Superman Returns was in 2005 theatres last weekend, or about 225 more theatres than The Devil Wears Prada was playing in, or about 1778. And yet Prada made more money, earning $4,774,000 with a $2600 average. Superman Returns made $3,570,000 with a $1700 average.Read More »
9/11 Comfort Blanket
Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center (Paramount, 8.9) is a
well made, emotionally satisfying rescue movie. It happens to be
about a couple of Port Authority cops (played by Nicolas Cage and
Michael Pena) who got buried in the rubble of 9/11, but it could be
about any two family men who nearly buy it while doing a tough job
on a bad day.
It’s pretty much as screenwiter Andrea Berloff described it three or four months ago — a boy-down-the-well movie only darker and with blood and bruises and crushed bones, and times two. Not the most striking or labrynthian or emotionally complex film you’ve ever seen, but a good one.
Nicolas Cage as John McLoughlin in Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center
It’s spookier and less talky and certainly more traumatic than Ron Howard’s Apollo 13, but it’s...Read More »
Mel Gibson has checked into a rehab facility for his alcohol problem, as reported by the Star‘s Lee Hannon and confirmed by his publicist Alan Neirob. However, a neighbor quoted in the story thinks Gibson has gone into the wrong rehab facility. If you want to read about this, here you go.Read More »
That rumor about Heath Ledger being cast as the Joker in the next Batman movie has turned out to be true. A Warner Bros. publicist told me ten minutes ago the next Batman flick for Warner Bros. will be called The Dark Knight, and that Chris Nolan will again direct, and that Ledger will indeed play the infamous cackling twisted baddie who has it in for Batman, etc. Big payday for Heath, obviously — doing it for his kid, and because he always seems to enjoy going weird and quirky. An official release will be sent out tomorrow. The publicist told me to call her for more details but she didn’t include her extension or her cell and…forget it. I’ll post the rest tomorrow.Read More »
Here’s a fairly good review of Apocalypse Now: The Complete Triple Dip, the DVD containing both the original theatrical and the Redux versions of Francis Coppola‘s 1979 classic. I’m kidding about the DVD’s subtitle — it’s actually called The Complete Dossier.
The most exciting extra for a lot of people will be a full 17-minute reading of T.S. Eliot‘s “The Hollow Men” by Marlon Brando. There are also 13 deleted scenes, including one called “Monkey Sampan” One, deemed “a notoriously...Read More »
Only a week or so on the job and Disney production chief
Oren Aviv has already defined himself as a
disciplined dispenser of carefully composed (read:
disengenuous) press statements.
First he told N.Y. Times reporter Laura Holson that he was “surprised when Disney chairman Dick Cook asked him…to succeed [Nina] Jacobson” and that he “never asked for [the] job.” Now he’s telling Slate‘s Kim Masters that he’s ready to look past Mel Gibson’s attitudes about Jews. “I’ve worked with Mel on several films over the years and we have a great relationship, ” he said. “We all make mistakes and I’ve...
The anti-Jewish thing has been tattooed into Mel Gibson’s forehead and there’s no laser procedure that will remove it. There’s only one way to deal with it, and that’s what Henry II did after Thomas Becket was murdered. Gibson needs to do penance. He needs to visit a prominent temple, take his shirt off, kneel on the stone floor and submit to lashings by a team of rabbis. Repeatedly, I mean. For weeks and probably months to come. He needs to make a show of groveling at the feet of Hollywood’s Jewish bigwigs. That’s the only thing that will even half-assedly begin to get him off the hook . Me bad, me anti-Semite, me looking for guidance. Question is, does he have the character or the will to do that?Read More »
An Access Hollywood piece set to air this evening reportedly quotes Lindsay Lohan‘s manager-mom Dina as saying that the wording in the letter sent to her daughter last week (i.e., the one warning Lindsay to cool it on the partying and missing work or else) by Morgan Creek honcho James Robinson was “way out of line” and “ridiculous.” She reportedly added, “Maybe [Robinson] has personal issues with whomever and it came out with my child. I don’t know him. I can’t judge him. I don’t think it was a smart thing to do to a young girl.”
Speaking as a parent, this tells me three things are probably in place. One, Dina is dug into the role of being her daughter’s friend and supporter as opposed to being her...Read More »
Here’s the Save-the-River-Oaks-theatre petition site, and here’s another Houston Chronicle article (it ran last Friday, 7.28) about the public clamor to try and save this beautiful old theatre with the beautiful red-and-yellow neon marquee. Over the last ten days or so the online petition (sponsored by the Houstonist.com site, although you’d never know it by looking at the petition page) has close to 14,000 signers.
The Chronicle story also reports that City Councilwoman Ada Edwards and “other council members” hope to persuade Houston-based Weingarten Realty Investors to change its plans. Nobody is going to...Read More »
It’s been 22 years since the first Miami Vice season on the tube in ’84-’85, and I never rented the February ’05 Vice DVD that had that entire season on it. But reader Dewey Yeatts of Whitehall, PA, is saying that Michael Mann‘s just released Miami Vice features is based on a February ’85 Vice episode called “Smuggler’s Blues,” in much the same way that Mann’s Heat (’95) was a big-star feature version of the 1989 TV movie he wrote and directed called “L.A. Takedown.”
Is there anyone who’s seen the big-screen...Read More »
Nikki Finke is quoting Lt. Steve Smith, the guy “in charge of the detective bureau for the Malibu/Lost Hills station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as saying that ‘the contents seem to be similar’ between the official reports and the four pages posted by TMZ.com indicating that Mel Gibson ‘blurted out a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks’ — ‘fucking Jews’ and ‘The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world’ and asking the arresting deputy ‘Are you a Jew?’ — during his DUI arrest early Friday morning. So there was no attempt at an early departmental cover-up, Smith is saying.Read More »
Adjusted weekend grosses are in, and Miami Vice‘s tally will be closer to $25,195,000. Business didn’t bump up very much on Saturday but it’s still the all-time biggest opening weekend for a Michael Mann film. And Little Miss Sunshine will end up with $357,000 after opening in seven theatres, and a per-screen average of $51,000. I saw LMS last night in Century City, by the way, and with a not-very-hip crowd. They got and responded to maybe 40% of the stuff that crowds seeing it at Sundance and at the L.A. Film Festival responded to with hilarity and occasional applause. [SPOILER! SPOILER!] When the hard-luck Hoovers are told near the end that they won’t be allowed to compete in any more California beauty pageants and Steve Carell‘s character says quietly, “I think we can live with that”, it got a good laugh...Read More »
This is a really dramatic photo of a huge movie-lot fire, but it had nothing to do with the well-being of Casino Royale , the latest James Bond flick starring Daniel Craig. A set simulating an area of Venice, Italy, that had been used by the Royale team was what caught fire. It happened earlier today outside of London, caving in the roof of a Pinewood Studios sound stage. But the movie wrapped a while ago so no biggie. No one was hurt and insurance will cover the damages.
‘I have a middle-aged soul. When I turned 38, I said to my wife, ‘Am I not 40 yet?’ I feel like I’ve been 40 for about seven years.’” — Paul Giamatti speaking to the Guardian‘s Gaby Wood. A lot of people and writers I know have described Giamatti’s Miles and Thomas Hayden Church’s character in Sideways as “screwed-up guys in their early 40s.” Giamatti was probably 36 when he shot the film in ’03.Read More »
An L.A. Times goes after the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department in the Mel Gibson DUI anti-Semitic tirade story. Get ‘em, sweat ‘em….feet to the fire. What journalists do. But step back and think about this for a second. The Lost Hills cops may have tried to do a nice human thing, which was save a guy from great embarassment and career damage. Dishonest and procedurally incorrect, okay, but a fairly decent thing to try and do for a guy with an obvious problem or two. Put yourself in Gibson’s shoes minus the ugly epithets, and imagine that you’ve just stepped into it big-time. A couple of West Hollywood cops cut me a break about twelve years ago after I did something unwise, and I’ve never forgotten that.Read More »
Werner Herzog yesterday and asked whether Rescue
Dawn will be included at the Toronto Film Festival roster. “At
the moment we should treat the Toronto Film Festival as some sort
of a rumor, as there is no clear confirmation yet,” he
“I just arrived in London for music recordings with the cello genius Ernst Reijseger — we did the music together for my two movies The White Diamond and The Wild Blue Yonder, using five Sardinian shepherd singers and an additional singer from Senegal. With Reijseger I shall work on the transition of the film into the unreal. The score is being written by Klaus Badelt (who recently scored Poseidon), but Reijseger will contribute music for a very strange moment in the film.
“Last week I have done color corrections, ADR, and sound...
Here’s how hatred and prejudice are pried loose from the grooves of the brains of bigots. They are told by an aroused world community that if they don’t flush them down the toilet in a demonstrable and thoroughly believable way they are dead in the water as far as any commercial aspirations are concerned. They do what the world tells them to do not because they’ve “seen the light”, but because they want to survive and thrive. Sometimes friendly persuasion doesn’t do it. Sometimes a chasm opens up, the heart goes ballistic, the mind races and the waters part. And in this sense, what happened to Mel Gibson in Malibu two days ago may finally prove to be one of the most enlightening, wisdom-bequeathing turns in the road he’s ever experienced. And hail to that. God works in mysterious ways.Read More »
A Mel Gibson geiger-counter reading from
Houston critic Joe Leydon, who wrote his morning
to say his wife “just returned from a morning visit to the health
club for a half-hour or so on the treadmill. The club isn’t exactly
upscale, but it’s in a nice neighborhood — actually, a very nice
neighborhood — and many of the folks who live around there are
Jewish. (No, I’m not stereotyping: The very large Jewish Community
Center is nearby, and the supermarkets have well-stocked kosher
sections — something you don’t see nearly so often in other areas
here in Houston. And, no kidding, the area is officially known as
“Anyway, while at the health club she overheard some heated conversations by a few of the other members. Specifically, a group of middle-aged men and women who were talking about Mel Gibson. Mind you, when I say ‘heated’ I...
And here’s the knowledgable and engaging Mr. Leydon, writing on his just-launched blog, on the persistent pleasures of The Manchurian Candidate. The black-and-white one with Laurence Harvey and Frank Sinatra, of course. “At once unmistakably of its time and undeniably timeless,” etc. I know this, we all know this…but it’s nice to read someone say it yet again. There’s a showing on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday evening.Read More »
I’m cutting out around noon to go up to a Kirk Douglas black-tie tribute thing that the Santa Barbara Film Festival crew is throwing for him in Goleta (just west of Santa Barbara). I’ll be gone for the remainder of the day, so no burning the wick to the bottom and back to the skillet first thing manana.
In 1982 I flew from Manhattan to Laredo, Texas, to do a Douglas interview on the set of Eddie Macon’s Run for the New York Post. I’d hit it off pretty well with Douglas a few weeks earlier at a press get-together at Elaine’s, in part because I went on and on about how much I admired Lonely Are The Brave, and this vein continued in Laredo. I knew every one of his films and could quote dialogue from a fair number of them...Read More »
“If it’s true what’s reported [about Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade], frequently hatred, bigotry and prejudice, which is controlled, explodes at moments of stress and crisis,” Rabbi Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has told N.Y. Times reporter Allison Weiner. “Liquor loosens the tongue of what’s in the mind and in the heart, and in his mind and in his heart is his conspiracy theory about Jews and hatred of Jews.” Or to put it succinctly, “in vino, veritas.”Read More »
Watchers of Movie City
News‘ front page may have noticed that David
Poland has removed the link to Hollywood Elsewhere (which
he always called “Jeffrey Wells”) from the Columnist links and has
placed me under the Gossips, alongside Nikki Finke,
Ebner and Rush &
No slight to the aforementioned (they’re all stand-up pros), but David seems to have shifted me out of the Columnist category (where my link has been sitting since ’02) because I’ve changed the HE format to emphasize the bloggy shorter-item stuff on top of my twice or thrice-weekly features, and — take this to the bank — because Poland is...
I don’t get why Warner Home Video is issuing their all-new DVD of Richard Donner‘s cut of Superman II — a fresh construction of the 1980 film — in late November. Because they figured everyone would be….what…Superman-ed out by late summer? I’m into seeing it now. Who wants to wait for Thanksgiving?
Donner never got to do his own cut because the notoriously eccentric producers of the first Superman series (Alexander and Ilya Salkind) dismissed him and hired Richard Lester to finish the sequel instead of Donner. The new DVD will have all kinds of restored footage (including some with Marlon Brando), some Chris Reeve audition footage, Donner’s feature commentary and introduction, a featurette, and deleted scenes.Read More »
Has anyone ever heard this song “I’m Easy” over the closing credits of any movie? No, not the Keith Caradine song from Robert Altman‘s Nashville but a Boz Scaggs tune off his 1970 “Boz Scaggs” debut album. I can’t remember which film it is, but I’m 85% sure I heard this tune on a soundtrack of some early ’80s film. I thought I might be Hal Needham’s Sugar Tits (1985) but I checked and I was wrong.Read More »
A 7.28 L.A. Times piece about how Paramount Classics marketers played the “swelter card” for Al Gore‘s An Inconvenient Truth by running a recent ad that asked, “How hot is your city today?” atop a blazing sun and bright red background. The ad reminded everyone that it had recently been 99 degrees in New York, 104 in Salt Lake City and 108 in Phoenix. The ad also ran reminders, according to Kelly-Ann Suarez‘s story, that “the Earth’s temperature is at a 400-year high, that the first half of 2006 was the hottest in history and that melting ice caps spell trouble for coastal cities.”Read More »
“When it comes to mass-market moviemaking, and especially at a time when the average cost of a studio release is creeping toward $200 million U.S., there is no room for originality in Hollywood. Never was and, barring some kind of wholesale revolution in industry thinking, never will be. It’s not wanted and, for the time being at least, not needed: after all, this summer’s most popular movie is also this summer’s most tediously uninspired, by-the-numbers retread: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. I mean jeez, even suggesting Hollywood isn’t original isn’t original. In some form or another, the point itself has been expressed so often it’s a clich√É∆í√Ç¬©. The difference is, you can’t get rich by repeating it. And that’s what separates Hollywood’s lack of inspiration from my own.” — the Toronto Star critic Geoff...Read More »
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading
Polanski” (Taschen), an eye-filling and genuinely
inspiring review of one of the greatest living filmmakers of our
time. It runs 192 pages, and I wouldn’t have minded an extra 100
pages or so. I have no problem with calling it the most insightful,
alluring and fetchingly phrased book about Polanski ever.
The photos, selected by editor Paul Duncan, are exceptional but F.X. Feeney’s smoothly written 30,000-word essay is the soul of it. The book is a peach and a picnic for lovers of “Repulsion”, “Knife in the Water”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “China- town”, “The Pianist”, “Macbeth”. It even made me want to return to “Frantic”, which I...
I first saw this via Anne Thompson‘s RiskyBiz blog, but here’s Mel Gibson’s apology statement about what happened in Malibu yesterday with the DUI and the reported anti-Semitic and “sugar tits” comments: “After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the LA County Sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person. I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said. Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies...Read More »