There’s a funny caption that needs to go with this photo, which accompanies Michael Cieply‘s readable but slightly ho-hum Comic-Con story in the 7.27 N.Y. Times. Who would’ve thought when Jabba the Hut first appeared in Return of the Jedi 24 years ago that he would gradually become an icon of…naahh, not today.
The high-def trailer for Susanne Bier‘s Things We Lost in the Fire (Dreamamount, 10.26). It’s a working-through-tragedy story about the best friend of a dead guy — a dad who had a wife and two or three kids — slowly edging into intimacy of one form or another (perhaps not sexual) with his widow. One viewing and you can tell that Benicio del Toro (i.e., the best friend) is giving one of his most appealing performances — his most accessible since Traffic. Halle Berry is the widow; David Duchovny is the deceased ex.
Come 12.18 you’ll have the option of paying between $55 and $70 dollars for the Blade Runner Five-Disc Ultimate Collectors’ Edition DVD set from Warner Home Video, and you’ll get no less than five versions of Ridley Scott‘s 1982 sci-fi noir. There’s something insane about a package like this. You don’t have to be a Blade Runner obsessive living in your parents’ basement to want to own one, but it would help.
The thing for us level-headed types to do, of course, is buy or rent a stand-alone of Scott’s all-new, restored and remastered “final cut” with added and extended scenes, added lines, new and cleaner special effects and all new 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio track…and forget the rest.
The five-movie set includes (a) Scott’s latest cut (what’s he going to do — improve it again in three or four years?), (b) the 1982 Ladd Co. cut — the truncated theatrical version with that awful Harrison Ford/Deckard narration and has a “happy ending” getaway scene, (c) the “international ” seen on U.S. home video, laser disc and cable releases up to 1992, (d) the 1992 Director’s Cut version sans narration, no “happy ending” finale plus the “unicorn” sequence that suggests Deckard may be a replicant, and (e) something called a “work print” version (altered opening scene, no Deckard narration until the the end, no “unicorn” sequence, no “happy ending,” etc.). Plus a documentary called “Dangerous Days: Making of Blade Runner.”
Bidisha, a British author and art critic, is claiming in a Guardian piece that it’s the gossip publications and not the whacked-out celebs who are the true orchestrators of pain and meltdown and ruination. And not so much the publications as the women who work for them.
“The media that deal in pop freakouts don’t report these stories so much as create them,” she says. “If Britney Spears has had any kind of meltdown, who can blame her? She is followed wherever she goes by stalker-violators: some have cameras and call themselves paparazzi; some have notebooks and call themselves journalists; some have vaginas and call themselves concerned women of the world. All relish the harassment that they perpetrate.
“It is women (writers and readers) who are enjoying and encouraging the exposure of Lohan’s drink and drugs hell or Spears’s identity crisis, while saving space for a snide comment about their outfits. It is women who are getting off on other women’s difficulties, while men in power carouse, abuse (and self-abuse) with impunity.
“Who are the real ‘bad girls’? Not Lohan or Spears. The gossip magazines may be as punchy as a dose of Splenda, but they offer evidence that women have obediently taken on the values of a woman-hating world. We must recognise the part women play in the degradation of women: the ultimate betrayal.”
Wait…Todd Haynes‘ I’m Not There, the long-awaited Bob Dylan mystique movie with six actors inhabiting Dylan at different life-stages and incarnations, is going to open on two screens at Manhattan’s Film Forum on 11.21? That’s what The Reeler‘s Stu Van Airsdale is saying. Doesn’t this news constitute a kind of advance review?
The Simpsons Movie made $28,689,000 last night and is looking at a projected $72,102,000 for the weekend. The tracking projected only $30 to $40 million, but this often happens with kid movies. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry will come in second with $19,291,000….off 44%. Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix will earn $16,151,00 by Sunday night — off 60%, at $240 million now, probably won’t reach $300 million. Hairspray, off 44% from last weekend’s opener, will make $15,402,000.
Transformers — $10,965,000, now at $284 millon, will crest $300 million. No Reservations will make $10,937,000, or about $4500 a print in 2400 theatres…dead. Ratatouille will earn $6,848,000 — now at $179,000,000, looking at a strong push to make $200 million. Live Free or Die Hard — $4,905,000, now at $125 million. I Know Who Killed Me — $3,620,000 projected by Sunday night. Who’s Your Caddy?— $2,965,000.
Moliere died…$28,000…a little over $4000 a print. Arctic Tale is dead also — $17,000, four theatres, $4300 a print, $24,000 cume. Evan Almighty‘s cume is at $96 million..trying to hang onto theatres so it can clear $100 million. Sicko did another millon this week…$21.3 million so far, $1200 a print. Indie films are getting killed this year. All these equity funds…it’s a glut…most of the upcoming indie pics are going to get hurt or die, and it’s going to get worse.
I was talking to a nice-enough twentysomething guy from Thousand Oaks before last Monday night’s Bourne Ultimatum screening. He doesn’t work in the business and it was clear soon enough he wasn’t a film buff, but he seemed an intelligent, well-groomed adult. So I asked him at one point, “Have you seen Once? One of the best films of the summer, the best date movie in years?” Not only had the guy not seen it — he hadn’t heard of it.
I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing for a second or two — the guy’s not into movies at all (probably more into ESPN and hanging with his friends) and therefore his CRM-114 discriminator is blocking the transmissions. And yet he seemed alert and conscientious, and was very keen on seeing Matt Damon whup ass so he obviously pays attention to the movie world to some degree. I decided that if a guy like this hasn’t even heard of a movie as good and spirit-lifting as Once, something’s not right.
Since opening in mid May, Once — a low-budget musical about a platonic love affair between a Dublin street musician (Glenn Hansard) and a Slovakian singer-pianist (Marketa Irglova) who works as a flower girl and a house cleaner, and who’s also a mother of a little girl — has become a rousing indie-level success. Made for $150,000 U.S., give or take, it’s grossed $5,541,181 as of 7.22.07, according to the IMDB. And it’s still in theatres after nine weeks of play because it keeps selling tickets — not in massive numbers but steadily…hanging in there.
And now Fox Searchlight, which acquired Once for $600,000 last February, is hoping that business will increase from a fresh surge of TV ads (I saw one a few days ago) and from the attention that Hansard and Iglova will be attracting from their modest Swell Season tour over the next few days — a 7.28 performance at Chicago’s Old Town theatre, an August 1st performance at L.A’s El Rey, an August 4th show at San Francisco’s Noe Valley Ministry — along with three talk-show appearances on Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson and Carson Daly. (Hansard and Irglova will also be performing and schmoozing at a small L.A. industry event this Tuesday evening.)
And yet there’s something slightly whacked about that $5,541,181. The bottom line is that the vast majority of U.S moviegoers aren’t interested or haven’t heard or aren’t able to see Once because it isn’t playing nearby. A movie this honest and touching and transcendent should be doing better. It should at least be topping out in the $15 to $20 million range, and not looking at a push to $10 million. Are main- stream auds really that shallow, that uncomprehending? This is a film that gets people where they live when they see it. Once is the musical of the year and yet the callow, repetitive, emotionally coarse Hairspray will make about $15,402,000 this weekend.
Every so often you have to throw water in your face and resign yourself to the reality of life in the U.S. of A. No movie can become even a mid-sized hit in this country without stars or broad-ass selling points or a big marketing budget. Apparently the combination of Irish accents, broken hearts, beat-up guitars and fixing vaccuum cleaners on the side doesn’t play to the American dream, which is always about challenge, winning, beating the odds or at least being cool. On the other hand I’m thinking of a line that Jose Ferrer said to Peter O’Toole in that leadup-to-the-torture-scene in Lawrence of Arabia — “I am surrounded by cattle.”