Friday, April 29, 2005

He's Superman, not a male stripper!

I’m sure by now, many of you have gotten a glimpse of this photo posted on Singer’s website, The Blue Tights Network , as it has made its way around the web rather quickly.

I’m already dubious of Singer’s direction with this movie, concerned that he doesn’t show enough enthusiastic geekiness about the fact that the current fate of THE American comic book icon is in his hands. Much like the Batman franchise, by the time the last Superman movie came and went, the initial excitement of the fan base had died down, and after a fantastic start, the quality had petered down into foolish campiness. Now its up to him to reinvigorate and revive it with ingenuity and a new take, like Chris Nolan is doing with Batman Begins.

This costume, however, does not promise alot in the way of reinvention. It looks pretty identical to the original comic book concept of the costume, but those little red briefs are reading a little too male stripper to me than they ever did before. This costume needs to be updated, as was done with the Spiderman and Batman costumes.

The first redesign of the Batman’s gear that Keaton donned was great because it still incorporated the yellow and black Batman emblem but was a lot more masculine and ferocious looking. Can you imagine if Keaton had to run around in the same costume, the gray bodystocking with flimsy cape like good old Adam West did?

No way Jose. While that flew in the Pop Art infused 60’s it certainly did not fly in the 80’s/90’s and costume designer, Bob Ringwood, obviously knew there was some major work to do. Ringwood had to keep the essence of Batman while creating it for a new era. In my mind he did a fantastic job.

I thought that the Spiderman costume, which was also basically one large body stocking looked great in Spiderman 1 and 2 as well. Costume designer, James Acheson, gave it some great texture, and all the webbing sewn onto it gave it the illusion of “thickness” so we didn’t feel like Tobey Maguire was just slipping into a big red nylon pantyhose.

The way the did the colors for Spidey’s suit, also drew attention away from certain…uh…areas, bright red on top, navy on the bottom. The costume is really a fairly dynamic piece.

Here in a side by side comparison, you can see how similar the Superman costumes are.

Strange that what seemed perfectly normal in 1979 stands out in 2005. I have no problems with the fact that Reeves wore that costume in the beloved Richard Donner orginal. Maybe its because things were more innocent back then, maybe its because I'm just so used to the look of it. But what's the point of reviving a superhero franchise anyways, if you're not going to have a new take on it. Modernization comes with the territory.

This new superman costume is just too plain. I also find myself blushing and looking away from the image in as I can see details of his package through the costume. This is Superman we’re talking about here, I shouldn’t feel embarrassment for him! Something a little more modest I think is in order here.

It looks very blocky in its color scheme, and some more elements, perhaps on his shoulders and his legs so it doesn’t look so tight and two dimensional. Oh boy, this does not bode too well. Singer, get in the game man!

Maybe this rant is all for not. Maybe Singer is just putting out this image so all the bloggers will freak about how unchanged it is, and then 1/3 through the movie, Clark Kent's apartment will burn down and he will loose this costume and get a newly revamped one.

Here's to hoping.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tagline of the week: Courtesy of Batman Begins


That's the tagline for Batman Begins that I just got off the new full length trailer which hit the Apple Trailers site today.

I think its a neat tagline, and there is something very "comic book" about it, it almost sounds like it could be the title of an limited edition issue or something.

As for the trailer itself, after several viewings of this thing I still don’t quite know what to make of it.

Some of you may recall my previous post, Batman Begins: An Evidentiary Analysis where after some deductive reasoning, and weighing pros and cons, I deemed Batman Begins as a promising and exciting rejuvenation of the Batman franchise.

Then along comes this trailer.

All of the footage in England looks much like bits previously shown in the teaser trailer. But now for the first time we also see Nolan’s interpretation of Gotham. I have to say its very difficult for me to let go of the dark art deco surreal Gotham that Burton had created in his first two installments of Batman. The look of the city appears to be part 80’s era New York, part futuristic urban wasteland. I’m intrigued but not yet sold.

The Bat Mobile still looks so out of place to me. It’s blocky, sharp edges make me think of those armored tanks that everyone drove around in, in Aliens. I may never get used to this incarnation of the Bat Mobile, though this may also have something to do with my own personal preference for uber aerodynamic lines on cars.

Katie Holmes performance seems a bit inconsistent based on this trailer alone. Her reaction shot seeing Bruce Wayne for the first time seems sincere, but I wasn’t buying it as much during the intimate seen where they are talking outside.

Bale still looks solid, and the comic beat at the end of the trailer makes me think that he might just nail both Bruce Wayne and Batman in a way it hasn’t been done since Michael Keaton.

We also got a lot more shots of the Batman costume/outfit/uniform, which I think looks fantastic, and that’s not just because Christian Bale is wearing it. Well maybe that has a little something to do with it, but seriously kudos to the costume designer for a clever redesign.

Cillian Murphey portrayal of scarecrow looks like its going to be really fun to watch. A friend of mine and I were talking today about how Murphey’s Scarecrow seems reminiscent of Nicholson’s Joker in that whimsically insane, over the top but still grand way.

There are some very artistic dark images that are used in the trailer that I love. In particular the shots of Bruce Wayne standing enveloped in the swirling bats, and the shot of Batman standing stoically on the edge of a rooftop, cape blowing in the wind, looking at his city beneath him.

It was important for me to see this trailer so that I could accustom myself to the inevitable differences and distinctions of this film versus the other in the first time. Burton’s were terrific, but I have faith in Nolan to do Batman and his legacy justice. I mean who are we trying to kid here – I’ll be there opening night.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bay afraid, Bay very afraid...

As a dear reader pointed out to me today, I am about a day overdue on my horrified reaction to this horrendous news announced yesterday in The Hollywood Reporter .

Universal has decided to remake The Birds, with Michael Bay producing with his company.

Now here’s the delayed reaction.


Not The Birds! Not another Hitchcock remake! For the love of Pete! Hasn’t anyone learned yet you just can’t remake Hitchcock? That his films will forever be inextricably linked and associated with his indelible brilliant directorial style and individual artistic watermark? Hitchcock’s films are original works of art. Would anyone think of to reinterpret a Kandinski or a Monet? No, never.

Alright Bay, it’s clear you have a thing for producing remakes. So your Chainsaw remake was pretty good, and your Amityville remake was ok, but neither of them were as good as their respective originals, and if you think that your version of The Birds will even touch the nuanced character portraits and psychological depths of The Birds, then you really are out of your gourd.

I cringe and carry on because I really do feel certain about the fate that will befall The Birds remake. It will become a gory slasher film instead of a subtle thriller. It will trade in eerie atmosphere for shock value, and the slow burn, for the shaky handheld and quick edits.

Recently, it has also been announced that Warner Brothers is remaking another of Hitchcock’s films, “Strangers on a Train” – but for some reason that one didn’t upset me as much as The Birds remake did. I guess it’s because I am so familiar with The Birds; I have seen the film many times and love so many moments and different things about it. I know there are more than a few critics who don’t believe that it is one of Hitchcock’s better works, despite the fact that it is so well known. But I think the film is a prime example of the way that he as a film maker was so effective at creating suspense. In The Birds, the film starts out in a banal, calm, and ordinary sort of way. Then slowly as though orchestrating a symphony, Hitchcock adds in moment after moment, slowly revealing the horror of what is to come so that by the end of the film there is so much panic and tension that the audience is nearly driven insane, just as the characters of the film are. Hitchcock was incredibly adroit at making the audience feel just what the people on screen were feeling. No matter the type of character, he always knew how to link into their essential humanity, so that it was as if we were living out the scenes in the films ourselves.

The remake I’m sure will have fake looking CGI birds, and will add some crazy plot twist about a mad scientist whose experiments went horribly awry, or a government military effort that got out of control, in order to “explain the birds behavior”. But that’s the thing. To me one of the most terrifying elements of The Birds is that there is simply no real reason or explanation given by science or the occult, for their behavior. The birds in Birds just are. It is a film about what people do when the inexplicable begins to occur.

No director has been assigned yet, nor a screenwriter, though it will be based on the same short story by Daphne Du Maurier as the original.

I’m still in the denial phase of my grieving process, eventually I’ll get to acceptance, and maybe even optimism, but for now all I can do is shake my head and sigh.

What the world needs now, is more Star Wars related news (its the only thing, that there's just too little of....)

Hey folks, just thought I'd point out a couple amusing things out to you that I’ve stumbled across today. All Star Wars related of course. I mean what else is there, besides the the potential abolishment of the filibuster, to talk about these days?

The first is this ingenius blog The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster which is actually much like the Michael Bay blog in concept. (Sadly, the Michael Bay blog has since been forced out of commission, due to its, uh... frank nature of its content) The anonymous author of this blog, posts and writes as if he is the dark lord himself: Darth Vader. It has some delightfully indulgent stuff, including a post titled “ Bedtime Story” which begins with the line:

“This goes out to all those bleeding heart hippies out there who sympathize with the rebellion.”

Love it.

Secondly, everytime I say the phrase “Wow, George Lucas has really gone too far this time” the son of a gun goes and does something that makes me say it all over again.

According to the TV website The Futon Critic George Lucas will be guest starring on the Fox teen soap the OC.

The Futon Critic reports:

George Lucas will guest-star as himself on THE O.C. Thursday, May 12 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. During the episode, Lucas expresses interest in Seth's graphic novel, which leads Seth to make a difficult decision regarding Summer. Things become even more complicated when Lucas invites Seth to dinner and offers him some worldly advice.

Lucas on the OC, what in the sam hill is going on here? As my feeble mind goes round and round trying to unravel the logic of this anomaly, I still can't figure. It’s not like Lucas owes the OC, or FOX for that matter, for letting him premiere his new Episode III trailer during one of the show’s commercial breaks. Maybe one of his children are big fans of the show, and they conned him into doing it? Even so, the fact that he’s not playing another character, but HIMSELF, is so blatantly …..I don’t know, self promoting? Bizarre? Post- Apocalyptic? But I guess it would be equally strange if he popped in there as one of the mom’s long lost X- husbands, or Peter Gallagher’s estranged brother. Yes, in fact I think that would be even crazier.

But still Lucas, The OC? What next? Guest judging on America’s Next Top Model?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Summertime means Fridays are movie night once again

Here we have it, another article dealing with the camaraderie/rivalry of Lucas and Spielberg. Seems like I’m not the only one that can get enough of them. This article talks about how they go head to head this summer with each of their would be blockbusters, Star Wars Episode III, and The War of the Worlds.

Over the years, Spielberg has garnered the dubious honor of the invention of the “summer movie”. When JAWS was released in the summer of ’75, it became the first summer blockbuster hit ever.

Jaws is one of my favorite films of all times, a genius piece of thriller work that takes the horror genre and turns it into a deep exploration of personal fears and vindications. What makes Jaws brilliant is that it succeeds on both levels; it is engaging, nail bitingly tense, and frightening. But is also an interesting character study that delves into the relationships between three men and each of their relationships to this shark. The shark represents a different thing to each of them, and it is this juxtaposition of their individual attitudes that keeps the film interesting for me time after innumerable viewings.

I recently overheard a jaded screenwriter the other day, saying that “Jaws ruined film making.” He went onto say that while he didn’t think Jaws was all that bad a film, that it turned Hollywood into a sort of financial horserace, where every studio scrambles to release the picture that would be the bigger monetary winner. According to him, this annual contest veered the course of film making from an artistic endeavor into a question of bigger is better.

I do think that as the years have gone by, studios seem to throw creativity by the wayside in order to create the perfect formula that will yield dollar signs. But to say that Hollywood was never concerned with final profit is ridiculous. While the history of cinema has shown that the artistic freedom of the film maker can have tremendous results, Hollywood has also always had its share of Saturday Matinee adventures, horror films, cowboy pics etc. The “summer movie” genres have been around since the 30’s, not just the 70’s.

I love summer movies. Well, that is to say, I love going to the movies in the summer. I am well aware that many a heinous movie, of which I have railed previously on in this blog have been released in the summer season. Nevertheless I can’t help but get excited for all the “event” movies that come out every year. It’s like a ritual for me. Every Friday, I gather as many friends as I can, force them to wait in line for good seats (if necessary), and buy myself a ticket and a tub of popcorn. I become filled with a sense of prescient giddiness, as I hope to become engulfed in a some far fetched adventure for the evening. Sometimes I will be disappointed or bored to tears, other times merely entertained, and every once and a while I will be completely transported. Many of my positive associations with summertime and movies have their origins from my childhood, where without the pesky reigns of school, I was able to go to the movies one, two, even three times a week. Summer movies were freedom, they were pure sugar high, caffeine infused spurts of enjoyment.

For me the summer movie is about letting go and just having fun. After a long and often somber toned fall and winter of heavy award targeted films, some grand, and some average, we can shed off the woolen cinema of drama, and sit in our shorts watching frothy comedies and exciting adventures.

It’s true that many summer movies can barely hold their own, or our attention for that matter, but when they do, it is truly marvelous. Summer movies need to be seen with other people, in packed theatres, with audiences from all walks of life. Summer movies can be the great equalizer. Remember Indiana Jones? Jurassic Park? Independence Day? The Matrix? X-Men? Spiderman 2? These movies were all great fun to watch in the theatre, and many of them were more than just mild entertainment, with interesting stories that posited questions about who we are, and where we are going. These summer movies are the very best of all.

The Interpreter translates into classic good film making

After seeing trailers for The Interpreter for weeks, months even, I was not exactly awaiting its release with baited breath. Though I admire Sydney Pollack a great deal, Nicole Kidman has recently hit that level of uber over exposure that makes me cringe every time I see her face in another trailer. As for her co-star Sean Penn, he is a very talented actor, but I found his performance in Mystic River to be a bit much, and certainly not the crowning achievement of his career to garner an Oscar. (plus the Jude Law comment at the Oscars this year was kinda douchey – admit it)

Based on the trailer(s) the plot of The Interpreter seemed like a run of the mill thriller, girl overhears a murder plot, murderers chase girl, girl is saved in the end. But to my happy surprise, The Interpreter was much more than that.

Done in the vein of an old Hitchcock thriller like “The Man Who Knew Too Much” or “Iron Curtain” the Interpreter artfully blends a story of political intrigue and turmoil with the personal journeys of two individuals on “opposite sides of the river”. Nicole Kidman plays Silvia Broome, an interpreter at the U.N. who moved from a small African country, Motobe, with a dark history. Just as genre convention dictates, Silvia does indeed overhear the whispers of two men one night, who are apparently plotting the murder of Motobe’s leader, President Zuwanie, a man who was once praised as a liberator and activist but has since adopted the ways of corruption and bloodshed.

Sean Penn plays Tobin Keller, the federal agent assigned to investigate Silvia’s claim regarding the assassination. We see from the beginning that much like Silvia, Tobin is a haunted man, with a painful burden that is newer and fresher than hers.

As the plot unfolds, and the feds try to discover who is after Silvia and who is planning the assassination, Silvia and Tobin begin to unravel the mysteries of each other’s lives. The way that Kidman and Penn play out their scenes comes across as old-fashioned, but only in the classiest sense. For a moment I almost felt like I could have been watching Grant and Hepburn. There was a dignity in their performances, and in the screenplay that made this film feel unique and distinct from your average studio fare. The way the camera moved, the way the shots were cut together was as elegant as the way the actors carried themselves on screen.

Catherine Keener, who I am always a huge fan of, played Tobin’s partner, another federal agent. While not given that much dialogue or much to work with, she made a great deal of her part which she fleshed out with pregnant pauses and powerful silences.

Some reviewers have critiqued the lack of “action” in the film, complaining that it moved too slowly, and was weighed down by too much dialogue. While true that there were not as many action set pieces as might have been expected from this genre, it did not bother me at all. I became so engrossed in the time that was spent properly developing the characters and their relationships with one another, that I did not miss the excess “action”. As far as chases, explosions and the like, there was a fantastic sequence that takes place about half way through the film, which I thought was very well executed. Not only was the “subway/bus chase sequence” fairly original in climax, but Pollack ramps up the tension without being overly exploitative.

While there are five different writers who share credits on the screenplay for story and writing, the script was surprisingly devoid of that choppy, discombobulated feeling that one often gets when a script has had too many hands laid on it. The film is not without its flaws, but I was impressed at how deftly the film was able to touch upon such difficult issues and heart wrenching moments without disintegrating into emotional pornography.

On a final aside, I have to say one of the elements that I did think was missing in was an original costuming of Nicole Kidman’s character. Everything from the elegant architecture of the U.N (where the film was actually shot) to the international background of her character begged for her to don stylish peacoats and fabulous boots. Oddly enough, the costume designer decided to go more in the dowdy direction, with baggy khakis, white button downs, and hush puppies. This was a little disappointing, as I know Messr. Hitchcock would never let his leading ladies go on camera in anything that was wasn’t completely glamorous.

Fashion aside, I highly recommend The Interpreter. It is a smart, artistic, moving film that will remind you of the good old days, when film gave politics emotional resonance without dissolving into preachiness, and the stars took their time, both with each other and the audience.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

MR. Cranky, here's to you!

Before the New Yorker, before Garth Franklin, even before Harry Knowles, there was Mr. Cranky.

Mr. Cranky has been running his anonymous website since 1995. He site is devoted to reviewing the movies that come out every week, as well as many classics which came out prior to ’95. But Mr. Cranky is no ordinary film critic. Many web pundits rail on Hollywood studio output now and again, or decry independent films as artsy dreck, but Mr. Cranky has no such prejudices. That’s right, Mr. Cranky hates all films, yes, every last one of them!

To give you a sense of what I’m talking about, here is the way Mr. Cranky’s infamous rating system works, (a system which uses explosives to measure horrendousness!):

1 bomb - Almost tolerable

2 bombs - Consistently annoying

3 bombs - Will require therapy after viewing

4 bombs - As good as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick

Pack of Dynamite - So godawful that it ruptured the very fabric of space and time with the sheer overpowering force of its mediocrity.

Atomic bomb - Proof that Jesus died in vain.

Very few films have garnered the honor of one or two bombs, and of course the more Mr. Cranky hated the movie, the more fun it is to read the review.

Here is one of my favorites: Mr. Cranky’s review of Volcano

If "Volcano" is any indication, the day isn't too far off when writing can be completely eliminated from the filmmaking process. Exactly how long was the script for this movie anyway? Two pages? Even when the script weighs in at a mere two pages, you would have to assume the phrase "people run away from lava" appears in every other sentence. That's the whole film. 99.9999% of the budget was given to some special effects company while the other .0001% (the cost of a banana) was given to a chimp with a crayon to select from a list of lines:

"It's really hot down here."
"Why is it so hot down here?"
"Oh my God."
"I'm burning up."
"I'm on fire."
"Put out that fire."
"Is that lava?"
"Get out of the way!"
"Get out of the way! Fast!"
"Get out of the way! Fast! It's hot lava!"
"It's hot lava! Get out of the way!"
"Fast! It's hot lava! Get out of the way!"
"Save my dog!"

If nothing else, "Volcano" can claim to have one-upped "Dante's Peak" by saving two dogs instead of one. Undoubtedly, this was due to the overachieving nature of director Mick ("The Bodyguard") Jackson, who also felt the need to throw in some politically correct racial messages in the guise of such things as a kindergartner reading his first-ever paper on "How to Play Nice."

If Hollywood ever wants to make a decent disaster flick, it might consider, in addition to hiring a writer or two, retaining someone who has even the slightest understanding of science. Among the most far-fetched of "Volcano's" blunders is a guy who leaps off a train and into about a foot of lava, then throws another guy to safety. Naturally, this heroic individual dies, but he dies by melting into the lava as if he were the Wicked Witch from "The Wizard of Oz." Was I off the planet when they started making humans out of Play-Doh? Perhaps that chimp was also the science consultant.

There’s nothing like a good old vitriolic sense of humor to get your blood pumping, that’s what I always say. One could spend hours on this site, somehow, even though you know what the tone will be for every single review, he still manages to conjure some very funny images and truths. Also for about $5 you can also purchase an e-book copy of Mr. Cranky’s book “The 100 Crankiest Movie Reviews EVER” which includes many of his classic reviews, including another one of my all time favorites, his review for the 1998 Matthew Broderick Godzilla remake. It seems they’ve pulled Mr. Cranky’s hundred most popular reviews off the site and put them into this book, which is slightly annoying, but I say Mr. Cranky deserves the royalties. He is one funny guy.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Good Stuff: Steve and George together again!

Having been in this blogging racket for about two months now, I can tell you from first hand experience there are definite slow periods. Some days you just feel as though you are wading through the same sort of press releases, and writing the same blog entry over and over. Oh look, here’s a new movie, oh hey, here’s a funny tagline. I’m sure you guys can agree it can get old after a while.

But when news like this comes along though, its too good to be true, this my friends is the “good stuff.”

Today, Variety ran a story announcing that A & E has slated a TV movie called “Celluloid Titans” which depicts the historic relationship between the two iconic Hollywood film makers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

IMDB Movie News summarized the Variety article:

"According to Daily Variety, the biopic, tentatively titled Celluloid Titans, is being exec produced by Granada America's Jody Brockway (Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story). A&E programming chief Bob DeBitetto compared the project with TNT's Pirates of Silicon Valley, which portrayed the rivalry between Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates. "In this case, these two really did have a friendship. They compared notes. When Spielberg was having travails about Jaws, Lucas was talking about Star Wars," he said. The two also collaborated on the Indiana Jones movies."

It’s not clear from this except if the film will focus on the height of their early success a la Star Wars, Indie, and Jaws, or if it will span their entire friendships and careers.
There have been several of these “business relationship bios” in the past couple years, among them the aforementioned “Pirates of Silicon Valley”, a movie which I affectionately refer to as “Nerd Heaven”. Remember the 2000 VH1 movie “Two of Us”? This TV movie “imagined” what would have happened if John Lennon and Paul McCartney had gotten together and hung out after the demise of the Beatles, in 1976.

I never saw this film, but remember being highly amused at the film’s description:

“In 1976, six years after the breakup of the Beatles, rock-lore has it that Paul McCartney paid John Lennon an uninvited visit at his home at the Dakota in New York City. They didn't see each other that day. But what if they did?”

There was also the 1996 HBO film “The Late Shift”, based on the book by media reporter Bill Carter, about the rivalry between Jay Leno and David Letterman as they vied for the late-night spot held by retiring legend Johnny Carson.
This is a movie that I’ve heard good things about, but have never actually seen. Apparently the actors that portrayed Letterman and Leno did spot on impressions.

Which brings me to my next question.

Who will they get to play Steve and George?! Will they go with younger actors in their late 20’s, early 30’s and just age them up as the timeline in the story passes, or will they pick guys in their 40’s and just add a little extra base for the earlier scenes in the movie? I’m assuming that they will pick guys that are fairly unknown, though with Pirates of the Silicon Valley they went with two fairly well known actors, Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall, not superstars, but actors who had more than just familiar faces. I actually think the casting of Michael Hall as Bill Gates was great, but Noah Wyle was a little too hot and a little too high profile as Dr. Carter for the role of Apple tycoon Steve Jobs.
I would love it if the producers went the route of the younger unknowns, who would just dive into the parts and transform themselves into the characters of Lucas and Spielberg. Spielberg was a total hipster when he was younger. If any of you have seen production stills from Jaws, you can’t miss the aviator sunglasses and trucker hats – its awesome.

What’s funny is, we’ve seen these guys talk on so many interviews, and DVD extras, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen them portrayed by other actors on screen, South Park notwithstanding. I definitely think there is interesting potential in the storyline of the relationship between these two fellows. On the one hand you have Lucas who has created THE biggest, most profitable, most well known film franchise ever, and on the other you have Spielberg, who’s list of hits individually might not pack the same punch as the Star Wars saga, but all together, they represent a formidable, if not incredible oeuvre.

There is also the issue of sanity with these two. Many film buffs and movie geeks have argued that in recent years, not only have these two men gone criminally insane, but they have each surrounded themselves with a posse of yes men that kowtow to them at every turn, terrified to tell them that their creative output is anything less than stellar. First there was Lucas with his Special Editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, followed by Episodes I and II which left many fans disappointed to say the least. His eccentric propensity for revisionist film making has soured many of the masses. (Not that he cares, because remember, Star Wars is not a democracy!!)

Then there was Spielberg’s “special edition” of ET with added FX sequences, and the bizarre decision to remove all guns in the film and replace them with walkie talkies. (This looks especially ridiculous in the scene where policemen were once aiming rifles as the kids take off into the sky on their bikes, and are now gesturing with the antennas of their talkies.) Critics have ranted on his new technique of “the unending ending” as seen in A.I. and Minority Report, where it seems he impulsively tacked on sweet feel-good endings onto films that otherwise had fairly dark undertones. That Spielberg, he just has to put a bow on everything, he loves his audience so much, he can’t bear letting them leave the theatres without big smiles on their faces. Unfortunately for him this practice has backfired on him with many of his fans who have not taken well to his more “heartwarming” efforts in the past few years.

There is a moment on one of the million extras of the Star Wars Episode I DVD, where Spielberg visits Lucas, and Lucas is showing him the model for one of the droids in the film. Lucas is talking excitedly and demonstrating the model, like a geeky kid at a science fair, and Spielberg looks…. well, a little bored. It’s sort of this sad telling moment of two old friends getting together again and realizing that there is now some distance between them that wasn’t there before. It’s as though the empire that each of them has built for themselves has pushed them apart. I wonder if “Celluloid Titans” will delve into this element, and explore the ways in which the filmmakers are both similar and dissimilar. There are a ton of cute references to be made like the fact that the nickname for Jaws, was Flaws, because the shark never worked, and naming Indiana Jones after Lucas’ dog. But will the producers, writers and director of the film keep the tone light, or will they explore more of the tensions. I am interested to see what the overall tone of “Celluloid Titans” will be.

Being that this movie is going to be made for the “small screen”, and have limited resources to draw from, I have my doubts about the ultimate quality of this project. I’ll say this for it though: it’s going to be one hell of a guilty pleasure. This is the kind of thing I envision getting TiVoed on the sets of film geeks across America, and being treasured and savored, as the ultimate sort of pop culture goody. We will giggle when we see two actors playing a scene where Lucas and Spielberg lay on a beach in Hawaii creating the plot of Raiders of the Lost Ark. We will giggle at the silliness of it all, but it will still take our breath away, just a little bit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Little Boys from Mars

The Hollywood Reporter announced today that John Cusack and Amanda Peet will star in film titled "The Martian Child", a story about a young boy who is adopted by a recent widower and believes that he is a martian. The film will be directed by Menno Meyjes, who is primarily known for
his work as a screenwriter. Meyjes has been kicking around for quite
some time now and worked with Spielberg on a few projects, including The
Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, and Indiana Jones and the Last
Crusade. His directorial debut was a film called Max, which was released in 2002, and also starred John Cusack. Max was a small independent film about
a young Adolf Hitler studying under an established art dealer. I
haven't seen the film myself, but it seems interesting, and I think
that Meyjes written work gives him promise as a director.

The screenplay is based on the novel which was also titled "The Martian Child" and was written by David Gerrold. Gerrold, who has been writing science fiction novels for years, used to be a TV writer back in the day, and wrote the famed Trouble with Tribbles episode for Original Series Star Trek. He also did an episode of Land of the Lost, and was a staff writer for one of my all time favorite TV cartoon series, The Real Ghostbusters! His recent TV works on Babylon 5 and Sliders lacks some of the same luster of his previous endeavors, but Gerrold continues to be a prolific novelist and has won the Hugo and Nebula awards for outstanding achievement in sci-fi lit.

The Martian Child was released in 2002, and almost falls into the novella category, with a page count short of two hundred pages. A brief perusal of Gerrolds published novels on Barnes and reveal that many of his books are the type that are hidden away in the sci-fi/fantasy section of book stores, with 80’s like Choose Your Own Adventure covers, depicting aliens, saber toothed tigers in astronaut gear, and the like. But The Martian Chlld appears to be a departure from this sort of uber-genresized work and the description of the novel alludes to a more traditional literary conflict, sans space aliens.

The screenwriters on the project are the under the radar team Seth Bass and Johnathan Tolins. Bass and Tolins have written one TV movie, The Twilight of the Golds, which deals with the airy and light subject matter of a mother who discovers after some genetic testing that her unborn son might have “the gay gene”, and is torn over the issue of whether or not to have an abortion. Tolins seems to be the busier of the pair, having worked on Queer as Folk, as well as some punch up work for award show scripts (eek).

The Hollywood Reporter says:

“The script by Jonathan Tolins and Seth Bass is described as an unusual father-son relationship, and a cross between "Parenthood" and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."

I like Parenthood, and I like E.T., yet I’m not totally sold on whether or not a film that tries to synthesize both of their unique elements can do so successfully. I like the idea of incorporating sci-fi elements into a family drama, I just think it will be a delicate balance to achieve. Also, let’s not forget that it stars John Cusack, an actor whom I think consistently delivers solid if not great performances. Amanda Peet I could go either way about, I thought she was funny in Saving Silverman but forgettable in Identity. I never saw that breakout Indie she did, Whipped, or whatever it was called.

This premise actually reminds me a little bit of the first act of A.I. which I thought was fantastic, which just focuses on Haley Joel Osmont’s character adapting to the family that has adopted him; and the emotional implications for both family and child. However, with this story, it seems (though I can’t be sure) that the child is not a martian and therefore lacks a true physical barrier that separates him from his family and makes him “other” the way that Osmont was in A.I. If The Martian Child deals strictly with emotional landscapes I think the film makers will need to be wary of falling into the trap of over sentimentality.

Still, for my money, with all the people and ideas behind it, this film has the potential to be tremendous, but in turn could also be tremendously average. We should keep our eye out for this one folks.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tagline of the Week: Courtesy of Zathura

Just saw the trailer for ZATHURA, which will be released by Sony in November just in time for Thanksgiving.

Zathura is based on the children’s book titled, well, Zathura, which was written by Chris Van Allsburg. Van Allsburg also authored Jumanji and The Polar Express, which have also been made into feature films. {We got it! Hey we got it! Hot Chocolahte!} If you don’t get the P Express reference I just made because you haven’t seen it, don’t bother. Trust me its not worth it. One of the only redeeming things about seeing that movie is that you could run round afterwards singing the inane lyrics to its songs in the parking lots with your friends.}

Zathura was written as an unofficial sequel to Jumanji. In Jumanji two modern day children unearth an old board game of a jungle safari adventure and inadvertently release a little boy who had been trapped in the game for years. The boy is no longer a little boy, but a grown man, and he helps the two children beat the game and stop it from taking over their home. Jumanji deals with a basic element of the childhood imagination: that the games we play may one day become real, and envelop our reality. I thought the story was clever, the sets were amazing, and I found myself eagerly awaiting each surprise that the game held for the children and in turn, myself, the audience.

In Zathura, two lonely children in a looming empty house also stumble across a mysterious boardgame. But this time the adventure is set in outer space instead of the jungle, and as they begin to play ‘Zathura’ they begin to discover it is much more than just a game.

Jon Favreau is directing, which strikes me as a little strange, but I thought he did a pretty good job with Elf in regards to its fantastical visuals and themes, so I hope he’ll kick it into even higher gear for this one.

David Koepp, one of the most prolific screenwriters in show business worked on the script. Koepp has quite the resume, but I don’t think he’s written a really outstanding screenplay since the original Jurassic Park. I thought both Panic Room and the first Spiderman were competently written, but unimpressive (screenplay wise).

The tagline reads: Adventure is Waiting. It’s simple, and plain. In the trailer, right after these words flash on the screen they are followed with “Right outside your door”, which I thought could have been a neat extension, though it still wouldn’t have made the tagline wholly original or memorable. Still there is something about it that is just vague enough that it tugs on the fringes of your daydreams. I have to say though, I am completely sucked in. The image in the trailer of the little boy opening the door to find the galaxy awaiting him is unbelievable. I already want a poster for this film as I think the shot of the house floating through space, with the roots of its foundation floating under it is absolutely stunning. It is so surreal and magical, it makes me feel like I’m eight years old all over again. It looks like they’re using this image for the one sheet teaser poster, and while Sony marketing could have been cleverer with the tagline, I approve of their visual choices.

I’m so there.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Star Wars Ticket Mania

As many of you already know, tickets for Star Wars Episode 3 went on sale on Friday. I should have posted when I knew about it, but I was in too much of a frenetic fray to get my crap together. You see, AMC started putting their tickets on sale Friday morning. This caused other theatres who hadn't even been planning to release their tickets till later, to put theirs on sale too, because they wanted to get in on the action.

The Arclight Cinemas, which is at the center of all the controversy about Star Wars not screening at the Chinese, secretly put their tickets on sale at 6 PM on Friday. I swung by the theatre myself at aroung 7 PM to pick up a couple blocks of tickets and check the scene out. I was amazed to see that the theatre was bustling but unusually geek free. Things were so under the radar at that time that I was surrounded by couples in their 30's and 40's going to see The Upside of Anger and Eros instead of drooling fan boys in black t-shirts.

The drama continues to unfold at Liningup.Net where queen warrior princess of the nerds Sarah Sprague whines about the misfortune that they, the last memebers of the rebel alliance now face at having to "split up" instead of being able to unite their light saber force as one and watch the movie while sitting on each other's laps.

Its amazing to me that these people, who don't know each other from Adam, are upset about not being able to see it together. As if the nerds who sacrifice all by waiting in line, are somehow bigger fans, that those who are not able or willing to stand in front of a movie theatre for weeks before the film is released. Its ridiclous. I mean if you see it in the first couple days, you are going to be seeing it with hard core fans regardless. No one else would brave the mobs and plan ahead enough in time to get their tickets in the first place. Though I must confess I wouldn't mind seeing a battle between a Star Wars fan who lined up, and one who did not as they try to outgeek with one another. My guess is who ever has Palpatine/Dooku '08 virtual campaigning kit will win.

{A special shout out to my fellow Paduan who gave me the heads up on the lining up link}

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A Special Message from the New Yorker: Go see KUNG FU HUSTLE immediately!!

Just got back from seeing Kung Fu Hustle, a new film by writer/director/actor Steven Chow. Some of you may have gotten a copy of a region 1 DVD of one of his previous films, Shaolin Soccer, which I’ve heard is great, but haven’t gotten a chance to see yet.

I had not even seen a trailer for Kung Fu Hustle before I went in to see it, and knew very little about it. I had a vague concept that it was a melding of Asian hipster Kung Fu sensibilities and funny wacky characters. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, I urge you not to, as I found that I enjoyed the film not knowing quite what to expect. I have since seen the trailer and found that it gave away some funny and neat scenes and sequences, as well as some important reveals about characters.

In all honesty I enjoyed this movie more than any of the recent stuff that’s been out there in the past six months. It’s just one of those movies that you leave the theatre with a grin plastered on your face. Again I don’t want to give any thing away about the movie, but it is a fun, original, funny fable that is immensely enjoyable to watch. It is not just for Kung Fu film fanatics, and has allure for anyone who likes a good comedy. As of right now I believe it’s only been released in New York and Los Angeles, but it is getting a wide release this Friday, April 22nd. I highly recommend it!

Sunday Morning Shootout - no actual shooting took place :(

So there you are sitting in your cushy comfy seat in the movie theatre, your popcorn in one hand, and a frosty beverage in the other. The lights dim, and you settle in for the trailers. When suddenly it happens… that trailer that could almost pass for a Saturday Night Live skit, if the special FX weren’t so expensive. It takes on many forms, but there are obvious signs, such as the guy narrating in the background with a deep voice who says “In a world…” Sometimes it’s a trailer for the first in a series of epic sci-fi films that are sequels to a small independent film that had limited financial success. Other times it’s a comedy involving a former marine who must now work as a suburban nanny. You’ve seen it all before. It’s the riddickulously bad studio film.

Now you sit there and you ask yourself, who greenlit this movie? Who was the guy (or gal) who said, “That sounds like a great idea, let’s do it!!”

Ladies and gentlemen allow me to introduce you to former Vice-Chairman of Universal Pictures, Mary Parent and Scott Stuber. Stuber and Parent who have been partners in crime for some time now, very recently announced that they would be leaving their executive positions at the studio to become producers with an exclusive deal with Universal. These executives have had a hand in almost every film that’s come out of Universal in the past two years, some were good and some were bad. Some were very, very bad. In particular I think its their whimsical taste in summer flicks like 2 Fast 2 Furious, Johnny English, Van Helsing, Two Brothers and The Chronicles of Riddick that amuses me.

As some of you may or may not know, every Sunday morning at 10:30 AM, AMC (American Movie Classics) airs a show called “Sunday Morning Shootout” hosted by Peter Guber and Peter Bart. Guber and Bart are respective Hollywood legends in their own time, each of them having accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in this town. They’ve produced movies, run studios, written books, been fired, had career comebacks and have lived to tell the tail. Every Sunday they invite high profile people in the entertainment industry to sit and talk over coffee about their experience in the business. Usually its an actor or a director, but today, hot off the heels of their announcements, Peter and Peter invited Mary Parent and Scott Stuber to join them and discuss their former work and future prospects.

Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for them, I captured their publicity outing on TiVo.
Here’s a brief excerpt of Parent and Stuber’s responses to the questions asked to them by Peter and Peter. Keep in mind this is a WORD for WORD transcript, made possible by the handy TiVo pause button. Any grammatical errors may be attributed to them.

Peter Guber: “Your proviso for one company is both- …its a great asset and its also in some sense a liability because there is somebody that can say no. There is somebody that can say ‘Hmmm, I don’t want to make this picture’ or ‘We have one like it” and you really then can’t make that picture, you can’t go somewhere else with it. So in some respect you’re ‘hostage to the environment’ you get the benefit of it, but what do you do to manage that? Are you going to bring capital to the equation? Are you going to bring other executives to the equation? Do you have a strategy to hold on to the properties that they won’t want to do? I’m just curious as to what you’ve thought through in making your departure.”

Mary Parent: “We’re hostage to the environment now. I mean,… our, you know, -our, ….we have to be, we have to have a sense of what’s going on at the other studios, what’s going on in the culture. I mean we have to anticipate, -get out ahead of stuff, …get a feeling for when a movie needs to…. – you know? Movies don’t come out for a year at least, later; so its really getting a sense of ‘wow, we need to get this one going, here,…- there, in order to this or land here.’ And that’s, that kind of um, creative strategy, is something that I think we’ve, we just live it every day…”

If anyone can pull a remotely coherent and intelligent statement out of that garble I will pay them a million bucks! (well not ACTUALLY a million…) And what’s up with Parent completely sidestepping Guber’s question? The man asked her how she planned to circumvent potential rejection from studio heads and she responded by saying she’s always kept up with the gossip and the culture. Sweet.

Peter Bart, who seemed slightly put off by Parent’s response, did a redirect on Stuber:

Bart: Uh now, to return to my earlier question. When things were not going well, in other words the year that the pictures weren’t telling out well. What sort of reassessment went on with the slate of pictures that were rather expensive pictures, and didn’t quite cook?

Stuber: You know the great thing for us about last year? The company made about 940 million dollars domestically, which is considered….you it was like “oh it wasn’t a great year?” It was a terrific year for our company, it was one of the greatest cash years ever, if not the best.

{Hey buddy, didn’t anyone ever tell you DE NIAL ain’t just a river in Egypt? Also way to spin the question, sheesh he’s worse than a publicist reacting to a page six article.}

Stuber cont’d: We had a summer where we had two movies that had higher expectations that didn’t live up to it. In that you go, ok, you know what in Riddick, we over analyzed something, we should’ve kept the cost down on that movie and not expanded into a giant sci-fi franchise we should’ve kept with the DNA of pitch black and expanded upon that. And that was a mistake. I mean we acknowledge that, and you learn form that, and it wasn’t a movie that had that kind of financial success to make it that big a sequel.

{Hindsight can be a real bitch can’t it? Anyone want to clue him in on how many of us could have told him that all that BEFORE they went into production!? Also nice use of DNA, he should get points for malapropism of the year.}

Stuber Cont’d: And Van Helsing, that was a film that, you know, sadly got saddled with um, with a knock. The movie made-, …it was a profitable film it made over three hundred million world wide, and Steve Sommers is a guy who we would make that movie with every single time. He’s that good of a film maker.

{Gee, I sure hate it when I get saddled with a “knock”. Also, let me try to be totally clear on this one….he’s saying that if he had to make that movie over and over again (a Hollywood version of Groundhog’s day if you will) that he wouldn’t do anything different? Mama Mia!}

I could go on, but well…I won’t. They’ll be plenty more Stuber and Parent for us to dissect in the upcoming years. Universal has already handed them a passel of projects to produce, so this should be interesting. Let’s just hope that being articulate isn’t a requisite for good film making. Come to think of it, they should fit in just fine.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Amityville Horror - Genre conventions overtake originality

Last night, I found myself yet again at another Thursday midnight screening at the Arclight Cinerama Dome. This time, it was for opening night of The Amityville Horror remake. I have to say I went in with fairly low expectations. The last two horror films that I was excited for (The Grudge and The Ring 2) were each disappointing in their own right. In fact the Ring 2 wasn’t even scary, so I was expecting a boring, trite, unexciting ride.

To my pleasant surprise TAH exceeded these expectations, but didn’t blow them away. Conceptually, the story of this movie is very simple. It centers around the Lutz’s, a young family looking to buy their first home, who unwittingly move into a house with a horrific history. A history which involved a man had going insane and taking a shotgun in the middle of the night and using it to kill all of his family members. When the movie says “based on a true story” at the beginning credits, this is the portion which is actually true: there was a terrible multiple homicide in a home in Amityville, Long Island in the mid 70’s. The rest of it is all fabricated, in fact the original family (as portrayed by the Lutz’s) wrote a book in the 70’s about their so called paranormal experiences in Amityville were proven to be hoaxers. The family was called out for having taken money to lie, claiming that they had been terrorized by the house, and caused to flee after only 28 days of residing there. In both the original and the remake, the father figure in the family that has just moved in, begins to go insane, just as the father was before he slew his family.

This being said, I thought the screenplay was alright. There was some ironic humor peppered throughout, and I thought the writer tried to give the characters some back story so could have an emotional anchor for their characters.

The remake had some noticeable distinctions from the original film, some more intriguing than others. In this adaptation, the writer instilled an edge into the family dynamic; Kathy, the wife portrayed by Melissa George, has recently married George, who is played by Ryan Reynolds. But the three children in the family are actually from Kathy’s previous marriage with her first husband, who had since passed away. The stepfather element adds an interesting tension into the story, even before anything supernatural has gone down. Early in the film, the seed of George’s alienation from the nucleus of the family is planted, as he overhears his wife whisper to his step children that he will never replace their father. I thought this was a clever way of foreshadowing the fact that he will soon be replaced by an alien presence that presides in this house. The passing of the children’s biological father also gives them a reason to act out, and serves as a psychological foil for the disintegration of their family brought on by the supernatural evil force.

Overall I thought the acting were good. The actors were concerned with delivering emotionally true performances, and made a visible effort to flesh out their characters. Ryan Reynolds gave an almost endearing performance as the portrait of a husband gone mad, and Melissa George was able to juggle looking pretty, while not going too over the top in her more emotional scenes with her children. The kids were all solid, and I found myself surprisingly amused by a cameo done by Rachel Nicols. Nicols plays the seductive pot head babysitter, who reveals a little too much (in more ways than one) and gets her just desserts in the attic. Some people who I went with found her sequence to be ridiculous, but I thought it was hysterical.

What I did find a bit ridiculous was how young the casting was skewed in this movie. Melissa George who played the lead role of Kathy, was meant to be a mother of three, her oldest son being twelve years old. However Melissa is 28 years old, and the actor who played her son, Jesse James, is actually 16! She could have easily played his older teen sister, instead of his mother. Reynolds is 29, and also looked a little young for the role, a man who supposedly owned his own construction business and remarried to a woman with three kids. James Brolin, who played this role in the original film was 39, and Margot Kidder who played Melissa George’s role in the original was in her early 30’s. I realize the producers (Michael Bay, yes you) were trying to bring in the kids with this one, but there were definitely moments, when it just looked like a bunch of young’ns playing house. There was not enough separation between adult and child, nothing exemplifies this more than their casting for the “teen” babysitter. Rachel Nicols is 25, only three years younger than Melissa George who plays the mother.

There were definitely some scares in this movie, and I thought there was a bit of a slow burn in the first half of the movie that helped build up the tension and suspense of what was to come. I won’t give out specifics about some of the popcorn tossing moments, but I definitely screamed out loud more than once.

For me, the biggest problem with this movie, became how much it stuck to genre conventions. I mean how many times can I see a haunted house movie? Granted Amityville was always going to fall into this trap, because it is a remake of THE haunted house movie. But still, its getting to the point where I can barely become engaged, because I just know everything that’s going to happen. Doors will close, and strange noises will abound, and then the characters will discover that they are living above an old ancient burial ground or some such. One of the only possessed house movies that I think still stands alone is original Poltergeist, produced and ghost directed by Spielberg (who else). Poltergeist is a brilliant ghost story because it not only provides a colorful array of characters, but it tells a fully developed story with twists and turns and plot development. Amityville has very little plot, as do many horror movies these days. Bad house, house bad to people, people die and/or leave. The end. In the original horror movie, there is little explanation of just why this house is so evil, the house just happens to be a gateway to hell, end of story. In this version of the story, the writer tries to tack on some sort of mystery, but it feels forced and unfulfilling, almost as if they tacked on the whole thing with reshoots and ADR. I won’t spoil the fun of what this “mystery” is, but it doesn’t compensate for the lack of originality in exercising the tropes of the genre.

There are people who might think I’m asking to much out of Amityville, or even a horror movie in general. I was entertained, I screamed, I winced, I laughed. What more should I ask for? It’s only a horror movie.
Yes, it is only a horror movie, but when horror is done remarkably well, it can be a revelation. Think of the greats: The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, Poltergeist, The Birds, The Sixth Sense. They all bring to life our biggest fears, and force us to confront them if only for two hours at a time.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tagline of the week: Courtesy of NightWatch

I just watched the trailer for the film Nightwatch, the first installment of a Russian horror trilogy.
The plot summary on IMDB reads:

“A fantasy thriller set in present day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle.”

Truth be told I didn’t think the start of the trailer promised much more than a rehashing of elements we’ve seen in both The Matrix and Blade. Isn’t it sad how quickly we become desensitized and jaded with things? Remember the first time we saw the bullet time camera technique? It was mind blowing, yet we now regard it with as much amazement as we do a clever car commercial. There appears to be a lot of this freeze frame and panning of the camera, but as the trailer continues, it is definitely apparent the director has also worked hard to create his own original visual landscape, which while obviously inspired by other recent works, has an artistry of its own.

There are definitely a few FX shots in the trailer that are amazing, the likes of which I’ve never quite seen before. In particular I was struck by the sequence where a vampire looks at a little boy on the subway car and only sees his veins. I also thought the shot of the woman turning into a tiger was pretty amazing.

Nightwatch was released in theatres in Russia last July, but actually won’t hit screens here in the U.S. until this upcoming July. “Nochnoy Dozor” as its known in Russian, was written and directed by Timur Bekmambetov and was based on the novel written by Sergei Lukyankeno. A prominent Russian pulp novlelist, Lukyankeno’s most succesful works are trilogy upon which these films are adapted from. The three books in the trilogy are called “Night Watch”, “Day Watch”, and “Dusk Watch”. It’s obvious the man has a way with words.

On an interesting side note, Lukyankeno appears to be pioneering the next wave of focus groups. The author kept up a blog to get opinions on what his next book should be like, and is quoted by the Moscow Times as saying:

"I had a think about what the point of [LiveJournal] is for a writer," he wrote. "To argue with literary opponents? That's more fun to do on forums. To hear readers' opinions? Partly yes, but not every day. To read other people's blogs? Wonderful, but then why write your own? And this is what I decided: A writer needs a blog to write books."

I’m going give old Lukyankeno the benefit of the doubt here, and assume that the fact his quote makes no sense is primarily due to the fact that it was translated poorly. (how weird is it that you can read the Moscow Times on line, all in English?) I do, however, think it’s troublesome that the man believes that he can’t properly write his next piece without scads of opinions and input from his fans. Egads. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of what awaits us in terms of story structure of this trilogy either.

That tagline for this film is almost generic enough to slip by under my radar without getting picked apart in my latest tagline rant. Almost. I’m not sure if this tagline was imported from Russia along with the film, and it’s a language barrier thing, or if we can just chalk it up to those Fox Searchlights execs sniffing their rubber cement again, but the “In 2005” portion of this phrase has got to go.

"In 2005 our destiny will be revealed"

Everything up until this point implied the film had some sort of epic, enduring ancient feel to it. So what is it about 2005 that yields the historical culmination of the battle between good and evil? Nobody told me it was a leap year!? Besides, wasn’t the movie released in 2004 and won’t the trilogies span three years anyway?

What about “our destiny will be revealed.” That’s a little more timeless isn’t it, to think it might resonate beyond the six months of media blitz preceding the release. What I want to know is what happens when Blockbuster gets sent a poster to put on the wall to promote the DVD release. I can see it now. I walk in and see the poster, which at the bottom will read:

“In 2005, our destiny was revealed”

I guess my destiny was revealed, if my destiny is to perpetually return to the video store and be smothered by material for poorly marketed movies.

Anyone have some rubber cement I could borrow?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Singer no Superman

It should become apparent to most of you by this posting that I’m having another bout of film maker obsession.


Today: eye on Bryan Singer. At age 40, Singer has a very impressive resume which includes The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, and X-2. He’s not the most prolific guy in the world, but this is a good thing because he seems to take some time choosing his projects and he chooses wisely. Next on his agenda, is of course the Superman Returns film, which he will be following up with a remake of Logan’s Run, a project that he is both writing and directing.

The man has a project slate that most fan boys would kill for, (myself included). It must be pretty sweet to wake up every day and be Bryan Singer, knowing that you have a hand in shaping mythic pop culture icons. Singer gets to do the atypical in Hollywood, he makes films that do well in the box office, AND get positive critical acclaim for being smart, original and well made.

This video , is the latest entry on Singer’s half-hearted blog and website for the Superman Returns film, Blue Tights Adventure Network. {Some of you may remember when I critiqued this site when it was first established in the post: Film Blogs: The good, the bad and the ugly}

Say that out loud for a moment:

Blue Tights Adventure Network

It's just as bizarre to me now, as it was three weeks ago, and sounds more like a treehouse club tie-in to Highlights magazine doesn’t it?

After three and a half weeks, the Superman marketing team has yet to get in the game. The sixth entry on the site, paints no better picture of Singer, than his intial video post where he whined to his assistant about camera angles.

In this sixth diary entry, not only does the man need two people to help him step on a flat bed truck about two feet off the ground, but once again, his attempts at humor, fail. Singer’s dramatic caterwauling for his cinematographer Thomas Segal, which seem to be nothing more than a segway to a lame Steven Segal joke is well….lame. As for his Australian crew members, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more bored and disinterested group of people listening to their director in my life. Hell, I was just watching a two minute clip, and I too was overwhelmed by ennui. That’s pretty telling, seeing as how this is Superman Returns we’re talking about here, and the sight of the Superman logo on its own should be enough to quicken my pulse.

Singer makes good movies, -sometimes great movies, so the fact that he comes off douchey and boooring on camera shouldn’t really affect my opinion of him as a film maker, and it doesn’t…..well not really. I still hold his films in the same esteem, but my idol worship of him has certainly been diminished. You would never see Spielberg or Jackson screwing around lackadaisically on set, or getting pissy with their crew. These guys (Spielberg and Jackson) know how to have fun, but somehow no matter what they are doing, whether its playing an April Fool’s Day joke or directing an actor, their vision comes across. It just emanates through everything that they do. These videos of Singer sort of clue me into the fact that he might be a good competent director, but he has yet to take that next step to before he falls into the category of visionaries.

The thing that I find most noticeably missing from Singer’s confessionals are a real sense of enthusiasm, tempered with a little humility. I mean the man is directing a big blockbuster Superman movie; he is living the dream of millions. Would it kill him to show a little personal investment and genuine excitement? Perhaps Singer thinks its “cool” to be jaded, and behave as though this is just another paycheck to him, instead of the realization of a childhood dream. Is it just another paycheck to him, just another job? Or is he really just another Hollywood douchebag? I actually think his movies show a dedication to craftsmanship that intimate a deep passion for what he does. But Singer might just the bright kid who doesn’t do his homework, and is content to get B+’s for the rest of his days.

In closing, if Singer is going to bother keeping a video blog of his filmmaking process, he could afford to show some eagerness and animation. Bryan, crack a smile for God sakes. It’s not very promising if a fanbase appears to be more keen on a film, than the filmmaker himself.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Another Apolocalyptic Sci-Fi OR Stephen Sommers, you're well on your way to giving Michael Bay a run for his money

Just read off Aint it Cool News that Stephen Sommers has been set to direct a remake of the film When Worlds Collide. The original When Worlds Collide was released in 1951, and is a classic sci-fi piece of the period, based on the 1932 literary publication of the same title, by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer.

The story of When Worlds Collide is an apocalyptic tale about an astronomer who discovers that there a rogue planet headed for a collision course with earth. This planet will cause mayhem on earth in the form of earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions and will result in the ultimate destruction of the planet The scientists who are aware of this impending doom race against time to build a rocket ship. This small group of individuals intend to escape the devastation that will befall earth and colonize a new planet so that they may perpetuate the human race.

This movie is a solid piece of 50’s science fiction, and the fact that Sommers is involved in the remake makes me cringe. I actually thought that the first Mummy was an entertaining good summer popcorn movie, but I am not a fan of the second Mummy and Van Helsing. Sommers is generally involved in writing the films that he directs, – he wrote the Mummy, the Mummy Returns, and Van Helsing – so though it has not been formally announced something tells me, he’s going to “pen” the script for Worlds Collide. This is what worries me the most.

The Mummy Returns and Van Helsing have unspeakably bad scripts. It isn’t just that the dialogue is clunky, and the characterizations are wooden and underdeveloped – they are, but that’s not what really makes them especially bad. It’s the ludicrous after-thought plot devices, extensive back stories, and “explanations” for unwieldy twists , all of which make as much sense as a screen door in a submarine, that kill me.

I wish that I could recall individual, specific examples of the justifications and reasonings that Sommers has used in his films, but this is difficult for me to do. I remember sitting in the movie theatre pained by the exposition that I was forced to listen too, and attempting to tune out as hard as I could because the boredom and tedium was too much for me to bear. Van Helsing, a movie which I think gives Batman and Robin a run for its money in terms of studio trash, included some plot devices that were devoid of any shred of rational thought. I think through my self-imposed haze I remember something about Frankenstein and a werewolf being used as conduits to some contraption that Dracula had made to manufacture a huge amount of offspring. There was also something about a summer country house that Dracula kept in Budapest….

Van Helsing crossed that line, from the blockbuster that you can laugh at because its cheesy and overwrought, to a film that is bloated with action sequences and special FX, yet somehow manages to be unbelievably boring. There is no story to follow or characters to invest in, it might as well be white noise. Now I realize its not all Sommers’ fault. Hey the man has made three huge international money makers in a row – he’s certainly doing better than I am. I’m sure the Universal execs put their two cents in, and there are certain moments when you can almost here them say in the background, “do you think you could make that a little more high concept?” What sorts of results can you expect when the film makers has to fulfill requests that have little to no real meaning?

I think the thing that really gets my goat about Stephen Sommers is that I do believe there is potential there. The man is well on his way to becoming the next Michael Bay, yet at one point he could have been headed for the Spielber/ Zemeckis type. Not nearly as unique as those two, but he has shown the same knack for good pop fun, which he has recently squandered away on behemoth ill fated projects. There’s a part of me which thinks he sorts of coasts along doing whatever Universal execs want to chuck his way. I would like to think that he would take the opportunity with the When Worlds Collide remake to do something original, suspenseful and smart, instead of cranking out a film that represents the hybrid of Deep Impact and Armageddon. I’d like to think that,…but I won’t hold my breath.

Nice hat Stephen….sheesh.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Hollywood Ecosystem

I am constantly amazed when I look around and observe how people from completely different walks of life must come together to successfully create and complete TV and film. I was recently on the floor of a sit-com taping (being on the floor basically means you are backstage with full access) and found myself becoming engrossed as I watched all the different people who were connected to the production mill about.

There are the men and women who handle the more technical aspects of the show, like the lighting, sound, etc. They are a shaggy denim clad group. Then there are the Assistant Directors who are in charge of wrangling both the actors and the crew, and look like they’re so stressed out they are going to implode at any given second. You can spot them from a mile away because it seems like their eyes can rotate a full 360 degrees allowing them to see through the back of their head. There are about a million type of producers who work on the show. There are the producers that are focused on the financial and logistical aspects of the show, like the line producers and the associate producers, these guys were often crew members themselves, and just worked their way up the ladder. Then there are the producers who wrote the script, and make all of the executive decisions. These are the guys in charge of a lot of the creative aspects of the show – think slightly neurotic writers, and edgy perfectionists. Then there are the managers who are producing because their clients are involved in the show. They do a lot of talking to other agents and managers, and serving as a liason to the studio financing the show, etc.

On the floor the night of the taping, there are a passel of other agents and managers, who all are anxious to see how their client will do that night, or if they should get their client involved in the show. These folk are not only obvious because they’re in dark suits, but because they avoid eye contact and are always on their cell phones (stereo-types really are true sometimes). I did get quite a kick of watching at one point, the two contrasting silhouettes of the agent in navy, standing next to a gaffer in jeans and a sweatshirt. Its interesting to me that they are at the same event, but that tradition and practices cause them to dress so differently.

But I think of all the subjects who fell under my people watching gaze, my favorites to observe were the studio and network executives. Most of them have such a paradoxical existence. Like Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings, who wishes to wield his power above those under him, he remains terrified of offending or upsetting the great sorcerer Sauramon. The execs throw their weight around on set, and they give notes to the writers and the producers. Its almost as if they hang around for an extra ten minutes because they know that their very presence makes the producers and crew nervous, or even nauseated. However, the minute their boss (the president of the company) emerges they accidentally stab themselves with their pens, and clumsily bump into each other as they rush to stand to attention. Their faux expressions of cool, calm, and collected that they have pasted on their faces, often betrays how flustered they really are feeling. Desperate to impress without offending, they want to stand out while blending in, and speak up while shutting up. I am almost driven to feel pity for the dangerous game of corporate behavior poker they are forced to play. Almost.

Each little clan of executives from the studio and the network is like a small tribe with its own sub-culture. If the president goes business casual, his/her underlings follow suit. If the Chieftan dons jeans, than jeans it is! The president dictates whether everyone else will imbibe alcohol that night. Peering through the curtains of the executive greenroom, I saw all the execs titter nervously around the bar, casting glances at their boss to see if he would signal the way the evening would go. They waited eagerly for him/her to pour a glass of wine or crack open a beer so that they could wet their whistles with something more substantial than Diet Coke and Pelligrino. Apparently, if the studio president starts drinking than the studio executives can pop the cork, but the network executives still have to abstain, and vice versa. Each little group needs approval from their own leader.

This was completely fascinating to me. It was like an anthropological case study, Hollywood style. The film and TV industry is really like its own little ecosystem. I am not sure where I will end up yet in this big crazy jungle. I suppose right now, I am the muddy toad who sits by the watering hole. No one really pays much attention to me, if they even notice me at all. I don’t think I’d want to remain the toad for ever, but for now it allows me to watch and observe the prides of lions, the warbling hippos and the vicious crocodiles. Sometimes the absurdity of it all leaves me feeling sour and with a bad taste in my mouth. On that night I was just able to shake my head and laugh.

Homestar Runner is my friend

I figure some of you may already be familiar with the enchanting website , but for those of you who aren't, allow me to enlighten you. It is difficult to describe exactly what this site is all about, because no explanation will do it justice. You simply have to check it out. It is truly one of the greatest joys I have come across on the internet in eons. It is a complete labor of love devoted to silly whimsicality, and let's be honest there’s just not enough silly whimsicality in this world, let alone the internet. In an e-sea filled with bitter rants and sour cynicism, it is a refreshing change. This site is safe to surf at work for all you little corporate puppies out there – its completely G rated (well maybe PG), and that is part of its undue charm. You could spend hours on this site discovering new material, which is being updated constantly, so cancel your lunch plans and enjoy.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

When Dorks give Geeks a bad name

There is a time and a place for everything in life. Sometimes you get to decide when and where, and sometimes you don't.

For the past six days, rabid Star Wars fans have begun to line up outside of the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre, so that they can be the first kids on the block to get their Star Wars tickets. Since the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menance in 1999, the new Star Wars trilogies have been screened at the historic Grauman's Chinese on Hollywood Blvd.

For those of you who have not been to Los Angeles, the Chinese was the premiere movie theatre of the city. That was of course, until the Arclight Cinemas opened up as a renovated extension of the historic Cinerama Dome. The Cinerama Dome was built in 1963, and was famed for its capability to screen 3-strip Cinerama formats. Even in its heyday the Cinerama Dome was still always eclipsed by the stylistic glamour of the Chinese, which had been around in Hollywood since 1927.

But since 2002, when the Arclight opened with a renovated historic dome and an additional 14 black box screens, things have been changing. While there is no doubt that the Arclight's environment lacks the internal and external decorative charm and elegance of the Chinese, it does have its own strong selling point. The Arclight has all reserved seats for all of its screenings, and tickets are available for purchase both in person and online, and are sold weeks in advance of the actual screenings. Which means, no more standing in line, no more splitting up your group because there are no seats to sit together, etc. I've been known to arrive up to three hours ahead of time just to ensure that I get an excellent seat for my film of choice. It can be amusing, and is part of the excitement in its own right, but let's be honest, at this point in my life, I could be using that time for more productive things.

Not so for the few fans who lined up in front of the Chinese theatre expecting to buy their tickets first. They were subject to a rude awakening when it started to leak out a couple days ago, that Episode III, will be showing, not at the Chinese, but at the Arclight . Tickets have not gone on sale there yet, nor has a time and date been set for when they will go on sale, but yesterday the official press release hit, and geeks everywhere were a-buzzing.

There is a part of me that thinks it's a bit of a shame about Revenge of the Sith will not be shown at the Chinese. It has become a bit of a tradition, and it is a historic and stunning theatre. But it was also a real pain in the ass to wait in line for six hours, and if you happen to have an actual job, you can kiss your dreams goodbye of getting into the first midnight screening.

If you ask me, this levels the playing field. Now its everyman for himself, each geek has to figure our what his method will be to get tickets, be it on the internet or over the counter. It's almost like a ...strategy game.

My sentiment is not shared by those on line. In an article in Variety, Sarah Sprague, a designated spokesperson (for geeks everywhere?) said:

"Even if it's not here, we'll just go see it somewhere else. We're not doing this just for the movie. What's the point of lining up at the ArcLight if someone is going to go online and get the best seat in the house?"

That's right Sarah, that is why there is no point in lining up in front of the Arclight, that's the whole idea - RESERVED seats. I'm sorry, but her statement doesn't make any sense. Yes, they will in fact have to see it somewhere else than the Chinese, but they refuse to see it at the Arclight? Why? Because they won't have the honor and glory bestowed upon them by having waited in line the longest? And what's that about “we're not just doing this for the movie.” …you're not? Huh? What is the matter with you people?! What else is there, if not the movie! ,Wouldn't the truest of Star Wars fans, want to be guaranteed the best theatre viewing experience, with the best projection, sound, and comfortable seats, which can all be provided by the Arclight?

But of all the quotes in the Variety article , this one is my favorite of all….

“The telling thing is -- for me, at least -- if the film is not playing at the Chinese ... I have zero desire to see it at all," a fan who calls himself Obi Geewhyen posted on the message board at "I'm in it for the lineup only and don't give a darn about the conclusion of this lackluster, so-called 'Star Wars' series."


I'm not even sure how to comment on that quote, because I think it speaks for itself. Its completely illogical, irrational, and idiotic. But it is funny, and for that I'd like to go on the record and say “Obi Geewhyen, thank you for just being you.”

Well enough about this whole lining up talk. I've got more important things to do. Its about time for me to head down to the Arclight Bar and see if I can ply some of the managers there with Jesus juice; I gotta find out when those damn tickets go on sale.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

They call him Craig. Daniel Craig.

Hot off the presses, as of this afternoon, the actor who will be portraying James Bond in the next installment of the franchise has been announced. British actor, Daniel Craig will be playing Bond.


Yes. Apparently, Mr. Craig, who has a first name for a last name, inched out Clive Owen for the coveted action star role. Owen’s camp is saying that he passed on it, but I don’t buy it for a second. Clive Owen is starting to come into the limelight, no doubt about it, but there’s no way he would turn down Bond.

Choosing an actor who is fairly unknown is not beyond the pale for the Bond producers either. None of the men who have donned the character’s persona were particularly famous before they did their first Bond pic, not even Sean Connery. Also, the producers always goed with an actor from the UK, so often times, the actor may have an established career in British TV and film, but is a lesser known entity in the states.

Craig is 38 years old, so his age is about right. Brosnan, Dalton, and Moore were all in their 40’s when they first played Bond, Connery was 32, and the enigmatic Lazenby was only 30.

Craig actually looks a bit long in the tooth if you ask me, I’d say about seven years older than his actual age.


I haven’t seen any of his films very recently, but he’s had large supporting roles in Sylvia, Road to Perdition, Tomb Raider, Enduring Love, Layercake, and many more. I have seen a few of his movies and all I can say is that I must not have been struck by his performances because I don’t remember any of them. I realize them is fighting words, but this is James Bond we’re talking about here and it is not to be taken lightly. I have yet to be convinced that Craig has the screen presence, though I haven’t totally written him off yet. His resume implies that he has the acting chops for it, but it takes more than that to be a great James Bond. This actor needs to embody the adjectives of cool, sexy, and smooth. Its not just about looks, its about attitude, and how he carries himself. He must have ultimate confidence.

Ok, confident? Yes. But cool? Maybe if he was running for treasurer of the dandy librarians guild. He also looks a bit too sneaky and villainous, notwithstanding the foppery.

The picture above, is the most James Bondish image that I could find of Mr. Daniel Craig. He looks fairly sharp in the suit, though he gives off that air of playing the heavy again. I wonder if they will dye his hair brown…. We’ve never had a blonde Bond before, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything.

Michael Bay Strikes Again!

Is no franchise of my childhood sacred? Apparently not., because today the Hollywood Reporter featured an article announcing that Michael Bay will be directing a live action feature film of the Transformers. The movie is set up at Deamworks, and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are set to write the “script.” These were the guys who “retooled” The Island (which was originally brilliantly written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen) and I can only imagine it will take them about a whopping forty five minutes to bang out this one.

I used to watch cartoon series which ran from ’84, to ’87 and had some of the awesomical robot toys all over my bedroom floor. I forced my parents, (just as we all did) to go see Transformers: The Movie which came out in ’86 and featured many unforgettable voice talents, including those of Casey Casem, Leonard Nimoy, and of course Orson Welles. This film also had a wonderfully melodramatic and cheesy tagline.

“Beyond good. Beyond evil. Beyond your wildest imagination.”

I wonder if Bay and company will decide to keep this, or if they will attempt to “kick it up a notch.” (I can’t believe I just used Emeril slang in a post)

I would actually say that this tagline could be very apropos in describing Bay’s directorial style, all it needs it a few word substitutions.

“Beyond bad. Beyond Evil. Cheesier beyond your wildest imagination. Michael Bay’s Transformers!”

I just don’t understand. Why? My first why would be directed to Dreamworks, as in why make this movie, because I don’t think that the nostalgia factor is enough to draw in the big bucks. Also eight year olds in the 80’s played with robots and toys, and eight year olds today snort Ritalin and form video game mafias. I suppose the whole idea is to reintroduce the entire concept including the line of toys and make it a whole merchandise extravaganza, but I’m still not convinced. There is no indication whether they would be working off the plot of the ’86 animated feature, or if they would start from scratch, but with Kurtzman and Orci on board I don’t have a lot of faith in the kind of story they could come up with. They used to be writers on Alias, but left the show to do feature work. Their project slate is a virtual who’s who of blockbuster studio crap, including Mission Impossible III, and the NOT long overdue Zorro sequel. Blech.

What’s really trippy to me about this project is that Steven Spielberg is set to executive produce. This is an aspect of the project that gives it potential to be kind of cool and retro. Spielberg hasn’t really done kids fare in a while and it sort of reminds me of the days gone by in the mid 80’s when he did exec produced The Land Before Time, American Tale, Gremlins 2, and yes, even Harry and the Hendersons just to name a few. I swear that man didn’t sleep once during the 80’s, and that is why he is my hero.

But then of course there is the Michael Bay factor. This will be Bay’s first kids movie and I’m curious to see how his explosions, high speed chases, and bad musical choices are adapted for the younger set. My guess is that they won’t be.

But let’s back the truck up a little bit, shall we? Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg hanging out together in the production trailer? I’ve got be honest I don’t like it. There is something unnatural about Spielberg and Bay collaborating on a film together. You don't mix your classy pilsner with cheap malt liquor. Its just wrong. In the past, Spielberg has taken on directors to be his protégés now and again; sometimes its been more successful than others. But if Bay is a new favorite of his I think I’m going to puke. Oy Vey.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Why I love Peter Jackson: Reason #57

For those of you who visit Kong is King.Net on a regular basis, you may have noticed the momentous announcement regarding the King Kong film(s) that were revealed in this recent video diary entry.

On the 123rd day of shooting, which was this past Friday, Peter Jackson the director of King Kong, members of the cast and crew, designers at WETA and even a Universal executive were interviewed about a top secret undertaking that had been going on in New Zealand. They confessed to the fact that they have been secretly shooting two sequels consecutively to follow Kong. In a similar fashion to the way the Lord of the Rings trilogy was made, the film makers reveal that they have already begun massive pre-production on the sequel, titled The Son of Kong, and have begun to do some principal photography.

The video diary then goes on to show sketches, visual FX pre-vizualization sequences, models, and even sets. We hear different cast members including Jack Black and Tom Hanks talk about how they feel relieved that they can finally let the cat out of the bag. Other members of the creative staff, express their frustration at the amount of stress that has been placed on them.

Perhaps the best sound bite from the entire video is when the Universal executive, Eddie Egan says “We had some production money stashed away, uh, for the second Chronicle of Riddick, but we’re not producing that particular picture, so happily, we had a significant budget and we’re gonna make Son of Kong with it…immediately.”

Ha! I love the rib on Chronicle of Riddick. Its almost impossible at this point to believe that they had intended to make a trilogy out of that chracter and storyline. I mean Pitch Black was fun and everything, but come on.

The video diary features Richard Taylor, the head of WETA workshop, exhibiting fully realized creature molds for monsters that have been genetically engineered by Nazis. That’s right, Nazis. Apparently Son of Kong takes place around WWII, where Kong is enlisted by the allied forces to battle against the Nazis and their minions. Have you started to shake your head in disbelief yet?

The video clip later reveals plans for the third sequel The Return of Kong: Into the Wolf’s Lair.

That was last Friday. Yesterday, it cames out on various blogs, that it was all an elaborate April Fool’s Day hoax. They had even planted a red herring April Fool’s Day post, about one of their ships sinking. Genius. You gotta love Peter Jackson and his crew. Only they would go into such detail to create faux scripts, conceptual art, models, storyboards, and several convincing interviews for a practical joke. Jackson obviously has a sense of humor and is able to make fun of himself, and the kind of film making that he has become famous for.

Into the Wolf’s Lair…..Ha!

On a side note, if you watch the video diary, you will see just how much Jackson’s appearance has changed. He was always cute in a cuddly teddy bear sort of way, but now he’s lost the huge Harry Potter glasses, and about forty pounds. The result is disconcerting; he looks a bit hollowed out in the face and dare I say… hauntingly handsome? Its very strange.

Only 255 more days to go till Kong is released!

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Weekend Roundup

I know its getting late in the day to post this up, but I’ve had a bit of a day at work.
Ok, so my first weekend out, not too shabby. Let’s compare my guesses to what actually happened.

New Yorker’s Guesses
1. Sin City $22 Million
2. Beauty Shop $18 Million
3. Guess Who $15 Million

Actual Box Office
1. Sin City $28 Million
2. Beauty Shop $13.5 Million
3. Guess Who $13 Million

Well I got all the places right, and was a bit off on the films’ weekend grosses. I was honestly not expecting Sin City to make that much money, and had allotted the extra six million to Beauty Shop and Guess Who. My closest guess in terms of money was Guess Who, which held steady at third place; I came within two million of getting that one. Beauty Shop also underperformed a lot compared to my expectations. Though the reviews have been terrible for it. I would have thought that the Barbershop fan base would have carried over to this one, but I guess they must have lost a lot of their male audience. I suppose they did market the film as a bit of Steel Magnolias meets Booty Call. Egads.

Coming in fourth place, Robots finally broke $100 Mill, though I still haven’t seen it yet. Admittedly I have asked several friends if they will go see it with me, and they have all turned me down. Sadly, it’ll probably end up being a rental for me.

This weekend is going to be an interesting one: Fever Pitch will battle it out against Sahara. I’ve heard Sahara was terrible, so terrible in fact that Clive Cussler, the author of the novel it was based on, wanted to sue Paramount for ruining his story. But then again the whole DaVinci code thing has been doing well, I mean look at National Treasure, it raked in quite the pretty penny. Fever Pitch on the other hand, has a good angle because it might draw in both women who like romantic comedies and Jimmy Fallon, as well as some male die hard sox fans, who would even endure Drew Barrymore for a couple scenes with Johnny Damon. This movie was actually altered greatly when it looked like the Sox were going to win the series, and they had to wait until the series ended to do the final changes of the script.

We’ll see how well I do next week.

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