She'll play a half-angel, half-human in the new thriller
Family drama has an all-star cast, but has been completed for over three years
The original 1973 TV movie is back on DVD-R
It's standard practice on home video to cash in on whatever chips the studio has in the vault whenever the opportunity comes, especially when it comes to sequels and remakes. But with the drop in DVD sales (and the subsequent loss of shelf space in the major retailers) over the past couple of years, more of the vault titles are being sidelined into the less costly (for the studios) manufacture-on-demand release streams.
So, with Guillermo del Toro's "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" now in theaters, the original 1973 TV movie is back on DVD (well, DVD-R) through the Warner Archive in a new "Special Edition" (at least by MOD standards).
No, it's not a lost masterpiece, but it is fun. Young marrieds Kim Darby and Jim Hutton move into an old house with a secret locked away in a boarded-up room. William Demarest is the amiably crusty old carpenter who warns them that "Some things are better left as they are," advice they predictably ignore. Their renovations unleash a small swarm of mumbling demons in furry jumpsuits and rubber masks (they look like cousins to the gremlin from the "Twilight Zone" episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," but with creepy shriveled heads). Hutton comes off as the worst kind of paternalistic husband, patronizing in one scene, scolding her like a fed-up parent in the next as the creepy little demons (who carefully hide themselves from all other eyes) hound her to distraction and terror.
How do you think the landmark film holds up two decades later?
The cast and crew of the groundbreaking 1991 film “Thelma & Louise” gathered at the Motion Picture Academy this week for a 20th anniversary screening and discussion. Has it really been two decades since those two characters jumped into that teal 1966 Thunderbird and escaped their troubled lives in an explosion of self-empowerment?
Susan Sarandon was not able to attend the screening but Geena Davis and scriptwriter Callie Khouri were on hand to talk about the film and its huge impact. Khouri won an Oscar for her first screenplay which knocked the socks off of moviegoers in 1991 with its unexpected violent twists and shocking ending. It’s impossible today to imagine anyone but Sarandon and Davis in those roles but it seems that virtually every well-known actress in Hollywood was considered for the film. Khouri had Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand in mind (which I think would have been very interesting) but many others were on the list. Can you imagine Liza Minnelli as Louise and Glenn Close as Thelma? How about Lily Tomlin and Kim Basinger? Jane Fonda and Goldie Hawn? Believe it or not, the role of Louise was turned down by Diane Keaton, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver, and even Tina Turner before Susan Sarandon was offered the part. Sarandon and Davis were both nominated for Academy Awards for their performances.
Pity the films that opened on what may turn out to be the worst movie weekend of 2011
With Hurricane Irene reaching North Carolina this morning and blowing its way up the east coast to New York, this is proving to be one of the worst movie-going weekends in recent memory. Frazzled studio execs are sweating it out on the one hand, and thanking their lucky stars on the other. The truth is that the expectations for this week’s major studio releases were not that great to begin with, even without Mother Nature swooping down on six eastern states, so in a way this gives the films a more legitimate excuse for tanking at the box office. Sort of like that snow day that saved you from the geometry test you forgot to study for.
Still, after some blockbuster weekends, the numbers are depressing. “Couldn’t be much worse,” one studio exec told Nikki Finke at Deadline. “Business is in the crapper right now.” Emerging victorious from the gusting winds and blinding rain is DreamWorks/Disney’s “The Help” which had no problem maintaining its #1 status for the third week in a row. Sony/TriStar’s “Colombiana,” starring Zoe Saldana, scored the #2 position but its anticipated weekend draw is only $11 million (if they’re lucky). FilmDistrict’s new horror flick “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” with Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes is at #3 but the reviews are not great and it will probably fail to top $9 million for the weekend. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” at #4, will likely add about $8.5 million to its coffers, bringing its total gross to just over $148 million. And surprisingly (at least to me), The Weinstein Company’s R-rated comedy “Our Idiot Brother,” only reached #5 on the box office chart, with an expected weekend take of $6 million.
I remain giddy about the surprise success of “The Help.” Will the big studios will finally get the message that serious (but entertaining) films with something important to say and few special effects are what large portions of the movie-going public want to see? We can only hope.