What are you doing next Thursday night?
That's a week from now. I can tell you what I'll be doing. I'll be at the Arclight in Hollywood, where I'll be moderating a special Q&A after a glorious bigscreen viewing of John Carpenter's "The Thing."
And I hope you'll be there with me.
Right now, the roster of guests we're going to have there is growing every day, and I hope to have some great surprises for you after the film. There's going to be a giant display of props and other memorabilia downstairs at the Arclight, a special commemorative program book that's being produced for the event, a special poster… it's crazy how much effort's gone into this, but that's because Taylor White, the man behind Creature Features, has geek in his DNA, and when he sets out to put one of these events together, he pulls out all the stops.
What are you doing next Thursday night?
While I was away at Fantastic Fest, I got so crazy busy that I was unable to interview Pam Grier and Robert Forster about "Jackie Brown," which is one of two Quentin Tarantino films arriving on Blu-ray this week.
I mean that sincerely, too. I love "Jackie Brown." I think if you counted how many times I've seen each of Tarantino's films, "Jackie" would be the clear winner. It's the emotional journey the film takes me on that I keep going back for. Everytime I reach the reprise of "Across 110th Street," I feel the same surge of adrenaline and emotion, the same sensation of running towards the future, free and finally realizing what that means. I love the performances, the cinematography, the dialogue, the relationships, the soundtrack. It didn't feel like a 1997 film when it came out, and it still feels timeless. The Blu-ray transfer is superlative, rich and film-like, and it sounds amazing.
I have an unabashed love for the new Lars Von Trier film "Melancholia." I think it's the best thing he's done since he made "Breaking The Waves," and right now, if I had to pick, I think it might be my choice for best film of the year.
It is, therefore, a pleasure to be able to present an exclusive clip from the film for you. This weekend, the movie will be available on On Demand, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, and Zune, and then will open in theaters on November 11. It's funny… I wrote yesterday about how Universal is skirting some real controversy with their VOD plan for "Tower Heist," but for Magnolia, their business model uses VOD as a pre-theatrical window. They've completely inverted the typical model, and it seems to be working for them.
I want to encourage you to see the film on the biggest and best screen possible. If you've got a great system in your house and you can crank it up and really lose yourself in the movie, great. Do so. But if you can, wait for it to play theatrically, because it is a lush and sensual film. Much of the first half of the movie takes place at the wedding of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), where we watch anxiety and fear eat away at what should be a joyous occasion for Justine.
September was a blur.
By the end, I felt like I had stayed on a Tilt-A-Whirl too long and my equilibrium was shot, but I loved it all. Toronto was great, and I published two big podcasts about Toronto just before I left town to head to Austin. Now, I'm finally on the other side of the wonderful Fantastic Fest, and I've come back with one less interview than I expected.
I'll explain in the actual podcast, but the short version is my computer just plain didn't record something. And as a result, it doesn't exist. And so in this week's podcast, I discuss the interview that didn't record with Scott and try to relate some of the highlights as best I can. It's a disappointment for me, but hopefully I convey some of the flavor of what it's like to chat with make-up legend Rick Baker for a half-hour.
We cover a fair amount of ground this week. I've got FEARnet's lead critic Scott Weinberg on to discuss "The Human Centipede 2," I sit down with the directors and star of "Paranormal Activity 3," and we go through many of the highlights of Fantastic Fest this year.
The theatrical model I grew up with is dead.
Sure, theatrical release is still the first stop for studio films, for the most case, but the window between when something plays in a theater and when it arrives at home is shrinking rapidly, and today, Universal Pictures unveiled a startling plan to bring the big-budget comedy "Tower Heist" to VOD a mere three weeks after it hits theirs on November 4.
They're going to be testing the idea in Portland, OR and in Atlanta, GA, and it's got a steep ticket price. $59.99 is more than any typical PPV movie charges, but it's not typical in any way. If this does work, it could change the way studios handle big-ticket releases, and I would bet they'll telescope the release dates even more. If they can get people to pay $60 a pop to sit at home and watch a big new release, why not do it on opening weekend? Why not go ahead and start at day one?
I foresee a future in which every single franchise film stars either Computer-Generated Johnny Depp or Computer Generated Robert Downey Jr. or, on occasion, both of them. It is inevitable.
The latest step towards this sure-to-be-reality is the announcement today that Robert Downey Jr. will be the star of "Perry Mason," a new film and potential franchise that Warner Bros. will be releasing. I've been reading some of the pulp work of author Erle Stanley Gardner recently, and I'm surprised by how sharp and contemporary much of it is. He's most famous for creating Mason, and it's exciting to hear that they're not only going to use his work as the basis of the film, but they're also planning to set it in the period 1930s Los Angeles that Gardner captured so well in his work.
As I started flipping through headlines this morning, one of the first that caught my eye had to do with Johnny Depp apologizing for making a comment in a recent interview that compared photo shoots to being raped.
I am amazed how much time anyone in the public eye spends apologizing these days. We have reached a point in culture where there is so much energy spent getting crazy about words that offend us that we seem to have stopped listening to the intent behind them. Publicists have to put out daily fires that could easily be avoided if people just shrugged things off instead of organizing rallies over stupid off-hand comments. It all makes me think of a word Berkley Breathed coined in "Bloom County" some thirty years ago, "Hyperoffensensitivity."
This was on my mind already when I saw a message appear in my inbox that simply said "A Statement From Lars Von Trier" in the headline. Before we discuss it, I'd like to run the statement in full:
I don't care what anybody else says. At this point, I am flat out excited about the impending release of "The Adventures Of Tintin".
It's exciting enough that Spielberg and Jackson are working together, and whatever you think about this film or that film, specific titles from either filmography, if that combination of brainpower doesn't excite you, then we simply don't have a common starting point in any conversation about film.
It's exciting enough that Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish were brought in to finish what Stephen Moffat began, and again, that's one of those equations that puts lead in the pencil, figuratively speaking.
And after the reaction many people had to Andy Serkis in "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes," it's a safe bet that there will be a lot of attention on his performance as Captain Haddock, which has always been one of the most enjoyable characters in the Tintin universe.
I've been saying for years that Werner Herzog strikes me as a Bond villain in search of a movie, and now, it appears he's going to be playing the main bad guy in "One Shot," the first film adapted from the wildly popular series of novels about Jack Reacher written by Lee Childs.
I've written already about my irritation at the casting of Tom Cruise in the role of Jack Reacher, and no matter what Lee Childs says, I can't get past it. I think the Reacher series is one of my favorite ongoing modern pulp series, and a big part of that is the sheer pleasure that happens when big giant Jack Reacher decides it's time to rain some hurt down on some deserving scumbag. And as written, Reacher is a giant. He's a huge hulking brute of a guy, and there is much time and energy spent describing him that way and making sure that pays off in the way confrontations unfold in the books.
I like Tom Cruise. Don't get me wrong. I think he's fun to watch, and in the right roles, he is absolutely iconic. But he's not Jack Reacher as written.
Serious question. By a quick show of hands, how many of you are seriously excited about or interested in a film version of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"?
I ask because I'm a little confused by the way this one's coming together. Or not coming together, as the case may be. According to Variety's Justin Kroll and Jeff Sneider, Blake Lively has now officially passed on playing Elizabeth Bennett in the film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel. I actually had to go look up who the current director of the film is, and I'm wondering if Craig Gillespie is going to stay on the film for much longer. This thing's been through a lot of hands in the last few years, and it's no closer to making it to the screen now than it was at the start of the process.
As a book, I guess I can acknowledge the joke, but I made it through about four chapters of the novel when it came out before I set it aside. I'm all for post-modernism and mash-up culture, but it has to add something beyond a gimmick, and I'm still not convinced that "P&P&Z" does.