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David Poland

By David Poland

A Fresh BYOB

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112 Responses to “A Fresh BYOB”

  1. Cannes lineup! People’s thoughts? How irrelevent will it be for Dace this year?! :p

  2. Dace = Dave, obviously

  3. doug r says:

    Theaters around here are starting to admit they will have 9:00 ish shows on May 1 for Iron Man.
    Anyone hear anything more about the rumors of April 30 shows?

  4. Noah says:

    Kami, I’m super psyched to hear the early word on the new Desplechin flick, Un Conte de Noel. Also, looking forward to hearing word about the new Allen, Eastwood, the Che flicks, the Charlie Kaufman movie, Egoyan and the Dardennes Brothers, the new Garrel, Salles, Wenders, etc. There’s lots of great directors and I like that it’s not as American-centric as it has been the past few years. But personally, I’m looking most forward to the Desplechin flick.

  5. yancyskancy says:

    Was the Hancock trailer I saw on Fox tonight the first one that’s surfaced? First I’ve seen anyway. My interest is now officially piqued. Looks like it might be smart fun.

  6. Che will be interesting to hear about, considering it’s the four hour combined version of Guerilla and The Argentine.

  7. hcat says:

    So does anyone know the release strategy for the Che films, will they be released two months apart, six months? Or who is releasing the Kaufman movie?

  8. Blackcloud says:

    Could Cannes get any more irrelevant? Maybe if it were on Pluto, a non-event for a non-planet. Oh, wait, Pluto is still a planet.
    Think the Bond production crew would like its own quantum of solace right about now?

  9. I am still yet to hear a decent reasoning behind any “Cannes is irrelevent” arguments.

  10. Kambei says:

    Ashes of Time Redux!?! I thought this was just internet apocrypha. Also, I believe Pluto is not a planet. We could start a Save the Planet foundation, maybe, or Sting and Bono could duet on a charity single “my solar system has 9 planets”?

  11. TuckPendleton says:

    Man, the more I see of Hancock, the more I look forward to the movie…
    Let’s just hope that haven’t overloaded the trailer with all the good bits…

  12. Me says:

    My understanding of Dave’s line of argument about Cannes being irrelevant is that the festival does little to create a stir among the general American audience to see a movie. It also has historically done little to predict Oscar.
    I don’t think he was saying that it is irrelevant to the film world, but that it is irrelevant to two areas that he likes to deal with in his writing.

  13. TuckPendleton says:

    Also, while I realize Smith is one of, if not the biggest, movie star going right now, how does Charlize Theron not get above the title?
    I’m sure Smith has a clause he’s the only name above the title, but I wonder how much it took to talk Theron into that…

  14. With all this talk about Gran Torino, I had forgotten about The Changeling. It’ll be good to have a new Eastwood film this year. Also, if Che works, it’ll be amazing. I don’t know any other time when something like that has been done at that level.
    Also, I saw Atom Egoyan talk a few weeks ago about Adoration. He didn’t say it was going to be bad, per se, but it did seem as though the production had taken a lot out of him.

  15. lazarus says:

    Of course I can’t speak for the quality of any of these unseen films, but I’d love to see Soderbergh show up with a not-quite-locked version of Che and take the Palme d’Or, in Francis Ford Coppola/Apocalypse Now fashion.
    Please stand by for the requisite Nicol D Why-Should -We-Celebrate-The-Life-Of-That-Murderer-With-This-Sure-To-Be-Hagiography post.

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    But can Bencio Del Toro possibly be better than Omar Sharif as Che?

  17. The Pope says:

    I’m with you 100% Kami. I have never been convinced by anyone who claims that Cannes is irrelevant. Even for the American market. If people could only get out from behind their Hollywood glasses and see the purpose of Cannes. As a festival it is there to celebrate films. As a festival it is there to help give a platform to films that may otherwise find it hard to find their slot in the market. And that is the other reason why Cannes is important. It is a film market. And while it may not serve as a feeder to the US, it sure helps give profiles to films from and for elsewhere.
    My final point is this. If Cannes were so irrelevant, why did The Da Vince Code launch there? Star Wars? Why is Indy IV opening there? The man with the hat hardly needs to be on the Croisette… or is Cannes relevant?

  18. Lol, that’s not fair, Joe, no one asked Gael Garcia Bernal to be better than Omar Sharif.

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: Che! is, as I recall, a lousy movie. (I haven’t seen it since 1969, during its initial theatrical release.) But I’m still amused by the fact that it was released by a major Hollywood studio — 20th Century Fox — and directed by that most mainstream of moviemakers, Richard Fleischer, just two years after Fleischer gave us Doctor Dolittle (and one year before he did Tora! Tora! Tora!). Wonder if Fox will reissue it on DVD when the Soderbergh films hit theaters?

  20. jeffmcm says:

    {Nerd Alert}
    I believe Pluto, alongside Ceres and Eris, are considered “Dwarf Planets”.
    And yeah, if we think of movies as existing for themselves and not relying solely on the Academy Awards or box office to provide their justification, Cannes has some meaning.

  21. LexG says:

    Has it been confirmed that “Gran Torino” is a new Dirty Harry movie, or was that just some ridiculous hoax?
    Speaking of all things Che and Soderbergh and “Apocalypse Now”… I wish Soderbergh had a little more of that mania. For all his temporal tricks and color schemes and experimentation, he always seems like such a reasonable director. His Che movie sounds like a massive undertaking and extremely ambitious… but also the kind of thing that would seem to require an impressionistic maniac, and impassioned lunatic.
    There almost always seems to be something tight and controlled about a Soderbergh movie, when a movie like this ought by rights to be messy and crazy and over-the-top. But who knows, maybe the Oliver Stone approach would be too cliche, and SS will blow us away.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    LexG: Have you ever seen Soderbergh’s Bubble?

  23. lazarus says:

    Or Schizopolis, for that matter?
    I see what you’re saying, Lex, and for the most part you may be right, but I think Soderbergh can adapt when he has to. Ocean’s 12 was a very breezy, loose, new-wave affair, and regardless of what one thinks of the film itself, it certainly isn’t tight and controlled.
    I’m starting to think that Che could wind up being his crowning achievement, or at least his JFK.

  24. Noah says:

    Oh wow, I love Schizopolis which is such an incredible deranged film.
    I always think it’s interesting that in Down and Dirty Pictures, Soderbergh is quoted as saying that he admired the career or Sydney Pollack because it seems like Soderbergh’s career is a mixture of films where he’s trying to be Sydney Pollack but at the same time, it’s like he has this independent demon on his shoulder telling him he can’t be. Even when he’s trying to be more mainstream, he brings his oddball sensibility to it (Out of Sight, Traffic, the Oceans movies, even Erin Brockovich) but he also seems very comfortable going out on his own limb like with Schizopolis, Solaris, Full Frontal, Bubble, etc.
    I hope he paints a fair portrait of Che (who in my eyes is no hero) but I’m sure he’s crafted two motion pictures that will be intriguing for one reason or another.

  25. LexG says:

    No, I’ve not seen “Bubble”… though thanks for reminding me; I of course wanted to yet have never gotten around to it.
    I am, however, a pretty big fan of “Solaris,” which is extremely unironic and emotional, despite its deceptively icy appearance; And we shouldn’t forget maybe his most unsung/forgotten movie, “King of the Hill” (which needed a DVD release, last time I checked.)
    Yeah, it’s hard to put a finger on; Saying SS is “cold” or “detached” is a recurring complaint, but then it doesn’t really take into account the fact that there is a thread of humanism in “The Limey” and “Out of Sight,” even the Ocean pictures. And “12” is endlessly fascinating to me; Hated it on first viewing, thought it was a big, smug celeb circle-jerk. But the Euro, ’60s, subversive vibe of it improves on repeat viewings, and now I prefer it to the original.
    He’s a strong filmmaker, and it’s truly impressive how many things he can do, and do well. (I even sorta liked “Good German.”) But for all that crisp professionalism and those moments and films of inspiration and connection, I don’t know, he just lacks that madman sense of lunatic passion that I’d associate with this kind of epic and the guys who usually do this kind of thing — Stone, Herzog, Coppola, even (going newer) Innaritu.

  26. lazarus says:

    Glad you’ve come around on Ocean’s 12, Lex (that final freeze-frame of CZJ is better than the entirety of 11), and VERY agreed on King of the Hill and Solaris, which I still think contains Clooney’s best work to date.
    I wanted to like The Good German more than I did, but I still think it was better than people were giving it credit for. I think it is a question of just dissolving the two disparate filmmakers in his brain, and he could be one of those masters you mentioned. I won’t question his hunger because a satisfied guy doesn’t make films like Full Frontal and Bubble after an Oscar win.

  27. Hopscotch says:

    My favorite Soderbergh movie hands down is THE LIMEY. I. Love. That. Movie.
    “Try to catch him with another bird.”
    On recent casting news, I saw the blip that Ayelet Zurer was cast against Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons. This is not terribly interesting news considering how horrible a film Da Vinci Code ended up being and one can hope that A&D is a modest improvement. But if you’ve seen Munich you must come to the conclusion that she’s the hottest pregnant woman in film history. Period. I had never seen her in a movie before and she left the biggest impression on me, just a startling gorgeous woman.

  28. Stella's Boy says:

    36 months in the slammer for Wesley Snipes. Crazy.

  29. Eric says:

    I think the word we might be looking for with Soderbergh is “academic.” Even when he’s loose, his formalism always reminds you that you’re watching a film.
    (He’s still one of the best.)

  30. The *other* Hollywood del Toro (Guillermo) just made my frigging day with that MCN headline. Just as you all can’t wait to hear the typical rigamoral with the usuals regarding Che being overly regarded as heroicm and how Cannes is irrelevant, I can’t wait for people to try and say how “The Hobbit” will suck with del Toro at the helm.

  31. lazarus says:

    Hopscotch: That Limey DVD has a couple of great commentaries. The back-and-forth between Soderbergh and Lem Dobbs, and then the one about the 60’s from Stamp, Fonda, etc. Great disc.
    As for Munich, I appreciate your Ayelet love, but Marie-Jos

  32. Wow, LexG engaging in an intelligent conversation?
    And you guys thought he was an imbecile.

  33. No, Bart….we think (or I think) people who think Lex is doing anything but baiting them and acting a fool is an imbecile (THX, Kamikaze, etc.)

  34. jeffmcm says:

    I just wanted to agree that Ocean’s 12, being looser and sillier, is a better film for me than 11 as well. That CZJ freeze-frame is a great, unscripted bit of cinema.

  35. movieman says:

    Glad to see some of my favorite (and notoriously undervalued) Soderbergh films–“Ocean’s 12” and “King of the Hill”–get some love.
    I’ve always considered “King” to be Soderbergh’s masterpiece; the fact that it’s still not available on DVD is criminal.
    And “12” is my personal fave of the three “Ocean’s” movies.
    I love the whole loosey-goosey, French-New Wave-refracted-through-Richard-Lester crazy quilt vibe. And it’s as brilliantly meta as the best of Charlie Kaufman.
    Btw, Lex’s succinct analysis of Soderbergh’s ouevre was
    damn impressive.

  36. Hopscotch says:

    Lazarus: I’ve got that DVD and I’ve listened to those commentaries. The one from Dobbs, Soderbergh is fascinating and hysterical. I don’t listen to a lot of director commentaries but that one is one of my favorites.
    And Marie-josee Croze absolutely caught my eye as well in Munich. Good god that woman is sexy.

  37. IOIOIOI says:

    I caught King of the Hill on cable a year or two ago, and fell in love with that flick. It’s freakin awesome. Easily another film that Grammacy pictures killed by not releasing this flick as a UNIVERSAL RELEASE. God bless Focus Features.
    Oh yeah: Lex does not seem like he’s baiting anyone. He just seems like a dude whose having fun. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not make him a total ass.

  38. LexG says:

    Don’t forget his Limey/Out of Sight warmup, The Underneath. From Allison Elliot’s short-lived It Girl days, and featuring one of William Fichtner’s earlier performances. I remember liking it quite a bit, though somehow time has blended it into a string of other, similar mid-90s films, like ALBO GATOR (wack) and Last Seduction.

  39. SJRubinstein says:

    If you ever want to hear Soderbergh geek out about how much he loves movies, listen to his co-commentary on the Criterion “The Third Man” with Tony Gilroy. You really come away knowing of his appreciation for films. His father was a Marine, but also a professor and in one of his books – on Woman Marines in the Korean War era – he spends a lot of time discussing the war films of the day, making you think that this ran in the family.
    And I have to admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for Soderbergh as three films really hit me my sophomore year in high school that got me interested in movies beyond just “Star Wars” – Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” and Soderbergh’s “Kafka.” I bought VHS copies of each (haunted my local Blockbuster until the finally sold off their extra “Kafka” as the Suncoast at the Houston Galleria was selling it for $99.99 – back in the days before mass sell-through) and watched all three over and over and over, almost every day after I came home from school. There’s always a rumor that “Kafka” will one day make it onto DVD with the kind of “Final Cut” we got with the new “Blade Runner” and I just can’t wait.

  40. lazarus says:

    Another good call, Lex. I saw The Underneath in the theatre when it came out and loved it. Yes, the use of colors is obvious, but it’s so rich. And that cast! Gallagher, Elliot, Fichtner, Joe Don Baker, Paul Dooley, Shelley Dvuall(!), and Elizabeth Shue? I liked the idea of shooting a noir that takes place almost entirely during the day as well. Very underrated.
    SJRubenstein, as I mentioned before, there is a laserdisc avaiable of Kafka if you have an LD player. If you don’t, you can find one for cheap, and that widescreen copy was less than $10. A very weird film, with another great cast. Irons, Grey, Mueller-Stahl, Holm, Krabbe, Russell, and Guinness? Damn.

  41. IOIOIOI says:

    Kafka seems like a movie tailor-made for the Miriam Collection. Hopefully it comes out on DVD or BLU-RAY one of these days this year.

  42. Martin S says:

    I saw Kafka in the theater because of Irons work in Dead Ringers. Great film as is The Limey.
    On another note – I cannot believe Hancock was Tonight, He Comes. Amazing. Very little resemblance to what Mann was working on when he brought it back to life, but that was before Akiva Goldsman got involved.
    Financially, Smith is gold, but I think this is his first audience/critic mis-step. The story was never meant to be this big, but Smith apparently cannot bring himself to do something small anymore. And the constant rotation of talent makes me believe that was the problem – the studio saw summer blockbuster, the directors saw something else. I know that was Mostow’s complaint.
    Superhero films break into two groups; the new “it” superhero and the awaited sequel. Hancock needed to come before Iron Man or after Dark Knight because it’s going to feel anachronistic between the two. Release it before Iron Man, and it makes IM look cookie-cutter in story. After Dark Knight, and all the critics can start talking about the new post-modern superhero film and what’s to follow with Watchmen. But in between them and it’s parody, which is an at-odds with summer releases.
    Money-wise, Smith will clean up, but the path this thing has traveled to end up with Berg…it feels like Smith is pinch-hitting for The Rock.

  43. Martin S says:

    Clarification to the above – Mostow’s issue was not that Hancock was destined for Summer.

  44. I’m liking this LexG! This LexG is my kinda LexG!
    Onto Soderberg:
    I received Bubble in the mail just yesterday, haven’t got around to watching it just set (my brother’s wedding tomorrow – hectic time) but I’ve been looking forward since reading about it last year. I like that Soderbergh can seemlessly shift about through mainstream (which, for the most part, is excellent such as Erin Brockovich and Traffic) and extreme arthouse (Bubble, Full Frontal). I even liked The Good German, which seemed like a cross between the two. I thought Cate Blanchett gave one of her finest perfs in that flick (while Tobey Maguire gave one of his worst).
    I’m a big fan of The Limey too and, well, Sex, Lies and Videotape is a classic. I still get sad every time I remember Laura San Giacomo didn’t get a Best Supporting Actress nomination. It takes a time like this to realise how deep and strong Soderbergh’s filmography really is. A lot of people just seem to think it started with Erin/Traffic and now all he makes are George Clooney movies.
    I’m gonna try and bump any available Soderbergh flicks to the top of my DVD queue.

  45. Nicol D says:

    “… I can’t wait for people to try and say how “The Hobbit” will suck with del Toro at the helm.”
    Del Toro is a fan-boy flake who could not find the heart in a film if it was sliced open and poured blood like an open wound onto his overfilled dinner plate. In his interviews he sounds like a vegetative simp. Pan’s ode to Stalin was one of the most historically vapid films I’ve ever seen.
    He is the Mexican Bret Ratner.
    I hope you enjoy.
    Perhaps he can donate his paycheck to the great grandchildren of those millions killed by Stalin.

  46. Whew. Luckily Nicol D. was here to put the nightcap on my night. But me also thinks that wasn’t the real Nicol D. 🙁

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, that sounds more like someone ‘doing’ Nicol than the man himself.
    Or, he’s drunk on fine Canadian wine.

  48. To illustrate (just like, on the surface how stupid that “Nicol” comment was) here’s parts of his sketchbook from the (*gasp* movie about questioning authority (something Nicole can’t stand) PANS LABYRINTH:
    And here are Ratners sketches from all his movies….combined:

  49. lazarus says:

    Pan’s Labyrinth as a pro-Stalin treatise? Wow. Apparently if you’re anti-fascist it means you automatically support the systematic murder of Russian citizens.
    Wow, you are really a jackass sometimes.
    Can we get back to getting along? It was nice for a change.
    For the record, Hellboy had a lot more heart than most comic book films. And I think if you listen to Del Toro’s commentary you can see how personal that project was.

  50. Joe Leydon says:

    Lazurus: When Del Toro introduced the first Hellboy at SXSW, he called it a movie “made by geeks for geeks.” The crowd roared its approval.

  51. Well, besides Nicol being clearly in the minority on Pan’s Labyrinth, I have just realized that I haven’t seen nearly as many Soderbergh films as I should have. That guy is ridiculously prolific. Although
    I have seen Schizopolis, that should earn me some brownie points.

  52. THX5334 says:

    Don Lewis…
    Call me and your fellow Australian critic an imbecile if you must; but I’m taking full credit for Lex’s snap to in behaivor…
    His behavioral switch from over-amped, under-sexed, pop-culture super-square to Intellectual Film Pimp seems to have happened as I informed him the oh so real and true fact that some very hot and very prosperous women who pay the bills in front of the camera, read this blog on a regular basis…
    When that fact got laid down, I do believe the tonal shift occurred.
    Trust me Lex, it’s working for you.
    Now I risk disrupting it again by pointing this out; but your rudeness towards me and Kamikaze, when I for one have never done anything rude or disrespectful towards you, needed to be addressed.
    Hollywood is small. I am right now working on a project with one of the celebrities that appeared in your band’s music video. They know us both here, and in the real world. Is it really cool to throw the disses?
    Manners, son. Manners…
    (On that note, when one stops to consider how many eyeballs read this site, or any other, and don’t comment. It at least makes me (from now on), think twice before I hit the post button.

  53. jeffmcm says:

    THX, if I ever meet you I’ll buy you a drink.

  54. Oh, duh, THX IS Lex G. Jesus man, you’re a regular Andy Kaufman…had me fooled. Well played son, well played.
    And, the jokes on you as there were no celebrities in my bands music video. 😉

  55. THX5334 says:

    Don, I’d post the link here were you said otherwise, but I don’t feel like it.
    Now, you’re acting like an ass. Probably because you’ve had a few…
    If you want to email me privately, I’m happy to discuss the referral.

  56. movieman says:

    Two more reasons to love Steven Soderbergh:
    his book-length interview with Richard Lester (Soderbergh’s very own “Hitchcock/Truffaut”), and the commentary tracks he did with Mike Nichols on Nichols’ “Catch 22” and “The Graduate.”
    And yes, I dug “The Underneath,” too. Another of Soderbergh’s underrated (and barely distributed) “small” fims.

  57. Nicol D says:

    “Pan’s Labyrinth as a pro-Stalin treatise? Wow. Apparently if you’re anti-fascist it means you automatically support the systematic murder of Russian citizens.”
    If you know your Spanish history…the reason why Franco was needed (and yes, he was brutal) was because the people that Del Toro depicts as “rebels” were actually Marxists backed Stalin’s NKVD (Secret Police). They would rome the countryside torturing citizens, raping nuns and cutting the genitals off of priests and stuffing them down their throats. In general, they made life a living hell for anyone who did not share a Marxist world view. That is why someone like Franco was brought in to deal with them. Was Franco brutal? Yes. Because the people he was dealing with were extremely brutal and had they (the “rebels”) succeeded, Spain would have been far, far worse off.
    That Del Toro does not care to know this or even supports it makes him a simpleton at best or yet another insipid Marxist artist at worst.
    Either way, the man is a great visual stylist but cannot tell a story with emotion to save his life.

  58. Nicol D says:


  59. MarkVH says:

    Wow Nicol, I wasn’t aware of the political whitewashing going on in Pan’s as I’m not familiar with Spanish history, but I’m willing to believe that it’s there to some degree – my brother, much more historically well-read than myself, has voiced considerable concern about it as well.
    That said, I think you’re going overboard by calling del Toro “a simpleton at best and another insipid Marxist artist at worst” – either way you’re painting with too broad a brush. You can disagree with the man’s politics – and you may be right in doing so – but you need to attack the ideas, not the artist.
    I also think you’re off in your assertion that del Toro “cannot tell a story with emotion” – Pan’s was teeming with it. Your issues with the politics may be justified, but I’m guessing this probably affected your ability to “feel” the movie in any meaningful way.

  60. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, so that really was Nicol?
    This is why it’s laughable when he presents himself as something other than a total ideologue, looking for the Commies in every nook and cranny. I expect him to say next that he loathes the original Star Wars because Lucas thought of the Rebels as the Viet Cong and the Empire as the U.S. It’s there in the movie, but to think in such heavily blindered terms is to really miss the bigger picture of both movies. Pan’s Labyrinth is about “Franco” about as much as Finding Nemo is about the Great Barrier Reef or 300 is about the actual battle of Thermopylae – these are pretexts for different stories, not the stories themselves.

  61. travis b says:

    Nicol, you’re generalizing on the Marxist rebellion front. Originally in the 30’s, Franco came to power to battle the Marxists, but by the 40’s, the idea of Marxist rebels running around in the hills raping women was more of a propaganda tactic designed to paint the anti-Franco rebels in the same light. And to say that the people were better off under Franco, as if he were some savior is quite wrong. I don’t know what kind of book you were reading that would declare such a thing, but my Grandfather’s wife (not my grandmother, she passed away years ago) is from Spain during that time period, and her view of Franco is far different than yours or that book you read. Maybe I’m overreacting to your post, but i just find the view that the people of Spain were “better off” under a regime that was ultimately very similar to Stalin is a bit off the mark.

  62. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Time to get off the polemics and keep it reel.
    Today marks another edition of the jeffmcm Film Festival, featuring the best in motion pictures promoted with name-checking (NC). The lineup in this edition:
    “The Life Before Her Eyes”, NC in trailer/website
    “Smart People”, NC in print ads/trailer (somehow omitted last week)
    “The Visitor”, NC in print ads/website
    “Young@Heart”, NC in trailer
    Plus in NYC there’s …
    “Standard Operating Procedure”, NC + Oscar-Whoring in print ads

  63. Joe Leydon says:

    Just curious, Chuck: Are you equally upset when you go into a bookstore and see, say, “By the author of Ragtime and Billy Bathgate” on the cover of E.L. Doctorow’s The March?

  64. brack says:

    So was Back To The Future the precursor to 9/11?

  65. IOIOIOI says:

    No. That would be SOMEWHERE IN TIME, Brack.

  66. mutinyco says:

    This is totally random. But does anybody remember the old Ben Stiller sketch spoofing Booker? They called it Looker. And instead of him arresting bad guys, he’d painfully pluck their eyebrows to look like Richard Grieco’s.

  67. JBM... says:

    Even more random: why the fuck don’t the two idiots in What Happens in Vegas just split the goddamn money? Did $1.5 million turn into ass-wipe money overnight or something? My bad, stupid question: because then we wouldn’t be able to see Ashton Kutcher piss in a sink or Cameron Diaz fall into a toilet.

  68. LOL! Nicol = the new LexG, without the self-awareness.

  69. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey! A great review of Iron Man by my boss… er, I mean, by Todd McCarthy, is up at

  70. yancyskancy says:

    That Booker parody is priceless. And is that Melina Kanakaredes?
    I guess I’m one degree of separation from Richard Greico. My only feature credit is a “Thanks” in “Manhattan Midnight,” for which I did an quick rewrite (it didn’t help much, but the film will have a small place in history for being one of the first shot in 24p HD, and I think it was also Maggie Q’s first starring role in English). Now if I can just figure out how to get the imdb to add my “thanks.” I tried once, but I guess they were too lazy to track down a copy for confirmation.

  71. Kambei says:

    Long post. Sorry! To be fair to Nicol D, the phrase “better off” and the implication that Franco was sunshine and daisies was not part of the original post. Nicol states that the people would have been “worse off” with the “red terror”. That is obviously a matter of conjecture, but, estimates of 60,000 to 100,000 or more non-combatants were killed within a 3 year timespan, part of the reason Franco received such wide support. Franco’s regime was, of course, just as atrocious in the end, if not more so, and your grandmother’s (grandmother-in-law?) experiences are not questioned at all!
    While I loved Pan’s Labyrinth, I have to admit it does view the rebels through extremely rose coloured glasses, and as a result, has some morally ambiguous tones. Perhaps the situation was necessarily simplified as it is presented as a faery tale? However, it is disingenuous to claim that it not really about Franco. Star Wars can be viewed on many different levels, and any parallels to the Vietnam War can be completely ignored without damaging the film. 300 is DEFINITELY about Thermopylae, but it is also about SPOILER propaganda, as the last man standing tells the story to his army to pump them up, clearly telling an overblown story END SPOILER. This is not so for Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s parallels to the Spanish Civil War are simply unavoidable.
    I agree with MarkVH’s comments regarding the work versus the artist, but I thought Nicol D was being unfairly accused of supporting the Franco Regime (at least, according the evidence in his post. Who knows, maybe he does?). I DO love Pan’s Labyrinth, and can’t wait to see The Hobbit. I hope Fran, Phillipa and Peter are writing it!

  72. IOIOIOI says:

    JBM: you are incredibly sensible about a ridiculous genre. The “WE FALL IN LOVE AFTER BEING DICKS TO ONE ANOTHER FOR THREE/FOURTHS OF THE MOVIE” genre continues to repulse me because it’s not like I need to sit through close to two-hours of a flick, where the characters hate one another, then fall in love at the end. It’s preposterous that HOLLYWOOD continues to make these fucking films. Sure. They sort of made similar films in the past, but the vitriol in these current ones are just daft. Yet the women will drag their men or their women to see this film and next year will feature another one of these flicks. Hopefully in that film, either the woman or man will die from comic hijinks, and it will lead to comic criminal court hijinks. Yep. Dreadful fucking genre.

  73. Stella's Boy says:

    I can’t think of many mainstream romantic comedy pairings that appeal to me less than Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz.

  74. jeffmcm says:

    Buried underneath Nicol’s fulminations there is a point, but I would only go this far: that the worst thing you can say about Pan’s Labyrinth is that it’s a little historically naive. The goal of the movie is to tell a story about a little girl that parallels the Spanish Civil War, so that in order to make it clear that the Nationalists were the boo hiss bad guys, he needs to make the Republicans the good guys. A distortion of history? Sure, but since the movie doesn’t exactly wear any Socialist propaganda on its sleeve, it’s not really very damaging.
    Nicol could have made this point without resorting to such comically over-the-top language that had no effect but to destroy his case before it was made.

  75. Stella's Boy says:

    “Nicol could have made this point without resorting to such comically over-the-top language that had no effect but to destroy his case before it was made.”
    He could have, but by now we know that’s just not how Nicol rolls.

  76. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, it’s really tiresome explaining to you, every week, that you don’t make any sense and didn’t understand what I was trying to tell you.
    I’ll put it simply: Neither I, nor anybody else, cares how a movie is marketed if the movie itself is actually good. And very good movies can use lazy or (for you) evil marketing strategies and still be very good movies.

  77. THX….no need for backchannel emails, your name dropping holds no interest to me. And I was being slightly sarcastic when I intimated that Ice-T, Rumer Willis and Eddie Furlong aren’t *really* celebrities…but you seem to be on-board with one of them for something so…all the best!

  78. LexG says:

    Huge Diaz fan, but, yeah…
    Always a treat when two comedies in three weeks feature a peeing-in-the-sink gag. And isn’t it just a rom-com remake of “Sour Grapes”? How is it not the exact same plot, only with a romance added but minus Craig Bierko?
    Looks like I’ll have to move fast to catch that Evan Rachel WOOD/Uma Thurman/Sand and Fog guy movie… like every sort-of-indie this spring, its limited release lasted all of one week, as it’s already been bounced from 90% of the venues where it premiered seven days ago. See also, “Chapter 69,” “Boarding Gate,” “Snow Angels,” that Charlize thing, etc.
    So much goddamn product this time of year.

  79. R Scott R says:

    Not completely on topic, but I had to share, because I knew Stella’s boy would be interested:
    “Obama’s “fact” sheet then brings us the crucial bulletin that all charges against Ayers were dropped, and that he spent no time in jail. Absolutely true. Except a minor detail was omitted: Ayers openly admits he is “guilty as sin” but “free as a bird.” Charges were dropped because federal authorities overstepped their legal bounds in pursuing the Weathermen, not because the charges were unfounded. ”
    Obama’s friends will remain a serious obstacle to his candidacy, and rightly so.

  80. THX5334 says:

    Well, one still makes 100K a week on a TV show and whom I saw getting major respect from the likes of Tom Morello and Zack De La Rocha not that long ago at a private function (Because, unlike you, they’re musicians that remember their music history)
    I guess with that defense of my friend I slipped and ouch, just crushed my foot with the name dropping…
    But you still look like the bigger douche for throwing another diss, especially as a musician, to him with your response.
    I don’t take your response as a gesture of ill will, so whatever.
    I still think you’re an excellent critic, and just like many Artists with their Art, I will just have to separate your work from your personality.
    Too bad, you seemed cool, I don’t know why you felt the need to draw first blood and call me & Kami imbeciles…
    Again, I guess it comes down to manners…

  81. Joe Leydon says:

    Is it just me, or do the newspaper ads for Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo Bay look like they were designed to keep people away from the movie?

  82. I’ll tell you why I called you an “imbecile” random-anonymous-blog-poster-guy…
    Because when Lex G posts one of his rants, I can skip it because it’s long winded, well spaced and easy to get past. However when guys like you and Kamikaze and others respond, it makes me waste time slowing my scrolling because you guys usually have something intellegent to say and I don’t want to miss anything.
    Yet the more you 2 respond, the more it eggs him on and the more annoying our little “community” becomes. Have you never been on a message board? If you ignore people who are trying to rile you, they generally go away.
    So, in closing and in summary…I snapped at you 2 because after months of irritation, there was a temporary embargo on Lex lunacy and THX/Kamikazee faux outrage so I said my piece. And I stand by it.
    Glad things have calmed here…now what the hell is worth seeing this weekend??? Looks like a big, fat NOTHING 🙁

  83. jeffmcm says:

    Standard Operating Procedure, although it seems to be only playing in 2 theaters.
    Re: Crazy Lex (as opposed to mild-mannered Lex) let’s just count our blessings that he’s calmed down and move on.

  84. LexG says:

    Must… control… urge to post about “Deception’s” potential to own asses and make lewd Maggie Q comment…
    (Wow, that has amazingly bad reviews considering the cast, and considering the trailers looked good, to me at least…)

  85. Joe Leydon says:

    I don’t know if this means anything in terms of weekend b.o., but: My 21-year-old son and his buddies rarely go to movies. But he and four friends asked me to get them passes for last Wednesday’s preview screening of Harold & Kumar. And they loved it.
    BTW: The only other summer movie they seem buzed about — Iron Man.

  86. JBM... says:

    Deception is beautifully shot…
    …and that’s all.

  87. movieman says:

    JBM- “Deception” IS beautifully shot (by the great Dante Spinotti) and juiced by an entertaining bad guy performance by Hugh Jackman.
    …but, two of the principal roles are dreadfully miscast (Ewan McGregor’s American accent is flat-out terrible and the wonderful Michelle Williams simply doesn’t cut it as a femme fatale), and for a movie about an elite Manhattan sex club, there’s not nearly enough sex and nudity.
    The story idea is decent, though, and Charlotte Rampling’s cameo is the best, and sexiest, thing in the entire movie.
    I wasn’t bored, but it could/should have been a lot better.
    (I would’ve loved to seen what Dave’s Ebertfest panel mate, Paul Schrader, might have done with this material.)
    Has anyone else seen “Made in Manhattan” yet?
    It’s a total stinker despite–once again–some gorgeous cinematography. And whoever’s pimping Patrick Dempsey out as if he was the second coming of George Clooney has some serious ‘splaining to do.
    Besides looking every day of his 42 years, Dempsey simply lacks the requisite charm and romantic comedy panache to ever pull off the screwball/leading man thing. His scenes with Sydney Pollack were particularly painful. Pollack is supposed to be playing Dempsey’s father, but Dempsey looks so saggily middle-aged you’d swear their characters were supposed to be brothers instead.
    I was particularly disappointed in Kevin McKidd who was so terrific on HBO’s “Rome.” Here he comes across as just a middling Daniel Craig wannabe.
    Another off-putting feature is the plethora of smutty humor which feels tonally inappropriate for a movie that–with a few minor alterations–could’ve starred Doris and Rock forty-plus years ago. The lewd, crude jokes about dildos, blow jobs and Ben-Wa balls might work for Judd Apatow since Apatow’s rom-com template is a hipper, raunchier, entirely 21st century beast.
    “Made,” on the other hand, keeps both feet in the Eisenhowever era while tentatively dipping its toes in the gutter for a faux Apatowian cred. It’s every bit as unworkable–and unsavory–as it sounds.

  88. yancyskancy says:

    That’s Made of Honor, movieman. Maid in Manhattan was that J-Lo/Ralph Fiennes/Wayne Wang thing from a couple years back. Surprised to hear it’s raunchy – they’re certainly not selling it that way. Don’t want to scare off the more traditional rom-com crowd, I guess. I suspect I’ll be dragged to that one, so I’ll hold out a modicum of hope that it’ll be okay. Anything’s better than The Wedding Date, right?

  89. LexG says:

    Heh, I believe you meant “Made of Honor,” movieman.
    What’s going on with Michelle Monaghan? Very sexy and likable in “MI:3” and especially “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” but one of those actors/actresses who pop up in multiple big movies a year while never, ever catching on with the public.
    But more pressingly, is something going on with her appearance? In both “Heartbreak Kid” and the previews for this, her features suddenly look more severe and frozen than they were just three movies ago. It’s almost… mask-like. Maybe she just looks like herself and I’m imagining things, but I sincerely hope she’s not rockin’ the ‘Tox. That shit is just creepy. Not saying she is… maybe it’s her new shorter hair… but looks strange now.

  90. scooterzz says:

    movieman — i had to sit through ‘made of honor’ yesterday morning and ‘what happens in vegas’ this morning….hated the former, didn’t hate the latter (but that’s as generous as i can be)….
    i did think, however, that lake bell was the best thing about ‘…vegas’………
    just got the a&e ‘andromeda strain’ and looking forward to that tonight and ‘iron man’ is monday at the arclight so things are definately looking up………
    oh, and got the official invite to ‘indy 4’ on the 18th….are you field guys getting anything sooner? just wondering because they’re not telling us much…..

  91. Martin S says:

    I expect him to say next that he loathes the original Star Wars because Lucas thought of the Rebels as the Viet Cong and the Empire as the U.S.
    That’s the biggest load of horseshit I’ve ever read about Star Wars. No offense meant to Jeff since I’m not aiming shoot the messenger, but mygod, it’s such an idiotic attempt at revisionism that I can easily believe Lucas had the audacity to say it. The guy rips off Flash Gordon because it was the perfect construct for a subtextual movie about ‘Nam. Pleasze…

  92. Martin S says:

    I just re-read Jeff’s post. I see he was being facetious. My bad. I thought it was genuine because Lucas made a number of inane comments along those lines from the Phantom Menace-to-Sith press work.

  93. THX5334 says:

    Don….Fair enough. I can totally accept that reasoning and logic.
    Thanks for the compliment. My apologies for any miscommunication.
    Jeff, I’ll take you up on that drink if we ever cross paths.
    Don, I’m up in the Bay area sometime this year for some work. If we run into each other, you can count on a round of drinks on me for this stupidness as well.
    (I’ll know you when I see you, your mug is on Film Threat!)
    Psyched, because it’s a new Battlestar tonight,
    but I’m more on edge for my Phoenix Suns, whom I still have faith to take it all..
    {ducks to avoid all incoming projectiles from the neighborhood Laker fans..}

  94. Stella's Boy says:

    R Scott R, don’t even waste your time with posts like that unless you have a source worth reading. is not worth reading. Thanks for another laugh though. I’m sure in your little brain they are a reputable source.

  95. Stella's Boy says:

    R Scott R, you honestly think is a reputable source that I’d take seriously? You’re killing me here. Thanks for yet another laugh, but don’t even waste your time with posts like that if your source is

  96. Stella's Boy says:

    Sorry for the double post. I didn’t think the first one posted so I typed it again. My bad.

  97. Stella's Boy says:

    I know tracking isn’t always reliable, but I was surprised that some believe H&K 2 will open somewhere in the mid-teens. I didn’t realize the apparent size of the following the first one developed since it flopped in theaters.

  98. Cool, THX…all good on my end as well. Unfortunately, not so good for your Suns right now….

  99. movieman says:

    Scooter- The Paramount rep in Cleveland hasn’t breathed a word about “Indy” yet, but I predicted a Sunday afternoon promotional on the 18th after reading that it’s premiering at Cannes that day. (Thanks for confirming my hunch.) I’m guessing that it’ll be day-and-date everywhere…although Cleveland doesn’t get a peek at “Iron Man” until Tuesday nite (another godawful promo), so we might wind up getting “Indy” a day later, too.
    “Vegas” doesn’t “screen” until Tuesday, May 6th in NE Ohio. Glad to hear that it’s not as dreadful as “Made:” personally, I thought the “Vegas” trailer was kind of cute. (And I’ll gladly take Ashton over Pat Dempsey any day; his comedy chops are a lot sharper, and he’s not ready for his AARP card yet.)
    The most depressing thing about the Dempsey stiff is that you just know it’s going to do well…”27 Dresses” grosses aren’t out of the question. I’m still trying to figure out how Paul Weiland got hired to direct “Made.” Didn’t anyone at the “new” Sony see the previous turds (“Leonard, Part 6” and “City Slickers 2”) Weiland did for the “old” Sony?? The way that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to procreate, some directors shouldn’t be allowed to make movies.

  100. Geoff says:

    What are you thoughts on the new “Dark Knight” poster? I think it’s very striking – this campaign has just been fantastic and Warners is just resting on their laurels with this one.
    I wonder how successful it will be and whether the public really responds to marketing that is beyond the typically-cut trailer and “floating heads” posters, but kudos to Warners for trying.
    The 9/11 comparisons for the poster and have been flying fast and furious and I kind of see it, but I just don’t think it’s quite that simple – of course, you need the context and burning buildings have been around for way longer than 9/11. ‘Begins certainly used some 9/11 parallels, but they gave it a good amount of respect – this is not Michael Bay kind of stuff.
    Interesting that Michael Caine got second billing, but I think that’s really cool. The way they have used him in this campaign, especially that teaser trailer that was dominated by his dialogue, is very saavy – it’s a nice closing chapter to a great career. Hopefully, he’s still not going anywhere, anytime soon.

  101. lazarus says:

    Regarding Lucas and Vietnam: Coppola himself said that Star Wars was Lucas’ very subtle comment on the war (obviously blended with his Flash Gordon pulp fantasies), because he was originally going to write/direct Apocalypse, and then gave over the reins to Francis to do this instead.
    So you can cry all you want about there being no connection, and maybe there wasn’t even a conscious one. But to deny that Lucas was anti-war or anti-establishment (check out his students films, or THX), and that his distrust of the powers that be was in his mind when making Star Wars, is pretty naive.

  102. OddDuck says:

    Michelle Monaghan was perfect in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – hot, charming, goofy, willing to briefly flash her boobs in service of the movie’s vibe…
    I agree she’s starting to look weird though. Could it be her age? Maybe she’s fighting it too hard? I fear she’s gonna start looking like that woman from grey’s anatonmy soon – too skinny with duck lips.

  103. movieman says:

    I kind of know what you mean, Duck.
    I’ve been a fan of Monaghan in everything she’s done until now (including “MI3” and “Gone Baby Gone”), but she reminded me of a young Laura Bush (the same droopy, vaguely distorted facial expressions) in “Made of Honor” which is a very, very bad thing.
    Or maybe the Bush comparison simply popped into my head because Monaghan’s character seems a little retarded for putting up with Dempsey’s Peter Pan shenanigans.

  104. brack says:

    “too skinny with duck lips.”
    OddDuck, she sounds like your type.

  105. OddDuck says:

    I’d poke her if she let me.

  106. jeffmcm says:

    At least she isn’t doing what Milla Jovovich did in the last Resident Evil movie – hiding behind a heavy CGI gauze in every close-up, as if it was a Von Sternberg movie.

  107. The first (and last?) time the Resident Evil franchise has ever been referenced in the same sentence as Josef von Sternberg.

  108. movieman says:

    How embarrassing!
    Not sure how I could’ve confused the title of a (mediocre) Wayne Wang rom-com with a (terrible) Paul Weiland rom-com, lol.
    Still trying to figure out how Weiland rated ANY major studio gig after such all-time stinkers as “Leonard, Part 6” and “City Slickers 2.”

  109. CaptainZahn says:

    Michelle Monaghan reminds me of Marcia Gay Harden a bit.

  110. Cadavra says:

    While I keep getting her confused with Bridget Moynahan.

  111. movieman says:

    Monaghan is the spitting image of a young Laura Bush in “Made;”
    creeped me out big time.
    She sure looks more like our beloved First Lady than Elizabeth Banks who Oliver Stone tapped to play her in his Dubyuh biopic.

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