Want to get those creases out of a baby’s forehead? One way might be to threaten it with a hot steam iron, the kind used for clothes.
This is just one of the misbegotten scenes in Gavin O'Connor’s "Pride and Glory," which finally had its premiere Tuesday night in Toronto after two years on the shelf. Yes, "Pride and Glory" was shot in the spring and summer of 2006, then left for dead as New Line Cinema couldn’t figure out what to do with it, and Warner Bros. scratched its corporate head.
I kind of feel bad for Warners at this point. They had to move the new "Harry Potter" movie to next summer because its teenage star is naked and having sex with a horse on Broadway. Then they turned Danny Boyle’s Oscar-bound “Slumdog Millionaire” over to partner Fox Searchlight after conceding they didn’t know how to market it. They’re stuck this fall releasing “Towelhead,” in which a 35-year-old man molests a 13-year-old girl on screen.
And now, this.
“Pride and Glory” is really the second real feature film from O’Connor, the man who made the very real and intimate “Tumbleweeds” a decade ago. That film was based on Angela Shelton’s wonderful memoir and script and brought a deserved Oscar nomination for Janet McTeer.
It’s a long way, though, from a mother-daughter road trip to a Sidney Lumet New York police procedural. There’s a reason why "Pride and Glory" has never been released: It’s a big noble mess of a movie that looks like it was trimmed down from a more unwieldy length to its present two hours. Its success will depend on audiences not particularly caring about continuity or logic. Otherwise, it’s great.
At least the performances and look of the film are very good. Edward Norton and Noah Emmerich are brothers, cop sons of the scene-chewing Jon Voight. Farrell, who threatens the aforementioned baby with an iron, is their cop brother-in-law. Lake Bell, with whom Colin was rumored to be having an affair way back in 2006 when they shot this, is his wife. The otherwise magnificent Jennifer Ehle, whom no one mentioned at Tuesday night’s premiere, played Emmerich’s wife, dying of cancer and acting with a bald head.
Of course, there is a very convoluted police corruption story that’s never fully explained. Suffice it to say, everyone’s “dirty.” It’s supposed to be like Lumet’s “Serpico” or “Prince of the City.” It’s not. Voight asks Emmerich, “Is it money”?” “No it’s not money,” he replies. But what is it? Noah tells him, “You wouldn’t understand.” How completely and utterly true. Neither did I. Neither will you.
Anyway: New Line Cinema is, sadly, gone. After 25 years of hits, its legacy is ending with this, and with “The Women.” If only they could have stopped with “Sex and the City: The Movie.” “Pride and Glory” should have one good weekend, and then sink like a stone. It’s too bad. But if you want do this kind of movie, you’d better call Sidney Lumet. He leaves the babies out of it.
There was a lot riding on Kevin Smith’s new comedy, “Zak and Miri Make a Porno.”
His last film, "Clerks 2," was a lot of fun but didn’t click with the public. Plus, the Weinstein Company — aka the former Miramax — really needs a big, big hit.
Luckily, there’s a happy ending here. “Zak and Miri” is hilarious, raunchy, and, well, sweet. That’s always a recipe for success. If Tuesday’s screening is any indication, “Zak and Miri” should be a break out hit for Smith along the lines of “There’s Something About Mary” or “Superbad.”
Of course, when Smith’s original “Clerks” first came out years ago, he set the stage for all those other movies. Now that time and the culture have caught up to him, he’s taking back the torch.
It’s filthy torch, certainly. It’s impossible to count the times “Zak and Miri” uses the f-word. It’s endless, used as a verb, noun, adverb, adjective, gerund, all of it.
There is a massive amount of nudity and sex. Jason Mewes, Smith’s longtime buddy and co-star, shows up full-frontally nude walking through a scene. There’s no plot point here. It’s just to say he did it.
Seth Rogen, the portly comedy star of the moment from the Judd Apatow repertory company, plays Zak. Beautiful and funny Elizabeth Banks is Miri, which is short for Miriam, which is also the name of the Weinstein’s mother and was the “Mira-“ part of Miramax when they created the company. (They lost the Miramax name to Michael Eisner at Disney.)
I still don’t understand Rogen or Jonah Hill (not in this movie, thanks) as comedy heroes. It must be a generational thing. Nevertheless, Rogen as the unlikely romantic lead will help sell this film to non-Smith fans. Mewes and a few others — like Jeff Anderson — will be friendly reminders of Smith’s regular gang of kindly misfits.
Do Zak and Miri make a porno? You betcha. And just so the sex stuff seems real, Smith has thrown in actual “adult” film stars Traci Lords and Katie Morgan for verisimilitude. It’s just like Kevin Costner learning to speak Lakota for “Dances with Wolves.” Smith didn’t want a false note here!
But as coarse and pleasantly vulgar as “Zak and Miri” is, it’s also just a really lovely romantic comedy at heart. Novices to the Smith audience often miss this about his films as they wade through the smutty, rapid-fire patter concerning genitalia and homosexuality. (Couple to catch here: “Superman” Brandon Routh and Apple commercial star Justin Long as a gay couple.)
The truth is, “Zak and Miri” is the “Love Story” of 2008. And, you know, love means never having to say you’re sorry. That should help Smith when teens are repeating some of these lines to their parents.
We bid adieu to frustrating, literal Toronto, a city in which the locals seem not to know where anything is, including the clueless cab drivers. …
Emmanuelle Chriqui and John Legend, as well as Pam Anderson and Mickey Rourke, were just a few of the celebs who showed up for producer Rick Schwartz’s launch Tuesday night of his new production company at the Century Room. Schwartz, a former Miramax-er who worked on Martin Scorsese’s "Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator," is behind Neil Burger’s new hot film, “The Lucky Ones.” …
Edward Norton and Noah Emmerich brought the "Pride and Glory" gang to Morton's Steakhouse. Colin Farrell was not in town. …
Still here: the “Brothers Bloom,” Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo. Someone should buy this movie and put it out. It’s goofy, which isn’t bad thing. …
Kristin Scott Thomas, promoting her knockout work in the French film, “I’ve Loved You So Long.” This is an Oscar performance. Academy members should start requesting this DVD from Sony Pictures Classics. …
The InStyle-Golden Globes party here last night was described to me as “weird” and “a bust.” …
So, too, was the New York premiere of the foul “Towelhead.” They actually had a premiere.
I wonder how they rationalized the sodomizing of a 13-year-old girl on screen to the audience. And what were the hors d’oeuvres like?