Friday, June 30, 2006

With A Bang Or A Whimper?

For all the noise made in film land over the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping caase, Monday's Studio Briefing, highlights that the legal wrangle may end up being for nothing. now appears likely to sputter out without the previously expected indictments of high-profile Hollywood attorneys and their clients, the Los Angeles Times indicated today, noting that the government had failed to decrypt nearly 300 of Pellicano's recordings found on his computers when they were seized. The newspaper, however, quoted law enforcement sources and others who have reviewed the government's case as saying that even without the recordings, it has sufficient evidence to prove its case. It quoted defense lawyer Peter Knecht as saying, "This case has had so much publicity attached to it -- for the government to lose it would be a real blow. It would be like losing [the] O.J." Simpson murder case.

I find it hard to believe that the U.S. prosecutors working the case could make such a huge mistake...especially with all of the "evidence" generated from the case.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

"You Are Revealed To The World"

After numerous blog posts and much speculation about the film--I have finally seen Superman Returns for myself...

While I'm still in the process of putting together my "official" and rather detailed review of the film...And as you await that coveted post, here's a few random points about the flick, to tide you over till then:

1. Brandon Routh makes a better than expected Superman. But seemed to fare even better as alter ego Clark Kent. Still, he ends up--aquitting himself nicely in the long shadow cast by the late Christopher Reeve...

2. In her role, Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, delivers an uneven performance. I think it has more to do with the fact that she looks just too darn young to be a seasoned reporter--than with her acting skills...

3. Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor is a cross between the Gene Hackman version who had an "affinity for beach front property" and the darker Lex from the latest season of Smallville...

4. The film is indeed a tad too long...

5. The film's "big" rescue is as great as it gets...

6. Kal Penn and James Karen are nearly edited right out of the picture and that sucks.

7. Bryan Singer's respect for the Richard Donner film is cool... But the more I think about it...

8. The kid is...

9. The cinematography is superb. The costume looked better on film than it does in any still photo

10. Superman Returns takes flight and deserves a sequel (or two?) but it never really flies "up, up, and away".

I will see it again over the long holiday weekend...before posting the aforementioned full review...

Meanwhile, Variety's Ben Fritz and Dave McNary talk opening day numbers in Warner's high flyer rakes in $21 mil --here's the gist:

...had a strong takeoff domestically and overseas, though it didn't fly into the stratosphere.

Warner. Bros.' restart of the superhero franchise took in $21 million domestically at 3,915 playdates on Wednesday, in line with studio expectations and virtually even with the $21.3 million Paramount drew from "War of the Worlds" last year on its opening Wednesday before July 4.

Figures include Tuesday 10 p.m. shows, which sources indicated accounted for about $4 million of the total, though the studio would not confirm that. WB justified including the previous night's opening shows, which essentially gave the film 26 hours of play for one day, by noting that the two-hour, 37-minute running time meant there would be few midnight shows on a Tuesday.

In four foreign markets, "Superman Returns" grossed $1.3 million on 548 prints in three markets Wednesday, comfortably taking first place in the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.

On Thursday, pic opened to $919,000 at 407 playdates in Australia, also about even with "War of the Worlds." Other opening markets Thursday, for which grosses weren't available, included Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore and Taiwan.

Domestically, "Superman Returns" saw the eighth-biggest opening Wednesday ever. (Two years ago, "Spider-Man 2" set a record with its $40.4 million debut.) "Superman" came in comfortably ahead of the opening Wednesday for WB's previous effort to re-start a franchise, "Batman Begins," which took $15 million its first day in June 2005 and went on to cume $205 million.

The only near-record overseas was in the Philippines, where the $408,000 gross at 81 theaters was market's second biggest ever.

Stateside, males made up 58% of the opening-day aud[ience]s. Tracking indicates pic was lagging with women, but WB is hoping that men were more likely to come out the first day and women will prove more interested as the weekend wears on. Auds were virtually split between those over and under 25.

Seventy-six Imax screens accounted for $1.17 million, giving the 3-D version of the film an awesome $15,400-per-play average in just one day.

The first 24 hour numbers in the U.S. were not as BIG as I thought they would be. The final 7 day total should prove interesting...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is the next would be blockbuster at bat for team Disney.

For now though...Supes will rule the box office.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This Looks Like A Job For...

I have just a few minutes, before I have to leave for the theater, to catch Superman Returns. Despite a wealth of forehand knowledge about the movie, I must admit, I can't help but feel like a kid again. It's kinda the same feeling of anticipation you used to get on X-mas eve, when we were kids. I'm not the only one feeling hyped. Warner Bros. is pretty confident in the film's financial prospects as well. Ben Fritz of Variety lays it all out in Truth, justice and the B.O. way.

From Studio Briefing:

Mighty Return (And Returns) Expected for 'Superman'

Superman Returns is expected to leap over all its rivals in a single bound over the Fourth of July weekend, but analysts are divided over how high it will fly. The film will have the widest release of any in Warner Bros.' history -- 4,065 theaters and about 8,500 screens. In addition, the film is being featured on 77 IMAX screens (about 20 minutes of the IMAX prints are in 3-D), the widest release in that theatrical format. Director Bryan Singer has acknowledged that the film cost about $204 million to make (some studio insiders have told trade publications that the figure was actually much higher), but Warner Bros. is believed to have spent $40-50 million over the years developing the new film. Reviews of the film have been decidedly mixed, and while reviews may have little effect on the size of opening crowds they often do reflect word of mouth and thus, how a film will perform in the long term. The film faces strong -- if not overwhelming -- competition from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest next week.

Moreover...many female moviegoers have indicated [in surveys] that they'd prefer [to see] The Devil Wears Prada, which opens on Friday. Still, it's a long holiday, since the Fourth falls on a Tuesday, and it's always been a big holiday for movie-going. There's a strong possibility that there will be a run on tights, capes and Prada. In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News, Warner Bros. distribution chief Dan Fellman observed, "A lot of people are taking off this week, so we think we can do extremely well on Wednesday and Thursday, then go into a long five-day weekend. A lot of businesses will be closed Monday and Tuesday next week."

Here's the complete review round-up from Rotten Tomatoes, for the film--a near 80% approval...

NOW: it's my turn--Gotta Fly...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Webbed Feat

The teaser trailer for Spider-Man 3 has hit the Internet...

And it's AWSOME! If the rest of the film is as good as this first look, than as far as I'm concerned director Sam Raimi has gone three for three with the Spidey trilogy. The countdown to May 4th 2007 begins NOW!

Hero's Welcome?

Roger Friedman of Fox News.Com is talking Superman again in today's 411 column

"Superman Returns" debuts tonight around the country with special 10 p.m. and midnight shows at all its theaters.

Warner Bros., which has high hopes for the $300 million epic, will be able to tell in just a few hours how things will fare for the "Man of Steel" in his latest go-round, thanks to director Bryan Singer.

And while the juries are still technically out, here are some things to chew on: As of last night, Moviefone, which measures interest in all current releases, listed “Superman Returns” second to Adam Sandler’s “Click.”

The Sandler film grossed a huge amount over the weekend, $40 million, so its listing could be a carryover from that enthusiasm. Still, Warner Bros. would have hoped for “SR” to be listed at No. 1 by Moviefone fans.

Also, according to, none of the “early” shows tonight have sold out. And none of the regular shows scheduled for Wednesday, the real opening day, have sold out either. By now, a real phenomenon of a film would likely have at least one or two shows crossed off on Moviefone, indicating an impending monsoon of fans.

Of course, that’s New York. In Hollywood, two shows are sold out for tonight — one at Mann’s Chinese Theater and the other at The Grove.

Now the real measure of the success of "Superman Returns" won’t come until Friday night, when the July 4 weekend begins. Even if it has a rocky opening from tonight through Thursday, the weekend is clear for what should be a $25 million per day stand.

“Superman Returns” has competition only from “Click” and the Meryl Streep chick-flick comedy, “The Devil Wears Prada.”

With all the other summer blockbusters old news by now, “SR” has every chance to leap tall buildings at a single bound.

Fingers Crossed...

Thumbing His Nose

Noted Chicago Sun-Times film critic (and syndicated TV star) Roger Ebert, offers his thoughts on Superman Returns, in a review that posted today. And it's quite ugly...

This is a glum, lackluster movie in which even the big effects sequences seem dutiful instead of exhilarating. The newsroom of the Daily Planet, filled with eccentricity and life in the earlier movies, now seems populated by corporate drones. Jimmy Olsen, the copy boy, such a brash kid, seems tamed and clueless. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has lost her dash and pizzazz, and her fiance, Richard White (James Marsden), regards her like a deer caught in the headlights. Even the editor, Perry White (Frank Langella), comes across less like a curmudgeon, more like an efficient manager.

One problem is with the casting. Brandon Routh lacks charisma as Superman, and I suppose as Clark Kent, he isn't supposed to have any. Routh may have been cast because he looks a little like Reeve, but there are times when he looks more like an action figure; were effects used to make him seem built from synthetics? We remember the chemistry between Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) in the original "Superman" movie, and then observe how their counterparts are tongue-tied in this one. If they had a real romance (and they did), has it left them with nothing more than wistful looks and awkward small talk?...

If you read the rest of Atlas yawned, you'll probably be amazed Ebert gave 2 stars to the movie, as it's one of the most negative I have read...I'm curious to hear what his TV partner Richard Roeper has to say about the movie...

It's Official

While none of the latest information regarding two high profile flicks, came as a surprise to me, I have to say, I'm disappointed that the Logan's Run remake has to find a new director.

Via Sci-Fi Wire:

Director Bryan Singer told Dark Horizons that he's not going to helm the much-anticipated proposed remake of the SF movie Logan's Run—at least not right now. "At the moment, I'm not," Singer told the site while promoting his upcoming Superman Returns.

At the moment I'm buying myself sort of a vacation of the mind. I need to, because this film [Superman Returns] and all the things I was doing simultaneously with this film were a monumental stress to me, both physically and mentally. And as of last night, ... I need to do a [press] tour and talk and things, and I'm more than happy and excited to do that because I'm proud of the movie, but I have to take a mental break and actually not have any scheduled demands."

But Singer left open the door to returning to Logan's Run in the future. "I'll probably want to go back to work at some point, but for that movie, that's a huge movie, potentially a huge movie, and I was not ready to dive into it," he said.

When SCI FI Wire asked Singer earlier if he would do either an expected sequel to Superman Returns or Logan's Run, he said, simply, "I don't know."

I wonder if Singer's regular "relief pitcher" Brett Ratner, will be asked ti step in for him again?...

Meanwhile...Garth Frankln of Dark Horizons had this item:

Zach Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead", "300") has come aboard to develop and direct Warner Bros. long-gestating film adaptation of the 1986 twelve-issue comic series "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons says The Hollywood Reporter.

"Watchmen", which tells the story of the last remaining superheroes and the events surrounding the mysterious murder of one of their own, was one of the first superhero comic books to present itself as serious literature and popularized the more adult-oriented "graphic novel" format. It is also the only graphic novel to have won a Hugo Award and to appear on Time Magazine's list of 100 best novels from 1923 to present.

Alex Tse is writing the script adaptation of the film which has been in development for over a decade, gone through at least four studios and had such luminaries as Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass attached to direct.

Snyder landed the job after impressing Warners with "300," an adaptation of a Frank Miller graphic novel that he directed and co-wrote that's due out next year.

I have said it before--Snyder makes a great choice to helm Watchmen--and I look forward to seeing the film version of "300"

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Ticket Counter

Paul Bond of The Hollywood Reporter, writes in an article for the trade, that advance movie tickets for Superman Returns are doing a brisk business. said Friday that it was selling three times more tickets for "Superman Returns" five days before its opening than it did for "X-Men: The Last Stand" at the same point in that movie's sales cycle. And Fandango said Friday that 25% of all tickets it was selling that day and the day before were for the supes flick

The entire article can be found right here...

This trend paints a rosey outlook of the initial grosses for the picture...but I still wonder how much repeat business the movie will do in the long run? As much as I am rooting for the film to do well--I can't see it doing the kind of multiple viewing ticket sales, as say, Titanic did.

The Click Clique

As expected, the comedy Click took over the top spot, as the number one movie in the U.S. this past weekend.

Here are a trio of perspectives on the weekend numbers...

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

The clamor for 'Click' was on par with Adam Sandler's previous comedies, grabbing an estimated$40 million, while 'Waist Deep'[at #4 with $9.5 in ticket sales] out-ran expectations

Gray's full report can be found here.

From Ben Fritz of Variety:

Sandler shtick clicks
Laffer lands $40 mil; 'Cars' parks in 2nd (with $22.5 million more added to the gas tank)

And lastly, Joshua Rich's from Entertainment Weekly had this headline for his report:

"Click" controlled the box office, taking No. 1

Once again, I find it interesting how each of the three outlets cover the same story--emphasizing different things, the past present and possible future for the box office.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Five Outta Five

Here are a few more critical reactions to Superman Returns:

Associated Press movie critic, Christy Lemire, gives the film "Three and a half stars out of four" saying in part:

Finally this summer, the hype is justified.

"Superman Returns" is everything you'd want it to be. It's reverential of the source material, yet a unique film all its own. It's steeped in decadent art-deco mood and details, yet completely current. It's joyous with the possibility of discovery, yet deeply moving in its melancholy. It should satisfy purists and attract new converts.

But most importantly for a summer blockbuster, it's just outright thrilling.

You can read her full review here.

Todd McCarthy from Variety says the film is

Sure to rate with aficionados alongside "Spider-Man 2" and, for many, "Batman Begins" on the short list of best superhero spectaculars, pic more than justifies director Bryan Singer's decision to jump ship from the "X-Men" franchise...

He even predicts the superhero flick will pull down stratospheric B.O. around the globe.

Read the full review here

The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt says:

The Superman who returns in "Superman Returns" is a different Man of Steel than we are used to seeing. In "Superman: The Movie," the film by director Richard Donner in 1978, the late Christopher Reeve rescued the iconic superhero from high camp with the sincerity and warmth of his acting. His Superman was a romantic charmer. Director Bryan Singer positions this new film as a sequel to Donner's film, and his Superman -- played with winning fortitude by newcomer Brandon Routh -- is less a Man of Steel than a Man of Heart..

Read the rest here...

Meanwhile, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine proclaims that "Superman Returns wth a bang" !

Here's the full review

David DiCerto of The Catholic News Service writes in his review:

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a winner...

[Director Bryan] Singer gives audiences their money's worth of popcorn thrills, including an exhilarating, if intense and rather preposterous, scene in which Superman saves the passengers on a plummeting airplane. It's more than a special-effects extravaganza; Singer balances spectacle with quieter, artistically graceful moments of emotional drama and tender romance. Superman's body may be indestructible to everything but kryptonite, but his heart is just as breakable as the next guy's.

...And as you might imagine, DiCerto makes comparisons between the film and the "story of Jesus" in his post as well...

The complete review can be found here


John Ottman, the composer and editor of "Superman Returns", appeared earlier this morning, on KGO 810 AM.

Beginning at 1 a.m. PST, the five-hour radio show focused heavily on the film and the Superman phenomenon. The program included music from Ottman's score for the movie and a one-hour live interview with him as well . Those outside of KGO's Los Angeles-Canada listening area can hear the broadcast by clicking here.

For those of you who want to see Ottman hard at work during the scoring sessions from 2 months ago, you can watch this 4 minute featurette--in which you'll hear the orchestra perform the 'Superman Returns' Main Title (a.k.a John Williams ''Superman March').

The Superman Returns score soundtrack hits stores on Tuesday, the 27th.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hero Worship

As part of his Friday 411 column, Roger Friedman of Fox News.Com, posted a review of Superman Returns. After reading it, I decided to republish the entire commentary, because this is by far the most mixed review of the film I have seen so far. And I thought my readers would benefit from looking at it. Friedman's piece also makes a few points both inside and outside of the review that I feel compelled to comment on.

'Superman Returns': Superhero Broods, Breeds

Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" got its big press airing last night in multiple screenings. Even though Warner Bros. has been keen to flack positive reviews from the trades and the newsweeklies, there’s a lot more to say about this $300 million epic that opens next Wednesday.

For one thing, I don't know why in the world this edition of "Superman" was adopted by the gay community. Director Singer is gay, and his point of view comes across fairly often, but neither Superman the character nor his new portrayer, Brandon Routh, seem especially sexual in any direction. Singer seems more interested in creating a Christ-like icon out of Superman, which is certainly unique.

But Superman, aka Clark Kent in "Superman Returns" is just as much of a dork as he was in the first two films that starred Christopher Reeve and were directed by Richard Donner.

The early revelation that Lois Lane has a child the same age as the amount of time he’s been away makes absolutely no visible impact on Clark. If he ever slept with Lois in "Superman II," he seems either to have forgotten or not realized the consequences.

The one thing Routh has going for him is that he looks a lot like Chris Reeve. Other than that, his acting hasn’t changed much since his short, cardboard-like stint on "One Life to Live."

Singer is content with using him as sort of a prop, and moving everyone else around him. It’s not that Routh is bad or embarrasses himself. He does neither. But dynamic is not a word that comes to mind, either.

Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane actually fares much worse. She is very bland, lacking any of the zip Margot Kidder gave to the role in the films or Teri Hatcher in the "Lois and Clark" TV series.

She is sass-less, but then again, so is the wearisome script by Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and Singer. Their dialogue is either suffocating or absent. After all, Lois has supposedly won a Pulitzer Prize. But she's as witty or facile with words as a lump of Kryptonite.

Now, you might think I didn't like "Superman Returns." Not so: The first hour is magnificent, and there is a lot to like in the succeeding hour and a half. But the movie is way too long. Singer apparently thought "more is more," and you can see all $300 million up on the screen.

But a long sequence in the middle, with lots of CGI and some preposterous stuff involving Lois saving Superman, is repetitive and kind of joyless. A woman sitting next to me in yesterday’s screening kept making phone calls during that part.

But the first hour or so just soars, and all works with a real brilliance. It’s enough to offset the rest of the film for better or worse.

That first hour is essentially a remake of the first two Donner films. The only difference is that Superman has been away for five years. But Singer recreates Superman's original appearance on Earth — this time instead of being a baby in a rocket, he's an adult. The wonderful Eva Marie Saint returns as Clark’s mother Martha Kent, and the scenes in Kansas are gorgeously shot.

In recreating the Donner films, Singer has also used John Williams' original score and the original title design as well. In this case "Superman Returns" is really "Superman III." About 20 minutes in, Clark/Superman must rescue the Space Shuttle and a passenger plane that was boosting it into space. The whole movie is worth this episode, every part of it works.

But that's when a new story kicks in, involving Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor colorlessly imitating Gene Hackman, and Parker Posey doing her damnedest to make a character out of his sidekick Kitty.

But Posey — who looks great and has some good introductory moments — never takes off. For a lot of the film she’s dressed up with no place to go, and you can feel it. Her role is full of missed opportunities for juicy one-liners and observations.

Spacey, sometimes looking like Uncle Fester, works overtime to find new paths away from Hackman's work. Sometimes, but not often, he is successful.

There are some nice touches: The first character you see in the film is a wealthy, dying widow whom Lex is conning into signing over her estate. The original Lois Lane from TV, Noel Neill, does a nice job with the part.

Later Jack Larson, Jimmy Olsen from TV, gets few good scenes as a bartender. Perry White (Frank Langella) does get to say, "Great Caesar's ghost," and in a cute scene the words, "Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it's a plane," are uttered.

In the end, "Superman Returns" is grand, and often aims to be a take on "Gotterdammerung" with the world exploding, flooding, collapsing and repairing itself. There is a lot of melodrama, and many gorgeous shots of Superman flying around the world, into space and brooding about his life's work.

I think the audience I saw the movie with was a little confused. They wanted some laughs, but when the few times came, they chuckled nervously instead.

There was succinct applause at the end, but not the feeling that we’d seen a jubilant triumph.

My guess is the movie, which comes out June 28 and will "open" all the way through July 4, will make all its foundational money right away, and come out of the first week in good shape. But $300 million is a lot to earn back, no matter how impassioned comic books fans are about this latest iteration of their hero's saga.

For better or worse, the character of Superman has been compared to Christ all throughout his 60+ years of history, therefore there is nothing new or unique in Singer's approach.

Take for example, this line uttered by Marlon Brando from the '78 film:

For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son.

Descended from the heavens (Krypton).

Or this image used to promote Smallville when it premiered on TV in 2001:

Warner Bros-2001

If that image doesn't evoke Christ--I don't know what would...

As for Friedman's thoughts on the film itself--I'm confused. He's entitled to his opinion, of course, but how can he say that the first hour is "magnificent" but criticize the acting of Spacey, Routh, and Bosworth? If the performances aren't that great overall--then magnificent is hardly a word I would use. Saying the perfect first hour offsets any other issues he has with the film makes no sense, especially when the "problems" he outlines are seemingly multiple in number and certainly not minor.

The Space Shuttle rescue that happens in the first 20 minutes of the film makes it all worthwhile...The last time I saw a film come close to doing something like that, was the lightsaber duel in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

He isn't the first critic to complain about the film's long running time...In fact that's been a familiar refrain--even in some of the very positive reviews I have read.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Remote Control

As a fan of Adam Sandler, it's nice to see him back on the big screen, in the comedy Click (opening today).

I'm rooting for this one to work, because in my opinion, his career has really stalled lately and he needs a hit. His last few films, The Longest Yard from last year, Spanglish and 50 First Dates (both 2004) were uneven at best. Having said that, I still admire the fact that he has decided to take risks with more dramatic roles in Spanglish and the better realized Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Predictions are that Click will be number one at the box office for the weekend:

'Click' is it 'til biggies hit say Variety's Ben Fritz and Dave McNary

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly agrees:

Adam Sandler's latest will "Click" with moviegoers and thinks--The comedy will draw both men and women, to the tune of $55 mil

The trailer for the film is funny...but is that all there is--in terms of the film's big laughs? And does the premise sustain itself throughout an entire film?

Judging by the Review Round-Up...the answer would be "no"

Next Up: A small movie that no one's heard of...I think it's called Superman Returns.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How About That...

The Yahoo Insider reports that J.J. Abrams is very interested in casting Oscar-winning actor Matt Damon as a young Captain Kirk in the upcoming 'Star Trek' movie that he's directing and producing.

He's so interested that he's apparently already sought support from the original Kirk, William Shatner who "gave his blessing. J.J. got his approval" says a source. A rumor has it that the new movie would center on Kirk and Spock's early days at Starfleet Academy....but that's been denied.

It wasn't long ago that Damon's pal Ben Affleck was said to be up for a role in the film. At the time I said:

I hope he's not gonna play the younger version of Captain James T Kirk. I can't see him pulling that off. Heck, I think his buddy Matt Damon makes a better choice for JTK, than he does.

Maybe I found a new calling for my career--Hollywood Casting Agent.

Preparing For Take Off

Superman Returns had its world premiere last night in Los Angeles at the Mann Village and Bruin theater in Westwood. has posted 3 galleries worth of pics from the event. Check out their World Premiere Gallery, Red Carpet Gallery and Arrivals Gallery.

With the premiere now behind us, reviews are starting to fly in:

Entertainment Weekly film critic Owen Gleiberman has posted his "Superman Returns" Review. He gives the film a B, saying in part:

It seems like old times as the Man of Steel returns in Bryan Singer's romantic spectacle of pop nostalgia...

Harry from Aint It Cool News gives it a positive nod...He also chatted via telephone with Brandon Routh about the film and on Tuesday posted the conversation...

Patrick Lee of Sci-Fi Wire calls the film a "triumph"

Jeff Otto of IGN-Filmforce writes in his review:

Supes pays fitting homage to the first two films, but seems unsure where to go beyond.

If that isn't enough to satisfy your appetite for SR coverage:

Warner Bros. Pictures has released yet another clip from the movie on iTunes which you can download for free. The exclusive scene, "I'll take the seaplane", runs 2:33. You can see it if you click here.

Routh appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman" you can check out the interview online via YouTube.

"Good Company" a TV show out of Ohio, interviewed Brandon about the movie. Check it out via their website.

The following recent video interviews and other SR press are now on YouTube:

AP Kate Bosworth interview

CBS NEWS Kate & Bryan interview

GOOD DAY SACRAMENTO Brandon Routh interview

AP Kevin Spacey interview

AP Superman Returns Mirimar Air Station screening Routh hosts a screening at the Mirimar Air Station.

And finally--in case you were wondering...

...I already bought my ticket for opening day...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sounds Like This Mann Needs A Miracle

Even as a fan of many of the films directed by Michael Mann over the years, I gotta be honest, after seeing the latest trailer for the film version of the TV series "Miami Vice" (which he helped to create) I was left thinking that it looks awful.

As it turns out, my initial assessment of things, may not be that far off.

Roger Friedman of Fox News.Com writes in his 411 column for today:

The inside word on Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice” is that it’s a dud, and a major one at that.

The remake of the 1980s TV series cost $125 million, “and that’s what we’re admitting to,” says a source at Universal Pictures. “It’s probably more like $150 million.”

That doesn’t count advertising, promotion and carting the likes of Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell around with their entourages and expensive habits.

The only upside, according to insiders, is that “Miami Vice” doesn't use much in the way of special effects. “There are some explosions, but little ones,” says a source.

The bigger problem, I am told, is that the movie fails to captures the flavor of the TV series or even establish a new identity. No matter what Mann’s done so far in editing, sources tell me

"Miami Vice" still comes across as a good-looking empty shell of a movie.

“Michael still has time to fix it, but not much,” says a source, noting the July 28 opening. “But he would have to pull off a miracle to make it work.”

“Look,” concludes another source, “we just didn’t have it this time.”

For Farrell, this isn’t the best of news. He’s yet to have an actual hit movie. His career is fast becoming better known for its real-life publicity — rehab, dating and fathering illegitimate children — than acting jobs. So far he’s got a stack of flops, including "The New World," "Alexander," "Ask the Dust" and "SWAT."

Foxx, at least, has "Dreamgirls" — a throwback to his "Ray" success — coming at Christmas.

I know its impossible to judge the entire movie on a trailer...But this report makes the flick sound downright dreadful...Quick someone call Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas.

The film is set to open on July 28th.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Traffic Jam

For the second weekend in a row, the Disney/Pixar Animation Studios film Cars took the checkered flag for for first place despite 4 challengers..But the drop-off in ticket sales was a hefty one.

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo has all of the details:

'Cars' blew a gasket in its second weekend, dropping 48 percent, but had enough gas to beat a potent 'Nacho Libre' [#2-$28.3] 'The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift' [,#3-23.9] 'The Lake House' [#4-13.6] and a deflated Garfield [sequel #7-$7.2]

Here's the full report...

Meanwhile, I saw Cars a few days ago, and thought it was very very good but not great...I'll post a full review soon.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

In Honor Of Father's Day

My Dad isn't a real movie person. In fact, when I was growing up, I remember him only sitting down to watch a handful of films from start to finish. And actually going to the movie theater? Forget it--that occurred even less. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the last film he saw at the cineplex may have been Titanic, some 10 years ago. While he said at the time, that he enjoyed it, I'm sure the 3 hour + running time was still a bit of a challenge for him to sit through.

Among his favorites:

Patton (1970), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), The Godfather (1972), any movie that stars Sophia Loren, and Young Frankenstein (1974), 2 more contemporary flicks on his must see list--The Hunt for Red October (1990); the comedy What About Bob? --which actually made him shed tears from laughing so hard, the first time he watched it on a lazy Saturday afternoon with my Mom and me. I kid you not.

He may not be the world's biggest film fan, but my Dad, who turns 75 next month, is still a great man. Despite a few bumps in the road over the years, he has always been there for me, when I needed him most.

I love you Dad. Thanks for everything and Happy Father's Day 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Chain Gang

Michael Bay is one busy guy... producing a horror flick...while directing a unique action film.

Wow! I just saw the theatrical trailer for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning for the first time online and it looks great! I can't wait for October 6th 2006. The prequel should rock the horror genre the same way that both the 2003 remake and the original classic in 1974 did.

Meanwhile, Stax of Filmforce offers the latest news on the Transformers movie!

The official teaser site for the big-screen version of The Transformers has been launched. It features the glowing blue eye of a Decepticon overlooking a celestial view of the Earth.

The teaser artwork bears the tagline: "Their war. Our world. July 4, 2007."

[Bay] is directing Transformers from a screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The picture, which is now filming in New Mexico, is being produced by Angry Films' Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Ian Bryce and Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Steven Spielberg and Bay are exec producing.

The live-action cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Bernie Mac, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, Rachael Taylor, Kevin Dunn and Amaury Nolasco.

The latest addition to the cast is Ronnie Sperling.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian "will play a lead scientist in the movie based on the 1980s Hasbro toy line."

I loved playing Transformers as a kid and watching the animated series on TV.

One things for sure, with Bay calling the shots, the film version will be very loud.

"More Than Meets The Eye" indeed.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ready Set Go

As 2006 began, many comic book and Superman websites promised us extensive "on set" coverage of Superman Returns, just prior to the film's release. What follows is a collection of three of the best written stories about those visits. Of course, there's gonna be repetition, but I thought it would be fun to see how each website covers the same story. On a related matter, Entertainment Weekly's June 23rd cover story, by Jeff Jensen is all over the new film as well.

Superman Homepage

Set Visit

Superhero Hype! 12 Part Set Visit

Part 1 The first day on the Sydney Australia set.

Part 2 The suit and more interviews at the museum.

Part 3 An interview with Brandon Routh (Clark Kent/Superman)

Part 4 The first interview with director Bryan Singer.

Part 5 The second interview with director Bryan Singer

Part 6 Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane)

Part 7 An interview with executive producer Chris Lee.

Part 8 The costume designs and the designers

Part 9 Writers Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty

Part 10 An interview with Production Designer Guy Dyas

Part 11 Producer Gilbert Adler

Part 12 An interview with actor Kal Penn

Blue Tights.Net
9 Part Set Visit

On the Set - Bryan Singer

On the Set - Brandon Routh

On the Set - Mike Dougherty & Dan Harris

On the Set - Kate Bosworth

On the Set - Guy Dyas

On the Set - Kal Penn

On the Set - Chris Lee

On the Set - Louise Mingenbach & Dan Bronson (costumes)

On the Set - Parker Posey

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Swinger

In an item posted on Sunday June 11th, Quint from Aint It Cool News shows off some more action from the set of Spider-Man 3. I thought you might want to have a look...

The "unofficial" photos in the piece were sent in to the AICN site by "Paul"--and look pretty authentic to me.

The article also contains a link to some video of the action as well.

Spider-Man 3 opens on May 4th 2007. The first trailer for the film is attached to Superman Returns.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Faster Than...

Superman Returns items seem to be all over the place today: has uploaded 11 new video clips from "Superman Returns". As I have said before, these massive "clip dumps" are a dumb idea but hey who am I to argue?

Do you know the story of Prometheus?
I Thought I Would Never See You Again
Lois Lane is A Mommy
Unidentified Bogey
Airplane Rescue
Superman Returns
Were you in love with him?
I love that he can see through anything
Where did you go?
Lois, will you come with me?
This just came through the fax

A new TV spot for "Superman Returns" aired during the NBA finals game last night. You can watch it via YouTube or you can download it as a Windows Media Video. This is the eighth TV spot, with #7 having aired recently. If you missed #7 you can catch that via (it's almost identical to an earlier TV spot already released).

While Brandon Routh's interview on E! News Live today, which featured an extended clip of the Daily Planet rooftop scene, can also be viewed on YouTube.

You can also download the "Superman Returns" segment on Showbiz Tonight as Windows Media Video file.

With Friends Like This...

It's been quite a long time since I've seen anything of interest about the Pellicano wiretapping case of late. And then, poof, I found this Studio Briefing blurb on Monday:

Pellicano Says He Won't Rat on Clients

Former private detective Anthony Pellicano is aware that some of his former clients will likely testify against him if he is prosecuted under federal wire-tap laws, but, he told the Los Angeles Times, he will never do the same against them. "My loyalty never dies," Pellicano, speaking by telephone from prison, told the newspaper in Sunday's edition. "You're not going to see me take the stand against the clients and employees and other people that are going to be testifying against me. I didn't rat them out. You understand? I am never going to besmirch a client or any other person that I gave my trust to or who gave their trust to me. I'm never going to do that. I am going to be a man until I fall -- if, in fact, that happens."

Pellicano also claimed that the government has exaggerated its case against him and has failed to produce tapes of alleged wire-tapped conversation. "They have never provided them to us in discovery. And they never will. Because they don't exist," Pellicano said. The jailed private eye also defended celebrity attorney Bert Fields. "There is no way in the world that any lawyer who has got any brains is going to hire somebody to do something illegal," Pellicano said. "And of all the people in the world to suspect it of: Bert Fields? Mr. Clean Jeans? Mr. Straight Arrow? My God, I don't think I've even heard him curse in the entire time I've known him -- let alone say, 'Hey, Pellicano, I want you to go out and do this or do that.' I mean, Come on."

If Pelilcano's claims about the government failure to produce any tapes are true--then why is the case moving ahead? I would like to think that the prosecutors in the case would not be wasting all this time and money for a wild goose chase. Oh wait, that describes the Duke Rape Case, doesn't it?!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Have Gun, Will Rap

For those of you, just dying to know what rapper Eminem's next movie will be--Chris Gardner of Variety offers the early details:

Eminem is attached to star in a contemporary feature adaptation of the CBS series "Have Gun -- Will Travel" for Paramount Pictures.

Studio has extended an 18-month option on the property to develop it as a vehicle for the rapper.

Par[amount]-based Interscope/Shady/Aftermath Films will produce, with credits going to Jimmy Iovine and Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg. ISA's Stuart Parr and Gene Kirkwood are also expected to receive some producer credit along with the property's original rights holders.

Debuting in September 1957, the TV Western starred Richard Boone as Paladin, a gunfighter-for-hire.

Concept will be updated to contemporary times and see Eminem playing a bounty hunter.

Setting could be Eminem's hometown of Detroit, but those details have yet to be worked out.

Rosenberg told Daily Variety that the vehicle will be revamped from the original, with some characters based loosely on ones from the series as well as nods to certain story points.

While "8 Mile" was a music-themed pic, this project will take Eminem out of that genre and place him in a dramatic actioner. However, there is likely to be some musical component -- soundtrack or scoring -- in which Eminem will be involved.

While the project is in the early stages of development, the producers and [the studio] are looking to get it on the fast track.

Since "8 Mile," Eminem's film debut for Universal, studios have been looking to be in business with him. The rapper, whose real name is Marshall Mathers and his reps had a hard time finding the right follow-up, however.

"When this property essentially became available we discussed it and brought it to Marshall and he was very intrigued and excited about the concept," Rosenberg said.

[Studio co-[President] of production Brad Weston said, "We have been looking for projects to work on with Jimmy, Paul, Stuart and Gene. (This) allows Eminem to go beyond what he did in '8 Mile.'

While Eminem's musical style may not be my cup of tea, I have to say, I enjoyed his work in 8 Mile more than I thought I would. Yes, his role was semi-autobiographical, but I still think he did a good job nonetheless. If done properly--the movie may give the rapper another creative outlet.

It sounds as though, the film will have little use for the western elements of the original series, which is a shame for the genre.

I never saw an entire episode of the series--but I will be following the project as it rolls along.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Va-Room With A View

As expected, the CG animated film Cars crossed the finish line in first place, for the weekend in the U.S. Industry analysts were on target when they predicted how the film would stack up, as compared to other recent Disney/Pixar flicks and their premiere weekend earnings.

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo had this to say:

Cars' assembled an estimated $62.8 million, getting less mileage than Pixar's recent fare but keeping their blockbuster streak alive...

You can read his full report here.

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly used a more gloomy headline for his online article, "Cars" is No. 1, but with less than expected, to tell the same story.

Finally, Jill Goldsmith and Ben Fritz of Variety see the film's victory lap this way:

'Cars' downshifts Mouse, noting that, Total tally puts Disney in the slow lane, for an article that posted late this afternoon

Still, $62.8 million is quite a haul. I may go and see the film before too long...If it happens...I'll be sure and post a review.

Oh And...

Don't forget:"Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman" is on the A&E Television Network tonight @ 8:00 PM/7C

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Early Birds

Guess what? There was a press screening of Superman Returns last Thursday night...And while I'm sure that in the midst of preparing for the event, my invitation somehow got lost in the shuffle, plenty of other folks were in attendance. At first, the studio had placed some restrictions on posting too many spoilers about the film--and then on Saturday--the rules seemed to change. Some of the reviews got very spoilery after that.

Make of that what you will...Be warned, if you read these, you do so at your own risk. The Reviews are courtesy:


Hollywood Elsewhere Part 1 and Part 2

Blue Tights.Net

Superman Homepage

The Boston Herald

Latino Review

The Movie Reporter (A.K.A. IESB.Net)

Aint It Cool News


Dark Horizons

As of right now, things seem quite positive for Superman Returns...But it's still early in the process and there's still plenty of reviews to be written (like my own) between now and June 28th

Meanwhile, the syndicated TV show Entertainment Tonight, featured a segment on the film for its Friday broadcast. The story had a few seconds of film footage from the movie, as well as some behind-the-scenes stuff.

You can view the ET story online via YouTube, or you can download a 10mb WMV file from

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Nobody Does It Better

Sir Sean Connery is one of my favorite actors of all time. From his time playing super spy James Bond through 7 films, to his Oscar winning performance as "Malone", in 1987's The Untouchables, he rarely disappoints. Heck, I would argue that he has made even some mediocre films watchable, like Entrapment, The Presidio, and The Avengers. Fortunately, the great films of his career, far outweigh the number of crappy ones

The American Film Institute saw fit to honor "The Extraordinary Gentleman" with its annual lifetime achievement award Thursday night at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press offers a few highlights of the evening:

Directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and actors Harrison Ford, Andy Garcia and Mike Myers were among the stars who cheered on the legendary actor... at the ceremony at the Kodak Theatre.

Myers wore a tuxedo jacket and a kilt to honor the Scottish actor.

"Men want to be him, women want him, and in my case I both want to be him and want him," Myers joked.

"He's extremely professional, very talented and has an amazingly strong presence on the screen," Lucas said from the red carpet.

Connery thanked the audience for "one hell of an evening."

"I got my big break when I was five years old, and it's taken more than 70 years to realize it," he said. "At five I learned to read, and I would not be standing here without the books, plays and scripts."

Connery was launched to stardom in the 1960s and 1970s, playing agent 007, or "Bond, James Bond," as he introduced himself to foes.

He also starred in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," "The Hunt for Red October"...

He is the 34th recipient of the award, the Institute's highest honor for a career in film.

In March, Connery underwent successful surgery to remove a benign tumor in his kidney and was given a clean bill of health.

The AFI's salute to Sean Connery will air on USA Network June 21.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Seeing Spots

Two more peeks at Superman Returns showed up last night on television...

MTV showed exclusive footage of the Boeing 777 rescue sequence from the film at the beginning of the Movie Awards Show. The minute long clip has been captured and can be seen via YouTube.

Meanwhile, a sixth TV spot aired during a repeat of the Smallville season 4 episode called "Hidden" as well.

An image from spot #6-KAL-EL.ORG & WB

You can download the 3.4mb Windows Media File here via

The only thing really new about the ad, is the fact that it reflects the new release date, of June 28th.

In Reel Time

There's been a lot of chatter of late about a big screen version of the popular FOX Broadcast Network TV drama 24 being made. As a fan of the show, from the begining, I am happy to report that most of the "T"'s have been crossed-"I"'s dotted, and a preliminary deal has been made. The project moves forward as Variety's Josef Adalian explains:

...Twentieth Century Fox has closed a deal with series creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow, as well as show runner Howard Gordon, to bring the Kiefer Sutherland real-time thriller to the big screen.

Surnow and Cochran will write the script, with Gordon working on the story. All three will produce via their Real Time Prods. banner, as will Imagine's Brian Grazer.

No talent deals are yet in place, though Sutherland -- an exec producer of the hit Fox series -- has made it clear he's interested in starring in the film should it snag a greenlight.

It's understood the Cochran-Surnow-Gordon troika will begin work on the script late this summer, just as production on the sixth season of the TV series gets under way.

Execs at 20th should have a draft of the script in their hands by early winter, insiders said. Once they see the script -- and look at ratings for the first few episodes of season six, which kicks off in January -- they'll be able to make a decision on greenlighting production of the film.

Under the most optimistic scenario, feature would be greenlit early next year and lense next spring and summer during the hiatus between season six and a likely seventh season of "24."

Current plan calls for the "24" feature to abandon the real-time conceit of the TV show, making Sutherland's Jack Bauer, rather than the clock, the star.

Such a notion would allow scribes much greater plot possibilities, opening up scenarios not possible on a show where all the action takes place in one day. Chief on the list is international travel.

It's believed producers are toying with several possible locales for the pic, including London.

[The show] has a strong [fan] base in [that part of the world].

A rough sketch of the "24" feature plot has been drafted, but all those involved in the project are keeping a tight lid on details for now.

Pic would likely pick up where season six of the show leaves off, at least chronologically.

Plotwise, however, the film is not expected to be tied too heavily to the "24" mythology, allowing those who haven't watched the series to understand the movie's action...

Just-wrapped fifth season of "24" repped a watershed for the [program] both creatively and commercially. Ratings were up 14% vs. 2005, with nearly 14 million viewers every week, and kudos pundits have been talking up the series' Emmy prospects...

I agree with the article...The 5th season of the show was indeed among its most creative and intense in series history. Sutherland's portrayal of hero Jack Bauer is thrilling with all of the daring do, while at the same time very human. I look forward to seeing what the producers come up with for the film. Of course, I'll have plenty to say as the production takes off, as well C'mon folks--Close the deal already!

Checking Under The Hood

All indications are that the collaboration between Disney/Pixar Animation Studios has another success on their hands with the release of Cars. That said, the windfall may in fact, be a bit smaller than the mega-hits of the past.

Ben Fritz & Dave McNary of Variety say that 'Cars' looks for fast start at B.O. in an article titled Pixar's" sweet ride, Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly thinks that while "Cars" will race to No. 1, he also believes in the end Pixar's latest won't earn as much as "Nemo" or "Incredibles"...

One of EW's film critics, Lisa Schwarzbaum, loved the film giving it a grade of A. And it seems that most of her fellow critics share in that positive opinion.

Of course, I have only seen the previews of the movie, but I must say, it looks fantastic and seems to be a lot of fun. Time will tell whether or not it will be considered a mega-hit.

Next up on the summer assembly line, a twofer....The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and Nacho Libre.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Behind The Cape

With less than 3 weeks to go before the release of Superman Returns, things are starting to come into focus, in terms of what I like to call "The Final Push".

Warner Bros. Pictures has officially announced the world premiere of the film. Set for Wednesday June 21st at the Mann Village and Bruin Theaters in Los Angeles.

The red carpet event has a crew scheduled to arrive by 4:45pm, while celebrity arrivals will begin at 6:00 pm.

The movie screening will begin at 7:00 pm.

This is an invitation-only event and fans will not be able to gain entry to see the film, but if you are in the area, you may want to go down there to see the cast and crew arrive on the red carpet.

The Mann Village and Bruin Theaters is located at 948 Broxton Avenue, Westwood. The premiere is being sponsored by DIRECTV TITANIUM and Belstaff.

For those of us who won't be making it to the premiere, there's plenty of cool tie-in stuff to keep us busy.

The studio has released 41 pages worth of production info about the movie. The document is broken down into 7 sections:


You can download it as a PDF file and read it at your leisure. Be warned though, it does contain a few SPOILERS about the film.

Martin Grove of The Hollywood Reporter conducted an extensive interview with Singer for his June 7th column.

The cable network HBO will give its subscribers a glimpse behind the scenes of Superman Returns as part of their long running First Look series. The 13 minute program will probably be a fluff piece rather than anything substantial or in depth It begins airing on Monday, June 19th

Meanwhile, the A&E Television Network officially announced air dates for the Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns produced documentary, "Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman", about the history of the Man of Steel.

The 2 hour program is rated TV PG and will air Monday, June 12 at 8pm/7C and then again on Tuesday, June 13 at Midnight/11C. Additional air dates may follow.

A DVD of the documentary will be hitting store shelves on June 20th 2006. I have ordered my copy through Best Buy . Along with the documentary, they are offering a bonus disc with extras and a set of 5 frame-able art prints of all 5 Superman movie posters.

Burns discussed the project with the folks at the

Finally, R.J Carter of the Trades has posted a positive review of the Sound Of Superman, or the "inspired by" soundtrack album, on sale June 13, 2006.

Gotta fly...

Occult Following

Since The Omen remake opened on an atypical day of the week, the first days take is worth mentioning, especially when it happens to break a record.

In his Opening Day Report Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo wrote:

Horror remake 'The Omen' made $12.6 million on its opening day, a gross that curiously ended in "666"...

After you ponder that rather appropriate coincidence, be sure to read the rest of the report.

Sure, it breaks a record now--but how will it fare once Cars enters the fray tomorrow?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Oh, The Horror!

Hot on the heels of my post yesterday about The Omen remake, news of yet another classic horror reboot broke recently. Michael Fleming of Variety has all of the details:

Dimension Films has tapped "House of 1000 Corpses" director Rob Zombie to scare new life into the seminal slasher film "Halloween."

Zombie, who last directed "The Devil's Rejects," will write and direct. He'll also produce the film with Malek Akkad ("Halloween H20: 20 Years Later") and Andy Gould, who produced Zombie's first two films. Zombie, also a vet musician, will be music supervisor as well.

Development of the film is being co-financed by Miramax Films and Dimension, but creatively overseen by Dimension's Bob Weinstein and Richard Saperstein. It will be released in October 2007, some 29 years after John Carpenter unleashed Michael Myers, the masked assailant who massacred his family and chased his sister (a young Jamie Lee Curtis) through a number of films in the series.

Though the "Halloween" franchise has seen at least a half-dozen incarnations so far, the next "Halloween" will not bear a number on the end of it. Zombie aims to bring the film back to its core tale and make this more about the origin of the killer, who slashed his victims while wearing his signature pale mask.

"This is a bit of a prequel and a remake, combined," Zombie said. "Over 25 years and a lot of movies, a very scary character became something of a Halloween cliche, with Michael Myers dolls that play the Halloween music when you press their stomachs. By the end of the sequel cycle, there was little connection to the original. I take that film very seriously, and I want to make it terrifying again."

Before signing on, Zombie said he sought out Carpenter, who has had several of his films remade.

"The original 'Halloween' is hallowed ground to me, and I talked to him about it and he was very supportive of what I wanted to do," Zombie said.

While I agree with Zombie, that the original Halloween from '78, is hollowed ground. I'm a little confused over the whole "prequel/remake" premise. The original film is about as perfect a movie as you can have and need not be remade at all-even in part. Getting into the backstory of Michael Myers has been tried once before--but with mixed results.

I will be following this one very closely to see how it develops over time. I will also be checking out Zombie's other films, in the interim. as I have yet to watch any of them yet. I know, I know, as a horror film enthusiast, how can I not have seen his other stuff? I guess it took him taking on the Halloween franchise to motivate me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Scary Stuff

Using one of the "most brilliant marketing strategies ever conceived for a film" (wink, wink), the 2006 version of The Omen opens across the country today, and in advance of that director John Moore has had a lot of interesting things to say. And after reading the stuff, I'm left scratching my head, wondering again why they even bothered to remake this at all

Take this blurb from Sci-fi Wire by Ian Spelling:

[Moore said that} he's as surprised as anyone that David Seltzer, who penned the 1976 original movie, ultimately received a sole screenwriting credit on the remake, though Seltzer didn't work with Moore and had no input into the updated horror movie. "Dan McDermott was a credited writer, but due to the machinations of the [Writers Guild of America], he lost his credit," Moore said here in an interview. But, he added: "We did use Mr. Seltzer's script extensively."...

...For the remake, the story is made more contemporary, and there's a good deal of new dialogue, but none of the changes were made by Seltzer. "He didn't work on the movie," Moore said. "I've never met the gentlemen, never even spoken with him. But when I was given the project, I was sent [the script] 'The Omen by David Seltzer, copyright 1975.' I didn't feel a great need to rush out and fix what wasn't broken. The story of the movie is extraordinarily good and extraordinarily tight. Especially by today's script standards, it's a damn good script. So I didn't feel the need to completely rework it."

Likewise, Moore elected to echo much of [original Omen director Richard] Donner's work, from the overall mood and tone to several specific shots. Still, Moore feels he's put his own touches on the material. "I think I did, by default," he said. "It's a different cast; it's a different movie; it's a different experience. The story is the same. I don't mean this in a flattering way to myself; I mean it in a flattering way to the text. It's a bit like a Shakespeare play. You very much want people to enjoy the experience of the play, but the text is so good, and the story tracks so well, that you feel inclined to stick with that. I asked Richard Donner to see the movie, which he did [recently]. He's happy with it."

Wow! So let me get this straight, the production team relied on "extensive" parts of Seltzer's '76 script, and Moore himself lifted several shots from Donner. I'm glad Donner is happy about the film and all but c'mon.

When I saw the the theatrical trailer back in April, I said at the time:

...from the looks of things, it seems like it almost matches the 1976 original, shot for shot--But all dressed up using modern tricks by director John Moore.

At least the
teaser trailer for the flick was a little spooky...the new one is not.

And that was after just watching the trailer...I can just imagine what the whole film must be like.

Given all of the "lifting" that went on here, I'm not all that surprised that Seltzer got sole credit for the modern screenplay, however, I am kinda surprised that the film has received as many positive reviews as it has from critics. Heck even Ebert & Roeper liked it.

Don't worry though, there are plenty of folks who did not care for it--like Gene Seymour of Newsday who remarks that the new film "isn't a remake so much as a half-smudged, half-faded duplicate of the 1976 original."

I know I may be treating the film a bit unfairly, especially since I haven't seen it yet, but in my opinion, if all you are doing is ripping off the original (particularly with a classic) then why bother? Think the 1998 version of Psycho, made by director Gus Van Sant, and you might understand what I mean.

The next major film to roll off the assembly line--Cars