elisabethdonnelly:

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There was a point in time where Jared Leto was dating a whole slew of twenty something actresses, and it made no sense. He was in his has-been phase, or he was pursuing his band or whatever (and they are inexplicably big, I believe). But seeing him squiring the likes of Scarlett Johansson…

STILL TRUE. To use, um, Twilight parlance, this man has basically imprinted on a whole generation of women. It’s crazy. And he’s going to win an Oscar tonight! Did you ever think it’d be Oscar winner Jared Leto?

Elizabethtown, Cameron Crowe, 2005

At the drive in, photo by Stu Sherman. This photo has everything: stars and the light of the projection house.

Wayback Machine: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost in a SUV

[Fun interview to do, genuinely nice guys. On the Hot Fuzz DVD special features, there is a quick shot of my big head backstage when they’re in Cambridge, MA. I only learned about it from two dudes that I didn’t know so well separately telling me. Very odd. I saw Simon Pegg in NYC years later and we had a quick chat and it was very pleasant and I felt like I was moving on up in the world. Also, let’s be honest: look at that Joe Cornish, who made an awesome film!]

In the midst of a whirlwind world tour to promote their new film, ‘Hot Fuzz,’ the jokes are fast and furious

By Elisabeth Donnelly
Globe Correspondent

"Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, the UK for four days, Amsterdam, then New Amsterdam, New York, and then we came to Washington, and then here," said the floppy haired Edgar Wright, director of the new cop spoof "Hot Fuzz," the follow-up to 2004’s much-loved zombie romantic comedy "Shaun of the Dead."

"In two days we’ll be in Chic-aaaago," added actor Simon Pegg, attempting the rounded vowels of a Boston accent.

"All in the span of about three weeks," finished Wright, "We’re slightly going on dementia where certain phrases get stuck in a loop." Wright and "Fuzz" stars Pegg and Nick Frost were in junket land, where the city changes every 36 hours and nearly every second of their time is devoted to working on their online video blog, charming their legion of ardent fans at regional "Hot Fuzztivals," and giving the press interesting quotes — such as Wright’s assertion that " ‘Hot Fuzz’ is [‘Armageddon’ director] Michael Bay meets Agatha Christie." (A more accurate quote would replace "meets" with a rude and hilarious sexual innuendo)

The multitalented funnymen, longtime collaborators also known for the cult British TV show “Spaced,” were jet-lagged and exhausted yet committed to providing the best “Hot Fuzz” preview screening experience possible. The 30-something Fuzzers convened in the lobby of the new Ritz-Carlton early Sunday afternoon before heading to Cambridge for the screening. Pegg, who is skinnier and more attractive than his shlubby film persona suggests, was the first one to appear, wearing a navy-blue army cap pulled low over his eyes. Wright was late as usual, and Frost, (“I call him Frosty and he calls me Peggy,” Pegg said) had disappeared for a smoke. In a surreal touch, a basketball team arrived at the hotel, and a continuous stream of extremely tall men poured into the hotel while Pegg talked about his and Frost’s night at “Old Bar or something,” where he drank so much that he ended up buying a commemorative T-shirt.

Once the “Hot Fuzz” team, including video blogger Joe Cornish, was accounted for, the four Brits jumped into the shiny black SUV that was taking them across the river to Harvard Square’s Brattle Theatre.

Beef

Last night I watched a well-received film featuring terrible prosthetics, and it was both well entertaining and basically lacking in that-hard-to-pin-down quality, soul. Anyways, I realized that I have a particular aversion to this director - who is very talented, and whose work, so far, has been far more good than bad but oddly unsatisfying - and part of it’s due to the fact that I do not care, one whit, about any of the humans in his work; the human condition is sacrificed for cool shit, party tricks, and it all goes down like something delicious and kind of forgettable. It was also full of guns and you know what? I’m seriously not in the mood for any movies that treat death in such a cavalier fashion.

I will admit in this case that my feelings err on the side of irrational because I think this man’s ego - the desire to point out how clever he is in every frame - leeched into his turns behind the camera on my favorite TV show, leading to the chilliest, worst episodes (it should be obvious who this is, obviously). It’s funny, too - my favorite TV show is familiar with death, and there have been shootouts, but a high percentage of the deaths on the show have mattered and have had weight and I think that’s important for the psyche.

But I also think that directors along the likes of this guy and the other guy with a movie coming out soon (hint: the star of my favorite TV show would be the Kevin Bacon-like link), directors who have done entertainments, who have tried action and done something reasonably novel enough even if that doesn’t make them the next great artiste; well, I feel like people should chill out about that person’s oeuvre. (Funny - both of these directors have taken on actors about my age as muses, and they’re not very good in most of their works!) They’re talked about in far too elevated terms when I think they’re just … pleasant talents - who make moderately entertaining, above-the-norm work with a woman problem - who certainly have the potential to go all David Gordon Green-like run of trash in the future.

In short, nobody’s going to be talking about this guy in 20 years, but the amount of ego laced throughout his work means you know he thinks that could be the case, and it’s so annoying. And I think he’s part of a movement of overrated writer-director types, and I think there need to be more straight-up humanists making movies and art out there, and not just easily impressed little boys.



I interviewed photographer Gregory Crewdson for The Paris Review Daily, where we talked about the movies (Lynch, Hitchcock, Malick), the pursuit of things that are perfect, digital versus film, and Mad Men, of course. In the “good news” category: Wes Anderson is finally working at a quicker pace. Hooray!

Fun fact, I don’t know if this remains in the final piece: Mr. Crewdson watches Mad Men on his iPad, because it reminds him of looking through the ground glass on his 8 by 10 camera, which makes a lot of sense.

Went to Bodega Bay, California for a wedding. It’s a small town probably best known as the filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Most of the locations have burned down but the church is still there, and the Bodega General Store has loads of Hitchcock memorabilia, and a Hitchcock figure stands watch over the entrance, giving mad #shade to anyone who comes by. It is absolutely irresistible to take many, many photos of oneself screaming and running from birds. There is Tippi Hedren wine available for thirty dollars. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful there, in particular by the ocean and the bay. The church is a little bit inland, in the town center where it feels like the west. I drove out to Santa Rosa to visit my aunt, listening to bad satellite radio the whole way, but at one point the new Jens Lekman came on, “I Know What Love Isn’t,” and it was pretty perfect. Jens Lekman really works when you’re driving through wine country, winding back and forth down dusty roads, looking at flora and cows. Went to Bodega Bay, California for a wedding. It’s a small town probably best known as the filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Most of the locations have burned down but the church is still there, and the Bodega General Store has loads of Hitchcock memorabilia, and a Hitchcock figure stands watch over the entrance, giving mad #shade to anyone who comes by. It is absolutely irresistible to take many, many photos of oneself screaming and running from birds. There is Tippi Hedren wine available for thirty dollars. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful there, in particular by the ocean and the bay. The church is a little bit inland, in the town center where it feels like the west. I drove out to Santa Rosa to visit my aunt, listening to bad satellite radio the whole way, but at one point the new Jens Lekman came on, “I Know What Love Isn’t,” and it was pretty perfect. Jens Lekman really works when you’re driving through wine country, winding back and forth down dusty roads, looking at flora and cows. Went to Bodega Bay, California for a wedding. It’s a small town probably best known as the filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Most of the locations have burned down but the church is still there, and the Bodega General Store has loads of Hitchcock memorabilia, and a Hitchcock figure stands watch over the entrance, giving mad #shade to anyone who comes by. It is absolutely irresistible to take many, many photos of oneself screaming and running from birds. There is Tippi Hedren wine available for thirty dollars. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful there, in particular by the ocean and the bay. The church is a little bit inland, in the town center where it feels like the west. I drove out to Santa Rosa to visit my aunt, listening to bad satellite radio the whole way, but at one point the new Jens Lekman came on, “I Know What Love Isn’t,” and it was pretty perfect. Jens Lekman really works when you’re driving through wine country, winding back and forth down dusty roads, looking at flora and cows.

Went to Bodega Bay, California for a wedding. It’s a small town probably best known as the filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Most of the locations have burned down but the church is still there, and the Bodega General Store has loads of Hitchcock memorabilia, and a Hitchcock figure stands watch over the entrance, giving mad #shade to anyone who comes by.

It is absolutely irresistible to take many, many photos of oneself screaming and running from birds. There is Tippi Hedren wine available for thirty dollars.

It’s heartbreakingly beautiful there, in particular by the ocean and the bay. The church is a little bit inland, in the town center where it feels like the west.

I drove out to Santa Rosa to visit my aunt, listening to bad satellite radio the whole way, but at one point the new Jens Lekman came on, “I Know What Love Isn’t,” and it was pretty perfect. Jens Lekman really works when you’re driving through wine country, winding back and forth down dusty roads, looking at flora and cows.

“The directors of James’ favorite indie films - “Manny & Lo,” “All Over Me,” and “Tully” - essentially disappeared after their initial offerings. So he knows that he needs to get another project going fast, and it needs to pop.”
— Taken from Tad Friend’s New Yorker profile of Little Birds director Elgin James. What Friend is ignoring in this case, however, is that all four directors of said (very good and worth watching) films are women. Probably not that coincidental, in this case.


Safety Not Guaranteed is great



Safety Not Guaranteed is an excellent movie, sharp and funny and wrestling with stuff beyond just a goofy meme. It was a really pleasant surprise, made more surprising since I hadn’t seen any previews for it or heard much about it beyond some mild Sundance buzz.

One note, however: Jake Johnson is funny and cute, and a good comic presence if not much of an actor (honest question: what comedians right now are actually good actors?). In the still above, he’s making that Nick Miller-on-The New Girl smelled something bad face and if he keeps doing that, it’s gonna freeze. Mark Duplass, on the other hand, let it be known: he’s super hot. I’ve interviewed him, I’ve been impressed by how hot and charming and smart he is and it all comes out in schlub on screen, er, mostly in films I have little to no desire to see.

The other thing that was amusing was that in a lot of ways, Safety Not Guaranteed was like the really good version of Another Earth, the horrible sci-fi romance from last year. Despite the fact that Brit Marling is basically a star who looks like an ethereal Princess Buttercup and gives great interview (unlike Aubrey Plaza), Another Earth just took an interesting premise and patched it onto an inert story about grief, and it was padded-out-to-be-a-feature-length with gratuitous shots of Brit Marling walking and closeups of Brit Marling’s face.



But both Safety Not Guaranteed and Another Earth took young women wrestling with some sort of sadness, stuck them in the lives of these shabby, crazy men hiding out from the world, and they find a sort of romance blossoming with the question of time travel and regrets framing everything or the idea of another earth in space with another you. It’s an okay formula, very good for making a cheap film and aiming it at festivals, but Safety Not Guaranteed was really impeccably written in all aspects, and that made it a great movie, not just another piece of wonky indie stuff that serves as a calling card.