A celebration of director Paul Verhoeven's filmography in anticipation of an upcoming retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in NYC.
Susan Wloszczyna will be covering the Toronto International Film Festival for us. Here's what to expect.
In 1988, Roger Ebert writes a review of Mike Figgis's "Stormy Monday," which begins:
"Why is it," someone was asking the other day, "that you movie critics spend all of your time talking about the story and never talk about the visual qualities of a film, which are, after all, what make it a film?" Good question. Maybe it's because we work in words, and stories are told in words, and it's harder to use words to paint pictures. But it might be worth a try.
"Stormy Monday" is about the way light falls on wet pavement stones, and about how a neon sign glows in a darkened doorway. It is about the attitudes that men strike when they feel in control of a situation, and the way their shoulders slump when someone else takes power. It is about smoking. It is about cleavage. It is about the look on a man's face when someone is about to deliberately break his arm, and he knows it. And about the look on a woman's face when she is waiting for a man she thinks she loves, and he is late, and she fears it is because he is dead.
Q. I enjoyed your Answerman response to the question about ads before movies. I always wonder how much the theatre gets paid. I mean, I pay $9.50 to get in. I can't imagine that all of the ads bring in more than a quarter per person. Is it really worth alienating your customer for a quarter? I don't think marketing people realize a lot of folks hate ads. The McDonald's across the street from Wrigley field has flat screen LCD monitors, flashing ads at you while you wait in line. How much could they possibly earn from those monitors? Does it offset the negative reaction it creates in some people? I enjoy the Century theatres in Evanston. But I went in to buy a Coke, paid them something like $4, and they handed me a cup for self-serve. The soda dispenser was filthy, and I couldn't tell which kind of lid was the right size. Buying a movie Coke it always grates me that the price was out of line. But there was something about having to fill it up myself, the dirty station, and having to hassle with the lid that did me in. I haven't bought a Coke since. I go to the convenience store and buy a 20 oz bottle, and sneak it in. They've pushed me over to the wrong side of the law. What do they pay the people behind the counter? $6 an hour, with no benefits? How many Cokes per hour can one person serve? What's the difference in profits between a self-serve Coke and one that their person makes? It doesn't make business sense. These guys are trying to squeeze more money out of people in lots of little ways, making the experience of going to the movies that much more unpleasant. At some point they will cross over a line, and people will stop going. I don't know where that point is, but I know it exists. (Alex Strasheim. Chicago)
PARK CITY, Utah Of course I've seen all the wrong films so far at the Sundance Film Festival, according to the touts who whisper in my ear before screenings. It is always this way. You think you're seeing wonderful films, and everybody assures you that you've missed the masterpieces and are hopelessly out of the loop.
TORONTO -- Joe Eszterhas hasn't become history's highest-paid screenwriter by penning quirky little stories about coming of age in Cleveland - but one of the big hits of the Toronto Film Festival's closing weekend is just such a film.
Elisabeth Shue played the girlfriend of "The Karate Kid." And the girlfriend who got marooned in time in the second and third "Back to the Future." And the baby-sitter in "Adventures in Babysitting." And Tom Cruise's girlfriend in "Cocktail" (Leonard Maltin wrote: "Shue is cute, but that can't redeem the junior-high-school-level dramatics.") Nothing in her 10-year career to date would even remotely suggest her for the role of a Las Vegas hooker who falls in love with a man who has come to town to drink himself to death.
It's the morning after the world premiere of "Leaving Las Vegas" at the Toronto Film Festival in September, and I am still under the spell of this remarkable film. It stars Nicolas Cage as a man who loses his family and his job, and moves to Las Vegas with the intention of drinking himself to death.