If 1939 was one of the greatest years of American cinema in the 20th Century (and it was), 1940 was a relatively tepid one. It’s as if 1939 had vacuumed up most of the raw psychic material of the late ’30s, leaving very little for 1940 to play with. These ads are from a N.Y. Times page in mid December 1940. Many are worthy, but none really light my fire. My favorite ’40 flick, Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rebecca, had opened the previous April and was naturally spent by year’s end.
Lon ￼Bannon (Brandon de Wilde) decides to leave home with a small bag and no wheels and apparently not much pocket money. And yet he’s just inherited half of his late grandfather’s ranch, and he knows that crusty uncle Hud (Paul Newman) plans to drill for oil. So Lon could certainly borrow money against his holdings to buy a second-hand car and a couple of suitcases, and maybe put a couple of thousand bucks in his wallet. And he’s just going to hit the road and…what, “walk the earth” like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction? He didn’t make any calls to see where he might find work?
You can’t believe that Lon, a smart, sensible fellow, would play it this way.
Luca Guadagnino‘s Bones and All (UA Releasing, 11.23), a coming-of-age 1980s romance horror flick with Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet, will have its big premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Guadagnino has called it “a very romantic story, about the impossibility of love and yet, the need for it…even in extreme circumstances.” He’s also spoken of his empathy for the kind of wind-tossed street characters played by Chalamet and Russell.
I too feel a rapport with adrift and disenfranchised characters — I always have. But they have to be physically attractive. Yes, I recognize that cannibalism is a metaphor for a certain outre lifestyle or passion that mainstream society frowns upon, but I’m left with some nagging questions.
One, to be a cannibal one must first be a murderer. That, to me, is a bit of a sticking point. Chalamet and Russell presumably have a certain method and procedure. So the question isn’t just about eating human flesh a la Night of the Living Dead. The question is which humans have to be murdered so Timothee and Taylor can indulge their passion? How are they selected? Is it random? Who does the actual killing? Are the victims morally deserving of being killed and eaten?
Two, I’m presuming that Timothee and Taylor restrict their meat consumption to the parts of the human body that supposedly taste good — the ribs, chest area, arms and legs. If I were going to become a cannibal I would want the flesh prepared chef-style…grilled, fried, covered in sauces and spices, cut into plate-sized servings.
Three, the more you think about it cannibalism doesn’t really sound like a fringe passion. It sounds odious and perverse. Unless, as noted, the victims deserve their fate. In which case cannibalism would be more political than culinary.
Four, I’m bothered by reports that African predators aren’t that fond of human flesh, presumably because of all the crap we eat and all the rancid chemicals, etc.
Five, isn’t it safer and less risky and more palatable (not to mention more humane) for Timothee and Taylor to become vegetarians?
Just thinking this through.
Reading about Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio‘s latest reported project, The Wager, has totally bummed me out.
Based on David Grann’s novel and set in the 1740s, the synopsis of The Wager sounds like a cousin of Mutiny on the Bounty off the coast of South America, and ending with a trial under the authority of the British Admiralty.
Which is also how Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall’s 1932 novel ended, with a court martial of main protagonist Roger Byam over his possible complicity in mutiny against Capt. William Bligh.
One, who wants to see another Mutiny on the Bounty-type film? Peter Weir‘s Master and Commander, Ron Howard‘s In The Heart of The Sea…aren’t we all kind of sick of that bounding-main shit? Suggestion: Instead of The Wager, Marty should remake Peter Ustinov‘s Billy Budd (’62). Seriously — a great moral-quandary film. (Melvyn Douglas: “I look around and I sense…finality.”)
Two, I don’t like it when Scorsese makes films about the storied past (The Age of Innocence, Silence, Kundun, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Hugo). Shouldn’t he stick to movies about 20th Century criminals in the Northeastern region (New York, Philly, Boston), or at least about that general culture? How about a family drama set in Little Italy in the early 1960s — i.e., Mean Streets 2? Or one set in the present with Little Italy turned into a Disneyworld attraction?
Three, The Wager will cost at least $250 million to shoot, and will take forever to cut together. You know Marty — editing-wise he’s turning into Terrence Malick. And shooting a film on the high seas has always been a godawful headache each and every time. Who needs the grief?
Four, I hate to say this but Marty will turn 80 on 11.17.22. Does a guy his age really want to make something this demanding?
And five, what about Marty’s Grateful Dead movie with Jonah Hill?
Yesterday I shared a concern about Maria Schrader‘s She Said (Universal, 11.18), which looks like a well-honed journalistic docudrama in the tradition of Spotlight. And yet the ’22 Venice Film Festival has blown it off, it wasn’t included in the initial TIFF rundown, and who knows about Telluride?
That’s because She Said has locked itself into an exclusive premiere with Eugene Hernandez‘s New York Film Festival, or so Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, an impassioned voice of #MeToo wokester boosterism over the last five years, has suggested in a 7.29 Oscar forecast piece.
Thompson: “Another film expected to drive buzz at the NYFF is She Said, the true journalistic saga behind two New York Times reporters’ quest to nail sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, which launched the #MeToo movement and propelled the movie mogul into prison.
“Directed by Emmy-winning German filmmaker Maria Schrader (Unorthodox, I’m Your Man), the movie stars two-time Oscar-nominee Carey Mulligan (An Education, Promising Young Woman) and Emmy nominee Zoe Kazan (Olive Kitteridge). She Said could resonate with voters who voted for Best Picture winners All the President’s Men and Spotlight.”
Robert Redford, Alan Pakula and William Goldman’s classic film opened 46 and 1/3 years ago. How many Academy members who were around back then are still filling out ballots? A few, I suppose.
I would love it if She Said plays Telluride first, of course, but the NYFF has always insisted on exclusive premieres, at least as far as award-season releases are concerned.
World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy posted about Thompson’s apparent She Said slip earlier this morning.
“I’ve spent the last three months replaying and understanding the nuances and the complexities of what happened in that moment. I’m not going to try and unpack all of that right now, but I can say to all of you that there is no part of me that thinks [the slap] was the right way to behave in that moment.
“I was fogged out at that point. It’s all fuzzy.
“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out.
“To all my fellow nominees…you know, this is a community, [and] it’s like I won because you voted for me, and it really breaks my heart to have stolen and tarnished your moment…[and] ‘I’m sorry’ really isn’t sufficient.” — Will Smith in 7.29.22 video.
HE thoughts: Okay, you’re a decent, good-hearted person, we realize that, and you’re genuinely sorry, especially as far as Chris Rock and his family and friends are concerned. Fine.
Most of us, I’m presuming, have mulled it over and said to ourselves, “Wow, that was weird but whatever.” Slaps and punches are not stupendous tragedies in and of themselves. But the venue was inappropriate, to say the least.
So here we are four months later, and yet you’ve only been drilling down and deeply examining that moment for three months, you’re saying, or since late April. So after the most emotionally intense and chaotic moment of your life, or at least since your difficult youth in West Philly, you were avoiding the process of self-examination during the first four weeks?
But now, four months later, you’ve posted a contrite video, and one of your main statements is “I’m not going to try and unpack all of that right now.” You’re not? When do you think you might get around to that? Because that’s the thing you need to share.
Without any beating around the bush you need to answer a key question — “what the hell happened deep down, and more particularly why?”
Most of us are under an impression that your emotional eruption was fed by two simmering volcanoes — your dad’s tumultuous behavior when you were a kid**, and a long-simmering Will and Jada thing that you never quite put to bed. Maybe it’s something else but whatever it is, you need to dig down and just say it.
Like a complex character delivering a big hairball speech in the third act, you need to cough it up.
** One thing I wrote after the 3.27 Oscar telecast was “you can take the man out of West Philly, but you can’t take West Philly out of the man.”
The 94th Oscars happened four months ago (3.27.22), and it feels like four years. An ABC After-School Songbird Special (not a bad film, works here and there) won the Best Picture Oscar because the Academy just couldn’t with the grim, downerish Campion. The first streamer to nab the Big Prize is soft and deaf-positive and aspirational, and I will never, ever watch it again. There was only one takeaway from the ‘22 Oscar telecast, and I don’t even have to say it. Okay, there’s one other thing — the pain of watching Penelope Cruz, whose Pedro Almodovar-guided performance came entirely from within, losing to the hard-working Jessica Chastain, whose Tammy Faye performance was (one dinner-table moment aside) largely defined by eye makeup.
- 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 »