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?JIM’S MOVIE CHEAT SHEET ? 5 October

MML

MOVIE TO URGE FILMGOERS TO VOTE

In keeping with its ‘democracy is precious’ brief, the acclaimed historical drama Birth of a Nation will host voter registration booths when it opens across the US next week. There will also be on-screen PSAs (public service announcements) from the cast and director Nate Parker, who wrote and stars in the film. Though the film takes it title from the notorious 1915 DW Griffith classic, which lauded the Ku Klux Klan, Parker’s film is about ex-slave Nat Turner (played by Parker), leader of an 1831 uprising in Virginia. The film sold to Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5m at Sundance and the hope is that it’s ‘make a difference’ vibe will excite people enough to get them in on the voting habit.

CHURCHILL ‘HAPPY’ WITH TRANSFORMERS ROLE

Alleged outrage over the casting of Winston Churchill’s stately home as a Nazi HQ in Transformers 5 has been soundly hosed down by Winnie’s grandson, Tory MP Nicholas Soames. That certain veterans were upset was ‘a completely manufactured row’ and that Churchill would have been in on it. Transformers maestro Michael Bay has also come out to say Churchill would have been chuffed at his portrayal as a major hero. In fairness, we should also note how Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, was in Transformers: Dark of the Moon and didn’t complain about the rewriting of the Apollo program’s history to suit the franchise’s own fantastic ends.

STONE’S ‘SNOWDEN’ FAILS CRED CHECK

Oliver Stone’s engrossing, if admittedly one-sided biopic Snowden has been pilloried for being unrealistic and biased by former NSA deputy director Chris Inglis, who says the film is full on implausible meetings and too much Bourne-type gung-hoisms. The film continues to under-perform in the US though it is yet to open in Russia, where president Vladimir Putin has endorsed the film and where Snowden now lives.

CARPENTER DENIES DISSING ZOMBIE

Veteran horror/fantasy/sci-fi director John Carpenter has sniped back at accusations by Robert Bartleh Cummings – aka Rob Zombie – that he was dismissive of his 2007 remake of Halloween. Carpenter claims he was supportive from the get-go and encouraged Zombie to put his own stamp on the franchise. Carpenter is presently working as producer on the 10th Halloween sequel, which he promises will be the scariest yet.

VALE GODFATHER OF SPLATTER

American schlockmeister Hershall Gordon Lewis, has died, age 90. His 1960s exploitation films such as Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs! and Color Me Blood Red ushered in the use of gore a decade before the practice was refined in the 1970s. After a successful film career, and a three-year jail stint for fraud, Lewis made it big in advertising, though he kept up an active interest in films till 2009. 

‘PETS’ PROVE KIDS RULE THE MULTIPLEX

The school-holiday hit The Secret Life of Pets remained locked at #1, taking a whopping $6.6 million on 489 screens for a three-week total of $21.1m and registering an average audience jump of 8% – remarkable for a film in its third week of release. Similarly, Pete’s Dragon (#5) saw a 20% spike in its audience average as it took in another $2.2m on 369 for a two-week total of $4.18m. And in its eight week, Suicide Squad (#11) lost a mere 1%, taking $395,020 on 106 for a dizzying total of $34m.

The animated kids film Storks (#3) debuted with a healthy $2.9m on 282 while Snowden (#7) took an impressive $803,818 on 98.

Alas, any hope that the Aussie comedy Spin Out (#14) was going to catch a second wind in its second week died with more dismal figures: the ocker comedy film took $230,190 on 183 for a two-week total of $616,812. Might the film have been released on too many screens?

Can it ring up a million before it bows out?

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