1) Brad Pitt, Moneyball2) Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Macy May Marlene3) Ralph Fiennes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows4) Olivia Coleman, Tyrannosaur5) Octavia Spencer, The Help6) Viggo Mortenson, A Dangerous Practice7) Jessica Chastain, The Help8) Amy Ryan, Win Win9) Kristin Wiig, Bridesmaids10) Paul Giamatti, Win Win
Nov 29, 2011
'The first thing Brit Marling does, upon entering the suite at the Crosby street hotel where our interview is to take place, is to walk right over to the large promotional cut-out for her movie Another Earth — on which she is depicted staring dreamily at the camera in front of a large milky planet— and turn it back to front. “We can’t have a serious conversation with this looming over us,” she says. “Remind me to turn it back when they come to get me.”
Take it as a sign of her newness to the Hollywood hall of mirrors. Just six months, Marling was just another hopeful, living in shared digs with two screenwriter friends, trying to find a distributor for two micro-budget movies which were all that stood between her and a role in torture porn. Then both films, Another Earth and Sound of my Voice, got accepted at Sundance where they were picked up by Fox Searchlight and overnight Marling became the festival’s breakout darling: a brainy, beautiful poster girl for soft-knit, eco-conscious, indie fabulosity. Which is how she finds herself in a hotel suite in New York, staring at a cardboard cut-out of herself posing in front of the planet Earth. No wonder she flips it. “The thing that is so crazy about it is that you are the same person before and after,” she says. “Your skill set hasn’t changed. You are the same person who could not audition anywhere in town and nobody would hire you do anything, and now suddenly you can read some of the best scripts that are being written. What is that all about? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.”
To get the obvious out of the way: she is extremely beautiful, with sky-blue eyes and long, fine, blonde hair of the kind rarely seen outside ads for conditioner, exuding a kind of alt-rock singer-songwriter vibe that pulls her towards paisley and floppy hats. She’s like a Manhattan-era Meryl Streep, reinvented for the Wikileaks generation, holding forth on a variety of subjects from the invention of the light-bulb to the macro-economics of the paper napkin in front of her with the high-flying radicalism of youth, while registering consistent bookworm-in-the-limelight amazement that the world is paying her any attention at all. A beautiful intellectual! And in the movies, no less!'
Nov 26, 2011
'There were times during the shooting of his new movie, Hugo, a $170-million dollar blockbuster set in 1920s Paris, when Martin Scorsese would return home, his head aching with the logistics of shooting in 3-D, exhausted by his insanely accelerated schedule, to find his 12-year-old daughter wanted to have a conversation about armadillos.
“The child doesn’t know what’s going on, you’re exhausted,” he remembers. “She goes ‘look at this I need you to see this — is that a horse to you, or is at armadillo?’ There was a time when I would have walked right by. But now you say, ‘waidaminute, waidaminute, are you trying to tell me that’s an armadillo? Because that’s not an armadillo. That is an anteater’. ‘No its not.’ Suddenly there’s a hole in the world that you’ve gotta fill.” His voice lowers to an imploring whisper. “‘But look I gotta get to sleep, honey, I gotta get to sleep. I’m going to go into the room upstairs, there’s a little room, I’m going go to lock myself in, I want you to be quiet.” ‘Oh I’ll be quiet….’ ‘Because I’ve got to get up tomorrow morning at 5 O’Clock….’ This is my life.”
He laughs — a rocket of a laugh that fills the room, and doubles him over. You half expect him to slap his knee. Scorsese’s hair is snowy white these days, lending him the air of someone lit by a higher calling — maybe the priesthood, for which he once trained, or the cinema that turned out to be his true religion. Alongside Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg, he is one of the handful of movie directors who are not just household names, but household faces, his wraparound grin, thick, caterpillar eyebrows and thick horn-rims making up an instantly recognizable trademark which signifies “film director” as surely as Hitchcock’s protuberant silhouette once did.These days, one reaches him through a chain of sotto voce female assistants, well-versed in the art of shepherding the maestro with the minimum of fuss or interruption. “Do you think you could come and stand outside the door,” one of them calls my cell-phone to ask me, in a whisper. “Don’t knock. And don’t call. We’ll come get you.”
Finally you get to the man himself. Small, at 5ft 3, he brims with undiminished vigor, standing on the earth staunchly, like a boxer in the ring, barrel-chested, unrockable — the better position from which to launch those glorious riffs of his. Scorsese is, like his mobsters, an overpowering talker, a ferocious monologist whose rapid, rat-tat-tat speech patterns were once compared by New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane to those of a “preacher caught between the pulpit and the gents.” Any hint of shyness is limited to his posture when it is your turn to ask a question: head down, arms crossed, staring into his lap, as if your words were incoming missiles, whose intent can only be divined by an act of feral concentration. I caught him a few days off his 69th birthday, recently released from the editing suite where he has been beavering away to get Hugo finished in time for its Thanksgiving release.
“He was the happiest I’ve ever seen him,” says Hugo’s producer, Graham King, who has worked with the director on Gangs of New York, The Aviator and the Oscar-winning The Departed. “He had new toys to play with. He saw a whole new way of filmmaking. He would come on set and you would hear that great laugh rippling through the train station. He was loving it, loving the process — the hair, the make up — loved having two kids as leads. They were so naïve as to who he was. Leo di Caprio, Mark Wahlburg, Nicholson, Damon, Day Lewis, they know who he is and act accordingly. These kids didn’t know and didn’t really care. ‘Hey Marty, what did you do last night? What did you have for dinner?’ Leonardo Di Caprio does not come onto set and ask Martin Scorsese that.”
Was that why he made it? The chance to slip his own post-Oscar coronation and enjoy a King-Lear-with-flowers-in-his-hair moment? Hugo doesn’t just represent a departure, I tell him. It detonates the entire airport. Scorsese looses another rocket. “Thank you, thank, you. The story itself was a joy….. wait, that sounds…. It was…..pleasant, the story, in a sense, it was…. Exciting. I enjoyed the cleverness of it,” he says, his hesitations perhaps suggestive of a man unused to having his cinematic fate held in the palms of 8-year-olds. “I used to like that W C Fields line about never working with animals or kids,” he says, before proceeding to tell me a story about the fluffy white bijon frise bought him by his fourth wife, producer Barbara de Fina, the moral of which appears to be: the Sentimental Education of Martin Scorsese.
“I was really against it for the first four days. It was everywhere, it was not housebroken. You know, I left the lower east side, where nothing was housebroken. The whole place was not housebroken, I’m outta there. By the fourth or fifth day the way the dog was looking at me, I guess it was sentimental. There was something about the dog that expected something from me. Attention and help of some kind. What does she expect me to do? Does she want this? I do something. No. What about this? Yes! That was it! Isn’t that interesting. I’ve communicated with this dog. And I fell madly in love with her. I put Zoe in The Age of Innocence, my mothers holding her in Goodfellas, she was on my lap while I was directing a lot of the scenes in Goodfellas. Poor dog became a nervous wreck because of all the shouting and gunshots.”
This is so wonderfully entertaining in the classic Scorsese-wiseguy manner — one thinks, in particular, of Joe Pesci’s cod art-crit session in Goodfellas (“one dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way, and this guy's sayin', ’whaddaya want from me?’) — that it takes me a few seconds to realise Scorsese has ducked my question. I ask him again why he made the film.
“The kids,” he says. “At a late age, I’ve been living with a child almost every day for the past 12 years. It changes things. It was different from when I had my other daughters. I was much younger, you had the future ahead of you. Now it’s different. So now I’m seeing the future through the eyes of my child. She is perceiving the world around her: ‘what does that mean? What is this? Who’s that? I believe this, I don’t believe that…’ All this goes on, you talk and talk and talk and before you know it you’re living with this, your dealing with it every day — animals or different stickers, or laminated tings that you can see in 3-D, or the museum she went to that day.”
Scorsese two other daughters, Catherine, by his first wife whom he met while still a NYU film student in the mid-sixties, and Domenica, by his second wife, journalist Julia Cameron whom he married in 1975 after she interviewed him for Rolling Stone. Both daughters are now grown up — he recently attended Catherine’s wedding in Chicago — but it his fifth marriage, to book editor Helen Morris, whom he met while filming Kundun, that has lasted the longest, and this third pass at fatherhood seems to have had the deepest impact. Together with two West Highland terriers named Flora and Desmond, the family share a brownstone townhouse on the Upper East Side, filled with wall-to-wall bookshelves, wooden Laurel & Hardy figurines, and a Stratocaster belonging to the Robbie Robertson from The Band. “I’ve seen the change in him,” says King. “When you have kids at an older time eat life, it means more than when you’re 30. That has a lot to do with this. No question.”
For all Scorsese’s frank bafflement at Hollywood cliché — “what’s a fish-out-of-water?” he is said to have remarked, upon turning down the chance to direct Beverley Hills Cop — his career breaks down into a classic three-act, rise-fall-comeback structure. First we have his bullet-like trajectory from the lower east side to Hollywood, making films like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull: personal, incendiary, hair-trigger works performing root-canal on the director’s obsessions, seeming to fly centrifugally from his own cratered psyche. Scorsese had a famously loose temper — he was a phone thrower and wall smasher. His office had the phone guy on constant call, so frequently did he rip it from the wall. On one occasion, he was yelling down the phone at his producer, threw the phone and broke it, went down the elevator, put a dime in a pay phone, and continued to yell at his producer from the street.
“His first words when he woke up were always fuck-fuck-fuck fuck-fuck,” recalls Isabella Rossellini, who met the director at the height of his fame, after winning the Palme D’Or for Taxi Driver, and married him in 1979. “I think he used rage as his gasoline to get out of bed and confront the world. If he wasn’t a fighter wanting to fight I think he would have felt overwhelmed — because he’s very small and constantly asthmatic, with his oxygen masks and tanks. I think he needed that rage. Friends would say ‘oh calm down don’t be angry.’ But I saw it more like an engine, a little car, catching in the morning. BBRRRRMMM. BBRRRMMM.”
These were the days of coronation and excess — of forcing 150 extras to stand around waiting while Scorsese spoke to his therapist from trailer on set of New York, New York; of dispatching a private jet from the 1978 Cannes film festival to score some coke in Paris. Things finally came crashing down on Labor day of that year, when, succumbed to a mixture of bad coke, asthma and high altitude at the Telluride film festival, Scorsese was admitted to hospital, weighing just 109 pounds, bleeding internally, his platelet count down to zero.“It was very frightening,” says Rossellini. “Marty was very sick. I wasn’t sure I was going to see him alive again.” While recuperating in hospital in New York, Scorsese was visited by Robert de Niro, who held in his hand a battered copy of the script for Raging Bull, his pet project about the methodical self-destruction of boxer Jake La Motta. Scorsese didn’t want anything to do with it.
“I didn’t know anything about boxing,” remembers Scorsese. “But Bob came to me in hospital, and said ‘come on what is it you want to do? Do you want to die, is that it? Don’t you want to live to see your daughter grow up and get married? Are you gonna be one of those directors who makes a couple of good movies and then its over for them?' He said ‘you could really make this picture.’ I found myself saying okay. Ultimately, finally, when I was down and out, I realized yes I should do this movie. Going down in flames meant that if it was going to go down, let it go down. I didn’t care anymore, I just knew this was the last thing to say. If I could say anything, this was the last chance to do it.”
It was Raging Bull’s failure to secure an Academy Award for best film or director — Scorsese lost out to Robert Redford’s Ordinary People — that set the pattern for Oscar shut-outs for years to come and set the stage for his second act: this time as long-suffering saint of American cinema, crucified by the suits and studio bean-counters, cast out into the wilderness, unable to raise the cash to make dream projects like The Last Temptation of Christ, putting himself through career rehab on pictures like The Color of Money, the budget for which didn’t even stretch to a phone for the director. Cruise and Newman both got phones — not Scorsese.
“The last studio movie I made in Hollywood, The King of Comedy, was considered ‘the flop of the year.’ No-one would come near me. I tried to get Last Temptation made. That was cancelled. So it’s time to go home. I came back to New York and made independent films. I was like a wounded person trying to get back in shape. I tried a few pictures to see if I could just be a pro. I don’t mean that as false modesty. A pro is a very important, professional person. They can be depended on. They can work.”
When I put it to him that these leans years were arguably the best thing that ever happened to him — toning him up for the glories of Goodfellas, quite possibly his best film — he agrees. “I am American, so I have to work within the system, whether it’s studio or independent.” He has little time, these days, he says, for the old battle-lines between the artists and the suits, and readily admits to a financial motive for making movies. “I do have to pay for the school, for the kid. And some clothes And I don’t really know any other way,” he says. “I was doing this Q and A with Jim Cameron in LA the other day. Maybe a film that costs a lot of money like I’m doing…. could be a good film. That could happen… That could happen…. Maybe a film that cost no money, is not good does not stand the test of time….. That could also happen.”He says this warily, as if half expecting the ground to give out beneath his feet. His third act is a balancing act, a tightly-fought compromise between the lures of commerce and the demands of his artistic conscience, between his work-life and the recent outbreak of domestic tranquility. When I ask him what it was about his marriage and fatherhood, this time around, that made it stick, he thinks for a long time before replying.
“We all became older, some of us our friends are gone now. At that time we were learning from each other and it was new and it was fresh and as time moved on we all changed. What can we learn from each other now. What do you learn from a party? Besides what do you go to a party for. Do you need that? At a certain point, you leave. I enjoy the company of people but these days, we are pretty much closed off. It’s the wasting of time, putting that time into work, finding the time that’s more rewarding with people you love, people who love you.”
Perhaps it should come as no surprise. Martin Scorsese, the mobster king, poet laureate of addled loners, smalltime hoods and spiritual misfits everywhere, just wants to love and be loved, like the rest of us. His Oscar win for The Departed, after decades shut out in the cold, clearly meant a lot to him. “Everyone teases me ‘Scorsese did not expect the Oscar.’ I did not. I was just tying to continue working. Because the real success and satisfaction was having made these movies without having major box office without having academy awards. That was the thing.”Did it have anything to do with Hugo, which is to say his newfound desire to take on the mantle of Entertainer-in-Chief? “It may have. Whether its Shutter Island or Hugo or Living in the Material World [his George Harrison documentary] in the end they’re all responses to that. I do like making Hollywood narrative cinema, the kind that I grew up on, so I’ll always be drawn there but I don’t have the time any more. I try. I try to find that something that you’re burning to say.”
His mention of time is revealing. There are clocks ticking throughout Hugo, which, together with Shutter Island, another haunted house, cobwebbed with memories and bent on bringing the dead to life, marks the decisive arrival of Scorsese’s late period, a Prospero-like summary of confabulation and magic. I ask him if he ever thinks about the amount of time has left — the number of films he still has in him.
“That’s really what it is now, the only consideration really, the amount of time I have left,” he says, detailing three possible future projects: another delve into the criminal underworld with De Niro, an HBO series about the business of rock’n’roll with Mick Jagger and, most promising of all, Silence, an adaptation of a Shusaku Endo novel about two Jesuit priests, to be played by Daniel Day Lewis and Benicio Del Toro, attempting to spread the gospel in 17th century Japan.“There are some technical, legal issues we’re working out but literally it’s imminent. I’m watching my Blackberry,” he says. “It’s always the material. Are you attracted to the material at all? Can you find a way to saying something that sit your heart or your mind? All I can do it try and put as much as myself into it I as I can — give it the attention, the love, the anger, the patience, the humor, the drama, all the craziness that goes into the making of a picture until the very, very end. I've gotta do that."
He glances at his blackberry, lying on the table next to him, as if willing it to ring." — my interview with Martin Scorsese in The Times
Nov 25, 2011
"You have films with happy endings, which show the triumph of the human spirit, in films like Rocky. And then you have pictures that are a little more realistic and deal with certain emotions and psychological character studies, and they don't necessarily have that uplifting effect. In the 50s through the 70s, they seemed to exist together. Now, it seems that some films don't even have the right to exist. With the advent of Rocky and Star Wars and the Spielberg pictures, on the best side they're morally uplifting; you leave the theatre the way you did at the end of Casablanca. And on the worst side, they're sentimental. Lies. That's the problem And where I fit in there, I don't know" — interview with Chris Hodenfield in American Film, 1989, collected in Martin Scorsese Interviews (Univ. of Miss.), edited by Peter Brunette
Nov 21, 2011
'Of all the cinematic surprises of 2011—the ascendency of Elizabeth Olsen, the excellence of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Woody Allen’s return as hit-maker the renaissence of silent cinema was probably the hardest to see coming down the pike. When Harvey Weinstein enthused about a silent back-and-white film, starring two unknown French stars, which he’d just bought at Cannes, brother Bob suggested he check himself into a mental asylum. After it received a 15-minute standing ovation, Michel Hazanavicius’s homage to the days of swashbuckling matinee idols, iris shots, and Busby Berkeley dance numbers, The Artist, was marked up by Oscarologists as the outside favorite to win Best Picture.
Come November 23rd, cinemagoers will have a choice of two valentines to the silent era: The Artist or Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s 3D adaptation of Brian Selznick’s bestselling children’s book, whose poster echoes Harold Lloyd’s clock shenanigans in Safety Last (1923) and whose final 25 minutes fondly revisit the earliest days of cinema, from Melies's
A Trip to the Moon to the Lumière Brothers Arrival of a train at La Ciotat station, which sent its audience flying in panic from the theatre to avoid being crushed by that train. For the earliest filmgoers, 2D was 3D enough. “Two ladies in one of the boxes on the left-hand of the horseshoe, which is just where the flyer vanishes from view, screamed and nearly fainted as it came apparently rushing upon them,” ran one newspaper’s account of a similar film, Empire State Express, in 1897. “They recovered in time to laugh at their needless excitement.”
Finally, in December, we have The Adventures of Tin Tin: Secret of the Unicorn, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the much-loved Belgian comic strip, a movie whose sight gags and breakneck pace hail back to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and from there to the hey-day of Mack Sennett and the Keystone cops. Nobody could accuse modern blockbusters of silence, but the aesthetics of silent cinema—its favoring of the visual over the literary, action beats over dialogue, international markets over domestic— is alive and well. Over at Pixar, filmmakers have been steadily mining Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to give us the opening 20 minutes of WALL-E and the first ten minutes of Up—modern silent-movie classics. Meanwhile, James Cameron’s Avatar, whose earthling-alien romance, like that in E.T., proceeded via sign language (I-see-you), marked the evolution of an international movie grammar which vaulted borders and left critical sniping about Cameron’s creaky dialogue looking like the nit-picking of flat-earthers. And the guilty secret of Michael Bay’s Transformer movies? They play equally well with the sound down, if not better.
“The eye and mind are both bewildered by the too sudden and too frequent shifts of scene,” wrote William Eaton in American Magazine. “There is a terrible sense of rush and hurry and flying about, which is intensified by the twitching film and generally whang-bang music.” Eaton wrote this in 1914, but it could as easily pass muster as a critical harrumph from the summer of 2011. In fact, the further back you push, the more familiar it gets, as dialogue, plots, and characters all fall away to reveal an exo-skeleton of pure action beats. The very first movies were by definition action movies, made fast and sold by the brand (“every day a Biograph feature”) to an audience made up of largely immigrants and teens, all demanding something “happening every minute, allowing for no padding with word-painting, following climax after climax” as the Brooklyn Eagle put it in 1906. “The backbone of today’s business is the attendance of young people from seventeen to twenty-three years of age,” sniffed Harold Corey in Everybody’s Magazine in 1919. “At 23 other interests develop.”
For The Lonedale Operator, D. W. Griffith mounted his camera on the front of a speeding train in order to better capture the rush; for A Girl and Her Trust, he placed it onboard a car that was racing alongside a racing train, with another car in hot pursuit. His mastery of intercutting between parallel action reached its apogee in the chase sequence of The Birth of a Nation. When that film was released, in 1916, the film’s cinematographer, Karl Brown, noted “bigger and better, bigger and better became the constantly chanted watchwords of the year. Soon the two words became one. Bigger meant better, and a sort of giganticism overwhelmed the world, especially the world of motion pictures.” In many ways, this whizz-bang landscape of thrill rides, cheap scares and teen kicks feels closer to us than the Golden Age of the 1940s and 1950s, or even the 1960s and 1970s, when Hollywood, high on a mixture of the French new wave, auteurism, and pot, enjoyed an unparalleled creative growth spurt, one cut cruelly short by thekerr-ching of the cash registers for Jaws, and the boom of the laser cannons in Star Wars. As we all know by heart now, those two blockbusters flushed delicate arthouse sensitivities down the garbage chute and “pioneered the cinema of moments, of images, of sensory stimuli increasingly divorced from story” in Peter Biskind’s formulation.
This is fine as far as it goes, but if it’s the soul of cinema we’re fighting over, “the cinema of moments, of images, of sensory stimuli increasingly divorced from story” has a far greater claim on cinema’s central nervous system than the woozy psychedelia of Easy Rider. Looked at one way, Star Wars did not betray cinema at all, but plugged it back into the mains, returning the medium, after a brief spell of aesthetic etiolation, to its roots as a carnival sideshow, a magic act, one big special effect, punching through the fourth wall and rocking the audience back in their seats, as they were first rocked by the Lumière brothers cho-choo trains. “Star Wars is basically a silent film, was designed to be a silent film,” said George Lucas when I interviewed him for my book Blockbuster. “In terms of people’s aesthetics, especially critics: they complained bitterly when sound came in, that the medium had been destroyed, but the concept of cinema started as a vaudeville show. It started as a magic act. They took the magician off the bill, put up this sheet and they ran this magic thing, where you could see things you couldn’t see. They say summer is now dominated by films that are aimed towards kids. Well, kids are the audience. It’s a market-driven medium and it always has been.”'
February 3rdChronicle (20th Century Fox)March 9thJohn Carter — Andrew Stanton (Pixar)March 23rdThe Hunger Games — Jennifer Lawrence (Lionsgate)April 6thTitanic 3-D (Fox)May 11thDark Shadows — Burton, Pfeiffer, Eva Green (Warner Bros)The Dictator — Cohen, Kingsley (Paramount)June 1stRock Of Ages — Cruise, Giametti (Warner Bros)June 8thPrometheus — Scott, Fassbender (Fox)June 22ndBrave (Pixar)July 3rdThe Amazing Spiderman (Columbia)July 22ndThe Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros)Aug 17thParaNorman — Casey Affleck (Focus)September 14thArgo — Affleck, Arkin, Cranston (Warner Bros)September 28thSavages — Del Toro, Lively, Stone (Universal)October 19thUntitled David Chase Project — Gandolfini (Paramount Vantage)November 9thBond 23 — Mendes, Craig, Bardem (Sony)November 21Gravity — Clooney, Bullock, Cuaron (Warner Bros)Deecember 14thGreat Hope Springs — Streep, Carrell, Jones (Columbia)December 21The Life of Pi — Lee, Maguire (Fox 2000)This is Forty — Rudd, Mann, Apatow (Universal)December 25thDjango Unchained — Di Caprio, Tarantino (Weinstein)The Great Gatsby — Di Caprio, Mulligan (Warner Bros)UndatedMoonlight Kingdom — Anderson, Willis (Focus)Anna Karenina — Knightley, Wright, Johnson (Focus)Lincoln — Day-Lewis, Spielberg (Touchstone)Gotti: Three Generations — Levinson, Travolta, Pesci, Pacino (Fiore)My Wild Life — Noyce, Kidman (Universal)Take This Waltz — Rogen, Williams (Magnolia)Untitled Bin Laden Project — Bigelow (Sony)Photo: Eva Green
Nov 15, 2011
— the rattier bits of Honolulu.— Clooney's tears by the side of the road, his back to us like Queen Elizabeth II.— yes, alright, the running in sandals.— the line about Hawaiian businessmen bearing a striking resemblance to "bums and stuntmen."— Shailene Woodley's scenes on the couch, eyes raw and red. Her blend of prettiness and plainness.— the link-up of the two plots via a cousin. The cousins in general, and the dramatic use made of this overextended brood.— seeing Beau Bridges again.— the ambling pace.— Judy Greer's brand of guileless, vulnerable optimism. The heartbreak of seeing it depleted.— Payne's emotional ambition and reach, and the invisible cover it lends the comic switchbacks, to the point where you can't say which came first. Born together, in mid-air.— One in particular, Greer's bedside speech + Clooney's reaction, is faultless.— the reveal of Sid's family history, together with his use of the word "boss".
— The first scene where they talk to the mother.— the line "my joy, my pain". Too written. He had me at "my love."
Nov 12, 2011
These are actors,As I foretold you, were all spirits andAre melted into air, into thin air;And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,The solemn temples, the great globe itself,Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,Leave not a rack behind.As dreams are made on; and our little life
We are such stuff
Is rounded with a sleep.
What does haunt late works is the author’s previous works: he is burdensomely conscious that he has been cast, unlike his ingénue self, as an author who writes in a certain way, with the inexorable consistency of his own handwriting. Turning this way and that in his last creative torment, he kept meeting, with a shudder, his pet modes of imagining, chimeras on the fault line between the imaginary and the actual.
Nov 8, 2011
- 'It's Real' — Real Estate
- 'Facing the Sun' — Treefight for Sunlight
- 'Hurts like Heaven' — Coldplay
- 'Change the Sheets' — Kathleen Edwards
- 'Helix' — Justice
- 'We Found Love' — Rihanna
- 'Domino' — Jessie J
- '1979' — RAC
- 'Jesus Fever' — Kurt Vile
- 'The Same Thing' — Cass McCombs
- 'Dust on the Dancefloor' — The Leisure Society
“What? What did he say, again? Well! If he really said that, you just made my last four decades. You're responsible for making my last four decades. I've never heard that!” — Steven Spielberg upon hearing Alfred Hitchcock's comment “young Spielberg is the first one of us who doesn't see the proscenium arch” seemingly for the first time
Nov 7, 2011
1. Moonlight Kingdom. To see if young love (and a return to American soil) can revive Wes Anderson's live-action filmmaking.
2. Lincoln. Because Daniel-Day Lewis's feel for American-historical sinew is second-to-none.3. Under The Skin. Scarlett Johannson is a man-eating alien in Jonathan Glazer's first film since Birth (2004), the most under-seen great movie of the 2000s.4. Life of Pi. Ang Lee + Depardieu + 3D + tiger. The choice of project feels both surprising and inevitable — our best hope for a masterpiece.5. This is Forty. Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd, Megan Fox in a companion piece to Knocked Up.6. Django Unchained. The rhythms of black speech = Tarantino defibrillator.7. The Dictator. Crunch time for Sasha Baron Cohen.8. The Amazing Spiderman. For Emma Stone.9. John Carter. Andrew Stanton's live-action follow up to WALL-E.10. Brave. Hogmanay and haggis from Pixar.Also: — Argo, ParaNorman, My Wild Life, The Cabin In the Woods, Chronicle
Nov 5, 2011
“When I can’t immediately define the character, and there’s an element of mystery to it and still a lot to be explored, that’s when I say yes,” the 36-year-old Mr. DiCaprio said in an interview last week on a patio at the Bel Air Hotel here. “I like those kinds of complicated characters. I just do.” Hollywood typically doesn’t like that answer. The star system may have become more subtle since the days of Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart, but it’s still a system: American actors are supposed to be more steady persona, less shape shifter. “The apparatus likes to box actors up,” said Brian Grazer, a producer of “J. Edgar,” which is set for release on Wednesday. “Once they become successful in one role, get them into picture after picture where they can do exactly the same thing.” — The New York Times
Why is it that in any battle between a movie star keen to prove his "method" credentials and the wicked studios, who want to entrap him in the role of movie star, I always tend to side with the studios? Nobody likes stereotyping, and yet there is nothing dumb about the aggregate wisdom that seeks out the platonic essence of an actor — in Di Cario's case, a young man's sprezzatura combined with a Huck Finnish resourcefulness. I'm thinking of his diamond smuggler in Blood Diamond and his teen fugitive in Catch Me If You Can, a role which perhaps more than the caught Di Caprio's brand of fleet-footedness, which seems to carry him across the screen like the moving dot over karaoke lyrics. Such gifts, even if they tend towards lightness, are not to be taken lightly. On the contrary they place him in the rarest company — one thinks of the very best movers, Fred Astaire and Cary Grant, both of whom raised the art of ease onscreen to a state of unparalleled grace. But effortlessness has fallen into disfavor these days — we prefer performances that break sweat — so naturally, it's the performance Di Caprio most disdains. The story goes that after filming Catch Me If You Can the actor foreswore ever taking on another ingenue role, preferring the more strenuous acting work-outs he got with Martin Scorsese. I must confess I love di Caprio as an actor and yet his recent career makes me miserable, his performances tending towards the twitchy and self-hating — strangely solitary affairs, as most attempts to prove something to oneself generally are. He goes the distance, but he doesn't take the audience with him, seemingly caught in a permanent state of self-chastisement for not growing up faster. Which is probably why he hated working for Spielberg, hellbent in the opposite direction, but there is something Peter Pannish about Di Caprio. He plays younger than he appears, which mean these attempts to play older seem misbegotten — a cat stroked backwards. He was appropriately feral in Gangs of New York, seething with hidden hatred for Bill the Butcher, but the role turned him into a sneak, so Day-Lewis blew him away. He was simply miscast in The Aviator — too young for the role, and badly let down by his voice, which can never quite hide its high spirits, despite no end of growling on Di Caprio's part. (If he had Kiefer Sutherland's stentorian boom, he would have had an Oscar by now). For The Departed he dug deep into his character's drug-addled psychosis, as if he we were appearing in one of Scorsese's Paul-Schrader-era collaborations, in orbit around a single lost soul, but even Scorsese doesn't summon the tone, or the energy, for such descents any more and Di Caprio looked stranded, even faintly comic, as if he didn't realise there were other people in the movie: every time we cut back to him, he just seemed more bug-eyed and out of it. Maybe that's why his best performances have been playing solipsists, in both Shutter Island and Inception, whose shared preoccupation with fantasy and reality suggests that these mazy, inner-space refugees may turn out to be defining roles for him. One can't but worry about the state of the Di Caprio psyche these days. All those supermodels can't be good for the soul; Howard Hughes and J Edgar Hoover, taken together, suggest an attempt at some sort of self-diagnosis. I hope he's having fun.
1. Blood Diamond
2. Catch Me If You Can
3. Shutter Island
4. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
7. Romeo + Juliet
8. This Boy's Life
9. The Basketball Diaries
10. Revolutionary Road