Film based on Seth Grahame-Smith's novel can't hold on to a helmer
The 1997 movie phenomenon will be re-released in 3D theaters next April
I’ve never been a huge fan of James Cameron’s blockbuster, “Titanic.” I came to the film a confirmed Titanic freak, having read dozens of books about the construction, voyage, and sinking of the ship. When I saw the film in 1997 through my fanatic’s lens, I felt that Cameron should have let well enough alone. There were so many interesting characters and storylines on the actual Titanic, why make up the whole Rose/Jack silliness with all its clichés and histrionics? I am a great admirer of both Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio but “Titanic” remains my least favorite of their respective films. And that song by Celine Dion? After its constant play in the late 1990s, I would have volunteered to go down with the ship rather than hear Dion belt it one more time.
Needless to say, most of the world didn’t seem to share my snooty objections. “Titanic” went on to earn a staggering $1.8 billion (yes, billion!) in worldwide box office receipts and it was showered with awards including the Best Picture Oscar. The film became the #1 film in every global market in which it appeared, including some that had rarely screened a mainstream American film. It remained the #1 film of all time for years until it was eclipsed by yet another James Cameron phenomenon, “Avatar.” King of the world, indeed!
Two years ago, at Comic-Con 2009, Cameron announced that he was converting “Titanic” into 3D and would re-release it in theaters. Originally planned for this year, I like the fact that the release date has been moved to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s ill-fated voyage. The film will hit the theaters again on April 6, 2012, but today James Cameron previewed 18 minutes of the converted footage at Paramount Studios for a select crowd. As reported by the Associated Press, the first look at the 3D version included moments from eight key scenes: from Kate Winslet’s Rose arriving at the dock and seeing the majestic ship for the first time up to the moment when the “unsinkable” Titanic plunges into the sea at a 90-degree angle.
While many of the recent after-the-fact 3D movie conversions have been less than thrilling, in my opinion, if anyone can make full use of the added dimension, it’s James Cameron. “I think it looks spectacular,” he said earlier today to the assembled crowd. “If I had 3D cameras at the time and there had been 3D theaters, I certainly would have shot it in 3D. It’s also just a way of reinventing the concept of a rerelease and getting people to come back to theaters and commit that three hours and 15 minutes to go through the experience again.”
I have to admit that despite my curmudgeonly attitude about the film for all these years, I’m looking forward to seeing it again next April. Who knows? I may even develop an appreciation for “My Heart Will Go On.”
Are you planning on lining up to see “Titanic” again?
On producing Scorsese, Jolie, and Depp
Graham King is, by definition, the very model of a modern movie mogul; the producer of films like "The Departed" and "Edge of Darkness," he's currently releasing "The Rum Diary," while bracing for Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo" and Angelina Jolie's "In the Land of Blood and Honey" to hit theaters later this year, while his company Film District has already earned raves for "Drive" with Ryan Gosling. We spoke with King in L.A. about his busy year and the power of gut feeling over number-crunching.
You're doing press for 'The Rum Diary,' you had 'Hugo' at NYFF, you're getting ready for 'Jersey Boys' and (a) Freddie Mercury (bio-pic), you've got your directorial debut of one of the most acclaimed movie stars in the world coming up. How much juggling is involved with that?
King: It's a lot. It just so happens that 'The Rum Diary,' 'Hugo,' and Angie's movie (Angelina Jolie's directorial debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey") all come out within a short time. I'm looking forward to Christmas. I'm nervous. I don't like the time when it comes to releasing a movie; that's the only time I don't like.
Do you feel fairly hands-on in the process of making it, and once you push it out of the nest, you have no control and that freaks you out?
King: I think part of that is definitely that. It's fantastic that we now have Film District, so I'm even more hands-on in marketing and campaigns and everything. It's definitely the part that wants it in the hands of the audience, there's nothing you can do. You make your movie, and it can take two years, three years, five years, whatever, and spend (so) much money ... that it comes down to that Friday, Saturday night.
Finding 'The Rum Diary,' returning to Hunter S. Thompson and more
You found "The Rum Diary" manuscript in a pile of the author's papers, unpublished, during the '90s. How terrifying is Hunter S. Thompson's filing system?
Depp (laughing): I've seen better organized people for sure. Essentially, we ended up -- it was when I was in "Fear and Loathing," and we ended up down in what he called The War Room, which was basically all of his letters, all of his manuscripts, everything he'd saved over the years, which was an abundance. I happened upon the box by mistake, thinking I had opened this cardboard box. Papers and things came flying out. There was quite a large folder with "Rum Diaries" written across it. I felt compelled to start reading; Hunter started reading. We sat there cross-legged and read this thing. I don't think he'd seen it since he'd written it. I was impressed. I said, "You gotta publish it.'" One thing lead to another, and Hunter said, "We've got to produce this now. As a film." And we did.
See all three films for the price of one - tomorrow night only!
In the interest of complete honesty with you, my loyal Hitlisters, I'm still a bit freaked out by "Paranormal Activity 3." I was not the biggest fan of the first two films, but I did admire the ingenuity of both of the films in terms of both the filming tricks and marketing treats that went into their creation and rise in popularity, but they didn't rob me of my nightly zzz's. "Paranormal Activity 3" most certainly did. But my enjoyment of the film was marred by my fuzzy memory of the first two films - just how did all these time-jumping pieces fit together? The answer to my confusion has now arrived (well, sort of).
For one night only, Paramount has teamed up with a few of the nation's Regal theatres to show all three films back to back to back, all for the price of just one ticket. Even better? The triple feature will be shown in chronological order (well, again, sort of - if you know the films, you know how much the they jump back and forth), with "Paranormal Activity 3" leading into "Paranormal Activity" and then "Paranormal Activity 2." Will all those different plots and pieces and utter terrors fit together? You can find out. I will not be making this event, because I very nearly had to be hospitalized after checking out "Paranormal Activity 3" at one of its many fan premieres last week, and I think it's better for my cinematic health if I take a breather.
However, for those of you looking for some Halloween weekend plans, this is a very fun (and, again, totally terrifying) way to spend tomorrow night. The event will run at select theaters tomorrow, October 28. After the break, check out the eleven theatres that will be participating, and how to get your ticket.
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" (Paramount) is, as the title hints, something of a prologue to the upcoming superhero extravaganza "The Avenger," but it's also an old-fashioned piece of two-fisted comic-book heroism with a patina of nostalgia and World War II patriotism. And the film owes all due credit to Chris Evans, who brings a convincing mix of pluck, modesty and duty to the role, embodying an icon without turning it into parody. While not the best superhero movie in the recent cycle of big-screen comic books, it's far from the worst and at times endearing in its sense of honor, decency and responsibility. Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D. Videodrone's review is here.
"Winnie the Pooh" (Disney) is the new animated feature starring the silly old bear of A.A. Milne's children's stories, and Disney's first hand-drawn animated feature in some time.
The lead-up to Halloween also brings a few choice titles out for the season, the most choice being "Attack the Block" (Sony), a British invasion-in-the-hood thriller with both a palpable social subtext and a great B-movie energy. And from Finland comes the twisted Santa Claus tale "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" (Oscilloscope). Videodrone reviews them here.
Kevin Spacey is "Father of Invention" (Anchor Bay), an inventor and TV pitchman on hard times, Jenna Fischer needs "A Little Help" (Image) in this comedy and "The People Vs. George Lucas" (Lionsgate) explores the complicated relationship between "Star Wars" fans and the film's creator.
From China comes "City of Life and Death" (Kino Lorber), an epic recreation of the Rape of Nanking in 1937, plus the costume action thriller "Shaolin" (Well Go) with Andy Lau, both on DVD and Blu-ray. "Fire of Conscience" (Vivendi) is a contemporary Hong Kong crime thriller.
TV on DVD:
"Barney Miller: The Complete Series" (Shout! Factory) collects all eight seasons of the iconic seventies sitcom -- 168 episodes altogether -- plus complete half-season of the spin-off "Fish" in a hefty 25-disc box set. Set entirely in the precinct house, it's still considered the most realistic portrayal of cops on television by real-life law officers. The set is also packed with supplements: commentary tracks, cast interviews and the original pilot. Videodrone's review is here.
The Emmy-winning 1977 holiday drama "The Gathering" (Warner) stars Edward Asner and Maureen Stapleton.
With the new feature film set for release, the original 1980 British TV mini-series "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" (Acorn), starring Sir Alec Guinness is George Smiley, is back out on DVD. More from Videodrone here.
'I felt like you wanted to smell Moburg when you were sitting in your chair in the theater.'
You're disgusting in this film. You're filthy, feral --
Ribisi: I don't know if I would say filthy, disgusting, and feral as much as I would say that yes, I've got priorities.
The next drink is more important than the next shower?
Ribisi: Perhaps. Also I think that the sociological revolution against capitalism is also something that's out there.