R.I.P. James Garner.
In the Times, John Le Carre remembers Phillip Seymour Hoffman:
There’s probably nobody more redundant in the film world than a writer of origin hanging around the set of his movie, as I’ve learned to my cost. Alec Guinness actually did me the favor of having me shown off the set of the BBC’s TV adaptation of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” All I was wanting to do was radiate my admiration, but Alec said my glare was too intense.
Come to think of it, Philip did the same favor for a woman friend of ours one afternoon on the shoot of “A Most Wanted Man” in Hamburg that winter of 2012. She was standing in a group 30-odd yards away from him, just watching and getting cold like everybody else. But something about her bothered him, and he had her removed. It was a little eerie, a little psychic, but he was bang on target because the woman in the case is a novelist, too, and she can do intensity with the best of us. Philip didn’t know that. He just sniffed it.
In retrospect, nothing of that kind surprised me about Philip, because his intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect.
Philip took vivid stock of everything, all the time. It was painful and exhausting work, and probably in the end his undoing. The world was too bright for him to handle. He had to screw up his eyes or be dazzled to death. Like Chatterton, he went seven times round the moon to your one, and every time he set off, you were never sure he’d come back, which is what I believe somebody said about the German poet Hölderlin: Whenever he left the room, you were afraid you’d seen the last of him. And if that sounds like wisdom after the event, it isn’t. Philip was burning himself out before your eyes. Nobody could live at his pace and stay the course, and in bursts of startling intimacy he needed you to know it.
Here’s a good interview with Richard Linklater talking about Boyhood.
I saw Boyhood yesterday and it unfolds like a movie version of a family photo album. I’ve never been a particular fan of Richard Linklater’s movies but this one is beautiful in quiet, subtle–but not precious–ways. It has a different sense of pacing from most American movies. It almost feels European in that way. It reminded me of the best parts of Malick, Altman, and, particularly, early Jonathan Demme. There are some unnerving moments but Linklater likes people. He isn’t sunny, exactly–at least not in a phony way–but has a hopeful view of the world.
The movie is long, sometimes talky, even boring at times, but not in a way that breaks the spell. It’s just that the movie is in no hurry. Oh, and it’s also funny in a dry, deadpan way.
The performances were better than convincing. I felt immersed in the characters’ lives. Ellar Coltrane, in the lead role, is special, man. (I’ve never cared for Ethan Hawke and he’s terrific here.)
I was so involved that after the first hour I forgot about how the movie was filmed. I understand why Manohla Dargis has seen it 3 times and wants to go again.
Worth your time.
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Harry and Tonto, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, Moscow on the Hudson, Down and Out in Beverly Hills. The man made some choice movies.
Twenty-five years ago today I saw the second showing of Do The Right Thing over on 8th Avenue in a theater that no longer exists. I’d just graduated high school and I went with two classmates to see Spike’s new movie on opening day. A few few years earlier we’d seen School Daze on its opening day in Times Square. On both occasions we were the only white people in the theater. I remember the cheers at the end of Do The Right Thing when a passage from Malcolm X was shown on the screen.
There’s a touching documentary on HBO about Robert De Niro Sr., an accomplished painter. Worth watching.
“Woman in Red” 1961.
I really enjoyed the discussion of digital vs. film from this interview with William Friedkin over at The Dissolve:
The Dissolve: It doesn’t sound like you’re especially nostalgic for celluloid.
Friedkin: Not at all. To me, it’s like old 78 rpm records vs. CDs. There’s no noise. When you listen to a CD, you’re listening to a pure sound, the way it was recorded. It’s still a recording; it isn’t the singer live in your living room, but it’s damn good. The old 78s and even the 33 1/3s and 45s always got scratched up. Eventually, they’d wear out. But they don’t know what the end tag on digital is. Nobody knows. It’s too new. But they’re beautiful. This is the best print ever made of Sorcerer.
The Dissolve: People have these endless debates about how vinyl sounds “warmer” than CDs, and then some musicians counter that what people call “warmth” is just low-end distortion. It has a certain cozy familiarity, but that doesn’t mean it’s accurate to the original recording.
Friedkin: Well, that’s how I feel about 35s. Look, there’s not going to be any more production of 35mm. There will only be the prints that still exist and are playable. Deluxe is out of business, and Technicolor is out of the 35 business. They’re done. That’s done. It was replaced by a great medium. They didn’t put junk out instead; they have improved the experience. An audience today knows when a print has got dirt and scratches. Who in the hell misses that? That wasn’t built in. It was a flaw of the process.
The Dissolve: I could give you the names of some people who miss it if you like.
Friedkin: There’s a lot of people, like Christopher Nolan—the only way to make a film is on 35? I just don’t buy that at all. He can’t release his films in 35mm. He can shoot 35mm, and then he has to transfer to digital to get it distributed. So you can be nostalgic and this and that, but it’s a waste of time.
[Photo Via: The Smithsonian]
Get Carter is a movie I’ve been meaning to see for a long time and last week I watched it with a friend.
Nasty and grim, I enjoyed it.
So here’s an edit from Another Fine Mess for listeners who don’t vibe with rhyming and rapping but who dig comedy and old movies and hypnotic beats.
Feel the funk, baby.
Here’s the full mix: