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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Can You Hear the Distant Thunder of the Big Fall movies?

They’re getting closer. But in the meantime, Sony’s giving us Gattaca and I Know What You Did Last Summer instead of Starship Troopers. Fox is giving us A Life Less Ordinary instead of Alien Resurrection. And Disney is staying out of the fray altogether until it’s ready to smash the animated classic/Robin Williams 2X4 over the head of Fox’s Anastasia.
Gattaca should open on top of the box office crowd with around $12 million. Sony is marketing as fast as they can, but the weird title and soft reviews are keeping the buzz from exploding. Seems like Sony sated a chunk of Gattaca’s audience last weekend with its other genre movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which should take the standard 35 percent drop to $10.3 million for second place. The Devil’s Advocate should retain its “Number One Devil As Lawyer Movie In America” title with a 30 perecent drop to $8.5 million. Then, there’s a huge holdover drop, down to a likely third week showdown between Kiss the Girls and Seven Years In Tibet for fifth and sixth at around $4.2 million. Sneaking into that gap, A Life Less Ordinary should fall in love with fourth spot with around $6 million.
Fairy Tale: A True Story is a hard sell in a weak kids market, seamlessly opening in the now-gone Rocketman’s seventh slot with $3 million. In & Out is heading toward the latter with about $2.6 million for eighth place. Over the lips and through the gums, look out cable, here comes Soul Food — ninth with $2 million. And rounding out the top 10, one must acknowledge Bean, the Rowan Atkinson comedy that’s already broken the $100 million mark in foreign release and domestically has only opened in Canada — yes, Canada is part of the domestic box office — to the tune of more than $2 million.
Finally, Boogie Nights expands to 50 screens and should pull in a little over $1.25 million before opening wide on Halloween. That’s quite a costume, Marky Mark!
What are you planning to wear for Halloween? Actually, I don’t care, but if you have something to say, email me.

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“To be a critic is to be a workaholic. Workaholism is socially conditioned: viewed favourably by exploiters, it’s generally ruinous to a worker’s mental health. When T.S. Eliot said criticism was as inevitable as breathing, he failed to mention that, respiratory problems notwithstanding, breathing is easy. Criticism is reflexive before reflective: to formalise/industrialise an involuntary instinct requires time, effort and discipline. The reason we seek remuneration, as opposed to the self-hatred of being a scab, is because all labour should be waged…

“Criticism, so the cliché by now goes, is dying. None of the panel discussions on its death agony, however—including those in which I’ve formally participated—come at it from the wider perspective that the problem surely needs. They defend the ways in which criticism functions in relation to the industry and to the public, but they fail to contextualise these relationships as defined by ultimately rotten and self-harming imperatives.

“Criticism was a noble profession so long as only a few could practice it for money; when the field expands, as it has with a so-called ‘democratisation’ of our practice, those few lose their political power. Competition grows and markets are undercut: publications are naturally going to start paying less. Precarity is both cause and effect of a surplus workforce: the reason you’re only as good as your last article is because there are plenty of other folks who can write the next one in your place. The daily grind is: pitch, or perish.

B”ut criticism, so a counter-cliché goes, is not dying. An irony: this is an elite sport that is no longer elite in terms of who is able to practice it, but in economic terms it’s clutching to a perverse and outmoded hierarchical structure. It’s more meritocratic than ever, now: which is to say it isn’t meritocratic at all. That’s a paradox in bad need of a resolution…”

~ Michael Pattison Manifestoes Film Criticism

“It’s easy to forget when you’re reading a critic every single week or multiple times a week, that most of us who do this job, and have been doing it for a long time, understand that this is basically a parasitic profession. I don’t mean in the sense that we’re evil bloodsucking creatures, but we couldn’t exist if we didn’t have something to analyze. And I’m always conscious of that. So whether I like or don’t like a particular thing you do, my point of view is always that of an appreciator. I just like to be in the world that you create.”
~ Matt Zoller Seitz To Sam Esmail

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