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10/16/2008

Film & Video > First Shot

FIRST SHOT

 

You’ve gotta love a sore loser. Last week, we reported that at least one moviegoer had passed up the right-wing satire An American Carol because he had mistaken it for an actual Michael Moore picture. We’ve since learned that the makers of Carol have pinned their flick’s underwhelming $3.7 million opening weekend on a shadier phenomenon: fraud at the multiplex. Folks who shelled out for David Zucker’s critically lambasted comedy are being asked to weigh in if they encountered any of the following: tickets that were marked with the wrong film title or MPAA rating; inadequate promotion on the marquee and/or in the lobby; and (best of all) problems with sound or focus. By that yardstick, the shadow of suspicion must fall on every film that has ever been exhibited at a Regal theater.

Now, dishonesty at the box office is nothing new. But it’s a sacred tool of the people, not of corporations. A former editor of this very newspaper used to make a habit of buying tickets to indie films and then sneaking into the blockbusters he really wanted to see, so the underdog got his money. This is the sort of chicanery we can wholeheartedly support. So if you can’t suppress your lefty curiosity over the horrors that might be lurking in Carol, remember to stride proudly to the ticket window and ask for it by name. And that name is Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

IN THEATERS

Opening Friday, Oct. 17

Battle in Seattle Doing proper penance for subjecting the world to Head in the Clouds, creative canoodlers Stuart Townsend and Charlize Theron dramatize the WTO riots of 1999, submitting a portrait of a well-intended protest that was undone by anarchist forces with little more than chaos on their minds. Gee … when we hear ourselves say it out loud, that sounds like such a bad thing. (at Enzian Theater, Maitland; R)

Max Payne Andy Samberg’s hilarious SNL sketch “Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals” denoted that watershed moment in an actor’s career when he becomes lampoonable for qualities the mass audience has heretofore barely noticed. The next step in such an evolution: starring in a video-game adaptation that actually has a chance of surpassing the Uwe Boll standards of the genre. Hey, Max: Say hi to ya muvva for us, OK? (PG-13)

The Secret Life of Bees In this adaptation of the best-selling novel, Dakota Fanning runs away to South Carolina, where she learns important life lessons from sisters Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo. Then they rape her. (Not funny!) (PG-13)

Sex Drive Twice already, we’ve gone to bat for this road/sex comedy, on the basis of little more than strong advance buzz and the presence of one (1) local actress in a tertiary role. If it ends up sucking, look for this space to be filled next week by that crossword puzzle you’ve been longing for. (R)

W. Conscientious historian Oliver Stone tells the sad story of a man who was unfairly thrust into the presidency by forces beyond his control – like his own team of high-priced lawyers. Two tickets for Quarantine, please! (PG-13)

ON DVD

Available Tuesday, Oct. 21

The Incredible Hulk One of the sticking points in star Edward Norton’s semipublic dust-up with Marvel Films was the latter’s decision to omit a full 70 (!) minutes of shot footage from this year’s Hulk reboot, privileging walloping action over lesser considerations like narrative coherence. How many of those gaps you now get to fill in depends on which home-viewing package you spring for: The quotient of deleted scenes goes up as you ascend the price scale from the standard single-disc version to the three-disc “special edition” to the Blu-ray release. And even the latter leaves a full 20 minutes of completed material still unaccounted for! Sounds like somebody’s holding a card under the table in case home holography can be worked out in time for Christmas 2009.

Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume Six Some animation aficionados are up in arms that this (supposedly) final installment in Warner Bros.’ archival series emphasizes wartime rarities and obscure characters over established icons. But as far as we’re concerned, it’s still not too late to kindle America’s overdue love affair with the sublime Charlie Dog.

BOOKS

Available Monday, Oct. 20

Bond on Set: Filming Quantum of Solace Photographer Greg Williams documents the making of the forthcoming 22nd official 007 adventure. Given that star Daniel Craig lost the tip of his finger, had to have eight stitches on his face and may even have broken an arm during filming, we’re thinking a complete set of X-rays is a shoo-in for any slipcased edition.

Available Tuesday, Oct. 21

Legendary Movies Learn about the classics of numerous film genres from critic Paolo D’Agostini, who has screened entries in the Venice Film Festival, and co-author Franco Zeffirelli, the acclaimed director of Romeo and Juliet as well as the recipient of an honorary British knighthood, and now a member of the Italian senate. Yeah, yeah; everybody’s an expert.

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