A non-USA exhibition source told me this evening that The Dark Knight‘s running time has been confirmed at 152 minutes.
HE reader Mgmax has explained the evolution in two lines: “In the 1950s and early ’60s we had long, self-important movies about Jesus. In the 21st Century we have long, self-important movies about Batman.”
Tapping out my Incredible Hulk feelings didn’t pan out. I’ve been saying to myself for the last six or seven hours, “I really should write this…c’mon, push it out.” It’s not a very interesting film to discuss because there’s not much going on beneath it. But it’s very efficient and it looks good and it moves right along, and as such is a much more satisfying sit than the one provided by Ang Lee five years ago. No one is going to feel burned.
Is it as good as Iron Man? I felt the same way about both, which is that neither is worth doing back-flips over, but they’re both diverting, lean and mean, good enough, well crafted, etc.
I loved that that it’s not another origin story…thank God! The most absorbing part takes place during the first 25 minutes or so, when Bruce Banner (Ed Norton) is hiding out in Rio de Janeiro and working at a soft-drink bottling plant and living in a grubby little apartment in a huge and fascinating hillside favella. The worst part is the big Hulk vs. Hulk fight at the end…boring. Heavy-duty fights between powerful monsters are completely boring unless one of the combatants has some kind of advantage over the other. It’s like watching a battle of bad heavy-metal bands.
Norton’s Banner is first-rate — much less mopey and more than down-to-it than Eric Bana‘s. (Sorry.) Bill Hurt, the big military villain, looks freakish with a wiggy-looking wig and a stupid fake moustache. He looks like an ogre out of a Grimm Fairy Tale by way of Terry Gilliam.
Poor Tim Roth does an okay job as the Hulk’s nemesis, but his head is growing larger and larger the older he gets — he’s looking like one of those bobbing-head football dolls — plus his nose is getting bigger, his shoulders are way too narrow and he seesm to be as short as Dustin Hoffman. (He looks like a midget standing next to Hurt, and Hurt is no giant — I’ve stood next to him myself.) Liv Tyler does a solid professional job as the girlfriend.
The big tracking news of the day is that Will Smith‘s Hancock, which doesn’t open for another two weeks and six days weeks, is 76 general awareness 47 definite interest and 11first choice. That’s a very strong number.
The Incredible Hulk is at 98, 36 and 21 — the weekend’s sure winner due to the under-25 males. M. Night‘s The Happening is running at 76, 39 and 19 — figure a weekend gross in the low 20 million range. Older women are at 25 first choice on this puppy. Get Smart, out next weekend, is at 85, 35 and 8 — not bad. But Mike Myers‘ The Love Guru is running at 84, 24 and 4…bomb.
The new site aimed at fighting the various racist, right-wing smears about Barack Obama went up today. It’s nicely designed and easy to read. Even the most deeply dug-in Appalachian dumb-ass can follow it. But of course, most of the rural brainiacs out there will never read it because they’re deeply invested in the foxholes they’re living in and they aren’t about to climb out of them for something as insubstantial as fact. God help these people, but they’re in those holes because they feel like home sweet home.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews today recalled an exchange between a reporter and some overweight working-class guy from Ohio after the latter said he’s heard Obama is a Manchurian Candidate Muslim. The newsman said, “You know that’s not true, right?” and the guy replied, “It is to me.” What can you do with people like this? The only permissible thing is to say “these people have tough lives, they pay their taxes and they deserve respect.” Right.
A trailer for Spike “shut yo’ face” Lee‘s Miracle of St. Anna (Touchstone, 9.26). Directed by Lee, costarring Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller and Matteo Sciabordi. An old black guy in a bank (or something similar to a bank) keeps a gun with live rounds in a nearby drawer in case of emergencies? Banks or what-have-you allow this to happen?
Congratulations to Warren Beatty for being honored with the 36th AFI Life Achievement Award. The ceremony starts this evening at the Kodak theatre with drinks at 6 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Variety‘s Steve Chagollan has written a tribute piece called “Warren Beatty Perfected Art of Evasion,” and…oh, man, do I know the meaning of that!
I’ve been fencing on and off with Beatty for 15 or so years, and I’ve gotten next to nothing printable from the guy (98% of our chats have been OTR). And it’s been mostly okay because I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of the game that we play each and every time. And I love his flattery, which he throws at you from time to time. Not too much — he’s no glad-hander — but just enough to keep you sweet.
A couple of years ago at a party I reminded Beatty that our very first non-interview was in ’81, to which he replied, “Eighty-one? What were you, twelve years old?” I’ve never heard the words “how are ya?” spoken with more apparent feeling and sincerity than from he. There’s not a lot of different ways to massage those three words, but for whatever reason I’ve never forgotten his delivery. Knowing that it’s a bit that he’s practiced and perfected doesn’t matter, for some reason. Because he’s so good at it.
The House Next Door‘s Vadim Rizov has written that Werner Herzog, director in preparation of the new, certain-to-be-outrageous Bad Lieutenant as well as the current Encounters at the End of the World, “makes me happier than just about any working filmmaker, even when his movies are nearly indigestible.
“There’s something about his complete confidence in his own views that makes me wonder, at least for a blissful moment, what all the fuss about moral relativism is. Like Honore de Balzac or Lars von Trier, he’s the final authority on the world around him, even when it’s a self-created one.
“Encounters At The End Of The World picks up where 2005’s The Wild Blue Yonder left off: under Arctic ice, cameras exploring the dirty Styrofoam-ish underside of the normally picture-pristine continent. The Wild Blue Yonder was essentially a garbled compilation doc, taking footage of Antarctica and outer space and imposing a half-assed sci-fi framework on them. Encounters begins with Herzog arriving on the continent to get his own damn footage.” And so on, etc. Entertainingly written.
About 40 minutes ago (i.e., just before 11 am Pacific), Slate‘s Kim Masters ran a response to yesterday’s press-release development in the story about why HBO decided to change the ending of Marina Zenovich‘s Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, to wit:
“Following up our report this week about the new Roman Polanski documentary, we take note of a weird statement released Wednesday” under the signatures of prosecutor Roger Gunson as well as defense attorney Douglas Dalton — the case’s two principle advocates.
“Both are featured in an HBO documentary, Roman Polanksi: Wanted and Desired, in which they bemoan the shabby treatment that alleged child rapist Polanski suffered at the hands of the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1977.
“As we reported, the documentary originally ended with the assertion that an unnamed judge in 1998 was going to permit Polanski to return to the United States without risking jail time, but only if he appeared at a court proceeding that would be televised.
“Last week, the Los Angeles Superior Court identified that judge as Larry Paul Fidler and vehemently denied that he had ever imposed such a condition. After a pause, HBO said Friday that it would change the end of the film to say that Polanski feared the proceeding would be televised, which is quite different from having a judge insist that it had to be.
“The altered documentary aired Monday. Yesterday, the film’s publicists released a statement signed by Gunson and Dalton contending that at the 1998 hearing, Dalton pressed ‘for a resolution of the case that would allow for minimal news media.’ The statement says Dalton ‘recalled that Judge Fidler would require television coverage,’ and then adds: ‘Mr. Gunson recalls television coverage discussed at the meeting.’
“Talk about lawyer words. There’s no further elaboration as to what, if anything, Gunson remembers about that discussion. The statement, based on this rather threadbare set of assertions, concludes that both lawyers denounce the court’s ‘false and reprehensible statement’ disputing the notion that Fidler demanded television coverage.
“No word from HBO on whether the film will be changed again.”
Not a spoiler unless you live under a rock: A friend tells me he saw an Incredible Hulk TV ad yesterday that uses a line or two from the scene in which Robert Downey, Jr.‘s Tony Stark (i.e., Iron Man) strolls into a bar and has words with William Hurt‘s asshole general with a moustache. What I’m not sure of is whether the spot shows Downey saying, “We’re looking to put a team together.”
This refers, of course, to a Avengers (i.e., not Justice League) movie down the road, which will basically be just another X-Men series without the gay-culture metaphor, or perhaps to a story thread that may be used in the next Hulk film (if there is one). I got an enjoyable little ping when this scene came at the end of the film (which I saw last night) but no one else will get this same chuckle with the cat totally out of the bag. Universal marketers obviously used Downey to get the Iron Man crowd as hopped up as possible, but it really does pay to see things early to avoid the ad-trailer spoiler effect.