Put Le Gouffre Aux Chimeres in the Babelfish French-to-English translator and it comes out the other side as The Pit of Dreams. To hepcat Americans, of course, this 1951 Billy Wilder film has always been (and always will be) Ace In The Hole. Taken in lobby of Manhattan’s Film Forum — Friday, 4.9, 9:40 pm. (HE logo art by Carl LaFong.)
Russell Crowe is credited as co-producer of Robin Hood (Universal, 5.14) alongside Brian Grazer and director Ridley Scott, and is nothing if not proud of the on-screen result, writes the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Peter Fitzsimons.
“So proud that this will be the first of his many films that he will allow his sons, Charlie and Tennyson, to watch. ‘I think it would be confusing for them to see me in films, just as it is confusing for them to see people stop me on the street and ask for autographs,’ Crowe says. ‘But I want them to see this one. Really, all kids have gotta see Robin Hood. It is important to grow up with that thing in your mind.'”
A concept, he means, of a “really normal” fellow with an aptitude for exceptionalism.
“Robin is not a superhero,” he explains. “He doesn’t have a cape. He’s normal. He’s just a bloke. But he’s a man who’s seen a lot of things and understands how it all works. [Going back and forth to the Crusades] he’s been through France, been through Italy, seen the control of the church, been through Greece and he understands that democracy works. He’s seen all of the great empires of his time, come back to his own country and realizes that his own people are the poorest of all, and that things must change.”
In short, Robin Hood is not a film for the likes of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, etc. For Robin Hood is about nothing if not a certain economic fairness, the redistribution of wealth, forcing the moneyed elite to do the right thing by society’s lessers. Sounds an awful lot like socialism to me!
The pump don’t work ’cause The Vandals took the handles. On top of which they’re being sued by Daily Variety for appropriating the font and style of the Daily Variety logo for a parody logo used on the cover of their tenth album, Hollywood Potato Chip, which they decided upon as “a commentary on the materialistic culture of Hollywood,” a statement on the band’s website says.
Anyway, the band reports that Variety attorneys are claiming “it is still on the internet and they are suing us for this. We agreed not to use this logo anymore and we have no product for sale with this logo so their claims that we are intentionally using it and harming the Daily Variety are ludicrous.”
Intrigued by the news (via a Jon Favreau tweet) about Harrison Ford being cast in Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens, I flipped through 100 pages of the online version of the original graphic novel, looking for an Uncle Festus character whom Ford might play.
Ford would have played Zeke Jackson if the film had been made in the early to late ’80s, but this ain’t the early to late ’80s. (Daniel Craig has the part.) I haven’t read a recent draft of the script, but the only guy in the comic whom Ford could possibly play is a 60ish U.S. Cavalry Colonel who refers to Native Americans as “filthy savages” and is soon after wasted by the aliens. A cameo, in short — two or three minutes and hasta la vista.
Of course, the screenwriters (Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Damon Lindel) could always expand his part.
Cowboys & Aliens “begins with a nice prologue comparing the European invasion to an alien invasion,” a Bluecorn Comics summary begins. “For Indians, that’s just about what the European invasion was. Between guns, germs, and steel, they had no idea what hit them. They learned fast, but that wasn’t enough to stave off eventual defeat.
“But the comic immediately subverts this message with the main story, which opens with…I kid you not…an Indian attack on a wagon train. Most of your basic Native stereotypes quickly appear. The Indians are Apaches…riding horses…with a Plains-style chief…half-naked braves…and a ‘shaman.’
“The Indians have no culture or religion other than dancing around a fire before a big fight. The text refers to them ironically as ‘savages,’ but the story portrays them as actual savages.
“Apaches on horseback attacking a wagon train at the behest of a chief in a warbonnet? Taking place ‘in and around Dodge City, Kansas, just after the Civil War’? Um, I don’t think so.
“So the movie will ‘keep it real,’ and the graphic novel has more ‘layers and history’ than the movie will? Scary. Judging by the graphic novel, the movie will be completely divorced from the Native American reality.
“In other words, a hundred times zero is still zero. You do the math.
“There are only a few saving graces. One, the Indians live in wickiups rather than tipis, which is the only accurate cultural note I saw for a supposed band of Apaches. Two, a few of their names aren’t stereotypical. Three, the Indians learn the alien technology as quickly as the whites do. And they’re just as quick to cease hostilities and join with their fellow humans against the bad guys.
“Both the story and art are unsubtle and (to me) not especially interesting. I’d say Cowboys & Aliens is more for younger, action-oriented readers than adults. Save your money and read it online instead.”
In a 4.9 Politico piece, columnist Michael Calderone reviews how “legacy publications are recruiting and lavishly rewarding a new breed of journalist” who “offers an edgy style and expertise in a particular field but has never spent a day covering cops or courts or county boards — traditionally the rungs of the ladder all reporters had to climb.”
Calderone also quotes Daily Dish columnist Andrew Sullivan, to wit: “I think this is the way forward for what was once called old media. Voices matter. Trust in the old media brands is largely over. Everything has an individual character or [it] dies.”
I don’t think it’s stretching the point in the slightest to say that this same rule applies in the coverage of Hollywood and entertainment.
My dream is to see a movie in which the four Sex and the City ladies are dropped into some ghastly situation and made to suffer over a period of weeks if not months. Brought down to earth and made to taste bitter herbs. Forced to deal with whatever unfortunate circumstances can be imagined or devised. I would not only pay to see this film but would run free advertising on Hollywood Elsewhere to support it. Tell me where to sign.
I could also roll with a movie about their spiritual redemption. Let’s see…an angel named Clarence — a short old guy in his 70s — is sent down to earth to help them save their souls. He tries to persuade them to think about adopting a somewhat less egocentric approach to life — new thoughts, new priorities. They giggle and wave him off, of course.
They all wake up the next morning in Bumblefuck, Idaho, each weighing about 50 or 60 pounds more and with bad skin and horrible jobs at K-Mart and fast-food joints, and with pot-smoking, anal-sex-loving, large-bellied ayholes for boyfriends. And then when the girls have reached the end of their ropes, they all scream out, “Clarence! Clarence! We want to be human beings! We’re not the women we once were….Clarence! Help us!”
And they’re suddenly sitting back in their Manhattan apartments, and are indeed changed women. Those monster incarnations of yore are but an indistinct memory.
Five’ll get you ten that the synthetic female fans of the last two Sex and the City flicks would boycott the Clarence movie….whaddaya think?
I’m sorry to say that Remember Me and a clip from that Salvador Dali biopic has led me to conclude that Robert Pattinson (a.k.a. “R-Patz”) isn’t a very persuasive or inventive actor. And for this reason alone today’s Sun report about his being cast as Kurt Cobain in a Universal biopic called All Apologies sounds — if true — like a terrible idea.
I asked a Universal spokesperson if the story is true to the best of his knowledge, and he said “I don’t believe so…in fact, wasn’t it already denied? Check out Vulture, I think.” There’s a denial on the Spin website, actually.
Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson tweeted this morning that Ryan Gosling would be a better choice. I agree completely.
But on the slight chance that the Pattinson story might be half-legit, isn’t he too tall to play Cobain? Cobain was 5’10”, and Pattinson seems taller than his reported height of 6’1″. (I’m speaking as a 6 foot 1/2-incher who’s stood next to him at a party.) Pattinson will seem way bigger if he’s paired in the film with Scarlett Johansson, who’s been spoken of, the Sun story claims, to play Courtney Love, Cobain’s wife.
But let’s forget Pattinson-Cobain. It was just a silly tab thing that lasted five or six hours.
In an 4.9 interview with Variety staffers, DreamWorks animation honcho and longtime 3D advocate Jeffrey Katzenberg says that the degraded 3-D experience represented by Clash of the Titans will, if replicated to the extent that it becomes the industry standard, bring on the demise of 3D.
DreamWorks animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg
“If we as an industry choose this 2D to 3D post-production conversion [as represented by Titans], it’s the end,” he declares. “As quickly as it got here, that’s how fast it will go away.
“We’ve seen the highest end of 3D in Avatar and you have now witnessed the lowest end of it with Titans. You cannot do anything that is of a lower grade and a lower quality than what has just been done on Clash of the Titans. It literally is ‘Okay, congratulations! You just snookered the movie audience.’
“The act of doing it was disingenuous. We may get away with it a few times but in the long run, moviegoers will wake up. And the day they wake up is the day they walk away from us and we blew it.
“Does it take the moviegoing public one movie, three movies, five movies to get to the point where they are discerning the difference between good and terrible? By the time that happens, there will be another 20 or 30 or 40 movies in the pipeline but we will already have killed that goose that is delivering us golden eggs.
“Every company right now is sitting, assessing what approach and what process and what economics to invest in the 3D platform. There are dozens of decisions literally that are about to be made or have just been made in the last 30 or 60 days and in the next 30 or 60 days, the sum of which will determine what happens to 3D.
“Starting with a filmmaker who designs and shoots his story with 3D as part of that storytelling is hugely different from a 2D film that is put through a down and dirty post-production technical process. It is absolutely analogous to taking a black-and-white film and colorizing it.
“So you have movies that are authored in 3D. You have movies that are conceived and post-produced in 3D and you have 2D movies that are converted. I say with absolute confidence that right now, today, for this year, there is no technology that exists that can take a 2D film and post-produce it into a 3D premium offering.
“We have seen post-production conversion of 2D movies to 3D which actually play pretty sensationally on a television. On a smaller monitor, the images hold up in a much more compelling way. So I think there is going to be a market for 2D conversion [for the home]. [But] I think it’s a disaster for movie theaters.
“[And] I am just sort of apoplectic about this because the revenue [today] from a successful 3D release net to the studios is greater than the erosion in the DVD market over the last two years. For the last 40 years every time we’ve reached an [economic downturn], something’s come along to save the movie business. Home television, pay television, VHS, DVD. Now 3D comes out of the blue, out of nowhere. Nobody expected this.”
A Variety staffer asks Katzenberg “why will these post-conversions kill 3D? In the early days of sound, there were quick-and-dirty conversions of silent movies to sound, and that didn’t kill talkies.”
“Here’s the difference,” Katzenberg replies. “We are asking moviegoers to pay a 50 percent premium to come see these films. So I think [there will be a] backlash. It will be a whiplash. They will walk away from this so fast. 3-D will go away, because with no premium being paid for it and the cost to exhibition in terms of what they have to invest in it, I think it all does collapse.
“So for the last four or five years, the raging debate here has been the inability of Hollywood to convince exhibition, because there’s really nothing in it for exhibition. It doesn’t change the economics of their business. They can’t charge more for a digital experience. The thing that finally got everybody off the dime was when there was something in it for exhibition, which was 3D.
“So now take that 3D out of the equation and you derail that digital train. And who’s the biggest beneficiary of digital, of a full digital platform? Hollywood. So when you want to talk about the effect of actually blowing this, it’s unbelievable.”
Watch this obviously weird, bordering-on-comedic Nike spot, and then go to David Matthews‘ audio-overlay option piece on Deadspin.com and click on option 7. I don’t know the original audio source, but 7 rules.
As to Earl Woods‘ question about whether his son learned anything, I think there’s only one answer. “Yes, dad. Publicly humiliating my wife, my partner and the mother of my children was a terrible thing. Brutalizing the feelings of someone you trust and care for is truly bad for the soul.
“But honestly? Guys like me are gonna do what we’re gonna do. You can’t say this on The View but it’s true. The key thing for me is to henceforth show respect and consideration for my wife by being much, much more discreet. Because if you can’t be discreet, you shouldn’t cat around at all. You absolutely must show respect for your wife and partner — that’s the bottom line.”
Don’t be fooled by Date Night‘s 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many if not most of the positive reviews are of the “yes but” variety — i.e., “Yes, the movie underwhelms or disappoints, but Steve Carell and Tina Fey are great.”
Lou Lumenick‘s N.Y. Post review is deemed a positive red tomato, even though he calls the script “derivative and predictable,” and says that Carell and Fey’s behavior occasionally “defies all logic.” Calling it “a PG-13 version of After Hours with more than a bit of The Out-of-Towners thrown in” doesn’t sound like a thumbs-up to me.
There’s certainly no excuse for giving Date Night an out-and-out rave, such as the one submitted by USA Today‘s Claudia Puig: “This is the rare screwball comedy that’s superbly paced, cleverly plotted and hilarious from start to finish.” Not on this planet. At best Shawn Levy‘s film is an in-and-outer.
One possible explanation is that the interplay between Carell and Fey plus certain meditative portions of Josh Klausner‘s screenplay (i.e., mature married couple relating to each other with a semblance of honesty) has struck some kind of chord among female critics. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Carrie Rickey, Salon‘s Mary Elizabeth Williams, Variety‘s Lael Lowenstein and Time‘s Mary F. Pols also wrote about fluttery contact highs.