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David Poland

By David Poland


I am still having password issues with posting to the blog on anything but my iPhone…. we should have it worked out soon. I really don’t want to write about the fine work at the LAByrinth Theater Co without some space and the ability to edit the piece properly.
In any case, I’m off to BIFF for the eighth year. Like many festivals, they are having a tough year with sponsorship… but the festival’s interest in international cinema and emerging filmmakers will surely trump the less glittery celebrity line-up.
See you on the other side…

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37 Responses to “BYOBermuda”

  1. CM says:

    As it should be…wish I were there!

  2. Blackcloud says:

    If only we could, if only we could.

  3. Eddie says:

    Off-Topic Dave (assuming you get your password issues worked out), but since you mentioned it the other day, did you get to November? What did you think?

  4. leahnz says:

    i watched ‘manhunter’ last night, which is so deliciously ’80 stylish and has the young william p who is, how to say without sounding like lex…yummy, do any of you cinefiles have an insight as to why michael mann filmed it with that lame-ass ending? has he ever explained himself? i have always wondered about that, it bugs the hell out of me. as a fan of the harris novel ‘red dragon’ (i liked ‘silence of the lambs’ better cuz it has such a great character in starling, but ‘dragon’ is a great read), the end is such an intergral part of the plot and i can’t for the life of me see why they cut it out… just wondering if anyone knows the reason.

  5. Nicol D says:

    Manhunter is one of my favourite films. I do not know exactly what you mean by the “lame-ass ending”. Can you be more specific?
    Hard to answer your question when you are that vague.
    Remember Manhunter was a fairly low budget film…what element of the ending do you consider “lame-ass”?

  6. Jimmy the Gent says:

    The ending to Manhunter is one of the great endings of ANY thriller ever.
    I’ve read the Harris novel and understand people who complain about Mann re-working the last 2 or 3 chapters. It works. Harris’ original ending was just too elaborate for mid-80s audiences. Also, Mann combined elements from his own extensive research of serial killers with the character Harris created. Apparently there was another serial killer who would have TVs on throughout his home. Also, he had a weird obsession with the Iron Butterfly song.
    The use of music in Manhunter is astonishing. The use of The Prime Movers’ “Stong As I Am” as Dolarhyde freaks out in his van is amazing. So is the Shreikback song that plays during the Dolarhyde love scene. Joan Allen has never been sexier. (When is Hollywood going to let her unleash her sexuality.)
    The scene where Will Graham jumps through the window as the Iron Butterfly song builds is pure action poetry. It’s the ugliest rock song for the ugliest serial killer in movie history. Looking at Manhunter you see where Fincher and Andrew Kevin Walker got a lot of their ideas for Se7en. (Walker admits to being a Manhunter fan on the Se7en commentary.)
    If you want a more faithful adaptation of Red Dragon the novel I direct you to the boringly faithful Ratner adaptation. That’s what happens when filmmakers are TOO loyal to source material. I even remember Ratner saying in an EW cover story that he was proud to have corrected Mann’s “mistake” by filming the REAL ending to the story. He all be said Mann’s version was a “blown opportunity.”
    When asked to comment, Mann said, “He said that? He must’ve been kidding.”
    BTW: Mann provides a commentary track on the ANchor Bay Director’s Cut DVD.

  7. LexG says:


  8. Brett B says:

    I’ve been wondering, how come DVD’s are still released in Full Screen, even though there is obviously a huge push to get people to upgrade to hi-def movies and TVs? I would think that taking away the Full Screen alternative would end up forcing more people to upgrade than it would cause people to stop buying movies altogether.

  9. leahnz says:

    if i wanted to watch ‘red dragon’ i would have, that’s why i watched ‘manhunter’…
    because i dig it, man, i dig the performances, the production design, the way it’s filmed, william p and dennis f and joan a and they guy who plays dollarhyd whose name escapes me, and yes, the music, mann has a great ear for the tunes in his flicks, but i do not dig the abrupt ending.
    jimmy, so your theory is that ’80’s audiences were mentally disabled and unable to deal with a complex plot? i should be offended, but i’m not cuz i’m a tough old booze hag. nicole d, i think the ending is lame-ass because it ignores dollarhyde’s intention to turn the tables on will, and his last hurrah if you will, i thought it made a lot more sense than the ending mann filmed, but that’s just me. maybe the curse of reading the book before seeing the movie, which i saw when it first came out in the cinema back in the olden days.
    lex, i wish mann would KICK your ass, now that would own

  10. Aris P says:

    I got Friedkin’s Sorcerer last night form netflix. Ummm full screen (with “this film has been formatted to fit your screen” message!), scratches aplenty, looked like shit, awful audio mix. Did i just get a netflix cheapo hatchet job version, or did Universal actually release the dvd like this? As a person who works in the dvd re-release world, it was just depressing. I know some films might not be worth the effort and money in the studio’s eyes to clean up, but this was beyond shit. what bullshit.

  11. I once had a (not embellishing) 20 minute argument/discussion with my aunt about why fullscreen is basically totally lame. She was saying she ONLY got fullscreen because she hated those black bars at the top and bottom. Plus she said, “doesn’t ‘full screen’ mean it’s filling up my entire screen?? Why waste space?!?”
    I then proceeded to hold my cupped hands up to her temples and finished the conversation that way….to prove my point. I’m still not sure she got it.

  12. tjfar67 says:

    Didn’t Ratner’s version of ‘Red Dragon’ end with a blooper reel?
    So, should I take ‘Sorcerer’ out of my queue and wait for a new and improved edition?

  13. Aris P says:

    They’ll never release another edition.

  14. Cadavra says:

    Question for Lex: just exactly how many people own my ass now? Not sure there’s enough room.

  15. sloanish says:

    Two things about that EW Speed Racer thing.
    1. When did an EW cover story become a clipped 2 page spread? It’s a story about how the Wachowskis won’t talk to the press but if they did they would say liked Speed Racer.
    2. That Silver quote on MCN: “You know in the Matrix movies where the B-camera goes under a truck, and you’re like, ‘How’d they do that?’ The Wachowskis wanted to make a whole movie like that. With racing cars.” The camera going under the truck was cool because you didn’t know how they fit a camera under it (seconds before you realized it was a CG truck). At no point in Speed Racer will you ever believe that what you’re watching is real, and that’s why you won’t give a shit.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Leahnz, I really like you.
    I’m of the minority opinion that Manhunter and Red Dragon are both flawed, for different reasons. I just can’t get into that Michael Mann aesthetic, and the only movies of his that I can really get behind are Mohicans and The Insider, where it feels like he’s serving something beyond his own machismo.
    But that’s just me.

  17. Random off topic question – Who here is taking part in Earth Hour? I would like to think that all the Inconvenient Truth junkees are. And if they’re not then they’re idiots.
    On the full/wide screen thing I knew I had finally won when my mother went to me last year “I was watching Days of Our Lives the other day and I couldn’t stand it not being in widescreen!” Game. Set. Match.

  18. Krazy Eyes says:

    Didn’t Friedkin mention in a somewhat recent interview that he had recorded a new commentary track for Sorcerer? I also hear that he’s no longer in the full-screen only camp due to advances in video quality and TV screen size.
    I’d say all this bodes well for a new release of Sorcerer.

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    LexG: Whenever you start to rant and rave and talk about owning someone’s ass, remember: You will never seem as macho or intimidating as William Petersen does in Manhunter at that moment when, after making sure his wife and kid are flying away to safety, he thinks of the “Tooth Fairy” killer and promises, in a coldly even tone of voice, “It’s just you and me now, sport.”
    It’s a bit like that moment near the end of 48 HRS. when Nick Nolte, who’s been slouching in every scene up to that point, is ramrod straight as he walks into the fog-shrouded alley and coldly announces to James Remar: “You’re not gonna make it.”
    Real badasses rarely have to raise their voices.

  20. movieman says:

    I was looking forward to “The Ruins” until learning that the only pre-release Cleveland “screening” is the night before it opens…at 10 P.M. That’s usually a sign that the distributer knows they’ve got a dog, and is actively discouraging any opening weekend reviews.
    I realize this has been happening a lot lately (“Shutter,” “Meet the Browns,” “Superhero Movie,” the upcoming “Prom Night,” etc.), but expected more from DreamWorks and a Scott Smith adaptation.
    Does anyone know whether the press “blackout” is the same in other (bigger) markets? Or is ole’ Cleveburg just getting shafted again?

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Not being screened in Houston until 10 pm Thursday.

  22. movieman says:

    Thnx for the info, Joe.
    Sounds like a nat’l p-blackout then: not counting junket “press,” of course, who probably saw it weeks ago.
    Still kind of surprising considering that it’s DW–who even let press see that frigging abomination “Norbit” in advance–and was based on a S. Smith novel.
    Apparently something went terribly wrong somewhere….too bad.

  23. scooterzz says:

    there was no junket or press day for ‘the ruins’ and only l.a. screening is the all-media thursday at 9….
    also, my paramount guy tells me that there will be no junket, press day or advance screenings of ‘indiana jones…’…..

  24. Chicago also 10pm Thursday for The Runs.

  25. Cadavra says:

    “Real badasses rarely have to raise their voices.”
    Exactly. Lee Marvin, Coburn, McQueen, Randolph Scott in his later years, all paragons of this, as well as The King, Bogie: “You’re both gonna take a beating until one of you talks. That means one of you’s gonna take a beating for nothing, and I don’t care which one it is.” Now try to imagine any star under 50 today (except maybe Crowe) pulling that off.

  26. movieman says:

    OK, I can see why Paramount, Spielberg and Lucas don’t feel the need to overexert themselves with the rigors of a junket, but “no advance screenings” sounds a bit harsh.
    No Spielberg movie has ever opened “cold,” and my guess is that they’ll probably set something up at the very last minute (Tuesday nite or Wednesday morning/afternoon) prior to Thursday’s opening.
    Too bad about “The Ruins.” Guess the title may turn out to be prophetic, huh?

  27. jeffmcm says:

    Isn’t that a Spielberg pattern – no junket and advance screenings only at the last minute?
    Thirty years ago, ‘The Runs’ would have made for a great digestion-themed horror movie. And they could have made it at the same locations.

  28. movieman says:

    Most of Spielberg’s movies from the past decade (“Catch Me if You Can,””Minority Report,” “Munich,” “The Terminal,” etc.) have actively courted the press with earlier-than-usual screenings. “War of the Worlds,” natch, was the exception–that had an all-media promo three nites before opening day in northeastern Ohio.
    In that spirit, I’m not terribly surprised by Scooter’s news. I just find it highly unlikely that Paramount, Spielberg and Lucas are going to open this thing sans any advance screenings at all. Of course, they’ll ultimately capitulate and let ink-stained wretches like me see it 48-36 hours before the Wednesday evening “previews” on May 21st.
    Funny how things change, though. I remember seeing “Raiders” at a heavily advertised public “sneak preview” at the old Loews State in NY a week before it opened. Which is the same way I saw “E.T.” a year later–and that one was a full two weeks before its June 11, 1982 opening.

  29. scooterzz says:

    sorry, by ‘no advance screenings’ i meant long-lead or ‘junket’….i’m told the screening will be one or two days before release……

  30. doug r says:

    I remember there was a sneak for Raiders here too. I didn’t discover it for a week later.
    By the way, DP, if you’re in Bermuda, don’t piss off the valet, especially if he looks like Daniel Craig.

  31. movieman says:

    Considering how studios have basically abandoned the entire concept of “sneak previews” these days, it boggles my mind to recall some of the movies I first saw at public sneaks.
    Besides that Spielberg double-header previously cited, there was “Back to the Future,” “Carrie,” “Gremlins,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Top Gun,” “Rocky,” “The Wanderers,” “American Hot Wax” and even–going back 35, gulp, years to my all-time favorite Lucas joint–“American Graffiti.”

  32. doug r says:

    Remember when studios would let you stay for the feature “for free”? I saw Blue Thunder paired up with Gandhi that way.

  33. movieman says:

    Those were the days, huh, Doug?
    One of my favorite sneak double-features was “Silence of the Lambs” sneaked with “Dances With Wolves.”
    Ironically, both would end up winning the Oscar for Best Picture in their respective years.

  34. modernknife says:

    Keep in mind, a year before MANHUNTER opened, a little film called MEAN SEASON ripped off the ending of Harris’ RED DRAGON with the same sort of switch and bait effect.
    Mann was contracted to a 2 hour film — even though he got a few extra minutes with credits. His early draft screenplays are in 135 page area. So some cuts were gonna have to be made. His ending was streamlined — if only because it takes approx 10 minutes of screen time to set it up (the body double, the keys and the fire, etc)
    In one of Mann’s early drafts of the script, he even included the scene at the gas station with Francis and the gas station attendent — only to cut it later when the original ending was no longer in the cards. Had Mann filmed the original ending in 1986 — his film would have been accused of ripping off the MEAN SEASON, regardless of the source material.
    Not that the Ratner film got the ending correct anyway. Is there ANYONE out there that actually believes ‘The Tooth Fairy’ would actually hold a knife to Graham’s son’s neck and just wait for Graham to enter the room? Just horrible and not needed at all.

  35. LexG says:

    MEAN SEASON! That was ALWAYS on HBO back in the day. Kurt in solid everyman mode… Richard Jordan is very memorable in that. Not a really great or even very good movie, but lots of atmosphere for a generic potboiler.

  36. leahnz says:

    very interesting, modernknife, thanks for your insight. that’s just the sort of thing i was wondering about

  37. David Poland says:

    Movieman… not sure you have that quite right about Spielberg screening. Some of the movies you name were Oscar-push films, so they were shown early for Christmas release, but very late for Oscar (first week of December).
    War of the Worlds had one embargoed screening a few days before release. The Terminal wasn’t actually ready early enough, since they went back in to reshoots and re-editing.
    Junketing this movie makes no sense. Harrison Ford surely doesn’t want to. Spielberg tends to like very limited access. Blanchett will have a 3 month old and thus, is unlikely to make the trip. And Shia has a big mouth and a growing police record.
    But if they are doing the Cannes screening on the 18th, they will have to do something in NY and LA on that same day… as Sony pretty much had to with DaVinci. But doing Cannes also probably limits their screening options, since Cannes doesn’t want to be scooped.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon