Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I can't even think, today was such a strange day, i had planned to go to the press screening of "The Chelsea Girls" at MoMA... for some reason, there were delays on the subway, the N line was having problems... anyway, i wound up missing the screening.

I have never written about Carmen before, because i don't know what to say, but he's here, at our house, it's past two o'clock, and he's drunk and screaming and being belligerent. He keeps screaming that if we want him to leave, we'll have to call the cops. Why is he here? Larry tapes "The Sopranos" every week, because they don't get HBO, so Carmen comes down from Yonkers to watch it. We try to be nice, but Carmen keeps getting drunk and screaming and being belligerent and insulting. That's about all he knows how to do. It's the belligerence and insults that really are horrifying. That, plus the noise: we do have neighbors, after all, and we live in an attached house, so people are really close, and there he is, screaming while listening to music (played very loud). And it's two o'clock in the morning!

I can't stand it.

Anyway, this week, there are a few press screenings. At Anthology, they had to change the press screening for "The Fifth Empire"; it's now on Thursday. Since "The Magic Mirror" was so extraordinary, i'm looking forward to "The Fifth Empire". And Anthology is having a screening of "Necropolis"....

But here's a sick joke. Christine didn't show up for the party on Sunday, and i hadn't heard that she might not show up, so i got worried. It turns out that Steve's cousin had died, the one who was in a nursing home in Brooklyn. So when i talked to Christine, i said, well, the only excuse for missing the party would be if someone died... oh, wait, that is your excuse!

Plus Gary is in the hospital because he has pneumonia.

That's certainly a reason to miss a party!

But now onto movies. Today was Laurence Olivier's birthday tribute on TCM. What people forget about Olivier (as with Brando) was that there was a period when he was enormously popular. Not just considered a "great" actor, but a box office draw, and a real movie star. With Olivier, it happened with four films in a row: "Wuthering Heights", "Rebecca", "Pride and Prejudice" and "That Hamilton Woman". Both "Henry V" and "Hamlet" were also very popular, which made people toss around superlatives. But by the time of "Carrie" and "Richard III", Olivier began to be associated with "classics"... it's like he was no longer considered popular, he had become highbrow.

In the NY Times today, Dave Kehr reviews the Classic Westerns set (Volume 1) which contains King Vidor's "The Texas Rangers" and Jacques Tourneur's "Canyon Passage". Dave spends most of his time giving a very sensitive analysis of "Canyon Passage". I saw the restored print during the Walter Reade Theater's Jacques Tourneur retrospective, and the colors were amazing, though there were problems in spots (in one section, the three separate strips had shrunk at different points, and the congruence was off, making parts of the image fuzzy or doubled). I hope that they've been able to fix this digitally.

In his book "The American Cinema", Andrew Sarris talked about the fact that American cinema may yield (somewhat) to the very top in terms of artistry... well, here's what he said: "If Hollywood yields a bit at the very summit, it completely dominates the middle ranges, particularly in the realm of "good-bad" movies and genres." And it is in writing about what i guess are the "middle ranges" that Dave Kehr often finds the most amazing meanings.

In The Village Voice, Jim Hoberman writes about Hal Hartley's "Fay Grim". It's sad... it's as if the enthusiasms of a decade ago have now dimmed.


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