Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Warner Bros. representatives announced yesterday that the film will now be opening on Wednesday, June 28th across America--rather than June 30th as originally expected.
No official word has been given yet on why this change has been made. But I think it's safe to say that last weekend's record breaking 4 day total for X-MEN:The Last Stand played some part in the decision to move up the release by 2 days. Pamela McClintock and Ben Fritz of Variety seem to back me up:
The change in dates, designed to maximize grosses over the July Fourth holiday -- which falls on a Tuesday -- essentially gives the studio a seven-day weekend.
Nevertheless, I'm thrilled, because right now I'm scheduled to be otherwise occupied on the 30th. Moving up the date means that I will now be able to see it on opening day.
Meanwhile, John Ottman appeared on the Encore Movie Channel's Cinenews series to discuss pulling double duty on Superman Returns, as both film editor and composer. Soon after, the segment ran, it popped up on You Tube.
Click here for John Ottman Interview
In related news, Rhino Records has released the track listing for the official "Superman Returns" score soundtrack:
Main Titles (3:49)
Rough Flight (5:13)
Little Secrets/Power Of The Sun (2:49)
Bank Job (2:21)
How Could You Leave Us? (5:49)
Tell Me Everything (3:13)
You're Not One Of Them (2:22)
Not Like The Train Set (5:12)
So Long Superman (5:31)
The People You Care For (3:27)
I Wanted You To Know (2:56)
Saving The World (3:12)
In The Hands Of Mortals (2:11)
Reprise/Fly Away (4:15)
Soundtrack.net has posted an exclusive preview of the CD. Jonathan Jarry will take you on a listening tour with sound clips and analysis It is scheduled to hit store shelves on June 27th, but the soundtrack is available for pre-order from Amazon. And yes, I have already placed an order for my copy.
Finally, a third theatrical trailer played before X-3, when I saw it last Friday...The 2:00 minute preview gives away more plot details. Specifically, Lex Luthor's plan in the movie. While I enjoyed seeing this peek on the big screen, was a new trailer really necessary? I say "No". With the teaser and first theatrical trailer out there, not to mention the international trailer, that's enough (I can't believe I just typed that)...
If you don't mind spoilers--Here is number 3... as a Quictime file.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Anyone who came of age in the 80's, like I did, will remember him most as hard nosed Principal Richard Vernon in the 1985 "brat pack" classic The Breakfast Club. Three years later he appeared as Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson in the action genre landmark Die Hard. He also made Trading Places even funnier as Clarence Beeks. He even parodied some of these roles in Not Another Teen Movie (a very funny flick and quite underrated, if you ask me) and Loaded Weapon 1.
Gleason appeared in just about every well known TV series over the last 25+ years as well. His last film, The Book of Caleb is in post production, scheduled for release next year.
Photo Credit: Jean-Paul Aussenard/Wireimage.com
Ben Fritz of Variety put it this way:
"X-Men: The Last Stand" used Wolverine's claws this weekend to slice through plenty of domestic box office records...read more in Wolverine cuts wide swath...
Meanwhile, Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo said this:
Blazing past expectations, 'X-Men: The Last Stand' raked in an estimated $120.1 million, breaking the Memorial Day weekend record.
Gray's full weekend report can be found here.
X-3 would still done very well, even without the extra day, according to Fritz:
Pic's Friday-Sunday gross of $103.1 million is the fourth-highest opening weekend of all time, behind only those of "Spider-Man," "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" and "Shrek 2."
Director change be damned! In case you haven't read my take on the film that is X-3--Here it is.
Monday, May 29, 2006
For Jolie it's Sin City 2, while Pitt gets in gear for Ocean's Thirteen...Of course, I wish the new family trio nothing but a lifetime of health and happiness... As it turns out though, Pitt's a double winner, first a new child, and now comes word that he's won an award as well...
...Yes the granddaddy of all film festivals, the Cannes Film Festival, wrapped up last night with a panel of judges from across the globe picking the cream of the crop.
Variety's Todd McCarthy and Justin Chang gives us the lowdown on all of the big winners:
British director Ken Loach's "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," a saga set amid Ireland's struggle for independence in the early 1920s, won top honors Sunday in an unanimous vote at the Cannes Film Festival.
It was the first time veteran filmmaker Loach won the main prize after seven earlier entries in the main competition at the world's most prestigious film festival...
For more, click here...including the complete list of all of the winners for 2006.
Finally, be sure to honor the brave men and women, past and present, who died defending this nation by clicking here.
Memorial Day 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
When the first X-Men film came out in 2000, I found myself not knowing much of the history of the super hero team, save for the fact that their leader was some bald guy in a wheelchair and their DNA was different than ours...Even as someone who has read a lot of comic book in my time, for reasons I'm still not sure of, the X-Men comics were never on my reading list. Given that though, I think I enjoyed the film more than I would have, had I been well versed in the back story. Indeed, my only real criticism of XI was that as an origin story, it had a lot of ground to cover and characters to service and at times felt over crowded... Since then, thanks to the internet, I 've become better acquainted with the mythology of the book
For 2003's X2: X-Men United, I thought Bryan Singer did a much better job on his second try, and crafted quite a sequel that not only made better use of the characters, but also allowed for the story to "breathe" a bit more. It felt epic and the story was much more fun and action packed.
For X-3, new director Brett Ratner had a lot to live up to...despite coming on board with very little prep time.
As the film opens--it is 20 years ago: Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Eric Lensherr (Ian McKellen) are paying a visit to the home of a young Jean Grey--working together they convince her that they can help her manage her "Class 5" mutant powers...Shift to--10 years ago and a young Warren Worthinton III would do anything to rid himself of the special abilities that he has...
In the not too distant future, Warren's Dad (Michael Murphy) develops a "cure" for mutancy that threatens to alter the course of history. For the first time, mutants have a choice: retain their uniqueness, even if it isolates and alienates them, or give up their powers and become human--to lead a "normal" life. Their are opposing sides within the mutant population. Xavier is on the side of tolerance, while his former ally--now known as Magneto, believes in the survival of the fittest. These forces are put to the ultimate test--triggering a massive and deadly conflict.
The film does what it needed to do--answer the questions left over at the end of the last film And as far as action goes--there's plenty... But I must say that, like the first film, this one had a lot to accomplish and characters to tend to, and it all felt rushed somehow. Without giving too much away...a few characters act as window dressing and nothing more--while a few others are disposable in the strictest sense of the word and not given any real arc at all. 2 examples of what I mean are Angel (Ben Foster) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) who are set up nicely and than poof-sidelined--I realize the whole movie can't be about them. But a longer film and a less crowed playing field would have helped.
I thought Ratner did a really good job here--considering his schedule. Other than the issues I already discussed, the film is not the "train wreck" some had envisioned prior to the release. I was really impressed with the way Kelsey Grammer (TV's Frasier) brought Beast to life. Of course, Stewart, McKellan, and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine all deliver the goods as they have in the previous films. By contrast, both Halle Berry as Storm and Anna Paquin's Rouge seemed very wooden, like they really didn't want to be there.
The screenplay by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg has some signature moments from the books but it all goes by so fast that for even a casual fan like me, it was frustrating at times.
On a scale of 1-10, I would put X3 at 7.5-a fine summer film, but not as good as the second installment.
Make sure you stay through the closing credits for an added bonus
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Meanwhile, when I came home from the movie theater last night, I came across this nifty little item on Sci-Fi Wire, (which is lifted from an article in Variety by Diane Garrett) about one of my favorite flicks of the science fiction genre:
Warner Home Video will issue a new remastered director's cut of the classic SF movie Blade Runner in September now that it has cleared up rights issues, followed by a theatrical release of a version promised to be truly director Ridley Scott's final cut, Variety reported. Warner's rights to Blade Runner lapsed a year ago, but the studio has since negotiated a long-term license.
The movie has a troubled history. When Scott ran over budget, completion bond guarantors took control of it and made substantial changes before its 1982 theatrical release, adding a voice-over and a happy ending. That version was replaced by the much better-received director's cut in 1992, but Scott has long been unhappy with it, complaining that he was rushed and unable to give it proper attention.
Scott started working on the final cut version in 2000, but that project was shelved by Warner soon after, apparently because the studio couldn't come to terms with Jerry Perenchio over rights issues.
The restored "director's cut" will debut on home video in September and will remain on sale for only four months, after which time it will be placed on moratorium. Blade Runner: Final Cut will arrive in 2007 for a limited 25th-anniversary theatrical run, followed by a special-edition DVD with the three previous versions offered as alternate viewing. Besides the original theatrical version and director's cut, the expanded international theatrical cut will be included. The set will also contain additional bonus materials.
This is awesome news! The first time I saw the film, I couldn't take my eyes off of it, and that was in its original form in 1982. After hearing about all of the behind the scenes turmoil and legal wrangling over the years, I have only become more intrigued by the prospect of what a "final version" might look like. I'm glad Ridley Scott will finally be able to finish the movie as he originally intended almost a quarter century ago. This is so cool!
...Gosh It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since the movie's first release...At that sudden realization--I feel very, very old. Hopefully, the final cut will make me feel young again...
Friday, May 26, 2006
Meanwhile, Ben Fritz and Dave McNary of Variety wonder Will 'Code' Erode?--as a result of the X-Factor. I think the answer to the question is an obvious "yes", as does Entertainment Weekly's Joshua Rich in an online column proclaiming "X-Men" will be the heroes this holiday weekend
The reviews for X3 seem pretty solid. For example, Lisa Schwarzbaum also of EW, gives the film a B-. Not bad for the third movie in the series, who lost 2 directors, before Brett Ratner stepped in a mere 2 months before filming began. The review round-up still offers plenty to chew on though...
The next Hollywood Summer blockbuster hopeful on the conveyor belt--Ugh!-The Omen remake.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
It's a good thing that the timing of the spot was already announced, so that I could tune in at the right time without having to sit through the whole program to see it.
The new ad seems to follow in the darker toned footsteps of the previous spot--this time though, we get to see the Man Of Steel fly though fire, and a missile launch
View the spot, courtesy of BrandonRouth.com, in high resolution Quicktime.
In related Superman movie news, the Superman Cinema website is reporting that directors Richard Lester (Superman II and III) and Sidney J. Furie (Superman IV: The Quest For Peace) are not going to be involved in the special editions for their Fall release.
Unless there's a miracle, these guys won't be changing their minds.
It's a shame that both men have declined to participate...Given the lore that surrounds each of the original films in the franchise, it would be nice to have their perspective...for the record.
The site also reports that screen tests are expected to be on the Supergirl DVD as well. I hope actress Demi Moore allows for hers to see the light of day. I am very curious to see how she did. If it is part of the release than I'll rent it for sure.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Willis Confirms 'Die Hard 4' Nearly Ready To Roll
Hollywood actor Bruce Willis on Friday announced filmmakers are ready to start shooting a fourth Die Hard movie, and they hope to have it in cinemas next year. Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival in France, Willis - who stars as policeman John McClane in the Die Hard films - revealed the highly-anticipated sequel is expected to start filming soon. He said, "We're as close as we've ever got to getting Die Hard 4 started. It won't be called Die Hard 4 but that will be the story. Hopefully it will be out next summer." The movie's plot had to be rewritten after last year's Hurricane Katrina tragedy - the original screenplay involved an oil tanker explosion that sends huge waves flooding into New Orleans, Louisiana. Die Hard was released in 1988 and made Willis a star. Two sequels followed - Die Hard 2: Die Harder in 1990 and Die Hard With A Vengeance in 1995.
Like the Indiana Jones franchise, a 4th Die Hard film has been in the works forever...On the whole, I like the existing trilogy, quite a lot and think it should end there. But if they have to make number cuatro--here's what I would do if it were up to me:
Detective John McClane would basically be working alone against some threat--ala the first and second films. Having the character work up close with a sidekick for the whole movie--just turns it into a buddy pic. I would also bring back wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) somehow. I just love her.
Bryan Burk, executive producer of Lost, confirmed to Sci Fi Wire that he too is part of the team developing Trek XI, along with Lost co-creators Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams.
Burk played down the rumors that the upcoming Star Trek prequel would involve a young Kirk and Spock at Starfleet; the production team is not sharing any story information at this point. "I can tell you that [the film announcement] leaked out prematurely, so there's no formal statement made from any of us, other than we all couldn't be more excited about it."
"We actually have this thing where we're just not talking about it outside of [our team] right now. And to say I'm excited is the understatement of the [year]."
Although Patrick Stewart had his share of involvement in Trek XI rumors prior to the prequel announcement, the actor acknowledges it's unlikely that he'll play any part in another Star Trek film. He explained the situation to Coming Soon:
"The whole creative and business side of [Paramount] has undergone a huge transformation and apparently, Abrams is a huge fan of Star Trek— the original one and The Next Generation. [However,] I have not heard one mention that this would in any way involve The Next Generation, so I think it would be unlikely."
Involved or not, Stewart will maintain an interest in how the film turns out, as he explained to IGN FilmForce in a recent interview.
"I would just watch that space with interest. Whether it involves me or any of the Next Generation cast, who knows? But it's interesting for me to hear that there is strong enthusiasm at the studio in going down that path one more time."
Frankly, at this point, all I really want out of Trek XI is a good story. Once that's in place, the rest of it is just a matter of logistics, and casting.
The series, created by Ed Spielman, ran on ABC from 1972-1975 and tells the story of Kane (David Carradine)-a Shaolin Monk-who finds himself traveling the American West with only his skill in Kung Fu to guide him. The late great character actor Keye Luke as Master Po was my favorite second banana on the show and did some amazing work during its run.
Rumors of a Kung Fu flick have been around for years...Details of the project are of course, sketchy at this point, but as Variety's Pamela McClintock reports things seem well in hand this time out with Warner Bros.-based Legendary Pictures behind the project .
Led by Thomas Tull, Legendary has said from the outset it would take an active role in developing its own projects, in addition to co-financing and co-producing at least 25 Warner pics over a five-year period. Legendary also has a first-look distribution pact with Warners.
Warner Bros. toyed itself with the idea of making a feature based on the martial arts TV series -- which was produced by the studio's TV division -- but rights reverted back to Spielman at least five years ago.
Legendary wouldn't disclose a specific logline for the big screen version of "Kung Fu," but [President] of distribution and marketing Scott Mednick said the film would explore the events on which the TV show was based and the origins of the main characters.
Legendary has optioned a screenplay from Spielman and Howard Friedlander, also a writer on the original series.
It's nice to hear that folks behind the show have such an active part in the process. Their involvement is reassuring because it makes it less likely the flick will be a parody of its former self.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Following mega returns for The Da Vinci Code over the weekend, execs at Sony Pictures announced late yesterday, a deal to make a film of author Dan Brown's Da Vinci prequel Angels & Demons.
Variety's Michael Fleming and Dave McNary have the complete 411:
Though development of "Angels & Demons" is still in the early stages, the studio's also planning to reassemble "The Da Vinci Code" producing team of Brian Grazer and John Calley for the project.
No deals are set yet for director Ron Howard or star Tom Hanks to return, but both would have first crack at the project.
In "Angels," [the] Langdon... character tries to solve a murder and unravel a plot by an ancient group, the Illuminati, to blow up the Vatican during a papal conclave...
It's funny how the fickle film God works isn't it? Less than a week ago, the press in Cannes were talking box office bomb, now some $231.8 million dollars (worldwide) in its first 5 days, and everyone's talking about the next film.
Let this be a lesson to you boys and girls--Never assume anything in the film industry...
Monday, May 22, 2006
And while it does have its merits (the last few shots are very cool), be warned, its much more spoiler-heavy than its stateside counterpart. Obviously, if the idea of knowing too much of the plot before you see a film bothers you, than good golly stay away from this Quicktime link.
Yet A 4th TV spot for the movie aired during last night's season finale of The Simpsons in the U.S. and can be downloaded as an AVI file by clicking here.
This 30 second spot is given a harder edge with a rock score as opposed to using the familiar Superman March.
Meanwhile, in his daily column on Friday Roger Friedman of FOX News.com asked Where is Superman?--and why hasn't the new film shown up in Cannes?
I personally think having the film show up in France 5 weeks before its release date would be a mistake.
If it premiered there and got the reception that "Da Vinci" got, for example, than its opening here would seem anti-climatic. And it would give the film 5 weeks of bad vibes rather than just 2 days.
As Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo reports:
'The Da Vinci Code' was a box office revelation, unlocking an estimated $77 million over the weekend, and there was room for 'Over The Hedge ' to snare an estimated $37.2 million [for the second place spot]...
The full report crunches all of the important numbers for you
Meantime, Dave McNary and Ben Fritz of Variety are all over the story of the year's first big film and its worldwide success.
Thriller Finds Global Grail and World in Louvre with 'Code'
Sometimes a few bad reviews and some controversy can do a world of good. The suits at Sony Pictures dodged a very BIG bullet.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Early reviews for the movie, which opens this Friday, are beginning to trickle in--and guess what? They are very positive.
Moriarty of Aint It Cool News writes in part:
...X-MEN: THE LAST STAND is not only a worthy addition to the franchise, it actually feels like it is simply part of one big movie, absolutely on par with the first two films.
Be warned of spoilers aplenty if you read the full review.
Critics Ebert & Roeper give the sequel the coveted, "Two Thumbs Up", on the latest episode of their popular syndicated television show...
If this keeps up, and the film turns out to great, I'm going to have to stop doubting the folks at 20th Century Fox, and learn to "trust" them.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
While watching them, I literally laughed out loud at a scene between Ambassador Robert Thorne (Liev Schreiber) and Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite). It sounds like Schreiber is trying to imitate the late great Gregory Peck (who played the same role in the 1976 version), and if that's the case, the movie will be pretty scary indeed. But not in any intentional sense, or the way the filmmakers are hoping, I'm sure.
While the screenwriter David Seltzer, also penned the original film, I doubt even his talents can save us from bad acting er um... imitating.
The Omen 2006 opens, of course, on Tuesday June 6th. Remakes are a frightening proposition indeed.
During Thursday's season finale of The OC, a 30 second preview, focusing on the film's love triangle between Superman, Lois Lane and Richard White (James Marsden) hit the airwaves.
While I think the ad fits very well with a night-time suds-er, it also makes the film seem a little too angst-ridden, and melodramatic for my tastes.
Thankfully, I'm not part of The OC's targeted audience demo anymore. Here's the 2nd TV Spot (as a Windows Media file)...Be warned--Sappy is an understatement.
The third SR spot aired during last night's episode of America's Funniest Home Videos (I can't believe that show is still on the air!)
Now this is more like it! Daring Doo, crowds cheering, Smallville stuff, and and that great theme music. Here's the spot (as a Windows Media File)--courtesy Brandonrouth.com.
Friday, May 19, 2006
The film adaptation of author Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code opens today in theaters. The media coverage in the run-up to the release has been quite amazing--and I don't mean that in a good way.
Have you been watching the cable news network MSNBC lately? I happen to be home yesterday morning, and in the midst of channel surfing, I was stunned to find that while CNN and the Fox News Channel were covering the confirmation hearings of General Michael Hayden for the top spot at the Central Intelligence Agency--really important stuff--MSNBC was instead, covering the film! Wow! In fact, Da Vinci programing has been all over the dial, from the entertainment news shows...to the The History Channel, SCI-FI Channel and beyond. I have not seen this kind of media coverage for a flick since The Passion of The Christ in 2004.
And then there was the film's infamous debut in France on Wednesday...
Meanwhile, the review round-up reveals a few bright spots among the dark clouds.
In an interview with Mike Collett-White of Reuters, director Ron Howard describes the overwhelmingly negative reviews of his eagerly awaited movie, as "Frustrating" but he believed the news was not all bad.
Critics and movie-goers often disagree, Howard said in an interview on Thursday, and some people at preview screenings had found the film starring Tom Hanks more rewarding on the second viewing than on the first.
"I don't really read them (reviews) at the time that we're coming out, because it's too touchy a subject for me," Howard, 52, told Reuters at an exclusive hotel on the Mediterranean coast outside Cannes.
"I like to know what's going on, so I get a sentence or two of description."
Months after a film's release, Howard said, he collects reviews to see what the consensus among critics was
Really, what else can the guy say?. I still think the movie will make a bucket full of cash this weekend regardless of what critics say. The novel, which I have only read excerpts of, is just too popular for folks to ignore the movie. It's just a question of how much it will make...
For example, Entertainment Weekly's Joshua Rich predicts a $71 million weekend, just the same...
I also wish the Catholic Church put forth the same amount of energy when handling the Priest sex abuse scandal, as they have trying to dispel the book and or movie...
The weekend's other big release is the CGI animated film Over The Hedge from Dreamworks.
The next Hollywood Summer blockbuster hopeful on the conveyor belt-- X-MEN 3: The Last Stand.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
I must say...like the United 93 preview, it brought me right back to that day--September 11th, 2001...And it's pretty intense.
Have a look...
I may be wrong about this, but WTC doesn't seem like it's gonna be your typical Oliver Stone movie.
The film opens on August 9th, 2006.
The Superman Homepage can reveal exclusively that Warner Bros. held interviews last month to find a double for Christopher Reeve for additional footage they are shooting for the special edition DVD of "Superman II".
It is not known if Brandon Routh was available or considered, but I was told that the scenes involved were only a couple of shots from a distance. The interviews were for actors not photo-doubles. It probably would not have been worth it for them to bring in Brandon Routh.
This Donner Cut of "Superman II" is being released as part of the 14-disc Ultimate Edition Superman DVD collection scheduled for release later this year.
Wow! I had no idea that the project involved shooting any new material...I just assumed that any bits that were needed would be accomplished by using stuff shot by Richard Lester. I'm pleased that the studio is going that extra step to make sure the Donner version is as complete as possible. Project coordinator Michael Thau seems to have things well in hand.
Another possible reason that Routh wasn't used--might be his upcoming promotional schedule for the new film.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
To be honest, it's not all that eye-catching, if you ask me. It doesn't make me go "Wow"!
By way of comparison-The poster for the 1978 film worked much better on a symbolic level:
I just think in this case symbols are all that's required. I realize that was what the SR teaser poster was for...
...And they wanted a different look for the one sheet.
I know the image of a solemn Superman hovering above the Earth is meant to evoke a scene from the comics--made famous by artist Alex Ross... As depicted though, it looks as though the caped wonder is about to dive into a swimming pool. And why have his back to the planet? I thought he was "returning" in the film? He should be flying or facing forward. No?
I love picking nits.
For example, here's how the review by Variety's Todd McCarthy begins:
A pulpy page-turner in its original incarnation as a huge international bestseller has become a stodgy, grim thing in its exceedingly literal-minded film version.
Tackling head-on novelist Dan Brown's controversythy-stirring thriller hinging on a subversively revisionist view of Jesus Christ's life, director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman have conspired to drain any sense of fun out of the melodrama, leaving expectant audiences with an oppressively talky film that isn't exactly dull but comes as close to it as one could imagine with such provocative material; result is perhaps the best thing the project's critics could have hoped for.
The fun doesn't stop there. McCarthy further writes:
Sitting through all the verbose explanations and speculations about symbols, codes, secret cults, religious history and covert messages in art, it is impossible to believe that, had the novel never existed, such a script would ever have been considered by a Hollywood studio. It's esoteric, heady stuff, made compelling only by the fact that what it's proposing undermines the fundamental tenets of Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, and, by extension, Western Civilization for the past 2,000 years.
The irony in the film's inadequacy is that the novel was widely found to be so cinematic. Although pretty dismal as prose, the tome fairly rips along, courtesy of a strong story hook, very short chapters that seem like movie scenes, constant movement by the principal characters in a series of conveyances, periodic eruptions of violent action and a compressed 24-hour time frame.
And if that weren't bad enough, the AP's movie writer David Germain writes:
"The Da Vinci Code" drew lukewarm praise, shrugs of indifference, some jeering laughter and a few derisive jabs Tuesday from arguably the world's toughest movie crowd: critics at [the festival]...
The Cannes audience clearly grew restless as the movie dragged on to two and a half hours and spun a long sequence of anticlimactic revelations.
"I kept thinking of the Energizer Bunny, because it kept going and going and going, and not in a good way," said James Rocchi, a film critic for CBS 5 television in San Francisco and the online outlet Cinematical. "Ron Howard makes handsome films. He doesn't make bad ones, but he doesn't make great ones."
One especially melodramatic line uttered by [star Tom] Hanks drew prolonged laughter and some catcalls, and the audience continued to titter for much of the film's remainder.
Some people walked out during the movie's closing minutes, though there were fewer departures than many Cannes movies provoke among harsh critics. When the credits rolled, there were a few whistles and hisses, and there was none of the scattered applause even bad movies sometimes receive at Cannes...
Read more about the event here...and here.
What effect this overseas drubbing will have on the U.S. box office for DaVinci's first weekend is unclear. What I do know is, the movie studios in Hollywood, that were hoping for a box office bounce in 'o6 over last year, are now sweating bullets big time.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver want to start lensing the sci-fi pic this fall, which would mean Singer might end up shooting two tentpoles -- "Logan's" and a "Superman Returns" sequel -- back-to-back.
No one begrudges Singer for seeking a break from big-budget projects, although the filmmaker probably won't make an official decision either way about "Logan's Run" until "Superman Returns" bows [June 30th].
Assuming Singer's take on the Caped Crusader is a crowd-pleaser, Warners plans to start shooting the sequel in the later part of 2007, with Singer again at the helm.
Even if he doesn't direct "Logan's Run," Singer is still likely to play some sort of role and perhaps take a producer's credit. Silver has been developing the project for some time now, with input from Singer.
There's been buzz that "V for Vendetta" director James McTeigue might step in and helm "Logan's Run," but at this point it's just rumor.
There's also no word yet on whether Singer might decide to direct a smaller film before the "Superman" sequel. One of his passion projects is "The Mayor of Castro Street," about the assassination of San Francisco gay politico Harvey Milk...
Personally, I would like to see Singer's take on Logan's Run...Since he's been talking about it for so long. That said, should Singer decide not to do the project, James McTeigue isn't a bad second choice. Ultimately though, if SR is a bona fide hit, I'm sure the studio would be willing to let Singer do any film that he wants.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Be sure to visit the film's website.....
Last week the studio provided the masses with a 7 minute montage from the movie. Now, word comes from The Movie Reporter (AKA IESB) that the studio has released 18 "film clips" from the sequel, as well as a new behind the scenes featurette titled, “The Cure”.
I can see the studio giving us a few more peeks before the May 26 premiere... but 18 scenes and a featurette? Normally, I'm OK with the the concept of spoilers, but in this case it's overkill. Why not just release the whole flick and save us all the trouble?
In my opinion, there's only one reason to have all this stuff out there, and that's so the studio can gage public reaction and excitement over the footage. If you need this much pre-release material 2 weeks out all I see is a red flag for the movie... As I say 3 or 5 clips is fine but 18 goes too far. I hope I'm wrong---Time will tell.
Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo says:
On the shallow end of disaster pictures, Poseidon claimed an estimated $20.3 million, landing [in 2nd place] below Mission Impossible III's second weekend [take of 24.5 Million]..
Here's the full report...
Gosh, I know the word on Poseidon wasn't all that great to begin with, but the film must be really bad if MI:3 was able to retain its top status. This, despite a whopping 49% decline in ticket sales over last weekend. I would guess the folks at Paramount Pictures can finally permit themselves a bit of a smile at the news of MI:3's small victory.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
On this very special day, I would like to spend some time talking about a great lady--My Mom--and the films she loved..
From a very early age, I remember spending many Saturday afternoons with mom, watching a show called Creature Double Feature, where a local host would introduce classic horror films like Frankenstein, Dracula, (both from 1931), House of Wax (1953) The Blob, (1958) I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)-just to name a few.
Mom's favorite film star was James Cagney. Sitting down with her to watch White Heat was a both a treat and chore, because I really didn't understand the beauty of the black and white film yet. Into my adulthood I appreciate it as the masterpiece that it is. When the 4th of July rolled around, Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) became a family tradition. When Cagney died on March 30th 1986, I vividly recall her shedding a few tears upon hearing the sad news.
Mom liked films about the underdog overcoming adversity. The saga of Rocky Balboa was among her favorite of the genre.
Speaking of sagas...even though the first two Godfather films were not meant for kids my age, the first time they hit broadcast TV in the mid 70's, I was allowed to watch them. Of course I'm so glad my parents made the exception.
As mother and son we shared many other favorite films over the years. Comedies like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and High Anxiety, all from the mind of a master named Mel Brooks. We also got a kick out of Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the original Pink Panther movies, as well as his turn in the underrated Murder by Death (1976).
She would even indulge me by sitting through multiple viewings of Superman and various "Star Trek" flicks...especially Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, without much of a fuss. Star Wars, on the other hand, was a tougher sell for some reason...
Sadly, cancer took her from our family nearly 11 years ago...
Thanks Mom for all of your love, support, and kindness for all of those years. I miss you every day. But I'm grateful that we shared lots of love, laughter, and of course many movie memories.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
1. Johnny Depp
2. George Clooney
3. Matt Damon
4. Al Pacino
5. Tom Cruise
6. Angelina Jolie
7. Elijah Wood
8. Brittany Murphy
9. Jack Nicholson
10. Clint Eastwood
1. Cameron Diaz
2. Bruce Willis
3. Demi Moore
4. Tobey Maguire
5. Alan Alda
6. Halle Berry
7. Winona Ryder
8. Teri Hatcher
9. Joaquin Phoenix
10. Russell Crowe
According to an article by The Associated Press:
...The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star also was rated best last year.
"Many stars become bad signers once fame and fortune hits, but not Depp. He's even signed autographs for crowds at the airport while carrying luggage," said Steve Cyrkin, editor and publisher of the Santa Ana, Calif.-based magazine.
As for Clooney, "he'll joke as he signs, and make fun of how he looks in photos he's handed to autograph," Cyrkin said.
When it comes to her moniker, however, Diaz gets a flunking grade.
"Cameron Diaz may be a talented actress, but she's persistently a terrible signer. Instead of just turning down a person's autograph request, she'll lecture them about how dumb autographs are," Cyrkin said.
Russell Crowe would have been named as the best of the worst but in recent months he has been much nicer to fans, Cyrkin said in a telephone interview Friday.
Cyrkin said the list, which appears in the magazine's June issue, was based on information from a professional autograph collector and an enthusiastic amateur who is a journalist.
"They're the guys who want to get five or 10 or 12 of everything but they do see people" and know the "track records" of the stars, he said.
"It's looking at the spirit of the way they sign," Cyrkin said. "It's how they treat their fans."
If I were famous, I think it would depend on how the fan approached me, and all of that. But I would be grateful for their support of my work... and gladly do the deed
For the most part, you'd think most stars would not mind. After all, without fan support, where would they be?
And what's with the lecture Ms Diaz? In the time it takes you to tell us how stupid star signatures are--you could have signed a few for your adoring public.
Friday, May 12, 2006
It started off great--Setting up the plot of the film quite nicely, offering just enough to whet your appetite, without going too far. Kelsey Grammer looks really awesome as The Beast. After 4 extended snippets of dialogue and never before seen action, it was topped off with stuff from previous released trailers and TV ads. In that respect, the 7 minute sneak was somewhat disappointing.
Watch the footage now and decide for yourself. X3 opens on May 26th.
Meanwhile, the first TV spot for Superman Returns, aired during last night's season finale of Smallville. There are a number of never before seen images in the 30 second ad... SR bows on June 30th
This Is London posts an interview with The Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks, who has plenty to say about all the controversy that surrounds the film. In particular, he addresses all of those calls for a boycott. The flick opens on May 19th...
The reviews for Poseidon (in theaters today) are decidedly mixed to poor, setting up another interesting weekend at the U.S. box office. Will the remake of a 70's classic sink or swim? Variety's Gabriel Snyder and Dave McNary set the stage for us by asking Will the ship hit the fans?
I'm kinda hopin' Poseodon can manage more than the projections suggest--despite questioning the need for remaking the 1972 original in the first place.
Next up on the blockbuster conveyor belt--The aforementioned Da Vinci Code
Thursday, May 11, 2006
The extended clip of the sequel will air in between the second to last episode of the series, and a special 1 hour and 23 minute retrospective, from 8:30-8:37 PM on the FOX Broadcast Network
As a fan of That 70's Show, you can bet that I will be tuning in for the entire 2 hour block, and opining about the X-footage tomorrow.
As they say out there in TV Land...Stay Tuned.
But then, I read this article Hollywood friends rally around Tom Cruise by Steve Gorman of Reuters, and I could not help myself. I had to comment on it:
In a rare public show of support for a beleaguered star, some of Hollywood's top executives rallied to Tom Cruise's side on Wednesday as a new poll suggested his odd behavior in recent months may have cost him millions of dollars at the box office.
Among the movie industry heavyweights offering personal testimonials to his talent and bankability were Universal Studios President Ron Meyer, veteran producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey, whose company released Cruise's latest film, "Mission: Impossible III."
As the man behind the distribution of MI:3, it's no surprise that Grey is supporting Cruise, what else can he do? Disown him? As for Bruckheimer, he's made some great films in the past with Cruise and probably wants to do so again.
"Tom Cruise is one of the most important stars ever in the motion picture business," Ron Meyer, a close friend and former agent, told Reuters. "I don't know anybody who has had the consistent success rate that Tom has. And nobody should be counting him out."
Added Gray: "He is clearly, on a profit basis as well as a creative basis, one of the biggest stars in the world."
Days after "Mission: Impossible III" opened to lower-than-expected domestic ticket sales, a USA Today/Gallup poll showed Cruise's star power in the eyes of the public has dimmed considerably.
In the poll of 1,013 adults conducted during the film's first weekend in theaters, 35 percent registered a favorable opinion of Cruise, to 51 percent with an unfavorable opinion.
That's a major turnaround from last year, when Cruise's previous film, "War of the Worlds," opened and his poll ratings were 58 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable.
USA Today reported that Cruise's popularity decline with women was also sharp, slipping from a 56 percent favorable rating in 2005 to 35 percent now.
Wow! And I thought President George W Bush's popularity was in the toilet...Sheesh! The approval numbers for both men are about the same. I guess the old adage is true, Misery does indeed, love company
The poll sparked an unusual public outpouring of solidarity from Cruise's friends in high places, who insisted his status and popularity were undiminished. And they disputed the notion that his latest film was a commercial disappointment.
...Supporters [also] pointed to the additional $70 million in overseas receipts it generated in its first weekend.
"If you do $118 million in a three-day period around the world, you're to be congratulated," Gray said. "When the summer is over, you will see that audiences will have come out to see Tom and they'll be praising the picture and praising the work he's done."
"It's the biggest non-holiday opening for a Tom Cruise movie ever," added longtime producing partner Paula Wagner.
Sure, when you tally up the world-wide gross of MI:3, it is a successful debut. But the fact is that, had the film done better in the states, Grey would not need to include those international numbers at all, as a way of making himself feel better.
I love how Wagner uses the phrase "biggest non holiday opening..." Forgetting that MI:3 opened in more theaters than its predecessor. Given that it's a popular franchise with a built in audience, and as an event film with solid reviews, complete with a mega-star as its headliner-- the movie should have definitely done better. The fact that the film opened when it did doesn't matter this time. It also had no real competition to fight off. It opened the season for crying out loud!! No other Summer blockbuster will be able to say that this year.
And it's clear that there's only one person to blame here--and that's Cruise
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Reported by Roger Friedman at Fox News .Com in his latest 411 column:
...Sources tell me that a catered lunch at the studio, planned ahead on Friday as a celebration, turned into a morbid affair. "Brad Grey and Rob Moore came to it, but no one spoke and eventually everyone left."
Apparently, reality set in faster in the Paramount executive suite than it did even among Cruise nay-sayers. For one thing, weekend numbers—announced as estimates on Sunday—turned out to be slightly lower on Monday by almost a million bucks. Mission's real take was $47.7 million, not $48.6 million.
"You have to understand," says a source, "they sit around and try to decide what sounds better on Sunday. The $48 million sounded closer to 50. The 47 sounds more like 45."
You've got to feel for these people though. Since Monday morning, every department at Paramount has been called on for immediate cost cutting, I'm told. "Budget meetings are going on everywhere," says a source. "Everyone's being asked what they can do, and there's talk of layoffs again."
Why the sudden concern? On Monday night, MI:3 may have become a self fulfilling prophesy. It made $3.5 million, off 72 percent from Sunday. That number must have had the Paramount prognosticators running around like earthquake experts. You see, blockbusters generally do not drop so much from their first Sunday to Monday. Some examples: "Spider Man 2" had a 57% drop and "Batman Begins" had a 26% drop. "War of the Worlds," Tom Cruise's last film, had only a 38% dip on its first Monday, but that was July 4th and a holiday. The following Monday it hung in there at 61%.
"They must be freaking out," says a source.
Indeed, the numbers crunchers are going to be watching "M:I 3" every day, maybe every hour this week to see where it's going. Some astute TV viewers are already reporting see a new commercial that emphasizes Philip Seymour Hoffman as the villain Owen Davian. If the numbers keep bottoming out as we head toward Friday, then Warner Bros. will be relieved. "Poseidon" might have a strong opening despite being awful.
And that's the irony here: "M I:3" is a terrific action film Director J.J. Abrams did a great job, and the entire cast from Cruise right through to the team and various supporting players do a convincing job. Cruise has several fantastic stunts that will take your breath away. It would be a shame if everyone waited to watch it at home on small screens.
It's amazing how the fortunes of a studio can turn one way or another, as a result of how one film performs. I also find it odd that Tom Cruise has gone strangely silent all of the sudden (I say sarcastically) now. For a year, he's been unable to keep quiet, and now after shooting his career in the "foot", he decides to shut up--Not so tough now are ya...
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
As someone who spent a lot of his formative years watching TV in the 80's, I must confess, I was a big fan of the action series Knight Rider. Created by Glen A. Larson and starring future "Baywatch" beach bum David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, the series told Knight's tales of daring doo with a bitchin' talking car named K.I.T.T. (voiced by the great William Daniels).
It seems that premise is speeding its way toward the big screen, courtesy of the folks at The Weinstein Company.
Variety's Ian Mohr has all of the preliminary details:
Believe it or not, I think if done right, this is one of the few TV series that has potential as a feature film--as long as Hasselhoff doesn't have to sing in it.
Monday, May 08, 2006
It's all over the the internet... any way you slice it Mission Impossible III proved to be a disappointment in its first weekend of release--despite lots of positive reviews and sitting atop the U.S. box office. Here's a small sample of how this story is being reported...
Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo says "Falling short of expectations, 'Mission: Impossible III' delivered an estimated $48 million opening weekend, selling far fewer tickets than its predecessors..." (the film did about $10 million less than 2000's Mission: Impossible II when it opened).
Here's his full report.
The New York Times and My Way are essentially calling this lukewarm debut The Crash Of Cruise
While the Entertainment Weekly website says "M:I-3" wins -- but with less than expected
Studio Briefing proclaims 'Mission' Accomplished -- Not
And finally Variety asks Par's 'Mission': Impossible? saying Cruise spark sputters
There's no question in my mind, that the over exposure of TomKat, the media frenzy over the birth of their daughter Suri, and Cruise's odd behavior, all plays a part in why MI:3 missed the mark.
Sight unseen--the fact that JJ Abrams and his chums from Alias are behind the film--means that I would have paid for a ticket to see this movie--but Cruise and his personal life issues really turned me off. And I just couldn't support it...
Apparently, as I said on Saturday, a lot of other folks felt the same way I do.
SneakPeekTV has posted the DVD cover art for the June 20th release of Look Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman.
The Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns produced project was unveiled over the weekend, as the last film at this year's HotDocs Film Festival in Toronto.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros has released an extended trailer for the documentary, which includes footage from the new feature film I have not seen before. However, what is "new" for me has been seen by attendees of the San Diego Comic Con and the last San Francisco WonderCon.
It is hoped that an edited (?) version of the documentary will air on TV, at some point, prior to the release of Superman Returns.
...Still trying to keep those expectations in check...
Sunday, May 07, 2006
The article, written by Christine Spines, surveys the top salaries of film's biggest stars per movie, and then offers evidence for or against the pay grade.
Meanwhile, scribe Josh Rottenberg, examines whether or not Tom Cruise is really worth $100 million, given his odd behavior over the last year. Anyone who has read The Last Reel over the last few weeks, already knows my feelings about Mr. Cruise of late...And while I don't wish him ill will-given how much he makes per picture, and what he's done lately--He's not worth it...The Golden Boy is now tarnished. Teflon Tom no more...
By comparison, (seemingly anyway) clean cut family man Will Smith, makes about $25 Million per picture, and is worth every penny--I, Robot and Wild Wild West notwithstanding.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
MI3 Box Office Disappoints, Cruise's Fault?...
While the weekend's final numbers won't be available until Monday...
It looks like I wasn't the only one who has decided to stay away "in protest"(?)...
To that end...and since the score for 1978's Superman - The Movie remains an all time favorite of mine...
Dan Goldwasser of Soundtrack.net has posted an excellent article about his exclusive visit to the scoring sessions for John Ottman's eagerly awaited score to Superman Returns. The article features many photos, and a full description of what went on behind the scenes, including visits from stars Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, and director Bryan Singer.
Here are a few excerpts:
During one of the bigger days, the original prologue and main titles were recorded. At the time, it was planned to be basically a re-creation of the original opening from the 1978 film, with the curtain opening, comic book intro, and then flying through space as the John Williams march played. (Things have changed now, and a new prologue will be recorded instead.)
It was during that time that director Bryan Singer showed up to the scoring session with lead actor Brandon Routh (Clark Kent/Superman) and Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen). Routh, who had played trumpet for years, was invited by the brass section to show a bit of his skills. (pictured [above]) In the end, he didn't play on the score, but was kind enough to pose for photos with Ottman, Singer, and the trumpet players.
Overall, things ran pretty smoothly during the sessions. There are about two hours of score in the film, and most of it was recorded in the two weeks scheduled. Thoughtfully, Ottman invited John Williams to visit the sessions, however due to the Juilliard Centennial celebration, he was unable to attend - but appreciated the offer. Two choir sessions were held at Warner Brothers. Led by Bobbi Page, the first was a mixed choir of sixty voices, and the second was an eight-member boys choir.
Article Photography by Dan Goldwasser and Todd BlackThe complete article can be found here...
It's a shame that John Williams had a prior commitment and couldn't come by for that visit...
The movie's companion "song" CD, Sound of Superman, hits stores soon...
Meanwhile, the "score" CD, for Superman Returns hits shelves on June 27th.