Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Had to laugh out loud at this one. Evidently, I wasn't the only one who had a WTF reaction to the "surprise twist" at the end of Dracula 2000 (which, by the way, starred Gerard Butler -- yes, that Gerard Butler -- as the eponymous vampire).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Movies I want to see: London Boulevard

Take a look at this and tell me: Isn't Colin Farrell playing exactly the sort of character you might have expected Michael Caine to essay in the aftermath of 1971's Get Carter? (Hat-tip to Jeffrey Wells for showcasing the trailer.) Of course, I don't know if Farrell would be able to come across as badass as Caine does in what is, for my money, the most cold-blooded murder scene in movie history. Keep in mind that Jack Carter (Caine), a veteran hit man, has been searching for the folks responsible for killing his brother, a relatively straight-laced fellow, back in their home town. When he finally catches up with someone from the old neighborhood who had an indirect role in the slaying... Well, as Carter says: "You knew what I'd do, didn't you, Albert?"

To view or not to view

OK, I know this is going to sound ridiculously superstitious, but: Even though I am tempted to watch Revenge of Frankenstein on TCM tonight, because I haven't seen it since I was very young, I'm also a little afraid to even want to watch it. The last time I was set to view Revenge of Frankenstein on TV was way back in 1963, when it was supposed to air as a Friday afternoon movie -- right after school! -- on CBS affiliate Channel 4 in New Orleans. Only it didn't air. In fact, the only thing that aired on Channel 4 and every other channel that day was ongoing news coverage of a national tragedy. You see, that particular day was Nov. 22, 1963.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christine O'Donnell: Comic relief

There's actually a part of me that hopes Christine O'Donnell gets elected in Delaware. Because, hey, let's face it: We all need a good laugh now and then. And O'Donnell likely will inspire more put-ons and punchlines than any politician since Dan Quayle. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trailering Tiny Furniture

I'm actually quoted in this trailer for Tiny Furniture -- one of my favorites from last spring's SXSW Film Festival -- right between the Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair. Sweet.

Coming soon to a theater near... well, not me, but maybe you

When The Four-Faced Liar premiered last winter at the Slamdance Film Festival, I praised lead players Marja-Lewis Ryan and Emily Peck in my Variety review for "infusing their performances with effective and affecting measures of raw emotion and avid sensuality." Evidently, that wasn't quite explicit enough for the movie's marketers, who perferred to emphasize sensuality over emotion while, er, adjusting my wording for the above trailer. (Wait until the 1:24 mark, and you'll see what I mean.) I suppose I should get outraged, or at least a mite peevish, but what the hell. It's a nice little indie movie, and it showcases some promising talents on both side of the camera, so if not-quite-precisely quoting me can get a few folks to check it out this weekend, when it kicks off its limited theatrical run, well, no harm, no foul. Trust me: I have seen my words twisted worse.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Michael Caine speaks, and old news becomes new news

In recent days, Sir Michael Caine has ignited a firestorm of controversy by telling a British radio interviewer that, back in 1955, as his 56-year-old father lay dying of liver cancer in a London hospital, he asked his dad’s doctor to cut short his suffering.

“I was in such anguish over the pain he was in,” Caine told radio host Nick Ferrari in a taped interview that aired Saturday night, “that I said to this doctor, I said, 'Isn't there anything else you could... just give him an overdose and end this?’ Because I wanted him to go.

"And he said, 'Oh, no, no, no, we couldn't do that.’ And then as I was leaving, he said, 'Come back at midnight'. I came back at midnight and my father died at five past twelve. So he'd done it."

The Telegraph newspaper of Great Britain reported Saturday that, as news of Caine’s comments circulated in the British press prior to the radio broadcast, anti-euthanasia campaigners were quick to criticize the veteran actor. (In an on-line comments section, one angry Telegraph reader demanded that Caine be arrested, and his knighthood revoked.) And as the story continues to gain traction – it even appeared as a Page 2A news tidbit in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle – the firestorm doubtless will spread worldwide as Caine’s words are disseminated through bloggers, newswires and websites.

But here’s the really odd part: This is, quite literally, old news. Really: Caine wrote about his father’s suffering and death way back in 1992, in his best-selling autobiography titled What’s It All About? If you happen to have a paperback copy of the book on a shelf somewhere, take it down and turn to page 94:

“I visited my father for two days, during which time his condition deteriorated rapidly. He was in excruciating pain. I asked the doctor to increase my father’s drugs and he told me that a larger dose would kill him. I looked at him for a moment and said, ‘If this is living, can death be such a bad thing?’ He thought for a moment, then asked me to go away and come back at eleven o’clock that night. I was back there at eleven on the dot. Dad seemed to be much more comfortable now and I sat there holding his hand for an hour or two. He didn’t seem to know that I was there but occasionally he would squeeze my hand and I would squeeze back. The hospital is right opposite the Houses of Parliament, and I could see Big Ben across the river. Eventually it struck one o’clock, and as it did, my father’s eyes opened slightly and he whispered, ‘Good luck, son,’ and died.

“I told the doctor that he had gone and thanked him for all that he had done, and walked back down the corridor…”

Even though I have never – thank God – been in a position similar to Caine’s, I was deeply and profoundly affected when I read this. So much so that, ten years later, I made a special point of complimenting Caine – for his blunt-spoken honesty as well as his expertise as a wordsmith – when we briefly discussed the episode he had written about so movingly.

We were in Austin at the time, while he was on location filming Second-Hand Lions, and I was interviewing him for the New York Daily News. Mind you, we did not spend a lot of time on this subject. Indeed, I wound up not referencing it at all in the article I eventually wrote, partly because it had nothing to do with the primary focus of the piece – the story was about the upcoming release of The Quiet American, and its possible reception in post-9/11 America -- and partly because, well, his autobiography had come out a decade earlier, and I figured the story was, as I said, old news.

But now Caine, inadvertently or otherwise, has invited closer scrutiny of the incident. And by doing so, he has made himself the target of criticism by those who feel what he did – or at least encouraged – is something on the order of mercy killing. Once again, it seems, the professionally outraged will have their say.

And, yes, also once again, it seems the media will help fan the flames of the firestorm.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Suggested for Mature Audiences

At my suggestion, Foamy Squirrel -- one of the regulars over at The Hot Blog -- devised what I think would be a great ad campaign for the new True Grit. Almost as great as this (unfortunately) unused campaign ad for the 2008 Presidential campaign.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Donald Duck meets Glenn Beck

Cover-your-ass disclaimer: "This transformative remix work constitutes a fair-use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US copyright law. Right Wing Radio Duck by Jonathan McIntosh is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License - permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution." Sounds OK to me.