The Dark Knight is tracking at 89, 71 and 51 — God, that’s the biggest first-choice number I’ve ever seen! Mamma Mia! is running at 88, 28 and 14. Space Chimps is pretty much a disaster — 62, 18 and 1. Stepbrothers (7.25) is running at 83, 35 and 5. The X-Files: I Want to Believe is at 75, 23 and 4. The new Mummy movie is 90. 36 and 6. Kevin Costner‘s Swing Vote is at 47, 16 and 1– obviously in trouble. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants chick flick is running at 67, 18 and 4. Fly Me to the Moon is at 19 13 and 0. Perfect Game is at 20 13 and 0. Pineapple Express (opening August 8th) is running at 35, 32 and 2.
HE reader Evan Boucher, who works in a brokerage house (or something like that), believes that The Dark Knight “is running the risk of setting expectations that literally can’t be met.
“I work with a group of five yuppies, 22-32,” he writes. “Two of these people have said that they plan on seeing it more than once this weekend. Two more have said that they definitely plan on seeing in in the theater even though neither have been to a movie this year. My 19 year old next-door-neighbor is seeing it tonight with a group of 10 buddies. Another co-worker says that they are going to a megaplex tonight where 12 out of 18 theaters are showing Dark Knight at midnight, and they sold out tickets for that show last Tuesday.
“I think this movie is at least $500 million domestic due to these factors: (a) Everyone knows Batman, (b) Crazy Batman fanboys who will see it over and over again; (c) IMAX impact; (d) Uber talented director in his prime; (e) Known supporting cast; (f) Love from critics; (g) No other summer blockbusters creating the anti-blockbuster hangover; and (h) the totally stand-alone, can’t-be-duplicated selling point of seeing Ledger’s finale, both for the reported genius and the respect people have for him as a person.
“In sports, art, music, whatever…there are certain moments where the stars align and every thing reacts based on a need for greatness. This might be it. There hasn’t been a movie thats come along in a while that has united critics and audiences like this. I just don’t know where you would even put the number on this. I don’t know if it will beat Titanic, but it definitely has a shot.”
I say no to that because of (a) the oppressive funereal element and (b) the feeling of beaten up rather than elated that made Edelstein, Denby, Ansen and Thompson unhappy.
I know I give the impression of disliking popcorn movies for the most part, but nobody loves good crap as much as I when it’s really done right. I was thinking last night about John Badham‘s Stakeout, which I saw and loved 21 years ago at the Cinerama Dome, and wondering why no-big-deal caper movies like this don’t happen more often.
The reason Stakeout works, of course, is that it’s not some throwaway buddy-cop movie about trying to catch an escaped fugitive. It’s a movie about a thoughtful 40ish poilceman suddenly and surprisingly falling in love (i.e., Richard Dreyfuss + Madeline Stowe), and his knowing without question that the girl in the house across the street is vitally important to know, be with, care for and protect. The trick is that Stakeout is disguised as as an amiable jerkoff buddy-cop thing. Plus it’s one of the best films ever about voyeurism, second only to Rear Window.
“Stealth” is what genre filmmakers never seem to get, or don’t have the talent to follow through upon. The way to make a run-of-the-mill genre film special is to pay attention to the undercurrent and shape it so it’s about something personal and intimate — any kind of heart issue, including creative ambition or career or whatever — while adhering to genre conventions.
98% of genre filmmakers (fantasy, crime, you-name-it) always seem to think in terms of elements. They think success of failure is defined by stars, plot, fights, car chases, FX. They never seem to realize that while these things work as selling points, they don’t matter to all that much to anyone (except for the under-20 morons) and are actually profoundly secondary. Movies that really work are always about characters trying to connect with some fundamental emotion or goal. If you get that part right, then you can add in the genre conventions any old way and you’re off to the races.
Here’s a Russian website with Watchmen trailer and clips, but I can’t get the clips to play. The trailer isn’t working at empireonline.com either, possibly on purpose. (There’s a note up about “Friday morning.”) Why can’t I find a nice easy embed code? When it appears, it may be at this currently inert URL.
I know it’s not worth suffering through a Comic-Con experience to absorb the hype close-up.
I’ll be doing a double-feature this evening — Stepbrothers in the early evening and then The Dark Knight IMAX around midnight. Bringing the laptop, intending to file between shows, etc.
A couple of days ago You Tube began running the horizontally-squeezed 1.33 to 1 version of the 1.85 trailer for James Marsh‘s Man on Wire (Magnolia, 7.25) — see below. Here, also, is the better looking Apple.com version with the correct aspect ratio. Talk about a movie that sinks in like a feeling, a thought, a prayer.
On 6.20 I wrote that this story “of Phillipe Petit‘s illegal high-wire walk between the World Trade Center’s towers in August 1974 is the most stirring and suspenseful film of its kind that I’ve seen since Touching The Void. It’s too electric and gripping to be called a mere documentary; another term has to be found.”
This trailer passes along the soul, suspense, wonder, poetry. And (important element) the sophisticated chops. Man on Wire will be an ’08 Oscar nominee for Best Feature-Length Doc, trust me.
A new trailer for Ridley Scott‘s Body of Lies (Warner Bros., 10.10) — clearly a first-rate thing about a CIA/Middle East/war-on-terror type deal. A tense, antagonistic partnership between pudged-up Russell Crowe (as a senior-level strategist) and bearded Leonardo DiCaprio (as some kind of agent-operator). Whatever happened to that announcement about changing the title to House of Lies? History, I guess. “Rock out on me…know what that means?” Looks a bit more like a Tony Scott film than a Ridley.
Scott is quoted on the Body of Lies Wikipedia page as saying “it’s about Islam, where we are and where we’re not, and it’s a very interesting, proactive, internalized view of that whole subject.”
Arizona Daily Star critic Phil Villarreal claims this is the first “Joker” Oscar image. Hats off to local reader Phllip Lybrand for creating it. The implication is that Heath Ledger‘s Joker performance is the front-runner as far Best Supporting Actor heat is concerned. But isn’t there something a bit translucent and see-through about Oscar’s chest in this shot? Isn’t he more buff than this? My first reaction was “Joker as Mr. Bill.” Or “Mr. Bill taken hostage by terrorists.”
Somebody needs to boil the spin snow out of the SnagFilms-purchase-of- IndieWIRE story and, you know, put out a statement that doesn’t include any tap-dancing or cheerleading. I’ve read the press release and stories about the press release three or four times and I still don’t understand what’s actually going to happen At least, not according to my own no-b.s., hamburger-eating, cut-to-the-chase standards.
Talk to me like a drunk leaning against a car in a 7-11 parking lot…okay? Is Indiewire as we’ve known it still going to cover the indie waterfront on a comprehensive basis during and between film festivals, or is it henceforth going to be some kind of half-Indiewire, half-SnagFilm hybrid that will somehow lessen or compromise the Indiewire brand? Sounds like the latter, but I’m not sure I get the whole picture regardless. I don’t care very much about or identify hugely with SnagFilms, but I do like Indiewire a great deal. When somebody out there figures it all out and musters the courage to just say it (whatever “it” is), I’d like be included on the e-mail list.
“Now that John Lesher has moved over to run the big studio motion picture division for Brad Grey, he’ll release what’s left of his Vantage slate, including Sundance pick-up American Teen, Defiance, the Keira Knightley-starrer The Duchess and DreamWorks’ Revolutionary Road, starring Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
“But a sign of what the new Vantage will be is all too obvious in this story about acquisition and production head Amy Israel leaving the studio. Guy Stodel, the guy replacing her, is a respected dealmaker from New Line Cinema who supervised two Texas Chainsaw movies. Enough said.” — a 7.15 posting by Variety‘s Anne Thompson.
After reading what (apparently) really happened in that shitkicker bar in Shreveport last weekend, I just want to say that you and Jeffrey Wright have earned the lifelong respect of blue-state men everywhere for kicking some redneck ass. I’ve been in two or three fights and know how stupid and humiliating they are, but they can also seem dopey-funny in retrospect and…well, kind of half-satisfying, depending on how many cuts and bruises you get and how you look in the mirror the next morning and how banged-up the other guy is, especially if he was an asshole.
In any event this fight, to judge by Bill Zwecker‘s Chicago Sun Times account, sounded very cool because (and tell me if I’ve gotten the wrong idea) you and your homies made those barroom crackers feel the pain.
I have a serious request to make about this. I’m asking you — begging you, really — on behalf of those who now regard you as man of newfound respect who fought the good fight against ignorance to please consider making a short film based on this incident. It would absolutely kill on the festival circuit, and all the suits who were too lazy to see X will run out to see it for sure. Please think about this because I’m not kidding.
It would be doubly great if you could get Wright and everyone involved in the brawl to take part. You already have the dialogue, you have the non-story, you have the actors, you have the action sequences all laid out — all in your head! Start with the cell-phone footage, or cut it into whatever you shoot. You could film it in two, three days, cut quickly, submit it to Sundance by October. It won’t affect the W marketing because it won’t be seen until early ’09.