Films bypassing cinemas; Miscastings; Joe Carnahan’s latest
Speaking of, got a nice email from one of the film publicists this week, that reads : “Hey Clint, Been reading Caffeinated Clint. Love it! Stick it to them. There are a few publicists in this town who don’t know their jobs from their backsides, so they deserve a good kick in the pants. Keep it up. You say it, so we don’t have to!. Always big supporters of MH!” – from * * ** * (Now that’s how you get coverage)
Glug, Glug Glug, and what about…
Who determines what gets a theatrical release and what goes direct-to-DVD? I tell you, whoever that schmuck is deserves a flamin’ backhander across his/her acne-drenched cheeks.
This week, news surfaced that Patrick Lussier’s well-received sequel to a poorly-received theatrical release called “White Noise” would be bypassing theatres – it was originally planned to be a wide release – and premiering in your loungeroom instead. Yes, a ‘good’ film goes straight to video. A ‘poor’ film goes theatrically. Nothing new.
So, why? Why is “White Noise: The Light” (and by the way, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings… I know they’re still trying to get it into cinemas) deemed only DVD worthy? I can guess….the cast. I love Nathan Fillion, and I think Katee Sackhoff rocks, but the 85-year-old cuntbag who makes those DVD-or-Cinema decisions probably knows Fillion or Sackoff about as well as he knows the fine art of tea bagging. The Only reason the first ‘White Noise’ got a theatrical release, lets admit it, is because former tentpole-blockbuster regular, Michael Keaton, starred in it. In other words, it has nothing to do with whether a film is ‘good’ or not.
As one producer told me this week, ‘And yet they release crap like Black Christmas theatrically’. He is exactly right. It seems that cinemas only want CRAP on their screens these days. As long as their CRAP is marketable, and ideally, has a name attached to it, they can sell it. A good movie? ‘Shit, we can’t sell that Joe – we need famous faces and freckled titties’.
Its not the first time a film has been totally mistreated. Just this week, the amusing ‘Tenacious D in the Pic of Destiny’ arrived in Aussie theatres without any fanfare, any media screenings, and besides what we did here at Moviehole, little to no media coverage. Why? Who the hell knows? One publicist, who handles the film, tells me that she’s still trying to figure it out herself. In the same week, ‘Employee of the Month’ – the new Jessica Simpson dud opens – and its got much more media coverage, and…. They showed it to the media a couple of weeks back. Go figure.
And then, there’s the crop of shit that make it to cinemas. Who else is trying to forget “The Grudge 2” (a direct to DVD sequel if ever there were one!) – the only film I walked out on last year; “Boogeyman” (a film they’re actually doing a theatrical sequel to!); “The Hitcher” (believe it or not, the same people that probably won’t give “White Noise 2” a theatrical release), “Son of the Mask” (fuckin’ dreadful); “Basic Instinct 2” (as fake as Shazza’s tits); “Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj” (c’mon!) and lets not forget about those friggin’ dreadful money-grabbing spoof movies, “Date Movie” and “Epic Movie”.
I understand that a DVD premieres are a viable and worthwhile business these days – I mean, look at all the sequels they’re doing? – But sometimes, especially in the case of ‘White Noise: The Light’ which relies on its ear-piercing sound and unforeseen jumps to snatch an audience, films aren’t made to be seen outside a 300-seat theatre. Have a think about that Universal. Then release “White Noise: The Light” in a month or two – at the same time as it star is headlining a major new TV show.
Glug, Glug Glug, and what about…..
Miscasting. I hate it when people sacrifice the merits of a movie just so they can say ‘we have so and so starring in our movie’. It’s like dipping your wick in a diseased prostitute…. Bound to catch up with you.
For reasons which I’ll explain at a later date, I was thinking this week about actors that may have been the ‘best’ and ‘only’ choice for a part, but have been overlooked because they’re not as well-known or as marketable as say, another actor. Sometimes they lose out and don’t get the first choices… for instance, Tom Cruise was the no.1 choice to play Neo in “The Matrix”, Hugh Jackman was supposed to play George Reeves in “Hollywoodland”, and Patrick Swayze was originally attached to play Doug Quaid in “Total Recall”.
Look at “Ghost Rider”. I know Nicolas Cage is a major comic book fan, and a major fan of this one in particular – and a huge movie star – but seriously, is he the right guy to be playing Johnny Blaze? Was Blaze a forty-something bigfoot with hair plugs? From what I know of the character, and the http://www.comicmonsters.com/CMimages/blaze.jpg pictures I’ve seen, someone like Tyler Mane or Josh Holloway might’ve been a better fit. If they were going to go with an older actor…. Val Kilmer looks more like Johnny Blaze then anyone. But it’s not the first time that Nicolas Cage has been asked to star as a character he most certainly isn’t right for…. Remember, he was ‘Superman’ a few years back? (thank god that movie got canned).
Oh, and don’t get me started with “Lonely Hearts” and Eva Mendes playing murderer Martha Beck. Pllllllllease… that woman was an absolute fat cow, not a spunky voluptuous Latino like Hayek. What the fuck were they thinking? Hell, take a look at this picture of the real Beck. See what I mean?
Last year, fans of “The Da Vinci Code” were up in arms over the casting of Tom Hanks in the lead role. Originally, Dan Brown, the author, had Harrison Ford in mind for the role – and so did everyone else. Now why wasn’t Ford asked to play the role? I’ll tell you why. One word: “Firewall”. Ford’s shitty track record of late had lost him the role, and Hanks was gold. It didn’t matter who was better for the part… Hanks was a bigger name to put on the poster. They could sell more tickets.
Here’s another: Kevin Costner in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’. The dude couldn’t even speak fuckin’ British!; Keanu Reeves as Harker in ‘Dracula’? – Still laughing; George Clooney as Batman – Now that was just stupid!; Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling in ‘Hannibal’ – um, that chick looks nothing like Jodie!; Michael Clarke Duncan as the ‘white’ villain, Kingpin in “Daredevil” – probably because John Goodman wasn’t a big enough name; Renee Zellweger as ‘Miss Potter’; everyone in ‘The Fantastic Four’; Sly Stallone in ‘Get Carter’ and ‘Judge Dredd’, and did anyone think Kate Bosworth was a little ‘off’ for Lois Lane?
I also think its worth noting how royally snubbed Kate Winslet was as ‘Bridget Jones’. Renee Zellweger was fine in the role – except in the second one, which she totally overplayed! – but Winslet ‘was’ Bridget Jones. She could’ve played that part in her sleep…. And totally walked away with the film. But, of course, she wasn’t Renee Zellweger… a woman whose handed more golden movie roles than tiny packets of powder [and that’s saying something].
Ok, so when these films are made, they should get….. [listen up!]…
Hulk 2 – Muse Watson to play General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross
Archie – Jon Foster to play, well, Archie.
Josh Duhamel – to play Namor in ‘Sub-Mariner’
Luke Cage – Tyrese Gibson is the fan-fave… and deserves it.
Batman 3 – Philip Seymour Hoffman to play The Penguin
Captain America – Lucas Black, no butts about it.
Supergirl – Can you really look past Hayden Panettiere?
Magnum P.I – If it can’t be Selleck, then probably Clooney
The A-Team – there’s only one man to play Hannibal… Mel Gibson
Thor – I know it’s risky… but Tyler Mane?
Joan Jett – I like the Jennifer Love Hewitt idea
The Greatest American Hero – Owen Wilson, right?
The Green Arrow – Can picture Nathan Fillion….
Weird Science – Diane Lane as the female lead
Keith Moon biopic – Nicolas Cage as Pete Townsend. No buts.
Evil Dead (Remake) – Bruce ‘Fuckin’ Campbell!
The Blob – Norbit’s Mrs.
Glug, Glug Glug, and what about…..
“Smokin Aces”. Kinda disappointing, hey? He hates being compared to Quentin Tarantino, and for the most part, you can’t blame the guy – Joe Carnahan makes different types of “action” movies to the pop-cultured wunderchild.
There’s one thing Carnahan can’t quarrel over though, and that’s the fact that his career seems to be following the same pattern as the indy maverick.
Carnahan’s lowly-budgeted ‘Narc’ – which thanks to Ray Liotta’s presence, found funding and a home pretty early on – didn’t set the box office on fire, but it had festival attendees clapping till the last credit; critics raving till the calves came home; and Hollywood keen to throw more money at Carnahan to do his next movie.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like what happened to Tarantino with his ‘Reservoir Dogs’… don’t you think? I mean; semi-name cast, acclaimed on the festival and indy circuits; beloved by critics… and the conduit to something bigger and bolder down the track?
And here’s Joe Carnahan with a star-studded (there’s about a dozen name actors in this thing!) with his action packed magnum opus, ‘Smokin’ Aces’ – the tale of hit men, shady ladies and overindulgence. Hmmm. ‘Pulp Fiction’ went a little like that too, didn’t it?
But, I’m sorry, “Did I break your concentration!?”
To the movie. Vegas magician Buddy Israel (Jeremy Piven; now living large thanks to the success of TV series ‘Entourage’) is one hell of a wanted man. He’s about to rat on some crook friends, so every hit-man and their offsider have been hired to put a bullet in his brain before he can do so. Naturally, this makes for a potent mix, so then it’s hit men vs. the feds vs. Israel in a bloody hotel shootout.
As a film ‘Aces’ is more ‘True Romance’ than ‘Pulp Fiction’ — the script Tarantino wrote before he was famous, and consequently sold off to director Tony Scott for a couple of IHOP vouchers. From its endless array of fast-cut violence, gratuitous cast of cameos (there’s more stars in here than a ‘Cannonball Run’ sequel), and mish-mash of blood and belly laughs, it’s definitely aiming to be the next slumber party cult favourite.
Unfortunately it doesn’t quite succeed, instead coming off as little more than a wannabe, rather than the real-thing.
The script has some flair and some spunky dialogue, but it’s as messy as a teenager’s bedroom and not quite sure what it wants to be. There’s just no real story here – which probably explains why Carnahan has drowned the film in gunfire and famous faces. Nothing like a bit of madness to put you off picking plot holes, hey?
‘Smokin’ Aces’ feels like the time you turned up drunk to your friend’s wedding – lots of faces there, lots of stuff going on, but nothing in particular really sticks in your mind about the evening.
Caffeinated Clint’s knobhead of the week : Anyone that’s still sending me their nominations for the ‘Who should play Wonder Woman?’ poll, which finished about twelve months back.
Caffeinated Clint smiled when…. : J.J Abrams wrote in to Aint it Cool News… again… to confirm that he is INDEED still on “Star Trek”.
Fab but [possibly] Forgotten : Ally Sheedy . “The Breakfast Club”, “St Elmo’s Fire”, “Short Circuit”, “WarGames” – all films in the filmography of Ally Sheedy. How cool was… is… this girl? She’s done it all. So where the heck has she disappeared too? Well, like most of her former “Breakfast” co-stars, she found it hard to get work in the 90s, mainly because films were changing. John Hughes packed his bags and left Hollywood, as did most of the other filmmakers that made a living out of teen films… and, well, casting people like Sheedy. The actress made a brief comeback in the acclaimed indy film “High Art”, but hasn’t done anything much of note since. She recently wrapped a film called “Day Zero” with Elijah Wood and Chris Klein; hopefully it’s good. She deserves more.
Please make this movie… : Beetlejuice 2. Michael Keaton needs the work. Tim Burton needs to win audiences back after his shitty “Chocolate Factory” remake. Warner could make a packet. With technology as advanced as it is now, a “Beetlejuice” sequel could be even more spectacular than its predecessor… and think about it, it doesn’t matter that Michael Keaton is twenty years older than he was – because he’s covered in make-up. Ain’t it time to dust off The Ghost with the Most?
5 movies Caffeinated Clint sat through [possibly again] this week :
1. Adrift – So why was it called “Open Water 2” in some territories? Easy, it’s near the same storyline. Bunch of folks get lost at sea, and one-by-one fall prey to the deep dark waters. And like the 2004 indy hit, “Adrift” is based on a terrifying true story of overboarders of the subterranean. In this case, a bunch of old friends (including new mother Susan May Pratt, and studly smart-ass Eric Dane – aka ‘McSteamy’ on “Grey’s Anatomy”) go on a sailing trip together. Everyone ends up in the water – one against her will – and when it’s realised that nobody put the ladder down to get back up to the yacht, that’s where they’ll stay.
German commercial director Hans Horn won’t escape the comparisons with the earlier similar film – hence the title change for the states – but he will ultimately escape the assumption that his pic is rubbish. In short, it’s not; in fact, it’s a terrific little thriller. You’ll be truly on the edge of your seat for a lot of the film, and its credit to the filmmaker’s precise direction and a tight and effective script from Adam Kreutner. Sure, some of the dialogue is a bit hokey at times, but the stuff the matters – the stuff at sea – is so close to gold, the bronze is near worn.
2. Rest Stop – The first film from Raw Feed – the production company co-owned by “Blair Witch” helmer Dan Myrick – owes a lot to “The Texas Chainsaw” and “The Hitcher”, but for a low-budget direct-to-video horror film it ain’t half bad. The direction is good, and besides the gapping big plot holes, the script is reasonably tight too. Didn’t hurt that they showed some titties too.
3. Feast – A couple of pals worked on this movie, so have been aching to see it since it was wrapped. The verdict? Pretty good fun. I think John Gulager has a great eye, and for the money he had, he came up with a reasonably cool movie. The film lost me in the middle – too much ‘stuff’ going on – but got me back by the end. It ain’t the horror film of the year or anything, but it’s probably the best of the ‘Project Greenlight’ movies.
4. Hannibal Rising – If “Silence of the Lambs” was the main meal; “Hannibal” was the dessert; and the second film version of “Red Dragon”, the tea and coffee; then “Hannibal Rising” is surely the after-dinner mint. Tasty for a moment, sure, but mainly just a soft and gooey distraction. It isn’t quite as stinky as the similiary-themed “Perfume”, but “Hannibal Rising” still lets off a foul aroma. Quick! Get your DVD of “Silence” (even “Manhunter”) off the rack before this one leaves a scar, and deters you from wanting to revisit Hannibal the Cannibal ever again.
5. Perfume – You can smell a bad film adaptation of a best-selling book from a mile away – and “Perfume” has one hell of a stench. The lead character in the film initially can’t tell the difference between a good and a bad smell; audiences can – this stinks to high heaven. Granted, there are a couple of moments in the film when it does start to resemble something half-interesting – the scenes with Dustin Hoffman mainly – but for the most part, it’s a stitched-together mess. There are three different movies here, and not one of them is any good. For a film critic to recommend seeing “Epic Movie” over this, is saying something. Avoid like Candida.
The new must-see? “What about Brian“. I kid you not. Sounds about as tempting as rubbin’ uglies with an alligator from the synopsis, but I have to say, this could be the new “Friends”… or “Love My Way”…. (I don’t wanna say “Love Monkey”, because we all know what happened to that one). Pilot screens next Sunday here in Australia. Next week, I’ll give you the full lowdown. Channel 7
24 : The New Beginning : Not quite as good as good as last season [yet], but still one of the best hours of television around. Now that he’s [and we've - - did anyone else know that that guy was Jack's brother?!] discovered that his brother is one of the crooks, Jack’s head is about to explode even quicker than it was going to… and what’s this? His Dad is shady too? surely not. Don’t really appreciate the time slot that this one is on at the moment [10:30, Wednesdays] but have a coffee and stay up for it, because it beats half the other slop out there. Channel 7
McLeod’s Daughters : One of Australia’s only night-time drama series…. sad huh? In this weeks episode, Jodi becomes obsessed with building a new dam on Drovers, with tragic results. Meanwhile, Stevie is swept off her feet by a handsome stranger, and Alex fears he could be losing control over Killarney. Seems to be running out of a bit of steam, but still worthwhile. [Wednesday's 7:30pm]. Channel 9
Heroes : You either love it, or you hate it. I’m in. Things are really starting to get interesting this “X-Men”-esque sci-fi series (a huge hit overseas), aren’t they? Anyone else think that Adrian Pasdar’s character is going to be exposed as one of the rogue’s of the season? And what about ‘The Cheerleader’? – online rumours say she’s headed for the chopping block, whaddya think? [8:30 Wednesdays]. Stick around for “Prison Break”, afterwards, though my producing partner Muse ‘D.B Cooper’ Watson has exited the series, it is still worth watching – trust me. (if only for the hot doctor). Channel 10
Back next week for a comprehensive look at the ‘Best TV’ for 2007.
Words of Wisdom from Mrs Caffeinated Clint :
(A scientist who seems to be able to sum up the world – or a movie – in just a few words, whilst the rest of us feel a page review isn’t even sufficient).
“That was just fucked. Whoever likes it has to be a fuckin’ psycho thesemlves!” – Mrs Morris’s first words when she exits the theatre after a screening of the new film “Perfume”, which some critics rather enjoyed.
Contact Clint at his MySpace