Hey, Los Angeles people and places, you have no excuses not to go to Patton Oswalt’s  film fest at the New Beverly. I missed the opening salvo, but everything else has been aces. Get out your fucking checkbook, indeed.


October is where you release what might be terms a quality piece of shit. See, the deconstruction of that terminology is meant to cause amusement, not prevarication.

What else can one call the poorly marketed and otherwise abandoned City of Ember? On two thousand screens, and the Walden media label, this thing should not be a late night drinking accident. And yet it will get slaughtered by a Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Fox is notorious in the business for selling what they think they can sell and dumping everything else. And that’s this, the latter. The shitting. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but it’s true, marketing departments now are especially vindictive toward films that they thought weren’t good and then end up doing well. It makes them look stupid. so, aspiring filmmaker, if your film tanks in the theater and then finds a life on home video and such, do not work for the same studio again, or they will fuck you. Likely, even with Tom Hanks as a producer, this film does not have a guardian angel, and though Walden Media wants to assert itself the way Marvel has on the studio system, the studio system would rather not have to deal with interlopers. And since Walden might eat more of the check on this one, why would Fox put any effort into what amount to a meager payday one way or the other? Say good night Ember.

Then there’s The Express. Which may find its audience just the same. As Jeremy Smith tells me, sports games have been flogged by commercials. The problem is that Dennis Quaid is not a great anchor, though The Rookie did well. Quaid will be playing the coach, or so I have read, so it’s likely to be as much about his athletes. And the poster features a stadium crowd. Yay! Films like this have the long play factor, in that sports fans, perhaps cowed by whatever event keeps them occupied that weekend, may find the feature a week or two after the fact. Films like Remember the Denzel Washington, and Friday Night Billy Bob Thorton played long, and strong, and they were bound to get the friction on. Where this film may open around $15, it could play into December in many markets. But it doesn’t feature Radio.

Why don’t people love Radio like I love Radio? We thought we were teaching him, but maybe, maybe Radio was teaching us? Tropic Thunder has pearls. But – on some level – I find Radio funnier than Tropic Thunder. In the end, how could I not?

It’s October, so horror movies are going to hit the DVD shelves and the theater, and Quarantine should make some money if it’s cheap, but the trailers are horrid, even if they are everywhere. Perhaps this was a quickie cash-in on Cloverfield. No one will ever know, because no one will ever see it. Or will they? Expect it to actually do okay, but don’t get me wrong, as Dave Chappelle sang (as R. Kelly) “Drip drip drip.”

If  Body of Lies were a contender – which it isn’t, Charlie (says Brando) – it wouldn’t be a bum, which it is with a October release. Yeah, Scorsese got an early launch with The Departed, but this ain’t that at all. Everyone involved delivers okay work (though Russell Crowe should be forbade from ever getting use glasses as props again), but it’s a mixed bag, and it’s star power that’s supposed to interest people. Oh, it’ll get open, enough, that it’s not an embarrassment, but this isn’t the one to get Ridley Scott some Oscar attention. It’s just a well made film that’s less than the sum of its parts.

But the real Oscar campaign does begin this weekend. An expanded release of The Dutchess, and the limited engagement of Happy-Go-Lucky suggest that the season has begun in earnest. These may get actress nods if its a weak season.

But there are three films this weekend that deserve being seen: The Saturday sneak of Sex Drive, the Ashes of Time Redux, and the re-issue of Lola Montes. The former is a funny teen sex romp that I found hilarious, the middle, well… THIS, and the third is a classic by Max Ophuls that deserves to be seen on the big screen. It’s always the small things to make time for, like Nighthawks with Commando Friday, and Blade with The Foot Fist Way on Sunday at the New Beverly. Life should be enjoyed.


The question is whether classy beats ashy. Ridley and Disney will likely be going toe to toe this weekend, and I’m going to give the edge – albeit slightly – to a little film called Body of Lies. Mostly because I would prefer it. Otherwise. (fart noises):

1. Body of (Rebellion) Lies - $19.4 Million
2. Paris Hilton is a Waste of Human Tissue - $19.0 Million
3. The Express – $15 Million
4. Nick and Nora are mopey and want to Fuck - $6.8 Million
5. City of Ember – $6.1 Million

And then Sunday I’ll be tired and cranky, and you wouldn’t like to see me angry.