by Barry Koltnow / The Orange County Register (MCT)
Can you remember the last time you went out to a nice dinner? I’ll bet you went to one of your favorite restaurants. When money is tight, people generally opt for the familiar, rather than experiment with the unknown. Well, movies are a lot like restaurants, except that the large popcorn costs more than the lobster. Moviegoers are not in the mood for experimentation when they finally make the decision to splurge on entertainment.
That is evident by the current box office chart. Last week, the top two movies at the box office were Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Both films are sequels, and both have made an obscene amount of money, proving that the public is looking for the familiar. Johnny Depp’s critically acclaimed gangster flick, Public Enemies, came in a respectable third in its opening weekend, but the take was considerably lower than the sequels.
Now topping the box-office list is another sequel, Bruno. Oh, please, don’t try to convince me it’s not a sequel. Trust me, I’ve seen it, and it may be a different character from the mind of Sacha Baron Cohen, but it’s a sequel to his very original 2006 hit Borat, only not as funny. People will believe they’re living dangerously by seeing an original film, but they’re just seeing another sequel.
On July 15, the three sequels will cower under the sequel power of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It easily could wind up being the biggest movie of the summer, although the Transformers sequel is giving it a run for its money ($600 million worldwide, and counting).
With sequel fever infecting the multiplex, it was inevitable that I would catch the fever. It also was inevitable that I would write a column about it. That’s what I do. I’ve been pondering the subject of sequels, and I’ve come up with a couple of lists for you to peruse. Feel free to disagree with me.
—Barry Koltnow / The Orange County Register (MCT)
BEST SEQUELS EVER MADE (They did it for the art, and the money)
1. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
Francis Ford Coppola and I have argued over this movie (he insists that it’s better than the 1972 original; I say it’s a close second), but there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the best movies ever made, so it certainly deserves this recognition.
An excellent little hybrid of noir, thriller, and war-time espionage, Flame & Citron follows two hit men’s journey through Nazi-occupied Denmark. Viva le resistance! Drawing many a comparison to Melville’s Army of Shadows, the film opens July 31st in New York at the Sunshine and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, and will gradually roll out nationally August 14th. Flame & Citron will also be available On Demand July 29th.
Almodovar is one of the most consistently exciting auteurs in the world, and in celebration of his newest film Broken Embraces, PopMatters is readying a week-long look at the director’s life, work and themes. While our inaugural “Directors Spotlight” series is a bit far off (look for the section to run in mid- to late- November, the excellent, nicely-cut English subtitled trailer is out now! Let the countdown to Almodovar Week officially begin!
Meryl Streep’s devilish turn as a high-fashion editor has got nothing on the real thing: Vogue’s Anna Wintour guides us through just what it takes to produce the magazine’s famed September issue, from which the film takes its title.