Jump to content

Recommended Posts

WB asks for 'Watchmen' call sooner

Tuesday, Jan. 20 could be D-day in the "Watchmen" dispute. Or rather I-day, when Fox and Warner Bros. have agreed to let Judge Gary A. Feess decide whether to issue an injunction against the film's release.

But Warners is asking that the hearing be moved up to as early as Monday because "time is critical," the studio argues in papers filed this week. "Watchmen" is scheduled for a March 6 bow, and Warners must soon commit to tens of millions of dollars in marketing for a film it isn't sure it can release.

Hollywood Reporter, January 7

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 204
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Overstreet wrote:

: The producer's view of who's right, who's wrong...

I dunno. I think David Poland has a point when he says that, if your landlord neglected to collect the rent for six months and then he expected seven months' rent all in one fell swoop, then he is legally entitled to get his money even if it seems "unfair" to you that you now have to pay over half a year's rent all at once. I admire Warner's ballsiness, and I can understand why the producers would feel that Warner has some sort of "moral" entitlement to the "spoils" of the big risk they took, etc. ... but part of that risk was, presumably, a legal one, and if Warner was as sloppy with the legal stuff as Poland and others have said, then this, too, is part of the game.

It gives me no joy to say that, as I really want to see this film and I have really come to be suspicious of Fox as a studio just on principle. (I have heard rumours of comic fans boycotting Fox's upcoming Wolverine movie as punishment for their treatment of Watchmen, and I can certainly sympathize with them, too.) But rules are rules, and you don't change the rules after you've played the game, etc., etc.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of David Poland:

Let me state from the top

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This just gets funnier and funnier. The updates on this fiasco are almost hourly now.

- - -

Larry Gordon has say on 'Watchmen'

Larry Gordon is tired of being the villain in the "Watchmen" dispute.

In an unorthodox move, the veteran producer has fired off a lengthy letter to U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess blaming Fox and his then-lawyers for the debacle and offering his version of events that led to the court's ruling that Fox owns distribution rights to the Zack Snyder-helmed comic-book adaptation.

Feess' Dec. 24 decision found that Gordon, who is not a party to the case, did not secure proper rights to "Watchmen" from Fox before shopping the project and setting it up at Warner Bros. The judge also said Gordon had "refused to testify" to key questions during his deposition and, as punishment, would not be allowed to have his voice heard on "any aspect" of the case.

Gordon had remained silent since then but fired back Wednesday, stating in a letter filed by his litigation lawyers that he has been subjected to "significant public scorn" for his role in the studio battle and arguing his case that he answered deposition questions "to the best of his knowledge."

Feess refused to read the letter, issuing a terse one-paragraph response later Wednesday that called it an "improper communication" in violation of court rules. . . .

Hollywood Reporter, January 9

Another Court Decision Today (...And Shut Up, Larry)

Now federal judge Gary Feess is set to tell Fox and Warner Bros attorneys today whether or not he'll move up that January 20th hearing regarding an injunction to prevent Watchmen's release on March 6th. Remember, the judge told us he's already decided that Fox has distribution rights to the pic because of copyright infringement. This week, Warner Bros asked for a quicker January 12th hearing because "time is critical". Like, duh.

Nikki Finke, January 9

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Have to say, I'm kind of surprised that no one has mentioned this week's developments here yet.

A settlement has been reached. Warner, already sharing revenues with Paramount and Legendary Pictures, must now give a percentage of the gross to Fox. So naturally, there is much speculation that Warner will recoup its losses by suing producer Larry Gordon, who also has a percentage of the gross. And Gordon, in turn, may sue the lawyer that he recently blamed for allegedly failing to tell him that Fox still owned the rights in the early '90s.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Watchmen anti-buzz is steadily increasing. Here is a clip recently released. Not sure I can take two hours of that.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

Link to post
Share on other sites
SpoutBlog has rounded up some of the brewing backlash -- much of it, ironically, sparked by an orgasmic "non-review" of the film that was posted at Time.com yesterday. (Time.com, like the Warner Brothers studio, is owned by Time Warner.) The Time.com blogger in question openly admits that he's breaking an embargo, but like a lot of weasels these days, he thinks that stating his opinion of the film won't count as a "review" if he simply avoids going into any "detail". Because Lord knows we've never seen any "reviews" that ran for less than, oh, 500 words.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What's really striking is how the early reviews are not mixed, so much as they are sharply divided, with fanboys like Wil Wheaton getting all ecstatic on the one hand and a few other people (I'm thinking mainly of the two anonymous commentators quoted by Jeffrey Wells) saying that the film is basically just boring.

Quite frankly, everything I have seen so far leads me to EXPECT the film to be boring, badly acted (with a few exceptions), etc. I really, really am NOT a fan of the technique whereby the action is slow-motioned or freeze-framed every now and then, just so that we can linger on the similarities between the movie and the comic book, or whatever. The aura around this film is beginning to remind me of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and how over-reverence for the text led to a really dull cinematic experience. Actually, you could probably toss The Da Vinci Code into that category, too. Or any number of church-based Bible movies, where everyone who praises the film emphasizes how "accurate" the film is, as if to suggest that there was as little creativity involved in the filmmaking as possible.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The aura around this film is beginning to remind me of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and how over-reverence for the text led to a really dull cinematic experience. Actually, you could probably toss The Da Vinci Code into that category, too. Or any number of church-based Bible movies, where everyone who praises the film emphasizes how "accurate" the film is, as if to suggest that there was as little creativity involved in the filmmaking as possible.

I'm getting this vibe too. And mind you, I'm definitely a fan of the graphic novel (and have been for a while). I'm just realizing more and more how slavish adherence to source material can be a bad thing. The page and the screen are two different mediums, you know, both with different strengths and weaknesses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading the novel, I couldn't help but wonder if the studio's use of director Zach Snyder might be a mistake. Visually, I am sure the film will match the book, since Snyder has already proven he can do that (a la 300). Yet Watchmen is not, fundamentally, an action story. There are few action set pieces in the book. It seems more of a plot-driven piece to me, which makes wonder if having the director of 300 in charge is such a good idea after all.

Still, I won't write it off. It will probably be the first 2009 movie that I drag myself to.

-"I... drink... your... milkshake! I drink it up!"

Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood

Link to post
Share on other sites
...I couldn't help but wonder if the studio's use of director Zach Snyder might be a mistake. Visually, I am sure the film will match the book, since Snyder has already proven he can do that (a la 300). Yet Watchmen is not, fundamentally, an action story. There are few action set pieces in the book. It seems more of a plot-driven piece to me, which makes wonder if having the director of 300 in charge is such a good idea after all.

Heh. My thoughts exactly, basically since I'd heard the news Snyder would be at the helm.

Still, I won't write it off. It will probably be the first 2009 movie that I drag myself to.

Ditto.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

Link to post
Share on other sites

Drew McWeeny (AKA Moriarty) - has he left AICN completely? - gives a positive review:

...what I found most bracing about the experience of finally seeing this onscreen is that it pushes the genre further than it's ever been pushed before. It demands more of viewers than any superherho movie previously released. It sets up a moral question at the end of the film that can't be easily answered, and it doesn't even try. It expects you to have your own reaction, and it treats viewers like adults, a rarity from any Hollywood film, much less one featuring characters with names like Nite Owl and Hooded Justice. And, amazingly, it works as a movie. It has its own rhythm, taking its time to lay out this complicated story, but it constantly delights with details both small and grand, and the cumulative impact is far more emotional than I would have expected. This isn't a case of a film being "good enough," and I'm not "just glad there's some version of it finally." It is a triumph, a movie that amazes on its own terms, and a major jump forward for Snyder as a filmmaker. He's on a very short list now of guys I would trust with world-building on an epic scale, and from this point forward, whatever Snyder's got in store for us, I'm onboard.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

Link to post
Share on other sites
Drew McWeeny (AKA Moriarty) - has he left AICN completely? - gives a positive review:

He announced his departure in his review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:

And so this month starts a transition that’s going to take me from AICN to my new online home, HitFix.com, a process that’s going to take the next six weeks or so. I've met so many great people and had so many remarkable experiences here that I guess a part of me thought that AICN would always just be part of me. It’s a little bit terrifying, and while I’m looking forward to working with a great group of people, part of me feels like I’m leaving behind one of the most significant things I’ve ever done.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

Link to post
Share on other sites

And now the "real" critics are beginning to review the film.

Justin Chang @ Variety:

Finally unleashed from a much-publicized rights dispute between Fox and Warner Bros.,

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Looks like we have the first real flop of 2009.

Wow. The movie hasn't even been released yet...and the guy declares it a flop? I mean, I know there are plenty of naysayers (which is why I find it downright laughable when people talk like the folks claiming it will be a terrible movie-unseen- are taking a brave and risky stance) ....what happens if it is the breakout hit of 2009? I kind of prefer waiting until I see if the movie has legs before declaring it a flop.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

Link to post
Share on other sites

Saw it. Don't know how much I should say, but I think it's fair to say that the first 10 minutes of this film are the best 10 minutes of filmmaking I've seen in a long time. It's a lot for the next 140 minutes to live up to.

This will be an interesting test of sorts for Christian critics. What elements of the film are recommendable, and which aren't? I'd suggest that this is a very mixed bag, and I look forward to the coming onslaught of analysis. I'll be contributing to that onslaught from the point of view of a Watchmen novice, but the film is provocative enough for me to want to know much, much more, and to know it soon. I'm looking forward to the discussion.

From IMDB:

Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language

Ummm, yeah.

EDIT: Hah! Jeffrey Wells quotes Anthony Lane's review: "The good news is that you don't have to stay past the opening credit sequence -- easily the highlight of the film." Yup. But I don't hate the rest of the film.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites

Overstreet wrote:

: Well, I've been getting messages from Brandon Fibbs (from CT's team) praising this as one of the greatest things ever, so we'll see what the CT review looks like.

Fibbs isn't the CT critic assigned to this one, so there could be a RANGE of opinions on this one. Hmmm, sounds like something for the CT Movies blog.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Personally, Lane's review pretty much changed my mind about seeing it. Now, I really *don't* want to see it.

Most of the criticisms he levels at the film seem to have come directly from the graphic novel. If it fails as a film adaptation, that's one thing (and it's certainly possible), but he seemed to be railing against the plot and characters which I like well enough not to be thrown by. Has Lane read the graphic novel? From his review it doesn't sound like he's familiar with it.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

Link to post
Share on other sites

Darryl A. Armstrong wrote:

: Has Lane read the graphic novel?

Apparently so, based on sentences like these:

You want to see the attempted rape of a superwoman, her bright latex costume cast aside and her head banged against the baize of a pool table? The assault is there in Moore

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That IS a funny line! On that subject, after The Reader and now Watchmen, is male frontal nudity no longer taboo? Or only when one of the men in question is ... blue? :huh:

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw it last night too, and really liked it. I've only read the graphic novel once, a couple months ago, but it delivered what I wanted in the adaptation. My two favorite scenes were the ones with songs in the forefront, Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' and later Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound Of Silence .

And I agree, Christian, it will be interesting to see how Christian critics respond to it, because it is definitely a mixed bag. They're not kidding about the R rating.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Darryl A. Armstrong wrote:

: Has Lane read the graphic novel?

Apparently so, based on sentences like these:

You want to see the attempted rape of a superwoman, her bright latex costume cast aside and her head banged against the baize of a pool table? The assault is there in Moore

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...