Tag: Twilight (Page 2 of 6)

It’s your just barely pre-holiday weekend movie news dump

I was going to try and avoid doing this this week and meant to gripe about the Los Angeles Film Festival’s rather serious problems in terms of how they treat the human beings who attend, but there was simply too much interesting news stuff going on to ignore, even if some of it is outside of what I usually cover.  So, LAFF, you get another reprieve…

* I don’t do gossip and the content of an argument between a director/star and his ex-mistress certainly qualifies. On the other hand, when that star is Mel Gibson and he has the history he does and he says something as noxious as this, you just can’t ignore it. People say terrible stuff when they’re in the thrall of extreme anger, but Gibson keeps going back to the racist and misogynist well when he becomes unhinged. It’s not nothing.

Also, I hope he avoids anything that looks like preaching ever again. I’m no theologian, but as I understand it,  a devout fundamentalist anti-Vatican II Catholic who openly cheats on and leaves his wife is not exactly walking the walk, but it’s only anyone’s business because of the way he’s made religion part of his career and it’s hard not to think of him as complete hypocrite, on top of everything else. I truly don’t believe that people should decide not to see movies based on a particular actor’s behavior, not matter how bad, but this comment is so repulsive, and the man is so clearly out of control, that I’ll understand if people would just prefer not to look at him anymore.

On the other hand, for those in the talking and making fun of people business, it can be a good thing, and it’s already started, largely via Twitter. Jeff Schneider of the Wrap has compiled some of it.

* I usually also try to avoid stories that are vague and unconfirmed, but this one is a bit too interesting and potentially big to ignore. There’s also a various obvious Gibson connection to the biggest unconfirmed glorified rumor of the day. It’s that it’s just barely possible that two back-to-back “Mad Max” sequels are being directed down-under even as we speak by the Max man himself, George Miller. Certain aspects of the story, especially the putative titles, are hinky, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  If it’s true, I’m guessing Miller is a bit relieved that Gibson isn’t involved this time. (Though can they really be sequels in the usual sense without him, or at least his character?)

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Latest “Twilight Saga” installment to eclipse “The Last Airbender” (updated)

If you’re the kind of person who lives or dies by box office news and, if so, you have my deepest sympathies,  this weekend’s box-office is already partially old news. As I write this late Thursday night, we know that Summit’s “The Twlight Saga: Eclipse” has already raked in a massive $68.5 million, though that’s actually a bit less than the prior installment got on its first weekday release. Nevertheless, its very mixed reviews are actually an improvement on  the poor critical performance of the last entry and there’s general agreement that, whatever else may be the case, this is the most action-packed installment so far. Decent word of mouth could give it a boost.

Ah, the eternal choice: lycanthrope or bloodsucking parasite?

In any case the $150 million or more total for the vampire romance’s first five days that jolly Carl DiOrio has confidently predicted seems like a good guess, especially with Nikki Finke‘s report of a promotional strategy involving 20 cast members fanning out across the country to intro the movie in area theaters.  This can’t hurt. Go to any revival screening in L.A. at a venue like the American Cinematheque or the L.A. County Museum of Art, and you’ll be lucky to see a half-full house. Advertise that a famed cast member will be speaking, and you often get sell outs. Never underestimate the appeal of a live celebrity appearance. If it works with film snobs, it’ll squeeze some more repeat viewings from the Twi-hards.

There’s actually another new genre film debuting this week. It’s the more kid-and-geek-male friendly, PG-rated “The Last Airbender” from M. Night Shameicantspellhisname. The Indian-American director has been pilloried by Asian groups for casting the tale, adopted from an animated series with a definite Asian flavor, with primarily white actors. It’s also been a long time since he’s had a hit, or even a movie that anybody liked much. It gets worse because “Airbender” is getting some of worst reviews of the year, with critics like our own Jason Zingale taking a moment to criticize the film’s retrofitted 3-D as even worse than the film as a whole. Even so, the martial arts fantasy got off to a decent start at midnight screenings Thursday morning with $3 million in the coffer for Paramount.

The Last AirbenderStill, if word gets out that this film is the stinker it sounds like, rather than the franchise-starter it’s supposed to be, it could do very disappointing business. With a $145 million budget, that’s not good tidings for the director or the studio. On the other hand, fans of the animated series could pull the film towards a solid, but certainly hugely distant, second. In any case, it seems clear that the massive and assuredly leggy success of “Toy Story 3” will be nipping at its heels. One thing is certain: the film originally titled “Avatar: The Last Airbender” will not be emulating its former namesake commercially over the long haul.

Among other limited releases this week, we have “Love Ranch,” which is the first film starring Helen Mirren to be directed by her husband, Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “An Officer and a Gentleman”). Sadly, it’s getting very bad reviews. That is not good for a limited release, even if Joe Pesci is also in the cast. Amazing that a film about murder and legalized prostitution in Nevada is considered dull, but making movies is an uncertain business. Right?

“The Killer Inside Me” starring Casey Affleck as a brutally psychopathic cop is dividing critics in the kind of way that indicates it’s either an honorable near-miss or a cult film in the making. The adaptation of the pulp novel by novelist and Stanley Kubrick screenwriter Jim Thompson, which has a couple of scenes of very brutal and graphic violence that have generated a ton of ink and bloggy pixels, though its admirers tell us there’s lot more to the movie that that, will be expanding significantly from four to seventeen screens this weekend as per Box Office Mojo’s theater counts,. If you want to see it in a theater, I suggest you do so quickly. I don’t think all that many people are in the mood for this kind of thing right now.

UPDATE: Nikki Finke has the Thursday box office which indicates both “Eclipse” and “Airbender” are on track for their respective expected strong performances. Still, I’m curious to see if word of mouth catches up with the latter.

True Blood: Season 3 – A Preview

On Sunday, June 13, the blood will once again be flowing on HBO as “True Blood,” the series based on “The Southern Vampire Mysteries” novels by Charlaine Harris, rises from its hiatus and returns for Season 3. Since the show made its debut in 2008, the “Twilight” films have become a full-fledged pop culture phenomenon, and The CW piggybacked on their success by adapting L.J. Smith’s “The Vampire Diaries” into a weekly drama for a fang-friendly demo, but neither offers quite the same blend of sex, blood, and beauty with a decidedly dark sense of humor quite like “True Blood” does.

As you may or may not remember, I blogged my way through Season 2 of the series, but while I enjoyed it as often as not, man, was I annoyed by the finale. In fact, I’d forgotten quite how annoyed I was until I went back read my last blog of the season, which closed with these lines:

Obviously, I’ll be back for Season 3, but when I return, I’ll probably still remember how disappointed I was with the way Season 2 ended. It wasn’t bad, but given how great the majority of the preceding episodes had been, it should’ve been a hell of a lot more gripping from start to finish than it actually was.

Ah, yes, it’s all starting to come back to me now…both the memories of the episode and the aforementioned disappointment.

One of the greatest strengths of the first half of Season Two became one of its most profound weaknesses by the end of the 12-episode run: the character of Maryann Forrester, played by Michelle Forbes. There’s no question that Maryann was a great villain when she arrived, but it soon reached a point where it felt like she was only sticking around to keep other storylines moving along. Given that this point occurred well before the season finale, it got to be a bit of a drag. How odd, then, that it should have felt utterly wrong to have killed her in the middle of the season finale, but it’s true: killing her at that point only served to make the remainder of the episode feel thoroughly anticlimactic.

Still, when “True Blood” wrapped up its second season, it did so by unabashedly leaving several storylines fluttering in the breeze, two of which struck me at the time as being more prominent than the others: Sam’s visit to his foster parents, a trip which sends him on a quest to find his real parents, and Sookie and Bill’s date, which kinda sorta results in their engagement but, more importantly, sees Bill captured with a silver chain and kidnapped. When I blogged the season finale, I referred to the latter event as “arguably the least satisfying cliffhanger of the year, since there’s absolutely no reason to think that Season 3 will kick off with the revelation that Bill’s dead,” and although I pride myself on avoiding spoilers, I don’t think it necessarily qualifies as such if I tell you that the season premiere finds Bill still very much undead. As for Sam…well, he’s still on the road, but that’s all I’m willing to say at this point.

We shouldn’t forget, however, about some of the other residents on Bon Temps, LA. You remember, of course, that Jason Stackhouse, in a well intentioned but poorly informed moment, shot Eggs stone dead. Detective Andy, however, covers for him and basically says, “You weren’t here, you didn’t see anything, now move your ass,” but that’s not going to stop Jason’s guilt, nor is it going to serve as a salve for poor Tara’s emotional wounds. Remember, too, that Jessica made the very unfortunate decision to step out on Hoyt in favor of a one night stand…boy, vampires really give that phrase a whole new level of meaning, don’t they?…with a truck driver. Poor bastard. He’s got about as much chance at having a happy ending as Eggs does. And Eric…? I rather expect that he and Sophie-Ann are going to have a serious talk in the very near future.

So what can we expect to see on “True Blood” in its third season, aside from picking up where these stories left off? Well, given that things are reportedly supposed to follow Harris’s Club Dead, it’ll be no surprise to fans of the books to hear that fur will fly in the very near future…werewolf fur, to be precise. I don’t know how much of Sam’s family we’ll end up seeing, but at the very least, actors have been cast to play his father and younger brother; also on the familiar side of things, Alfre Woodard is going to be popping up as Lafayette’s mother. Lastly, there’ll be a bit of royalty this season as well, with Denis O’Hare portraying Russel Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi.

Yes, I was disappointed with Season 2, and, no, I haven’t been nearly as excited about Season 3…but, dammit, the closer it gets, the more interested I find myself in wanting to see how things are going to play out, and this trailer upped my curiosity level considerably.

Are you feeling the same way? Feel free to comment below…and, starting on Sunday night, don’t forget to pop back by after each episode and check out the latest entry in our “True Blood” blog.

(Still not sufficiently jazzed about Season 3? Check out our “True Blood” fan hub!)

All the movie news that fits my schedule

With Cannes starting to wind down — or with people probably starting to leave in the manner of Hollywood folk at lengthy fests much in the way Los Angelenos leave sporting events early — maybe the news will start to slow down a bit as well. In any case, it’s looking like I won’t be around to cover it tomorrow, and then comes the weekend movie preview, so this will have to tide you over for a bit.

Megan Fox in * Our top story tonight, however, is far away from anything likely to screen in, or even out of, competition at the world’s most famous film festival. Seems that Megan Fox, who you might remember compared director Michael Bay to Hitler some time ago, will not be returning in “Transformers 3.” Apparently Bay has finally realized there are lots and lots of unnaturally attractive young women in Hollywood and some of them can act a little.

In any case, Nikki Finke brings you a crash course on the apparent Fox/Bay hate affair, while AICN’s Merrick reminds you of some of those other unnaturally attractive women.

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Midweek movie news

It’s quite late, or quite early, here on the west coast, so this edition will be swift.

* Captain America has got his girlfriend, and I’ve never heard of her! However, those of you who keep up with your TV may know Hayley Atwell, who’ll be playing Peggy Carter, Cap’s WWII era love interest. Among other shows, she was featured on the not-so well received AMC redo of “The Prisoner.”

* The folks over at Dreamworks have been busy beavers. First, they began the roll out of their “Kung Fu Panda” “virtual theme park” — basically a collection of Panda-based games for kids. Also, their gearing up for the May release “Shrek Forever After.” Today, CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) confab about, naturally, 3-D conversions on the first three “Shrek” productions and how they won’t suck like certain live-action 3-D conversions.

Still, there was a fly in the family-friendly ointment, and that was a photo spread that’s coming out in the glossy Vman Magazine that apparently caused some unhappiness at Dreamworks Animation. I could explain why, and you may definitely read the Paul Bond’s THR article about it. On the other hand, I don’t have to tell you how many words a picture is worth.

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