THEATER CHAIN REBELS OVER 3D
A new battle over 3D between the studios and exhibitors has broken out following 20th Century Fox's announcement that, beginning with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, theaters will have to pay for the polarized glasses needed to watch the film. Regal Cinemas, the nation's largest theater chain, said Thursday that it will only show the movie in 2D if Fox persists in its demand. Regal suggests that Fox is reneging on a previous agreement to provide the glasses. Entertainment Weekly quoted one exhibitor assaying, "To come in at this point and say they aren't going to pay for the glasses, yet they want all the upside of the revenue, is ridiculous."
MARYLAND POLITICIANS FORCE UNIVERSITY TO CANCEL PORN SCREENING
University of Maryland officials on Thursday bowed to pressure from state politicians and canceled a scheduled screening of the $10-million porno film,Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge. State lawmakers had threatened to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding unless the screening was halted. The movie is being screened without charge on a number of university campuses across the country in the hope that it will stimulate word-of-mouth publicity. The university's decision to cancel the film, it was widely noted, may also have had that effect, since it touched off national debate. Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education told the Baltimore Sun: "I think because of the autonomy that a public university ought to have versus the legislature, the [administration] should not have canceled the film." And the Chronicle of Higher Education commented: "In these uncertain times, it's good to know that you can still count on some things. Like that some politicians cannot resist making a big fuss over a little pornography." Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee reported that a screening of the film at the University of California at Davis Thursday night brought so many people to the 500-seat campus theater that many had to be turned away.
WOLVERINE PIRATE WILL BE FOUND, SAYS PRODUCER
John Palermo, a producer of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, predicted today (Friday) that whoever uploaded an incomplete copy of the movie onto the Internet will be found and prosecuted. "I can assure you we will hunt them and track them down and we are actually very close," Palermo told the Sydney (Australia) Daily Telegraph. Lee is a partner with actor Hugh Jackman and Jackman's wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, in Seed Productions,which produced the film. Meanwhile speculation that the Australian special-effects firm Rising Sun Productions may have been the source of the leak was quashed when the company said that it had never been in possession of a completed copy of the film. But CNET News observed that numerous other outside firms -- from toy companies to advertisers -- need access to a work print before a movie is released. It quoted a source as saying that studios are "only as safe as the partner company's last hire."
MOVIE REVIEWS: FAST AND FURIOUS
Neil Moritz's Fast & Furious may be receiving the most applause of any film awarded two stars (or fewer) from critics. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, who gives it one and a half stars, comments that it is "exactly and precisely what you'd expect. ... You get your cars that are fast and your characters that are furious. ... This is an expertly made action film, by which I mean the special effects are good and the acting is extremely basic." He concludes: "I admire the craft involved, but the movie leaves me profoundly indifferent." Claudia Puig in USA Today notes that movie represents "Hollywood high concept at full tilt. Filmmakers must not care that the dialogue is sluggish and the performances are leaden. It's all about high-octane racing, souped-up cars and perilous stunts." David Hiltbrand in the Philadelphia Inquirer also remarks that not much has changed from the previous episodes of this series. "It's still a gleaming display of chrome pornography set in the world of illegal street racing, where drivers strut like rock stars." Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle catches himself in mid-review by observing, "Here I am talking seriously about a screenplay that was probably written in crayon. The movie is ridiculous." But he suggests that it's mostly "ridiculous fun." Likewise, Peter Howell in the Toronto Star notes, "Let's acknowledge that nobody comes to this franchise, or ought to, expecting speedy Shakespeare."
MOVIE REVIEWS: ADVENTURELAND
Adventureland, which has attracted little pre-release buzz, could very well prove to be a sleeper hit if the public's reaction to it is anything like the critics'. Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times begins his review by remarking: "The thing to know about Adventureland is not just that it has goals above its station but that it actually achieves them." A.O. Scott in the New York Times comments that the film "plants its flag in thoroughly explored territory, but that familiarity turns out to be integral to its loose and scruffy appeal. Somehow the story of a young man's coming of age never gets old, at least when it is told with the kind of sweetness and intelligence Adventureland displays." And John Anderson, writing in Newsday, advises adult moviegoers that while the film may be aimed at teens, "it's a sophisticated film that just happens to be about unformed people and their raw emotions." But Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal, while calling Adventureland "an ambitious film," notes that the movie "like the amusement park of its title, feels constructed from familiar parts."