An ultra-fast end of the week movie news dump

I’ve basically got an hour here, though some of the news was gathered earlier. Let’s see how we do…

* The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has issued an APB for 79 year-old cinema bad boy, Jean-Luc Godard, director of such groundbreaking classics as “Contempt,” “Breathless,” “Weekend,” “Alphaville,” and others that might be just a little bit of work to sit through (but sometimes work is good for you). It seems they want to give him a lifetime achievement award, but when you’ve made a life of flouting cinema conventions and being lauded more than just about anyone in artsier quarters, an Oscar might not be a guy’s greatest craving. If you have information on the whereabouts of the cineaste, please report it in comments forthwith.

godard

* You know that standard sitcom episode where the office prima donna is given a new “assistant” and is terrified the new guy is really just a replacement in waiting? I’m thinking the set of “Mission: Impossible IV” might be just a little bit like that and I’m in now way implying that I think the new guy is a vastly more interesting actor than the other guy. Okay, I am.

* John Cusack will be Edgar Allen Poe in a new film inspired by the great writer’s poem “The Raven.” Something tells me it’ll be a lot less funny than the last movie with that title.

* Oh, brave, brave Dennis Miller, taking on sacred cow James Cameron whom no one has ever made fun of or criticized. (Remember the “king of the world” remark? Remember about a million pre-“Avatar” release blog posts and few million others afterwards?) Is THR’s Paul Bond completely in the thrall of rightwing radio memes?

* The long-awaited conclusion of the ultimate cinephile blogger summit is upon us. Yay.

* Director Neil Marshall is moving from his ultraviolent sword & sandals pic, “Centurion,” to a horror movie about cutting edge cuisine. Hold the fava beans and go straight to the nice chianti.

* RIP Ahna Capri of “Enter the Dragon.” Very sad.

Specialist-The-Ahna-Capri-98

  

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“Sex and the City 2” insufficiently pleasured at the box office; the troll scores

Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth in The long Memorial Day weekend is not quite half over but it doesn’t look like a barn-burner for anyone. Looking at the traditional three days which are used to cover the more competitive side of box office results, it’s looking like Carrie Bradshaw and the other women of “Sex and the City 2” have been stood up by a significant share of the expected audience, leaving “Shrek Forever After” the box office leader.

The $60 million guessed at for the entire “five day frame” by jolly Carl DiOrio on Thursday may still be possible” but it’s start to look like it’ll be lucky to hit even that modest number. (The first film in the series earned $57 million in its initial three-day frame.) In any case,everyone really did seem to expect the film to hit #1 and that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case. The present weekend estimate for Warners’ “Sex” according to Box Office Mojo is $32.125 million while the final Shrek film took in $43.345 million.

The pleasant surprise for Dreamworks/Paramount here is that their animated comedy about the world famous fairy tale troll experienced a better than average 38% percent drop from it’s opening — which was a big let down compared to previous films at just under $71 million, but far from disastrous. This may be more evidence that telling a decent story actually counts for something.

Shrek Forever After

The consensus on this “Shrek” is that it’s nothing great (Mike Fleming termed the reviews “mediogre” <yuck, yuck>), but a relatively decent ending to the series with some considering it one of the better entries in the four picture series, so word-of-mouth may be giving it a small boost. There’s also the factor of it in being in nearly a thousand more theaters than the other films and many of those being 3-D with higher ticket prices. The public may be starting to tire of those prices, but enough of them appear to still be willing to pay the added freight to keep the troll on top.

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Will “Sex and the City 2” achieve the big $ on Memorial Day?

And will we writers run out of double entendres in describing whether or not the latest adventures of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and friends enjoys a satisfactory, long-lasting ticket-buying performance from their ardent audience or will it be just a case of “slam-bang-opening-weekend’s-over-ma’am?” Nope. Nor will the bad reviews “Sex and the City 2” has been getting significantly dampen the ardor of ticket buyers.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth in

In fact, the film is already doing rather well, as it opened early to get a jump on the long Memorial Day weekend, making $3 million on Wednesday night/Thursday morning midnight shows for the R-rated comedy from Warner Brothers. Both jolly Carl DiOrio and Anne Thompson’s b.o. guy, Anthony D’Alessandro, are bullish. Jolly Carl is talking about $60 million. I have no clue except that every “Sex and the City” fan will want to see it — once, anyway.

Nevertheless, as someone who managed to avoid the original show almost completely, it is a bit of shock to see this kind of vituperation directed against a property that was once a well-reviewed award-winner. I wasn’t too surprised when the first film got mixed reviews, since the show did have more than it’s share of detractors, but the 14% “fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics as a whole, and devastating 7% from 26 “top critics” so far is a bit of a movie cold shower. The bad reviews even inspired a bottom 10 list at Salon. Matt Zoeller Seitz, like our own Jason Zingale, notes the film’s lengthy sequence in Abu Dabi — which he terms “product placement for a country” (even though it was shot elsewhere) and titles his review: “Ladies and Gentleman, THIS is Why They hate us.” That’s about as positive as his review gets. He’s almost loving compared to the brilliant review by Lindy West:

SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled cunt like it’s my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. It is 146 minutes long, which means that I entered the theater in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white mustache.

That one of the nicer parts. I suggest, no, I implore that you read every word.

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BadAzz Mofo Geeky Quick Hits

Other than the very sad and disturbing passing of David Carradine, very well noted by Will Harris a bit earlier (I’ve got more at my own bloggy digs, Forward to Yesterday), it’s kind of a slow news day in the movie world…

* In a bit of very inside baseball, with his upcoming “Avatar” 3-D extravaganza already getting a lot of ink many months before its X-Mas release, James Cameron has broken with his past practice and has signed with an agency. And not just any agency, but the mighty CAA. I know, your life will never be the same. Variety has the scoop, such as it is.

* 79-year-old lifelong cinema enfant terrible Jean-Luc Godard (“Breathless,” “Contempt” — a great film you really ought to see) is looking to do a film inspired by a Holocaust memoir, says THR. I know, your life will really never be the same, but this is interesting. Godard, a truly radical leftist, criticized Israel implicitly in his 1967 comic masterpiece, “Weekend,” when the middle-east nation’s battles were still very much a liberal cause. I’m not at all one to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, but the film itself, and the worldwide response from Jewish groups, should be worth watching for those of us interested in this kind of thing.

* And finally, Nikki Finke devoted all of 24 words this morning to the passing of David Carradine (and turned off comments for some reason), but after adding that she doesn’t “do geek,” she did find time to devote some space to covering Total Sci-Fi‘s “25 Women Who Shook Sci-Fi” list, with a definite emphasis on bad-ass mofo type females. It was topped by Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley from the “Alien” franchise (including “Aliens” from the aforementioned J. Cameron). The list also covered fantasy for whatever reason and #2 on the list was Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Geller) of “Buffy” fame. (My personal Buffsession, Willow Rosenberg, aka Alyson Hannigan, came in at #21.) With the possible exception of the first choice, which I really can’t argue with as long as you’re talking about actresses and not, say, writers, my list would be entirely different — if I didn’t tend to avoid lists. Since we really do “do geek” here at Premium Hollywood, allow me to link to fan site Whedonesque‘s comment thread on the topic, where the discussion eventually includes the terrific SF (not “sci-fi”!) writer, Roger Zelazny. Now that’s geek.

  

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