Marshall Takes Cannes: Day 2

19 05 2012

Ok, just got out of the 8:30 A.M. showing of “Lawless” … how I got in is another story entirely. But anyways, here’s my account of day 2 in beautiful Cannes (which was two days ago).

Day 2 – Thursday, May 17

My afternoon began with a fantastic Lumiere screening of “Rust and Bone” at 3:00 P.M. I had to sit in the very back row in the balcony, but the image and the sound were still impeccable, so it was all fine by me. Hopefully my review will come down the pipes later.

Then, with only a quick window to grab something to eat before my next screening, I made the idiotic mistake of trying to order from a McDonald’s … and from one of their outside ordering kiosks, no less. The concept is basically a walk-up drive-through window; however, they did a really poor job of communicating it, so I was looking for my order with all the scrubs inside at the counter. Turns out, there was just a window near the ordering kiosk that would open when an order was ready. By that point, I was so frustrated that when my one bite of Royale Bacon tasted gross, I just threw out the entire tray. (I later got a panini from a streetside café. Stupid me for ever thinking of choosing McDonald’s.)

I was quickly whisked away to the Olympia Theater, a multiplex used for regular year-round film screenings in Cannes, for a “secret screening” held by the Weinstein Company. I don’t think I am allowed to say what I saw, but I am almost positive I wouldn’t be able to say what I thought. The rest of the screening attendees were buyers and international distributors – AKA no press (or bloggers). So perhaps one of these days, my virtual embargo will be lifted. But until then, my lips are sealed.

I can tell you one thing – er, person – I did see though: Harvey Weinstein himself. I almost didn’t recognize him since he was dressed so casually in an untucked white-button down, but as soon as he walked down the staircase where I was waiting, I knew exactly who he was. You could just hear the whispers going around the room: “Oh my god, that’s Harvey Weinstein!” Think the scene in “Elf” where Miles Finch walks down the hallway and everyone is saying his name. Harvey, much like Miles Finch, was totally unphased by taking the air out of the room.

It was totally surreal to see such a mythological figure of the film world in the flesh. And now that I have real experience to complement all the countless journalistic pieces and editorials, if I could describe him in a word, it would be: driven. He looked like a man on a mission walking through that theater lobby, and I think it would take a nuclear weapon to deter him. (No, I did not get a picture … did you think I was going to be the one to take a cell phone picture? Not subtle.)

And then, after grabbing some delectable tiramisu gelato, I was off to a beach screening of “Dr. No” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond. I had never seen the movie in its entirety, so it was probably nice education to finally sit down and watch it. (Plus, now the “Austin Powers” movies make even more sense and will probably be even funnier.) The setting was beautiful, I was happily curled up under a Stella Artois fleece blanket, and then … fireworks. It was truly one of the most amazing pyrotechnic displays I have ever seen, and it just seemed unceasing as well.

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The perfect ending to an excellent day. Try watching James Bond with that going on. I dare you.





Random Factoid #547

26 01 2011

I’m generally against watching recut movies; this includes all those DVD gimmicks like unrated versions and director’s cuts.  If what we are seeing in the theaters isn’t the best thing the director can put forward, why bother releasing a movie at all?  I firmly believe that artistic integrity dictates that the original theatrical version of a movie represents a movie in its most pure and true form.  (See more in one of my earliest factoids, Random Factoid #11.)

But Company Town wrote yesterday in a very buzzed-about piece that Harvey Weinstein has spoken to Oscar-nominated director Tom Hooper about recutting his Best Picture-nominated “The King’s Speech” to be PG-13 or potentially even PG by cutting some of the movie’s language (which comes mostly in one scene that’s a comedic riot).  Weinstein unsuccessfully tried to appeal this rating to the MPAA earlier, saying that the profanity isn’t offensive to anyone.  It’s a common sense argument, and I think the movie has PG-13 subject matter.  But no matter how tame the context, you just can’t drop the F-bomb that many times in a movie that anyone can see unsupervised.

This move is forcing me, at least for the moment, to reconsider my policy on recut movies.  Removing the profanity would make the movie more accessible to audiences, although I’m not quite sure how many teenagers would consciously choose to see a movie about a stuttering king over the latest half-baked mindless horror flick like “The Rite.”  Trust me, I was a middle schooler not too long ago – movies are a social experience, not a time to absorb quality cinema or to think.  And smaller kids – well, I just don’t think it would be of that much interest to them.

According to the article, the recut version would not even be ready until AFTER the Oscars.  I think that makes it kind of pointless as this whole marketing move is centered around getting attention for the Oscars or making money off the Oscars attention.  Since that aspect is out of the picture, I think Harvey should just leave “The King’s Speech” alone and let parents decide for their selves whether or not to let their children under the age of 17 see it.  Most will probably be mature enough to say, “Oh, it’s only R because of some harmless profanity they hear every day in the hallways at school.”