Andrea Arnold‘s American Honey is a kind of Millenial Oliver Twist road flick with Fagin played by both Shia Labeouf and Riley Keogh (Elvis’s granddaughter) and Oliver played by Sasha Lane…but with some good earthy sex thrown in. There’s no question that Honey stakes out its own turf and whips up a tribal lather that feels exuberant and feral and non-deodorized. It doesn’t have anything resembling a plot but it doesn’t let that deficiency get in the way. Honey throbs, sweats, shouts, jumps around and pushes the nervy. (Somebody wrote that it’s Arnold channelling Larry Clark.) It’s a wild-ass celebration of a gamey, hand-to-mouth mobile way of life. And every frame of Robbie Ryan‘s lensing (at 1.37:1, no less!) is urgent and vital.” — from my 5.14.16 mini-review. A24 will presumably open Honey sometime in the fall.
It’s not exactly radical to suggest that some directors tend to express stuff about their natures by focusing on certain themes and scenarios in film after film. That just-posted Vulture video made light of the fact that Interstellar director Chris Nolan has something about dead wives, whatever that means in terms of his psychology. It’s obvious that the Wachowski brothers, particularly the former Larry (now Lana) Wachowski, were expressing an interest in hot lesbians when they made Bound (’96) and again when they included a brief glimpse of some girl-on-girl action in V for Vendetta (’06). (It’s not my business but the general understanding is that Lana likes women.) And as long as we’re discussing (or will soon discuss) getting badly beaten up, it’s obvious that characters played by Marlon Brando, who had a lot of clout in the ’50s and early ’60s, were frequently beaten bloody, whipped, shot full of holes, burned to death, etc. Some have deduced that Brando was expressing some kind of guilt and a need to be punished.
Obviously Luc Besson‘s Lucy sold a shitload of tickets last weekend, taking down nearly $44 million, which is certainly a kind of feather in the cap of Scarlet Johansson. Her Lucy character, a drug-enhanced superwoman, is the third super-formidable she’s played over the past four years — a woman who beats the shit out of or kills male opponents (or victims) like it’s nothing. The other two characters, of course, are Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, whom she’s played in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Laura-the-zoned-out-alien in Under The Skin. If you add Johansson’s mesmerizing voice-performance in Her as Samantha, a kind of ghost in the software with an enormous, constantly evolving intellect, it’s clear she and her agent have forged a new hotshit ScarJo identity — a woman of unearthly powers and confidence whom you don’t want to mess with and perhaps not even talk to unless…you know, you have super-powers that match hers.
But ScarJo is not — repeat, not — an action star. Someone applied that term within the last two or three days and it’s just not selling. She’s been playing some kick-ass, super-powerful women, yes, but without the slightest real-world authority. Whupass Scarlett is an act, a marketing idea — a feminist conceit or some kind of tip-of-the-hat gesture to women who crave power and control over their lives, and that’s fine. But I’m not actually buying it for a second because for one thing she’s just too small to be an action star. I talked to her once at a party (I mentioned I was looking to try a little opium for old time’s sake, and she said it didn’t sound like the impossible dream), and she’s only about 5′ 3″ or thereabouts. No way. She just doesn’t look tough enough.
Uh-oh…another Melissa McCarthy movie! I’d better say the right things or, more to the point, not say any bad things or Judd Apatow and the armed Sunni p.c. police squad will kick the shit out of me, especially on Twitter. I need to get my attitude adjusted and crank up the denial or I’ll be in big trouble. Okay…go! McCarthy’s schtick of playing a coarse, angry, under-educated, junk-food-inhaling, lower-middle-class instinct animal is…hilarious! And it’s totally common when thin, nice-looking guys (in this instance an ex-hubby and a possible new boyfriend) are depicted as being (or having been) sexually interested in her. One reason for this curious state of affairs is an understanding that morbid obesity isn’t a life-shortening affliction but…kinda cute! And a drop-dead hilarious comic device. When McCarthy tries to leap over a fast-food counter during a robbery but can’t manage it…gasping for breath! Did I mention that morbid obesity has become a kind of metaphor for serenity and self-acceptance?
Wait…should I run this by Apatow first before publishing? Maybe I haven’t expressed my views in the right way? Aaahh, too late now.
Tammy (Warner Bros., 7.2) is a husband-and-wife enterprise — directed by McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, and co-written by Falcone and McCarthy. Creative collaborations between married or otherwise intimately entwined couples often don’t work because they’re not blunt with each other. If an idea is shit or not quite good enough, you have to be able to effing say that instead of “yeah, honey, that’s a really good bit except…well, it’s not that I don’t respect your idea or you for that matter but I just think if we massaged it a little bit more and doubled down on the love we might have something a little bit better.” Do you think Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond talked that way to each other?
I had a nice 20-minute chat this morning with actress Valerie Perrine, who’s best known for her Oscar-nominated performance as Honey Bruce in Bob Fosse‘s Lenny (’74). (And for which she won Best Actress at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival and Best Supporting Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle.) As I mentioned yesterday, Perrine will be doing a q & a with Larry Karaszewski between screenings of Lenny and George Roy Hill‘s Slaughterhouse Five on Thursday, 10.7, at Santa Monica’s Aero.
Perrine started in show business as a Las Vegas topless revue dancer, which she did for several years. She didn’t land her first screen role in Diamonds Are Forever, she says — that’s an IMDB error. She was around 28 when she lucked into the supporting role of Montana Wildhack in Slaughterhouse Five (which came out in June 1972). She then made history as the first actress to do a boob-baring scene on American televison during a May 1973 PBS airing of Bruce Jay Friedman‘s Steambath. And then came Lenny — her career peak.
She costarred in the first two Chris Reeve Superman films, of course, playing Lex Luthor’s (i.e., Gene Hackman‘s) girlfriend, Eve Teschmacher. She reached the end of her lucky streak at age 36 or thereabouts after costarring in Nancy Walker‘s Can’t Stop the Music (’80), which Perrine believes pretty much killed her career or at least kept her from being cast in first-rate films.
Perrine costarred in Tony Richardson‘s The Border (’82), although, she says, she had signed for that film before Can’t Stop the Music. And from then on acted in whatever came along — TV, indie movies. Never say die, keep on plugging, tomorrow’s another day. Perrine’s last mainstream score was a costarring role in Nancy Meyers‘ What Women Want (’00).
Perrine isn’t given to expansive answers but that’s cool. She’s a bit like Jennifer Lawrence in that she’s not into arduous preparation for a part — she just likes to walk on set and keep things as spontaneous as possible. She didn’t have a huge amount to say about working with with Fosse on Lenny or about Lamont Johnson‘s Last American Hero (’75), an excelllent film in which she also co-starred. But she told a pretty good tale about getting the attention of Slaughterhouse Five casting agent Marion Dougherty.
She mentioned that her health isn’t in the greatest condition these days but that it might be just a temporary setback (let’s hope). Really nice lady, good to touch base.
Both Variety‘s Peter Debruge and The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt seem to agree that Jon Favreau‘s Cowboys & Aliens (Universal, 7.29), which screened last night at ComicCon, has wisely emphasized classic-old-west aspects and solid character-driven writing over flash-in-the-pan alien FX, and is therefore no Wild Wild West.
Snap of crowd at last night’s screening taken by Cowboys & Aliens producer Ron Howard.
This doesn’t entirely square with a view by TheWrap‘s Tim Kenneally that Cowboys & Aliens is “an action flick from head to tentacle” — a “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral meets Independence Day” that “will not be lauded for its emotional complexity” and is “not entirely out of this world.”
Deadline‘s Luke Y. Thompson didn’t run a review, but he’s reported that it’s a spottily flawed, somewhat superficial film, but that the fans loved it, particularly the violent scenes, and double-particularly those between Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.
Debruge calls it “a ripping good ride” and “a full-bodied, roundly satisfying yarn, positioning [the film] to join the half-dozen Westerns to crack the $100 million club.”
Honeycutt calls Cowboys & Aliens “a solid success. For a tent-pole, Comic-Con movie, this one devotes a gratifying amount of time to character and achieves most of its success because Favreau has intelligently cast his film and let his actors do their thing…as good as the visual effects are, you walk away from the movie with a memory of actors’ faces, lines of dialogue and actions that speak more to character than to shock-and-awe.”
HE’s Michael Merlob couldn’t get into the screening, but says he’s “heard mostly good things. Some folks are saying it has plot holes but is well-executed overall. Reactions seem generally positive.”
After two brutal pans yesterday from Variety‘s Peter Debruge and the Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt, Tyler Perry‘s For Colored Girls needs a champion — someone to step bright into the breach and say “hold up, they’re wrong…and here’s why.”
I nominate Movieline‘s Stu VanAirsdale, a self-admitted Perry fanboy who wrote an impassioned profile/defense of the Atlanta-based filmmaker in the September 2009 issue of Esquire (“Why Tyler Perry is the New Obama”). Calling him a “Dark Knight in a floral-print cape,” VanAirsdale wrote that “arguably no filmmaker working today has a better grasp of the zeitgeist than Perry does — and not just the black zeitgeist. Perry is doing some profoundly next-level theorizing about race in the United States. The films are also funny, well-acted and entertaining; a little earnest, sure, and kind of cornball.”
VanAirsdale also said that The Family That Preys, which he called Perry’s “best film….succeeds not only as a wildly pulpy Southern melodrama, but also as an engaging exploration of race, power, and class.”
Is this the guy to turn back the negative Colored Girls tide or what? And I’m not being snide. If the trades went after a filmmaker I admire and support, I’d sure as shit post a counter-view right away. I know that if I was a Lionsgate marketer I’d be on pins and needles this weekend waiting for VanAirsdale’s opening Colored Girls defense piece. I’d be preparing a quote-ad based entirely on what VanAirsdale may write. I mean, I’d have it ready to go first thing Monday morning. Seriously.
Wait…will Van Airsdale take the weekend off and post his defense Monday, or will he jump right in today while the impact-grenade effect from the Debruge/Honeycutt reviews is still ringing in the ears?
“I’ll remember you, honey,” a sassy Paul Newman said to Patricia Neal as she stepped onto a bus in Hud. “You’re the one that got away.” Actually Neal, who died yesterday of lung cancer at age 84, was the one who stuck around and toughed it out.
She led a long, distinguished, sometimes tumultuous life, and yet her most lasting impression — for fans like myself anyway — is that of a cultivated, unfussy woman who, in her prime, was probably amazing in bed. You’re not supposed to mention stuff like this when a respected octogenarian philanthropist (which Neal was) passes away, but I would have loved to have gotten lucky with her around 1950 or so, around the time she made The Day The Earth Stood Still. A little while after the end of her three-year love affair with Gary Cooper, I mean, and before she met Roald Dahl, her husband of 30 years, in ’51.
How does one stifle erotic associations with a pistol-hot lass whose heated entanglement with Cooper in the late ’40s is a tragic Hollywood legend? (He ended it and returned to his wife, and Neal regretfully had an abortion.) Couple this with Neal’s hotel-room scenes with Andy Griffith in A Face in the Crowd (’57), and especially her portrayal of the sleepily sensual Alma in Martin Ritt‘s Hud (’63), for which won a Best Actress Oscar in 1964, and you’re talking one hot mama. That deep husky voice of hers only enhances the vibe, of course.
Neal is also remembered, sadly, as the actress who got hit with awful cards when two of her children with Dahl suffered tragedy — a son brain-damaged by a taxi accident in Manhattan, a daughter dead from measles at age 7. This was followed by Neal herself being nearly destroyed by three strokes — i.e., cerebral aneurysms — in ’65. She was left immobile and speechless, but gradually recovered. Neal returned to acting in ’68 with The Subject Was Roses.
“I think I was born stubborn, that’s all,” Neal says in a biography on the website of the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.
Roald Dahl’s Gipsy House, taken by yours truly in Great Missenden, England, during last fall’s Fantastic Mr. Fox junket.
And then she divorced Dahl in ’83 after learning of his affair with Felicity Crosland, whom Dahl married and stayed with until his death in 1990. Neal had lived with Dahl at his Gipsy House estate in Great Missenden, England (where I visited last fall during the Fantastic Mr. Fox junket) for 25-plus years. She lived the remainder of her life in New York and Martha’s Vineyard.
For me, Alma is her greatest performance, closely followed by her portrayal of an ambitious TV journalist in A Face in The Crowd. It’s odd that her work in Hud led to a Best Actress Oscar as Alma is clearly a supporting role. Hud is an ensemble thing, but it obviously belongs to Newman with Neal and her two costars, Brandon de Wilde and Melvyn Douglas, vying for secondary honors. I’m not saying Neal didn’t earn it. She was awesome in the part.
I love her Alma-isms. I love her earthy drawl and the way she hands out peach ice cream on the front porch after dinner. I love the way she places a cold glass of lemonade on De Wilde’s forehead after he’s been kicked around inside a cattle pen. I love the sexual tension in her scenes with Newman. “Ahve already spent time with one cold-hearted bastard,” she says after he’s made an unwelcome pass. “Ahm not lookin’ for another.” You believe her for the most part, but not entirely.
I haven’t even mentioned her performance in The Fountainhead (1949). It’s hard to like that film because the Ayn Rand dialogue sounds so pretentious. (“I wish I had never seen your building,” Neal says at one point. “It’s the things that we admire or want that enslave us. I’m not easy to bring into submission.”) At least she gets through it without sounding dopey or bewildered.
Very few have seen Neal in a 1964 black-and-white film called Psyche ’59, although it’s watchable on YouTube.
She played a nurse who has an affair with John Wayne in Otto Preminger‘s In Harm’s Way (’65). Duke, 57 or 58, was looking a little saggy and beefy in that film, and yet Neal, only 38 or 39 but with her looks starting to decline, was judged an appropriate romantic match. That’s Hollywood for you. When you’re done as an erotic object, they really let you know it.
I’ve read two books on Clift (Patricia Bosworth’s and another one) and feel I know most of his story. He had a ten-year film career (’46 to ’56) before the Los Angeles car accident that ruined his face and pretty much turned him into a wreck — “the slowest suicide in Hollywood history.” Alcohol and pills and the stress of living in the closet eventually led to his death in 1966 — at age 45! — from “occlusive coronary artery disease.”
How many of his pre-accident films present Clift in a truly luminous and commanding state, that anxious and willowy God-like thing that made his rep and his name? Four — Red River (shot in ’46, released in ’48), A Place in the Sun (’51), I Confess (’53) and From Here to Eternity (’53).
He made other intriguing or fascinating films, but no other major-league star was so totally ruined as Clift was after the smash-up. He didn’t just look different but seemed internally mangled and mashed in.
During those first seven years (River to Eternity) he seemed to be coming from a relatively calm and steady place for the most part — a serene one at times. Plus he had those beautiful, perfectly chiselled features. But after the pile-up he acquired the look and manner of an out-and-out spaz — a twitchy-fidgety fellow with bulging eyeballs and jug ears, and a voice (or vocal delivery) that seemed impaled by nerves. This transformation was first evident in The Young Lions in ’58. Matthew Garth in Red River was no more. Clift had nowhere to go but to become a character actor, which he did and quite well at that.
Marilyn Monroe reportedly once described Clift as “the only person I know who is in worse shape than I am.”
The BAM Cinematek selections include Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948); The Heiress (William Wyler, 1949); The Big Lift (George Seaton, 1950); A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951); From Here to Eternity (Fred Zinnemann, 1953); I Confess (Alfred Hitchcock, 1953); Lonelyhearts (Vincent J. Donehue, 1958); The Young Lions (Edward Dmytryk, 1958); Suddenly, Last Summer (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959); Wild River (Elia Kazan, 1960); The Misfits (John Huston, 1961); Freud (Huston, 1962).
I have an explanation as to why Jerry Seinfeld‘s Bee Movie (Dreamamount, 11.2) isn’t all that good or funny, and another about why it simply doesn’t work. The answer to the second question is that deep down it’s a movie about death waiting just around the corner, which is obviously a depressing thought for most of us. But that’s a thematic issue that can wait.
The main problem with Bee Movie is the system under which it was made, which is to say the political conditions. The movie is so Seinfeld-y that it’s clear that the men and women who helped this enormously wealthy and super-famous comedian make the movie indulged in too much kowtowing and boot-licking. They did the “right thing” politically, and they made a bad film as a result.
Writing a good screenplay — including an animated fantasy-comedy aimed at the easy-lay family crowd — is a very difficult thing to do. You can’t just “attitude” your way through it, and you can’t just throw material at the wall and use whatever sticks. You have to create an imaginary, spherical, super-detailed world that a typical audience is willing to believe in on its own terms. You need to create a world with rules that make basic sense.
The Bee Movie problem is that Seinfeld — the producer, co-writer and star, and therefore the dominant Big Kahuna — never did any serious undercurrent work on the script. (Which, when done properly, conveys the “things that are there but aren’t said” element that all good films have.) The evidence suggests that Seinfeld and co-directors Simon J. Smith and Steve Hickner and the various co-writers (Spike Feresten, Barry Marder, Andy Robin, Chuck Martin, Tom Papajust) just sat around and cooked up two or three hundred clever lines and jokes and said, “We don’t need to get too deep here…this is just a family movie and we’re trying to have fun and entertain.”
Wrong mentality! A good comedy is a murderously hard thing to get right. You have to approach it the way Anton Chekhov approached the writing of The Cherry Orchard. Ask Billy Wilder, ask Preston Sturges…you can’t just goof your way through it.
It seems as if one of the basic ideas was “this is Jerry’s movie, so nobody stand in the way of his humor flow.” Apparently that meant not matching him up with a Brad Bird-level director — a sharp taskmaster who knows what a tough job it is to make a script really work, and would have stood up to Seinfeld every so often and said, “Uhhn, Jerry? This isn’t working. This is a Laugh Factory act, not a movie.” Instead, everyone from Jeffrey Katzenberg on down just stood back and said, “Whatever Jerry wants…!”
Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson‘s Antz (’99) was silly and comical, of course, but the ant world it created for itself had a certain recognizable logic and rhyme and symmetry. But no one did any heavy lifting on Bee Movie. None of it means anything or goes anywhere or digs into anything solid. The result isn’t a “bomb” — Bee Movie going to make lots of money this weekend — as much as a so-whatter.
Nobody laughed very much at last night’s all-media screening. They tittered, chuckled and guffawed here and there….but no haw-haws and no shrieks. And no emotional currents whatsoever. Seinfeld’s quirky-peculiar humor is all through it, of course, and that gives it an amiable personality and all, but the movie has no theme, no bones, no arc and no soul. It’s a Bee Movie about next to nothing.
All it says is that bees shouldn’t involve themselves in litigation against honey companies or worry in general about ownership or worker exploitation or any of those business-labor issues that concern human attorneys. It says that bees should be just be busy, and that they should be content with that.
One of the big Bee Movie problems was a decision not to worry about the believability of inter-species communication through the English language. I didn’t believe it last night and I don’t believe it now. (And I don’t care if Ratatouile had the gourmet rat speak English — I didn’t like that either.) It’s not an agreeably silly idea — it’s seriously moronic. Nor do I believe that the courts would allow a bee to sue the honey companies for stealing honey from bee colonies. Nor do I believe that bees the world over would decide to kick back and become slackers because Barry has been victorious in his lawsuit and therefore forced the honey companies to return all the honey to the hives. Nor do I believe that thousand of bees could lift up the wings of a jumbo jet and help it land at a major New York airport.
I know what you’re thinking — lighten the fuck up, it’s a cartoon movie about bees! But movies like this don’t work unless you can say to yourself, “Yeah, I can roll with that.” I have no problems with a deer being able to talk to a skunk and a rabbit. I have no difficulty with members of an ant colony sounding and reasoning like Woody Allen and Sylvester Stallone. But I had huge issues with almost every story element in Bee Movie.
There’s a deeper, more fundamental reason why this thing doesn’t work, though. Seinfeld riffs about everything in the bee world except one huge thing — the fact that worker bees (like his own character, Barry B. Benson) have an average life span of nine to twelve months. Bee Movie is therefore about a character who’ll be shaking hands with the grim reaper fairly soon. It’s The Bucket List without Jack Nicholson or Morgan Freeman acknowledging their cancer. It’s Edmond O’Brien in D.O.A. without his knowing he’s been poisoned. How can anyone identify with a bee who’s going to be dead by next August?
That said, the animation is bright and lively, and Seinfeld and all the the voice actors (Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Patrick Warburton, Kathy Bates, Barry Levinson, Larry King, Ray Liotta, Sting, Oprah Winfrey, et. al.) do a fine job of reading their lines.
I was told that earlier this week that the review date for Andrew Dominik‘s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Warner Bros., 9.21) would be Tuesday, 9.4 — a curious guideline that didn’t take into account the imminent unveiling at the Venice Film Festival. The bottom line is that Variety‘s Todd McCarthy and the Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt went with reviews earlier today — a euphoric rave and a sneering pan, respectively.
This is a major “art western” of the first order — one of the most immaculate and uncannily “right” time-machine visits into a bygone world ever put to the screen. As far from a post-modern shoot-em-up as you can get and not even a contender in the ways of the rousing, rip-snortin’ Wild Bunch, this is one of those awesomely assembled visitations that just sinks in like a sunovabitch. It makes you sit right up and forget everything except for the novelistic richness and aliveness of what’s filling the screen. Either a movie like this is “in the zone” or it isn’t, and Jesse James‘ worth is unquestionable in this respect. Any film maven who doesn’t recognize this simple fact has, no offense, his head up his ass.
I’ll grant that the story meanders in the middle (only nitpicky soreheads will make a big thing out of this…an urge that never once crossed my mind) and that Dominik’s theme about twisted hero worship and the hunger for celebrity is not the most rousing I’ve considered or absorbed (although it’s servicable enough), but the bottom line is that this is a movie about cinematic painterliness of a stunningly fine pedigree, and sometimes this is entirely enough in itself. And to this end kudos are due to not only Dominik but cinematographer Roger Deakins.
As McCarthy allows, “Even those who resist the film itself will be in awe of its surpassing visual beauty and consummate craftsmanship. Just when it seemed that…Deakins had achieved another career high with No Country for Old Men, he trumps himself yet again, here using a subdued palette of parched-plains earth tones captured with an extraordinary luminosity and delicacy.”
As I watched Jesse James the closest atmospheric analogies among westerns I could think of were Terrence Malick‘s Days of Heaven and Philip Borsos‘ The Grey Fox. McCarthy also brings up McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Bad Company, The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, Jeremiah Johnson, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Long Riders and Heaven’s Gate.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is “a ravishing, magisterial, poetic epic that moves its characters toward their tragic destinies with all the implacability of a Greek drama,” he begins, and is thereby “one of the best Westerns of the 1970s, which represents the highest possible praise. It’s a magnificent throwback to a time when filmmakers found all sorts of ways to refashion Hollywood’s oldest and most durable genre.”
Dressed in a bee costume, Jerry Seinfeld took two wild rides off the roof of the Carlton Hotel late this morning to promote Bee Movie, the animated DreamWorks feature comedy that opens in November. Seinfeld was hooked up to a long-ass safety wire that stretched from the Carlton roof to the hotel pier some 200 yards away.
Bee Movie star and co-writer Jerry Seinfeld doing the paparazzi stroll on the Carlton pier a little after noon today — Thursday, 5.17.07, 12:105 pm. (The wind and the light showed that Seinfeld has a bit of Rogaine issue — if I were him I’d do something about it before it gains any more ground.)
Footage from the film was shown at the Espace Miramar about an hour earlier, followed by Seinfeld coming up on stage and talking about the film — the why and how of it, the genesis, the plot, the Steven Spielberg connection and so on.
The flying stunt had been rehearsed by Seinfeld and an assistance crew this morning at 5 am. DreamWorks chief Jeff Katzenberg also rode the wire early this morning “just to do it,” according to what Premiere online critic Glenn Kenny told me at the after-party. Seinfeld’s second stunt didn’t go as smoothly as the first, Kenny said. The comedian had a hard time landing smoothly and “was visibly rattled,” said Kenny.
I didn’t take any pics of Seinfeld because I decided to walk over to the rue d’Antibes after the stage show to score one of those heavy-duty, multi-region electric power adapters. (I had bought one at FNAC two days ago, but it gave up the ghost last night in the apartment — don’t ask why.) But I made it back to the luncheon party and took a few shots of Seinfeld and the paparazzi.
The plot is about Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld), a bee who’s not thrilled at the idea of doing just making honey for the rest of his life. (A disillusioned insect who wants to be different…hey, wasn’t this what Woody Allen‘s “Z” was about in Antz?) In any case, Barry gets to leave the hive on a honeysuckle mission in Manhattan’s Central Park, and he eventually runs into humans who try to swat him to death. Naturally.
Barry is nearly all in at one point when he’s saved by Vanessa (Zellweger), a kind-hearted hottie, and he promptly falls in love. Kind of a King Kong-Ann Darrell romance in reverse. Then he decides to talk to her. English, that is. Then he learns about the human honey business, and decides that humans are ripping off the bees in order to do so, and so files a lawsuit to try and prevent this. Honestly, that’s more or less the story. I’m half into it. I like “silly” if the movie really goes for it whole-hog.
Chris Rock, Matthew Broderick, Oprah Winfrey, Sting and Ray Liotta (among many others) voice the other bees and humans who figure in the plot.
I haven’t yet loaded by trusty Wavepad sound editing software since last week’s hard drive crash, so I’m running the Seinfeld chit-chat raw.