A speakeasy scene comes before a newspaper headline announces that Prohibition has been ratified. Prohibition is then repealed, on what feels like the next day but must be six years later. Two gangsters talk about robbing a bank in front of a woman who has never been seen before in the film; they've removed the scene explaining who she is. A labor leader turns up, unexplained, and involves the gangsters in an inexplicable situation. He later sells out, but to whom? Men come to kill De Niro's girlfriend, a character we've hardly met, and we don't know if they come from the mob or the police. And here's a real howler: At the end of the shortened version, De Niro leaves a room he has never seen before by walking through a secret panel in the wall. How did he know it was there? In the long version, he was told it was there. In the short version, his startling exit shows simple contempt for the audience.
“Tiptoes” stars Kate Beckinsale and Matthew McConaughey as a couple whose relationship runs into trouble when she learns that his entire family are dwarves. As she struggles with the fact that the baby she’s carrying may also be differently sized, she is reassured by her brother-in-law, played not by Dinklage (he plays a friend) but by Gary Oldman in, according to the trailer, “the role of a lifetime” — on his knees, with a harness to shorten his arms and a hump under his shirt. Gary Oldman, that is, plays a dwarf. “There was some flak,” Dinklage acknowledged. “ ‘Why would you put Gary Oldman on his knees? That’s almost like blackface.’ And I have my own opinions about political correctness, but I was just like: ‘It’s Gary Oldman. He can do whatever he wants, and I’m so happy to be here.’ ”
I told him I was impressed that he would defend “Tiptoes,” a movie that seems, on its face, ridiculous. “It was a lovely mess of a movie while we were making it,” he sighed. “I saw the director’s cut, and it was gorgeous.” That two-and-a-half-hour director’s cut was shown at a film festival in Austin, Tex.; the director, Matthew Bright, was reportedly fired shortly afterward, and the movie was recut. “The people who fired him ruined the movie,” Dinklage insisted. “They made it into a weird little quirky rom-com, but with dwarves.” He looked gloomy as he recalled this. “It was sort of an amazing idea for a movie, but the result was what we were fighting against — the cutesiness of little people.”
I kind of like the driving off into the sunshine ending...
FWIW I thought Donnie Darko was rubbish too, without seeing the Directors cut.
(Didn't think that much of Dark City either)
I watched Dark City for the second time in thirteen years last night. There was a lot of awful dialogue, poorly-integrated CGI, and clumsily-handled thematic treatment that my eleven year-old self didn't pick up on, but I don't care. The ways in which the spatial anomalies of the city are concealed, the way that those anomalies are just under the surface for the city's occupants, who are only prevented from catching on by the periodic destruction and reassignment of their memories, the delocalization of the city by the superimposition of several centuries' worth of architectural styles, and the disturbing subversion of a stock Hollywood ending are remarkably done. Not to mention its most striking images have stayed with me since I watched it -- especially the slideshow, and the doctor's lesson sequence (I'm still trying to figure out why that one in particular affected me so much). It's funny to me that the movie is much more satisfying when I ignore the topic it professes to be about (the nature of identity as distinct from memory, which could be an interesting question, but you wouldn't know it from watching the film) in favor of its looming subtexts. I'm so glad I saw it again.
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