Forget yesterday’s $27 million projection for The Golden Compass — now the weekend projection is down to $25 million and change due to a weak 16% Saturday uptick. To what extent, if any, was the Catholic League’s urging that Catholic families avoid this film a wipeout factor? To what extent was it ineffective marketing? To what extent was it the Nicole Kidman/zero sympatico factor? To what extent was it due to audiences being sick of the same old oatmeal? As Jim Verniere‘s 12.7 Boston Herald review began, “”Ready for ‘Harriet Potter and the Chronicles of the Lord of the Golden Compass’?”
Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow‘s Walk Hard (Sony, 12.21) is my kind of genre spoof — dry, smart, referenced. I chuckled here and there but mostly I smiled at it, and that’s not a bad thing. I absolutely love that this film doesn’t pander or wallow. It’s not trying to make eight year-olds or the ding-dongs who loved Are We Done Yet? roll in the aisles. It’s into the old-time spirit and attitude of SCTV.
John C. Reilly in Walk Hard
Here’s that clip from the first ten minutes of the film.
Truth be told, Walk Hard is one of those comedies that plays a tiny bit funnier when you’re thinking about it the next day than when you’re sitting there in the seat. You know it’s a clever, high-end thing, but at the same time you’re not exactly howling. I’m not much of a laugher at anything, but I love comedies aimed at people who’ve graduated from high school with at least a B-minus average. Either you’re on the wavelength or you’re not.
The only question I have about the box-office is whether star John C. Reilly has the magnetism to bring in the big crowds.
Nobody would ever mistake Nikki Finke for a cineaste, but she was wrong when she wrote yesterday that Walk Hard “spoofs just about every music biopic ever made.” It mainly spoofs one movie — Walk The Line — with some Ray gags sprinkled in.
Before the voting late this afternoon among the Boston and Los Angeles film critics, it needs to be recognized that the resulting announcements (combined with tomorrow afternoon’s calls from the New York Film Critics Circle) are very nearly do-or-die verdicts for Joe Wright‘s Atonement.
It became apparent to me on Friday that this very well-crafted romantic tragedy (which I personally like and admire) is on the ropes, in part due to four significant dings. And to compete or least stand abreast with No Country for Old Men, Atonement will have to nab at least one Best Picture trophy today or tomorrow. If it succeeds, fine…off to the races. But if it gets shut out, it’ll be uh-oh time.
Of course, Atonement can still win the Best Picture Oscar if the L.A., Boston and New York critics shine it on. Academy voters can be myopic when so inclined and will vote by their own standards and prejudices, but a Best Picture contender has to have at least a little cultural fortification — tangible, verifiable support from outside-the-industry knowledgables — and without the imprimatur of having been named Best Picture by the big critics groups it’ll be hard (not impossible but certainly difficult) for Atonement to sustain cred and momentum from mid-December to mid-January.
That’s why I wrote on Friday that the Best Picture situation “may well be decided” by Monday afternoon. To repeat: “I’m not saying that the Atonement shortfall (if and when it happens on Sunday and Monday) will decide things absolutely — obviously it won’t — but it will nonetheless cast a certain light and define the situation in a way that will make the pro-Atonement argument a little harder to sell.”
“Experience, like nastiness, may also prove a dead end in the year ahead. In 1960, the experience card was played by all comers against the young upstart senator from Massachusetts. In Iowa, L.B.J. went so far as to tell voters that they should vote for ‘a man with a little gray in his hair.’ But experience, Kennedy would memorably counter, ‘is like taillights on a boat which illuminate where we have been when we should be focusing on where we should be going.'” — from Frank Rich‘s 12.0.07 N.Y. Times column.
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »