I just can't imagine that six minutes of gore removed makes that much of a difference. Certainly not enough to drastically change one's opinion of the movie. Just because Gibson tossed it back into theaters a year after its release, critics should have to see it again? I don't think so.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 15, 2005 07:08 PM
the recut wasn't screened for critics.
Posted by: bicycle bob | March 16, 2005 07:02 AM
"the critics have an unbreakable obligation to show up, plant their asses in their seats, and then give us their professional assessments."
Chester! Now, after so many thoughtful posts on your part, that's something I have to disagree with. ;-)
Whether it's a "Film Comment" critic who doesn't bother to see every trashy Pauly Shore film or "USA Today" which doesn't send Mike Clark to a seven hour Bela Tarr film, NO critic can see ALL the films that open. There are just too many of them. Pauline Kael didn't review Ozu films. She admitted in an interview that she just didn't "get" Ozu. Admitting that, why should she bother watching them and giving her limited assessment? I think you are right that it's a bit odd that NOBODY reviewed the new version of "The Legal Execution of the Christ". Point taken. But frankly, if a critic had to choose between seeing the recut "Passion" and the latest Ming-liang Tsai film, I'd rather have him see the latter and report on it.
Posted by: L.J. | March 16, 2005 07:34 AM
I do not know where you are looking but the film has been reviewed and not well. It has taken away the one thing it brought. The gore and violence of Jesus' death.
Posted by: Terence D | March 16, 2005 10:32 AM
L.J., my key point (which I admit could have been presented better) has been that this re-release is newsworthy, and therefore arts editors should have ASSIGNED this film to their critics. Trust me, none of the critics at any publication, whether it's USA Today or The N.Y. Times, are able to refuse assignments from their editors. You can't compare Pauline Kael and some of the Film Comment crowd to other critics; they fall under the category of essayists who get to pick and choose, a privilege other film critics do not share. Even Roger Ebert, arguably the most powerful movie critic of all time, seems to review every single film that gets released.
Terence, as of yesterday, I hadn't seen a single review anywhere and there were none posted on Rotten Tomatoes. Today, Rotten Tomatoes posted a single review from Philadelphia Weekly (=thumbs down).
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 11:41 AM
Apparently most people (including editors) simply do not feel that it is newsworthy.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 16, 2005 01:15 PM
I completely agree that that's the case, Stella. And that's precisely what I (and apparently I alone) think stinks. Does anyone doubt that if Scorsese were to suddenly release a personally recut version of "The Aviator" that was six minutes shorter, revised to address the criticisms of the original, that every major newspaper would have been all over it?
BTW, Stella, you might want to take a look at the Philadelphia Weekly review, because the critic addresses your "they only cut six minutes" argument. He says that while six minutes may not sound like much, the cuts are extremely noticeable and throw off whatever merit he found in the original version. The review is at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-10005055/reviews.php?critic=all&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1369821.
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 01:48 PM
I don't think that's a logical comparison, nor do I think every major newspaper would be all over something like that. Not so soon after the release of the original version. I'll check out that review, but other articles have stated that the cuts don't amount to anything significant. I really don't care. I hated the movie with a passion and will never, ever watch it again.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 16, 2005 02:01 PM
Stella, how is it not a logical comparison? Where is the flaw in my logic?
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 02:19 PM
I think that critic is on crack. The movie's message is the power of love in the face of barbarism? Lefties will never admit to nor see its strong direction? Are you fucking with me? I'd hate to read his original review. I assume it's even more full of shit than his review of the new cut. Maybe my choice of words was poor. I just don't see something like that ever being a remote possibility, re-releasing The Aviator a year after its original release with six minutes cut. And if it did ever happen, I don't think that every major newspaper would make sure that it was reviewed.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 16, 2005 02:25 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Stella, that "the power of love in the face of barbarism" is not the message I took from the original film. But I think it's fair to say that it is the prevailing view of those who supported it.
As far as our ongoing debate about the newsworthiness of the recut ... hey, where's Joe Leydon when we need him?
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 02:35 PM
Excellent question. Where is Joe? Did he all of a sudden get busy or something?
It was one of those nights when the internet was at its best and the internet was at its worst.
The band of brothers (and sisters) that started OneRing.net more than five years ago captured the leadership in news coverage of the trilogy’s phenomena. They’re obsessiveness even pushed the day-to-day coverage beyond the award-winning web presence from New Line. In the process, the site and its leaders became very close to Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and many members of the Rings team. And in the last year, that led to a collaborative effort in KongIsKing.com, where daily production videos, produced by Jackson’s team and webcast without any clear credits, are the ultimate in movie obsessive meat.
It was only a matter of time before another studio followed in their footsteps. Warner Bros. is using the strategy for the new Superman movie. WB is not the first company to have a direct relationship with a fan site. DreamWorks has owned CountingDown.com for years now. But when Bluetights.net ran a video of Bryan Singer saying “hello” to fans from Australia, the OneRingers (now Kongites) got pissed off.
Welcome to Hollywood.
Michael Regina aka Xoanon sent out a mass e-mail yesterday to movie site webmasters. I’m not going to publish the five paragraph long e-mail because given the end of the story… less than two hours later…. its harshness and arrogance would be breathtakingly embarrassing and I am not writing this piece to embarrass Michael, but to illustrate a bigger point. Let’s just say that Xoanon accused Warner Bros. of meeting with his people, offering the possibility that they would hire the now incorporated One Ring, Inc to build a fan site for Superman , then backstabbing them and doing it themselves. His central argument, designed to enrage webmasters, was, “When a production company creates a site 'by fans and for fans', is that not akin to the tail wagging the dog?”
Xoanon’s first big mistake was that he didn’t investigate Bluetights.net, which was started by a guy named Justin Korthof who went to graphic design school up at Cal State Fresno and still lives in Clovis, CA, near Fresno. He registered the site name with GoDaddy.com. It is a .net because the .com is owned by a URL broker in Hawaii. (It comes up for renewal next November… I imagine that WB could have bought it for $10,000 or less… and probably still should.)
And note… none of this info was given to me by Warner Bros. or anyone else. It took about five minutes of snooping around Whois.com and Google to figure it out.
What Warner’s has done is very much what Peter Jackson has done. They went to a real fan site and offered some financial support and singular resources (and if you don’t think the Kong set reports would bill out to the film budget/studio at $10,000 or more a pop, you’re wrong) and created a hybrid that serves all masters… and serves them pretty well.
Somewhere in there, Xoanon started to confuse his love for the movies he and his team are covering with a business that fakes love like a $5000 a night hooker. Then he forgot whether he was the blower or the blowee. Like so many others in the young history of the web, he thought he had ownership rights over being a “real fan.”
Within minutes of the e-mail blast, WB’s Don Buckley was trying to figure out where Xoanon got the idea that there was a deal on the table to do a Superman site. He went right to Michael Regina and in exactly one hour and forty minutes, the following e-mail arrived.
After some phone calls from Warners the situation has been rectified. Warner Bros. has pointed out that The One Ring Inc. was not in contention for a Superman site, merely doing research. Warner Bros. has stated that while they love the sites we maintin they decided to work with an existing fansite, rather than create a new one.
I apologize for any confusion, thanks.”
Getting past the typos and grammar problems, the WB story and the OneRing story became as one after one conversation between Mr. Buckley and Mr. Regina. And I have been assured that this was not a big threat talk, but rather a clarification of the reality of what happened.
Yes, WB loved what happened with OneRing on the Rings trilogy. Yes, someone chatted with someone at OneRing… but apparently, there was never an official proposal on the table, in either direction, that would lead a more established site to think that there was a business transaction in the offing. And indeed, Warners was not interested in creating a site out of whole cloth – no matter how loving OneRing’s whole cloth is – but wanted to, just as OneRing once did, offer special opportunities to a real and existing website.
Anyway… the very web-ian mistake was taking something public with a sense of high-handed rage without really knowing all the facts. And in this case, Xoanon didn’t know the two most important facts of all… the website he was attacking was not created by WB and he had no deal pending with WB. In other words… black was white, white was black, all because he was seeing red.
What is the best of the web here? The hour and forty minute turnaround. The access to senior execs at Warner Bros to address this issue within minutes of the first e-mail. Regina making a formal retraction that will go up in all of the places the first e-mail went.
If this mistaken accusation was woven into a story in the mainstream press – and if you think bad fact checking is a web-only phenomenon, you are sadly delusional – a correction would be buried and never seen. Follow-up story? Yeah, right.
Of course, the best thing is always for cooler heads to prevail, for deep research to be done and for “the accused” to get the chance to face the accusations before anything goes public.
"Getting back to the political metaphor, there has been no great president who won on the coattails of a strong administration in my lifetime. Nixon was once a Vice President, but he took a long time to get to the big chair and got there on a different energy. George H.W. Bush… Ford… Johnson… no, no, no. That doesn't mean it can't happen. But taking the role of maintaining the legacy is pretty brutal. You inevitably pale in the glow of the legendary success of a former reformer.
But maybe Bob Iger will emerge as a big thinker. Maybe he really has a vision for the future that Michael Eisner hasn't seen."
I'm into the third act of the film... on HBO Family West at the moment... though it seems to be on cable a lot right now.
What a great movie. Not just a good movie. Truly, a great movie.
This is the best work of Matthau's late career.
Tatum O'Neil is just perfection.
And all the other kids... I forgot how much they were kids... I guess because I was roughly their age when it came out.
And Michael Ritchie's work... it's just so gentle and warm and completely on it.
But it is the underlying theme that makes the film great. When Buttermaker realizes during the climactic game that he has become the kids and they have become him and that for all of his bluster and beer, he knows what he does and does not want to be.
I can only pray that Linklater, who does have much the same cinematic feel of a Michael Ritchie - Dazed & Confused is his Smile... no The Candidate yet - didn't let the script get overdeveloped or succumb to the urge to modernize too much.
The magic of the movie is when these kids who are so precocious return to being kids here and there.
Not a thrilling start for Fox’s Robots. It looks like its max gross for the three-day weekend is about $38 million, which puts its almost $10 million behind DreamWorks' crappy, but Will Smith led, Shark Tale, which also opened “off-season” last October.
It will also be at least $8 million behind Ice Age, another relatively no name animation from the same production team, which opened in the same slot three years ago. In my opinion, Ice Age was a much more enjoyable movie with a stronger emotional element that made multiple viewings more palatable. Would anyone at Fox see $135 million domestic total for Robots as a success? Probably not. That figure puts the movie into profit in Home Entertainment, but still…
In spite of the big noise of Robots, The Pacifier is off “just” 45% Friday-to-Friday. It isn’t a home run, but a solid double is a step up for Mr. Diesel.
Miramax’s Hostage got surprisingly strong reviews, but will have a fairly mediocre $11 million start thanks to fairly weak awareness of the Bruce Willis action movie. Sure, it’s a better start than the one for The Whole Ten Yards, but this feels like one of those opportunities lost to a lot of distraction and overwork at Current Miramax.
Million Dollar Baby's Friday tells you everything you need to know about the current state of trying to ride your Oscar to the big money. In just its second weekend after winning Best Picture, the film had the worst Friday since it went wide and is now off pace to catch up with The Aviator or to pass $100 million.
Speaking of The Aviator, it will try to hit $100 million by the end of next weekend… maybe the start of the weekend after… but it looks like the film will get to the mark, ring the bell and then go away.
Finally, the dismissal and now disappearance of The Jacket has tongues wagging the stability of the team at Warner Indie. If they can’t open the Keira Knightley kinda-horror movie with the Oscar winning co-star to a third of Dimension’s dumper Cursed… well…
By the way... even though I am laughing about the "reporting" going on around Stanley Gold and Roy Disney's whining about the lack of a serious search for someone than Bob Iger to replace Michael Eisner at Disney, they are right. There is no serious search for an Eisner replacement at Disney.
But what make me laugh is the idea that this is anything but business as usual for any corporation. As Eisner regained his power base enough to even say the words "Bob Iger" as his successor without being mocked, he also gained the power to withstand this kind of lightweight backbiting.
To the winner, comes the spoils. That is war. That is business. Deal with it.
And ironically, the lack of interest within Disney to make a change as significant as the one that was made when Eisner was hired is also a reason why a candidate as serious as Peter Chernin could be will be hard to get. Why would Chernin go to Disney to maintain what's been built? He's doing that at Fox and making more money than he ever would at Disney.
On the other hand, changes at Paramount/Viacom and Sony are indicators of seismic shifts much like the one that first brought Eisner into Mouse control. Eisner & Co. started attacking their weaknesses a couple of years ago and its starting to pay some dividends. And so, the continuation of the status quo instead of a shake-up had the support it needs.
And here's a topper - if New Miramax turns out to be more New Line/Dimension than Old Miramax, that could be a huge success story that other studios would try to emulate... just as they try to emulate Searchlight now. And as for that job... DeLuca has more movies in play at Sony since he arrived four months ago than he had the entire time at DreamWorks. He's tan, rested and ready. And as long as he doesn't get Snow White to smear her lipstick...
Sorry about the lack of updates. Honestly, I feel like most of the e-journalism world is circling the same stories and repeating the same secrets and lies a lot this month. We don't even have a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to obsess on like the sportswriters.
It will pick up. THB is going on hiatus for the next couple of weeks, so it should get more interesting here. Of course, I'll be in Bermuda, so maybe it will be sonombulistic.