3:50 am update: It feels better to be disciplined and awake than to be asleep. 8.28, 10:40 pm: I have to arise at 3:30 am so I can take an Uber to LAX at 4:15 am, arrive there by 5 am. My American flight to Phoenix leaves at 6:05 am. The Phoenix-to-Durango flight leaves at 8:53 am. Then a cappuccino, a rental car transaction and into the mountains. Arriving in Telluride sometime around 1 pm. Unless I pull over somewhere and take a nap.
“I loved Alexandre O. Philippe‘s Memory — The Origins of Alien (Exhibit A, 10.4), which I saw last night at 10 pm. It digs down, re-explores and triple-dip examines each and every aspect of Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic…an absolute delight. It has everything, delivers everything…you leave completely sated, satisfied and well fed. Guillermo del Toro is going to worship Memory, and tweet his ass off about it.” — posted from Park City on 1.25.19.
There are two kinds of movie devotees, and they can be neatly divided by their reactions to the news that Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman runs three hours and 29 minutes. The first group of supposed movie lovers is aghast at this news (“My God, my aching ass! And the bathroom breaks!”), but at the same time they’re totally down for an eight-hour couch marathon watching David Fincher‘s Mindhunter 2. The second group is utterly delighted by the news that a genius-level filmmaker, a half-century veteran whose vision and knockout chops have been hailed time and again, has made a nice, long, super banquet-sized film…”I can’t wait!”
Second group to first group: No good movie is too long, ond no bad movie is too short. Period. End of story. Shut up.
Director Joel Schumacher, who used to pick up the phone when I called during the ’90s, has been interviewed by Vulture‘s Andrew Goldman. In the second paragraph before the q & a portion begins, Goldman mentions six Schumacher films of varying quality — St. Elmo’s Fire, Flatliners, Phone Booth, Batman Forever, A Time to Kill, The Lost Boys. But not, for some inexplicable reason, the one incontestably good, verging on great Schumacher film of his whole career — i.e., Falling Down.
Early on Schumacher mentions that he and Woody Allen are longtime friends, which allows Goldman to ask “what are your thoughts about what’s happened to Woody?”
Schumacher’s reply: “I saw the interview with Dylan. She believes it happened. Her brother certainly believes it. Mia absolutely believes it. And I’m not saying it happened. I’m just saying they believe it happened. But she was so young at the time that I don’t know.”
Correction: Dylan was seven at the time, yes, but her brother Satchel (the one who looks like the son of Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra and is now known as Ronan Farrow), was even younger, as in four and a half. I’m sorry but implying that a boy of that age was alert and catching everything that was going on in the Farrow Bridgewater abode on 8.4.92 strains credulity. Sure, Ronan “believes it” now but that’s not exactly a compelling fact, given what he was able to know at the time or is now inclined to believe, especially given his journalistic brand.
But Dylan’s older brother Moses, who was 14 at the time and therefore more intellectually developed, was also present on that fateful day and emphatically doesn’t believe it, and in fact has offered proof as well as much circumstantial doubt to the contrary.
If you’ve ever seen a fight, you know they always involve a lot of wrestling and swearing, and are usually over within 30 to 45 seconds, and sometimes less. And that the combatants are always winded and whipped at the end.
The film was James Gray‘s The Yards, co-written by Gray and Matt Reeves. I remember telling Phoenix during a chat at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival how much I admire the choreography here, and his telling me that he and Wahlberg worked it out together, being careful to make it look unrehearsed. I didn’t recognize Charlize Theron in this scene — did anyone?
I can be fairly critical and at times even despairing about Oscar Poker chats, but this morning’s hour-long discussion with World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy is a goodie.
Discussion of Joker trailer and themes therein, echoes of present-day shooters lost in despair; Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg‘s fight scene in The Yards; The King with Timothee Chalamet, “perhaps not the greatest casting call.” All eyes on Venice Film Festival. Ad Astra and Marriage Story screening tomorrow [Thursday, 8.29]. How will Marriage Story compare with Kramer vs. Kramer? Strong emotional current. Flinty, aggressive vibes emanating from ScarJo character? Attention spans have definitely weakened, hence sporadic complaints about The Irishman length, and why didn’t Netflix ask Scorsese (who spoke of “300 scenes” in the film during a May 2018 appearance) to create a six-episode Irishman miniseries? Reactions to The Laundromat, and Steven Soderbergh‘s wonderfully low-key sense of humor. A surprise Telluride flick? Not Dark Water but something? Jay Roach‘s Bombshell is more of a story of the Fox women who suffered through Roger Ailes‘ aggressions than a saga of the aggressor. Problematic gender quotas at film festivals.
Again, the mp3.
1:20 pm Update: The Last Word‘s Lawrence O’Donnell has tweeted that he made “an error in judgment” last night by mentioning that a lone source had told him that some of Donald Trump‘s Deutsche Bank loans had been co-signed by Russian oligarchs close to Putin.
Donald Trump‘s personal attorney Charles Harder has threatened NBCUniversal with a defamation suit over last night’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell report, during which O’Donnell stated that a “single source close to Deutsche Bank has told me that…Donald Trump’s loan documents there show that he has co-signers. That’s how he was able to obtain those loans. And that the co-signers are Russian oligarchs [close to Putin].”
“This would explain, it seems to me, every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin, if true, and I stress the ‘if true’ part of this.”
O’Donnell also tweeted this allegation.
Lonely, depressed, alone, miserable, haunted…”life is a comedy.” Obviously a tour de force performance from Joaquin Phoenix — instant Best Actor status. The film is basically saying that the cruel world we live in creates the villains that it deserves. And you can’t avoid thinking of the perpetrators of recent mass shootings, and about mental illness and how society so often just looks the other way.
And how ironic is it, by the way, to have Robert De Niro playing a Jerry Langford-like talk host (the character played by Jerry Lewis in The King of Comedy), and this time opposite someone who could almost a kindred spirit of Rupert Pupkin, not to mention Travis Bickle.
The only stumbling block, for me, is that Joker is an origin story about a famous super-villain, and yet portrayed by a guy in his mid 40s — and who easily looks 50 if a day. Who figures out their role in life at the half-century mark? What was happening during the previous 40-odd years? Was he gestating, marinating?
Previously: “Last night I read a 2018 draft of Todd Phillips‘ Joker, written by Phillips and Scott Silver. It’s Scorsese-ish, all right — set in 1981 Gotham, tingling with echoes of Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy with a little touch of Death Wish. The basic philosophy is ‘the world’s a venal, plundering place so who can blame Joaquin Pheonix for becoming a killer clown?’ It’s a stand-alone but at the same time it definitely feeds into the Batman legend.”
After telling myself “yes, this will be sly, smart and amusing…half broad, half deadpan,” my first question was “what’s with Gary Oldman‘s accent?” He’s playing the slippery Jurgen Mossack, the German-born Panamanian lawyer and the co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, the former law firm that was linked to a corruption investigation in Brazil into bribes paid to politicians by companies doing business with the state-run oil company, Petrobras. Mossack was born and raised in Furth, Bavaria. Oldman’s accent reminded me of that guy in those Italian Swiss Colony wine commercials (“That little old winemaker, me”).
Has Meryl Streep been aged up for her role as “Ellen Martin”? Or has she simply performed without makeup? Interesting choice.