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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB – Sunday

78 Responses to “BYOB – Sunday”

  1. IOIOIOI says:

    WALL-E 63.8 – 63.8
    Wanted 51.4 – 51.4
    Get Smart 20.6 -47% 77.9
    Kung Fu Panda 11.6 -47% 179.2
    The Incredible Hulk 9.3 -58% 115.5
    The Love Guru 5.5 -61% 25.4
    Indiana Jones 5.1 -40% 300
    The Happening 3.8 -64% 59
    Sex and the City 3.7 -43% 140.1
    Don’t Mess with Zohan 3.1 -58% 91.1
    Here are the numbers for the weekend. Who knew that Wanted could eat into that Wall-E number so well? Here’s to Angelina finally having another hit movie.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    I know this has been said before, in regard to other movies, but: Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when a movie grossing $115.5 million would be considered a box-office under-achiever?

  3. ployp says:

    “Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when a movie grossing $115.5 million would be considered a box-office under-achiever?”
    Considering how much it cost, it is, sort of.
    I’m happy for Indy 4 (although I didn’t like it) for crossing the 300 million mark. That’s two films so far. Could Wall-E be the next one? It doesn’t come in here until, I don’t know when, which really sucks…

  4. IOIOIOI says:

    Joe: it’s only a disappointment right now. Later on it will be considered a hit thanks to DVDS sold via world of mouth. When we get a sequel to it. Everything will be cool, and this small gross will be forgotten. It’s called the “AUSTIN POWERS EFFECT.”

  5. NickF says:

    If Universal goes to the well for a third time on these Hulk movies they will get burned badly. Let the character live on in a Avengers movie and call it a day.

  6. Roman says:

    Indy 4 has the lowest drop in the top 10, and lower than Iron Man. It’s a movie I really liked and I think it will be the highest grossing movie of the summer.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    IO: But isn’t this movie, in effect, a sequel? And if it does indeed (as some suspect) gross less than Ang Lee’s film…

  8. jeffmcm says:

    Austin Powers 1 was a hit in theatrical because it didn’t cost much.
    Incredible Hulk is only a de facto sequel; that said, I have a really hard time imagining Edward Norton and the rest of the filmmakers wanting to work together again…

  9. crazycris says:

    CAMPEONES! CAMPEONES! OHE OHE OHEEEEE!!!
    Ok, now that’s out of my system, football’s over, and Spain’s stars have done their duty…I can finally get back to paying attention to the movies again! ;o)
    Glad to hear Wall*E holds up to its promise! I just hope it doesn’t take too long to cross the Atlantic! Am looking forward to catching up with Hulk, Sex and the City and Prince Caspian (finally out this week).

  10. Nicol D says:

    I am suprised at the back and forth on Indy 4. First people were stoked…then backlashed it…then saw it and loved it and now there is a backlash again.
    Not a perfect movie to be sure but certainly hit enough great notes to be a crowd pleaser like Iron Man.
    Personally, while I am sure it will be a good film…I am already all Batman’d out and the film isn’t even out for 3 weeks.
    The over the top glowing reviews that give virtually no criticism whatsoever reek of amateur hour.

  11. ThatAutGuy says:

    Am I the only one who’s surprised by Wall-E dipping (ever so slightly) from Friday to Saturday?

  12. Blackcloud says:

    Well done, Espana! The best team won. Who says stylish, attractive football can’t win major tournaments today? Euro 2008 was the best tournament in a long while.

  13. Bennett says:

    Yeah, ten years ago. I would say someone would be crazy if 115 million was a disappointment, but with costs these days…yeah, I bet Marvel was looking at Iron Man numbers and had 200 million thoughts in there heads. But then again, if someone would be telling me that I would be paying over 4 bucks for gas ten years ago I would have rethought that SUV purchase….
    And to rant for a second….I love Pixar flicks. I always see them opening weekend. Usually after 9 or 10 o’clock at night…Because, no offense to those with kids, I really enjoy seeing these films with the distractions of kids running in the theaters and the screaming/cryin. So, I go see my 10pm showing of WALL E with the wife all excited about the new Pixar Masterpiece, and I would say that 30-40% of the audience were under 8. WHY….OH WHY….The kids were tired…so they were crying and unhappy and making it very hard to enjoy the flick. I know babysitters are expensive, but why drag a 8 year old to a 10pm movie….Just had to vent…
    P.S. WALL E is a masterpiece…Easily the best movie I have seen since the Departed….Probably not the comparison that will go through most people’s minds….

  14. bluelouboyle says:

    anyone seen Hancock yet ? (apart from Dave) Ambitious but flawed seems to be the concensus. I’m a Berg apologist – think he’s got better with every movie – so am looking forward to it.

  15. York "Budd" Durden says:

    WALL*E is going to come back down to earth quickly (pun intended). People are going to complain that a) it is slow and b) they don’t appreciate the message.

  16. Dr Wally says:

    That Wall-E opening is roughly where Cars was at, maybe a couple million more. That was a leggier movie than people think, and it made $244 million. That in mind, it would be a major coup if Wall-E cracked the $300m brass ring.

  17. Rob says:

    WALL-E apparently got an A+ Cinemascore rating, if that means anything.

  18. jasonbruen says:

    Speaking of Hancock…
    DP had mentioned that if anyone wants the surprise of where Hancock leads us, to stay away from reviews because they might hint or discuss the 3rd act. Anyone notice, about a week ago on Fx during a movie (I think it was fantastic four), they aired a preview of Hancock. I had not seen this specific trailer anywhere, but it seemed to hint at the 3rd act, and specifically the tone of the movie-which is decidedly different than the tone being shown in most previews.

  19. Aladdin Sane says:

    Anyone read Drew’s coupled review of Hellboy 2 and The Dark Knight at AICN?
    I somehow missed the spoiler warning halfway through – don’t read more than the first half if you want to be fresh – especially for TDK. That being said, the reviews definitely are worth reading for the gist of things. Can’t wait for July 11th and the 18th. iPhone 3G, Hellboy and TDK all within the same week. Yay!

  20. Krazy Eyes says:

    I actually overheard someone at my screening say that she thought Wall-E was one of the worst films she had ever seen. She seemed offended that the movie would imply that humans would destroy God’s green Earth. I *almost* asked her what she had been smoking.
    Personally, I thought Wall-E was great. Possibly even my favorite Pixar great.

  21. movieman says:

    Hey, Blue- “Hancock” simply doesn’t work. Berg seemed incapable of pulling off the whiplash tonal shift in the movie’s second act, and the whole thing just sort of evaporates into nothingness before your eyes.
    Big Willy does what he can with a schizophrenic role; J. Bateman is his usual droll self (he’s basically playing another variation on Michael Bluth which is fine by me); and poor Charlize is saddled with what seems like one of the strangest (and definitely among the least appealing) roles of her career.
    The first half hour is a larkish romp–THAT’S the movie promised in the early trailers–but the rest is a bit of a train wreck…in slow mo.
    A boffo (elongated) holiday weekend opening is practically assured because of Smith’s audience goodwill.
    After that–particularly with the arrival of more fanboy extravaganzas like “Hellboy” and “DK”–lukewarm (or worse) w.o.m. should prevent it from ever crossing over the $200-million mark. At least I hope so.

  22. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: the ending of that movie could lead to an entire HULK film based solely on the HULK being the title character. This could mean that Ed does not have to show up again until the middle of the Avengers flick. Which would most likely have a different director at the helm. Nevertheless; Austin Powers made like 25 million and needed the VCR RENTALS to help make The Spy Who Shagged Me happen. If I remember correctly, but the HULK is lynch-pin of the entire Avengers movie. He’s who they are after. So the character will return again. If it garners him another movie. I would not be surprised.

  23. Geoff says:

    Any one seen the new Bond trailer for Quantum of Solace? Looks fantastic – I cannot wait!
    Now, it’s hard to say which should cooler – the new Batman or Bond. But the director gives Dark Knight the edge.
    Marc Forster….hmmmm….I actually loved Stranger than Fiction, but man, Monster’s Ball was just a god-awful movie and yeah, I get the praise on Heath Ledger in that movie, but……
    SPOILER ALERT
    Heath Ledger’s character died in the first half hour so where do you go after that? Right, you just kill off Halle Berry’s boy and husband within the next half hour – god, what a bizarre movie that was!

  24. jeffmcm says:

    Oh my God, it’s the DZ argument all over again.
    Austin Powers 1 made $54m domestic, $68m total, on a budget of less than $20m, so it was already profitable before home video. I have no idea what threshold it needed to cross to get the New Line execs to want to make a sequel.
    As for the Hulk, how about this thought: The current movie cost something like $150 million (probably more than that) and if you add it all up, I bet the Hulk himself is only in maybe 40 minutes of it. To make a movie that’s all-Hulk-no-Banner would proportionally jack up the cost, right? Unless the costs of the current movie were caused by excessive reshoots or script delays or other behind-the-scenes struggling.

  25. LexG says:

    Halle’s kid getting hit by the car was Haggis Bullshit before we knew what Haggis Bullshit was (not that he wrote it, just in theory.)
    Thornton and Ledger were incredible but the ever-snowballing manufactured crises were just absurd, as was a lot of the symbolism.
    And though her performance was acclaimed and I like the actress, Halle’s pre-sex scene monologue about her fat kid stashing candy was EMBARRASSING.
    That said, Forster is just the right kind of director for a Bond… I’ve never been in the camp that says they need to spice it up with a Tarantino or Spielberg or Scott or Cameron or Woo. It’s always been a by-committe franchise where Bond is the star, not some hotshot director.
    Forster is just accomplished enough while still being a journeyman to work well with the series.
    And the trailer looked awesome… very tropical and watery-blue Terrence Young style this time!

  26. LexG says:

    I’m in a distinct minority on this, but I sort of liked Forster’s “Stay”… which might be the only other film of his (other than “Ball”) I’ve seen.

  27. Hopscotch says:

    Solace looks more of the same as “Casino Royale”, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
    I saw Wall-E Sunday night in a packed house. And while no bursts of applause or as many tears at the end, I could tell the audience enjoyed (but not loved) it. All of Pixar’s films (even Cars which I think is the worst one) have high rewatchable value. I’m tempted to see Wall-E again just for that first 30 minutes.
    I agree that the Dark Knight expectations bar is way, way out of control.

  28. Martin S says:

    Geoff – Nolan is an admitted Bond-freak. He and Bale first circled each other when both were after the Casino Royale reboot. When both were rejected, Nolan got involved with Batman and brought the Bond archetypes.
    Wayne – Playboy Bond
    Batman – Secret Agent
    Alfred – M
    Gordon – Felix Lighter
    Luscious Fox – Q
    Ras Al Gul – Blofeld
    Scarecrow – Freak Henchman
    IIRC, the success of Begins was the final straw for MGM when dealing with Danjaq/Eon and helped instigate the sale, (the loss of Spider-Man being a major issue), because Nolan was the one who championed the “From Russia With Love” approach while Danjaq/Eon were looking to remake Goldfinger or similar story but with Young Bond. After Begins, they saw the light. IMO, Nolan would leave Batman for Bond if they gave him the same level of control.
    On another Bond note, I still cannot believe Jackman turned it down for Wolverine. There are shots of Connery in Dr. No where Hugh is his spitting image. But Craig is much better than I thought – and he should have been Captain America.
    IO – For a Hulk sequel, you’re using a business model a decade old when DVD sales were sky high, for a marketplace that no longer supports it. DVD sales/rentals are flat and have been for a few years so the profit margin to justify a sequel is gone. Couple that with the massive high-def overhaul in Feb ’09, at the peak of winter, during a quasi-recession, and disc sales are going to take a big shot.
    As for Austin Powers – it didn’t need DVD for a greenlight. The issue was Myers, as has been every film he’s involved with. The DVD/sequel example is Blade; Blade 2 was openly greenlit off of DVD sales, but that was because its release was serendipity to the beginning of the sell-through market, Amazon/internet sales and a boom economy. Inc. Hulk is actually facing the exact opposite condition; mixed media formats, growing internet state sales tax and a stagnant economy.
    As for the storyline, it’s not going to be The Ultimates; too expensive and expansive. Since it’s tied to Cap, the odds are it will have something to do with whoever his villain is – Red Skull and Hydra, most likely.
    Jeff – you’re right about CGI costs. A Hellboy/suit Hulk would be possible, but Hurd is always opposed to that.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    Martin, a question for you: while the economy is obviously in the doldrums right now, why do DVD sales need to be increasing to justify certain budgets for projects? ‘Flat’ sales/rentals are still flat at a high level, and not declining, which would seem to be the danger zone…or is there some long-term aspect of all this that I’m not getting?

  30. Geoff says:

    Martin S, you’re spot-on about the Bond parallels in ‘Begins, which is part of what I enjoyed so much about that movie, especially the scenes with Caine and Freeman – the movie was really more fun than any critics gave it credit for. In fact, I would confidentally say that all of the best comic book movies of recent years (Iron Man, Incredibles, Batman Begins) were more enjoyable because of obvious James Bond-elements.
    But Martin S, I had no idea about Nolan and Bale going for Bond, never head about that all. Was it really heading that way? I figured Campbell was tied to ‘Royale from the beginning and never heard about any consideration for Bale. Where did you hear that? It kind of makes sense, though I also thought Nolan had been under consideration for the re-launch of Batman ever since Memento first took off – what clinched it for him was that they could never get it to work with Aranofsky, right?
    The Dark Knight reviews are making me a bit nervous – just how dark are they making this thing? I mean, I loved Heat, but I also didn’t really like Miami Vice. Doing the whole crime epic thing can only be so enjoyable when you take on a ultra-grim tone, which was the problem with Miami Vice.
    I am also upgrading my box office predictions for this thing – Warners is just not messing around with the marketing on this thing and they are clearly aiming for $100 million plus opening weekend, which I would have though impossible just a few months ago – after Iron Man, the bar has been raised. That said, I think part of why they are doing a much louder campaign than for ‘Begins is because they probably believe the legs are not going to be as good – not if it is dark as it seems. So I think we’re looking at $100 million opening, but weaker legs taking it to about $275 million – Warners would be ecstatic with Matrix Reloaded-type grosses and that seems attainable.

  31. I wrote last month about how the darkness of the marketing campaign would make parents keep their kids away and cost Dark Knight a shot at the title, but now I’m not so sure. Yes, that is still a HUGE factor, especially now that the reviews seem to imply that it’s dark and genuinely disturbing. Still, every single human being I know wants to see this and I’m giving serious thought as to whether it could topple Spider-Man 3’s number. It’s not likely and only a fool expects a record-breaker, but the variables are there for it to happen.
    For the record, I second Geoff, I laughed at those who called Batman Begins dark – it was shadowy and pulpy, but at its heart it was a thoughtful and optimistic adventure film for intelligent twelve-year old boys, their sisters, and their parents. It was more – ‘Batman can be a force for good and can make Gotham better’ rather than ‘Batman is more of a problem than a solution and he eventually causes more suffering’. It was witty and smart and FUN!
    My main qualm about the reviews for Dark Knight…
    Spoiler if I’m accurate…
    .
    .
    is that it seems to be playing the ‘Batman creates criminals and causes more misery than he prevents’ card that became so hip with ‘tough’, ‘edgy’ writers starting in the 1980s who missed the social satire of The Dark Knight Returns. I’m all for dark and gritty Batman stories, but in the end, if Batman doesn’t truly make a positive difference in Gotham, why exactly are we supposed to root for him? For me, the heyday was 2000-2003 with Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Devin Grayson on the main titles. Little coincidence that those three authors had stories in the ‘Batman Begins – comic adaptation’ trade paperback.

  32. Eric says:

    Many thanks to the courteous people here for clearly marking their Spoilers. Up to this point I’ve managed to avoid learning much more about Dark Knight than is in the trailers, but things seem to be reaching a fever pitch. I might have to avoid this part of the internet for the next few weeks altogether.

  33. Martin S says:

    Jeff – it’s not declining sales but shrinking profit margins. While you’re right about the plateau, think of it like a vice-grip. Production/marketing keeps rising, while units don’t budge. Retailers complain, so the home divisions drop the unit price, (it was a $12/unit cushion). You then get into the accounting of each film’s costs and return, the theatrical division’s overall budget and loss/profit, the home divisions sales and then the overall effect these divisions had the companies total health. Poland knows the details. Maybe he’ll chime in and expand or correct.
    Geoff – there’s a strange gray period after Brosnan’s last. A remake of Goldfinger was the first choice, with Pierce, for the anniversary. Pierce was scuttled for the Young Bond obsession. Nolan talked to them as did a few others. Campbell was making the Zorro sequel at the time, IIRC. Bale got knocked out early. They went through a phase of possible star-f’ing the part with Cruise or Gibson. It was a mess. The Broccoli’s blamed MGM, and vice versa. What was going with Begins was the “no mas” moment for some.
    The Batman relaunch was a cluster for years. WB had, what Batman//Superman, Year One and a Superman reboot simultaneously. I think it was the management change that put Nolan in place. I do remember it was Insomnia that got him to Begins. Aranofsky…that was never going to happen.
    TDK is going to kill for a long time. It’s dark but not in a Fincher way. The Heat comparisons are due to a few factors, but IMO, the guy-centric aspect makes it feel like Mann.
    I just had Miami Vice on the other night. Colin and Foxx were all wrong for those roles. I kept seeing Sawyer from Lost and The Rock. But Mann was at a loggerhead of trying to turn the concept into something gritty-real which is not what Foxx was expecting.

  34. Geoff says:

    Scott,
    Yeah, the buzz has just been huge – I did not think there would be this much anticipation for Dark Knight. I don’t think there is any way it will break Spiderman’s record, but it doesn’t have to. Like I said, Matrix Reloaded numbers and its trajectory would be a win for Warners. Anybody thinking it’s going to crack $300 million is crazy.
    The darkness is an issue, but we have to remember, this is BATMAN. The first one was pretty dark and grim – I mean, jeez, did Keaton ever crack a smile and were there any scenes in daylight? ‘Returns was fun for me, but was very morbid and grim and it really pushed the limits of violence in a PG-13 movie – still can’t believe how they got away with that nose-biting scene.
    In that context, I don’t think many people are going to be as shocked or put off by a dark Batman movie. The marketing has made it very clear – Ledger’s creepy mug is pretty much the focal point of every billboard I am seeing.
    I am truly hoping they don’t lose their sense of fun with this – Kevin Smith talking about how “earnest” it is makes me a bit nervous.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    Thanks, Martin. In my humble, non-business opinion, “Production/marketing costs keep rising” is the real problem. Are there any other industries out there that have seen their production costs rise as much as the entertainment industry’s in the last decade (oil prices aside)?

  36. Martin S says:

    Jeff, I’ve always wanted to write a piece on how Hollywood better take a hard, long look at Detroit, because it’s the same roadpath. Insular behemoths that cannot adapt without leaving a tidal wave in its wake.
    As a total sidenote; if NBCUni merges with WB, it’s all over.

  37. LexG says:

    I know this is a played-out two-year-old discussion, but since Martin S brought it up…
    I’m surprised when anyone familiar with Mann opines that “Miami Vice” is not what they expected. Joe Multiplex, sure, I can see going in expecting a kitsch-fest… even though the show WASN’T KITSCHY AT THE TIME, and was dead-serious a good portion of the time. But as a relic of the ’80s, the fashions, music and aesthetic have convinced people in hindsight that it was one big cheese-fest, which it was NOT.
    But critics, industry folks… what exactly was there in Heat, Ali, R.H.D. and Collateral that would lead anyone to expect anything but a digi-shot, all-facts, minutiae-of-the-underworld procedural mixed with extended, stylized setpieces?
    I still fail to see how many Mann fans consider it a drop-off in quality; Commonly cited are a lack of humor and characterization, and miscasting of the two leads.
    Except for Pacino’s outburts in “Heat,” has Mann ever provided anything but an intense, downbeat, super-serious experience? “Manhunter” and “The Keep” are far more morose than “Vice”; For those who say it’s too concerned with confusing crime world minutiae… that’s pretty much 90% of “Heat,” “Thief” and “Manhunter.” I don’t find “Vice” any more confusing or arcane than any of those.
    I also rather like both leads in it. Farrell’s depressed, lovelorn sleazebag routine is perfectly believable; That last scene on the beach with Gong, with the swelling music, is Classic Mann… if anything, for a movie that’s now reputed to be so just-the-facts, cold, and grim, I think it’s a pretty moving romance.

  38. LexG says:

    Oh, and Luis Tosar and John Ortiz are both hugely entertaining villains.
    If it has a flaw, it’s that it shares the lopsided structure and pacing of “Ali”… whole reels devoted to a mood or a setpiece, followed by a comparative rush through key details that some viewers cling to as the “meat” of a story, but clearly Mann does not.
    Looking forward to his Dillinger pic; I see he’s back with Spinotti for the first time in years… but the cast is a curio. A pro like Depp, sure, but usually I think of Mann working with Method maniacs and old-school bad-asses… not young turks like Channing Tatum and Shawn Hatosy.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    No need to look at Detroit, just a look back at the ’60s when the studios kept cranking out unprofitable behemoths like Cleopatra, Doctor Doolittle, and Star!
    The flip side, of course, is that all those over-expensive, over-produced flops loosened up the system to allow Scorsese, Altman, and co. to make their movies so there you go.

  40. IOIOIOI says:

    Martin: have you seen the Incredible Hulk? The ending sets up the Ultimates. The reasons you have two movies in one Summer is to justify the expense. One advertises the other. It’s a 2 for the price of 1 deal.
    You also will have a hard time making any movie about the Red Skull interesting. Unless they use the new Cap arc with Bucky. There’s nothing there that Hellboy did not make more interesting. The Ultimates as in THE AVENGERS INITATIVE is where they are going. This is why they used Sam. This is why Tony mentioned their intent at the end of the Incredible Hulk. Doubt all you want, but you should have some inclination about these guys. Do you think they would really want to get to a CAP VS RED SKULL/HYDRA movie? Really? Come on.
    You also need to look into FX budgets a bit clearly because some nice French or Canadian people, could make a really nice cgi HULK. It’s doable at reasonable price. If you find the right people, but the HULK has other things to do. Why do you think Loki plays such an integral part in that Thor script? So the ULTIMATE storyline would not happen? Again… come on.
    I end with this: DO NOT UNDER SELL THE BAT. It’s not the tin can, the old man, or the robot who wants to hold hands. It’s the Bat. It has always been the Bat. The opening weekend should prove that.

  41. IOIOIOI says:

    Oh yeah, why are we looking to Detroit? How are cars applicable to the film biz? You really want to compare a toyota to digital distribution? Really?
    If you want to look at a period that this fits in without the comic book films. Look back to the 40s and early 50s, that time was remake city. You still had gems come out now and again, but it was remake city.
    Hollywood is just in another one of those ruts. Like everything else having to do with being an American: THEY WILL GET THROUGH IT. This does not change the fact that our internet is too damn slow and too damn expensive to make digital distribution work on the scale many imagine. You make a Korea. Now you are talking. Until then… we are stuck in the 40s and I do not like Ike until he meets the aliens at the end of his term.

  42. IOIOIOI says:

    Let me triple post and add this: the plot of the Avenger Animated movies involve the RED SKULL. Does anyone see Marvel spending all of this money to make live-action versions of their animated films?

  43. Mr. Gittes says:

    VICE 4 LIFE – LexG

  44. bluelouboyle says:

    LexG – great write up of Vice. I agree, the leads are both great. Farrell is especially good when they first encounter John Ortiz and pretends to be paranoid that he’s undercover, in order to deflect attention from himself. And you have to love that Moby-scored boat ride to Cuba.
    The dirctor’s cut adds a few good scenes – such as one between Foxx and his bird.
    Is the commentary any good?

  45. MarkVH says:

    Thank you Lex. Agree 100%. Loved Vice in theaters, and couldn’t quite grasp the fact that other people didn’t, as it was easily the most assured thing that came out that summer. Have seen it multiple times on DVD, and I catch parts of it every time it’s on cable. It’s classic Mann, and I’ll never understand why he was raked over the coals for simply making a Mann film when folks were expecting something else.

  46. “Vice” was like Mann doing Mann. It bordered on self-parody and didn’t work. I went in not expecting a “kitsch-fest” (incredibly presumptuous that). But in part, that is what I got.
    Scott: I haven’t seen “Dark Knight” yet, but it does seem to be taking the route you suggest. While I agree with you that it creates a hero we almost think should go away, I do think –and have always thought –that it is a valid point to explore. And, in many ways, one further adhering to reality, as the attraction of villainy to a city ruled by a vigilante isn’t exactly far-fetched.
    I disagree slightlyith your preference of the character’s “hey day,” however. 2000-2003 had its moments (and the ambitious “No Man’s Land” was superb — would make a great film, in fact), but I prefer what writers in the 70s offered. No one, I feel, understood the character more than Denny O’Neil, though Rucka has come close to those heights (under O’Neil’s editorial guidance, of course). However, Brubaker has always added the extra grit and flair necessary (and its a shame “Gotham Central” is off the market — it brought things further into an element of realism and has clearly been borrowed in the films for its tone if nothing else).
    I could take or leave Grayson, frankly.

  47. RudyV says:

    Perhaps Hollywood’s reckoning will come once producers realize how much money can be saved once they stop hiring so many people that the credits have to run for nine and a half minutes (LotR:RotK). Randy Kennedy’s “Who Was That Food Stylist?” at nytimes.com suggests the problem is merely listing everyone involved down to the last masseuse, but doncha think the real problem is that moviemaking seems to have become either a jobs program or a shell game for hiding where the money is really going?
    Ah for the days when someone like Hitchcock could make a movie with a TV crew.

  48. RudyV says:

    FWIW, Darabont did that on THE MIST with the crew he worked with on “The Shield”, but perhaps because he had only $15 mil to work with (coulda been 30 but the studio wanted a happy ending).
    BTW, http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewpages/0,,2287437,00.html

  49. Martin S says:

    Lex – Not sure if you’ve listened to Mann’s commentary on the director’s cut, but he addresses these issues somewhat.
    The problem is always the same when adapting an established property; you either take its identity
    into consideration or you don’t. Burton with Apes, Emmerich & Godzilla – classic examples of people not caring about what the audience is expecting. Don Murphy and DeSanto pushed hard to make sure Bay didn’t just waltz away from the foundation of Transformers, which he tried to do.
    For Mann, it was different because he owned the property from day one. In the commentary, he talks about how he initially wanted to make the pilot a movie, but couldn’t. He then differentiates the first three seasons and the impression people have of the show. There’s also the story as told by Foxx, about how he talked Mann into making the film, but when he saw the direction it was going, it was not what he planned on. The impression is that if it was anyone else, Foxx would have walked.
    So you end up with a guy who owns a property that has its own identity which he doesn’t like. It’s at that point Mann should have stepped away and handed it to Berg, who would’ve been pitch-perfect. Instead he tried to reclaim the idea, (which is what Kristopher was alluding to with self-parody), which is near impossible when you change mediums. The proof for this is the difference between the cuts; the theatrical could have been called Heat:Miami while the director’s cut is patterned after the show. It shows he got it post-reaction.
    The problem with the casting is that Farrel is a manufactured star, a good actor, but not a draw and perpetually plays the same type. I haven’t seen Tigerland, but Minority Report is the only film I can think where he’s not all attitude. Even his shot on Scrubs was a similar riff. That’s partly why I said Josh Matthews from Lost; he’s got that same sleaze vibe Mann was looking for, but he’s liked, especially by women. As for Foxx, he was the bigger draw in a part written as second-fiddle. IMO, you could have weaved both cartel bosses into one and given Jamie a memorable villain role.

  50. Yes, I suppose if you’re talking all-time classic runs, I’d have to agree with you about the entire 1970s, with Neal Adams, Denny O’Neal, Steve Englehart, etc. Those guys completely reinvented the character and reintroduced all of the supporting case and rogues to their former glory.
    I was thinking more in terms of recent runs. For me, Brubaker, Rucka, and Grayson all combined to create a worthy tapestry.
    Rucka’s Detective Comics told stories partially from the cop’s point of view, with narration from a new supporting character (Sasha) which gave you insights into Bruce Wayne and Batman. Rucka also gave us the best written Jim Gordon ever.
    Brubaker’s run on Batman and then Detective Comics was more about humanizing Bruce Wayne and, to a certain extent, humanizing the rogues when it was appropriate. Brubaker also made great use of a temporarily retired Jim Gordon, using him as a friend and confidant of Batman’s.
    Devin Grayson’s Gotham Knights was simply a relatively touching character-driven look at Batman and his extended family. Her last issue on that run is probably one of my favorite Batman comics ever.
    Yes, the points Nolan is (allegedly) bringing up are valid and interesting. But, alas, Batman is the kind of character that if you poke too much realism into the balloon, it might deflate. Realistically (and this is occasionally brought up in non-Batman comics), Bruce Wayne has harmed the world overall, because he neuters his ability to do great, sweeping good works as Bruce Wayne because no one takes Bruce Wayne seriously as a result of his ‘clueless asshole disguise’. It was a bad writing choice that has become editorial policy and I had assumed that Nolan was avoiding it at the climax of Batman Begins when Wayne seemingly began taking a more proactive role in his company.
    Again, I’m not saying the movie will be bad or that I won’t like it regardless, I just wish that Nolan hadn’t (allegedly) gone down the ‘does the world need a Batman’ path. Personal tastes, nothing more.

  51. Again, I think it’s too strong to call it a bad writing choice. I think it’s a brave choice and one demanded in studying a character such as this, one that needs to be reassessed given, at the very least, its longevity.
    Perhaps making it editorial policy has in some way been a stretch and a hindrance (though I’d argue that it hasn’t become as sweeping a “policy” as you seem to have read into the stories), but the fault doesn’t lie in the writers of the 80s who chose to explore that very potent and real aspect of the mythos.
    With that in mind — as for this:
    “But, alas, Batman is the kind of character that if you poke too much realism into the balloon, it might deflate.”
    Very true statement. And a delicate balancing act, which is what makes the character one of the best conceived in comics or any other form, I’d wager.
    And personal tastes are important to the character. He has been left up to more interpretations than any other comic creation, I’d wager. It’s what fuels the fire and keeps the material fresh throughout the generations. I’m glad Nolan seems to be treading those waters, but I don’t know that he would paint himself into the trap of conveying a hero that the audience could give or take. He’s smarter than that, and I’m sure there are deeper mechanics at work in his and Jonah’s script.

  52. Mr. Gittes says:

    I find the whole story about Jamie Foxx leaving the set somewhere in the Caribbean and forcing Mann to change a much stronger ending very fascinating. Mann’s original ending might not improved Miami Vice but Foxx’s actions are worth noting, and I hope, hope, someone will ask Mann about Foxx’s abrupt departure. When Public Enemies rolls around, Poland, play hardball.

  53. tjfar67 says:

    They just filmed some scene for “Public Enemies” around where I live. Since this is a small community, Johnny Depp being in town was big news. However, it saddened me that the local ‘entertainment reporters’ failed to mention that this was a Michael Mann film. I he’s not ‘big enough’ name to impress the locals.

  54. Hopscotch says:

    “Vice” ‘s main problems are the two stars. They don’t work together on screen. I could barely understand a word out of Gong Li’s mouth, or Crockett’s (Farrell’s accent is never completely vanished), and the relationship angle, which I’d argue is one of Mann’s stronger suits in his movies, was unfelt. And that gunfight at the end was lame. I’m not comparing Vice to Heat, I’m just comparing it to normal, and it was lame.
    And I love Ali, which I do think is Mann’s underrated movie.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    My understanding was that they were filming in Paraguay and surrounded by organized criminals who wanted to shake the production down for protection money, and when a dead body showed up on someone’s doorstep Foxx flew the hell out of there.
    “coulda been 30 but the studio wanted a happy ending”
    Funny, cause they still didn’t get one.

  56. Aladdin Sane says:

    I love Miami Vice. I know I’m one of the few. Glad there are some out there that appreciate it too.

  57. L.B. says:

    I think that was his point, jeff. Paramount was willing to give Darabont 30M as long as he made it a happy ending. So, he took it to Dimension for more than half that and kept it dark.

  58. L.B. says:

    *less than half that.
    Friggin’ math.

  59. jeffmcm says:

    Got it, good for him. I wish that movie had made more money, so I guess it ended up with the right budget for its return.

  60. christian says:

    MIAMI VICE. The non-kitsch show about a guy who lives in a boat with his pet alligator and waxes pensive to Chaka Khan?

  61. L.B. says:

    I agree. It was smart budgeting and he got the film he wanted made. I still hate the way that movie was received overall. I rewatched it a couple of weeks ago and, yeah, it has some major hambone in it, but it works brilliantly nonetheless. And I like Darabont as a guy, so I always want to see good things happen for him. Hopefully it got enough mojo for him to get something else off the ground. As much as I love SHAWSHANK, I love when he’s pissed off even more.

  62. Re – my Dark Knight comments, I must offer a touch of context. I realize I am breaking two of my cardinal rules in film criticism –
    A) I am offering subjective critical analysis of a film I have not seen yet.
    B) I am questioning whether I will approve of a movie based not on the quality of the film, but whether or not it’s the film I wanted to see going into it.
    For example, I believe that much of the criticism of the Matrix sequels stems from the fact that it wasn’t the movies that people wanted to see, the sequels that they had made up in their heads for the prior four years.
    Ironically, it seems that Nolan is going for a similar template with The Dark Knight in comparison to Batman Begins… set up a situation in which something can be achieved, then show just how hard it really is to achieve said goal (sorry for the vagueness, but really trying to avoid offering spoilers if I turn out to be correct).
    Point being, regardless of which Batman story I would have chosen, I have little doubt that the film will be incredibly accomplished in telling the story that it wants to tell. And, in the next 1-3 weeks, whenever I’m able to see it, I’ll have to judge it purely on its own merits, not on the film I had in my head, or the artistic choices I would have made.

  63. Martin S says:

    IO – The Ultimates as in THE AVENGERS INITATIVE is where they are going. This is why they used Sam.
    How was that using Sam? After credits in a bunch of B-roll that Downey was unquestionably not present for? The scene was a fanboy handjob that more people didn’t see than did.
    This is why Tony mentioned their intent at the end of the Incredible Hulk.
    Ross: “You always wear such nice suits.”
    Stark.: “I hear you have an unusual problem.”
    Ross: “You should talk.”
    Stark: “You should listen.”
    Is it about the Hulk? Yeah. But it’s vague enough to imply anything, leaving them the flexibility to do what they want.
    Do you think they would really want to get to a CAP VS RED SKULL/HYDRA movie?
    Yeah, I do. Skull will be the villain for Cap so you will already have your actor. Hydra/AIM is a nice stand-in for a nondescript world evil. The shooting elements from Cap will directly transfer over to The Avengers film which is why they are linked in the production schedule and not Thor and the Avengers movie.
    You also need to look into FX budgets a bit clearly because some nice French or Canadian people, could make a really nice cgi HULK. It’s doable at reasonable price. If you find the right people, but the HULK has other things to do.
    First, there will be no Hulk:Red.
    Second, their are great VFX people outside L.A, but who can meet the turnaround time of a large scale, post-production movie? Save Weta, who else can deliver at the speed and scale of The Orphanage, Rhythm & Hues, etc.
    Post-production has been rushed for years, IO. Studios crush the timeline in post compared to pre-pod or shooting. That’s why a movie like Inc. Hulk was racing the deadline with round-the-clock work. Post is never given enough time to do the job the way they can and Marvel is not going to take the risk. Hell, South Korea has a number of VFX teams, but Weta created The Host.
    Why do you think Loki plays such an integral part in that Thor script? So the ULTIMATE storyline would not happen? Again… come on.
    Why? Because he’s his arch-enemy. Why did the FF use Doom over Mole Man? Green Goblin over The Chameleon? Kingpin over The Owl? It’s kitchen-sink development when you can’t bank on anything but one film.
    the plot of the Avenger Animated movies involve the RED SKULL. Does anyone see Marvel spending all of this money to make live-action versions of their animated films?
    If the Ultimate comic storyline was such a logical transition to film, why didn’t they do it for the animated movies?
    IO, I get what you’re saying, but film production is not dictated by a comic. To do Ultimates or even a variant on Lee/Kirby Avengers 1 would be disappointing to a general audience. How do I know this? Because they don’t show for Hulk-centric movies now, which is what those stories call for.
    Red Skull, Mandarin and Loki are people in costumes, so a Masters of Evil riff is possible. IM is about 75% CGI, Hulk 100%, Cap 50% and Thor 40%. That means over 75% of the scenes could have one CGI character at work, which is Transformers territory. This is without taking SHIELD or Ant-Man/Wasp into account. That’s F’ing huge for what is an independent production. Understand that I’m not saying it’s “not” possible, but it really depends on the Cap story and not Thor.

  64. IOIOIOI says:

    Martin: I get what you are stating. I simply would like you to think about the guys in charge. This has been in the staging for years. It goes all the way back to Marvel getting permission to use Sam L. as the new Nick Fury.
    This has been brewing for years. You are being very logical with your responses, Martin. Yet they are responses that ignore that Tony Stark intimates to the good general what they are going after. The Incredible HULK (Red HULK alone could make a good movie, and the nice people in France and Canada can do a turn around. They do it for their own flicks all the time) ends with Banner clearly gaining control. Where do you think that’s going?
    All of this is building to something. What you have it building to is not only anti-climatic. It’s a lame story. The Red Skull as the LARGER VILLIAN the Avengers has to take down… is anti-climatic. Cap by himself can take down Hydra and AIM. Unless they decided to make Bucky CAP, then I am all about that film.
    Nevertheless, what you are proposing Martin is sensible. This is Marvel. They have the chance to do what has never been done… MAKE A KICK ASS AVENGERS MOVIE! Do you really think they are going to half ass it? Really? Come on now, sir. You are too bright for that stance.

  65. IOIOIOI says:

    Martin: I get what you are stating. I simply would like you to think about the guys in charge. This has been in the staging for years. It goes all the way back to Marvel getting permission to use Sam L. as the new Nick Fury.
    This has been brewing for years. You are being very logical with your responses, Martin. Yet they are responses that ignore that Tony Stark intimates to the good general what they are going after. The Incredible HULK (Red HULK alone could make a good movie, and the nice people in France and Canada can do a turn around. They do it for their own flicks all the time) ends with Banner clearly gaining control. Where do you think that’s going?
    All of this is building to something. What you have it building to is not only anti-climatic. It’s a lame story. The Red Skull as the LARGER VILLIAN the Avengers has to take down… is anti-climatic. Cap by himself can take down Hydra and AIM. Unless they decided to make Bucky CAP, then I am all about that film.
    Nevertheless, what you are proposing Martin is sensible. This is Marvel. They have the chance to do what has never been done… MAKE A KICK ASS AVENGERS MOVIE! Do you really think they are going to half ass it? Really? Come on now, sir. You are too bright for that stance.

  66. jeffmcm says:

    It seems that the only way a Captain America stand-alone movie can work is to set it in WWII – making it a period piece with Nazi bad guys gets around all the contemporaneous issues. Right?
    Also, I would assume a Thor movie will have more CGI than Captain America because one can fly and the other can’t.
    Martin S.: you’re very generous.

  67. IOIOIOI says:

    Thanks Jeff. Good to know you think I am a fucking moron. Remember Chilly Palmer, sir. Remember Chilly Palmer. Nevertheless, the Cap movie is being set in WWII. While 2 months later he is awaken in modern times to do what Emil Blonsky could not… stop the HULK.
    If it involves Red Skull in any shape or fashion. They really are starting off the Avengers with a dud. Why? Ask yourself thirty something or middle-aged person. What would be cooler on-screen? The Avengers facing down a bunch of faceless Hydra and Aim agents or the HULK?

  68. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t know why you’re upset with me (again) and I don’t really care who the Avengers fight because it doesn’t sound like something that’ll appeal to me regardless.

  69. IOIOIOI says:

    I never once stated that there was any hard feelings, Jeffery. I simply stated that you should follow Chilly’s advice, because you seem to have taken a shot at me above. Nevertheless, you can act outraged, but you should just be cool.
    Oh yeah. This is why I do not get horrour movie fans and never will. The Earth’s Mightiest Superheroes on one screen at the same time. Does nothing for you, but a horrour movie does? Screwy Kablewy man. Screwy Kablewy.

  70. The Big Perm says:

    I LOVE superhero movies, but I could care less about a team up. I’d say I’m an average moviegoer in that sense, as I don’t know anything about comics…so as a regular viewer, whomever the Avengers fights would make no difference to me. Red Skull or some terrorist group are all the same to me.
    If I were doing a Captain America movie, I’d have him fight his arch nemesis…and if that means the Red Skull, that’s who it would be.

  71. christian says:

    I’m sorry to geek out, but a proper Avengers movie with those stars will FUCKING OWN US ALL.
    Oh God, what hath LexG wrought?

  72. jeffmcm says:

    I just don’t see how an Avengers movie (or Justice League movie) won’t play like two hours of watching a kid playing with his action figures, or like even more expensive versions of X-Men 3 where everybody gets to use their big power once in the big battle at the end, followed by a witty one-liner.
    Yes, I understand the appeal to others, just not for me.

  73. Martin S says:

    JeffMC –“It seems that the only way a Captain America stand-alone movie can work is to set it in WWII – making it a period piece with Nazi bad guys gets around all the contemporaneous issues. Right?
    Exactly. Arad alluded to that years ago. The 1:1 comparison between Hydra and Qaeda is as obvious as Cobra. Making it Nazzees skirts everything.
    When I first heard the full title of “The First Avenger: Captain America”, I thought it was a pointless marketing move, possibly an accounting measure to spread costs. Then a friend brought up how he thinks the international title will just be “The First Avenger”. It’s cowardly, but they’ve been chicken-shit about Cap for years.
    “Also, I would assume a Thor movie will have more CGI than Captain America because one can fly and the other can’t.
    Yeah. It’s the whole “god among men” thing. If he doesn’t feel to radiate among them, he’ll look like an ass. I know in the Ultimates he’s played to be a nutjob, but that’s too post-modern for the path Marvel has already taken.
    Martin S.: you’re very generous.
    Is that my deference to post-prod?
    I just don’t see how an Avengers movie (or Justice League movie) won’t play like two hours of watching a kid playing with his action figures, or like even more expensive versions of X-Men 3 where everybody gets to use their big power once in the big battle at the end, followed by a witty one-liner.
    And that’s why IO might be right about the Hulk as villain. It cuts to the quick by making the first act like Inc. Hulk’s opening and could keep rolling. But that’s also more expensive. Interesting stuff.

  74. IOIOIOI says:

    I never once stated that the Avengers film would be cheap. It may be one of — if not the most — expensive movies ever made but this is the road you go down, when you start planning this at the end of the last century. It will cost a fortune but it could be really freakin cool.

  75. jeffmcm says:

    I would rather see 6 $50 million movies than one $300 million movie. Higher budget = nervous producers and studio execs = watered-down product (hopefully I don’t sound like Chucky in Jersey).

  76. Martin S says:

    IO, that defeats your case for the Ultimates. Marvel cannot afford to make one of the most expensive films ever. Unless they are planning on selling the company after the Avengers, success or failure, a 250-300Mil one film budget will sink them. It’s the same scenario Dave made about MGM recently.

  77. IOIOIOI says:

    Martin: you are smart about these things. You know that there are ways of working around the margins. There are ways to make the AVENGERS happen without it turning into a Spider-Man 3 situation.
    Again, possibly being the most expansive movie of all time, does not mean that it will. The Avengers has to happen. It’s the point of making movies with these characters. It’s the point to having Stark and Fury (They did take pictures together Martin, that do not look photoshopped) meet, Fury being SAM L., and having Stark state the mission of the Avengers Initative… STOPING THE HULK.
    All of this will just be interesting on a “Wow look at them all standing together” sort of way, that has nothing to do with a kid playing with his action figures Jeffery.

  78. jeffmcm says:

    I think ‘$$$’ is the point of these films.
    “All of this will just be interesting on a “Wow look at them all standing together” sort of way”
    And how is that not the same as a kid playing with his action figures? And you’re still spelling my name wrong, Jason.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima