In honor (once again) of John Scheinfeld‘s Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, which just played to enthused auds at the Seattle Film but has been snubbed by the L.A. Film Festival for some curious reason, three of Harry’s songs — “You’re Breakin’ My Heart“, “Maybe” and “Gotta Get Up“.
For those of you who never saw that 1978 “Saturday Night Live” skit that asked what might have happened if Superman/Clark Kent’s Krypton meteor had landed in a village in Germany in the 1930s instead of the Kent farm in Smallville…here‘s a transcript. The idea was that Superman’s gullibly nationalistic philosophy (i.e., equating “truth” and “justice” with “the American way”) would have conformed to the realities of Nazi Germany, and he therefore would have been Uberman/Klaus Kent, and he would have been able to easily identify Jews-in-hiding with his x-ray vision, etc. I wonder if this bit is viewable on one of those SNL DVDs? I’m assuming it is.
It was that silver nitrate black-and-white noir thing…right? The Hollywood Reporter’s 35th annual Key Art Awards ceremony last Friday night gave Dimension Films’ Sin City four trophies — for best action adventure trailer, best teaser trailer, best home entertainment-consumer audiovisual, and some kind of special recognition for “character banners designed for the film”…whatever that means.
“‘Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman’ reads the title of a piece that wins Lois Lane the Pulitzer Prize in Superman Returns, the latest bigscreen revival of comicdom’s strongest and fastest hero. Not only is she wrong in the context of the story (not to mention real life), but she’ll be wrong in the court of public opinion once the world gets a look at this most grandly conceived and sensitively drawn Superman saga. Sure to rate with aficionados alongside Spider-Man 2 and, for many, Batman Begins on the short list of best superhero spectaculars, pic more than justifies director Bryan Singer’s decision to jump ship from the X-Men franchise, and will pull down stratospheric B.O. around the globe.” — from Todd McCarthy‘s review in Variety. (The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt likes it also.)
(a) Lobby of Seattle’s W Hotel; (b) Good old early ’60s/Elvis Presley icon; (c) Snapped from confines of space needle restaurant where Golden Needles were passed out early this afternoon Sunday, 6.18, 1:35 pm; (d) Old poster image promising tour of Seattle’s shady district; (e) Mexican restaurant near Pike Street.
“Top-tier stars…stay on top by being true to their personas. We pay $10 to see Will Smith or Julia Roberts precisely because they don’t surprise us. It’s not that they’re playing themselves. It’s just that the force of their personalities swamps everything else. They’re more than actors — they’re brands. And yet Johnny Depp, 43, is almost pathologically unpredictable. He can be bizarre, hilarious, unsettling — even annoying. But he is never the same. He’s the anti-Tom Cruise. ‘Nothing against Tom, but Johnny may be a bigger star now,’ says director John Waters, who cast Depp in 1990’s Cry-Baby. ‘ Nobody is sick of Johnny Depp .'” — from Sean Smith‘s Newsweek profile of the Pirates of the Caribbean star. The piece includes a riff on the film itself. To me, Smith’s standout remark sounds thin: Pirates 2, he says, “promises to be a welcome blast of sunshine in a season when Cruise has crashed and burned, and The Da Vinci Code has proved to be a joyless blockbuster.” A goddam sunshine movie that’s good because it’s unlikely to resemble and/or repeat the box-office experience of M:I:3 or The DaVinci Code?
Winners of the 32nd annual Seattle Film Festival awards (called the “Golden Needles“) were announced about 90 minutes ago, and the audience award winner for Best Film went to Michel Hazanavicius‘ OSS 117: Nest of Spies , the French-made espionage spoof that’s been a big hit in France since opening there in early May. The audience award for Best Documentary went to Rickie Stern and Annie Sundberg‘s The Trials of Darryl Hunt.
There were several other awards I don’t have time to mention, but the jury bestowed a “special mention” upon Linas Phillips‘ Walking to Werner, a doc about a guy who’s half-imbued and half-weird (Phillips) walking all the way from Seattle to Los Angeles as a kind of tribute to director Werner Herzog. I respected Phillips for doing the walk and for shooting a mildly diverting, half-interesting record of his journey, but he is one weird cat and so is the movie.
Carl Colapert‘s G.I. Jesus, which I described last week as “the first truly exceptional Cinevegas film I’ve seen”, has been handed the Cinevegas Grand Jury Prize. The hander-outers were director Mark Pellington (Mothman Prophecies ) and film critics Jean Oppenheimer and F.X. Feeney. The negligible Park won the Audience Award, 5 Up 2 Down won a Special Award for Cinematography, and two films were given Homrable Mention status — The Favor (a pretty good ABC After-School Special film) and The 4th Dimension (missed it, heard pretty good things, would have watched if on DVD it Cinevegas (a) had DVDs to loan to critics and (b) had facilities for watching them).
(a) Following yesterday afternoon’s Capitol Hill-area screening of Eric Byler‘s Americanese and a q & a session moderated by N.Y. Times industry reporter Sharon Waxman, which didn’t make time for audience questions and left a few people grumbling as a result — Saturday, 6.17.06, 6:45 pm; (b) Looking eastward toward Bellevue , snapped from rear deck of a tres ritzy home belonging to a University of Washington supporter who hosted an early evening party for Americanese and Seattle-based author Shawn Wong, whose novel “American Knees” was the basis of the film; (c) Sycamore-lined street on way over to Americanese/”American Knees” party; (d) leftover photo taken last Wednesday night in Las Vegas suburb of Hendersonville.
Forbes has reported that Adam Sandler made $29 million between June ’05 and June ’06. But a new year has begun, so to speak, and Adam needs to start working on the next $29 million . That’s where the fans fit in. We need to go out and support Sandler’s Click (Columbia, 6.23) to keep the bandwagon rolling.
Obviously we aren’t obliged to do this, but shouldn’t we? Don’t we owe it to the guy? Sandler needs to keep rolling in clover, and he isn’t going to be pulling down the monster bucks forever — he’s working within a limited window (as we all are), and now’s the time.
I’m not saying Superman Returns is Son of Poseidon, far from it, but last Thursday’s (6.15) NRG numbers are indicating a fairly good but less-than-phenomenal July 4th holiday opening. Definite interest was at 38%, but two weeks before opening a tentpole movie of this size should be closer to 50% at this stage. (Pirates of the Caribbean‘s definite interest was at 67%, and that’s three weeks out.) Superman Returns had a first-choice rating of 9%, but at this stage of the game that number should be in the high teens. Warner Bros. has a nine-day window — Wednesday, 6.28 to Thursday July 6 — to make all the Superman dough they can before Pirates crashes through on Friday, July 7. Whatever Superman Returns does during its three-day weekend period (6.30 to 7.2) will be halved the following weekend. The domestic goal is to make $100 million over the first seven days, and then multiply that by at least 2.5 before heading off to DVD. Anything less will be considered a shortfall. I hear this, I hear this…and on some level it’s not right. Superman Returns is a true heart movie — Pirates, sight unseen, is a jackoff eye-mascara 16-ounce-can-of-Budweiser movie.