Saturday, December 23, 2017


  The critics have had their say and the result is overwhelming---the worst movie of the year is Bright, which one reviewer described as "an absolute wreck."

   Bright, which cost $90 million to make,  stars Will Smith as a tough guy cop who is forced to partner up with the first ever orc cop allowed in the LAPD, played by Joel Edgerton.

  The two very different cops must learn to work together in a world that doesn't think orcs and humans should co-exist but where elves,  humans, fairies, orcs and dragons all live together in a world closely resembling ours.

   The movie, says one critic "begs viewers to come in armed with tomatoes and rotten eggs."

   Karen Han, the Daily Beast reviewer, says much of the action takes place at night and in dingy rooms, and that, in combination with how the whole production is lit, means that most of the action is obscured and visually unintelligible. Secondly, she says, there’s nothing about the movie that’s an inherently good idea—or rather, very generously speaking, maybe the story could have made some valid points about the state of race relations in America with a little more thought.

  It seems the combination of fairy fantasy and hard-hitting cop drama just doesn't mesh.

Fairies in the world of Bright are hungry, menacing little creatures perceived as nuisances and one of the first scenes is Will Smith telling a story about how a fairy threw feces at his friend's eye.   

  In another scene Smith's all-American bravado cop has to remove a fairy hanging around his property so, broom in hand, he prepares to kill it, saying: "Fairy lives don't matter today."

  The good news is that the Netflix production probably won't be widely released in theaters.

   The bad news is that a sequel has already been commissioned.
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Tuesday, December 19, 2017


  With the 20th anniversary of Titanic, the strange mystery of who laced the cast and crew's seafood chowder with PCP remains unsolved.

“Some people were laughing, some people were crying, some people were throwing up,” Bill Paxton, one of the film's stars, recalled later.

 The chaotic scene at the Dartmouth General Hospital in Nova Scotia makes for one of history’s best drug stories, even if the affected crew members didn’t know it at the time. “Eventually we all got put in these cubicles with the curtains around us, but no one wanted to stay in their cubicles,” said set painter Marilyn McAvoy.

  “Everyone was out in the aisles and jumping into other people's cubicles. People had a lot of energy. Some were in wheelchairs, flying down the hallways. I mean, everyone was high!”
  Director James Cameron who says he was "bleeding and laughing" after being stabbed in the face with a pen by a crew member,  recalls the director of photography leading a highly vocal conga line along the corridors.

   "People are moaning and crying, wailing, collapsed on tables and gurneys. .. You can't make this stuff up.”

  Of all the legends that have grown around the production of Titanic, at the time the most expensive movie ever made, the case of the poisoned chowder is the most spectacular—all the more so because it remains an unsolved mystery. Twenty years after Titanic opened in theaters, no one knows for sure who laced the chowder with P.C.P., or why.

  It happened on August 8 1996, the last day of filming in Nova Scotia before the production moved to Mexico where a massive reproduction of the doomed ship was waiting on an outdoor soundstage in Baja.

  Filming at night in Shearwater, just across Halifax Bay, the crew broke for “lunch” around midnight according to Vanity Fair; a local catering company had provided, among other options, a seafood chowder.

 For the more than 60 people who did eat the chowder, it didn’t take long for the effects to take hold.

  The police were called later in the afternoon, and a toxicology report revealed that P.C.P. was to blame.

   But who laced the chowder? Officially, it’s unknown—the Halifax Police Department investigated the matter for two and a half years, executing a warrant for Department of Health records and getting a list of every person who had worked on the set. The case was closed due to lack of suspects on February 12, 1999—when the crew of Titanic had long since moved on, and the glow of a box-office hit and best picture winner had probably taken some of the sting out of the disaster.
  Theories, however, remain. “It was the Hollywood crowd bringing in the psychedelic s—” insisted the catering company’s C.E.O., Earle Scott at the time. “I don’t think it was purposefully done to hurt somebody. It was done like a party thing that got carried away.”

  Though Cameron has never named a suspect, he is pretty certain he knows who did it: “We had fired a crew member the day before because they were creating trouble with the caterers. So we believe the poisoning was this idiot's plan to get back at the caterers, whom of course we promptly fired the next day. So it worked.”


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...