Big Hitter: In Defense of Twilight and This Weekend's Box Office Winner Will Be...

What I'm Seeing This Week

Only two films on the schedule: Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant and Amelia. The first film is getting decent buzz from online critics while the second was/is an Academy Award contender. Variety hated both of them, so that's probably a good sign.

What I Saw Last Week

The Road, Law Abiding Citizen, and Where the Wild Things Are. As I reviewed Law Abiding Citizen (click here), I won't get into that one again, but I've got a few quick thoughts on Where the Wild Things Are. First off, I didn't really "get" it. Oh, I understand that it's about childhood, and those feelings of isolation, uncontrollable anger, and escape. But I didn't think it was a very effective narrative. It looked nice, but I found the adaptation lacking overall.

I'm not allowed to talk about The Road. But I can talk about the book, which I read last year. I thought it was highly effective ... and yet also completely depressing.

Press Releases of Note

Summit Entertainment was nice enough to send over some high-res stills from New Moon; click on the little image to see the massive one. Collect them all!

Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in New Moon

Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in New Moon

Kristen Stewart in New Moon

Taylor Lautner in New Moon

Today's Movie Stories on the Internets

Anytime Bronson Pinchot crushes Tom Cruise in an interview, well, you can just assume we're going to link to it. Very exciting.

Best Non-Movie Story of the Week

A nice aggregate story on the state of book publishing from The Big Money.

Deep Thought of the Week

A few well-regarded online film critics (including our own C. Robert Cargill) discussed blogging ethics last week. It was a fascinating conversation that I'd highly recommend you give a listen to.

However, one of the subjects broached was Twilight; one of the people involved in the conversation basically thought any reporting on Twilight was clearly an attempt to drive traffic, devoid of any artistic merit. He actually went so far as to call the people who run Twilight news "hit whores," IE folks who just throw Twilight items up for the traffic.

And that's where I became very confused, for a few reasons, starting with:

1) The goal of a website is traffic. Now, there are logical lines a site shouldn't cross in pursuit of traffic (for instance, running porn), but so far as I know the Twilight series is a group of films. And we cover films. Which brings me to...

2) How is Twilight any different from Watchmen, Harry Potter, Transformers, or Where the Wild Things Are? It's not. They all have fanbases who want news on said film. To sit in judgment of that, to say "well, this film isn't worth covering because it's not for my specific demo" seems disingenuous at best and highly hypocritical at worst. I would throw in sexist and ageist too, but you get the idea.

3) Now then, we give opinions on films all the time, we make the case that Film A is worth watching and Film B could have been better, but how can you consider it a flaw that a movie website covers all movies? We criticized Twilight when it came out, but on the merits of the film, not on some predisposition of what's worthy of our time and what's not. You know what determines what gets run vs. what doesn't? What people read. If people want to read about Twilight (and trust me, they do) there's no harm in that. And again, for the millionth time, the Twilight series DOES have artistic merit. There are legitimate subjects of loss and love woven throughout the books. Criticize the writing all you like, but Stephenie Meyer clearly tapped into something elemental and relevant in our society. Is the fanbase largely female? Yes. But why should that matter? What does that have to do with anything?

Essentially, I don't get it. How dare the same Internet that's in favor of G.I. Joe so casually dismiss Twilight? Very silly.

Early Box Office Take

Saw V cleared $30 million last October. The only variable this time is Paranormal Activity, which only seems to be gaining buzz. Still, the 3,000 theaters should lead Saw VI to the top spot.

Videos For You

First up, John Roderick (of The Long Winters) with "The Commander Thinks Aloud"

And then, just to leave you smiling, Flight of the Conchords with "Carol Brown"