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Midweek movie news

Regular readers might have noticed that I’ve taken a couple of days off, and with the TCM Film Festival kicking off tomorrow night, and some other things possibly brewing, I might not be following my exact usual schedule for the next several days, though I’m sure I’ll be posting stuff, but we’ll have to see.  In the meantime, there’s plenty going on and I’m sure I’ve missed something.

Chloe Moretz smashes face* We eventually did get a clear, but narrow, victor in the weekend box-office battle, but nobody’s too excited about the performance of “Kick-Ass.” The film will make money, $19.8 million is not bad for a $30-40 million dollar movie, and it should help everyone’s career, but I wouldn’t bet on a sequel unless it holds really extremely well and also cleans up in home video. Also, it should be noted that the superhero comedy had a slightly unfair advantage because of its late Thursday night opening getting included in the take — at least I think it was. Steven Zeitchik, who thought the film would break out in a major way, offers a post-not-quite-mortem.

* James Cameron‘s new interview with the L.A. Times will annoy conservative anti-environmentalists and climate deniers as well as fans of contemporary written science fiction. (It’s too complicated and self-referential to make a movie out of, Cameron states, apparently unafraid of the sweeping generalization.) However, “Avatar” fans will be delighted to know that two more movies appear to be in the offing along with that extended August 3-D/Imax re-release. Cameron’s cast and crew will be, I imagine, much less happy to learn that “Avatar 2″ will involve water, and lots of it. What is it with this guy and moisture? (H/t the Playlist.)

Titanic 1996

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Great moments with Mr. Godzilla

Anne Thompson writes today of a new film based around Toho studios’ director Inoshiro Honda’s most famous creation, Godzilla. Though the series was rebooted very unsuccessfully back in 1998 by Roland Emmerich, Drew McWeeney reassured an understandably skeptical Ms. Thompson via Twitter that this is more of a passion product.

Now, there are those who hearken back to the serious — actually rather grim and laborious — tone of Honda’s first “Godzilla.” Personally, though, the nine year-old in me has never really stopped loving the more playful and genuinely silly later films as exemplified below.

Godzilla engages in a productive dialogue with a fellow monster.

Godzilla expresses himself.



Finally, Godzilla channels his inner Jet Li.

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Animation videos: one from Finke, one from Thompson

You can’t say I’m not evenhanded when it comes to stealing interesting animated trailers and what not.

Right now, I’m borrowing La Finke’s “Hot Trailer” of Dreamworks’ “How to Train Your Dragon.” I honestly can’t tell from this or the earlier trailers how good the film will be, but I suspect the kids will eat it up as it looks to have the right combination of cool and cuteness to get a pretty good cross section of ages and genders. Dog movies — and this is a movie about a giant, flying, fire-breathing dog — will always work. The flying scenes should also be a hoot in 3-D. Still, I’d like to have seen them try this one in traditional animation, though it doesn’t look half bad.

And via Ms. Finke’s classy rival, Anne Thompson, below is a mash-up of “Avatar” and “Pocahontas.” As Ms. Thompson says, it’s not like the similarities haven’t been noticed before. Still, it’s interesting to see them in one place.

CFV 426 – Avatar/Pocahontas Mashup FINAL VERSION from Randy Szuch on Vimeo.

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Will “Avatar” become the Octo-b.o. king?

HmmmYes, folks, at last we have a teeny-tiny bit of suspense and disagreement among the prognosticators of b.o. (that’s “box office” for those who’ve never read Variety).  Hot off the news that’s she stands to be mythologized by HBO — and make no mistake, the “no-holds-barred” fictional film blogger “Tilda” will be inspired primarily by Finke and not Sharon Waxman or especially Anne Thompson — she most definitely bars certain holds, including insulting people for sport — Nikki Finke writes that it’s just possible that “Avatar” could be knocked off its perch by a movie that few males will see except under the most extreme forms of feminine duress.

The kicker here, of course, is Superbowl Sunday, when a large majority of the male public will be obsessed with the game as well as the beer and fat-heavy snacks that go with the event. Of course, some women like football, some men lack the sports-obsession gene (that’s me), and lots of people who really don’t follow football at all will still be watching the game with friends and family. But many females will still be flocking to our nation’s cinemas, and the younger ones especially may be attracted to “Dear John.”

The wartime love story is currently at 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and directed by Lasse Hallström,who is a long way from his “My Life as a Dog” days as an arthouse favorite. La Finke notes that Sony and Relativity Media’s sentimental romance starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum was defeating the mighty Na’vi on Fandango by a margin of 20 percent. Even rival Fox execs concede re: Sony executives’ hopes for an upset: “They are not suckin’ on a crack pipe.”

Still, the more establishment voice of The Hollywood Reporter‘s jolly Carl DiOrio states fairly unequivocally that James Cameron will, in fact, reign for one more week — though that may well be it. Still, I wonder just what kind of pipe he and his editors might have been smoking that allows him to describe the violent action thriller-comedy, “From Paris with Love” as another female skewing movie — it’s certainly not a traditional romance.

From-Paris-With-Love_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85

Okay, the title might skew could be misleading to some (at least those who don’t know their early James Bond), and women certainly won’t mind looking at “The Tudors” star Jonathan Rhys Meyers.  However, take one look at the trailers and clips and it’s clear this is a real testosterone-fest of an over-the-top action film, embodied by a goateed, shaven-headed John Travolta as a brutal CIA agent and Finke is probably right that it could steal some of the male thunder of “Avatar.” Well, everyone’s allowed the occasional foul-up and jolly Carl certainly is part of “everyone.”

The consensus seems to be that the film from future “Dune” director Pierre Morel will perform below the numbers for “Dear John,” especially given a male-drained Sunday. Its reviews, by the way, are about equally underwhelming. On the other hand, this highly biased critic definitely recommends you take a look at “We’ll Always Have Paris“  — a Bullz-Eye feature on Paris-based movies that I had, of course, absolutely nothing to do with.

That’s pretty much all the news that fits save for noteable Oscar-nomination driven expansions in terms of theater count of “Crazy Heart,” the very good “An Education,” and “Precious.”  Those latter two-films especially might also not be harmed by the big game.

Gabourey Sidibe in

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Stolen videos!

A couple of embeds I saw on the sites of two of our more notable film news reporter/bloggers struck me as being very much of interest to PH readers and film fans in general, so here they are.

First, here is the one-year old trailer for “The People vs. George Lucas” which Nikki Finke noted today is going to be featured at this year’s South by Southwest film festival, though Finke named some names back when she ran this. It should be noted that a lot of the people shown aren’t really perpetrating a personal “diss” as Finke implied.  Also, as a useless blogger, I’d like to know who she considers to be “second rate” movie critics. Anyhow, like Finke, I’m intrigued.

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If you’ve ever directed anything, you know that directors and actors have a pretty unusual relationship. Whether a director’s approach is intensely personal or assiduously professional, there’s always (or should be) an interesting dynamic. Yesterday, Anne Thompson featured this short video documenting a Vanity Fair/Annie Liebovitz photo-shoot featuring actors and their directors that offers a fun peak into one of the most crucial working relationships in the world of film.

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