As journalists and critics, we're taught to keep an open mind, but it certainly appears that there's bad news on the "Godzilla" front.
The much-anticipated, $100 million-plus giant monster flick, due out on Memorial Day, isn't going to be screened early for reviewers - outside of those lucky enough to participate in the pre-opening junket or the pre-opening premiere party.For those who don't know, when a studio doesn't pre-screen a movie it usually means it isn't very good and that execs are probably afraid of seeing negative reviews (recent films that weren't screened include the horrid "Species II" and the dumb-bell "Tarzan and the Lost City"). To put things in perspective, studios even screened the horrid comedies "Meet the Deedles" and "Spice World."
This has gotten the rumor mill in a frenzy, with reports circulating that Columbia/TriStar Pictures has shown the movie to test audiences, who laughed in all the wrong places (evidently, the film is played for serious thrills rather than in a campy manner).
Of course, filmmakers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin have had a long-running feud with critics since their movies "Stargate" and "Independence Day" were trashed by the New York and Los Angeles reviewer cliques, so this may be their way of staging a protest. At least, let's hope so.
- NO MORE BACK-BREAKING JOBS: It's a movie critic's dream come true: The seats in the upstairs theater of Cineplex Odeon's Trolley Corners Cinemas have finally been replaced.
Anyone who's had to sit in one of theater's torture-device chairs lately knows that the seat cushions there have become painfully thin, with springs that protrude into the most sensitive areas of a patron's back (and backside). And when moviegoers had to sit in them for longer than two hours (such as the "Titanic" promotional screening), it made for an excruciating experience.
Trolley Corners' Theater 1 was closed for four days this week while 750 new, "plush high-back" seats were installed, and a spokeswoman for the Canadian-based chain says they will be the "most luxurious" ones around.
We can only hope that the theater will disposed of the old chairs better than they did over at the now-defunct Carmike Flick Twin Theaters (i.e. piling the discarded seats directly under the movie screen).
And on a more ironic note, the Carmike 12 Theaters, probably the most comfortable multiplex showhouse in the valley, are also being renovated at the same time. Of course, this work being done there entails rearranging the theater configurations (so a couple of its screens will feature the ever-popular "stadium seating").
- SUPERMAN IS DEAD (AGAIN): Soaring production costs and script uncertainties have led Warner Bros. Studios to shelve the movie "Superman Lives," shortly after the project was revived. This time the delay may be permanent.
According to the usually reliable "movie news" reports from the Internet Movie Database, producer Jon Peters and director Tim Burton still haven't found a script they like (various treatments have been written by Dan Gilroy, Wesley Strick and Kevin Smith). Worse still, Peters and Burton were looking to make a $150 million movie - something the studio is reluctant to fund after last year's disastrous $80 million turkey "The Postman," as well as a string of smaller-budgeted flops.
And star Nicolas Cage, who won the coveted role as the new Man of Steel in the film, has already expressed interest in playing another comic-book character, Marvel Comics' Iron Man. This project, from director Stuart Gordon, may start production later this year, and it's doubtful any filmmaker would foolish enough to turn Cage down.
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "It was very sobering to have her behave so badly and act like such a bully. She certainly gave greater credibility to all those monstrous rumors about her." Documentary director Nick Broomfield, referring to Courtney Love, one of the subjects of his new controversial film "Kurt and Courtney"
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK RUNNERUP: "Studio films are fun to do - you're like a piece in the whole big product. But independent films are really more character-driven and story-driven. They're about people. They take risks and are usually more interesting." - Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, currently appearing in "Sliding Doors"