Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Movies  (Read 33092 times)
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obertray
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« Reply #1515 on: August 14, 2007, 07:38:21 PM »

And also, (to be on topic) "Hello, Dave (wherein Dave means "everybody") It's nice to see you again!"

I guess I'll be staying more out of your hair here.

But BTW, because I lurked over in Third Eyeville if one of you gets the chance could you tell Billy that Mad Men is most definitely about the '60s, and not the '50s as he says? Thank you (if he's going to be pedantic, he might as well be spanked for being wrong.)
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jbottle
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« Reply #1516 on: August 14, 2007, 07:38:45 PM »

I was just watching a bit of "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" and think that Campbell Scott's incarnation of Robert Benchley at least feels right, and funny, while Leigh's dour interpretation of Parker makes her seem more like a sad sack than a dry wit.  I wouldn't mind if the amber-toned "drama" with a lot of snap dialogue that Scott makes pretty funny as Leigh slugs through lethargically and world-wearily...I think the filmmakers made a poor choice to make her drynesee so morose-seeming in the drama and or at least intersperse the oddly sunny delivery of some of the poems that we fade to which are in black and white and while more sad than her drunken wit, you would think, still dryly funny so why not play a couple of scenes where she is amused with herself in black and white, or feeling that she is too smart to be appreciated by a man she might fancy, or something...it's almost played as a conventional-wisdom sort of Mrs. Lonelyheart or Old Maid or something.  I guess I think she was too funny to be so dourly-played and felt that Scott's Benchley seemed closer to the mark, and on the snappy scene...it's a good movie but not great largely because the filmmaker and Jason-Leigh choose to interpret her flat intellectual wit as depression, rather than as how it could have played or been read.  Still, I like the movie, and feel that Jason-Leigh should have played the life of the party if you're going to intersperse the poetry in the manner they chose (and her accent is too affected, like how witty am I lingering on every slurred syllable...), rather than playing someone who looks depressed, is depressed, says depressing things all with great wit, which if true, wouldn't have garnered Mrs. Parker the Vicious circle after all, that she's assembled.
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madupont
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« Reply #1517 on: August 14, 2007, 08:35:14 PM »

Yes, that was a let down, JJL often does that. I think somebody peeked at a photo of Dorothy and decided JJL could play her with darkenough hair,...snooze.

Mrs. Parker was late for a deadline and I only tell this story where I can get away with it, so her editor hurried out to the island to nudge her and started pelting her upstairs window with medium size gravel. Whereupon she flung open the window,"What do you want?" and he explained the promised article for the deadline.

"On never mind that, I'm too fuckin' busy and too busy fucking, so go away!" and slammed the window back into place.  She just doodled those little scrawls like some people used to scribble pictures while on the telephone.

But come to think of it why do they put Campbell Scott in any thing. He leaves so much to be desired.
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madupont
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« Reply #1518 on: August 14, 2007, 08:41:41 PM »

obertray,

I didn't mind her singing as who could hear? There were no tomcats around? Unbeknownst for several years there was a mountain lion or cougar lurking. That thins out the small fry.
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harrie
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« Reply #1519 on: August 14, 2007, 08:53:04 PM »

harrie, you know the drill?

"What was your name in the old forum at the nytimes.com?"

madupont,
Seriously? I was harriebutz, only because someone had already taken harrie.  I don't think we crossed paths, I was mostly in Film, TV, and Hockey.

jbottle, I know this sounds totally suck-uppy, but I love your take on Jennifer Jason Leigh.  I think she's a serious talent; yet every role (that I see, anyway) seems to be the same monotone, kind of lithium-inflected delivery.  (What comes to mind - Single White Female (in which that delivery was appropriate); Bastard Out of Carolina; The Anniversary Party; and Rush)  I even see some of that in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, though that could be attributed to teen angst or just careless, youthful acting.  Or non-acting. Whatever.

Maybe JJL is too good for the stuff she gets (though, IIRC, she co-wrote The Anniversary Party), but that's no reason to "not act" until she gets a part worthy of her.  Because that isn't going to get her anywhere.  I've seen bits of the Vicious Circle/Algonquin/Round Table movie and noticed kind of the same thing.  I mean, if Dorothy Parker was such a downer to be around, how many people would really be hanging around that table, eagerly awaiting the next bon mot?
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harrie
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« Reply #1520 on: August 14, 2007, 10:12:10 PM »

So is it me, or did a page disappear?
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jbottle
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« Reply #1521 on: August 14, 2007, 10:16:02 PM »

Agreed, but JJL was so good in "Miami Blues," it's really funny if you haven't seen it in a while, really good movie and she is the genuine article there, but I think she got out of her element with Dorothy Parker, and it came too closely on the heels of, or preceded preparation for the Coen Bros. one...I just thought too much snappy New Yorker from the 30's, and I didn't think she did "Hudsucker" right either, but look at Gabriel Byrne in "Miller's Crossing," and they slow the patter down sometimes, but the beat is perfect, as it is in the Jack Warner/Bogey movies, what the scene requires, but JJL seems a little off sometimes, but hey, they cast her, and she acquitted well as Dororthy Parker, I'm more about the morose pacing and blaming the director for her not playing one or two of the black and white scenes funny, it would have been a nice way to tell the audience that the exterior is not as hilarious, or as revealing when drunk, nor is the interior utterly depressing, or as revealing when in poem.  She was way too smart and interesting a gal, despite the suicide attempt to be viewed the way the movie viewed her, even if it was kind of the truth.  It's going to be in three parts anyway, so lie correctly at least is my point, like you said, she's not there if she's the person portrayed, and mistakenly, the solilouquy poem parts are a device like any other voice over, but depressing, and hey, if you use a device, make it work for the movie, she didn't really ever recite poems stroking a cat and smoking from a filter into a camera, so, you know, have a little fun with the "art part."
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jbottle
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« Reply #1522 on: August 14, 2007, 10:33:36 PM »

Yeah, sorry, harrie, I had to x-out the "The Derailed:  The Musical about Brokeback Mountain on Narnia," it's really not ready for Broadway yet, though I like the dramatic device of the orphaned ticket-tearer, being at first a simple guy, "Hoo is dis curious guy, seen the Chroni-cles, ten times but why...?"

Sorry there I go again.  Promise, no deleting.  I just can't do the whole incoherency boy thing especially when it could be confused with repressed Southern homosexuality...I like girls, and it's only Tuesday, plus "Point Break" is getting ready to come on so I've got to do a quick bourbon shot...
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barton
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« Reply #1523 on: August 15, 2007, 09:46:13 AM »

I've got Black Snake Moan in my queue today, and hope to have some kind of decent Spoonerism developed by the time it arrives.

I tend to think of JJL as the female Johnny Depp, i.e. always taking weird roles, from Hudsucker Proxy to SWF to eXistenZ.

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"Nothing more foolish than a man chasing his hat!"
oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #1524 on: August 15, 2007, 10:27:26 AM »

Make Blown Snack?
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jbottle
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« Reply #1525 on: August 15, 2007, 11:45:39 AM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109303/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196158/
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madupont
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« Reply #1526 on: August 15, 2007, 01:06:00 PM »

barton, I'm starting over, I just blew a screen by again forgetting I timed out. So bear with me.

She is not a Johnny Depp since he does quite well with that aspect of himself on his own. He plays it.

I found the problem, after Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which is on tv tomorrow, and which I thought a good film for the actors involved to come out front and center (but sorry, I don't even remember her), which for JJL was followed by working with Rutger Hauer, in Flesh and Blood(which is exactly what she was to be a naked teenage hunk of flesh and blood in a period costume piece in which she was the piece without a costume).

She drops out of school along the way, I get the feeling that she was forced into acting at an early age, and one mistake of fate after another, some little thing where she wasn't available, causes a characteristic of her personality that we see over and over again on screen. That said, this should tell you everything:
                                            "When I did Short Cuts (1993) with Robert Altman, I went up to him on the first day and said 'Hi', and he said 'Hi, how are you? Could you get me a cup of coffee?' When I brought it back, it turned out he thought I was the PA. For him, I come alive on film. As a person, I don't really register that much. I mean, he loves me, I don't take it as a cut, although you could. But he says that as a person I disappear in a way. On film, I'm very mysterious, but in life I'm very dull. I don't feel like I'm dull, but I don't put out a lot."

She doesn't read herself correctly or she avoids the truth. Altman is the director who worked with her father Vic Morrow and that is what this is all about.

Thus, when Washington Square came along,the Henry James account of (which he knew something about) when it was an elegant Greenwich Village address, I looked forward to it directed by Agnieszka Holland, in which JJL would play opposite Albert Finney, Maggie Smith,Judith Ivey, and most importantly Ben Chaplin.

And here it is again, lines from Finney as her father Dr. Austin Sloper,
"We were all young and beautiful once. It's transient, and then it's gone."

This is the remake of The Heiress, made nearly fifty years earlier, the two films are quite unlike each other, and people are therefore prejudiced one way or the other according to which are their favorite actors. I like both performances.  I said this years ago and people thought I was being disrespectful of Henry James, for some strange prejudice of their own.  I don't buy it.  If they feel that they can read it and understand the emotional freight better, I hope they have a good time. Daddy loves them.  Jennifer Jason Leigh is credited with a "heartbreaking" performance, get the picture?

I also liked her for playing the daughter to Kathy Bates, in Taylor Hackford's, Dolores Clairborn, two years earlier where you can see she is obviously deepening but still plays it like she is having a nervous breakdown.

Five years earlier, she was merely playing seductive stupid in Miami Blues.

But then, there is her work for Jane Campion, a little book that I read, which blows you away, and it translates to film badly but anyway she plays opposite Meg Ryan who apparently has been observing how JJL plays scenes and thus forces Jennifer to come up with a different take on herself although playing the corpse is not a real upper for your credentials. The runaway star of -- In the Cut-- is Mark Ruffalo but I'm prejudiced and now know from more recent work that he is a brilliant actor.

Did I like Existenz, four years earlier, No.  I like all David Cronenberg films because he is a breakthrough director(for instance, if The Piano Teacher, mentioned last week, bothered you, then you don't want to tune in a Cronenberg film to enjoy your weekend.  For the rest of us, we can take it.) but I could not more than half-way accept the dullness that came over this film like a pall crediting life as a technically improved game-plan.  I would probably run to the theater if there was another David Cronenberg production. This was just not my cup of tea and I confuse it with William Burrough, Naked Lunch.

I looked to see if there was anything that I left out, yes, I have seen the others but I didn't think they were worth mentioning.  If however you are a fan of one or another or half a dozen, so sell me, give me your pitch.  I have just named several of the best directors* we've had going for ourselves. So sue me.     

*with the exception of George Armitage whose films:  Night Nurses, and L.A Nurses, would be loved by whiskeypriest. In the Armitage film, it was Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the scenery/production values that made Miami Blues a perfect Hollywood film shot in Hollywood because who would know the difference. Why do I keep thinking this should have had James Wood in the cast? Was he there and I just overlooked that this morning/afternoon....                                 


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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #1527 on: August 15, 2007, 01:20:00 PM »

Did I like Existenz, four years earlier, No.                 

I don't remember much about "Existenz", but I do remember liking how Jude Law ate a chicken dinner and then used the chicken bones to fashion a working pistol.
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madupont
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« Reply #1528 on: August 15, 2007, 01:30:34 PM »

Yep, it was a fantasy. As are all Cronenberg's but this was supposed to be updating us into the new possibilities of computer trips and to me it was too much Naked Lunch.
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barton
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« Reply #1529 on: August 15, 2007, 07:13:11 PM »

You are a thundering geyser of film knowledge and acumen, Maddie.  I can only nod and smile in stupefied agreement.  And, yeah, Ruffalo really was the compelling perf in "In the Cut."  As I'm sure you know, he was coming back from a brain trauma (stroke?  head bonk?) when he worked on ITC.

(I was sort of kidding about JJL being a female Depp, btw...)

 
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