tricks and backstabbing” suggests King of Thieves could have been a variation on Jules Dassin‘s Rififi (’55).
Almost a quarter of Rififi — 28 minutes, give or take — is consumed by the silent, word-less. music-free jewel robbery sequence. Let’s imagine that Marsh decided to throw caution to the wind and do the same thing with King of Thieves — maintain an absolute focus on the technical aspects of the job sans dialogue or diversion of any kind. The presumption is that ADD audiences would tune out and switch the channel, but would they necessarily do that?
There are two ways to process the absence of First Reformed‘s Ethan Hawke among the SAG Best Actor nominees, which were announced yesterday — one likely, another less likely.
The less likely explanation is that the SAG-AFTRA membership somehow didn’t get the memo about Hawke being an undismissible contender, particularly after recently winning Best Actor trophies from the Gothams, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the San Diego Film Critics Society.
The more likely explanation is that the tastes and preferences of SAG-AFTRA members have devolved to the level of the People’s Choice Awards, and they just don’t get it. To paraphrase Hal Holbrook‘s Deep Throat, “The truth is that the typical SAG-AFTRA member these days isn’t all that hip and certainly not very sophisticated, and things just got out of hand.”
The fact that they nominated BlacKkKlansman‘s John David Washington, who is reasonably good as Det. Ron Stallworth but whose performance fell short of of blowing critics or audiences away, tells us this was almost certainly an identity politics vote. I liked Washington’s vibe in Spike Lee’s film and thought he pretty much held his end up, but c’mon.
Hawke was also blown off by the HFPA/Golden Globes, but you have to remember he only picked up serious heat a short while ago. Even the Gold Derby gang, my own finger-to-the-wind, sheep-herd group, was snubbing Hawke until the NYFCC vote. It was only five days ago when I wrote that the Gold Derby-ites “finally took the plunge when the Gothams and the NYFCC insisted that Hawke has heat.” ESPN’s Adnan Virk and I are the only award-season spitballers who were with Hawke from the get-go.
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »