Film Archive for April, 2011

The Art of Movie Titles

Just got an email announcing that Homework, the Freddie Highmore/Emma Roberts teenage-angst-slacker drama that Fox Searchlight picked up at Sundance, is getting a title change to The Art of Getting By.

Personally, I think this is a good move on Searchlight’s part. Homework was a bland title that had “working title until we think up something better” written all over it. The Art of Getting By, in any case, is both catchier and more fitting for what the film is really about. I bet they had a lot of brainstorming meetings over bagels and coffee with a white board figuring out something better to call this film. Hey, at least they didn’t go with “Annoying Rich White Kids Get Life Lessons” or something.

Now, if they could just find a way to cut the diabetic coma-inducing sugariness of the script down just a notch (no, I will NOT use the words “twee” or “precious” to describe it, no matter how apropos they may be) … we might be getting somewhere. I felt when I was watching Homework at Sundance that it wanted to be edgier and braver. Terri and Submarine both, for me, dealt with teen issues and angst with more honest and real — and interesting — characters. But at least it’s got a better title now.

John Hughes’s movies often had great titles for what they were. The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles. Pretty in Pink. Weird Science. Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Some Kind of Wonderful. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Home Alone. (Come to think of it, I like all those movies, even now. Yes, even Home Alone — the first one, not the sequels.)

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet … or would it? I’m kind of with Anne Shirley, who didn’t think a rose would smell as sweet if it was called a skunk cabbage. Would those Hughes films have been the same movies if they’d been titled … Detention? I Can’t Believe They Forgot My Birthday? Wrong Side of the Tracks? Two Geeks and a Hot Babe? Get Me Home for Thanksgiving? Crushing on the Wrong Girl? Playing Hooky? Bad Parents Forget Kid?

Review: Mildred Pierce

Kate Winslet is terrific in many ways in Todd Haynes’s lengthy five-episode HBO miniseries adaptation of Mildred Pierce — not the least of which is bringing her own unique sensibility to the role made melodramatically iconic by Joan Crawford back in 1945. Although Crawford won her only Oscar for the role, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Michael Curtiz-directed adaptation of James M. Cain’s 1941 novel of the same name, probably in part because Crawford has just never been one of my favorite old-school actresses.

But no worries, because Haynes has gone back to the source material rather than the Curtiz film, and the end result is far more Douglas Sirk revisisted than Curtiz. Which isn’t altogether a bad thing — Sirk’s Imitation of Life is one of my favorite old guilty pleasure melodramas … and what better time than now to to revisit a Depression-era melodrama revolving around a fulcrum of economics and class and survival?
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“I really want to see The Irishman. I’ve heard it’s big brother Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. But I really can’t find the time. The promotion schedule is so tight, there’s no opportunity to see a three and a half-hour movie. But I really want to see it. In 2017, right before Okja’s New York premiere, I had the chance to go to Scorsese’s office, which is in the DGA building. There’s a lovely screening room there, too, with film prints that he’s collected. I talked to him for about an hour. There’s no movie he hasn’t seen, even Korean films. We talked about what he’s seen and his past work. It was a glorious day. I’ve loved his work since I was in college. Who doesn’t? Anyone involved with movies must feel the same way.”
~ Bong Joon-ho

“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh