I spent a good part of the weekend putting the finishing touches on the first AD/LiC podcast and laying the groundwork for the second, so I didn’t make it out of the house for any more movies beyond what I wrote about in the Weekend Forecast. Rewatched a few things from this year on DVD, but you’ll hopefully hear more about those on the next podcast.

So, once again, it falls to you to liven up the Watercooler. Did anyone else contribute to the $19 million that Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps made at the box office this weekend? That’s less than what the experts were estimating, but it’s still the biggest opening of Oliver Stone’s career. That seems strange to me somehow.

17 Responses to “The Watercooler Never Sleeps”

  1. That may be surprising, but the overall number will come nowhere near Stone’s highest-grossing film, Platoon, which did nearly $140 million, 25 years ago.

    As I alluded to in previous posts, the fall TV season officially began this week, and I just got HBO, so…yeah, that’s my weekend. Watched Boardwalk Empire, the first season of Bored to Death, and am catching up on Sons of Anarchy. All great programs, all very different, and all with more complexities than most mainstream American films. The days of television being thought of as a step down have long since past in every way possible.

    That said, I’m just counting down the days to The Social Network. Should we expect a review soon? Say yes!

  2. I’ve been curious about seeing The Town — come hell or high water no matter what the reviews say — and got down to the business of seeing it this weekend, prompted also by Craig’s reaction.

    I enjoyed it with some reservation. Regarding whether it’s “an Oscar film” (as discussed in the podcast), I think it definitely is — certainly in the sense that it’s a contender in several categories and seems to have been cut from the same cloth as what AMPAS appears to consider worthy cinema.

    The film is well done. And I keep seeing Robert Elswit’s name popping up in all sorts of interesting places.

    Even in a crowded best actor field, I think Affleck should be considered a possibility.

  3. Pierre, it’s funny, I feel like if we got down to the nitty-gritty, we’d agree on the film’s quality and merits. That said, I hold fast to my disagreement about the film’s chances. I suppose that, with 10 nominees for Best Picture, more movies than usual are getting the Oscar buzz discussion, but I still don’t see it for The Town.

    There’s no question that the film is well-made, competently directed, and technically proficient. I suppose my issue is that none of it struck me as particularly special, and the story was so familiar that it’s something that won’t stay with me. However, Affleck the director knows from good behind-the-camera talent: Elswit and Dylan Tichenor, among others, are the right people to have for any prestige picture.

    I like The Town, but I didn’t love it; what’s more, I’m befuddled about what Academy members would love about the movie–aside from a famous actor getting behind the camera. Since Gone Baby Gone seemed a bit more notable, if less financially successful, I feel like The Town just won’t get any recognition. At the very least, I just don’t think it should. But that’s never going to stop the Academy, obviously.

  4. After a quiet week, I rallied for a very busy weekend in the movie theatres, after spending some time at home with my classic television sets of One Step Beyond and Thriller. I resisted the temptation to see Gaspar Noe’s controversial Enter the Void at the IFC Film Center with a special appearance by the nihilist director and the lead star, in favor of a double feature of Buried and Woody Allen’s latest. I wasn’t in a mood to be depressed.

    The documentary WAITING FOR SUPERMAN’s main focus was on ineffectual teachers and the “antiquated” system that awards incompetants for years of service, and neglects those educators with special gifts. Dazzling animated sequences and some telling interviews with district superintendents makes for a riveting work, but little attention is paid to sub-standard salaries and the startling neglect of some parents in inner-city districts, who often are to blame for low test scores, and the lagging behind of America’s scholastic infra-structure in global ratings.

    BURIED is an oppressively claustrophobic film shot entirely in a “coffin” that holds an American prisoner in Iraq, who is armed only with a cell phone and a lighter. The tense interchanges with officials, and the terrifying imprisonment makes for a breathless and riveting watch, even with the bungled conclusion. The lead star, Ryan Reynolds is mesmerizing in this low-budget Spanish-Australian inde, that provides an interesting deviation on the horrifying The Vanishing from years back.

    There’s nothing terribly new in Woody Allen’s YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, but it’s a reasonably engaging and plesantly set drama about marital meltdowns with a high octane cast. And it makes good use of “When You Wish Upon A Star” and features an affecting seance sequence.

    TOKYO TWILIGHT of course is an Ozu masterpiece and one of his darkest films. I’ll have a full report of it in my massive round-up post in November.

    Great stuff with the podcast!!!

    I saw:

    Waiting For Superman **** (Saturday night) Landmark Cinemas

    Buried **** (Sunday night) Angelika Film Center

    You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger *** 1/2 (Sunday night) Angelika

    Tokyo Twilight ***** (Sunday morning) IFC Film Center

  5. Josh, whether The Town gets recognized with any Oscar nominations is anything but certain. My point is that it’s a contender and that the film — if not designed with awards in mind — seems to be conceived from the same mindset.

    My own reservations about the film are similar to yours. That said, I believe Affleck not only is already a member of the Oscar “club,” he showed talent in GBG and seems to have matured here both as a director and an actor. With a field of 10 nominees, this one stands a chance, and I think will at least be bandied about in other categories

  6. I watched Jaws this weekend, which remains a solid classic.

    I also caught about 15 key minutes of I Am Legend on cable. As frustrating as that film is, at least Will Smith did his best to offer a solid performance. His acting career is so up and down, but here he’s really trying.

  7. Josh, I’ll be finally seeing Social Network on Wednesday and I’ll do my best to have a review up Thursday or Friday.

    I watched about half of Boardwalk Empire last night before bed. Kind of loving that show so far. Can’t remember if I already said around here that i was worried the Scorsese pilot would be great and then the show would suffer, but the writing was sharp and honestly the pilot didn’t feel really “Scorsese-y” until the final 20 minutes or so anyway.

    I continue to have high hopes.

    Platoon will definitely outgross Wall Street 2, especially adjusted for inflation. I think there was a pent up demand for the sequel and people genuinely seemed excited by the trailer, but it just wasn’t a very good movie. In fact it was mostly terrible. Hard to imagine it’ll have legs.

    Pierre, Elswit is definitely one of the biggies, especially after his Oscar win for THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

    I’m pretty much in line with Josh on The Town’s prospects though. With 10 nominees it’s always possible and honestly I’d have to sit down and think of how that 10 might fill out based on the info we have and on what’s in the pipeline, but off hand I just can’t see it.

    Sam, your estimation of the new Woody Allen is right in line with my own thinking. It’s not earth shattering, but it’s bounces along engagingly without pissing me off.

    Joel, I’m tempted to revisit Jaws myself. I just watched that editing doc THE CUTTING EDGE and of course it included Steven Spielberg singing Verna Fields’ praises in regard to her work on Jaws. You get the sense that her editing was instrumental in making the film work as well as it did.

    My other favorite part of the doc was Martin Scorsese admitting that he’s not hip enough for BREATHLESS. He says he loves it, but he has no idea what’s going on. He’s too old fashioned. Refreshing for a guy who knows a little something about filmmaking flat out admit he’s not an expert on what Godard was doing because I often have the same reaction. Funny too because Breathless is probably his most approachable film.

  8. Also, riddle me this: does anyone outside of movie nerds who loved the original care about LET ME IN?

  9. “Does anyone outside of movie nerds who loved the original care about LET ME IN?”

    Never say never, but the trailer didn’t help.

  10. Let Me In is getting really high scores and great reviews so far. At least according to the first 12 or so reviews that are in.

  11. Yes it is. I’m not questioning whether it’s any good or not, but whether anyone who didn’t see the original is interested in a moody horror movie that isn’t really that horrific.

    I’m curious because I just looked at a Thursday midnight screening at my favorite local theater and not a single seat had been sold.

    I think most of the market who’d find LET ME IN appealing (youngish, smartish) are more interested in SOCIAL NETWORK. Not that they have to choose just one….

  12. I loved the original, I’d like to see the new one, and if I didn’t read about it on various sites, I’d have no idea it was coming out this weekend. However, I’d know for sure that Social Network comes out Friday. I will not be surprised if the movie tanks.

  13. I’m actually fairly optimistic about Let Me In. The reviewers have mostly said the right things: it doesn’t muck with the originally, but also adds its own interesting flavor.

  14. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard the remake is more horror-ific than the original. I think it’ll do just fine over here.

    I saw squat this weekend, other than Boardwalk Empire last night. Liked it a lot.

    My ears had a better time of it this weekend since they got their first taste of the 3-Way Moviegasm. Great stuff. Can’t wait for more.

  15. I want to add that I saw Joaquin in I’m Still Here — and liked it a lot. I thought it was imaginative, quite watchable (for the most part), entertaining, thought-provoking, relevant, well-edited, and mindbending.

  16. I’m with you 200 percent on I’m Still Here, Pierre. I thought it worked as a straight up, Borat-style mockumentary, but also as something much deeper and relevant.

    Plus, come on. That was a great Phoenix performance.

  17. “That was a great Phoenix performance.”

    It certanly was, Craig. I’d like to have been a fly on the wall during the evolution of this one.

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