It’s looking like Ocean’s Thirteen is this week’s big box office champion, a win for blithe, finger-snapping spryness in general, and a vindication of the PG-13 rating’s broad appeal, especially when stacked up against the PG-rated Surf’s Up and the hard R rating of Hostel: Part II. Pending final numbers and adjustments, Ocean’s Thirteen will reportedly pull in around $37 million for the weekend. Polling second is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which has to date now grossed over $250 million, with another $21 million or so this weekend. Last week’s top debut, Knocked Up, is only down 34 percent or so, ringing up another $20 million. Surf’s Up scored a robust $18 million bow, good for fourth place. The summer playing field proved less kind to Hostel: Part II, meanwhile. Playing in 2,350 theaters, the film averaged around $3,700 per screen, and should pull in around $8.8 million for the three-day frame, which is only slightly more than a then less-known Eli Roth‘s 2003 film Cabin Fever. Last year, in January, the first Hostel opened to $19.5 million on slightly less screens. A sign of the horror genre’s loosening grip? Perhaps, but more likely an indication that seasonal slotting matters quite a bit for certain pictures.
His latest film, Mr. Brooks, is both a serial killer tale and an outlandish mash-up of unlikely thriller elements — a movie, in fact, that Kevin Costner admits he would have had quite a different reaction to if he hadn’t sat down to read the entire script through on his own. So what does Costner look for in a screenplay or project?
“Just fresh air, something that seems highly
original,” he says, from a recent press day in advance of his movie’s release. “I would never have done this movie if it was pitched to me. But I would have
never done Field of Dreams
if it was pitched to me [either]. It takes a writer that really has his muse working on
his shoulder, you know? And you just go, ‘Wow.’ It was just an incredible
window that they found into this subject, I thought. And Thirteen Days, for
instance… it was also great. The window into that story was through Kenny O’Donnell — not Jack’s point of view or Bobby’s point of view, you know? It’s hard,
writing. That’s why it’s hard to write. It’s not easy. It’s an art form.”
That’s one of the reasons that Costner doesn’t view himself as a typical writer. “I don’t think I’m a great writer. But I like to think I recognize a good idea,” he says. “But unlike conventional wisdom, I don’t go out and make a
movie when a script is 60 percent [ready], just because I got the actor now and the director,
and I think the job’s done. I’m anal. I don’t even go out to actors till my
script is 100 percent done, because I don’t want anybody changing it. Annette Bening
and Robert Duvall didn’t change a line on Open Range. Why? Because I was sure that it worked. And [in Mr. Brooks] we
didn’t change any lines, William Hurt and Dane Cook and I, in our half of the
movie. Not a line. Because I was positive it worked, you know?”
Singer Vic Damone has kind of a wide-ranging voice, which helps explain the fact that over the course of his career he laid down more than 2,000 songs, appeared in several motion pictures, and for a time had both his own TV show on NBC and his own New York-based radio series. This concert disc, recorded in 1985, showcases that range, with Damone dashing through more than a dozen tunes, a collection that might be considered highbrow and low.
A high school drop-out who took a job as an usher at the Paramount Theater in the Big Apple and squeezed some advice out of Perry Como, Damone’s career really took off just before his 18th birthday, when he won the acclaimed Arthur Godfrey Talent’s Scout program, then leveraged that into regular spots on the radio and gigs for the legendary Milton Berle. Signing with Mercury Records, Damone quickly caught on, and began recording albums.
On the Street Where You Live is named for one of Damone’s biggest hits, but it’s still a song that doesn’t carry the same, robust nostalgic weight as “New York, New York” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” two tunes included here that suffer in comparison to Frank Sinatra’s famously belted versions. Recorded at the world-famous Royal Festival Hall, this title finds
Damone accompanied by the Northern Dance Orchestra, and conductor
Norman Geller. From the strange cover files, Willie Nelson’s “To All the Girls” and “Always on My Mind” each receive surprisingly effective colorings, but a rendition of Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” deserves no answer. Other songs include “When I Dream,” “Easy to Love,” “The Song Is You,” “Come In From the Rain,” “An Affair to Remember,” “That Old Black Magic” and show closer “You’re Breaking My Heart.”
Presented in a fuzzy 1.33:1 full screen transfer on a region-free disc housed in a regular Amray case, On the Street Where You Live runs just over 50 minutes, and comes with a Dolby digital tweaking of the original concert’s monaural soundtrack. A mezzo-mezzo affair, it’s a release best reserved as a stocking-stuffer or thoughtful little surprise gift for long-time Damone fans, but not one likely to wow those less familiar with the crooner’s canon. To order the concert via Amazon, click here. C (Concert) C (Disc)
Erstwhile Gilmore Girl
Lauren Graham didn’t only have to contend with the chance of Steve Carell cracking
her up on the set of the forthcoming Evan
Almighty — she also had to share screen time with some unusual animals.
“The amazing stuff with the animals was less what my
interaction was with them, but [just] watching these trainers get them kindly
and very simply to do what they wanted them to do,” she says. “Because I just
thought, ‘These giraffes have not been training to do Evan Almighty their whole lives. How do they know to bring him the hammer?’
You know, so much of the stuff is real that you see in the movie. So that was
really amazing. I mean, we weren’t sitting around petting the lions or
anything, but it was cool to watch them walk by. You’re sitting there drinking
coffee, and you just got strangely used to it.”
“The animal we dealt the most with was Toothy the alpaca (note: above alpaca is for illustrative purposes only),
who had… this huge underbite, and was really unattractive,” Graham continues. “And
I think we made the trainers mad because we called him Toothy and that’s not
his name. But the little boys who played our sons got really into Toothy as,
like, a mythical figure, even though he was right there. They’d be like, ‘Do
you think Toothy knows we’re rolling? Do you think Toothy knows we’re home?’ And
at dinner, and they’d be like, ‘What do you think Toothy’s eating for dinner?’”
Here Graham pauses for a laugh. “So he was the one that somehow, maybe became
of his unusual appearance, struck gold in our hearts.”
Cinema16 is pleased to announce the American release of Cinema
16: European Short Films in early September 2007. Critically acclaimed upon
its release overseas, this special two-disc DVD features previously unseen movies and early works by some of today’s most notable
filmmakers, as well as award-winning films from rising stars. In addition to
the films, the set contains over three hours of commentaries, many by the filmmakers themselves.
Dubbed “a must-have for any film
fan” by The London Telegraph, Cinema 16: European
Short Films celebrates the art of brevity by showcasing the best classic,
cult and award-winning shorts on DVD. The label launched in
in 2003 with the release of British Short
Films, a collection that includes films by Peter Greenaway, Mike Leigh and
Stephen Daldry among others. That was followed up by the 2004 European Short Films release and, a year
later, American Short Films, which
includes works of Gus Van Sant, Andy Warhol, Tim Burton and others.
Short Films’ roster includes works by noted directors such as Christopher
Nolan, Lars Von Trier, Lynne Ramsay, Ridley Scott,
Roy Andersson (Songs From the Second
Floor), Mathieu Kassovitz
and Nanni Morettti, as well as award-winning and celebrated shorts including
Anders Thomas Jensen’s Oscar winner Election
Night, Juan Solanas’ Cannes Jury Prize winner The Man Without a Head and Toby MacDonald’s BAFTA-nominated Je T’aime John Wayne.
“Cinema16’s goal is to raise the profile of short films,
which have been integral to the careers of so many great directors,” said Luke
Morris, producer of Je T’aime John Wayne
and creator of the Cinema 16 label. “The line gives people access to incredibly
strong works that might otherwise be seen only by film festival audiences and
film school professors, if at all.” For more information, visit Cinema16.org.
Steve Carell was out in full force promoting his new film, Evan Almighty, yesterday with a battery of press interviews in Los Angeles, but he took some time to talk about his The Office cast mate, Jenna Fischer, and how she was recovering from her back injury, suffered after falling down a flight of stairs last month in New York.
“She’s much better, she’s back in Los Angeles,” says Carell of Fischer. “She will be completely fine, she’s going to kind of just lay low. She wasn’t working this summer so she can take it easy and rehab it, but she’s going to be fine.”
Carell, meanwhile, had nothing but praise for his experience on the series in general, and doesn’t seem eager to yet bolt The Office for a full-time, film-only career, despite currently shooting the big screen adaptation of Get Smart for next summer. “I think, just in terms of writing and value, nothing beats that show,” he says of The Office. “It’s such a smart group of people, and people are really devoted to the show. The actors… I think are fantastic, every one of them. We’re very lucky. That sort of [group] doesn’t come together very often. It’s sort of a brain trust, especially the writing team.” For a more fully sketched feature and interview with Carell, click here.
Forgot to mention this back when it occurred on May 19, but Michael Madsen appeared in person at the Fangoria Convention in Burbank, and did his best Tom Sizemore impression, squinting, smirking and acting quite odd.
He was talking up his participation in Shifter, a Rage comic book series about a two-legged, sunglasses-sporting, Mob hitman werewolf. Set to launch June 27, the series is being inked and published with an eye already being cast toward big screen adaptation. Saying that he’d been “in Valencia shooting a motorcycle picture for Quentin Tarantino until 3 a.m.” (that would be Larry Bishop’s Hell Ride, produced by Tarantino), Madsen says that doing something for his five sons played a big part in tackling Shifter,
but that also, “I’m trying to get away from the villain thing for a
while, and be a hero, instead of the one who gets thrown out of a
window by Steven Seagal.” (Apparently Madsen momentarily confused
himself with… Gary Busey?)
Also on hand with Madsen were Amber Benson, who models/plays informant Kimmy in the series, and Rachel Miner, the ex-Mrs. Macaulay Culkin, who portrays assassin Poison. They appeared bored and increasingly irritated, while Madsen kept interrupting the moderator, glancing around and pounding his cordless microphone on his armchair and repeating into it, “Thanksgiving!” in a deep voice, a reference to Eli Roth, who preceded the awkward Shifter panel with a chat about Hostel: Part II.
Press conferences are always something of a dicey proposition, and you typically lose quite a bit of the (admittedly manufactured) informality of roundtable interviews in the translation to this format, no matter how well managed against free-for-all they are. Sometimes, though, as at the press day held in Los Angeles this past weekend for the forthcoming Evan Almighty, the tradeoff proves deliciously worth it, either because of an instinctive performance moment born of appearing in front of a larger group or… well, just a stupidly phrased question that provides its own inherent entertainment value. To wit, this exchange with Lauren Graham, above:
Question: In both this movie and in Gilmore Girls, you’re the sexy
Lauren Graham: Thanks.
Q: Not skinny at all, but very light…
LG: Mmm… wow, there’s that. Not at all? You wouldn’t say at
Q: What do you do to…
LG: To be so not skinny?
Q: … do you work out, or…?
LG: (laughs) Well, thank you for part of that question. I
don’t have really any awareness of that. What I knew is that I thought that… You
know, we sort of discussed that I didn’t think [my character] worked. And so I
wanted her to feel kind of casual and natural, especially in opposition to this
guy [Steve Carell] who’s very buttoned up and has kind of gotten into this more professional
time of his life. I felt like this is a girl who’s known him a long time, and
knew him before all this stuff happened. And so I just wanted her to be kind of
a counterpoint for him. And the other stuff: like, if I did anything I wanted
to do, I would be, like, a lot… Uh, this is me like running and doing
everything I can. I’m sort of fighting a battle… I guess. I could go really far the
other way, so this… I work out a lot. I watch what I eat. It’s very hard won
even to be this not skinny. Yes! Next…
For the record, and for what it’s worth, the question came from a female reporter…