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David Poland

By David Poland

Land, Lots Of Land…

Just some room for y’all to talk about whatever on a travel day…

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68 Responses to “Land, Lots Of Land…”

  1. waterbucket says:

    That movie Cache was really really good. And I’m mad now to find out that they’re remaking it in Hollywood already. What the ___!

  2. Direwolf says:

    I went to Days of Glory yesterday. I thought it was very good although it didn’t break much new ground as far as WWII movies go. It was somewhat similar to Letters From Iwo Jima in the way it explored the motives for why individuals fight when called to war on behalf of their country. In this case, the definition of country was interesting, and it set the stage for the movie using the reailty of what actually happened.
    Anyhow, I’d recommend it and would be interested in comments from anyone else who has seen it.

  3. adorian says:

    I was reminded of “The Go-Between” starring Julie Christie, and I went to to see how much the DVD is selling for. NO DVD ! Another very fine film we need to have on DVD.

  4. hcat says:

    What was the big reveal in the last scene in Cache? I loved the movie and watched the last scene four times because I heard there was something to catch and I kept missing it. And not only are they remaking it but its being done by that master of subtly Ron Howard. On a related note tomorrow is SPC’s 15th anniversary and I am catching Volver again to celebrate.

  5. Chicago48 says:

    I just read this at
    In the middle of working on a film he’s shooting in Barcelona, Woody Allen realized he couldn’t possibly go on without casting the smoking hot chesty blond with a sassy attitude and smoky voice role, otherwise known as The Scarlett Johansson role. That’s right, according to Empire Online, Penelope Cruz isn’t fulfilling the muse role adequately enough and Allen’s starting to get a Woody for his former muse. It’s safe to say he’ll get her to come back for a third go-round because what Woody wants, Woody gets, especially when it comes to his busty blond muse.
    *******Had Woody Allen abandoned the States altogether? Good riddance!

  6. waterbucket says:

    ***SPOILER*** There isn’t any revelation at the end of Cache. If you look closely, you will see that Majid’s son is talking to Georges’ son at his school’s front steps. What conclusion we should draw from that, I don’t know. I don’t think the point of the movie is for us to find out who sent the tapes at all.

  7. waterbucket says:

    And just watch, the American version of Cache will have the reveal to be Georges’ long lost twin sister who has been sending the tape all along. Gag.

  8. LexG says:

    You guys are all insidery junketeer reviewery types. So what can you tell a brother about that STONE FOX who co-hosted with Roeper this weekend? Kim Morgan? SO. CUTE.
    Anyone know her from making the rounds? Anyone know if she likes IHOP? I have some coupons.

  9. movielocke says:

    anyone else waiting with interest for the DP column that “proves” the 300 number is actually a terrible, terrible (and utterly insignificant) opening?

  10. Direwolf says:

    As some you regular readers know, my interest in the movie business stems from my multi-decade focus on media stocks as part of my money management career.
    With that in mind, forgive me for the length of the following post. It is somehting I have been tossing around related to the perception that the doemstic box office is dead or dying. Your comments are welcome. Good, bad, or indfferent. Thanks.
    Here is a link to the annual”>”>annual domestic box office performance since 1980 courtesy of Several things jump out when you look at the data. First, a slowdown in growth beginning in 2003 is evident in both total box office and tickets sold. Second, 2005 was a really bad year. I am going to ignore the data that shows the cost to produce a film has risen much more rapidly than the domestic box office revenue. I’ll address that in another post focusing on studios as opposed to theatres.
    These highlights suggest that some of the bearish hype over the box office is warranted. However, I think several other factors are worth noting. Most importantly, the last few years aren’t the first time the box office has slumped. 1985/86, 1990/91, and 1999/2000 each were back to back years where ticket sales fell. Growth picked up following each of those downturns.
    Another key point is that the 2004 performance was boosted by the huge numbers from Passion of the Christ. Passion brought in $370 million domestically, finishing third in 2004 behind Shrek 2 and Spiderman 2. Several attempts to tap the same religious audience since Passion have failed miserably. This past holiday season Apocalypto and the The Nativity Story which grossed $50 million and $37 million, respectively, were both considered major disappointments.
    For the sake argument, lets’ remove $325 million and 50 million tickets from the 2004 box office on the theory that Passion was a one-time item. The box office decline is 2.8% instead of 6.1% and the tickets sold decline is reduced to 5.8% from 8.9%. I’d further argue that despite its R-rating Passion had a below average ticket price since it was very popular among Christian families and there were many reports of Church groups arranging buses to take people to special showings.
    If you accept my passionately argued theory, then 2004 becomes just another bad year. Not meaningfully worse than the 1990/91 slowdown or the lousy year in 1985. You still have a pattern of slowing growth but you wouldn

  11. Direwolf says:

    Sorry about the bad link to the Mojo annual data. You all know how to find it but here is a clean URL:

  12. T.Holly says:

    Cool Dire, I told ya I have a solution to get good movies in the theatres: make directors agree to a cap on production budgets in exchange for pay-or-play clauses, so they get their upfront fees just in case their project doesn’t go forward.
    And seriously Lex, how can you even watch that pathetic show. Something tells me though, that Luke Thompson maybe knows her.

  13. Direwolf says:

    Thanks T Holly. I write daily commentary for, the professional service of (I sort fo know Cramer!). I’ve written often over there that the key is getting quality movies appealing to all audiences. Look back at the good stretches for the box office over the past year and besides the huge numbers for a Pirates or 300, most of the good weekends had lots of films doing well. Heck even this past weekend away from 300 things were solid. Nothing in the top 10 fell 50% and many fell just 30-40%. Give people something to see and they will show up. A night out at the movies is still a good deal for most folks and one of the only easy options.

  14. hcat says:

    Thanks waterbucket, thats been bugging me since I’ve seen it that I might have missed something.
    So here’s another question; In the History of Violence during the sex scene on the stairs, Viggo’s pants are coming off and I swear I saw a pronounced vestigial tail which was a hell of a lot more disturbing to me than any of the preceding violence. Did anyone else catch this or am I seeing things?

  15. EthanG says:

    After “Days of Glory,” I have to say it’ll be a long time comming before I see another WWII movie. I can respect Flags, Letters and Days for their artistic merit and they way in which they were done…but these movies seem to be trying to capture the “long, hard slog” of war on film….yeesh.
    Couple other comments…HATED Cache’…agreed with the Chronicle that it was pretentious. Loved the Cannes darling L’Enfant on the other hand.
    Saw the Host last night…thought it was much overrated. Witty political satire in places, but it was just all over the place which I guess maybe was the point?
    Going to see Starter for Ten tonight…anyone have thoughts on this movie?

  16. adorian says:

    About “Cache.” Yes, if you focus on the lower left corner of the screen, you will see the two sons talking to each other. Why?
    I went to several sites that had possible explanations. One site in particular presented three different theories as to what the final scene meant. The upshot (from the younger viewers I guess) was that it doesn’t have to have meaning or an answer. It simply is, and we are allowed to interpret it any way we want to.

  17. The Carpetmuncher says:

    I hatd Cache too, I didn’t find it very provocative, and I guess just didn’t get it. Or see the point. After seeing it, I went back and read a lot of reviews to see if I could gather any further insight but alas didn’t learn anything new. Anyone who likes it who could illuminate would be much appreciated.

  18. David Poland says:

    The 300 opening isn’t terrible. How could anyone who has read me for more than a week think that I would make that argument.
    If it leads to a total gross of $130 million, that will be worth talking about.
    I am not one of those who think that the audience needs to be told what they want. If they want crap, bless their little brains. Not my battle.
    As for signfiicance… no opening weekend gross, other than Passion of the Christ, which was one of those singular events that is unlikely to be recreated anytime soon, is significant. People wanting to see 300, which we all knew was the big movie of the spring, is not significant… or at least less so than $40 million for Wild Hogs. Really. That Wild Hogs opening will be responsible for more crap than 300 will.
    300, like any other movie, was a product of the buzz and must-see it created. And as a result, it had a summer-level opening in spring. So did Hannibal. As it turned out, Hannibal’s opening was insignificant as an industry event. And in time, we’ll see what 300 means.

  19. Chucky in Jersey says:

    On a related note tomorrow is SPC’s 15th anniversary …
    They’ve got the foreign-language Oscar yet won’t book “The Lives of Others” into megaplexes.
    24-screen megaplex, bad; 2-screen arthouse, good. That half-fast attitude is why “Volver” got its ass kicked in the U.S. Even the smaller chains found it easier to play “Pan’s Labyrinth”.

  20. Tofu says:

    David: Pirates filling theaters to their seams, illustrating a how large the viewing public can expand isn’t significant (many other entertainment industries were dead that weekend)? The coming numbers from May ’07? Or the limited and then expanded weekends of Borat?
    300 is sure to influence decision maker’s considerations between location shoots and studio shoots for yet another genre now.
    Dire: I’m missing the commentary going on Apocalypto, a $40 million R-Rated subtitled flick, with a $50 million domestic, $112 million worldwide take has been “considered (a) major disappointment.”
    Credit also goes to the Nativity Story, with zero buzz until release week, and no real worldwide release plan, at least Quintupled it’s opening weekend. Too bad about the budget.
    On another note, who here agrees with Nikki on The Number 23 being a flop? Outside of the Truman Show, and possibly The Cable Guy, this will be Carrey’s top “drama” entry.

  21. Clycking says:

    Tofu, how does Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind slip your consideration?

  22. T.Holly says:

    $40 Tofu, try $85. Add marketing and distribution, subtract theatre take and you get nada.

  23. Direwolf says:

    Tofu…major disappointment might be steep but I am talking domestic box office only. My perspective is theatres not studios in this piece. I think relative to expectations or hoped for box office Apocalypto and Nativty were definetely disappointments. And relative to the thought they could tap the Passion audience, they definetely disappointed.
    As DP noted, “Passion of the Christ, which was one of those singular events that is unlikely to be recreated anytime soon.” This is my point. Take it out of 2004 and 2005 doesn’t look nearly so bad. And if that is the case, the hype about the dying box office never gets anywhere near where it was last year. And current perceptions aren’t as bad as they are.

  24. RP says:

    Comment: You guys are all insidery junketeer reviewery types. So what can you tell a brother about that STONE FOX who co-hosted with Roeper this weekend? Kim Morgan? >>>
    Here’s a link to her blog:

  25. jeffmcm says:

    I agree about Cache, I feel like it’s one of those very intellectual movies that if it rubs you the right way, then good for you, but there’s no real human story to speak of (why put Juliette Binoche in a movie and give her nothing to do?) and as far as I was concerned the intellectual/political/artsy points were extremely blunt and clumsy (ooh, they’re ignoring the TV news of wars right in front of them! What a bold statement!)
    T. Holly, I don’t understand your ‘budget cap’ idea. Isn’t that how it’s theoretically supposed to work already? When you’re filming Miami Vice and you get hit by a hurricane or two, are you done shooting? Makes no sense that I can see.
    Chucky, is ‘half-fast’ going to become this year’s ‘name-checking’?
    Movielocke, you were right re: “the DP column that “proves” the 300 number is actually a terrible, terrible (and utterly insignificant) opening?” except that he one-upped you and made EVERYTHING insignificant!

  26. T.Holly says:

    jeffmcm, that’s called an insurance claim, the hurricane, that is.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    So are there not already ‘caps’ on budgets? Obviously not, but how would your caps be different?

  28. T.Holly says:

    I don’t know the mechanics mc, but it’s being done and being floated at the negotiating tables.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    So…it’s not even your idea? You give me a headache.

  30. Direwolf says:

    Not to intrude but I think those caps are part of the discussions the third party financiers are asking for when they agree to put up hundreds of millions to billions to finance a slate.
    I’ve sat in on some presentations trying to explain how these deals work and that is the one point that remains unclear. How is it enforced?

  31. Melquiades says:

    RP, she was OK to look at but she was horrible on the show. I hope she doesn’t come back.

  32. Tofu says:

    Clycking: I speak only of box office, not critical acclaim. Although it remains to be seen if #23 can reach ESOTSM’s total foreign plateau.
    T.Holly: The number you quote changes the playing field entirely, but I haven’t seen it floated around before (well, at least not after the production months to the best of my memory).

  33. T.Holly says:

    Were talking studios, Dire. They’re the ones in a position to pay or play. “An exception involves directors regularly agreeing to a cap on the production budget in order to secure pay-or-play, he acknowledged.”
    Tofu, Sheigh Crabtree, Sheigh, Tofu: “Gibson’s self-financed passion project was originally budgeted through his Icon Productions at $64 million. Despite the twofold increase in shooting days, that initial figure has been whittled down to $50 million for public record. However, production execs who worked on and or regularly visited the set estimate ‘Apocalypto’s’ actual budget is closer to $75 million to $80 million.”

  34. T.Holly says:

    And, it was noted, dollars converted to pesos go farther than dollars do.

  35. Cache (known as Hidden down here) was sort of fascinating. I can’t say it was the hit-out-of-the-park success that some think, but there are intriguing and stunning parts to it. The ending was nice. I knew that there was “something” there so I looked around as soon as the scene started (I assumed it was the end) and yes, I saw the two guys talking.
    As I was walking out of the cinema I heard two guys talking and they were wondering what the end was so I stopped and told them and they were so amazed.
    The American remake should just stab itself in the neck.

  36. waterbucket says:

    Cache is a disappointment to some because it was marketed as a thriller when it’s anything but. It’s simply a slow drama about a man’s guilt and the main character is quite pathetic.

  37. EthanG says:

    Wow….Starter for Ten was a cliched mess. Very dissapointing. Second straight movie with sky high ratings after the Host that was wildly dissapointing…I think BSM was superior to both.
    I just don’t see what everyone else sees in James McAvoy.
    On the other hand…great buzz surrounding The Lookout at the soutwest festival. Joseph Gordon Levitt IS the real deal after great turns in Mysterious Skin and Brick. Excited that two thrillers are comming out in the next month with big buzz (the other being Guy Pearce’s First Snow).
    Has anyone seen Tears of the Black Tiger? My friend wants to see it and I know squat about Thai Spaghetti Westerns….

  38. jeffmcm says:

    I saw Black Tiger last week. It’s fun on the level of ‘what crazy crap is going to happen next’ but I expected it to develop into something more complex and emotional and it never did, so it’s ultimately a little disappointing.

  39. Direwolf says:

    $7.7 million for 300 on Monday. That looks like one of the top 5 non-holiday/non-summer Monday’s ever. It will be interesting to see how it holds this coming weekend and whther the huge numbers bring in more casual moviegoers. I figure there will be plenty of repeat business.

  40. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Joseph Gordon Levitt kicks ass…whoever sees The Lookout, pray tell…

  41. movielocke says:

    a new era of spy reporting has begun: the podcast spy report.
    a 30 minute interview with ‘carlos’ who was in the recent chicago screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Way more detail than any few thousand words of text can go into.
    the show transcript is usually up in a day or two, but the interview starts about twenty minutes in.
    And yes that’s Pottercast–a weekly, hour long, fan generated podcast just about Harry Potter news and discussion. :p

  42. Direwolf says:

    $7.7 million for 300 on Monday. That looks like one of the top 5 non-holiday/non-summer Monday’s ever. It will be interesting to see how it holds this coming weekend and whther the huge numbers bring in more casual moviegoers. I figure there will be plenty of repeat business.

  43. James Leer says:

    “The Lookout” is a solid little movie. Though I love JGL, and Jeff Daniels does a great job, the real find here is Matthew Goode as the seductive villain. Didn’t even know it was him until the credits.

  44. Blackcloud says:

    Saw “Zodiac” today. It’s very good. First half, with the police procedural stuff, is better. Second half, which actually narrows down to the Gyllenhaal character, oddly enough seems to lose focus. Good acting all around, though I do kind of wish Maggie G. played the main character; she’s a much better actor than her brother.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    In drag?

  46. Blackcloud says:

    No, not in drag. It was a clumsy way of saying I find her a better actor than Jake. That’s all.

  47. waterbucket says:

    I’m not a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal either. I find him very unconvincing like Leo DiCaprio. I didn’t even like him in Brokeback Mountain. Crazy, right? I can’t imagine how much more I’d love that movie if it starred an actor that I’d actually like.

  48. frankbooth says:

    Ron Howard?
    I feel obliged to say:
    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

  49. frankbooth says:

    Ron Howard?
    I feel obliged to say:
    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

  50. frankbooth says:

    …just in case I didn’t make my feelings clear the first time.

  51. Joseph Gordon Levitt is one of my favourite up-and-comers. Probably because I thought Mysterious Skin was excellent. Was my #3 of 2005.
    “I just don’t see what everyone else sees in James McAvoy.”
    Same. 2007 will be the test though to see where he stands, with so many flicks coming out (Atonement being a biggie in my mind).

  52. CaptainZahn says:

    What didn’t you like about Morgan, Melquiades? I thought she did a pretty good job of putting across how she felt about the films.

  53. hcat says:

    Good news for all you Apatow fans out there, Variety just posted a review of Knocked Up and it is a complete rave.

  54. Lota says:

    i don;t if that’s good news or not hcat.
    the expectation is that you can believe that a gormless, charmless Rogen can get someone “knocked up” to start with or actually admits it.
    40 y o v was hilarious but…this will be a really Tall Tale…and slightly socially irresponsible

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Lota, sounds like there’s very little chance you will be seeing it re: Mr. Rogen.
    Let’s hold off on the ‘socially irresponsible’ though until it’s out and we can all decide.

  56. Lota says:

    I can say socially irresponsible if I want, son.
    someone who saw it told me all the premise(s) and aside from being a stretch…it is…
    I’ll take my Fantasies straight or on the rocks, but not with stoners. Daydream time for schlubs and stoners is not my cup of tea but feel free to enjoy it! I have a feeling Kevin Smith fans will enjoy this.
    300 is a stretch, a major stretch but it wasn’t intended on being a real study of social history or relationships.

  57. jeffmcm says:

    Just don’t go all Nicol on us and start saying that you can judge a movie’s social value without seeing it. Hearsay is useful but how do we know if your source saw the final version?
    If, when you say “Kevin Smith fans” you mean “tubby bearded guys” you might be right. I’m hoping it’ll be a movie for ordinary guys who don’t have Gerard Butler’s abs so that everyone can have their own fantasy portrayal.
    And re: 300, a movie’s intention to be ‘a real study of social history’ is somewhat irrelevant, I would say. It’s a fantasy war movie at a time when we happen to be in a nightmare war.

  58. LexG says:

    Way, way off-topic from “Knocked Up” and “300” and all, but DP did give us this as a place to talk about anything, so…
    When did Paramount decide to postpone “Shooter” by a week? Seems as recently as a few weeks ago, it was being touted in ads and in mags as a March 16th release. Between this and Donnie’s KILLER VENTRILOQUIST DUMMY movie, I was stoked for an ALL-WAHLBERG WEEKEND. Now “Shooter” is a 23rd release??? (Where it’ll face stiff competition from “Hills Have Eyes 2” for the young male audience.) Why the switch? Did the extra week really help Fuqua lock a cut?
    Seems to be NO buzz on this movie, but having loved “Training Day” and being a Wahlberg supefan (plus the dreamy Kate Mara!!!), I’m jazzed for it, even if no one else is.
    Those “Knocked Up” posters of Seth Rogen’s big dumb head are so/too clearly modeled on the 40YOV campaign. Lame.

  59. Lota says:

    Jeff I am not going “nicol” or anyone else. I opt not to see this one since the premises fill me with dread…if there is a type of movie that isnt; my bag, it’s this one, Exactly, but I won;t say why here due to Spoilers.
    when I want funny schlubs, I watch the Stooges, like I am doing now, making my way through the 12 DVD set.
    I’d go out with Curly. He’s charming and funny, even though he’s a schlub.
    I see 90% of movies released but i don;t have to see all.

  60. jeffmcm says:

    So last year you saw 500+ movies?

  61. jeffmcm says:

    (I know I’m annoying. I just think you should be nicer to poor Seth Rogen, it’s not his fault he’s a schlub and the movie is not targeted at the cat-lady demographic anyway).

  62. EthanG says:

    I think Shooter was just moved back two days…not a week. I was likewise psyched to see it until I ran into Emanuel Levy’s review…still willing to give it a shot based on Wahlhberg’s recent track record.
    There’s a weird group of movies comming out on the 23rd…Pride isn’t your average inspiration sports movie in that it’s about swimming and stars Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac and Diana Ross’s son. The Last Mimzy isn’t your average kiddie fantasy as it’s supposedly too trippy. And the Hills Have Eyes II isn’t your typical modern horror sequel in that it’s directed by the director of the banned cannibal movie Rohtunberg, and is fighting an NC-17 rating in an attempt to get an R instead of pushing for a PG13
    And then there’s Reign over Me…

  63. James Leer says:

    I hope you guys noticed that the writer of that “Knocked Up” review in Variety was frequent Hot Blog commenter Joe Leydon.
    I was surprised to see it, as they have been doing long-lead screenings for editors but keeping critics away from them. Perhaps Joe worked something out?

  64. Lota says:

    well Jeff you’re learning to argue better, and yet I am unmoved.
    I am not being mean to Seth, i am sure he is a nicer schlub in real life than what is being spouted by his extremely ignoramus ass in the movie from what I’ve been told. If i really can;t buy a premise (the plausibility stretcher), I’d have a hard time with the movie, no matter what genre it is.
    i probably did see that many movies last year
    both the replicant & the cat-lady demographic are small, yet underserved — hey where’s my Focus Group you studio Assholes?

  65. Joe Leydon says:

    FYI: When a film plays at a festival — any festival — it is fair game for reviewing. I didn’t have to work anything out. I simply showed up.

  66. Kambei says:

    But Lota, having not seen the movie, is it not possible that Seth’s character’s “extremely ignoramus” behaviour is one of the points of the movie? From all I’ve read about it, it seems like a comment on how people are hanging on to adolescence for longer and longer before becoming “adult”. I’m giving the movie a chance merely due to the European trailer which showed exactly how not-an-adult Seth’s character was. The North American trailer makes it look like a lame romantic comedy.

  67. hcat says:

    Knocked up isnt something I am itching to see (especially at 2 hrs and 10 minutes), but since there seem to be a large number of Apatow fans on the post and due to the fact that the review was so enthusiastic.
    I seem to recall that Shooter was in development to be a Tommy Lee Jones/William Friedkin project some years ago, but they decided to due The Hunted instead and kept the possibility adapting Shooter for a sequel.

  68. movielocke says:

    Shooter is the kind of ridiculously fun thriller/chase/blow them up film that I like to watch with my Dad–because it’s the sort of well done film that he really loves. The endings go on to long and still aren’t quite right, but the film doesn’t really take a misstep until late in the second act when we go KateMara-less for a little while; annoying because it’s an unexplained and seeming foolish decision on Wahlberg’s part.

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And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

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