Variety‘s Justin Chang is calling Neill Blomkamp‘s District 9 (Sony, 8.14) “an enjoyably disgusting sci-fier set in and around a rubble-strewn war zone where extraterrestrial refugees have taken up indefinite residence. Better conceived and executed than one might expect from a low-budget rebound project, this grossly engrossing speculative fiction bears Jackson’s blood-splattered fingerprints but also heralds first-time feature director Blomkamp as a nimble talent to watch.
“Shot and set in Blomkamp’s native South Africa, District 9 imagines a present-day scenario in which humans and aliens are forced into an uneasy co-existence and, predictably, bring out the violent worst in each other. As scripted by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, the result reps a remarkably cohesive hybrid of creature feature and satirical mockumentary that elaborates on the helmer’s 2005 short Alive in Jo’burg, borrows plot points from 1988’s Alien Nation and takes its emotional cues from E.T..”
This may sound a settled issue in the U.S. and Europe, but The Punch‘s Sam Cleveland is announcing the death of newspaper movies to his Australian readers. He’s right, of course. We’ll never see another one.
“No longer will Hollywood stars loosen their ties and roll up their sleeves as scoop-hungry newspaper reporters,” he writes. “No more will veteran character actors bring knowing splashes of avuncular charm to the stock role of the grizzled editor. [And] no longer will the movie news be broken in print.”
State of Play opened in Australia in late May but Cleveland only recently saw it, which explains why he’s how stating that Kevin McDonald‘s film “marks the end of an era simply because 21st century audiences assume, correctly or not, that news now happens online.”
“While In the Loop is a highly disciplined inquiry into a very serious subject, it is also, line by filthy line, scene by chaotic scene, by far the funniest big-screen satire in recent memory. The hand-held camera work, the hectic jump-cuts and the grubby visuals may resemble television, but the restless pacing and drab appearance serve a clear aesthetic purpose.
“At the end you may feel a little unclean, which is also evidence of director-writer Armando Iannucci‘s satirical rigor. The people in whose hands momentous decisions rest are shown — convincingly and in squirming detail — to be duplicitous, vindictive, small-minded and untrustworthy. But why should they be any different from the rest of us?” — from A.O. Scott‘s N.Y. Times review, which has been posted three days before the 7.31 opening.
I didn’t even know about the online mass rebellion/popular turnoff movement against Katherine Heigl until last weekend. I know that Sarah Ball‘s summary piece in Newsweek seemed unduly harsh and brash so I stopped reading it. Then Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone sent it to me today. This time I read it through to the end. I then checked around to see how many others are piling on. And it does seem as if there’s something going on, “seem” being the operative term.
It still seems like too much. I don’t care for Heigl’s performance in The Ugly Truth either but I don’t want to see her killed or run out of the business. And I wonder how many people feel this way given the $31 million that The Ugly Truth, Heigl’s latest and most detestable film thus far, has made since last Friday. What’s clear is that it’s awfully damn easy these days to go from being loved/admired/enjoyed to being loathed/depised/dumped on. You’re flying high in April, shot down in May.
Anatomorphex, run by Robert De Vine, is a mid-size model shop located in North Hollywood. The InFilm guys took us there early this afternoon for a two-hour visit. It didn’t look like much at first, but the latex models and authentic facecasts were fascinating to study and take pictures of. (Click for video clip and two more pics after the jump.)
Yesterday morning’s rip of Deadline Hollywod Daily‘s Nikki Finke by MCN’s David Poland was brutally phrased, to say the least. “Fact is, whether I like it or not, Nikki is the Niche Winchell in this tiny little world of show business insiders,” Poland said. “She lies often, gets it wrong almost as often, but always thinks she is truthful and right. And I do believe that she really does believe that. Such is the nature of the sociopath.
“The glory of the professional, morality-free gossip is that burnt bridges mean little, since there is always someone else there with a can of gas and some matches to hand you…since you are so happy to take it, spread it, and light it.
“But this is a small town. And when the gossip is too exposed — when everyone is paying attention — the dynamics of how people use gossips change. The price of getting caught feeding the monster gets higher and higher.
“The advantage that Walter Winchell had — aside from an era with a slower news cycle — a national consumer platform. His smears really could damage the public image of talent. Not so much Nikki. She is more the ugly mean girl with money in showbiz high school.
“And I don’t mean that as a comment on Nikki’s looks. She is a perfectly nice looking woman. What I mean to say is that she is the kind of mean girl who uses the power she gathers from someone else’s power (in high school, her parents’ money…in Hollywood, targeted information from powerful people) to feel better about herself by hurting others and feeling powerful in her own right as a result.
“And the people who gather to feed this manipulation? Weasels. Every one. Unless it is your job to service someone else’s bad behavior — in which case, you have my sympathy — if you feed the cycle, all the while snickering about how you can control The Nikki, you are a small as the tool you use.”
I feel like a Tryceratops watching King Kong and that huge Tyrannosaurus Rex duke it out in Act Two of King Kong. It starts around the 4:25 mark.
“My goal was to make a film that was just as funny as my other two films, but which also dug a lot deeper and was not afraid to be more emotional,” Judd Apatow has told Roger Ebert. “We didn’t put anything in the film just to be funny — it also had to get at the truth of this type of situation. It was very scary because I am so used to letting the laugh count guide me as to whether or not the movie is working well. Sometimes this movie is working really well when there are no laughs. That’s new for me. I prefer to hear noises from the crowd wall-to-wall to make me sleep better at night.”
Apatow also says he’s always had “a good ear for writing in the voice of the comics I was writing jokes for, but it took me decades to believe my own point of view would be interesting to people. I could never believe that comics would allow me into their world. The hard part about writing this movie was the fact that the comedians I wrote for were very nice to me. Nothing dramatic ever happened.”
There’s a startling declaration in Paul Bond‘s 7.27 Hollywood Reporter story about Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s home-video 3D remarks last Friday. The DreamWorks animation honcho said that 3-D TV is “so far beyond” what it was just nine months ago, and that “monitors are shipping now and will be in stores by early next year.” But that’s not the popper.
Katzenberg said consumers will have to wear special glasses when these TVs arrive but — here it is — “autostereo displays will negate that need ‘in a handful of years.'”
In other words, by 2015 or thereabouts stores will be selling quality-level 3-D TVs that you won’t have to wear glasses for. I don’t want to think about the cost of these TVs, and you know that quality issues will be bothersome for at least a couple of years. It always take a while to iron the bugs out.