Here’s hoping that Woody Allen‘s Coup de Chance (i.e., Stroke of Luck) will debut at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
Early this month Jordan Ruimyquoted a buyer who saw Allen’s 50th film at Berlin’s EFM market in Berlin, and called it “his best film in years.” Allen has described it as a spiritual kin of Match Point — a chilly romantic thriller “charting the story of two young people whose bond leads to marital infidelity and ultimately crime.”
Ruimy had also learned from a person who worked on the film that Coup de Chance has been submitted to Cannes with hopes of screening there in a few weeks time. Presuming this is true, it would be exceedingly strange for Allen’s first French-language film, which is set in Paris and costars many prominent younger French actors, to not debut on the Cote d’Azur.
We know, of course, that among many of the usual Cannes-attending critics there are a fair number of Allen-hating fanatics who are determined to pan it, no matter how good it might be or how much it resembles Match Point or whatever. Simply because they’re committed to his destruction because of the highly questionable Dylan Farrow thing.
Imagine being one of these maniacs. Imagine admitting to yourself in your darkest, most deep-down place, “No matter how this film measures up against Allen’s best films and even if it’s half-good or above average by this standard, I am going to give it a shitty grade…regardless of merit I will do what I can to take this film down.”
Imagine what it must be like to look at yourself in the bathroom mirror under these circumstances.
I saw Paul Schrader‘s Master Gardener during the 2022 New York Film Festival, or or about 10.1.22. Crisp, trim and purposeful. Fragrant Louisiana atmosphere. Modestly satisfying if you’re willing to accept a modest dish, which I was at the time. The one thing I definitely didn’t care for was Joel Edgerton‘s “Hitler youth” haircut, otherwise known as an undercut.
Wes Anderson‘s Asteroid City (Focus Features, 6.6) is a quirky romantic dramedy set in a “fictional American desert town” during “an annual Junior Stargazer convention in 1955.” It was shot in Spain between August and October of ’21.
The visually striking one-sheet suggests it was lensed in Spain’s Almeria section, where many spaghetti westerns were filmed in the ’60s. If it was shot domestically one might presume that the Monument Valley region was used.
But no — it was mostly shot in the town of Chinchón, which is roughly 50 km outside of Madrid. In the mid ’50s a big bullfight scene was shot in Chinchon for Around the World in Eighty Days.
Pic costars the usual assortment of eccentric Anderson players plus a newbie or two (Tom Hanks, Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, Tony Revolori, Jeff Goldblum, Fisher Stevens, Rita Wilson, et. al.).
Asteroid City will debut six weeks hence at the Cannes Film Festival.
And now Cannes topper Thierry Fremaux has said the exact same thing.
In a 3.27 chat with Variety‘s Elsa Keslassy, Frémaux said that “the Oscar for best film must go to an American film, like the Cesar for the best film goes to a French film and the Goya goes to a Spanish film.”
Kneejerk wokesters didn’t like Schrader’s comment earlier this month. TheWrap‘s Drew Taylorwrote that “it’s unclear what, exactly, Schrader is so bent out of shape by,” and declared flat-out that his “screed feels outwardlyracist, as he was clearly miffed by the amount of wins for Everything Everywhere All At Once, which features a predominantly Asian cast and is directed, in part, by an Asian-American filmmaker.”
If Schrader’s remarks were motivated by racism, the same goes for Fremaux also…right, Drew?
It took me a couple of attempts to get through John Scheinfeld‘s What The Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat and Tears?, but I finally did. My basic impression is that it’s an odd tale — a curio — about a strange detour that BS&T, a hugely popular jazz-rock fusion group, took in ’70 when they went on a State Department tour of three Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe (one being Romania). The tour was frowned upon by late ’60s rock culture cognoscenti, and seemed to underline a general impression that BS&T was an MOR group favored by squares.
They also played a big gig at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which was even more unhip than performing to Eastern Europe. And they appeared on The Andy Williams Show…Jesus. And then came that hokey track from their third album, “Lucretia McEvil“…later.
There’s nothing “wrong” with being MOR or appealing to people with vaguely schmaltzy taste in music and…you know, it takes all sorts to make a world and all that.
And I’m not saying that Scheinfeld hasn’t assembled a reasonably absorbing, pro-level film with flavor and feeling — he has. But unlike my all-time favorite Scheinfeld doc, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?, it doesn’t have a lot of emotional resonance. You come out of it and it’s like “okay, not bad…diverting as far as it went.”
But then I read Owen Gleiberman’s 3.27 Variety review from, and a paragraph about David Clayton-Thomas, BST’s lead singer from mid’68 onward (not counting an attempted solo-career detour)…this paragraph just hit the spot, man. I don’t mean to sound flip or cruel, but it almost gave me more pleasure than Scheinfeld’s doc, to be perfectly honest….not that there’s anything especially lacking or derelict about the film. It just didn’t get me high.
“The rock-‘n’-roll-ecstasy-meets-relax-the-’70s-are-here duality of Blood, Sweat & Tears was incarnated by the contradictory charisma of David Clayton-Thomas,” Gleiberman writes. “He favored skin-tight shirts with tie-dye stripes and leather pants, but he was no hippie. With his longish receding hair and sultry eyebrows and trucker’s build, he was like Joe Don Baker reborn as Elvis’s surly, sleazy bruiser brother, and he sang in an insinuating Mack-truck blues growl, like a wilder Tom Jones with a hint of Jim Jones. He was mesmerizing.”
We all know what it means to be a “surly, sleazy bruiser type” — it means that underneath the facade you’re a sniffing, panting, four-legged dog on the prowl for poontang. It means that you’re into compulsive muff-diving and getting blown in hotel rooms at 3 am and whatnot. A guy who summons notions of being the ornery bad brother of Elvis suggests a gauche, hormonally-unbridled truck driver with low-rent appetites.
Does anyone remember that photo of Jim Jones‘ corpse after he shot himself, sprawled on the ground of that big tent with that big pot belly poking out? Charismatic cult leaders always had the pick of the litter, or so the cliche goes, and we’ve all read stories about Jones being a brooding sexual conquistador and all that, and then you throw in an early ’70s image of Joe Don Baker, still best known for playing the baseball-bat wielding Buford Pusser…throw it all together and it seems as if the doc should have focused on DCT rather than BS&T…whaddaya think?
I’m not saying that Gleiberman’s description reflects who DCT actually is, mind. In recent interviews the 81 year-old seems like a mellow, moderate, likable guy. I am saying, however, that good writing flips a switch.
For many years Ann Hornaday and I shared a beautiful, third-floor, Napoleonic-era duplex in the old part of Cannes (7 rue Jean Mero). Seven weeks hence I’ll be crashing in a new place that’s way the hell over on the other side of town — 15 Rue Jean Cresp, 06400 Cannes, France. Less convenient because it’s a 25-minute walk to the Palais, but there’s some kind of bus service and rent-a-bikes so let’s see what happens.
Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford collaborated on seven commendable films over a 24-year period — This Property Is Condemned (’66), Jeremiah Johnson (’72), The Way We Were (’73), Three Days of the Condor (’75), The Electric Horseman (’79), Out of Africa (’85), Havana (’90).
There’s no question that the top three and the hottest streak happened between ’71 and ’75 — a four-year period that gave birth to Jeremiah Johnson, The Way We Were and Three Days of the Condor. Which of these are the best? It’s a close tie between Condor and TWWW. I’ve always leaned towards Condor because I can’t stand Bradford Dillman‘s WASPy character…literally chalk on a blackboard whenever he appears.
In these seven films Redford is “always the same character,” Pollack told Charlie Rose in ’93. “To me he’s a throwback to the actors I was nuts about when I was growing up and going to movies. A real classical, traditional, old-fashioned movie stars who were very, very redolent of some kind of American essence, if you will. Very much a part of the American landscape. Heroic in a kind of understated way.
“And I was really fascinated with [the realization[ that all of the characters he played in these films are the same character. He’s gotten older and older and older and gone to different places…sometimes he’s out west, sometimes he’s in Africa, sometimes in New York, sometimes in Cuba…but he’s the same character.
“Number one, he’s a man who doesn’t want to give up any of himself in order to have a relationship…which costs him severely [as] he’s always alone, ultimately. And number two, he doesn’t want to live in a society in which he has to subjugate his own individual needs for the purposes of some collective authority. So he’s usually on the edge of an uncivilized airier territory. It’s why he’s a mountain man…it’s why he’s in Africa. A guy who believes it’s possibly to have relationships but doesn’t really understand what he has to personally give up…an individualist in the sort of real, generic, basic sense of the word.”
The special joys of what the HE lifestyle used to be on a year-round basis for nearly 20 years…”it’s not about the money…it’s the charge, it’s the bolt, it’s the buzz, it’s the sheer fuck-off’edness of it all…am I right?”…this kind of bracing, half-mad, snorting, surging life…the laughs and encounters, the luscious flavors and intrigues, the traveling and the airports at dawn and the cavernous European train stations, the occasional set visits, cool parties, subway intrigues, Academy screenings, small screenings, all-media screenings, press junkets, visiting the homes of friends near and far, noisy restaurants, walking the crowded streets of Rome, London, Paris and Hanoi, writing in crowded cafes, hitting the occasional bar with a pally or two, the aroma of exotic places and the hundreds upon hundreds of little things that just happen as part of the general hurly-burly…”
Seven are dead from a mass shooting at the Covenant School, an elementary school on the outskirts of Nashville. The cops are saying that the shooter was a female in her teens, armed with two assault-style rifles and a handgun. Three students and three faculty members are dead along with the shooter. When the officers got to the second level of the school, they saw a female shooter, apparently in her teens, and they drilled her right quick.
…had been featured in John Wick: Chapter Four, I would have suspended my disdain and said “okay, not bad, impressive…especially the part with the crazy, lone-nut, vengeance-driven tire colliding with the destroyed SUV.” But of course, JW4 didn’t contain such a scene because Chad Stahelski is who he is and thinks like he thinks.