Jessica Biel prancing about in her bra and underwear helped the desperately unfunny I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry claim the top spot at the box office this past weekend, ringing up $34.8 million on 4,400 screens, a very solid number but one still at the bottom end of the spectrum for a live action Adam Sandler comedy bowing at more than 3,000 theaters. In its second week of release, the fifth installment of the Harry Potter franchise pulled in another $32 million at the box office, perhaps somewhat dampened by the fact that everyone was out buying the final tome in the best-selling series.
Another delayed tidbit that I found of interest; in many of its first and second weekend newspaper ads for Ratatouille — at least out here in the Los Angeles Times — Disney took the time and space to affix a little “certified fresh” emblem (above) from critical aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. The first one I saw pegged the review support rate at an already astonishingly high 95%, but when that percentage crept upward, a few other ads were revised to “96% fresh,” where, as of this writing, the movie still stands. This is a tack that seems really smart to me — selling the consensus of the movie to those adult film fans still resistant to animated flicks on grounds that they’re a genre and not a medium (which of course isn’t the case).
“In all of Bay’s work, there’s forward momentum to the
imagery and, by linking one shot to the next, a story seems to occur (emphasis mine). But
there’s nothing cinematic about the way he accumulates moving pictures. That’s
one of the reasons his films always have excellent trailers — every shot is
powerful by itself, and yet they’re all inherently meaningless. He might be the
greatest second-unit director film has ever seen.”
Foster is right, really. Bay is an imagist; he only understands story in the most cursory sense. He’s there to make it move and, more often than not, glisten in the sun. I’d wholeheartedly disagree with Foster about the ending of Transformers, though. The story was so warped at that point, and the accumulated mind-numbingness of its images so discombobulating, that it felt like “pop shot” action, nothing more — certainly not (emotionally) involving action.
I’d meant to devote some attention to this earlier, but it somehow slipped through the cracks, a la Congressional oversight circa 2003-04: according to The Hollywood Reporter, Naomi Watts has inked to The International, an espionage thriller penned by debut scribe Eric Singer. The plot centers on an obsessive Interpol agent who spearheads an investigation into one of the world’s most high-profile and powerful banking institutions in an attempt to expose them for corruption and worldwide arms brokering; Watts will play a Manhattan assistant district attorney who partners with the agent to take down the bank.
This sounds a lot better than the starchy, prestige-pic righteousness of Watts’ We Are All the Same; it sounds like a sort of high-grade genre companion piece to The Interpreter, starring Watts’ good friend Nicole Kidman. What makes it really sing, however, is the fact that Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) is directing for Columbia Pictures, and that Clive Owen will be playing said Interpol agent. That’s a damn good on-paper combination, right there. Tykwer has a touch with visual panache that’s almost peerless, but that’s largely forgotten because it’s not his only trick. After the still-birth of Perfume — an interesting movie that I mostly enjoyed, but that was certainly given a quarter-assed release from Paramount — it’ll be good to see Tykwer get back to something with the potential for a little pop.