“It’s being run like a war. I mean, we’re in a battle with these corporations who want to maintain their position. They don’t want to give an inch on this, and we’re out to upset the apple cart.” — Michael Moore quoted in Kevin Sack‘s 6.24 N.Y. Times piece about the Sicko director making a big media splash in Washington, D.C. in order to keep the health-care ball in the air.
A YouTube clip of the finale of the final Sopranos episode. I’m suddenly ambivalent about the bullet in the back of the head due to the last shot being a close-up of Tony from the front. If “Members Only” was about to pop him, why didn’t Tony turn his head to the right just a split second before? Wouldn’t he spot aggressive movement out of the corner of his right eye? This National Lampoon Scarface parody clip is pretty funny.
A friend suspects that Evan Almighty‘s numbers may drop today (“word of mouth isn’t good, sequels always drop Friday to Saturday”), meaning it may not even do $33 million for the weekend. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer will end up in second place with almost $21 million, down 54% from last weekend. And 1408 is doing okay with a projected Sunday- night tally of $19,295,000.
Ocean’s 13 will make $11,300,000 or the weekend, down 43%. (It’ll just make $100 million, over and out.) Knocked Up will do $10,532,000 this weekend, off 25%, for a total of $108 million. Pirates 3 is projecting $6,828,000 for the weekend, down 45%…it’s ending up with $300 million, give or take. Surf’s Up will make $6,500,000 by Sunday evening. Shrek the Third will hit $5,535,000 — it’s crossing the $307 million mark. Nancy Drew will end up with $4,596,000.
A Mighty Heart wil make $3,652,000, or just under 2700 a print…a disaster. I guess it’s the subject matter plus a bad call to open it in the summer. Doesn’t make sense; this a very strong film.
Sicko made $24,000 yesterday at the Leows Lincoln Plaza — $79,000 projected for the weekend.
La Vie en Rose expanded very well…from 70 to 116 theatres…654,000…5700 a print….pretty good. Once will make $509,000 in 121 theatres this weekend for a $3.8 million (or is it $3.2 million?) tally. It could end up with $8 to $10 million at the end of the road, especially with the possibility of an awards-season bump. You Kill Me will make $233,000 in 67 theatres, estimating 6300 a print…soft.
Right after this morning’s 10 a.m. Ratatouille screening at the Arclight, I slipped into the theatre across the hall playing Evan Almighty. It’s tanking in relation to expectations, but I wanted to see for myself how many bodies were inside. There were ten people in the seats — a family of five, a couple, and three singles. Holy shit, I said to myself.
I went out and asked a female usher, “If a film is doing pretty well on its opening weekend, how many people usually show up for the first show of the day on Saturday?” The 11 am show, I explained. The first Saturday show draws about 50 or 60 people, she replied. For a first-weekend film that’s doing well, she meant. Of course, a theatre located on Hollywood and Cahuenga isn’t going to draw many Christian red-state types, and the Arclight’s prices are probably going to scare off parents with big families. Still…
Brad Bird‘s Ratatouille (Disney/Pixar, 6.29) is, in all ways but one, a sublime experience. Call it a gifted-underdog-fights- the-odds fable (it’s about a French rat named Remy who manages to become the most admired chef in Paris) and a very entertaining souffle by way of inspired writing, delightful wit, great voice-acting and eyeball-popping digital animation. It’s not a great film, but it satisfies and then some.
The visuals are so good and dazzling that Ratatouille delivers a perpetual throb sensation within your moviegoing heart. See it for any reason that comes to mind — the reviews alone have been highly persuasive — but absolutely don’t miss the drop-dead sumptuousness of each and every shot, cut, backdrop and camera move. Hats off to Pixar supervising animator Mark Walsh, character designer Luis Grane, character developer Andrew Gordon and all the grunt-level animators who did what they were told.
A story about fate, struggle, luck and love, Ratatouille is another brisk and bouncy animated heart comedy with another egalitarian theme — “anybody can cook.” What makes it special for an animated wing-ding is that it has the world-view of a 55 year-old gourmand with a seasoning of old-soul wisdom. The wise and brilliant writing is by Bird, Jim Capobianco, Emily Cook, Kathy Greenberg and Jan Pinkava.
Ratatouiille is such a scrumptious foodie ride that I was thinking halfway through that it’s going to make things a little bit tougher for Scott Hicks‘ No Reservations (a remake of the beloved Mostly Martha) which costars Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart and comes out on 7.27.
Like most commercial-minded animated features, Ratatouille has the frisky, frizzy energy of a gifted 12 year-old and one of those “ohh, man, we are looking to entertain the shit of you!” attitudes. And we all know you can’t get away from that kind of presentation if you’re looking to deliver mass-market orgasms and stay rich while doing so.
I went in expecting a thermonuclear blowout and I came out…uhm, definitely pleased. Not floating on helium, but happy. I’m not sure if it’s the best Brad Bird flick ever made (I’m extremely partial to The Incredibles) but it is not, as a certain bigmouth has proclaimed, “the best American film of 2007 to date.” So far it’s a three-way tie for that title — Zodiac, No Country for Old Men and that early-fall drama I saw four days ago that I still can’t blab about. Ratatouille is a close fourth behind these three. It is obviously a contender for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but then you knew that.
My reservation is this: I wish Bird and John Lasseter and the Pixar guys had summoned the balls to throw out the expected commercial family-flick shtick and made a deeper, more complex and more “adult” film — something less anxious to please, a little braver and riskier by being a touch more complex.
I realize that laser-sharp digital animation and whirylbird camerawork from guys determined to live flush lifestyles means that the story has to follows certain formulaic guidelines, but somebody has to break the mold some day, and that will mean not automatically siphoning the material through the rubber hose of an “animated kids movie.”
“I went to a screening of Werner Herzog‘s Rescue Dawn fighting off one of those desperately lonely, uncertain states we all find ourselves in at times. Two hours later, I came out of the theater flying, simply too in love with life to fret over some ground-level personal nonsense. Herzog’s film about torture and starvation is the feel-good movie of the summer.” –from Steven Boone‘s review on Matt Zoller Seitz‘s “House Next Door” site.
It’s official — Evan Almighty has tanked in relation to earlier box-office projections. It did around $11 million yesterday in 3600 theaters, and therefore won’t take it much more than $33 or $34 million by Sunday night, which is significantly lower than the $40 million weekend projection that Universal and other handicappers were putting out a few days ago.
Every big-timer who contributed to this film in some significant way needs to drive out to the desert and hide out for a week or two. I would if I were in their shoes. I’d be packing my stuff right friggin’ now, and I’d definitely bring along one of those khaki fisherman’s hats and a couple of pairs of Ray-Bans.
Has Ratatouille snagged the Best Animated Feature Oscar before DreamWorks’ and Jerry Seinfeld‘s Bee Movie (opening 11.2) even gets out of the gate? I’m seeing the rat movie an hour and 17 minutes from now at the Arclight, and the excitement levels are fairly high. The Hollywood Reporter‘s Gregg Kilday says Ratatouille “isn’t necessarily a shoo-in [at this stage], but by summer’s end it’s likely to have established itself as the animation front-runner.”
“When other people in the junket rooms would just nod politely, do whatever was asked of them by the studio, and play ball (myself included), Andy Jones would speak up, occasionally get thrown out, but always manage to sneak back in.
“I still don’t know what happened at the double-junket for Jeepers Creepers 2 and Cabin Fever, but after there was all this chatter going on with him finally being shown the door, he was at my roundtable fifteen minutes later asking his questions and going to town like nothing happened.” — from Mark Wheaton‘s farewell piece to Andy piece on CHUD — warm, affectionate, well-written.
And here’s a Variety obit by Diane Garrett — three wafer-thin graphs about Jones’ death and career history, and five graphs exploring how A Mighty Heart, which Jones was watching the night before last as he suffered his fatal heart attack, has stirred up more than its share of trouble and tumult. If Garrett had worked it a bit more, she could have thrown in an assessment about Angelina Jolie‘s career curve.
Seriously, the piece reads as if a Variety editor told her, “This guy Jones didn’t accomplish enough and wasn’t important enough to warrant a regular obit so make something out of the fact that his heart gave out when he was watching A Mighty Heart….that’s a catchy angle.”
“Relationships I thought were going to last didn’t last. And to tell you the truth, the past five years, the older I get the shorter the relationships get, and now it’s like a game of musical chairs. There’s nobody left. It’s sad.” — Unmarried psychologist Dave Mahony, 42, speaking to N.Y. Times writer Allen Salkin in a piece about middle-aged guys (some nudging 50) living in Fire Island house shares and cruising chicks and sipping Heineken from plastic cups at crowded parties. Mahony’s observation is poignant and well-sculpted, like something John Guare might have written for a play about older guys whose string has run out.
As of 6:15 pm today, the people running the E! website couldn’t be bothered to post even a small-type mention of the passing of Andy Jones, a guy who worked and wailed for them pretty well in his heyday. He did a fair amount of on-camera work also. Jones had issues, okay, but he deserves at least a modest farewell piece. But I guess that wouldn’t attract readers, huh? Really classy, guys. Hats off.
“Despite its $200 million-plus budget, the presence of Steve Carrel and an aggressive campaign aimed at Christians, it appears that this story of a modern day Noah will generate a weekend gross that is only in the $35 to $38 million range. I’m told that the three major tracking services have the movie at $35 million or $36 million, but one studio has the picture at $38 million and another says that it gets to $40 million tops. If this number holds, and keep in mind that it is a preliminary number, Evan Almighty will have a hard time getting to $100 million domestic. That would be a major disaster for Universal.” — Moguls columnist Steve Mason in a 6.22 posting.