I can’t find a stand-out money quote, but Peter Rainer‘s Bloomberg.com piece about Richard Dreyfuss is well phrased and fully felt. Four months from turning 60, Dreyfuss used to be an essential player who was sent all the best scripts early on. He deserves a lot better than what he’s getting today. I’m sure he was glad to be hired to play a loaded gay guy in The Poseidon Adventure, but it felt to me like a minor insult.Read More »
For some unfathomable, better-left-unexplored reason I went to an L.A. Film Festival screening a few hours ago of a newly colorized version of 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), which will come out on DVD on 7.31.07. I came out with the bitter knowledge that I’d just pissed away 90 minutes of my time on this planet because I liked the movie when I was a kid (i.e., when I had no taste) and because I was curious how good or bad this newly colorized verison might be.
The colorizing, personally supervised by stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, looks like an attempt to imitate over-saturated 1950s-style color and as such isn’t half bad, but of course all colorizing makeovers are bad regardless of the care and skill involved. (The upside is that the DVD will...Read More »
Whoa, whoa…the iPhone doesn’t have a replacable battery? N.Y. Times “Talking Business ” columnist Joe Nocera was jerked awake by the following passage in David Pogue‘s early-bird review of the device, to wit: “Apple says the [iPhone] battery starts to lose capacity after 300 to 400 charges. Eventually, you’ll have to send the phone to Apple for battery replacement, much as you do now with an iPod, for a fee.”
“That couldn’t be, could it?,” the mind-boggled Nocera asks. “Did Apple really expect people to mail their iPhones to Apple HQ and wait for the company to return it with a new battery? It was bad enough that the company did that with the iPod — but a cellphone?...Read More »
Two particular-interest quotes are contained in Michael Ceiply and Mark Landler‘s N.Y. Times piece (Saturday, 6.30) about the standoff/ contretemps between Tom Cruise and German military officials over their opposition to Cruise playing Col. Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the German Army officer who led a plot to kill Adolf Hitler in 1944, in Bryan Singer‘s soon-to-shoot Valkyrie.
Quote #1 is from German journalist Josef Joffe: “Stauffenberg for Germans is like Jefferson and Lincoln, motherhood, and apple pie all rolled into one. Germany is a country of established churches, and so Scientology is viewed as a cult and, worse, totalitarian and exploitative. A professing Scientologist in the...Read More »
Ratatouille, the weekend’s #1 film, is projected to
tally $48,406,000, having earned $16,075,000 on
Friday. Yes, that makes it the softest Pixar opening since 1988′s
A Bug’s Life, but that’s to be expected with such a
relatively exotic and sophisticated subject (the travails of
a French rat who wants to be a chef). But it’s going to show legs
once people see it and talk it up.
Live Free or Die Hard did a little over $10 million last night — figure $30.8 million for the weekend and a five-day cume of $45.8 milliion — hjgher than expected.
Evan Almighty will do $15,947, 000, which is a 49% drop from last weekend. It cost $200 million-plus and it’s not going to make $100 million at this rate. The likelihood is that it’ll come in closer to $80 or $85 million all in.
1408 will earn $11 million this...
“The studios are so dependent on pre-existing brands, they’re not allowing anything new into the pipeline. They want to know what was the video game or what was the comic book. It’s shortsighted. But what’s being missed is the next generation of new stuff. Because nostalgia is creative death.” — Transformers producer Tom DeSanto, speaking to N.Y. Times reporter David Halbfinger.
Halbfinger mentions that DeSanto’s partner, Don Murphy, is “widely reviled by executives at Paramount and DreamWorks for allowing his personal website (donmurphy.net) to be used by Transformers fans to attack the two studios, and the movie√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s lead producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, in vicious personal terms. (They called...Read More »
Timothy Gray‘s potential-Oscar-nomination
piece for Variety (dated 6.28) starts off by naming
three Best Actress favorites — Marion Cotillard in
La Vie en Rose, Julie Christie in
Away From Her and Angelina Jolie in A
I fear that number is going to be narrowed down to two. We all know when a picture dies a quick box-office death the high-calibre performances in it tend to droop in estimation, so as unfair as it may sound I wouldn’t be surprised if Jolie (who gives her best performance ever as Heart‘s Marianne Pearl) falls off the list by Labor Day.
I’m not getting any kind of reading about how the other Iraq-Afghanistan movies are going to play, but if “quality of performance” were the only criteria (it never is, of course) Charlize...
ABC-TV critic Joel Siegel has left the earth — dead from cancer at 63. Tough break, sad news, nice guy (if a little too nice to too many movies), too soon. Condolences to friends, family, colleagues. The last time Siegel was on my radar screen was when he got into that snarl with Kevin Smith over Siegel walking out on Clerks 2. I could mention this and that but let’s let it go for now.
I can’t write about this until tomorrow, but the hype has turned out to be absolutely true — Stephen Walker‘s Young@Heart is the reigning heart movie of the LA. Film Festival (and in both senses of the term, delivering both warmth and sadness) and will be a guaranteed winner when it goes out commercially.
And sooner or later, trust me, it will do that. If it comes out
later this year, it’s almost guaranteed to end up
as one of the five nominees for Best Feature Documentary. I’m
serious. It’s not a “great” documentary, but it touches you
I’m just going run John Anderson‘s Variety review for now (it went up last...
I saw Michael Bay‘s Transformers (Dreamamount, 7.2) at 10 pm last night in that big spiffy theatre on the Paramount lot — the one with really superb sound and projection quality that was built in ’97 or thereabouts. Movies are always presented at their very best in this theatre. I was beaming start to finish as I watched a digitally-projected Zodiac there last March. So on a high-quality projection level at least, I was honestly looking forward to seeing Bay’s latest, even if it is about Mustangs and boom-boxes and helicopters turning into giant robots.
So it came as a surprise to realize that aside from the spectacular CG footage, Transformers doesn’t look all that good. The color has a rote, clammy, flatly-lit quality that suggests it was...Read More »
I’ve tried to play this brand-new Lions for Lambs trailer six times (it’s currently an AOL Moviefone exclusive) and the hell with it. I have a perfectly functioning laptop with Windows XP and all the major media players and no time at all for trailers that don’t play free and easy. I saw the green MPAA logo, a silent MGM lion and then nothing…and then I heard the lion and then Tom Cruise saying a line and then nothing. So I went back and tried to play it twice more and it failed both times.
Gut reactions from the priveleged who are able to play it?
The waiting-in-line-at-the-Grove-to-pick-up- an-I-Phone-on-opening-day story turned out to be a dud. Not that many bodies, no shoving or pushing or raucousness of any kind, nobody shouting “open the doors!” Just 70 or 80 nice people sitting on the curb and on fold-up chairs, waiting patiently under the hot early-morning sun and…you know, quietly shooting the shit or reading or checking e-mails on their I-Books or soon-to-be-yesterday’s-news handhelds
A couple of TV news guys and two or three Apple flunkies were standing around outside the door. I was doing...Read More »
Roughly 75% of the the critics are supportive of John Dahl‘s You Kill Me, the dark and somewhat skewed Ben Kingsley- Tea Leoni comedy about a Buffalo-based hitman trying to recover from alcoholism during an attempted dry-out in San Francisco. I mean, 75-25 is a pretty good RT average.
Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni
That’s more or less how I feel myself, having found it mostly likable, amusing, agreeable…but with a few undeniable speed-bumps. And yet Kingsley is one of our absolute best — he seems incapable of delivering a line or an emotion that doesn’t have some kind of unexpected edge or inflection or flavoring — and the film itself is a nicely...Read More »
I meant to run Thursday’s tracking summaries yesterday, but nothing had changed very much since my last report so I kind of lost interest. Ratatouille is assured of a commanding #1 status (never in question), but it’s probably going to end up with a Sunday-night total of $50 million, give or take. In some quarters that will be seen as underperforming by Pixar standards. I was estimating Live Free or Die Hard to earn a weekend figure in the mid 20s and the high 30s for the five days. Sicko will do pretty well ($10 million, perhaps a touch higher), but it will also finally begin to generate the word-of-mouth (i.e., it’s selectively but fundamentally true and very touching at the end) that should keep it rolling for a good while.Read More »
Frazzled cameraman: “How, come, Simon, whenever I’m with you, I put my life in danger?”
Zen-Minded Journalist: “Because putting your life in danger is actual living. The rest is television.”
This is a line heard at the end of the
trailer for Richard Shepard‘s The Hunting
Party (Weinstein Co., 8.17), a thoughtful actioner previously
known as Spring Break in Bosnia.
It’s basically about three guys — a TV journalist on the downswirl (Richard Gere), his smart-ass camera operator (Terrence Howard) and an upstart journalist whippersnapper (Jessie Eisenberg) — who embark on an impulsive, what-the-hell? mission to find...
“And now here is Heather Graham, who demurs when you ask her age even though simple math shows it to be 37, shivering in a too-cold hotel suite wearing a borrowed dress that shows her arm flab and Versace shoes that pinch her feet, and she’s promoting an inert little movie called Gray Matters that will perform so poorly in the U.S. it won’t even be seen in Canada until the end of June, and then only in a straight-to-video release.” — from a Toronto Globe and Mail profile by Simon Houpt.
Arm flab? The disdain and outright cruelty contained in this graph is pretty stark. I’ve written snippy or unkind things about this or that performer, but I would never make it this mean. Houpt is a good writer, but...Read More »
Richard Kelly has finally moved on from the
somewhat disastrous Southland Tales chapter in his career
a new movie, The Box, a PG-13 horror film based on a
Richard Matheson short story that became a
Twilight Zone episode.
Kelly has written the screenplay. (An earlier report mentioned his having co-written it with Eli Roth). The $30 million flick, bankrolled by Media Rights Capital, will start shooting in the fall. Cameron Diaz will star as a thirty-ish wife with a greedy, opportunistic streak. (No word on the guy playing her husband.)
A site called Upcoming Horror Movies, linking to an
You have to wade through six paragraphs of stalling
before getting to the meat of Leo Lewis‘s
first-anywhere-review of Harry Potter and
The Order of The Pheonix (Warner Bros,., 7.11) in the
London Times, but he finally gets around to calling it “a
solid, occasionally spectacular set-piece that struggles
unsuccessfully to give us thrills and fun we have not
already had in previous installments.”
In short, it’s another big lumbering under-achieving tentpoler in a summer season that has seen two or three of these before…shocker!
Lewis also notes that Pheonix “is far crueler than its predecessors and begins to introduce properly the idea that we are no longer in an amusing magical playground, but...
It’s nearly time to get out the notepad and start making a list of seemingly ambitious, seemingly high-pedigree dramas coming out in late September, October or early November that won’t be showing at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival (or Venice or Telluride). The bizarre case of The Departed aside, it always means something when a low- or mid-budgeted fall drama ducks out of these three festivals. This was reflected in an article I wrote last fall about Running With Scissors called “The Old Toronto Sidestep.” Ditto a piece about the festival-avoiding History Boys called “Art of the Dodge.”Read More »
It’s not being announced on the El Rey theatre’s website, but Once costars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova will perform at that Wilshire Blvd. venue on Wednesday, August 1st. They’ll also perform at an invite-only industry event at West L.A.’s Landmark on 7.31, and tape appearances with Craig Ferguson, Carson Daly and Jay Leno.Read More »
Here’s the trailer for
David Cronenberg‘s Eastern Promises
(Focus Features, 9.14), which will apparently play at the 2007
Toronto Film Festival. The trailer tells you it’s a Cronenberg fim,
all right. Steely, ominous undercurrents running every which way.
Focus Features is presumably screening it for long-leaders; I guess
they’ll get around to guys like me down the road.
Viggo Mortensen is Nikolai (i.e., “Nee-koh-lie”), a London mobster who gets into a head-turning, challenged- values situation when he crosses paths with Naomi Watts‘ Anna, an “innocent midwife” trying to “right a wrong”, etc. The costars are Armin Muehler Stahl and Vincent Cassell (playing a frenzied psycho for the 29th time…he needs to play a concerned straight-laced dad in a...
“The movie portrays nearly all of Christian
Bale‘s Laotian captors and their North Vietnamese allies
as subhuman, barely-civilized sadists who live to inflict
torture and physical abuse. The paranoia and gaunt frames
of the Americans (Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies)
attest to their brutal treatment, which is no doubt based on
reality. Nevertheless, sitting through Rescue Dawn is like
watching a war movie made by the Ku Klux Klan.
“Not that I’m surprised...
This is not a preemptive expression of disrespect, but
yesterday’s announcement about Ryan Gosling
being cast in Peter Jackson‘s The Lovely
Bones produced an involuntary twitching sensation. (Not a
literal twitch of the neck or facial muscles, but a faint internal
shuddering by way of a psychological spasm.) Both of these guys are
renowned for making sure that the movies they make/create are
always about them before anyone or anything else,
which suggests that a huge battle of the egos will
commence when filming begins.
Jackson will insist on turning Alice Sebold‘s best-selling novel into a movie about his miraculous directorial eye and relentless visual energy first, and the celestial story of the murdered Susie Salmon second...
Indiewire‘s Brian Brooks is reporting that Wes Anderson‘s The Darjeeling Limited will open the 45th New York Film Festival on Friday, 9.28. This is a totally expected announcement given Anderson’s allegiance to the NYFF; Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums opened there in ’98 and ’01 respectively.
The piece also says that Joel and Ethan Coen‘s No Country for Old Men will be the festival’s centerpiece screening, and that4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days — Cristian Mungiu‘s Roumanian “abortion movie” that won the Cannes Palme d’Or — will also screen.Read More »
A good percentage of the movie-journo cool-cat brigade will have seen Paul Haggis‘s In The Valley of Elah (Warner Independent, 9.21) by Labor Day, but the odds suggest it’ll be shown at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival (September 6th through 15th). It’s an even safer bet that the investigative thriller-slash-broken-heart drama with Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon will play the Venice Film Festival. I don’t know anything about a Telluride venue.Read More »
How to explain the fact that 300 has earned more than $200 million from an overwhelmingly male audience? Does iit mean that “20 million closet cases snuck off to see an illicit fantasy about bare-chested men in Hellenic Speedos,” as Slate‘s Matt Feeney inquires, “or that young men from the vast heartland of this very conservative, Christian, pro-military country flocked to see an unabashedly heroic tale of Occidental, republican military glory?
“To believe the latter, all you have to accept is that, in imagining the sort of heroic figures they themselves would like to be, straight men would project onto them not just excellence but physical beauty. Shouldn’t a guy be able to do such a thing without being called gay?”
Slate‘s Christopher Beam on The Weinstein Company’s decision to pay a Democratic “phone vendor” to contact a select group of potential moviegoers and encourage them to see Sicko, in the manner of a grass-roots political campaign.Read More »
“Yippee-Ki-Yay” — spoken by Bruce Willis in the original Die Hard — is not the greatest one-liner in action movie history, as Eric Lichtenfeld suggests in this Slate “Summer Movies” piece. In this context the word “greatest” would have to mean “most satisfying in a zingy, bull’s-eye sense.” Without question, the line that takes the cake in this respect is “Hasta la vista, baby” — spoken by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.Read More »
Last night’s “Who
Let The Blogs Out” poolside chat was okay, but it only really
got going during the last 15 or 20 minutes. Moderator and
Variety columnist Anne Thompson did a
fine job, but I knew we weren’t quite doing the
expected thing when I saw an attractive 30-something couple get
up and leave about 20 minutes in. “Uh-oh, we’re dying,” I told
myself. My only consolation is that the walk-out couple was very
attractive, and attractive people tend to be a little more vapid
than others. (Ask Woody Allen.)
Would-be panelist Kevin Roderick of LA Observed copped out at the last minute, telling Thompson he was ill and tired and had to pick up his dry cleaning and take his dog to the vet for an emergency appendectomy.