…that Andrew Dominik‘s Blonde might be some kind of sexually shocking envelope-pusher…taken together, an alleged rape plus a moment of bloody cunnilingus sounds roughly equivalent to the “go get the butter” scene from Last Tango in Paris…something that audiences might respond to with a gasp and a “holy shit.”
When Netflix bumped Blonde into ’22 the assumption in this corner was “oh, okay, sounds like a bust of some kind.” Now it sounds like bravery and a different equation. Do I know that “Ana de Armas Updates” is telling the truth? No, I don’t. But at the very least I’m intrigued.
Update: Apologies for missing the fact that World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy broke the gist of this on 8.1.
Here are three Mark Frenden logos that will herald three features for forthcoming HE paywall content…BIODROME is self-explanatory, a chapter-by-chapter stream of biographical material…YELLOWING with antiquity is basically scans of old articles from the ’90s and early aughts (EW, L.A. Times Syndicate, Mr. Showbiz, Reel.com, Movie Poop Shoot) with present-tense commentary and perspective…and TALK’S CHEAP is the heading for podcast material, which I’ll try to generate at least once if not twice weekly.
Posted on 2.3.21: Sian Heder ‘s much-adored, Sundance award-showered CODA (Apple +, 8.13) is moderately appealing and nicely made for the most part. Understand, however, that it’s an “audience movie” — aimed at folks who like feel-good stories with heart, humor, romance and charm.
It’s about a shy Gloucester high-school girl named Ruby (Emilia Jones) with a decent if less than phenomenal singing voice. She’d rather attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music than work for her deaf family’s fishing business, we’re told. The film is about the hurdles and complications that she has to deal with in order to realize this dream.
CODA is one of those “real people struggling with life’s changes and challenges” flicks, but given the fishing-off-the-Massachusetts-coast aspect it’s fair to say it’s no Manchester By The Sea — trust me. It’s a wee bit simplistic and schticky and formulaic -— okay, more than a bit — and contains a fair amount of “acting.”
One of my fondest childhood memories (cliche!) is lying in bed at night and listening to not-so-distant freight and passenger trains clattering along, and especially to that whauuggghhhh sound…that honky, drawn-out groan…one of the great all-time reminders that life pushes on and that endeavor and industry never sleep, which is generally comforting.
In this age of instant everything, of GPS and constant insulation from the raw cacophony of things, of whirring, nearly-silent electric cars and digital this and that, four or five remotes in every living room, remotes everywhere, instant image and video available to any student or bedridden grandma or poor kid in Pakistan, OLED flat panels delivering instant Cary Grant in 1080p, 4K now and 8K before long…
In the midst of all this it’s really pretty wonderful to listen to or, better yet, board one of these huge, churning, rumbling remnants of 19th century technology, buckling and bellowing as they pull into a series of modest-sized stations (like the Metro North line between New Haven and Grand Central Station) an hour or so later…it makes you feel so completely on top of your life, so soothed and connected to the hum of things.
What would be your reaction if, say, a friend invited you to a home screening of Robert Siodmak‘s The Killers? Not a viewing of the Criterion 1080p Bluray version on a 77-inch Sony Bravia OLED 4K UHD TV, but a 16mm print projected onto a big sparkly screen or perhaps even a bedsheet?
If you’re a serious film buff, your reaction would be “damn right” — a church service with friends! The rickety-clickety-rickety-clickety sound of the projector, two big reels, the sharp beam of light, the bassy-squawky sound.
Miklos Rosza‘s main-title theme (hohm-buh-BUM-bohm) was half-stolen by the Dragnet series, which premiered in 1951 — the composer was Walter Schumann.
The nub of The Killers is this — Burt Lancaster‘s Pete Lund is a loose cannon and pretty close to an idiot — he has the emotional constitution of a sullen, poorly raised ten-year-old. If you ask me Lund had those bullets coming for ripping off his partners in that robbery so he could spend the dough on Ava Gardner, except she was no good for the start…that was obvious. So he was a fool, a sap.
There’s an expectation that Pablo Larrain‘s Spencer (Neon), a drama about Lady Diana deciding to ask Prince Charles for a divorce during a weekend getaway, will play at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival. And so, being the conscientious type, I thought I’d better watch season #4 of The Crown, which deals significantly with that ghastly arctic relationship between them.
I watched the first three episodes of season #4 last night, and emerged deeply impressed by Corrin’s Diana (she not only resembles the late ex-royal but has the long-legged height factor, which is more than you can say for KStew) as well as O’Connor’s Charles.
Corwin certainly conveys Diana’s youth and naivete, and O’Connor’s Charles is the very essence of a human worm…a prissy, chilly, cowardly snob with a stooped-over posture and one of the coldest emotional cores I’ve ever felt from a series regular. Plus he closely resembles Charles.
KStew is said to be quite good in Larrain’s film, but she’ll have to do a lot to outshine Corrin.
Jordan Ruimy posts a research screening reaction: “Spencer sucks you right into Princess Diana’s head. It’s a chamber piece and one that will probably anger a lot of fans of The Crown, who will expect some kind of mainstream entertainment.
“Larrain’s movie isn’t the least bit ‘mainstream’ — it’s a Pablo Larrain film, and if you’ve seen Jackie then think of this as its spiritual successor, but in a very limited setting and with a lot more dialogue.
“Spencer is a sensory experience about the inner demons Diana had during her days with Charles, characters come and go but she remains firmly there in every scene. There will be a lot of pushback on this movie from royal apologists, who will claim that [some of] Steven Knight’s script is pure fiction, and maybe it is, but who are we to deny that Diana was basically stuck in this claustrophobic and highly stressful situation?”
HE reaction: She was the beloved Diana, Princess of Wales, with a certain agency — she wasn’t stuck in anything. Alas, this is EXACTLY what Larrain did with Jackie. He took Noah Oppenheim‘s straightforward script about Jackie Kennedy‘s experience from JFK’s 11.22.63 assassination to the 11.25.63 burial at Arlington, and turned it into a meditative, meandering metaphysical mood piece (i.e., “what’s it all about, Jackie?”.)
How anxious and paranoid could Diana have possibly been as she was telling Charles that their union was finished? Okay, she’s in a shitty marriage and the Windsors are a powerful family, but what are they gonna do? Have her strangled?
The great Marcia Nasatir, a brilliant, pioneering producer who nudged her way into the chauvinistic Hollywood culture of the ’70s and became, in ’74, the first female vp production at a major Hollywood studio (United Artists), has passed at age 95.
Nasatir’s proudest producing achievement, certainly the one for which she’s best known, was Lawrence Kasdan‘s The Big Chill (’83).
At UA Nasatir also had a hand in finessing and/or guiding along One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Carrie, Coming Home, Three Days of the Condor, Rocky and Carrie. She moved to Orion in ’78, and then to Carson Productions, where she exec produced The Big Chill. As an independent producer, Nasatir oversaw and otherwise nurtured Hamburger Hill, Ironweed and Vertical Limit.
I knew Marcia to shmooze with at parties in the ’90s and aughts — always gracious, always witty and wise. And I loved “The Real Geezers,” her video movie-review series with Lorenzo Semple that ran in the mid to late aughts.
In the wake of a damning 165-page report about NY governor Andrew Cuomo‘s allegedly intimidating behavior with certain women, announced this morning by New York State attorney general Letitia James, the governor has issued a video response that basically says “I’m sorry that these women reacted as they did but that wasn’t where I was coming from.”
No resignation, no quarter, same deflection.
We can all sense or read into what probably happened during these various alleged episodes, but Cuomo is going to sidestep them regardless.
N.Y. Times summary of one episode: “A few days later, Charlotte Bennett, a former executive assistant to Mr. Cuomo, told The New York Times that the governor made comments that she took as sexual overtures while they were alone in his Albany office last year. Ms. Bennett said Mr. Cuomo said he was looking for a girlfriend and asked her whether she was monogamous and had sex with older men.”