Random Thread for July 2012

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God it’s hot. If it’s not hot it’s storming like it’s the end of the world.

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

77 responses »

  1. I know we typically don’t get involved in the gossip-side of things here: but I’m curious to see how the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce plays out.

    Someone (almost certainly in Holmes’ camp) leaked this:
    http://www.tmz.com/2012/07/01/katie-holmes-tom-cruise-divorce-scientology/

    …which is quite creepy. Almost as creepy as the MI:3 “casting calls” and the 16 days Katie Holmes dropped off the face of the planet after a scheduled first meeting with Cruise and Scientology reps.

    I will say this could all serve as one terrific viral for The Master.

  2. 1030pm and 100 degrees here in Mesa. Unloading the truck and moving into the house tomorrow around noon…

  3. Put Jason Beghe and that organization into YouTube. Scariest documentary I’ve seen.

  4. This is an epic review.

    Prometheus was bad. So, so, so poorly written. I agree with Juan, at least so much that Lindelof should be rewritten heavily before anything he writes is filmed EVER. AGAIN.
    But still…it wasn’t as bad as The Avengers.
    THIS was the script Ridley Scott said he waited fifteen years to film?!

  5. THIS was the script Ridley Scott said he waited fifteen years to film?!

    Probably not, unless Lindelof wrote it before he got famous for anything.

  6. Ridley Scott said he went through different iterations of the script for 15 years. He said Spaights’ script was close, but not close enough. He stated, and I quote, “When I saw Damon’s draft of the rewrite, I knew this was the script I’d waited to film”. ….really?!

  7. A few thoughts about Dark Knight:

    1. Batman Begins is somewhat by far the better film.
    2. The tone of the editing for the first hour and a half has a really strange tenor to it.
    3. The IMAX sequences on 1080p blu ray are the most staggering thing I’ve ever seen in a theater or on television. The only thing that even approached t resolution of it was Signs at the Mann chinese with the 4K digital projection.
    4. In terms of the IMAX: to see simple insert shots in IMAX and then back to the 2:35 to 1…is very disconcerting. Why not shoot the entire thing in IMAX or ONLY specific scenes. A random shot of Alfred reading a letter that lasts two seconds inserted among the 35…is just…weird.

  8. I don’t really like the way the Blu switches between 2.35 and 1.85, either. I’m told that it was projected on IMAX screens that way, though, which also seems odd, because it ought to have been even more jarring on a big IMAX screen than on a TV at home.

  9. Not trying to pick on you, Film, but what does “somewhat by far” mean? That sounds like a contradiction in terms.

    On another topic, the new Spider-Man is decent. That they decided to do another origin story (poor Uncle Ben) was unnecessary, but overall it’s okay. Review in a day or two.

  10. I was trying to temper my words after my effusive praise on first viewing. Having taken the time to view both, and with a more objective eye, Batman Begins is the far better film.

  11. Filmman, you’ll be glad to know I’ve finally gotten around to seeing This Is England. Very good film. It’s no 400 Blows, but nicely done all the same.

  12. This is England was great. I enjoyed he first sequel as well (done for Channel 4 in the UK) although I haven’t seen the third installment yet. Believe they’re doing a fourth one this year or next.

  13. The best thing about TED? My somewhat unhealthy lust for Norah Jones is vindicated by a teddy bear.

  14. Very nice, Slim. This is England and Shane Meadows hold an equal place in my pantheon as John Sayles and Lone Star.

    And James: The television sequels were so, so good.

  15. I still need to see This is England ’88, but I think I have time. Looks like This is England ’90 won’t be hitting until 2013 now, as Meadows is doing a documentary on The Stone Roses.

  16. Had one of my greatest film experiences there–the opening run of Apocalypse Now. I also saw Gandhi there, and The Last Temptation of Christ (complete with picketers).

  17. I saw The Lost World Jurassic Park there and when the velociraptor stuck its head under the shed, I saw 1200 people all jump at the same time.

  18. Kinda happy I got into the projection room recently and got a shot of the projector’s table and the view to the screen by the projectors and this one, of ‘Joe’:

  19. Interesting fact: 85 percent of all theater seats go unsold each year.
    Wow. That doesn’t seem like a good business model.

  20. Ernest Borgnine is dead at age 95. If any of you haven’t seen Marty, see it at once. He’s also great as the villainous “Fatso” Judson in From Here to Eternity.

  21. I’ve never been to The Ziegfeld. Will have to get in to see something if it really does get a closing date.

    85 percent of all theater seats go unsold each year.
    Wow. That doesn’t seem like a good business model.

    As Slim said: it’s all concessions. They also get a bigger chunk of the pie the longer a film runs, so the big hits (things like Avatar, The Avengers, etc that play for months) earn them a mint. That said: I’m curious as to why they’re open during weekday afternoons in non-Summer months. I’ve been in massive screening rooms with 2-3 other people in attendance and you know they’re not making a dime, even with concession sales.

    Side note: I am loving this new trend of screenings starting in the early morning hours. I’ve been catching movies at 9:00-9:30am lately, which is great for my schedule. I’ve been to two sold out shows at those hours, so it appears they’re successful.

  22. They also get a bigger chunk of the pie the longer a film runs, so the big hits (things like Avatar, The Avengers, etc that play for months) earn them a mint.

    I don’t think this is as true as it used to be; seems like I was corrected on this matter not long ago. Jeanine probably knows more.

  23. Doesn’t this perhaps prove my point? A theater that relies on viewers by showing movies doesn’t sell 85 percent of its product and relies on those 15 percent buying food marked-up at at least a thousand percent over wholesale? Again…sounds like a somewhat unsound business model.

  24. I’m not in the know as much as I used to be. But film rental isn’t usually on a sliding scale anymore. It hovers around 50% (give or take) for all weeks of the run. With the quick turnaround for DVD, films haven’t been sticking around in theaters for as long as they used to and it would have hurt theaters if something didn’t change.

    I couldn’t really tell you about occupancy percentages – but 85% sounds low (what is the context?). I do know (and Ebert posted this last year) that most distributors will stop printing 35mm early next year so any theater that won’t switch to digital will probably close or only play older films. This is a bigger problem for smaller chains, but even large chains will end up closing a few theaters where it doesn’t make financial sense to upgrade.

    I heard a new term the other day, and I forget what it is, where theater managers are encouraged to cancel a slow film (little to no attendance) when a bigger film has sold out so they can add a show in another auditorium. It sounds like this is the future of digital – because they can do that kind of thing now fairly easily. So don’t be surprised if you show up to an unpopular movie and find it’s not showing as advertised. Although, I’d like to see how long that lasts because I imagine the distributors on the short end of that stick would have a problem with it. And you don’t want to piss off distributors.

  25. I heard a new term the other day, and I forget what it is, where theater managers are encouraged to cancel a slow film (little to no attendance) when a bigger film has sold out so they can add a show in another auditorium.

    When I worked at a Regal Cinema six years ago they did that. They’d run the film through one projector and then on to another in the theater next door. If someone showed up for that movie we’d tell them the projector was broken.

    A few years later, I went to see The Devil Knows Your Dead. It was playing in a small, two-screen theater in downtown Princeton. On the other screen was Bee Movie. They told me the projector was broken for my film, while there were many kids milling around to see the cartoon. The guy at the box office said I could come back later that night. I realized exactly what they were doing, and felt like asking him, “Oh, you’ll have the projector fixed by then?” But instead I drove to a nearby theater that was also showing it.

    I can see why they would do something like this, but ethically it stinks.

  26. How can you take the step of, as he says, ‘changing the course of cinema’ with your movie by being the first to shoot at 48 fps, and THEN tell everyone who is either enamored with or hates the technology that ‘this isn’t what my movie is about’?
    Uhhh…48 fps is what this movie is about. I don’t care what ‘kind’ of movie you’re making. I care that you’re changing the course of cinema. Remember his ‘war movie’ shot on the RED? No, me, neither. But I remember all the stories about how RED was gonna ‘change’ cinema!

    http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2012/07/explanation.php

  27. So I saw this sentence in a Dark Knight review:
    “Will be interesting to see how well this will play on video with how many times it switches between IMAX and regular film aspect-”
    ……damn.

  28. I did this with Ridley Scott a couple months ago, so just for fun, here are all of Oliver Stone’s movies listed by IMDb rating:

    Platoon 8.2
    JFK 8.0
    Salvador 7.5
    Wall Street 7.3
    Natural Born Killers 7.1
    Born on the Fourth of July 7.1
    Talk Radio 7.1
    The Doors 7.0
    Nixon 7.0
    Any Given Sunday 6.7
    U Turn 6.7
    Heaven & Earth 6.7
    W. 6.5
    Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps 6.3
    World Trade Center 6.0
    Alexander 5.4
    The Hand 5.1
    Seizure 4.8

    I excluded Savages because it’s too new, but it’s currently at 6.8 and might go down some (I don’t think word-of-mouth is great, although I liked it). Platoon is the only one in the Top 250 and is #148.

    Some surprises here. I would have guessed that Born on the Fourth of July would be higher and the first Wall Street would be a little lower. And I would have guessed that U Turn and World Trade Center would be roughly flipped.

  29. “I loved Chronicle, so I’m curious to see how Trank handles a large-budget tentpole picture.”

    Did you forget to put quotes around “loved” James? Otherwise it reads like you’re serious…

  30. Thank you Rob for clearing that up. I was actually beginning to think he liked Chronicle, too. Man, I was getting worried-

  31. Ha, I liked Chronicle. It’s cool on a technical level and in what it tries to do with the idea, but it lacks a surer hand regarding the script and direction. I do agree in that I’m also curious to see what Trank does next.

  32. …it lacks a surer hand regarding the script and direction.

    This does not sound like a promising trait for a tentpole director. It sounds completely typical for tentpole movies, actually.

  33. Oh, come on…next thing I’m gonna hear is that someone enjoyed Olivia Munn in Newsroo-aw, come on!

  34. James already wrote, in the Openings thread: “I was really surprised by Chronicle. Definitely ranks in the upper echelon of comic book movies. Very inventive and surprisingly emotional.”

    So he’s not kidding. And it has 85 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, so it’s not like it’s universally loathed. Haven’t seen it yet, myself.

  35. It’s not perfect, but I’ve become so bored with the superhero genre that I was thrilled to see someone doing something new in it. That he was able to produce it on a tight budget at FOX of all places is even more impressive.

  36. I KNOW. Me, too………………………I thought she fit the role extremely well.

  37. FOX is inexplicably moving forward with their Waiting to Exhale sequel. Seems like such an odd decision given the lack of returning star power (although it was a dicey proposition even with Whitney Houston returning) and the 17 years that have passed between installments.

    I’m not sure how this can be successful unless they do a hybrid reboot focusing on younger characters with Angela Bassett and the other actresses in supporting roles.

    Why am I talking about this?

  38. The CW is in talks to produce a TV series based on the Japanese film/novel/alleged Hunger Games inspiration, Battle Royale.

    Meanwhile ABC Family is prepping a series adaptation of Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible.

  39. This is so horrible and disgusting in so many ways.
    Rob, you should burn and destroy and then piss on the original file of this. Now.

  40. Almost worse than that.
    “They’ve found a way to make the smoke smell like the sulphur of factory smoke.”
    Wait, WHAT?!

  41. Peter Jackson is indeed splitting The Hobbit into three films. A hardcore Lord of the Rings fan I know told me it was ridiculous to stretch The Hobbit into two features…I can’t imagine how he’ll react to this.

  42. I’ve been re-reading The Hobbit over the weekend, and I’m forced to concur. I can’t imagine how it’ll stretch three films without interminable padding and/or adding a whole bunch of stuff.

    I’ve got to imagine that what we’ll see is Jackson making the films into a kind of all-purpose Tolkien dump, where all the events that are only referenced in the book are expanded into whole episodes. For example, Gandalf leaves mid-quest to fight the Necromancer, although that episode itself is not described in the book. Or, the films could show the fall of Dale, which precedes the events of the book by a few centuries or so. That could make for a big action scene, even!

    Stuff like that. Plus a whole lot of slow motion.

  43. Every time I post my poor opinion, the simple truth of how I feel about TDKR, my viewcount on my wordpress goes through the roof. Why aren’t the slavish fanboys slagging me off?

    That being said, I don’t like James Bond, but I DO think this looks excellent:

  44. “Who would like TDKR? People who liked Prometheus.”
    “It was ALL exposition. I got tired of it.”
    “This is a simple action movie.”
    “I really wasn’t invested in any of it.”

  45. I hope you’re all stopping by your local Chick-Fil-A today to show America how much you hate gay people support traditional marriage.

  46. In all seriousness, I’ve never really understood the appeal of Chick-fil-A, just from a food standpoint. I used to eat there semi-frequently, back when I was working at a mall that only had two restaurants in its food court, and I had to eat at work. But even then I only went there when I was tired of the pizzeria that was the second restaurant.

    I mean, it’s extremely plain fried chicken on a very plain sandwich bun. BFD. Fast food cults are weird.

  47. They’ve never made it this far north, but I can’t say I’m too eager to eat at one following this shitstorm. Really not a big fried food guy, either.

    I do have to admire their ability to turn controversy into profit, though.

  48. There’s a Chick-Fil-A at a mall near here, but I’ve never eaten there. Something about that closed on Sundays business raises my atheist hackles.

  49. I don’t know Man with a Movie Camera either. Seen the others, though.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Vertigo at #1. It’s a masterpiece, definitely, and a good movie to show a Martian as an example of what cinema is. So I guess it’s worthy enough, but something about it being “the greatest ever” doesn’t sit right with me.

  50. They’ve also published the top 50. Of that list, I’ve seen only 15:

    1, 2, 6, 7, 11, 14, 20, 21 (Godfather), 31 (both), 34, 35 (Psycho), 42 (Some Like It Hot), 48 (Battle Of Algiers), 50 (City Lights). My favourite out of those would be 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Must admit that there are a few in the top 50 I haven’t even heard of. There’s so much of world cinema I’m yet to see!

    Interesting how post-1976 cinema is so limited in the list; I guess not surprisingly it’s the antithesis of the IMDB top 250 list.

  51. I’ve seen 30 of them. Most of the ones I’m missing include the Japanese films (interesting–two by Ozu but only one by Kurosawa), the Dreyer films, and the Russian films. A couple on there I just didn’t get at all, like In the Mood for Love, which I thought was a snooze fest.

  52. I’ve seen 40 of the 52 listed, missing:

    8. Man with a Movie Camera
    12. L’Atalante
    15. Late Spring
    t21. L’avventura
    t24. Ordet
    t29. Shoah (a 9-hour Holocaust documentary)
    t35. Sátántangó (7.5 hour Hungarian film)
    41. Journey to Italy
    t42. Pather Panchali
    t42. Gertrud
    t48. Histoire(s) du cinéma (an 8-part video documentary)
    t50. La Jetée (28-minute short that among other things inspired Twelve Monkeys)

    Of the ones I’ve seen, it’s hard to pick a favorite, although The Godfather and Seven Samurai would probably get strong consideration (btw, there are two Kurosawas, Rashomon also made the list). Several others I think are clear masterpieces, including (in random order) Vertigo, Kane, Rules of the Game, Andrei Rublev, Stalker, Bicycle Thieves, and a few others.

    Picking out a least favorite is easy: Au hasard Balthazar. I saw many Bresson films earlier this year during a retrospective at the Siskel, and for the most part I find him a tedious filmmaker.

  53. Nine for me:
    Vertigo, Apocalypse Now, Seven Samurai, The Godfather, Rashomon, The Godfather Part II, Metropolis, Psycho, City Lights

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