CRITICS GO POSTAL OVER BOLL FILM

The only film producer challenging Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with a new release this weekend is the critically despised German director Uwe Boll, who has managed to find 17 theaters across the country to show his R-rated Postal. It's based on a video game about a man who "goes postal" and begins shooting everything and everyone in sight. The movie includes scenes of the the 9/11 hijackers crashing into the World Trade Center while discussing the virgins they're sure to win when they arrive in paradise. Another scene shows Osama bin Laden and George Bush holding hands as they walk into a mushroom cloud. When virtually every major theater chain, including AMC and Regal, the nation's two largest, turned it down, Boll distributed it himself, sometimes even renting theaters, but even many of the theaters that have agreed to show it are only doing so at odd hours. "We're running in Austin only at midnight at the Alamo. How are you going to do box office if you're not going to play five times a day?" Boll asked in an interview with MTVNews.com. In the New York area, the movie is only playing in out-of-the-way Brooklyn.

MOVIE REVIEWS: POSTAL

Uwe Boll remains on the critics' firing line with his latest film, Postal. Bill Stamets in the Chicago Sun-Times writes: "Accusing Postal of bad taste gives it too much credit. Shock calls for craft that Boll lacks." Writing in the New York Times, Nathan Lee calls the movie "infantile, irreverent and boorish to the max." In the Los Angeles Times, Mark Olsen comments that Boll "creates such a bizarre, garish spectacle that it is almost tempting to give him credit for being something of a misunderstood artist after all. Almost, but not quite. Postal is largely just a byproduct of Boll's self-promotion, rendering the film itself, in essence, beside the point." Michael Harris in the Toronto Globe and Mail can barely disguise his contempt for the film. "This reviewer is not easy to offend, but is very easy to bore," he remarks. "And I was bored out of my tree for most of Boll's lamely conceived, cliché-ridden debacle."

CANNES WINNER LIKELY A DARK FILM

The Cannes Film Festival jury will have a roster of mostly mercilessly gloomy films from which to select this year's Palme d'Or winner this weekend. Film buyers looked at them at screenings during the past week and passed. "With the dollar riding so low, a number of film companies going out of business, and the fact that the films haven't been all that terrific here, it really impacted film sales," Eamonn Bowles, head of distribution at Magnolia Pictures, told USA Today. But Daily Variety commented that the obits over the film market at Cannes "may have been premature," noting that many of the buyers were non-American. Nevertheless, some of the most high-profile U.S. films screened at the festival have found no takers, including Steven Soderbergh's Che, James Gray's Two Lovers, Barry Levinson's What Just Happened? and Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York.

INDY TO SET BOX-OFFICE RECORD?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull blasted off Thursday night with signs that it could overtake last year's Spider-Man 3 and set a record for a box-office debut. The Spider-Man sequel opened on a non-holiday weekend last May with $151.6 million. The best Memorial Day results were posted last year by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with $153 million. Paramount figured that midnight shows of Crystal Skull in the U.S. Wednesday night brought in about $4.5 million. The studio did not release any full-day estimates for Thursday but rival studios keeping an eye on ticket sales figured that the film probably took in $25-30 million.

VIACOM-CBS DIVORCE PERMANENT, SAYS REDSTONE

Sumner Redstone insisted Thursday that Viacom and CBS, the two companies that he heads, will never be reunited. Redstone, speaking at CBS's annual shareholders meeting in New York, was responding to a report that appeared in the New York Post suggesting that Viacom chief Philippe Dauman would like to see the two companies wedded again. "There has never been such a plan in existence and never will be," Redstone said.

TARANTINO'S ADVICE: DON'T GO TO FILM SCHOOL

Director Quentin Tarantino had this advice for aspiring filmmakers: take the money they have saved to go to film school and use it to make their own movie instead. "Trying to make a feature film yourself with no money is the best film school you can do," he said during a Cinema Master Class at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, referring to his own early experience. Tarantino also revealed why he uses previously recorded music from other movies and TV shows rather than an original score for his films. "I just don't trust any composer to do it," he said, noting that the music is the last major element added to a production. "The idea of paying a guy and showing him your movie at the end -- who the f*** is this guy coming in here and throwing his s*** over my movie. What if I don't like it? And the guy's already been paid!"

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.