AVATAR...chaps, spurs and space ships. Technically stunning, but the plot is straight, "How the West Was Won." Not a Hollywood Western plot is overlooked. Government agents trample Indian rights; Little Big Horn; the Trail of Tears, sure, throw in some romance...White hero falls for Indian Princess and angers Indian buck who had set his sights on her; wild bronco busting too. Instead of White man vs. Red man, it's White man vs. Blue Man moved from Monument Valley to Pandora in Outer Space.
The lack of story originality is a titanic disappointment.
Klaatu after DGA screening Sunday December 20, 2009.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
'Well, Philadelphia itself was the turning point. Seeing a lot of different things. The morgue was kind of a clinical thing. It was very powerful, but it wasn't a twisted thing to me.
It was more like seeing my neighbor's dog. That was another image I'll never forget. Their dog, they fed so much, it looked literally like a water balloon with little legs. The legs kind of stuck out. Almost couldn't walk, this dog. Had a little bitty head. It was like a Mexican Chichuahua with a watermelon in the middle.
And there were lots of little bowls of candies in the room, and these things stuck with me a lot."
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor went for get-to-know-you drinks one night at the very start of the production. They both got exceedingly drunk, finishing the evening at 3:00 am. Their call-time was 5:30 am. Fortunately the scene being shot that morning was a wedding scene with no dialog, so instead of talking, all they had to do was look lovingly at each other. The two actors were concentrating so hard on not being sick that they were quite surprised when some of the people on-set started to cry, so convinced were they of their supposed looks of adoration at each other.
Location filming took place for two months outside the tiny Texas town of Marfa. Director George Stevens did not have a closed set but actively encouraged the townspeople to come by, either to watch the shooting, visit with the cast and crew or take part as extras, dialect coaches, bit players and stagehands.
Monday, November 30, 2009
She looked around the empty room, shivered, and went out onto the terrace, feeling unpleasantly nervous. The wind was near to being a gale, but the clouds, which until now had covered the sky, were breaking up, letting the hard blue backdrop of the sky show through in places.
In the cypresses the wind whistled and hissed, and when it hit her face it took her breath away. The air was sharp with the odor of eucalyptus, and damp from the fine spray of the breaking waves below. Then, when the landscape was least prepared for such a change, the sun came out.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
"Nine", the musical version of "8 1/2", screened at the DGA on Sunday November 22nd. With a mediocre score, not a memorable song in the film, and an uninspired script; the Fellini magic is lost. The film looks good, but director Rob Marshall doesn't deliver on the drama or the production numbers. He misses the delirious heights of "All That Jazz" and "8 1/2". "Nine" rates a four, stars Daniel Day Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench and a majestic Sophia Loren as Daniel Day Lewis' Mama.
It opens in New York and Los Angeles on Dec 18th.
Klaatu should note that while the audience did not applaud any of the production numbers, the exit comments for "Nine" were positive...some even called it a masterpiece. But, Klaatu stands by his review.
Klaatu made a mistake..."misses the delirious heights" should be "misses the delirious high..."
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I was unable to accompany St. Nick to both Sidewalk and Indie Memphis over the past month, and as much as I was remiss to skip this detour into the South, I had my anticipation for November and all it has in store to tide me over. Some of those things don't have anything to do with St. Nick, but a lot of them do, and they are as follows:
First up, on November 13th, I'll be heading to the St. Louis International Film Festival, where St. Nick is one of five first features in competition. The lineup at this festival is just extraordinary, and I can't wait to spend some time there (and St. Nick has a minute Missouri connection, in that the shot of the barbed wire visible in the banner above was photographed in Springfield months before principal photography began). Meanwhile James will presenting the film that same weekend at the famed Cucalorus Film Festival in South Carolina. We screen there on November 14th (and James' short film Receive Bacon will be playing there as well).
From these respective venues, James and I will both be boarding international flights and heading to the cradle of Western Civilization, where we'll meet up with Adam on November 16th and gear up for what seems to be a pretty stellar international premiere. We've known for a little while now that St. Nick was an official selection of the 50th Thessaloniki Film Festival, but it wasn't until we read the press releases in IndieWire and Variety last week that we realized it was the lone US film in competition. We're right there in the middle of an incredibly impressive international lineup; it's quite an honor, and we're thrilled to be attending. Even more thrilling is that, at the festival's bequest, Tucker and Savanna will be at both the screenings and the awards ceremony. I couldn't be more vicariously excited - can you imagine being that age and getting flown to Europe to watch yourself on the big screen at a major international film festival? Unbelievable! I'm going to do my best to introduce them to Werner Herzog, who's attending with a career retrospective.
The only downside of all this is that no one will be in the country to present St. Nick at the Denver Film Festival, where it's in also in competition. Does anyone want to represent for us in our stead? Incidentally, I'm writing this on a flight from Denver, where I had a connection between Sacramento and Austin. This time last night I was in LA, just getting out from seeing Where The Wild Things Are and getting ready to drive all night to have breakfast and a cup of the best coffee in the world with the love of my life in cold, rainy, beautiful San Francisco. Just how much I've slept since yesterday is up in the air, but I'm awake now, and can feel the plane dropping beneath me as it curves down towards Texas and an autumn that I expect to have fully bloomed in my absence...
...but I digress. We'll have more news on St. Nick soon. And, with any luck, more news on my next project, which I'll hereby go on record as saying will also have the word saint in the title.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
She had arrived at the apartment house; it had a gray-stone facade and a good deal of wrought iron around the entrance door. A woman who looked like a West Indian of some sort came out. Noticing that June was carrying a potted plant under her arm, she held the door partially open for her. June thanked her and went in. It was a rubber plant she had bought for Van's apartment. He was inclined to be indifferent about flowers, and she feared, about decoration in general. She always had hoped to develop aesthetic appreciation in him, and she considered that she had made remarkable progress during the past year. Practicallly all the adornments in his apartment were objects either of her buying or her choosing.
She knew just how many steps there were to each flight of stairs: nineteen for the first and fifteen for the others. The halls were tiled in black and white, like a bathroom, and tonight, to add to that impression, the stairs and floors were thoroughly wet with the melting snow people had tracked in; the air smelled of wet doormats, wet rubbers, wet clothing. On the third floor a huge perambulator of black leatherette nearly blocked the passageway between the stairs. She frowned at it and thought of the fire regulations.
Because she did not want to be out of breath she mounted the stairs slowly. Not that Van would be there when she arrived - it was still too early - but being out of breath always created in her a false kind of excitement which she particularly wanted to avoid tonight. She turned the key in the lock and stepped inside.