"Are redheads adequately represented in films? Or is Hollywood guilty of gingerism," asks the Guardian.
Grown-up ginger Molly Ringwald's fiction debut is reviewed alongside that of her Pretty in Pink swain Blaine:
There’s a self-centered man-child at the center of Molly Ringwald’s debut novel-in-stories When It Happens to You, too which catalogues one couple as they plod through the five stages of grief that come after the husband's infidelity. Written in a spare, semi-detached way—like a trauma victim spitting out details of a tragedy—it suggests Ringwald, too, has been through some real shit since graduating from John Hughes high school. Her second husband, a book editor, may be the reason her prose is so sharp, but let's hope he's not her inspiration.
“The Words” is one of those movies that makes being a writer seem like a sacred calling, a vocation akin to learning how to be the Dalai Lama or being chosen to receive personal orphan-washing lessons from Mother Teresa. In reality, the act of writing simply involves a lot of frowning, butt-scratching and imbibing of caffeinated beverages, though, admittedly, that doesn’t make for a very dynamic movie. It’s probably better to have Bradley Cooper star as an aspiring writer who toils away at the creation of a novel — it’s actually not a bad one, as a publishing type played by Ron Rifkin assures him — only to learn that there’s just no market for what he’s trying to do. Then one day he opens an old leather case that he and his new wife (Zoe Saldana) bought in an antiques store while honeymooning in Paris, and finds…
By now, you may have noticed my repeated and very writerly use of ellipses. The ellipsis is an extremely useful device that real writers sometimes employ to put supposedly meaningful distance between… words. But I digress. In terms of visual lushness, “The Words” works reasonably well as a romance for adults. Cinematographer Antonio Calvache gives the period sections in particular a muted, pearlescent sheen, making it easier to believe that everyone just looked prettier and more handsome in olden times. And one of the picture’s key scenes works beautifully: Irons holds Cooper, and us, spellbound as he relays the true story behind the stolen novel. For a few golden minutes, Irons makes us believe his character has earned the deep, mournful hollows under his eyes. Quaid has a less significant role, but he does a lot with a little; he’s simultaneously wily and weathered, the kind of guy you’d love to trust even though you’re not sure you ought to.
But too much of the time we’re left watching Bradley Cooper, a mildly talented actor who has somehow become a sizable star. Cooper is possibly handsome, in a generic, Sexiest Man Alive way. When he needs to look vulnerable, he works so hard you can almost hear the gears turning; most of the time he just wears the beady-eyed look of someone who’s trying to put something over on someone.
Explaining Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which I swear stayed at our four-screen theatre all summer long:
No, here's what disturbs us about Temple of Doom: It's the straight-faced way the rough stuff is handled. The other Indy movies are spritely even when they're eliminating Nazis. But in the middle section of Doom, it's like the sense of humor switches off. The film goes into a trance. We become Willie, asking, How could this be happening?
Gloria Katz says the final script was almost exactly what appeared in the movie, except Spielberg took the references to child slavery and human sacrifice and made them visceral, real. "Steven took those scenes very, very seriously," Huyck says. "The kids were being whipped. It was very, very dark. Which was great — but, I mean, we were a little surprised by how seriously he took them."
Spielberg gave us a merciless close-up of Willie Scott as she descends toward the lava; Thuggee masters whip child slaves; we see Indy slug Short Round, probably the cruelest scene in any of the Jones movies. What's shocking is that Spielberg, that guy who later erased the rifles from E.T., seems to be enjoying it. Like Lucas, he had gone over to the dark side.
The Details looks closely at Michael Mann's ears [highlighting one of my favorite things about the framing -- in all senses of the word -- of private "eye" J.J. Gittes in Chinatown]:
Aiming to powerfully root these sensations in physical sources, Mann shifted towards wide-angle lenses, which, when viewing nearby objects, have a tendency to lend enormous tactility to those objects, making them as perilously close as they appear. The ear, when placed in front of this wide-angle lens that refuses to reduce deeper space to complete formlessness, therefore becomes a vivid part of its larger environment (an effect that is particularly pronounced in Public Enemies and, in some cases, the pilot of Luck). A shot of an ear with the cumulative flatness and sharpness of both digital and wide-angle lenses is quite distinct from a shot of an ear set against the shallow scope of The Insider; the former feels external, as if the ear is interacting with the world that surrounds it, while the latter feels internal, a representation of the sounds of a man’s mental landscape. Mann is now seeking to place his bodies in the context of their respective environments while maintaining a sense of firsthand experience, so his camera is positioned a close as possible to both the human and that human’s view as possible. The dividing line between these two areas of attention, of course, is the ear, one of exactly five vital pathways to the physical world. For the characters in Mann’s recent do-or-die dramas, it might be one of the most crucial.
Something like this actually happened, and with the participation of the Canadian government, which also helped out with fake passports and was required, for reasons of diplomacy, to take credit for the whole thing. Poor Jimmy Carter couldn't brag about it at all during his reelection campaign. Anyway, it's a Hollywood movie that ultimately salutes Canada and Canadian hospitality. The suspense probably gave me some gray hairs to be detected later. "The Town" made it evident that Affleck knows what to do with a thriller. "Argo" is tense for both of its hours. I've never been this stressed out watching people shred documents.
The opening scenes are especially strong -- there's a lot of stock news footage and big crowd demonstrations that are almost indistinguishable from the real stuff. The handheld camerawork and zoom shots, the shiny comb-overs, the mustaches and tight vests, the avalanche of very good character actors: Whatever you wear to this movie will invariably winding up feeling like polyester. The only possible reason Sydney Pollack or Alan J. Pakuladidn't make this movie at the height of his powers is that the details of the mission weren't known until Bill Clinton declassified the case, in 1997.
That comparison is pretty much where Affleck is as a director, a smart, talented classicist who's good with actors and the rhythms of storytelling; someone who makes Hollywood entertainment look criminally easy. He's more the 21st-century Pakula than Pollack. I don't know that Affleck could do "Tootsie" or "Out of Africa." But he's barely 40. There's time. "Argo" suggests that, in the future, he might have something more currently topical to say, the way Pakula did. My only problem with the movie is that, after the opening scenes, it loses its nerve. Despite all the suspense the movie generates and how much fun it is to watch and listen to, it's safer than something about the Iranian hostage crisis should be. For now, he's Pakula without the paranoia.
Affleck spent so many years being pilloried in the press that I think he's afraid of not being liked at the movies. Even in "Argo," with his Warren Beatty shag and Beatty's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" beard, Affleck has a body and bone structure that would make Christian Bale feel insecure. He now takes his likability even more seriously than Robert Redford. Who else would cast himself as a bullying, bank-robbing thug who evolves into the male half of a Nora Ephron movie? That's what Affleck did in "The Town." Here his charisma's dialed all the way down; he's still a leading male, even when he's recessed. But when he directs himself, Affleck is a movie star who still isn't sure how brightly he should shine.
- The New Museum salutes dames
- Critics ask, "This season, won't someone remember the Gooniest?"
- Beasts of the Southern Wild: "the movie playing in Spike Jonze's head when he made "Where the Wild Things Are": a howl-at-the-heavens ode to being child king, feet planted in the mud and mess of America, head filled with myth and magic" or "Post-Katrina wreckage as libertarian playground"?
- Another special evening is devoted to home movies from the White House: a selection culled from the hundreds of Super-8 rolls shot by Richard Nixon’s aides H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin documenting the historic moments and everyday occurrences of the Nixon presidency. Nixon staff-member and chronicler Dwight Chapin speaks at the screening, along with filmmakers Brian Frye and Penny Lane, who are currently at work on a documentary, Our Nixon, incorporating much of this fascinating footage.
- Five Netflix Instant recommendations, including Flirting with Disaster: "While Ben Stiller is easily replaceable in the central role of the new daddy who wants to find his birth parents before naming his son,the entire supporting cast is priceless, particularly Mary Tyler Moore as Stiller's high-strung adoptive mother, Téa Leoni as the hapless psychology student documenting the eventual reunion, and–above all–Lily Tomlin, who steals the show."
- Brody explains: The question is inevitable—why the switch? Yet, in a way, the answer is obvious: “Citizen Kane” isn’t even Welles’s best film, and therefore can’t be the best film of all time. But why did it hold the title for so long? The answer to that question is equally simple: because it was the most liberating film of all time—there would be no “Vertigo” if not for “Kane.”
- "what kind of highly-trained space biologist sees a never-before-documented alien creature pop out of the primordial goo on an alien planet and then just immediately sticks his face down and reaches his hand out to, what, grab it? Is that what biologists do, they just sort of grab whatever pops up when they’re out on the job? This guy is like John Steinbeck or something, just hauling sea turtles up out of the ocean and chopping them up to see if they have livers. That’s good science!"
- "When Johnny's dancing partner Penny (Sylvia Rhodes) gets impregnated by a sleazy medical student named Robbie (Max Cantor), Baby not only recognizes his moral repugnancy (signified by a copy of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead he wields), but also organizes a hasty abortion. After it's botched, she turns to her doctor daddy (played by Jerry Orbach) for help and then spends the rest of the movie regaining his respect after having violated his trust (it's him, after all, who had unwittingly paid for the procedure). And what better way for a dimpled babe to make up with her grumpy pops than to do a great dancing routine…?"
- My dad responded with “Oh yeah, that movie where the blonde girl with great grades works really hard to get into pre-law, studies hard and proves herself to her peers and bosses while maintaining her integrity and not sleeping with her boss? What a terrible message to send girls.”
- "Amy Poehler’s image = Intelligent, feminist, tremendously hard-working. Success on her own terms. Beautiful in a non-traditional who-needs-to-be-a-supermodel-I-mean-seriously way. Powerful friendship with another powerful woman. When asked by Seventeen how she got boys to notice her when she was young, she responded “I had no idea how to get boys to notice me. I still don’t. Who cares?”"
Spare a kind thought for the cinetrix, whose class is being observed at 2:30 today.