Even without reading the mostly rave reviews, the trailer tells you Roman Polanski‘s An Officer and a Spy is an above-average film. Pawel Edelman‘s cinematography alone makes it essential viewing. It opened in France and other territories late last year, but there’s no sign of a Gaumont Bluray or any streaming options. Last fall I was told by a Gaumont guy that it would open in Canada before too long, but I see no sign of that either. What am I missing?
I became a born-again Elizabeth Warren fan tonight. For 140 seconds she made Michael Bloomberg look shifty, like he was hiding a thing or two. Is he a perfect person, a perfect billionaire? Perhaps not but I sensed a certain decency and fairness in him. He’s obviously not an animal, and he kept his cool. And he scored against Bernie by mentioning his millionaire status and three homes.
Some are saying Bloomberg was smoked by Warren (he certainly was during that 2 minute and 20 second portion) and that he’s as good as toast now. Maybe but I don’t know. He struck me as a reasonable and intelligent man.
I was only able to watch the first 45 minutes of the Las Vegas debate as I had to catch a 7pm screening of Michael Winterbottom‘s Greed, which I didn’t mind and half-liked from time to time.
I hated Jon M. Chu‘s Crazy Rich Asians, but In The Heights, an adaptation of Lin Manuel Miranda‘s 2005 Tony Award-winnings stage musical, looks good. As in “better than West Side Story” good, mostly because it’s apparently tethered to the here-and-now. (Or at least the recent past.) I never caught the show but it feels like more than the sum of “a hip-hop version of Rent” mixed with “freestyle rap, bodegas and salsa numbers.”
I don’t know about a prediction by Variety‘s Brent Lang and Marc Malkin that In The Heights might become a Best Picture contender, but it’s conceivable. I have this odd little back-of-the-neck feeling that Spielberg’s film might be…off in some way. However beloved by 50-plus types and despite being based upon a classic Shakespeare tragedy, West Side Story is still 63 years old, and the original play and 1961 film versions had dialogue that used the term “daddy-o.”
You could call Celine Sciamma‘s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, set on the coast of northern France in the late 1700s, the Brokeback Mountain of period lesbian love stories. It certainly touched me as much as Ang Lee’s tragic romance did. Impassioned, restrained, carefully subdued…it was all about simmering and the slow boil. The mutual attraction and then hunger between the wealthy Heloise (Adele Haenel) and a painter named Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is as tangible as the beach sand, sunlight, hillsides, stretched canvas and evening fires that punctuate the cinematography.
Later this year a very similar romantic drama will open — Francis Lee‘s Ammonite. Descriptions suggest a film that could be titled Portrait of a Paleontologist on Fire. Once again set on a beachy coastline in the distant past (Dorset in the 1840s), and once again about a lesbian love affair between tightly-corseted women who wear bonnets and hoop skirts and their hair in buns.
It’s a bit of a May-December romance with Kate Winslet as the real-life paleontologist Mary Anning, who was born in 1799 and died in 1847. Saoirse Ronan, who needs to star in some kind of Marvel film or throwaway thriller or smart romcom, is a 20something wife whose husband is paying Anning to take care of her.
Sciamma’s film was a kind of trailblazer; Lee’s film seems to be basically the same deal except in English.
Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan in Francis Lee’s Ammonite.
Bernie Sanders‘ loss to Donald Trump next November will usher in a period of catastrophic bully-boy autocracy that will make the last three years look faint-hearted by comparison. It will also shatter the Democratic party into a thousand shards of shrieking recrimination — people will lose their minds — while accelerating the planet’s fossil-fuel destruction tenfold and God knows what other horrors.
In ’16 blunt-spoken Bernie seemed like a good guy compared to cackling eye-bag Hillary, but now he’s the Pied Piper of Destruction and an all but certain deliverer of…oh, God, more misery than most of us can even imagine. And for the sake of the very best intentions. Over the cliff and into a Jeremy Corbyn-like abyss.
Moderate candidates, remember, won 54% of the Iowa vote compared to Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s 44%, and in New Hampshire Bernie-Warren tallied 35% compared to 53% for Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Biden. But “Bernie’s probably got it”, the pundits say.
And so tonight’s Las Vegas debate, naturally, will be all about what a terrible billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg is. A candidate who might have a chance of beating Trump…maybe. Progressive twitter has been tearing Bloomberg down over the last several days, and this evening he’ll be slashed, trashed, hammered, punched, bruised, brutalized and rhetorically spat upon, etc. Partly by Warren but mostly, I presume, by the Death’s Head Moth from Vermont.
I’ve never liked Amy Klobuchar, but I’m almost hoping she catches on. She won’t because too many people feel as I do but I’m hoping against hope. I don’t know what to do or say or feel. We’re dead, finished, kaput. The most corrupt and ethically destructive U.S. president in history is probably going to be re-elected. We’re all in a pit of hell. When Bernie loses next November you can thank guys like Kid Notorious along with the wokester purists.
Bloomberg is somewhere between 5’7″ and 5’8″, by the way. Watch closely when and if he stands next to Mayor Pete, who’s also said to be 5’8″.
Everyone knows what President Trump‘s decision to pardon eleven high-level bad guys (Rod Blagojevich, Michael Milken, Bernard Kerik Edward DeBartolo Jr., et. al.) is about. He’s obviously signalling everyone who might hurt him with damaging evidence or testimony that if they “dummy up” he’ll take care of them. Post-impeachment he’s free to foam at the mouth at will — nothing holding him back — all bets are off. What’s worse is that post-impeachment his approval ratings have gone up. No end to the downswirl. Worse and worse and worse. And then the final splintering and destruction of the Democratic party next summer when Bernie Sanders wins the nomination and takes the whole party over a cliff and we all go sliding into a Jeremy Corbyn-like sinkhole. Perfect!
If you want to be liberal and comme ci comme ca, Ana de Armas vaguely resembles Marilyn Monroe. She doesn’t have that authentically damaged Midwestern milk-fed constitution that Monroe owned and radiated, but with the right kind of makeup and apparel and with platinum blonde hair, she’ll do. If you’re slender and beautiful it’s not that hard to slip into the Monroe aura. De Armas is certainly a better Norma Jean Baker fit than Gwen Stefani was for Jean Harlow in The Aviator, a casting choice that I found ridiculous. Michelle Williams is going to be tough to beat, of course, but every performance deserves to be taken on its own terms. The Cuban-born De Armas came along at the right time, is all. In today’s culture an Anglo Saxon actress playing a Latina wouldn’t be considered, of course, much less permitted, but the reverse is fine.
(l.) Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Domink’s Blonde; (r.) Monroe in 1953 or thereabouts.
- 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 »