What I'm Seeing This Week
A Christmas Carol, Pirate Radio, and The Box. My quick thoughts on each: I don't quite get why Jim Carrey had to play eight parts in Christmas Carol; Pirate Radio evidently had huge problems before finally getting a new title and release date; and Cameron Diaz threw out a major spoiler for The Box when I was at The San Diego Comic-Con. If merely one of these films turns out to be worth raving about I'll be most pleased. As I tweeted last week, the writers' strike has crushed us moviegoers this fall.
What I Saw Last Week
I caught Michael Jackson's This Is It (reviewed here), Bad Lieutenant, and The Men Who Stare At Goats. I can't say anything about the latter two films due to complex and interesting embargo rules, but if you stop by my desk I may be able to whisper something about them. No promises.
Press Releases of Note
Paper Heart will be hitting DVD and Blu-ray on December 1. Extract will do the same on December 22. The Road has launched an interactive game (your guess is as good as mine on that one).
Today's Movie Stories on the Internets
The trailer for How to Train Your Dragon arrives, and Wes Anderson tells Access Hollywood he wants to shoot a movie in space. Follow-up question: Who is more whimsical, Spike Jonze or Wes Anderson?
Best Non-Movie Story of the Week Not by Me
Harvard University is going to offer a class on The Wire. If you've never seen that show you should stop what you're doing right now and watch all five seasons. Take breaks for lunch but don't dally.
Deep Thought of the Week
Michael Jackson's This Is It has earned $32.5 million domestically ... and nearly $70 million internationally. Does this speak to the overseas market's ability to discount all the odd personal items about MJ and simply focus on the man's art? Are American audiences too hung up on the past two decades of Jackson scandal? I don't have an answer, but it's fascinating in what it says about various cultures throughout the globe. I think it comes down to the separation of art vs. artist. Clearly, Michael Jackson created iconic anthems. He also transformed before our eyes and died under mysterious conditions. I don't think one side is right or wrong in this equation, and like everything else about "The King of Pop," we're left with way more questions than answers.
Early Box Office Take
A Christmas Carol is getting 3,500 theaters and is in 3-D. That should be more than enough to elevate it into the top slot against a mediocre field.
What I'm Reading
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I was a little annoyed to learn this was a compilation and not new work from Mr. Gladwell, but I quickly got over it when the strength of Gladwell's prose shone through. He's an innovative thinker that deserves an audience, but start with The Tipping Point or Blink if you're new to his work.
Videos For You
First up, Christopher Walken reading Lady Gaga lyrics:
And then The Heavy with "That Kind of Man":