Nikki Finke has filed a follow-up about Mark Ebner‘s report about Scientologists allegedly buying up Mission: Impossible III tickets by the barrel-load at Hollywood’s Arclight theatre. Finke has written that “an ArcLight employee did confirm to me just now that ‘people have been buying dozens of tickets at a time’ for M:I:3, which is definitely an extraordinary sales pattern for the movie theater (or any theater, for that matter).” Ebner’s first report came from “a reliable industry dude” who eyewitnessed the massive Scientology ticket purchase at the ArcLight last Friday. He wasn’t able to get an Arclight spokesperson to comment one way or the other, but he posted what he had last weekend.
The last time Barry Levinson and Robin Williams made something good together, it was Good Morning, Vietnam back in ’87. The last truly high-grade film Levinson directed was Wag the Dog in ’97. The last really good film Williams acted in was Insomnia in ’01. I mention all this because I’ve been told by a friend that a new Levinson-Williams collaboration has turned out quite well. It’s called Man of the Year, a political comedy-drama produced by Morgan Creek. It’s about the host of a late-night political talk show (Williams) who decides to run for President, and wins, and then has to sort out an ethical dilemma after his election. Chris Walken, Laura Linnney, Jeff Goldblum and Lewis Black costar. A Universal spokesperson told me it doesn’t look like an ’06 release (“more likely ’07…they only just finished shooing three weeks ago”). My source, truth be told, tends to be a little nebulous-generous in her estimations of new films. She was also pretty happy with The Sentinel when she was it well in advance, so take this with a grain. But it would be great for both Levinson and Williams if what my friend is saying about their film turns out to be true.
“I read the World Trade Center script a few weeks ago, and Andrea Berloff‘s comment — ‘it’s a boy down the well saga with no politics’ — is pretty much the entire film in a nutshell. The guys (Nic Cage, Michael Pena) are buried under the rubble by the end of the first act, and remain there for over an hour of the film. In many ways, the structure is like that of Apollo 13, cutting away from the guys and their fear of losing their families and wives, and then to wives on the outside, freaking out and not getting any answers. Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s character is showier in this light than Maria Bello‘s, as she is pregnant and on edge much more throughout. There was a bookend device that I really hope gets tossed, something akin to the one used in Saving Private Ryan, putting it in a ‘now’ context that [struck me as] irritating. The only spots where it could become anything resembling an ‘Oliver Stone movie’ is when the script takes these slightly trippy routes of surrealism, as Cage’s and Pena’s characters slip in and out of delirium thinking about the last time they saw their wives. These could be played out as interesting fantasy elements. One thing is certain — this won’t be the ‘collapse of the towers’ film many may expect. In fact, the actual collapse occurs from the guys’ point of view in the lobby, amidst mass confusion while they consider the explosion to be a car bomb. And it’s a little while after that where we get a shot of the towers collapsing on CNN or something whern some character is watching the tube.” — Kris Tapley
I didn’t mean to misunderstand, but Josh Lucas is not going to get his head cut off (and some FX prosthetics guy down the road is not going to have to create a severed Lucas head) for a movie about murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl , which will be based on the Bernard-Henri Levy book “Who Killed Daniel Pearl?” Lucas will play a guy investigating Pearl’s killing. Kip Williams (The Door in the Floor) will direct for Beacon Pictures next fall, working from a script by Peter Landesman that uses a fictionalized Pearl character. (Beacon reportedly doesn’t want to infringe on a film project based on a book by the journalist’s widow, Marianne Pearl). Pic will shoot Morocco, Dubai, India, Libya and Tunisia.
“Let’s be honest: There is no theatrical movie business any more, and there hasn’t been for a long time. Except for the biggest Hollywood movies and sleeper independent films, theatrical is a loss leader. You get reviews and publicity and generally lose money or break even if you’re lucky. It’s all about DVDs and the other so-called ancillaries.” — publicist, public speaker and streetcorner provocateur Reid Rosefelt responding to Robert Cort‘s “Straight to DVD” op-ed piece in Saturday’s New York Times.
Let no one suggest that the new website for Paramount’s World Trade Center (Paramount, 8.9) isn’t extremely tasteful. You gotta figure that Oliver Stone‘s movie will be in this groove also. That piano music on the site’s soundtrack seems to be promising this. And God help us. Allah, make it not so. “Delicacy” is not what anyone wants from Stone. You go to a Stone film, you’re looking for probing, provocation and the jangling of nerves. I’m still flinching over screenwriter Andrea Berloff ‘s comment that the film — the story of a couple of firemen, John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), who got trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on 9.11.01 — is “a boy down a well saga with no politics…this is a small story…we’re in the hole with these two guys for practically the whole movie.” I’m thinking right now of Leonard Frey‘s “Harold” character in The Boys in the Band, and his proclamation, “Give me librium or give me meth.” To me, Stone is essentially a meth-head who’s been straightjacketed into making an apparently librium-minded 9/11 movie (I don’t mean boring or low-energy — I mean not edgy or jittery or politically provocative) because he had to somehow demonstrate his commercial viability after the failure of Alexander . (Apologies to Andrea Peyser for zoning out earlier today and using her name instead of Berloff’s.)
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