I could have gone one of two ways with this comic. But since I already went with the “obvious porn title” gag in my comic for Inside Man, I decided to indulge my immaturity by having fun with phonetics. Yeah, it’s kind of a cheap gag. But no one seems to complain when Family Guy appeals to the lowest common denominator!
I’m excited for Public Enemies for a myriad of reasons. Mostly because I’m a huge Michael Mann fan and I’m pretty much convinced Johnny Depp and Christian Bale can do no wrong.
It’ll be interesting to see how Mann adapts his auteur style to a 1930s period piece (if he bothers to adapt it at all) and I hope he doesn’t pull another stunt like he did in Heat where he kept his two principal leads apart for all but 5 minutes of the movie. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Oddly, Cami has no interest in seeing this movie because she’s pretty much convinced that Christian Bale is the biggest tool on Earth. She formed this opinion years before his infamous rant on the set of Terminator: Salvation. She’s never liked the guy – which I think is a shame. I think we need more actors like Bale. Even when he delivers a performance that misfires, he never does anything half way. I admire his discipline.
Not much else for me to talk about this morning, but expect a post later in the day talking about my pre-order drive on the Spoiler Alert! t-shirt and the Theater Hopper: Year Three book. Instead of the graphic I created for the blog, I’m going to make a little cosmetic change to the site in the header to call more attention to this initiative.
Talk to you soon!
Last Monday I posted to the site my goal of selling some merchandise to help me raise the money I need to send the Spoiler Alert t-shirt design to the printer. Consequentially, I would complete the pre-orders and take the rest of the inventory to Wizard World Chicago on August 6 and take the profits made from the convention to help bankroll the production of Theater Hopper: Year Three.
I created a little graphic that went into the blog posts but realized pretty quickly that a visual aid such as this was easy to ignore. So I made a little cosmetic change to the header of the site in hopes of strongly reinforcing my goal and the progress made so far.
Please help me meet my goal of selling 50 shirts by July 31. It doesn’t have to be the Spoiler Alert shirt. It can be any of the shirts. They all cost the same and the money goes to the same goal.
Thousands of you come to the site every day. I only need a fraction of you to help make this possible. If you’ve been thinking at all about buying a book or a shirt, now is the time to do it.
I appreciate your support.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my country and I understand the significance of the holiday. But as Americans, we have a certain proclivity of abstracting holidays and assigning new meanings to them.
President’s Day has become more about buying cheap linens at JC Penny’s then celebrating George Washington or Abe Lincoln. Memorial Day has become more commonly recognized as the official kick-off of summer rather than a solemn remembrance of those in the Armed Forces. Hell, in this country, the Super Bowl is practically a holiday! The 4th of July has basically become an excuse to celebrate our country by means of blowing up a small chunk of it.
At any rate, I’m cutting this blog short because I was up WAAAAY too late applying effects to today’s comic and my mind is shot. I had planned on posting a review of Public Enemies (which I saw on Wednesday), but that will have to wait.
To tide you over, I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version – The movie is surprisingly long at 2 and a half hours and it isn’t traditional popcorn fare. If you’re a fan of Johnny Depp, you’ll love the movie. He owns it and pretty much 80% of it features him in some context. It makes sense to me now why Christian Bale wasn’t promoted more in the advertising and trailers. He’s barely in this movie. Similar to how Michael Mann yanked us around in Heat, Depp and Bale have only one scene together and it’s about 2 minutes long. So if you were looking forward to Bale going head-to-head with Depp like he did with Hugh Jackman in The Prestige, prepare to be disappointed.
I have a little bit more to say about the supporting performances and the interesting gangland-era personalities that were mixed into the story. Oh, and the “controversy” of Mann shooting the film with digital video. But I’ll leave that for later. Right now, I have to go to bed. Gotta rest up for Saturday so I can put a crater in my backyard with high explosives!
Everyone in America, enjoy the holiday. For Theater Hopper readers elsewhere in the world, have a great weekend!
Talk to you soon!
In my head, Tom looking dramatically over his shoulder was supposed to come off kind of like Bigger Than Cheeses’s CSI: Miami comic. I know it’s not the same thing. I’m just telling you how it played out in my head.
Believe it or not, Box Office Mojo is reporting that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs actually TIED at the box office this weekend with a tally of $42.5 million each.
Granted, I haven’t been following box office reports for all that long, but I can’t think of another time where that has ever happened before. Next thing you know the two movies will start fighting over who had the idea to use a colon in their title rather than call their film “Transformers 2” or “Ice Age 3”.
There is one qualifier, of course. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs actually came out on Wednesday. So if you count the 5-day tally, the box office is in it’s favor – $67.5 million. But the story isn’t interesting if you include that. So everyone is choosing to focus on the 3-day weekend in stead. Ho hum.
Something I said I’d do but never really got around to last week was talk a little bit more about Public Enemies (which, incidentally, came in 3rd this weekend with $26 million).
I looked at my original synopsis – that the film was good but overlong, that Bale hardly leaves an impression and that he and Depp barely share screen time together – and thought “Was there more I wanted to add to this?” But I suppose I officially have to chime in on director Michael Mann’s decision to shoot the film with digital video.
For me, it’s an anachronism that distracts me somewhat. But more glaring was the poor quality of the video. I don’t have a problem with a period film using digital video. But in Public Enemies I thought things were blurry, pixelated and fundamentally inferior. For someone who can pick a shot as well as Mann can, I don’t understand why he’s resorting to such a crude method of capturing his film.
Probably the greater anachronism for me were Mann’s musical selections. Sometimes there would be sweeping orchestra work. Sometimes there would be radio hits from the late 20’s and early 30’s. But during the heists in particular, he would sometimes go with an electric guitar riff that left me asking myself “Were people playing electric guitars back then?” Maybe I’m ignorant, but it felt really out of place.
There were also some strange overlaps, historically speaking. Did John Dillinger really pull all of these heists with Alvin “Creepy” Karpis and Baby Face Nelson? It kind of felt like some kind of greatest hits tour, or something. I don’t know a lot about that era, but it seems to me these guys wouldn’t pal around with each other if they could help it.
I guess more than anything, it’s been interesting reading people’s reaction to the movie. Some people feels like it doesn’t connect and that Mann has lost his touch completely. Others consider Public Enemies to be some kind of art film.
Whatever it is, Mann has not made a conventional Hollywood caper flick. Maybe if this one had found it’s way into theaters later in the year instead of over the 4th of July weekend, it would have played differently. The grit and steel in Marion Cotillard’s performance would perhaps raise the specter of a Best Supporting Actress nomination if it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
It’s odd. For as wrapped up in the movie as I was, I didn’t really enjoy it and I’m not sure I could recommend it to others. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not blithely entertaining, either. I guess you could say I respect it, but even that feels like a left-handed compliment.
I’m sure we’ll be talking about Public Enemies and much, much more tonight on The Triple Feature podcast at 9PM CST. Be sure to listen to us live! Don’t forget to submit your questions to our Facebook group. Sign up as a member and we’ll send you a reminder of when the show is recording so you can join us during the show.
Thanks and have a great Monday!
Sorry today’s comic was so late. I kind of had a bad day Tuesday and by the time it came to putting together today’s comic, I had a headache, was kind of dispirited and not into it.
You’d think since I’m not working full time now that I would be more available to work on comics or watch movies, but I don’t do either of those things.
I apply for jobs, I’ve been on a few interviews and the rest of the time I spend either cleaning the house or waiting for someone to send me an e-mail with a job offer.
I don’t mean to bum you guys out or burden you with my problems. Like I said, I had a bad day yesterday. That doesn’t mean today is going to be a bad day. In fact, sometimes, you need a bad day before you can have a good day.
Let’s talk about the comic, shall we?
We talked about Bruno a little bit on Monday’s episode of The Triple Feature (which, by the way, was PACKED with listeners during the live show – thanks everybody!) I addressed my concerns about Sacha Baron Cohen using “GOTCHA!” tactics to get unwilling participants to expose their homophobia. Joe and Gordon thought I was making a big deal about nothing and that homophobes SHOULD be made fun of whether their wear their bias on their sleeve or not.
On the one hand I agree with them. But on the other, I look at a character like Bruno who provokes and provokes and provokes with outrageous behavior until Sacha Baron Cohen gets the results he wants. Then, when people throw up their arms in disgust or frustration, points at them and says, “See! See! These backwoods hicks aren’t tolerant!”
People are entitled to their opinion – however wrong it may be. But I feel like if you’re going to ridicule them for it, they should at least be on a level playing field. I mean, what’s entertaining about watching someone like Cohen shoot fish in a barrel?
I don’t interpret a character like Bruno as tool of social satire. I don’t think Cohen is using him to expose homophobes in a way that makes their fear or intolerance unjustifiable. To these people, Bruno is the embodiment of those fears. Bruno is a gross caricature of the worst stereotypical traits of gay man.
If I were gay, I would hate to think that I could be so humorless that I couldn’t appreciate Bruno making fun of gay/fashion “culture.” But at the same time, considering the social struggle of homosexuals in America, I don’t think you can look at a character like Bruno and say “This is advancing our cause.”
To put it another way, what if you had Jerry Lewis running around in blackface during the Civil Rights era making fun of racist Southerns. Do you think it would help or hurt?
Fundamentally, I think Sacha Baron Cohen is an intelligent, committed and utterly fearless performer. The fact that he attracts this kind of controversy through comedy and sets the stage for this kind of introspection is proof that he’s doing something right.
But at the same time, I get this vibe off him that he thinks everything is ridiculous and everyone is stupid and it makes it kind of hard for me to respect the guy. For that reason, I’m not especially looking forward to seeing Bruno.
Will I still see Bruno? Of course. If for no other reason than because, invariably, the film will be treated like a cultural event. It’s the ultimate in water cooler conversation (except I don’t have a water cooler to hang around these days).
Gordon accused me of only wanting to see the film so I could discuss it through Theater Hopper. He’s not wrong. A certain amount of this is homework. But I think, too, when you walk in with lowered expectations, there is the opportunity for walking out of the movie surprised.
What about the rest of you? Do you think Cohen will be able to catch you off-guard with Bruno as well as he did with Borat? How long can Cohen’s shock tactics last? How do you feel about generating comedy from awkward or provocative social situations? Are Cohen’s films effective social satire or a 2 hour version of Candid Camera? Leave your comments below!
I get sent news releases, trailers and photos from studios all the time and I generally do a very poor job of passing them on to you.
Part of the reason behind this is because there are a million and one movie blogs and they all tend to post the same stuff at the same time. So there’s no reason Theater Hopper will ever become your exclusive outlet for this kind of thing.
The other piece of the puzzle is, frankly… a lot of the stuff I’m sent is crap. Or at least *I* think it’s crap. If you’d like to see more photos, trailers and press releases from the studios here on the site, let me know. Maybe it will lead to something.
Anyway, I was just sent a trailer for a movie I am legitimately excited to see – Judd Apatow’s Funny People coming out on July 31.
Be forewarned that this is the red band trailer, so the language is a little salty. But if you’ve seen The 40 Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up, you’re probably already on board with it.
For a little extra fun, check out some of the web sites created in support of the film – several of them featuring work from different characters in the film!
So what do you guys think? Are you interested in seeing Funny People? I think it’s going to be interesting to watch Adam Sandler interact with other talented comedians. His films tend to isolate him, put the focus on him. I’m curious to see how he handles himself in an ensemble.
For me, Funny People kind of feels like the last hurrah of the blockbuster season. Yeah, yeah – I know G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra comes out after that. But does anyone think that counts?
Leave your comments below!
I posted the red band trailer for Funny People on Wednesday and informally polled people if they were interested in seeing more of the promotional communication sent my way by the studios. I’ve been reluctant to post them partially because of the time commitment but largely because I assumed you guys were getting this information elsewhere.
I was surprised by how many of you said that Theater Hopper was the only site you go to for movie news. Which is… really flattering. Actually, it makes me feel like I’ve been lying down on the job!
So, until people tell me otherwise, I’m going to keep floating stuff your way. And, at the risk of looking like a complete hypocrite, here’s some stuff for Bruno. Which, as you know, is in theaters today, Friday, July 10.
Fandango Free Ringtone Ticketing Promotion Page
Buy tickets in advance for BRÜNO and choose one of three FREE exclusive ringtones! To get your tickets, check out http://www.fandango.com/promo/bruno!
Live The Life of Brüno!
Want to know what it’s like to be Brüno and get plugged in to the latest and greatest in entertainment, fashion, and celebrity? Then you need to be at the 2010 NewNowNext Awards! Enter now, and you and a friend will have a chance to win your very own tickets to next year’s show! http://www.logoonline.com/sweepstakes/bruno/
You could win:
- A trip for two to New York City to attend the 2010 NewNowNext Awards
- Two nights accommodations at a boutique hotel
- VIP tickets to the event
- Red carpet access and the opportunity to speak with presenters, nominees and guests
- A chance to write a blog post for NewNowNext.com about your red carpet experience
Do you want to know about Brüno’s favorite singers? Or better yet, do you want to hear Brüno sing? Then check out his personal Playlist page and listen to artists like George Michael and tune in to Brüno’s awesome new hit, “In Oder Aus!” http://www.playlist.com/brunomovie
I wasn’t planning on doing another comic about Bruno, but it was very interesting to read the comments from Wednesday’s comic. So I decided to ride this wave a little longer. Victor was the perfect character to provide an outsider’s perspective and deflate the situation some.
Generally, people seem conflicted about the characters Sacha Baron Cohen creates. I think everyone can see what he’s trying to accomplish in terms of social satire, but there is something about the persistence of his performances that makes people a little uneasy. Are people having a homophobic reaction to Bruno or are they just reaching a boiling point when confronted with a highly abrasive personality? Cohen doesn’t make that distinction, but he leads people to believe it’s homophobia at work.
In a pro-Bruno piece by Slate’s David Lim, Lim addresses the criticism that Cohen has been “indulging in gay minstrelsy” and suggests that the character is “a button-pushing social experiment in locating the tipping point of tolerance.”
“For his merciless ambushes to work,” Lim continues. “Bruno needs to be this flamboyant — and this moronic.
“The most discomfiting — and incongruous — aspect of Bruno’s pinkface masquerade is the character’s over-the-top sexual voracity… Bruno is a far cry from the prim and prissy old-school sissies, who were all innuendo and no libido. We have long been conditioned to regard effeminacy as a neutered, negative stereotype, but there are moments when Baron Cohen’s extravagant prancing… seems not grotesque but defiant, forcing his foils… to recognize the screaming presence of Otherness.”
Personally, I don’t know if I buy into this kind of analysis. Because the depiction of a sexually voracious homosexual is EXACTLY what some people fear most. In my opinion, it sounds like Cohen is trading in the winking, coy, guffawing Paul Lynde effeminate stereotype for another.
Granted, I could be accused of playing into the sexually voracious homosexual with the way I’ve written Victor. At times I’ve depicted him as a sadomasochist. But at the same time, this is in keeping with the authoritarian nature he projects – established early in the character before it was revealed he was gay. By equal measure, I have depicted Victor as lovelorn and pining from a distance.
I like to think that I am writing more than one facet of Victor’s personality with the limited amount of time that I use him. I don’t think Victor is a walking cliche like Bruno is and I think there is an interesting dichotomy between his strength, his heritage and his sexual orientation – all of which were effectively wrapped up in this one comic.
Cohen is almost a method actor in the sense that he often doesn’t drop character even while promoting the movie. I don’t think I saw him in an interview as himself once while promoting Borat. A few weeks ago he showed up as Bruno on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. But recently (and conspicuously) showed up as himself on Late Night with David Letterman.
What I’m getting at is maybe there is a little too much slight of hand or misdirection in Cohen’s satire and I kind of prefer to be in on the joke a little bit more.
Fundamentally, I think it goes back to the humor of embarrassment, which I have never been a big fan of. Whether Cohen is playing a gay Austrian fashion reporter or a socially clueless representative of Kazakhstan, I have difficulty settling in and enjoying the end result because I can’t laugh at people put in those situations. I can only wince.
In all fairness, there was a down year in 2003 between Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. There also was not a Harry Potter movie in 2006 between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
But there’s some truth to the saying that “perception is reality” and it kind of feels like the Harry Potter franchise has permeated nearly every facet of my pop culture consciousness each year since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 8 years ago and has never really faded in that length of time.
The sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is hovering on the horizon and it kind of feels like a rebirth for me.
Cami and I didn’t see the fifth movie when it was in theaters. Henry had been born a few months prior and considering the downright dreadful slog that was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we didn’t feel compelled to find a sitter.
We ended up renting the movie and watching it maybe a month ago and I was kind of surprised by how dark it was. I’m not a fan of the books, so I can’t compare or contrast against the source material. But I found it INFINITELY more easy to follow compared to Goblet of Fire and (as I’ve been told) there was more complicated plot elements to cram into the fifth movie anyway. So, cheers for that.
With renewed interest I am looking forward to Half-Blood Prince and I think it is to the franchise’s advantage that they have settled on a director with David Yates. He directed Phoenix, Half-Blood and is in the process of filming both chapters of The Deathly Hallows.
As much as I love Alfonso Cuarón’s work in Prisoner of Azkaban (and as much as it looked like they were going to rotate directors out to keep the franchise in step with the natural aging of the actors) I believe a consistent voice is best and I eager to see where things go.
I have no other particular insights about the Harry Potter movies, so I’ll turn it over to you guys. Which one of the films is your favorite? Do you have high hopes for Half-Blood? How do you feel about them splitting the seventh book into two movies? Leave your comments below!