Talk of the Town! 14

kkurman, on the backbeat.  9 March’12

          Its all LORAX right now. Well, Dr. Seuss anyway. It was just his birthday on March 2nd. He was born in 1904, so he would have been 108, he died in ’91. To bad he couldn’t be here to see how he has been embraced by the Main Stream. THE LORAX is riding high as number one box office, first weekend out with $70 million in ticket sales. I wasn’t able to go because I was attending the Huntington Middle School’s opening night of SeussicAL-The Musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty in San Marino, CA. How flattering, the light of enthusiasm! I’m not one for live, musical theatre but its difficult to find fault with a bunch of kids putting on such an ambitious production. (My niece was a high-profile back-up vocalist!)

But THE LORAX is really the big news. Released by IMAX (HUGO, AVATAR, HARRY POTTER…) with Illumination Entertainment (HOP, DESPICABLE ME) production, and a great line-up of voice characters, Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift and Betty White, how could it go wrong?  I’m going check it out at a local theatre next week and will let you know…

Its good to see ACT OF VALOR holding its own at the box office this week, having made around $47 million so far on a $15 mil budget. Not bad for an ‘art’ film.

There is great concern, especially over at Disney Studios, that JOHN CARTER is tracking for a slow first weekend release, as though its not going to be able to compete with THE LORAX. Really?  Could it be that it was written, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, over a hundred years ago, or that the title role, played by Taylor Kitsch, is a relative unknown? Maybe, but I wouldn’t put much faith in the projections of bean counters. It might be a little soft on its opening weekend but I predict it will grow legs and run strong.

JOHN CARTER has it all, perhaps that’s the problem. Its a wild adventure ride through the Time-Space continuum that could only have come from the imagination of someone writing before Albert Einstein de-mystified the whole thing, combined with a technological prowess that could only come a hundred years, and tons of money ($250 million est. budget), after. First off, the digital 3-D medium is much less tiresome to watch than the old (as in, last year) analogue, blue/red goggles. Second, as the producer Jim Morris says, the reason Disney has held off production this long is that the technology just wasn’t there to make it “believable”. For whatever reason, this movie has found its moment.

JC benefits from everything that has gone before, from spaghetti-westerns to HBO’s ROME to early episodes of STAR TREK. Burroughs’ serialized story has been marvelously adapted by writer/director Andrew Stanton (TOY STORY, WALL-E etc…) and his team, and everything in Nathan Crowley‘s (BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT, THE PRESTIGE) production design is just spectacular. Taylor Kitsch has an unusual look to him, and for all his coming out of nowhere, manages the physicality, the empathy and the campiness with ease in equal measure. Texas native, Lynn Collins (X-MEN ORIGINS, TRUE BLOOD) is gorgeous as the princess/warrior/scholar, you can easily believe her seducing the emotionally damaged time/space traveler. Strong performances from Dominic West (THE WIRE), Mark Strong (BODY OF LIES, SHERLOCK HOLMES) and Ciarán Hinds (ROAD TO PERDITION, HARRY POTTER, DH pt2, ROME) add to the overall luster of the film. It all comes together in the end and wow, I’d even go see it again!

HBO‘S GAME CHANGE is kicking up quite a stir over here. I’d be very interested to hear what y’all think of it.

That’s it for now, every day brings a new adventure so ’till then,

See ya’, salam alikum!, iyi aksamlar!


About kkurman

Semi-Retired Landscape Gardener working now on life's passions. Time is running out.
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