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🍿57: White Noise
This week, toontastic facts, two surreal trailers and why Noah Baumbach's latest film falls flat.
“I'll be in my bedroom making no noise and pretending I don't exist.”
~ Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, 2002
Let’s skip to the good bit…
This week, we want to know, what are your favourite movie scenes? What are the scenes that have been so well done, or have moved you to feel something so unforgettable that the scene really stands out in your mind? What’s the one scene that you could watch again and again?
For me, I often jump to the Copacabana scene from Goodfellas, but when it comes to really feeling something, there are few films that top One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and this scene, in particular, can stir a whole range of emotion, from frustration and anger to sadness and joy. If you’ve not seen this film, it’s one of my all-time favourites.
Now for the headlines:
The Fabelmans and The Banshees of Inisherin take the Golden Globes by storm. Read more.
William H. Macy joins the cast for Wes Ball’s upcoming Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes. This isn’t another reboot, it’s the fourth film of the same reboot - let’s hope it can live up to the first three. Read more.
Paul Mescal is set to star in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel. Read more.
And finally, Edward Norton discovered that he’s the 12th great-grandson of Pocahontas (and the third great-grandson of slave owners). Read more.
Salty Popcorn is 100% free, but if you enjoy SP, please consider buying us a cinema ticket for just £5 per month - or a bunch of tickets for just £30 per year. Thank you!
Beau Is Afraid
UK: 28 April // USA: 21 April
Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) is back, this time directing Joaquin Phoenix as Beau in what’s being called a “decades-spanning surrealist horror film set in an alternate present”.
UK: 14 April // USA: 14 April
In this modern retelling, Nicholas Hoult stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to his the Prince of Darkness himself, Dracula (Nicolas Cage). Following centuries of servitude, Renfield is seeking an end to their “toxic relationship”.
Fact of the week
I had the pleasure of seeing Who Framed Roger Rabbit for the first time last night, so this week’s fact is dedicated to the friend that took me. I had no idea that so many actual famous cartoon characters from both Disney and Warner Bros. had cameo roles in the film, and it’s the only time these cartoon worlds have ever collided on screen.
Though it might not come as a surprise that Warner Bros. would only allow their biggest cartoon stars (Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck) to be used if they got as much screen time as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. That’s why all the scenes featuring the big names (such as the piano battle and the parachute scene) feature both Disney and WB characters in pairs.
While these terms satisfied the production companies, there was one person that wasn’t happy… according to the human star Bob Hoskins, his son wouldn’t talk to him for two weeks after seeing the film. Why? Because he couldn't believe his father would work with cartoons such as Bugs Bunny and not let him meet them.
Review: White Noise
2.5 (out of 5)
Where to watch:
College professor Jack Gladney (Adam Driver) and his family's comfortable suburban life is upended when a nearby chemical leak causes "The Airborne Toxic Event," releasing a noxious black cloud over the region that forces the Gladney family to evacuate.
The review (NO spoilers):
I was looking forward to White Noise. The hilarious antics of an eccentric and not-too-dysfunctional family on the run from impending doom looked like a lot of fun. However, sadly, that’s not really what the film is about.
Some forms of comedy — particularly dry humour and satire — can easily get lost in translation when it’s crossing the Atlantic. In the same way US audiences probably wouldn’t find Alan Partridge funny (despite how much Adam Driver looks like him in this film), American shows like Saturday Night Live don’t quite land in the UK. I have similar feelings for many Wes Anderson films and comedies such as Burn After Reading, Don’t Look Up and The Men Who Stare at Goats. While all of these films have some laugh-out-loud moments, the comedy, for the most part, feels contrived.
As the film went on I grew less and less enthusiastic as it became clear that the ‘funny half’ of the film was over and we were travelling in a completely different direction, which is the other issue with White Noise. About halfway through, the narrative takes a U-turn and has a very different focus to that shown in the trailer. I can’t go into details without spoiling it, so I won’t. But, I will say that the majority of scenes in the trailer take place in the first half of the film and in light of recent US legislation, I could probably sue Netflix for false advertising.
Of course, it’s important to remember (I suppose) that White Noise is based on the book of the same name by Don DeLillo. I’ve not read it, so maybe Noah Baumbach has done it justice with his adaptation, but I can’t forgive Netflix for setting false expectations. Neither does it account for the lack of laughs.
So, unlike the well-known Disclosure song, White Noise is nothing to rave about. For a difference of opinion, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave it 5 stars, though it’s worth noting he’s read the book. Mark Kermode, on the other hand, hasn’t read the book and didn’t enjoy the film…
Scroll down for to see what’s in the next issue.
If you liked White Noise…
The Royal Tenenbaums
2001 | UK: Disney+ / Sky Store (£3.49) // USA: Hulu / Apple TV ($3.99)
I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t love this film but it’s got that same dry American humour as White Noise, which I’m not sure always lands with British audiences. But, if that’s your thing (and you like Wes Anderson) then you might well like this. It’s worth noting that Noah Baumbach has worked on a number of Anderson’s films, so it should come as no surprise that there are similarities between their humour and style.
In the next issue:
UK: 20 January // USA: 30 December | Watch the Trailer