Posts Tagged ‘Knowing’

DVD Debut: Knowing, Push, The Unborn

July 7, 2009

The UnbornAnother week, another Nic Cage movie. Oh, and another DVD Debut on VH1.com.

This horror movie gets right down to it. Odette Yustman has barely been onscreen for a second when she’s seeing creepy dogs, creepy children, and digging up a demon fetus in the snow. The shocks come quick and fast for a while, before settling into a Jewish spin on The Exorcist. The dybbuk intending to inhabit Yustman’s body, which looks good in underwear, has beef stretching all the way back to the Holocaust. Why it would trouble someone so devoid of any kind of personality, however, is never explained.

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Knowing: What Happened?

March 25, 2009

knowingPatrick Goldstein tries to get to the bottom of why around 3 million people went to see a Nicolas Cage movie this weekend. The film made $24.8 million, topping the much-slathered over Rudd/Segal I Love You, Man and Owen/Roberts Duplicity. What he learned might shock you. Actually, it won’t. Okay, it might.

I asked three Hollywood marketing gurus for their expert analysis. And while they all had different opinions about the appeal of the film (produced by Summit Entertainment), they agreed on one thing: It wasn’t about Nic Cage. In fact, the consensus was that people don’t go see Nic Cage movies, since there are too many movies in too many genres that all starred Cage that didn’t make a ripple at the box office. In other words, audiences see fantasy adventure fables that happen to star Cage, but not because they star Cage.

In sum, Goldstein’s brain trust explain that the trailer emphasized a similarity between the film and National Treasure in a similar manner to the way I Love You, Man tried to make you think you were watching a Judd Apatow film and Duplicity tried not to make you think you were watching Closer 2: The Next Day.

Goldstein lobs out that Knowing also tapped into the zeitgeist by showing the world falling apart at the same time as the world is falling apart. Looking at that one-sheet, though, all Squally sees is the world turning into a lot of numbers. “It’s better to be lucky than be good,” he writes, which you can put right alongside “Nobody knows anything” and “No one ever went broke underestimating the American public.”

Did you see it? Why? Was it any good?

Critical Bitchslap: A.O. Scott vs. Richard Brody

March 24, 2009

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Imagine a war between the New York Times and the New Yorker, and you might think of Walter Burns tossing inkpots at the effete Eustace Tilly. In fact, it appears to be the other way around. A.O. Scott’s elegant consideration of a certain type of American Neo-Realism has been blasted via a pugnacious blog post from Richard Brody. After an initial exchange of fire, both returned for another salvo. The various broadsides can be read here, here, here and here. But for those who would just prefer to fall asleep without moving their mouse, here’s Squally’s scorecard.

It all started when A.O. Scott, as is his wont, looked over a series of forthcoming films and attempted to write a serviceable trend piece colored with his usual thoughtful commentary. In the best New York Sunday Magazine style, he explained to readers something they presumably hadn’t noticed before and gave them a bit of a back scratch as well. That “something” was the adaptation of Neo-realist techniques by filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart) and Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy), occasioned by the release of Bahrani’s Goodbye Solo, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden‘s Sugar and So Yong Kim‘s Treeless Mountain in the next few weeks.

These films, he wrote, represented “an urge to escape from escapism,” an alternative to films like Watchmen, Knowing, and whatever else they’re condemned to watch in Greeley, Colorado. Each has several features in common with the classics of the postwar Italian Neo-realist movement, films such as Roma, citta aperta/Open City, La Terra Trema/The Earth Trembles and Ladri di biciclette/Bicycle Thieves. They are made during a time of economic and political upheaval. They use non-professionals in fictional roles that are close to their real selves. They are filmed on location and make use of “unadorned, specific” locales (Rome, Winston-Salem, N.C., a mountain village in South Korea). They emphasize work–whether as a profession, at home, or in the school. Although Italian Neo-realism passed mainstream American cinema by, these films look to foreign movies and are intent in showing the “American life that remains off screen.” While subdued in nature, these films can be ultimately inspiring in how they portray strength/resilience in the face of adversity.

All seems innocuous enough. But not so for Brody the firebrand blogger at New Yorker’s Front Row. In a numbered list and with a shaky criteria that recalls the manner of his New Wave heroes (Brody has written the acclaimed Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard), Brody swings at the Old Grey Lady’s oracle … and swings wildly.
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Your Hell of Hells: Star Wars Comes to TV

March 11, 2009

star-warsIf before you didn’t know or care who Rose Byrne was, now you will . She’s the actress who has spilt some minor beans on George Lucas‘ forthcoming TV version of Star Wars. According to MTV’s Movies Blog, the actress let slip during a junket for Nicolas Cage’s latest gift to the world, Knowing, that casting for Leave It to Georgehad indeed begin. One can imagine a horde of sleepy junketeers shaking themselves back awake at the news, but to be honest, we’re not entirely sure about the volume of Eric Ditzian’s scoop.

“During the junket for the Nicolas Cage thriller “Knowing,” star Rose Byrne let slip that Team Lucas is casting a wide net for actors to join the show. “A lot of my friends have been auditioning for it,” she said.”

So that “wide net” is roughly the circumference of Rose Byrne’s friends. We’d tell you who those friends are, but Rose won’t make us a buddy on her Facebook page. If you’re unimpressed by Lucas’ casting skills, Byrne doesn’t sound very excited either.
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My Thoughts Exactly

March 11, 2009

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