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By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady-livion


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42 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady-livion”

  1. etguild2 says:

    For all the celebration over “42” and its box office…it’s only going to turn a small profit. At least it shifted the Warner Bros narrative of failure as of late.

    What a total for FILLY BROWN! 2 million is a great weekend for this movie.

    And what a terrible weekend for Rob Zombie…

  2. RP says:

    Is this good or bad for Team Cruise?

  3. BoulderKid says:

    I’d say its pretty good for Cruise. Obviously the studio would like to see something north of 50m given the price tag for this but a 35-40m opening is decent. It’s important to remember that Cruise is still the biggest star worldwide and that at this point domestic grosses for his films are gravy on top of the international hauls.

  4. RRA says:

    I just wished Oblivion was much more than just criminally bland this side of that irrelevant Total Recall remake from last year.

  5. Gus says:

    I suppose I’m in the minority but I loved Oblivion and found it really moving. I recognize that it borrows very heavily from a lot of other very popular sci fi films but I was very taken by its themes. Kosinski’s direction and design couldn’t be any more up my alley, so that helps. Loved the shallow closeups throughout.

  6. philip s says:

    whats a shallow closeup?

  7. movieman says:

    Does anyone else feel that with Cianfrance there’s no there there?
    Like “Blue Valentine,” “Pines” held me throughout–mostly by virtue of the performances–but I left the theater w/ a vague feeling of dissatisfaction.
    (Can you say “schematic”? How about “overly determined”?)
    His movies burn with the heat (and hubris) of New Hollywood-era cinema.
    But more like something that blew you away in 1973 and doesn’t hold up particularly well 40 years later.

  8. Ryan says:

    JermsGuy-After Earth at 120 seems WAY low, as do the guesses on Monsters University (should win the summer for kids) and Star Trek. Elysium could go either way. Like your low balls on GrownUps and Lone Ranger. Interesting predictions. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Gus says:

    Phillip – I meant an extremely shallow depth of field in the close-ups. There are many close ups of Andrea Riseborough, Tom Cruise’s red-headed girl friend, while she’s at the control panel that are done such that her nose and eyes are the only things in focus. Felt quite striking to see that on an IMAX screen. They revisit that later with Tom Cruise in the helicopter to great effect.

  10. BoulderKid says:

    Movieman, I sense what you’re getting at. For me “Blue Valentine” was consistently engaging and wrenching as I watched it, but now when the film comes up in conversation I just sort of shrug my shoulders. The tragedy of the film was completely driven by the characters’ and performers’ own pathos. There was essentially no external forces affecting the characters in a traditional sense to give the film any sense of urgency.

    “Pines” works a lot better for me because Cianfrice got to use the traditional mechanics of the crime/cop genre to examine his characters. Gosling’s pathos in that film drive him to rob banks and set in motion the whole story, as compared to “Blue Valentine” where depression and anger merely lead to more depression and anger. Sometimes you need more than vividly drawn characters to make a good film and I think Cianfrice got there with “Pines” but not “Blue Valentine.”

    In all three segments of “Pines” I felt like I was watching lives unfold in unpredictable and authentic ways. When Gosling ends up in a motor cycle chase he seems almost surprised that he’s been immersed in a “youtube moment.” Similarly, Cooper’s character is basically making it up as he goes along as he navigates the murky waters of the police force. He’s neither a “Bad Lieutenant” or “Serpico” type. Just a guy trying to keep his head above water.

    I hope Cianfrice continues to work in genre. He’s definitely a guy who could get swallowed up by his own sensibilities if he makes too many humanistic dramas. In a way I sort of see him in a similar light as PTA. I wouldn’t recommend “The Master” or “Blue Valentine” to anyone who isn’t some type of completist film buff.

  11. movieman says:

    Boulder- I hate using J. Hoberman’s favorite word “schematic” again, lol,
    but that’s how Cianfrance’s movies feel to me.
    They’re like pre-digested meals that give you nothing to chew on afterwards because he did all the work for you in his laborious set-up/ construction.
    That said, I think he’s terrific w/ actors (I was particularly moved by Mendes, DeHaan and Gosling). I just wish he’d calm down a bit and let the performances evolve (and blossom) organically instead of using them as props for his overly determined narratives.

  12. Dberg says:

    Oops…. I see someone else answered this …Shallow closeup

  13. jesse says:

    Boulder, I agree with you completely on Cianfrance. I was underwhelmed by Blue Valentine, which was well-acted but felt like a miserable wallow to me. These two people cared about each other, become terrible for each other, get worse for each other. Apart from everyone getting more miserable, I can barely remember anything that happened in that movie.

    Pines may not be in the same league as a director like Scorsese, but I found it much more involving — I was surprised to find that wildly bigger ambition really suits him.

    I do think he’s still overly fond of “naturalistic” confrontations, which is to say everyone in his movies engages in repetitive, stubborn, unproductive arguments at some point. I mean, I get that this is how a lot of arguments go in real life. But by the time you get to Bradley Cooper having these go-nowhere frustration festivals with Rose Byrne, I was wishing his characters had more varied modes of expression. But yeah, I loved the way the story unfolded and all three segments felt richly detailed, even though the third one felt a little thinner than the others (if anything, I wish the movie had been a little longer, and lived with those characters in the final stretch a little longer.

    Following Tron 2, Oblivion cements Kosinski as a wonderful visual stylist. The experience of just WATCHING Oblivion was so pleasing to me — and I did find it more involving than the Tron sequel. I enjoyed it very much as it ran, but it doesn’t really add up to much, since so much is pilfered from other, better, and often relatively recent sci-fi movies, without its own spin apart from those terrific designs. (This is exactly the kind of movie that deserves an art direction nomination that it will never get.) It’s such a cliche to say “now he needs to get a top-notch screenplay,” but for real: guy knows what he’s doing behind the camera, but has now made two visually distinct big-budget science fiction movies that don’t have much going on in them. It’s interesting, because usually flashy stylists tend to be a bit more crowd-pandering — or really strong visual artists sometimes transcend flimsy or middling scripts (see Fincher’s weaker movies). Kosinski sort of lands in the middle: he’s not unduly convinced he’s giving audiences the ride of their lives, but he’s also guiding them through a more rewarding, cerebral experience, either.

  14. Lex says:

    People can nitpick the details of OBLIVION but the structure of how it climaxes two separate timelines, one of which reveals all the movie’s nagging questions, at the same time is fairly complex and pays off well. I’ve said this a ZILLION TIMES but nitpicking PLOT POINTS and LOGIC (see that SKYFALL whinging in a concurrent thread) is the easiest and most tiresome sort of internet know-it-alling. Most of “us” probably can’t direct and don’t know KELVIN and F-STOPS and GRAIN and key and fill lighting or music or wardrobe or even acting…. But absolutely EVERYBODY with an internet connection fancies themselves a WRITER, and everyone EVERYONE thinks THEY can write a screenplay. So people look for nitpicks and logic gaps and holes and write off good movies with this smug certitude, totally ignoring all the above-mentioned aesthetic qualities because they feel like some sleuthing Sherlock Holmes popping the whole balloon because they found a continuity gaffe or a structural issue that isn’t to their liking.

    At least in the INTERNET REALM, there’s absolutely NO MOVIE that is ever not going to meet some snide backlash from some “expert” banging away on a 10-member forum thinking he’s above it all…. be it Oblivion or Pines or Prometheus or Skyfall or The Master…

    It’s why most “criticism,” both above- and below board, operates from a SMUG point of people going into anything just LOOKING FOR A REASON to dismiss it.

    What’s the point in arguing movies, anyway? Has ANYONE EVER ceded a point in this realm? Some guy who doesn’t like MOVIE A is never EVER going to look at anyone’s effusive praise and change his mind… Sadly, it IS possible to RUIN SOMETHING for someone by slamming it…. I’d argue just TALKING ABOUT ANY MOVIE lessens the emotional sphere that movies operate in.

    More and more I see no real point in these bicker-fests, because 99% of men over 30 hate EVERYTHING, and the few who do enjoy something will always lose any argument.

  15. Bulldog68 says:

    ” Most of “us” probably can’t direct and don’t know KELVIN and F-STOPS and GRAIN and key and fill lighting or music or wardrobe or even acting…”

    True, but you don’t have to know any of these things to come to the conclusion that it defies logic to take the head of the biggest spy organization in the world to a secluded mansion in the middle of nowhere with no protection but an old geezer and Bond himself.

    Critiquing is a part of the art form itself.

    Where I will agree with you Lex is when it’s just plain mean spirited and people seem to relish in being negative.

    I didn’t enjoy Prometheus and Skyfall last year because they basically failed by their own rules. Does this mean I won’t show up for the sequels. Hell no, I’m looking forward to them. So I’ll continue to be critical, and also shower praise for the movies that I like. That’s equally important.

  16. Bulldog68 says:

    Also, I too am of the opinion that Oblivion was well made but not much below the surface.

    What would have been a surefire summer release a few years ago, I think the studio knew they could not place this among the superheroes. Or even closer to Will Smith’s After Earth on May 31st, which is also a test for it’s star and Director.

  17. Lex says:

    It has as much “below the surface” as any of its inspirations like Matrix or the Dickography…

    SPOILERish, I guess…

    Anything about memories and the past and being haunted by dreams/nostalgia is ALWAYS an instant winner with me, and at least it didn’t do that maddeningly VAGUE Phil Dick thing where the hero is LEAVING HIMSELF TOTALLY ARCANE CLUES which always makes my brain fog over. It was simple and direct, some dude MOONING OVER HIS PAST and this CLOUD ATLAS-esque idea of souls continuing over time and space in different vessels, etc. Thought all that worked on an EMOTIONAL level, which is all movies can really do well. I don’t know what more subtext people need than something IMMEDIATE AND PERSONAL… oftentimes, especially because FILM DISCOURSE is focused so much on sociopolitical debate, “under the surface” means a movie to them fails if it’s not some anti-patriarchal critique of sexist capitalism, or something.

    Without being TOO EMBARRASSING, isn’t it better a movie remind you of some LOST OPPORTUNITIES of your own, or your own nostalgia signifiers, a lost romance, a girl gone by, chances you blew, your own mortality and YOUR OWN PERSONAL WORTH AS A MAN/WOMAN… than this all-seeing jaundiced political bullshit that really only works for anyone if it HUES to their own personal politics and beliefs.

    Maybe people just aren’t as introspective and self-critical and moony and lovelorn and nostalgic and TRAPPED IN THE PAST as I am, but I always look at movies inward not outward. That’s why I don’t get anything from talking about them to people much anymore. Most people are fairly closed off and have UTTER CERTITUDE about their opinions, no self-doubt and no self-analysis… How you ever gonna combat that? All it does is make me like a movie less to have some know-it-all lingering on LOGIC or SUBTEXT or whatnot.

  18. Tim DeGroot says:

    I didn’t understand why he had a Chris Isaak bobblehead though.

  19. Brady says:

    Hey Lex, are you on twitter?

  20. Jason says:

    As usual, Lex nails it. In 100% agreement.

    Dude, please blog, write reviews, write a book, or whatever. I’ll buy it, subscribe to it, promote it. You have talent and the world is a little less better without you consistently contributing to it.

  21. anghus says:

    “But absolutely EVERYBODY with an internet connection fancies themselves a WRITER, and everyone EVERYONE thinks THEY can write a screenplay. So people look for nitpicks and logic gaps and holes and write off good movies with this smug certitude, totally ignoring all the above-mentioned aesthetic qualities because they feel like some sleuthing Sherlock Holmes popping the whole balloon because they found a continuity gaffe or a structural issue that isn’t to their liking.”

    I liked this paragraph a lot. Everybody starts picking apart movies at a sub-atomic level and doesnt even attempt to find an emotional engagement to the film.

    Some people can see beyond it. I thought there were some hilarious silly plot points in Skyfall and Dark Knight Rises but i loved both movies. I’m not sure when people started believing that movies had to be these completely logical, nothing left to the imagination enterprises that filled in every gap for you. You have an entire generation of film fans who flock to stuff like honest trailers and everything wrong with. People are so busy turning the microscopic up to insane magnification when they should be taking a step back, rubbing their eyes, and trying to see the big picture.

  22. leahnz says:

    “I didn’t understand why he had a Chris Isaak bobblehead though.”

    hahahha i was thinking that exact same thing, why isn’t anyone talking about that bobblehead?

  23. leahnz says:

    re looking for plot-holes in movies, maybe it’s because movies have become so fucking retarded and riddled with giant gaps in logic and nobody who’s writing them seems to notice that people are noticing.

  24. anghus says:

    “re looking for plot-holes in movies, maybe it’s because movies have become so fucking retarded and riddled with giant gaps in logic and nobody who’s writing them seems to notice that people are noticing.”

    There’s always been gaps. We’ve just become more focused on them. Is Skyfall really the first Bond movie with a ridiculous plot point or idiotic villain plan that makes absolutely no sense?

    Yes, there are idiotic movies with huge plot holes, but the problem is people crucify all of them with the same zeal. Even the ones with little problems (Skyfall) get lumped in with stuff that really does have a lot of unexplained or dumb moments (Prometheus). Skyfall had a very engaging story, did a good job with making an old character interesting, and had a lot of satisfying and fun moments. The fact that people can walk out of Skyfall feeling like they watched a bad movie is beyond me. Yes, there were plot holes. Silva’s plan was about as smart as a box of hammers. But it was fun. I don’t care where he got the Aston Martin from. Or that Bond survived falling into a freezing cold lake, or that the shot and fall in the opening of the film would have killed an ordinary man. It’s a movie.

    With something like Prometheus, where the plot is so dependent on the gaps that never get filled in, the condemnation feels appropriate.

    But when you watch The Dark Knight Rises and you see two thousand people yell “HOW DID BATMAN ESCAPE A NUCLEAR BLAST” or “HOW DID BATMAN GET BACK INTO GOTHAM”, you start to wonder if people aren’t just over thinking every damn thing to death. I loved the Avengers. Sure, it seemed convenient that every alien died when Stark threw a nuclear missile at their ship, but it wasn’t a tipping point. I didn’t enjoy it any less even though they took a rather convenient way out.

    The internet brought about the over analysis of film. To a degree, Lex is right. Discussing films analytically often detracts from the enjoyment of it. That’s why people spend so much more time on movies they don’t like, because they can endlessly break it down and critique it to an obsessive level. And that’s not a lot of fun for some people.

    I just watched Room 237. That kind of obsessive microscopic analysis of a movie seems maddening to me. And the internet provides you with that kind of OCD film dissection every single day.

    The internet does not make people enjoy movies more.

  25. leahnz says:

    personally speaking, I can tear a movie a new asshole in terms of plot holes/logic but that act of extreme criticism in itself doesn’t cause me to like or dislike a movie more or less, it’s just observational after the fact. I don’t think arguing about movies makes us like them less, I think Lex just wants everyone to think that’s true because he has a bug up his ass about it.

    as for the ‘there’s always been plot holes/logic gaps but the Internet is what’s making it worse’ argument, i cry foul on that one. the problem is, using the new bonds or the new batmans as an example and probably a good one in terms of posing a general hypothesis, there’s been a move in recent years in favor of ‘gritty realism’ – the older bonds or batmans aren’t held to the same scrutiny because they don’t deign to exist at the same level of realism, there’s an automatic (or easier) suspension of disbelief because of the inherent level of the fantastical/unrealistic in the presentation of the material (older Bonds/Batmans) but when you decide to take your intellegence agent/comic superhero movies into the ‘grittily realistic’ realm in terms of design, setting, character and plot, then you better not fuck it up because you will be judged by that criteria, you reap what you sow. and that’s what’s been happening lately.

  26. SamLowry says:

    Yep, play with realism and don’t act surprised when it bites you. It wasn’t “the shot and fall in the opening of the film would have killed an ordinary man”, it was an unconscious Bond settling to the bottom of the river. Were we supposed to be paying attention to the trippy title sequence and therefore believe it was the naked girls writhing around the guns and tombstones who rescued him from his descent into Hell?

    (I turn my attention off during Bond’s titles now that it’s possible to CGI out anything even remotely naughty. The classic title sequence tale had Roger Moore asking Maurice Binder, who was busy brushing down a dancer’s unruly pubic hair, “And we’re paying you to do this?”)

    On the “so fucking retarded” note, it looks like most critics have simply given up and put on a manufactured smile when each new bone-stupid tentpole hits the screens. “It’s what people want” they shrug, though at one point they wanted bear-baiting and gladiatorial combat ending in death, which was eventually outlawed by the prudes. No chance of the stupid getting scrubbed out of these cheap spectacles as long as they distract people from the constant erosion of jobs and the quality of their lives.

    (My one quibble with IDIOCRACY was Judge’s insistence that audiences would watch a naked farting ass for 90 minutes. No, they’ll watch someone ride a roller-coaster for 90 minutes, which is what action movies have devolved into. Yes, Hitchcock pointed out that the quest item which launches the pursuit is pointless, but at least he made you care about the people pursuing it.)

    And no, SKYFALL was not “the first Bond movie with a ridiculous plot point”–as Cracked recently pointed out, MI6 went to great lengths in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE to announce the death of James Bond so he could go undercover without anyone wondering where he was, only to order him to meet a possible SPECTRE agent without any sort of cover or disguise.

  27. philip s says:

    thanks Gus!
    Im looking forward to seeing Oblivion even more now

  28. Foamy Squirrel says:

    I’d disagree that analysis of a film necessarily reduces the emotional engagement – there are plenty of films which have been intensely analyzed and celebrated for what they do well, enhancing the viewing experience the second time around.

    As a recent example, Looper is one of the smartest scripts I’ve experienced in a long while – not because it’s full of M Night style twists, but because it builds on itself without pulling you out of the movie. So when discussing the film later, a friend pointed out how Jeff Daniel’s speech at the very beginning about how he saw where JGL’s life was going is echoed later – I hadn’t noticed that the first time around, so I was like “Hey, that’s cool – it’s just another example of how the writers were paying attention and building the themes through the movie”.

    It absolutely enhanced my enjoyment of the movie, and there are countless other movie moments that can be analyzed to celebrate the impact without being clinical and detached.

  29. Lex says:

    Thanks above Jason. Also good points by Anghus.

    OT: Anyone else see DISCONNECT yet?

    I’m not the hugest CRASH fan and this is pretty much the exact same deal but with computers and bullying instead of racism, but until it gets severely overwrought even for my standards at the very end, thought it was pretty riveting, with a particularly good contribution from Jason Bateman (and great work from the bully kids, and Skarsgaard, etc). I was kinda stalling on it but really dug it. And the girl who plays Bateman’s daughter is SMOKING (don’t worry, she’s 20.)

    Also was pretty okay with COMPANY YOU KEEP. Redford = GOD but nice performance by Shia LaBeuof, THE WORLD’S MOST UNAPPRECIATED ACTOR, in the lead.

  30. berg says:

    best line in Company You Keep was “so you twitter” in reference to LaBeuof being some kind of President’s Men type of reporter … Disconnect not so much

  31. Wilder says:

    Hmmm, lost my edit…

  32. anghus says:

    Arent Bond title sequences just pretty images and visual metaphors? I didnt watch Skyfall’s title sequence and think it was part of the narrative. Using the title sequence to logic a plot point in a 007 movie seems like over-reaching.

  33. palmtree says:

    I actually think the plot holes are important to point out, but not in a “gotcha” kinda way. The movies that have these ridiculous plot holes are the ones that stretch reality to such a breaking point that they can no longer resemble it. The “realism” of Batman illustrates that…sure the style was realistic, but the very premise of the story and the plot twists that it requires are so far fetched that plot holes are damned near impossible to avoid.

    Keeping track of plot holes means we’re valuing common sense over “movie” sense, that we aren’t so drawn into a movie’s world that we can’t tell it from our own.

    And it doesn’t mean we enjoy the movie less. For example, it’s a fact that Looper’s time travel mechanics simply do not work. But I still had a great time and was deeply moved by the ending. Nothing can take that away from me.

    But somehow, I do agree with Lex that talking about specific plot holes is boring. Because at a certain point, dissecting plot holes too meticulously becomes its own way of trying to live in the movie world.

  34. Sam says:

    “Arent Bond title sequences just pretty images and visual metaphors? I didnt watch Skyfall’s title sequence and think it was part of the narrative. Using the title sequence to logic a plot point in a 007 movie seems like over-reaching.”

    No kidding. I love how SamLowry tacitly acknowledges that there weren’t actual girls, guns, and tombstones at the bottom of the river, but insists that the image of Bond amidst all that was real and faults the entire film for it.

    As you say, it’s a visual metaphor and need not be taken any more literally than the verbal equivalent: Bond went to hell and back. Done.

  35. palmtree says:

    I love that the two Sams don’t agree on anything.

  36. SamLowry says:

    Actually, Sam, I was making fun of the title sequence supposedly handwaving away Bond’s death at the bottom of the river. “Were we supposed to be paying attention to the trippy title sequence and therefore believe…” sounds pretty snarky to me.

  37. storymark says:

    Sam, you are aware people have survived worse, riiiight? In like, the real world, even.

  38. hcat says:

    ‘Will Smith’s After Earth on May 31st, which is also a test for it’s star and Director.’

    Director sure, but didn’t MIB3 continue Smith’s string of hits after his little sabbatical (in which he produced his son’s megahit)? I would say that Smith is the closest thing Hollywood has to a sure thing, moreso than even Depp and Downey.

  39. storymark says:

    But you can’t write dramatic headlines about a sure thing. Gotta create the drama.

  40. SamLowry says:

    Don’t know how cold the rivers are in Turkey, but I doubt it would be cold enough to keep Bond from suffering permanent brain damage, if not death, by the time anyone could actually retrieve his unconscious body.

    Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot he was saved from his descent into Hell by the naked dancing girls who only appear to those that tried the brown acid.

  41. storymark says:

    Now you’re just getting stupid.

The Hot Blog

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

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.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon