Put Your Wallet Where Officer Sam Can See It

STV · 09/22/08 11:25AM

We're finding out the hard way this morning that an Emmy hangover is the worst kind of malaise: All rank breath, regrets and resentment, bundled up in a headache of knowing there must be something else you missed while watching the television industry implode. And now we know — it was an only slightly less torpid weekend at the movies. Still, it's never too late to wash down some of that bitter aftertaste with a run through the Monday Morning Box Office: 1. Lakeview Terrace — $15.6 million Well, we nailed this one, finally locking down the complex Audience Demand Formula™ for Lakeview's known quantities: Samuel Jackson as a bad guy multiplied by interracial lust, raised to the negative power of Neil LaBute's post-Wicker Man directorial efforts, and that total divided by R-rated date-movie competition from Dane Cook. You try it!2. Burn After Reading — $11.3 million The Coens' latest dropped barely 40% in its second week, forcing hive-mind Clooney haters to spike their semi-annual "George can't open!" pieces for at least two years until he returns in the admittedly challenging Men Who Stare At Goats. At which time all bets are off, even ours. 3. My Best Friend's Girl — $8.3 million Or about $5 million less than tracking indicated. Maybe Dane Cook was right — his vagina-like face doesn't sell tickets after all. 4. Igor — $8 million All over America, families warmed to the story of a hunchback pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a second-rate bit of animation left to dangle in the marketplace by Harvey Weinstein to the tune of $3400 per screen. 5. Righteous Kill — $7.7 million. Go ahead — insert your "De Niro and Pacino kept it up for a whole week" jokes here.

America Feels the 'Burn'

STV · 09/15/08 11:40AM

It's a special day for moviegoers — the first time in three weeks those studio jokers didn't leave the equivalent of a flaming bag of crap on our doorstep Friday morning. Thanks, Hollywood! Their reward? One of the best non-Labor Day September weekends in years, as illustrated by our regular browse through the Monday Morning Box Office: 1. Burn After Reading — $19.4 million The Coen brothers' admirable, totally nonsensical spy farce rode its all-star ensemble like a rented mule, albeit sort of a haunting mutation of mule — one with frosted tips, a hoof-full of Oscars and an unusually foul mouth that nevertheless enticed enough curious viewers to make Burn the biggest opening of the Coens' career. And it's almost enough to settle Focus Features' therapy bill incurred after Hamlet 2.2. Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys — $18 million Add another fun fact to Defamer's Tyler Perry Encyclopedia: Five of his six films have now opened among their respective weekends' top two grossers. On roughly two-thirds as many screens as this week's No. 1. With virtually no white people in the audience. Be impressed. 3. Righteous Kill — $16.5 million And it would have been even more had Robert De Niro and Al Pacino not already fulfilled most Americans' demand to see them sleepwalk through scenes together. 4. The Women — $10 million Critics be damned — Picturehouse was determined to make this work if it was the last thing it ever did. And, alas, it was. 5. The House Bunny — $4.3 million The Cult of Anna Faris kept her in the Top 5 with barely a 20% drop from last week. Seriously: If Tyler Perry had an adventurous bone in his body he'd write her into a Madea film and let the Brinks truck do the rest.

Coens, Cops and Tyler Perry Take on 'The Women' in Fall's First Battle Royale

STV · 09/12/08 11:15AM

Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your weekly guide to peaks, valleys and pratfalls among the latest new movies in theaters. And finally, after consecutive weekends when we thought God had up and abandoned us with the feral makers of College and Disaster Movie, we have some real films to write about. So read on for our typically expert preview of what's what at the box office, including Coen surprises, Alan Ball atrocities, potential ladyfights, timely new DVD's and one melodrama to rule them all. As always, our opinions are our own; you simply can't fake this kind of refinement, taste and acuity. WHAT'S NEW: So Burn After Reading is good — more admirable than likable, really, with the Coen brothers returning to their parched well of overmatched dolts in possession of objects way beyond their ken. This time it's Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand attempting to blackmail a CIA analyst (a bracingly potty-mouthed John Malkovich) whose "memoirs" they've found lying on their gym's floor; Tilda Swinton and George Clooney join in as awkward archetypes of paranoia and aloof, striving America. If we sound glib, that's Burn for you — a plot- and style-allergic screwball comedy that succeeds primarily as an almost-clean break (even Pitt's character is ultimately a red herring) from two decades of recycled Coen tropes.Alas, it's 20 years too late for some moviegoers, whose Coen aversion will keep Burn and its high-octane ensemble around $16 million for the weekend. That might be enough to surpass the De Niro/Pacino miscarriage Righteous Kill for second place overall, but we don't think anybody will overtake The Family That Preys — or, excuse us, Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys. The distinction matters, too: Even with 1,000 fewer screens than Kill, the dude is a box-office witch with a cult following and increasing crossover juice (Kathy Bates!) that'll push Family to $19.5 million in three days. Not that we've seen it — Perry doesn't avail his films to the press — but it's still fascinating stuff; we'll have more on him here later in the day. Also opening: The chatty, mostly misleadingly titled Young People Fucking; Takashi Miike's acid-trip spaghetti Eastern Sukiyaki Western Django; the flashback-y Jewish family drama A Secret; the enviro-alarmist doc FLOW: For Love of Water; and Matthew McConaughey's shirtless adventure Surfer, Dude. THE BIG LOSER: Here and elsewhere, we've made little secret of our disdain for Towelhead, Alan Ball's thoroughly revolting, exploitive, amateurish, illiterate and borderline retarded sketch of molesty, multi-ethnic suburban ennui. It's not worth getting into again — that's what Google's for — but look at it this way: Warner Independent Pictures didn't fold because it couldn't compete; it was poisoned. If you pay money to see this movie, you could be next.

Brad Pitt Successfuly Evacuated From Secure, Non-Burning Toronto Landmark

STV · 09/11/08 05:45PM

It wasn't just the Lumenick/Ebert skirmish that took nearly a week to reach the states via specially trained Canadian gossip pigeons. Now we're learning more about the fire that threatened Burn After Reading co-star Brad Pitt at his hotel in Toronto — or perhaps "threatened" is too strong a word. Maybe "damaged an adjacent complex while Pitt's security detail freaked the fuck out" might be a little more on point, according to a report:

George Clooney, Megaphone Crooner

Douglas Reinhardt · 09/08/08 01:20PM

Never one to miss an opportunity to sing in public, superstar George Clooney picked up the nearest megaphone and began to croon the afternoon away. Clooney started off with a selection of songs made popular by his aunt, Rosemary Clooney, before transitioning into a jubilant medley of Rudy Valle and Frank Sinatra tunes. One female onlooker was quoted as saying that his appeal was due to the fact that "he's got the voice of the Velvet Fog, the charm of Dean Martin and the sex appeal of all three Jonas Brothers."

First 'Burn After Reading' Reviews Suggest It's Either Brilliant Or Crap

Seth Abramovitch · 08/27/08 04:50PM

With the exciting news that Brad Pitt has won his second best actor chalice today at the Venice Film Festival—for what the judging committee deemed his "indomitable spirit both on and off the screen, his effortless embodiment of the American masculine ideal, and the way sucking up to him will facilitate future access to his impossibly fertile and glamorous life partner, Angelina Jolie"—we thought it time to finally time to take a look at the movie which ushered him to victory. We speak, of course, of the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading, which had its world premiere tonight at the festival. If Pitt, as Javier Bardem did before him, could win top accolades with a hairstyle this ridiculous looking, then this truly must have been another masterwork from the sibling geniuses. Let's see what the critics are saying. (And yes, spoilers ensue.) · The Guardian uses the word "triumph" and gives it four stars out of five, calling it "a tightly wound, slickly plotted spy comedy that couldn't be in bigger contrast" to No Country for Old Men, but that the Coens film it most closely resembles is "the divorce-lawyer comedy Intolerable Cruelty." Everyone gets a chance to shine comically, but "Pitt, in fact, gets the best of the funny stuff, [though] has by some way the least screen time of all the principal cast." [The Guardian]· Counterpoint! Variety hated it. Calling it a "dark goofball comedy about assorted doofuses in Washington, D.C.," Burn "tries to mate sex farce with a satire of a paranoid political thriller," with "with arch and ungainly results." Further, a "seriously talented cast" has been "asked to act like cartoon characters," with everything turned up to a "grotesquely exaggerated extent." [Variety] · Yeesh. That last one didn't go so well. Let's go back to loving it again! The Times Online also gives it four stars. Noting it's the first Coen-penned screenplay since 2001's The Man Who Wasn’t There, they compare it to Raising Arizona and Fargo (yay!) in its "savagely comic taste for creative violence and a slightly mocking eye for detail." Carter Burwell’s score is a "brilliant...paranoid piece of film music," though if the movie lacks for anything, it's "warmth." [Times Online]

Absolut Hunk Explains Why 'SATC' Tracks So Weakly On Mars

Seth Abramovitch · 05/29/08 08:25PM

· Leave it to the unlikely arena of a TRL interview with Jason Lewis for a probing analysis of the lopsided gender-divide among SATC fans. (To Lewis's credit, he never once utters the phrase, "Cause they're, like, old and not hot.") [MTV]
· It's the Burn After Reading red band trailer! We think we just witnessed the Coens' greatest work since really-gay-sounding Anton Chigurh chilled us to the very core. [/Film]
· Celebrity Bogus-Rehab-Excuse Theater now continues with Steve Tyler's shocking admission that his recent stint was only to give his aching tootsies a chance to heal. Yeah, right. Maybe from the needle marks between their toes! [Reuters]
· All-purpose furry-footed fantasy creature James McAvoy is rumored to be favored for the lead in The Hobbit. [theonering.net]
· At celebtags.com, you look at a photo of a celebrity, then submit the first word or phrase that comes to your mind, then can glance at a tag cloud mapping what everyone else submitted. It sounds pointless, but it's kind of addictive. Look out for the billboard-sized word used to describe Sarah Jessica Parker. Meanies! [celeb tags]

Brad Pitt Hoping To Ride His Own Silly, Coens-Movie Hairdo To Oscar Gold

Seth Abramovitch · 04/29/08 07:05PM

Clearly committed to the same, ridiculous hairstyling tactics that helped to win Javier Bardem an Academy Award for No Country For Old Men, the Coen brothers put the supporting pretty-boy superstar of their next effort, the Venice Film Fest-opening Burn After Reading, in a License to Drive-era Haimdo. The wardrobe choice is guaranteed to lend even further realism to Brad Pitt's already brilliantly realized performance as a dimwitted gym employee. After the jump, via firstshowing.net, are your first looks at Pitt's Burn co-stars, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and John Malkovich, plus a plot synopsis for the spoiler-resilient:

Not an April Fool's Joke: Oscars Season is Apparently Upon Us

STV · 04/01/08 11:15AM

We awoke this morning with our fully-charged Defamer prank sensors cranked high, awaiting the torrent of breaking non-news that would challenge us throughout April Fool's Day. Our first alarm sounded at Variety, where Pamela McClintock dumped the timetables for studios' award-season hopefuls and thus launched the trade's unofficial 2008 Oscar Race Handicapping Guide.