In The Great Beauty, a gorgeously shot picture of contemporary Rome, albeit fictional, it is refreshing to see that this tourist mecca of monumental historic significance has a shallow center just like all the other important world cities of note. You could say this movie whose central character is a writer of one novel so many years ago who has evolved into a journalist of art, parties, and society gossip is like the visual equivalent of T. S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” with references to a glorious cultural past that now simply exists in fragments. When he is charged with being a misogynist, that character, Jeb Gambardella, corrects the accusation: No, I am a misanthropist. And while he wears this name as a badge of honor to go along with his impeccably tailored suits, fortunately the film does not agree with him. Within this engrossing spectacle, some of the most dramatic faces this side of Fellini scowl and grin. You have to love them.
Technorati Tags: Giuseppe Tornatore, Israel Horovitz, Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas. William Becker, Maggie Smith, Nick Cage, Paolo Sorrentino, Paul Schrader, Sonia Nassery Cole, The Great Beauty, Toni Servillo
Before there was Neal Cassady to whom the writer Jack Kerouac was in thrall, there was Lucien Carr. A St. Louis friend of William Burroughs, Carr was a fast and scary driver, catalyst for acts of rebellion, and key player in perhaps the first bit of beat scandal, the murder of Dave Kammerer, his former boy scout leader and stalker, with a boy scout knife. “Kill” co-screenwriters, director John Krokidas and Austin Bunn, play fast and loose with beat lore, favoring a point of view from Allen Ginsberg’s journals, fashioning a gay coming of age tale featuring a deflowering when they could have sought out the more fully formed fictions in Kerouac’s ample telling and retelling. They clearly wanted to tell a gay story, and in skewing events this way, describing a period when heterosexual yearnings too had a subversive edge, they come closer to a beat vibe than any other movie fictionalization thus far. They even make leering Dave Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) seem sympathetic.
Technorati Tags: Allen Ginsberg, Austin Bunn, Ben Foster, Dane DeHaan, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Kammerer, Hamptons International Film Festival, Jack Huston, Jack Kerouac, John Krokidas, Kill Your Darlings, Lucien Carr, Michael C. Hall, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs
The biggest revelation in the new documentary Salinger is that The Catcher in the Rye author was not a recluse. Rather fame averse and a champion of innocence as his signature books show, he simply removed himself to a New Hampshire retreat and wrote more books without a plan for their publication. The second reveal, and more significant for book lovers: over the forty years he retreated from the public, he wrote books in a woodsy bunker, producing manuscripts that will now be published. Are they any good? No one in Salinger could say, but J.D. Salinger’s literary reputation will change, and contrary to the midcentury notion held by many writers--that we should know an author only through the books he wrote-- the Salinger life story unfolds like a thriller. A literary Garbo, Salinger’s presence in absence remains catnip for celebrity culture.
Technorati Tags: Albert Maysles, Amanda Foreman, American Masters, Barbara Kopple, Barbara Walters, Elie Wiesel, Harvey Weinstein, J.D. Salinger, John Patrick Shanley, Liev Schreiber, Oona O’Neill, Paul Haggis. Erica Jong, Salinger, Shane Salerno, Stella Schnabel, Steve Kroft, Susan Brownmiller, Susan Cheever, Tina Brown and Harry Evans
Technorati Tags: Alan Zweibel, Alec Baldwin, Bea Francko, Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley, Colin Cowie, David Burke, Dayle Reyfel, Debbie Reynolds, Dick Cavett, Eddie Fisher, Elizabeth Taylor, Eugene Pack, George Plimpton, Hall & Oates, Jack Kerouac, Jennifer Tilly, Michael Milken, Mike Todd, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Ralph Macchio, Richard Burton
By the time we got there, the tent at Gardiner’s Farm was chockablock with browsers and book buyers, especially at one table where Gwyneth Paltrow signed copies of her It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great. Oglers snapped shots of her and Apple and Moses and Chris Martin. Nearby Robert A. Caro sat behind a pile of his now classic The Power Broker and newer biographies of Lyndon Johnson, Eric Fishl signed his autobiography, Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas, and Clive Davis autographed The Soundtrack of My Life, excited for the book party to follow at Larry Gagosian’s. Kitty Pilgrim and Kitty Kelley had books, as did Philippe Petit and Nile Rodgers, although by the time we got to them, they had sold out. On the far side, Dr. Ruth in orange print had an assortment of her sexual how-to guides. Overheard: a fan said she looked like sherbet. He could eat her with a spoon. Not missing a beat, the pint-sized sex therapist replied: I’d like that.
Technorati Tags: Alec Baldwin, Barbara Goldsmith, Chris Martin. Eric Fishl, Clive Davis, Dr. Ruth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Soffer, Kitty Kelley, Kitty Pilgrim, Larry Gagosian, Michael Braverman, Nile Rodgers, Padma Lakshmi, Philippe Petit, Robert A. Caro, Suzanne Corso
As emcee at the Nantucket Film Festival’s Tribute ceremony, at a former casino in Siasconset, on the island’s far end, mild mannered Brian Williams brought down the house riffing on an unfortunate white Buick Enclave rental, local produce like urine cheese, and pervasive V necked cashmere. Such was the truth-telling, even preppie WASPs lost control of their reticence on family secrets. Maybe Nantucket’s signature fog and rain contributed to the mood swings: count the suicides. Williams went dark, confessing he had an Irish uncle who died of drink. Who knew?
And so crazy got even crazier at last week’s film fest where a restored theater called Dreamland is the main venue, rife for celluloid induced mental states. There, Barbara Kopple, honored for best non-fiction storytelling screened her new documentary, Running from Crazy, tells the Hemingway family story through a focus on Mariel Hemingway’s activism on a family problem that affected her grandfather Ernest, sister Margaux, and several other family members, suicide.
Technorati Tags: Andrea Nix Fine, Barbara Kopple, Ben Stiller, Brian Williams, Bring Change to Mind, Chris Matthews, David O. Russell, Ernest Hemingway, Glenn Close, Joe Biden, Lake Bell, Life According to Sam, Margaux Hemingway, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Ian Black, Mike Myers, Nantucket Film Festival, Running from Crazy, Sean Fine, Seth Meyers
For those of us who remember the thrilling violence enacted by James Chance & the Contortions, the muted manifestations of “punk” at the Metropolitan Museum are outrage mediated, excitement without menace, and a study of how revolution passes into history. The crafted looks of Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, Dolce & Gabbana, and others, including Guido Palau’s bubbled fur head pieces are amusing, and unlike Costume Institute events of the past, such as the exceptional 2011 Alexander McQueen show, where art transcended function, these are not looks I recognize from that era. Maybe that’s the point: a head trip, the Met “Punk” show offers many fascinations beyond the displayed facsimile of CBGB’s latrine, but punk vibe isn’t one of them.
Technorati Tags: Andrea Miller, Debbie Harry, Deborah Scott, Dolce & Gabbana, Ed Sanders, Fug, Gillian McCain, Guido Palau, Helmut Lang, James Chance & the Contortions, Legs McNeil, Malcom McLaren, Mandy Lyons, Met “Punk” show, New York Women in Film and Television Designing Women, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, The Ramones, Vivienne Westwood
At B. B. King’s on Sunday night, at the Writers Guild of America Award ceremony, amidst a lot of foul-mouthed laughs and sober minded speeches, writer/ director Nora Ephron was remembered. As a young novelist, Meg Wolitzer attested, she received a most important recognition when Nora Ephron called to say she wanted to adapt her book, This is Your Life (1988), for film. Ephron, who died last summer of cancer, was a champion of young talent. When Lena Dunham got up to receive her prize for new series, she too spoke about Ephron seeking her out. The Girls originator and star also told a story when at 15 her mom took her to Caroline’s Comedy Club to hear Lisa Lampanelli.
Technorati Tags: Bobby Cannavale, Chris Terrio, David Koepp, Fred Armisen, Gina Gershon, Jonathan Ames, Lena Dunham, Lisa Lampanelli, Louis CK, Malik Bendjelloul, Mark Boal, Meg Wolitzer, Meryl Streep, Mike Birbiglia, Nora Ephron, Richard Kind, Tony Mendez, Writers Guild of America Award
Back in the day, the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti was all the rage. Paperbacks of A Coney Island of the Mind (1958) could be seen stuffed in jean pockets on college campuses, on subways. Even mainstream readers who were not particularly into poetry loved the surreal imagery of this verse. A decade later, books by Allen Ginsberg were not as popular, and those of Jack Kerouac were mainly out of print. Present at the historic Six Gallery reading where Ginsberg’s reading of Howl galvanized a poetry movement, and Kerouac passed a bottle of tokay, Ferlinghetti took action suggesting he put Ginsberg’s beat epic into print. This was the official dawning of a particularly American avant-garde literary movement: especially as founder of City Lights Books, publishing house and iconic San Francisco store, Ferlinghetti was at the center of The Beat Generation.