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By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Klady's Friday Estimates – 3/18/05

The V for Vendetta launch is a bit smaller than expected. Many will use the

66 Responses to “Klady's Friday Estimates – 3/18/05”

  1. Goulet says:

    V is doing… okay. I thought it would do over $M30, though. Meh, kids today…

  2. martindale says:

    I figured that it would be difficult for Vendetta to top the opening totals of Sin City or Constantine. Those had bigger names attached to them.

  3. martin says:

    V opened fine for first day, the question is how it will hold on after. It should finish up between $50-70 mill, which for a slightly arty looking thriller with a mostly no-name cast is pretty good.
    Is Find Me Guilty at least getting good reviews? It looked kind of like a lower budget My Cousin Vinny, the question is whether Vinny is funny in this one.

  4. Crow T Robot says:

    Based on the marketing alone, $23 million figures about right. The film’s got “Hellboy” written all over it.

  5. palmtree says:

    V should be doing better given that it has no competition. But without lots of action, it will be harder to sell as a superhero, comic book movie. Hopefully, it will develop a following from those who embrace its critique of the audience of such a film.

  6. Nicol D says:

    Politics aside, I did think the film would open better. The commericals were enticing and slick and the ones that showed Portman in her ‘outfit’ I thought would bring the fanboys out in droves.
    I also thought the Imax push would make the film into more of an event that I initially thought it was not.
    I think the Waschowkis lost some cred with the last two Matrix films (although I liked Reloaded.)
    I think perhaps one detraction to the target audience is the mask itself and the fact that it is so esoteric. Unlike Spiderman, most young males do not fantasize about looking like few hundred year old Brit..even with Natalie Portman by his side.
    Also, I think the Washowksi’s reclusivness does hurt them. Even if L does not want to come out (for obvious reasons) then Andy should at least do some talking. Answer some questions, say what the film is about, bang the drum.
    It makes thier films look like abandoned children.
    Also, having Alan Moore trash it does not help. Not one bit.
    Also, I must say that those stark black and red subway posters with the pulpy looking style were quite slick. I actually wanted to like this film.

  7. martin says:

    i doubt this hurt it at the box office, but nicol makes an interesting point about the disconnection between the “creators” and the film. It was never made clear who the real director/creative mind behind V was. Moore? No, he took his name off. Jim McTeague? Ostensibly the auteur, except that no one knows who he is, and it’s being sold as.. a “Wachowski bros film”. But they’re not out talking. So the auteur theory that the geeks love is a complicated mess in this case. If this was actually a film directed by The Wachowskis, it probably would have done more money.

  8. Crow T Robot says:

    Well, the only thing more unappealing to John Q. Popcorn than a self-rightious, humorless geek movie is one with an overt civics lesson attached. V is being sold as a 2 hour study hall with maybe 20 minutes on the jungle gym.
    And yes, the talky Matrix sequels bruised much of the good will from the original. America doesn’t owe The Brothers W. anything now. They’re just gonna have to reinvent themselves, much like Tim Burton did with “Ed Wood.”
    That’s it! Maybe a similar bio-pic about a sexually confused filmmaker would be a nice change of pace… but who the heck could they base such a story on? Hmmm…

  9. Blackcloud says:

    Would that “V” were playing in IMAX in DC. But the only IMAX theaters here are at the Smithsonian, and I doubt they’d show an R-rated movie. Instead, they still have Harry Potter, and will be showing it until the end of April at least.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    The Wachowskis are obviously the auteurs of this one – their names were the only ones of any prominence in the publicity. McTeigue is their flunky until we get any evidence to the contrary. So now we now what a post-Matrix movie by them opens to.
    Crow: why did Burton need to reinvent himself? Are you not a Batman Returns fan?
    If anything, it was Sleepy Hollow that was what reintroduced him to America, since Ed Wood and Mars Attacks were both financial losers.

  11. EDouglas says:

    Except that Alan Moore never actually *saw* the movie… he was trashing it on principle because of LXG (and who blames him?) The series co-creators David Lloyd has given the film his full support both before and after completion. The theory that it opened soft because of this is very weak. On the other hand, yesterday was St. Patty’s Day and a lot of people would just as much go to a party or a bar and drink then go to the movies, so I think there’s still an audience that might see it over the weekend and next week.

  12. Blackcloud says:

    Don’t discount the NCAA tournament as a negative factor. And, to resurrect the “‘King Kong’ isn’t doing well because college students are taking finals right now” canard, lots of schools are coming off and going on spring break this weekend.

  13. Blackcloud says:

    By the way, anyone around here seen “The Libertine”? If so, what did you think?

  14. Crow T Robot says:

    J-Mac, I was just looking for a bridge to an easy transexual joke. “Ed Wood” was my only way in.
    Did I proclaim my love for Batman Returns before? It’s got some of the snappiest dialogue of the decade. Whoever hired Daniel “Heathers” Waters to pen that one deserves a ball and a biscuit.
    “How can you be so mean to someone so meaningless?”

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Crow, your Ed Wood segue made up in style what it lacked in sense. I’m happy to encourage that.

  16. Tofu says:

    Theaters were much more packed tonight than Friday, which was a near ghost town, filled with only a few kids that either couldn’t be out drinking, or had little interest in the gigantic NCAA Tournament. Honestly, I’ve never that much interest thrown into March Madness until now.
    Vendetta is doing well. A $75 million close is likely, not bad for a $50 million production. The question is if Warners can push it to the $230 million worldwide area that they hit with another R-Rated, DC/Vertigo comic book movie from last year… Constantine.

  17. EDouglas says:

    “By the way, anyone around here seen “The Libertine”? If so, what did you think?”
    I think the general concensus is that Depp and Morton give good performances, but the characters they play are so (admittedly) loathsome that it’s impossible to enjoy the movie. I had some serious technical problems with the movie because I thought it was really poorly made as far as camerawork, lighting (it looks like they used all natural lighting.. from the era!).. and it’s just not the bright and colorful period piece we’re used to seeing. There are moments but overall, it’s pretty blah.

  18. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “V for Vendetta” is getting raves on the libertarian side of the aisle. That and the fact the release was delayed for political reasons makes me want to see it.
    I’d love to see “Find Me Guilty” but probably won’t. Where I live most theaters have bargain shows on Saturday/Sunday only until 4 PM. (Used to be 6 PM until last month.)

  19. Blackcloud says:

    “Where I live most theaters have bargain shows on Saturday/Sunday only until 4 PM. (Used to be 6 PM until last month.)”
    Let me guess, Chucky, those theaters used to be Loews and are now AMC. Am I right? That’s happened where I am, too. Very annoying.

  20. martin says:

    if V for Vendetta was directed by Robert Rodriguez and shot for cheap on HD, it would be seen as a big hit right now.

  21. frankbooth says:

    V could be a slow-builder like Batman Begins. Of course, it doesn’t have the name recognition.
    Batman Returns had great dialogue? As I recall, there were two different “Geraldo” jokes. That’s not only wrong and jarring in the context of the timeless fantasy world the film was striving to create, it was desperate. Plus they wasted DeVito by coming up with a dumb Penguin concept and wasted time with an extra villain (Walken) for the hell of it. Great visuals, though, even better than the first, though I could have done without the giant duck.
    Both Burton films–like all Burton films after Pee Wee–were wildly uneven. Begins was the first to really get it right, and I bet the sequel is even better now that the origin exposition is out of the way.
    I saw Hills in a nearly-empty theater. It may be scaring audiences off by being too genuinely disturbing. A generation raised on Scream are shocked that that nice Wes Craven would put his name on something like this. Two guys behind me kept saying “that’s fucked up!” Of course, the nastiest stuff was right out of the original, but I’m sure some Red Eye fans who can’t be bothered to read reviews had their evenings ruined. Heh.
    Can anyone who likes horror (Jeff?) compare it to recent stuff like the Chainsaw remake, Devil’s Rejects and Hostel? I thought it was sick and went too far and made me lust for mutant blood–in other words, it did exactly what this kind of movie is supposed to do. I’ve avoided stuff like the new Chainsaw and Dawn of the Dead, but now I’m curious how recent remakes/retro grindhouse flicks stack up.

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m a big fan of the horror genre. IMO, The Hills Have Eyes 2006 is vastly superior to The Devil’s Rejects (worst movie I saw in 2005), Hostel and the TCM remake.

  23. Lota says:

    my bad horror vote goes to Hostel or way of the vampire for 2005.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    Thanks for the invite, although I am a poor judge of ‘is something too sick’ because for me, nothing is. I hated the Texas Chainsaw remake, but that was because I thought it was phony and over-stylized, and nothing to do with gore levels. The Dawn of the Dead remake remains the recent gold standard because it’s gory, fun, and has some political/social commentary.
    I would say Hill Have Eyes falls in between. Aja knows how to keep the action moving and give the audience what it wants (re: mutant bloodlust) but he doesn’t seem to care about such things as ‘subtext’ or bothering to make a movie that’s really different in any serious way from the source, which got boring after you wait for the movie to deviate from being beat-for-beat identical to the original.

  25. martin says:

    just looking through the numbers noticed an interesting stat: Pink Panther and Brokeback Mountain will finish up with about the same domestic box office totals. What does that mean? if anything?

  26. Lota says:

    hey Jeff
    not too gory, but along disturbing lines:
    did you ever see ‘Death bed: the bed that eats?’
    or
    ‘Wild, wild, planet’
    or
    Battle Royale?
    i actually am not a big Wes C fan, but I did think Red eye was very good.
    Martin…I think it means people are willing to pay the same, as often, for Popular Stupid as they will pay for Decently Made.
    Sometimes that’s ok. Like Austin Powers or Dodgeball. But paying for Pink panther is going a bit far. It’s evidence of a completely decaying society.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    I have seen both Death Bed and Battle Royale; I liked them both, but preferred DB for being even more unconventionally nutso. Along the same lines, I very much like a 70s monster movie called Godmonster of Indian Flats about a mutant sheep.

  28. Lota says:

    People get mad at me after I refer them to Deathbed. But there’s some really great ideas in it. I wish a demon cried tears of blood for me.
    Check out WIld Wild Planet (there’s even a little operretta in the middle of the amputations/operations and crazy shit) and if you can afford to buy a video copy of Don’t be afraid fo the Dark, it’s good creepy psychological horror that should be remade with the classy-ness intact. I’d do it myself but too busy and lazy. Someone will remake it and consign another promising property into Boring schlock.
    and if Private Parts (1972) didn’t disturb you then you can pat yourself on the back sonny, and consider yourself a truly sick bunny.

  29. James Leer says:

    I really liked Battle Royale and I’m not sure I’d group it in with those films. Yes, the premise is outlandish and there is gore. But I dunno…it didn’t seem to me to fit the horror porn genre you’d file Hostel or Hills Have Eyes into. There was a certain poignancy to it, and it had a lot more on its mind than just “how sick can we make the toture scenes.”

  30. Lota says:

    Godmonster–haven’t seen…I prefer Mothra to sheep, for sure.

  31. Lota says:

    Well Mr Leer
    it is a good question to pose re. “horror” is that does most of it fit into a second genre, or in an effort to shock has most of the new stuff really gone from being an original horror premise to just porn of a different level.
    Most of the “new” horror doesn;t feel like Horror to me–at least not good scary horror.
    There should really be a new horror-style designation called ‘splatter porn’ and leave Horror to the experts.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    I never saw Private Parts (either version) so I will have to put it on my list. Probably the worst thing I can think of ever seeing is in a Japanese movie called Men Behind the Sun about experiments in WWII prison camps. Real corpses and cats being filmed and such, which is certainly in the shocktastic subgenre. On that subject, it’s hard to really come up with a new name because the borderline is so gray and fuzzy. But yes, it would be nice to see more spooky and less grisly horror.

  33. Lota says:

    Private parts doesn’t have “versions”…just to clarify.
    Private parts (1972) is a horror sicko comedy sexual idunnowhat dir by paul Bartels, may he RIP who also directed Eating Raoul.
    Private parts (1998) is Howard Stern wishing he had ‘nads.
    I recommend the former PP.

  34. frankbooth says:

    I wasn’t really asking about sickest/most extreme horror, just which recent “hard” films were everyone’s favorites. Got some good answers, though.
    I have heard that Dawn was okay, but also that it stripped most of the subtext regarding the mall and was more of an action movie. And running zombies….I just don’t know about that.
    Jeff, you could argue that Hills did have subtext. Americans attacked for reasons they can’t comprehend, by desert people with a grievance who are so different they may as well be aliens, folllowed by the need for bloody revenge. Though if they’d gone to the wrong town and slaughtered the wrong mutants–or killed the mutant kids–it would have worked better in that regard. So In the end, yeah, it was essentially a revenge flick. An effective one, though.
    I agree that Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark traumatized anyone who saw it as a child, or even heard other kids talking about it. I think that there is a remake in the works–expect a younger cast, digital creatures shown in too much detail, chase scenes, a happy ending.
    I know that they’re remaking Wicker Man and apparently even Don’t Look Now. No way can that turn out well. And I just saw a trailer for an Omen remake, nearly identical to the original with the kid on a swing, right down to the dog, cap and hestiant smile. The kids will think it’s a Final Destination rip.
    Men Behind the Sun. Yeah, that one is enough for me, thanks. If that cat scene is what it appears to be, the director should be tossed in next. Have still never seen I Spit on Your Grave, or, shockingly, Cannibal Holocaust. There goes my street cred.
    How about Irreversible? Does it have a reason to exist? Is it a harder sit than Glitter?

  35. Crow T Robot says:

    Frank, I think the sheer perverseness of Batman Returns is what turned me on. It’s the movies equivalent of punk rock; based more on pain and emotion than the mechanical thrills that tentpoles of its type are known for. At times it’s downright despicable (child abuse as mass entertainment?) and yet so much registers: DeVito as a sort of walking talking id, Walken’s twist on Donald Trump, Pfeiffer having a nervous breakdown for every woman in the world, Keaton slumped in his dark office as the Batsignal fills the room, Elfman’s “Dracula organ” score. It’s cold and cynical and yet out of all the films, including Nolan’s, I think it is the most alive. The most ferocious.
    I do agree that Burton has an uneven, unpolished sense of drama. You can almost rely on it now.

  36. Lota says:

    I don;t get why some folk think Irreversible is “good”. It is audience punishment, not a story. But that is my stoopid opinion. Anything that is real torture (Men behind the sun) is beyond the pale. I can;t understand why so many loonies on IMDB were down on Herzog for wanting to hear Timothy Treadwell eaten alive. “we have a right to hear it”. That kind of “need” is not the purpose of cinema. I hope the girlfriend destroyed that tape.
    Glitter is ok if you’ve had a bottle of vodka already whereas Irreversible never would be.

  37. Lota says:

    oh..and fortunately I didn;t see “Don’t be afraid of the dark” as a “little” kid (heard about it..i wuz really little), but as a medium kid years after and it still was terrifying. I have the tape and I have never been able to bring myself to watch it. Still in the wrap. I am sure I would hear my name being whispered from the heating vents…
    “Lo-taaaah….we wwwwaannnttt yooooooo”
    for the next decade. That’s what a good horror flick should do.
    please no, may your words be vicious lies re. a remake.
    I dread the Wickerman remake. DREAD IT.
    Who’s going to get to do the Britt Ekland danse I wonder? Jessica SImpson and her dangling implants?

  38. THX5334 says:

    “Crow, your Ed Wood segue made up in style what it lacked in sense. I’m happy to encourage that.”
    I thought it made perfect sense, going by Larry W.’s personal history.
    I almost never believe in the plantiff when some joker sues a film for stealing their material – all good ideas are universal.
    Yet the Sofia Stewart case, and how wildly uneven the two Matrix sequals were (only the original is claimed to have been based on her submitted work to the Wachowski’s)makes me believe there might be merit to her case – tho I admit I do not know all the facts. But those sequals just “feel” so different than the first, you just get the sense that the Hardy Boys had lost the treasure map – So one decided to become a woman…..

  39. Eric says:

    THX, I feel the same way you do about the difference between The Matrix and its sequels. The sequels lacked the exquisite grace of the original. Their juxtaposition of sophomoric action and sophomoric philosophy was jarring and awkward.
    It’s a bad sign that V for Vendetta is the same. It buckles under the weight of its Very Important Message. I don’t know if the Wachowskis have lost their touch, or if perhaps they simply never had it.

  40. frankbooth says:

    Lota,
    I do grant your point about Returns being more vital than Begins. Nolan’s film was smart and did a lot of things right, and still the best Batman overall, but it is a bit deliberate and plodding, and it’s hard to call it “fun.”
    Some of this can possibly be attributed to the “origin story curse.” I mean, look how much better the second installment of X-Men and Spiderman were. The sequel, with that out of the way and a new Joker, could be the best superhero flick ever.
    Implants don’t dangle–they defy gravity, which is what gives them away. And I doubt the dance will be in the new film, just as I doubt the sex scene will be in Don’t Look Now. Wouldn’t want to scare off the “nudity is evil” crowd–though one wonders what these people doing at R-rated, occult-themed horror movies when they should be home watching Left Behind and Veggie Tales, or in church.
    Didn’t someone on this board once try to argue that nudity is bad because it’s real (they actually said that sex was real, which is really naive unless we’re talking about 9 Songs) but graphic violence is fine because it’s simulated? Can anyone makes sense of this attitude? I find it kind of fascinating because it’s such tortured logic.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Re: Hill Have Eyes and subtext, what I was talking about had more to do with the voice of the filmmaker. Sure, there’s a subtext about being attacked and getting revenge, but the movie says nothing that is very interesting, especially compared with the Craven original, which I believe is superior because it had a clear parallel between the two ‘families’ and because it had a more ambivalent attitude towards violence, seeing it as something degrading for the ‘good’ family to have to stoop to, while the new movie is simple-minded cheerleading as our people stalk and kill their people.

  42. jeffmcm says:

    Oh yeah: also re Irreversible, it’s not a very smart movie as far as the message it’s trying to beat you over the head with, but I did enjoy it for its style and the visuals which were apparently intended to induce nausea in the first fifteen minutes.
    The Wicker Man remake will not have that dancing scene; no modern studio exec would tolerate such an odd narrative interlude in a movie made today.

  43. frankbooth says:

    Jeff,
    I’m not gonna go out my way to make the case that the new Hills is deep. It definitely riles up the ol’ bloodlust, and the speech about “what we did to them” doesn’t mitigate it much–they just look stupid for having stayed. I almost wish the hero HAD killed a couple of the mutants who weren’t threatening him, out of pure revenge. It would have complicated our feelings and been more interesting. But it was well-crafted manipulation, better than High Tension, and I give it credit for not copping-out on the nastiness or catering to teens. The fact that it offended people who thought Saw was just splendid tickles me. I hadn’t even planned to see it, but I don’t oppose it on principle because the original is far from perfect, and I don’t regret having gone.
    Now I really wanna see the original again, and I’m surpised that it’s been so hard to find. It’s at least a minor cult classic, and as far as it being offensive, these same video stores stock stuff like I Spit on Your Grave and Last House. (It would be ironic if I found it at Hollywood Video.)
    My recollection is hazy, but I know the cannibals got more screen time in the original, making the parallel between the families stronger; but also that some people feel they become TOO familiar, and that the goofy banter diminishes their menace ( I unfortunately remember People Under the Stairs well enough to know Wes is prone to this). How you feel about this depends on if you’re looking for meaning or scares, I guess.
    What’s your favorite horror film of the last five years? And then to make it harder (because I’m guessing it will be something like Pulse or Cure): what’s your favorite American one?
    Off the top of my head, my choice would be May–but I don’t see everything like I used to.
    After watching the new Hills, it occured to me that one thing about the original Chainsaw that makes it so enduringly disturbing is that there is no real payback, no righting of the world. The one villain who dies gets run over through his own carelesness. Leatherface and the father are left alive, and even though the former cuts his leg, his suffering hardly compares to the pain he’s inflicted. The kids are in the wrong time at the wrong place, they die horribly for no reason at all, the bad guys are still out there and the one survivor appears to be insane at the end of the film. You walk away feeling that the world is a charnel house of indiscriminate suffering. That’s pretty dark, and I have a hard time trying to think of a recent American film that goes there.
    From what I’ve heard, the remake deviates considerably from this, and even give Leatherface a silly psychological motive. One more reason not to see it. Sorry, Dave.

  44. Stella's Boy says:

    I watched the original Hills about a year ago. It has its moments and they accomplished a lot for quite a little ($250,000 budget), but in many ways it is very dated and silly. Don’t recall specifics too well. My favorite American horror films of the last five years (I know you didn’t ask me but I don’t think you’ll mind) are May, Session 9 and Frailty, off the top of my head.

  45. Lota says:

    favorite is Bubba Ho-Tep of the last 5 yrs.
    Elvis: Ask not what your rest home can do for you. Ask what you can do for your rest home.
    JFK: Hey, you’re copying my best lines!
    Elvis: Then let me paraphrase one of my own. Let’s take care of business.
    JFK: Just what are you getting at, Elvis?
    Elvis: I think you know what I’m getting’ at Mr. President…We’re gonna kill us a mummy.
    God i love that movie.
    I guess Session 9 was pretty good Stella. I especially liked the Kubrickian hallway shots, and the blood-curling voices at the end, and it was decently cryptic.
    Yes, good thing you qualified that question frankbooth as most of my favorite horror movies of the last decade are not American.
    and, well, shoot. So I am busted on the dangling implants thing [don't have 'em or need 'em], but some gals who ordered a size too big DO dangle, son. I mean pammy’s are too big for the mammary garage and do dangle when she don;t have em harnessed. Stretching out those collagen fibers and gettin stretch marks.
    Those cowards making Wickerman better include the britt Ekland dance scene–that was a very important scene for testing & sealing the fate of a particular individual (don;t want to spoil it).
    and I think you meant the Batman comment for someone else who commented on it. I did like the first one almost equal to the second were it not for Kim Basinger’s screaming.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    You’re right, my favorite horror movie of the last five or so years would probably be Kurosawa’s Pulse. As far as American movies go, it’s a close race for me between Dawn of the Dead, the first Final Destination, the first Jeepers Creepers, and The Ring. Stuart Gordon’s Dagon is pretty good too, albeit too multinational to count as American.
    I agree, HHE’06 is well-crafted and a crowd-pleaser, it just disappointed me by being kind of impersonal and repetetive of the original. I agree about the original TCM, which has one of the most bleak, ferocious endings of any movie ever made.

  47. Joe Straat says:

    I’m personally anxious to see how Silent Hill turns out. I’m not one to plug games on a film blog, but Silent Hills 1, 2, and 3 have completely numbed me to most of the horror films of the last five years, so I have to go back to Jacob’s Ladder to find a horror film I’d call a favorite. The games are terrifying (Well, except 2, which most people love because of its story), and they push every psychological fear button they can find. Demon children with knives, bleeding walls, constant whispering and deep breathing voices, and good stories on top of it. The movie’s made all of the right moves so far (Hiring the game’s amazing sound designer and not just stealing the name and making a product out of it). I just hope the “Everyperson diving into the pits of psychological Hell” concept is handled well enough so the characters aren’t dull and audiences aren’t thinking, “Man, when is she going to go ‘Fuck this!’ and run the hell out of there?”

  48. jesse says:

    Frankbooth, I agree about May — definitely one of the best horror movies of this decade so far.
    I actually found Blair Witch totally creepy and very scary at the end, but I know (a.) lots of people hate it (b.) it was 1999, so not really so recent anymore.
    I also like the first Final Destination (though the sequels are enjoyably silly), the first half of the first Jeepers Creepers (kinda sucks after that), the Willard remake, and, so shoot (stab?) me, both of Eli Roth’s movies have their moments.
    Though it occurs to me that of those I just mentioned for this decade, only Jeepers Creepers is actually scary.

  49. jeffmcm says:

    I didn’t think all that much of May. I found it kind of predictable and lacking in momentum. Good performances, though, which you hardly ever see in horror, especially these days.
    Frailty is a movie I need to see again…it seemed laughably bad to me the first time around, but maybe that meant it was actually awesomely outrageous and I was approaching it from the wrong angle…one or the other.

  50. Stella's Boy says:

    And I found Dagon laughably bad in its better scenes. I didn’t understand the love it got from horror fans. The writing and acting are atrocious. Wasn’t all that crazy about the Dawn of the Dead remake either. It’s well-made and the cast is good, but I didn’t find it all that scary or compelling. I can definitely see why someone would find Frailty laughably bad. It hovers right on the edge. But I really like the mood Paxton creates as well as the performances, especially Matt O’Leary’s as the older son. I thought it was a very impressive debut behind the camera for Paxton, which he followed up with The Greatest Game Ever Played. Those two have a lot in common.

  51. frankbooth says:

    Session 9 has been in my rental queue for a while. I’ll have to move it up.
    Frailty had some good moments and a disturbing concept, but for some reason it didn’t just stick with me. It bore some similarities to May in that it made you identify with a character who did some very unsympathetic things, but I’m not sure the “twist’ was all that effective. I know you can’t do this in an American movie, but maybe if it had been left ambiguous…
    I’ve also heard good and bad about Dagon. Gordon’s one of those director’s we’re all pulling for, hoping for that fulfillment of early promise. Truth is, there are no “masters of horror.” Just good films or good moments here and there.
    Finally tracked down Craven’s Hills. Wound up watching an old VHS copy, which is appropriate. (Ever notice there’s always a Fred or a Krug in Craven’s early films? Whoever the real-life inspiration was, Wes must have hated him.)
    I now remember why I didn’t remember it. It’s half of a very good exploitation movie, and I there’s a distinct moment at which it goes south: when the big-haired guy says “Baby fat. You fat. Juicyyyyyy!” From that point on, it’s just too silly. Seeing the bad guys jogging along in their Teenage Caveman furs in the bright sun totally diminshes their menace. They’re like clowns from some deranged Saturday morning kids show, and poster boy Michael Berryman is just too inherently likeable and funny to be scary.
    And it’s a shame, because he first 45 min/hour are great. Craven really builds the menace, and the acting is pretty good. It’s too bad the new version dropped the business with the mother’s corpse. I’d have loved to see the reaction of a modern audience to that.
    I’d say that while the new film becomes more of a typical, predictable “ride” in its second half, it’s still more satisfying overall. I did feel that I’d been to hell and back. It gets a bit goofy when the big mutant is tossing hubby through walls (shades of Bruce Campbell) but I’ll take comic-book mutants over Dukes of Hazzard cannibals.
    Forr those looking for satire/subtext, there’s definitely more of a link in Craven’s film between the two families, with their squabbling and respective brutish patriarchs. Jupiter’s “I’ll bury you” speech drives this home–it’s a culture war between the haves and have nots, my clan vs. yours–but because of his pro-wrestling delivery and the family’s applause, it’s also where the film winks at the viewer and says “it’s only a movie.”
    I personally think it’s disastrous when genre directors become too aware of their own social relevance. Look what it did to Romero–he became convinced he was making movies about big, important themes and he got preachy. His half of Two Evil Eyes is unwatchable, a career nadir. People Under the Stairs is another perfect example. I think Cronenberg is the only one smart enough to knowingly layer his films without diminishing their visceral impact–but he had to invent his own genre to do it.
    I’m honestly surprised I’m still tallking about this movie, but it must have struck a cord. Cache and Pulse are the most genuinely unsettling films I’ve seen recently, but sometimes you want a charred, bloody burger drenched in ketchup instead of elegant sashimi. Guess I hadn’t realized how hungry I was. Now I’d better catch up and see Devil’s Rejects, Hostel, Wolf Creek…and then purify my soul with an Ozu festival.
    Btw, did Dave ever review the new Hills? Did he like it better than The Texas Fabric Softener Ad?

  52. Stella's Boy says:

    This is off-topic, but it’s been random here. I saw Inside Man last night and liked it a lot. Could have used some trimming and it’s a plot rather than character driven movie, but it kept me guessing until the very end and never resorts to cheap tricks. Lee never gets preachy but still manages to throw in a few racially charged moments. Not much action, but the cast is great and it’s smart and engrossing almost all of the time.

  53. Richard Nash says:

    INSIDE MAN is the best thing that Spike Lee has ever done. He’s actually crafted a real mainstream thriller. As always Denzel Washington is great. Good to see Jodie Foster on screen too. And the Clive Owen fans won’t be disappointed. He makes up for DERAILED in a big way.

  54. jeffmcm says:

    Devil’s Rejects is the smartest and most satisfying of those three movies you mention, Frankbooth. It’s much better than House of 1000 Corpses, has very strong performances (including the above-mentioned Mr. Berryman in a small part), cinematography, and effects. Also, Mr. Zombie used his pull in the record industry to license some ridiculously good music selections.

  55. Lota says:

    Geez Jeff. You must be pre-clear to give Devil’s Rejects such compliments! But I guess you are doing a comparison and Wolf Creek and Hostel are in the primordial ooze of horror movies, so I will forgive you. Actually compared to Zombie’s first effort, Rejects actually is pretty good in comparison…but that doesn’t make it really good.
    Frankbooth you’ll need more than an Ozu fest for purification. Add some Duvivier and Dassin and you can consider yourself out of Dorothy’s closet.
    Can’t wait to see Inside Man…

  56. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, it is all relative, but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed TD’sR. Diff’rent strokes and all perhaps.
    I’d suggest something more like Dreyer because half of his movies are horror movies anyway…a different kind of palate-cleansing.
    I’m looking forward to Inside Man too…also, Basic Instinct 2. It’s been too long since a movie came out that we could all agree was certain to be horrid.

  57. Stella's Boy says:

    Holy f*ck jeff. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Devil’s Rejects was the worst movie I saw in 2005. Hands down no contest. The directing is slightly better than it is in House of 1,000 Corpses, but the movie is oh so much worse. The acting is abysmal. I laughed throughout at how truly awful the performances are. Thinking about that movie and the praise it received in the horror community makes me want to vomit all over my keyboard.

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    Inside Man is hardly the best thing Spike Lee has ever done, but it’s very good.

  59. jeffmcm says:

    Stella:
    that is what is wrong with u lberals. u think ur so much smarter than everyone but u r not.
    If you didn’t think Sid Haig gave an enjoyable performance, or laugh as I did at the scene with the roadside chicken-vendor…then we must agree to disagree.
    My worst movie of last year was Bewitched, for what it’s worth.

  60. Lota says:

    Jeff U R no fiend of america if U like Rob Zombie. U probably like the French tu.
    u h8ters R all the same.
    If U rnt giving america away to the Zombies, U R liking bad movies with hipster soundtraks. U are All Genuis. Stella is a Genuis too and a girl. I bet yore only fiend is your Ipod nano.

  61. jeffmcm says:

    ‘giving america away to the Zombies’
    Now THAT’s the geopolitical zombie movie that Romero (or Joe Dante) should make. I’m imagining dialogue like “by trying to learn the scientific cause of these cannibal attacks, you are emboldening our Zombie enemies…”

  62. Lota says:

    trust Jeff to go all pedantic and cerebral at the SAME TIME.
    Dude I am talking about the future of my future children. The zombies have already taken over. They’re called the Corporate Parents of Generation X and Y and they hate U and hate mee. and they love Enron.
    where have U been? At the movies?
    Rob Zombie wouldn’t know dialog if it chewed off his leg then sh*t out a sentence. Unless of course the sentence was “F*ck this!”

  63. jeffmcm says:

    Well, Rob Zombie is not particularly political in his movies, you are right about zombies and whatnot.
    But I insist that dialogue like “….now ya’ll aint planning on f***ing these chickens, are you?” is brilliant. Maybe not Joseph Mankiewicz brilliant, but it made me laugh pretty hard.
    We REALLY need to find some new discussion subjects here.

  64. Lota says:

    Dude.
    You want discussion topics. Ask me to poke out my eyeball whydontya. we aren’t used to having discussions you sad Lib.
    Topics
    Why has Academy given Jules Dassin squat?
    What do we have to do to get a decent Romance out of Hollywood? Copy the Asians AGAIN?
    Why have clothing manufacturers re-sized again so size Zero is falling off me, yet the sizes of movie stars featured in movies don’t seem to be increasing? (aside from Queen Latifah and dead comedians)?

  65. Joe Leydon says:

    Preliminary Friday figures from Showbiz Data:
    1.INSIDE MAN/9,690,000
    2.STAY ALIVE/4,250,000
    3.V FOR VENDETTA/3,985,000
    4.FAILURE TO LAUNCH/3,431,000
    5.SHE’S THE MAN/2,352,000
    6.LARRY THE CABLE GUY: HEALTH INSPECTOR/2,320,000
    7.SHAGGY DOG, THE/2,290,000
    8.HILLS HAVE EYES/1,362,000
    9.EIGHT BELOW/760,000
    10.16 BLOCKS/645,000
    Some observations: Excuse me, but where the hell did “Stay Alive” come from? I swear, I don’t think I ever heard of this film until Thursday.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an uptick for “Larry the Cable Guy.” Didn’t much care for the film, but the guy has a phenomenally huge following in the Red states.
    Can we say “Eight Below” is the leggiest movie of 2006 so far?

  66. Stella's Boy says:

    They did a great job marketing Stay Alive on the Web. Joblo, Chud, Dread Central, Fangoria, etc. They knew exactly who they were targeting and they went after them quite effectively apparently. The writers/director did a lot of interviews and they had a poster contest that generated a lot of interest from the target audience. Perfect example of using the Internet to get your audience into the theater.

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