Monday, November 30, 2009

Just 'Cause I Dig the Ood

The Wonder of Cable

I spent the Tksgvn* weekend visiting friends and family. Narrowing down a little, Skot and my mom. The two dominant themes of the weekend were driving and TV. I realized how much I miss cable TV on Friday night, when channel-surfing yielded the last 10 minutes of Disney's The Gnome-Mobile followed by the last ten minutes of Night of The Living Dead. Gives a man perspective, you know? I still don't know if I need to spend $90 a month for perpective, but I'm weighing the option.

*abbreviated because the time was too short.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekend Box Office

Numbers here. Big numbers.

You might have noticed a little movie called New Moon. It's a sequel to teen-vampire romance Twilight. In three days it pulled in $142 million dollars. To give you some perspective, hugely expensive sci-fi apocalyptoloosa 2012 (#3) has earned $108 million in 10 days.

The number 2 spot is taken up by Sanda Bullock Oscar-bait The Blind Side, which debuted at $34 mil. This is pretty good, and I suspect it benefitted from being the next choice of people who showed up for showings of New Moon after it sold out.

Other new movie in the top ten, Planet 51, does allright at #4 with $12 million. Meh.

Waaaaay down at the bottom of the list, a drama called The Stoning of Soraya M. It made $93 bucks on one screen. Amusingly, it's from a company called Roadside Attractions. They'd have done better just travelling around, setting up on a roadside, and actually stoning someone. Maybe the cast of the movie! A gig's a gig.

Monday, November 23, 2009

International Vampire Weekend

What do you get when you combine Sweet Valley High and The Munsters? Money. Lots and lots of money. Tomorrow the final word on American Box office receipts for New Moon, but today lets see how it did internationally, because nowadays smart studios release everything everywhere all at once.

In the U.K. and Ireland, distrib E1 Ent. said the “Twilight” sequel achieved the second highest opening day’s B.O. of all time, only bettered by “Quantum of Solace.”

“New Moon,” which is playing on 1,100 screens, went on to suck £11.75 million ($19.5 million) from the market over three days, for a $17,727 screen average.

In Australia, the pic took a record $14.9 million for Hoyts on its opening weekend across 530 screens for a $28,113 average. Previous record holder was “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” with $13.3 million on 510 screens for a $26,078 average.

In Canada, where the film opened on a record 685 screens, three-day ticket sales were $10.6 million, the second-largest opening weekend ever, E1 Ent. said, for a $15,474 average.

In France, where “New Moon” opened Wednesday, the pic grossed $19.3 million from 755 prints for SND, for a $25,563 average. This was the second highest-grossing first weekend of the year. “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” has the top slot but it was released on 200 more copies.

In Italy, “New Moon” pulled $14.2 million from 699 screens over its five-day opening, via Eagle Pictures. The boffo outing marked Italy’s second top bow ever for a pic opening on a Wednesday after “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”
Thank goodness this formula is impossible to copy, because I'd hate to see a bunch of cheap ripoffs coming out in the coming year.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Odds, Ends

Winfrey: Prayer, careful thought influenced exit

If only (insert hated TV personality here) prayed more!

Jude Law hurls oranges at unwanted audience: report

This is brave reporting... Law could show up at the offices of AFP and hurl oranges at THEM!

Warrant: Drug in Jackson case came from Vegas firm

*SIGH* If only it had stayed in Vegas.

Mussolini's blood and brain up for sale on eBay

You can criticize this auction all you want, but it will run on time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2012: A Review

I saw it yesterday but my brain kept shutting down. I have to point to this meta-comment in Variety's review of the movie, which dismantles the entire genre.
Let it be said that "2012'' plummets from reasonably distracting spectacle
to sheerest silliness when, in the pointlessly protracted final reels, it tries
to maintain interest in the (confusingly staged) jeopardy of a handful of
characters when much of the world's population has already been wiped out or is
about to be. Never has Rick's observation in "Casablanca'' been more true, that
the problems of a few little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this
crazy world.
It kind of reminds me of movies where the plot involves people being lured to their death by ghosts; if there are ghosts and they can push you around, how is dying such a bad thing? It's a self-negating plot.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekend Box Office

Gotcha numbas here.

At #1 2012 made $65 million.

At #129 From Mexico With Love made $63.

The rest is just details.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Viva L'Ugly!

It's a sign of how fed up I am with beautiful people, I guess. My Netflix selection this weekend was TIMECRIMES, a low-key time travel paradox movie from Spain (Mexico?) and while it didn't offer much in the way of genre refinements, it DID sport a lead character who was old and paunchy. This was just fascinating to me. I watched this guy skulking around with his bald head and puffy face and I said to myself, why would they have cast this part with Zac Efron here in the United States?

Not that I have anything against Zac Efron or Shia LeBeouf or Beyonce or Rachel McAdams, but come on! Not everyone in the world is hot! The ugly need their stories told as well.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Odds, Ends

Playboy in talks to be sold

Hef to be stuffed, mounted. Change of pace.

'Office Space' star Ron Livingston weds

Shouldn't he have a more recent reference vehicle by now?

The Who to perform at SuperBowl: report

"I hope I die before I get old..." Ha ha! Just kidding!

ABC shows `Hank' the door; another Grammer loss

Yeah, when will Kelsey Grammer finally make something of himself?

Al Gore's Current TV lays off 80 employees

What's worse, they have to return their webcams.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MGM Is Not A Studio, It's A Commodity

What's the last MGM movie you saw lately? Of course you didn't. They don't make movies. They buy and sell movies they've already made.

Several sources say they expect that MGM will essentially be auctioned off within the next few weeks.

This would mean that a major, such as Time Warner, could buy the MGM-UA library while another entity might acquire the logo, and yet another deal could be made for United Artists. Sources speculated that Kirk Kerkorian, who has already bought and sold MGM twice, might buy the logo once again.
Uh oh, maybe I spoke too soon! Later, in the same article:

MGM's released only a remake of "Fame" this year. For 2010, it's opening two comedies -- "Hot Tub Time Machine" in March and "The Zookeeper" in October -- and a remake of "Red Dawn" in November.
I am so lining up for Hot Tub Time Machine. Or can you "line up" at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Weekend Box Office

Looka the numbers!

Extravagant 3D money vortex Disney's A Christmas Carol pulls in $30 million and comes in at #1. What a novel idea, to make a movie out of this story! One day maybe they'll make another, so we can compare 'em.

Weirdo George Clooney vehicle The Men Who Stare At Goats comes in 3rd at $12 mil. I want to see this. A couple of horror movies, The Fourth Kind and The Box also make the top then, but they won't be there long.

Paranormal Activity finally starts dropping, but it's made almost a hundred million bucks! Not bad for a movie that cost $1.98 to make.

My favorite title for the week, at #12: Precious: Based on the Novel "Push". Why not just call it Push? Clearly, someone in the Lionsgate executive offices has a mighty big ego problem.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not The Beatles, But An Incredible Psycho-Acoustic Simulation

The quaint anachronistic battle to make Beatles songs available online legally (as opposed to the way I got them - all of them) has been dealt another blow in the last few days, as has been stopped from distributing songs for a quarter apiece.

Bluebeat's owner, Hank Risan, has claimed he does not need to license the music as the service is selling re-recorded versions of the songs using a technology called "psycho-acoustic simulation".

He argues it enables him to sell music that sounds identical to recordings, making it exempt under a section of the Copyright Act which applies to recordings that "imitate or simulate those in the copyrighted sound recording".
As utterly convincing as this technical argument is, it hasn't been enough to stop the injunction. The Beatles are offline again until November 20th, when lawyers from both sides will attempt to bamboozle a judge into seeing their point of view. Meanwhile, the Fab Four are losing money by not participating in the paid download arena. Not that they (the corporate entity which represents the Beatles, obviously) need the money.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Easy To Assemble

I got a nasty head cold this week and it's sapping my writing energy. Therefore, ignore me and watch this. Illeana Douglas, big-eyed indie darling, has been pumping out a web series about her adventures as an employee of the Burbank Ikea.

Titled Easy To Assemble, the segments are brief, funny, and stacked up with cameos by the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Pollock and so on. The series is now in its second season and features Justine Bateman, playing herself, as Douglas's rival for Employee of the Month.

It won't change the world but anything Illeana produces is gold. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Weekend Box Office

Here are the numbers.

Halloween fell on Saturday night this year, which studios would consider the kiss of death for the whole weekend normally. Parties are a great alternatitve to moviegoing, right? God knows I was at one. Still, this didn't hurt the opening of ghoulish This Is It, the Michael Jackson concert rehersal movie. #1 at $23 million! If he had lived long enough to do the actual concert... well, who knows. Probably woulda done worse.

I was expecting Paranormal Activity to drop like a zombie with a head wound this weekend, but it's only down 22%.

Other newbie this weekend Boondock Saints II debuts at #14 and therefore does not exist. Just as well; without Willem Dafoe's overacting I'm not sure why you'd bother.

Worst-performing non-documentary Shall We Kiss debuts with $172. Not so bad, according to Rotten Tomatoes, so it must be poor marketing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Improv part 2

See? Throw a gate, a couple of ghouls and a fog machine at the
problem! Creepy and effective. Not quite as scary as dealing with the
homeowners insurance people.

Improv part 1

I worked an epic haunted house/halloween party over the weekend.
They've been decorating for a month.

In the middle of the week, things looked bad when strong Santa Ana
winds knocked over a huge tree in the yard, blocking the road and
crushing the entrance gate (and a neighbor's car) making things very
dicey for the Haunted house people. Next post: how to use a good