Things are supposed to quiet down as far as big movie news is concerned for the next couple of weeks, so enjoy these little draps and drabs of movie news from the last week while you can…
* It’s not quite on the level of finding a mysterious monolith on the moon but it comes close. AICN has it that EFX pioneer genius Douglas Trumbull has said that 17 minutes of lost outtakes from Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001: A Space Odyssey” have been found in a salt mine in Kansas. It’s important to remember this story, such as it is, originates from a message board and perhaps isn’t the best sourced item to ever hit the ‘nets. But what better place to store outtakes than a salt mine in Kansas? A pepper mill in Encino?
* Since the story’s been out since the beginning of the week, by now you’ve no doubt heard the news that Jon Favreau has walked away from “Iron Man 3” in what we’re being assured was an entirely amicable split motivated primarily by his desire to make the Disneyland themed “Magic Kingdom.” As a lifelong Southern Californian and a current resident in good standing of the city of Anaheim, I love the Happiest Place on Earth as much as the next guy. However, as the premise for a movie, I’m hugely skeptical and wondering just what it is that is getting people of the caliber of Favreau and Guillermo del Toro on board with this these theme-parked based projects. (I’m much less skeptical of the Fincher “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” because, well, it’s based on a beloved book of my childhood as well as a pretty cool Disney flick, not a ride.)
A shambling 1969 walkabout through the Venice and Hollywood sections of Los Angeles with music by proggy psychedelic band Spirit, “Model Shop” is not for everyone. Shot in gorgeous “Perfect Color” by the late Jacques Demy with dialogue by Carole Eastman (“Five Easy Pieces”), it’s a departure for the most traditional of French New Wave writer-directors who charmed the world with the great 1964 musical, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”
If you’re not fascinated by L.A.’s history and culture, you could quickly lose patience with “Model Shop.” There’s little story and Demy’s cast is mainly comprised of amateurs and two young working actors who might as well be. Still, you may want to stick around. “Model Shop” stars Gary Lockwood (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) as an aimless young unemployed architect who may or may not be contemplating dodging both the Vietnam-era draft and his live-in girlfriend (Alexandra Hay). Eventually, however, he spots a bewitching, somewhat older, woman played by Anouk Aimée (“8 1/2,” “A Man and a Woman”), who turns out to be recreating her role from Demy’s 1961 breakthrough, “Lola.” When Lockwood finally meets up with her in a model shop – where men would once pay to take their own non-nude girlie shots (life before the Internet!) – and then in her apartment, the film’s dramatic side is salvaged thanks to a wonderfully simple and very moving performance by Aimée, who shyly and beautifully takes over the movie. Slowly, an artful mess becomes a moving romance.
In honor of the fortieth anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing, for me ten of the most exquisite minutes ever put on film, from any movie. This is just a taste — see this on the biggest screen you have access to, preferably in a very big movie theater, and preferably in 70mm. The impact of this won’t be anywhere the same, but will do in the meantime and the music’s always lovely.
The president recalled that as a boy living in Hawaii, he would perch on his grandfather’s shoulders and watch the space capsules land in the Pacific Ocean. “We’d go out and we’d pretend like they could see us as we were waving at folks coming home,” he said. “And I remember waving American flags and my grandfather telling me that the Apollo mission was an example of how Americans can do anything they put their minds to.”