Jim Schembri’s Movie Cheat Sheet – April 4
JIM’S MOVIE CHEAT SHEET – 4 April
DYNAMIC DUO CLEAN UP DESPITE CRITICS
The critics certainly hated it, but in another example of the growing chasm between critical opinion and popular taste the $250 million superhero epic Batman vs Superman took a lazy $US502m globally in less than a week, putting it on track to set a new billion-dollar record, which was successively broken last year, first by Furious 7, then by Jurassic World, then by Star Wars 7.
KEVIN SMITH WANTS MORE SUPER-LAUGHS
One of the film’s more notable detractors has been director Kevin Smith, a life-long comic book fanboy and friend of Ben Affleck, who plays Batman in the new flick. He loved the visuals but felt the characters were hollow and, most importanly, didn’t have their usual sense of humour. Says Smith: ‘You need more than just the pictures, you need characterisation, and these characters seemed off, especially Superman.’
TRIBECA CAUSES STIR BY PULLING ANTI-VACCINATION DOC
There’s huge controversy in New York over the anti-vaccination film Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe being withdrawn from Robert de Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival. Slammed by scientists, the feature doco argues the case for the disgraced British former doctor Andrew Wakefield, who in 1998 tried linking the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to autism, but failed. Initially accepted with DeNiro’s support, the pulling of the film has prompted the filmmakers to cry ‘censorship’ and campaign for its reinstatement on ‘free speech’ grounds. The film has already secured a general release across the US, so the Tribeca battle is largely a symbolic one.
VALE PATTY DUKE
Patty Duke, aka Anna Pearce, has passed away, age 69. Best known for the hugely successful 1960s sitcom The Patty Duke Show (63-66), her portrayal of Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker won her the Oscar for best supporting actress at 16, the youngest Academy Award recipient at the time. She also appeared in the 1967 Mark Robson film The Valley of the Dolls.
NO MARRIAGE NO MOVIE, SAY STUDIO HEAVYWEIGHTS
Disney and Marvel have taken a stand in favour of same-sex marriage by declaring they won’t do any filming in Georgia if the state passes laws discriminating against same-sex couples when it comes to adoption, school enrolement, government work and marriage. It’s a big call, given how hard Georgia has worked to make itself attractive to tax-break seeking film studios. The economic impact on both sides of the fence will be considerable if it goes ahead.
HISTORIC TENNIS MATCH GETS THREE MOVIES
Having been neglected by feature filmmakers for more than 40 years – there was a 2013 doco – the famous, strictly unofficial Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs is now to be subject to three film treatments.
The one most buzzed about stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell, another has Will Ferrell ready to go as Riggs (his King is yet to be cast), while HBO is reportedly putting its own TV movie, Proof, into the works with Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti in the lead roles.
The match came at the height of the women’s liberation movement, and though it was not officially sanctioned, help change the perception of women in sports. Films about it now would be especially topical, given how the gender issue is still hot as ever.
ROBBIE TO PLAY EVIL ICE SKATING QUEEN
Aussie actress Margot Robbie (so good in The Wolf of Wall Street) is to star in and produce I, Tanya, in which she’ll portray ice-skating champion Tonya Harding who, in 1994, arranged to have her chief skating rival Nancy Kerrigan knocked off.
STONE ON ROAD TO OSCAR
In other interesting casting news, Emma Stone is set for the challenge of playing Rosemary Kennedy, JFK’s eldest sister who was forced to undergo a lobotomy operation on the order of Kennedy patriarch Joseph Kennedy senior. Afterwards she was left with the mental capacity of a two-year-old after the operation went south. Anybody else smell Oscar bait?
‘SUPERBAT’ RULES ROOST
The latest superhero epic Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice took #1 with a take of $18.1 million on 594 screens. At #2, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 managed an impressive $6.3m on 376 and Kung Fu Panda 3 (#4) ate up $4.47m on 458. In limited release, the techno-war thriller Eye in the Sky (#9) earned a healthy $510,072 on 46 while the arthouse film A Bigger Splash (#14) made a nice splash taking $224,966 on 43.