That's a Wrap


Between this weekend’s opening of the much-anticipated, much-denounced, much-hemmed-and-hawed-over Apocalypto and all the publicity recently heaped onto that guy from Seinfeld, that guy from Bird On a Wire might just be on the cusp of his best bid to have a substantial portion of folks nationwide start forgetting about … you know. That other thing. That, or the fact that some folks forget and others don’t might get people talking about it all over again, and then that’ll take some of the heat off of the guy from Trial and Error and his other thing. And then, maybe the combined swirl of attention that finds its foci about those guys will draw a little steam away from that guy from the Bills and the Naked Gun movies and the book he helped write about his other thing. And then, if people can forget about that, maybe they can start looking more kindly on, shoot, I don’t know, that guy who got elected president (pick one) and his other thing (pick one). And then, that guy who sang that song about P.Y.T.s. And that guy with the red bowtie and talking furniture. Or the guy with the Flavor-Aid. Or that guy who recorded music with the Beach Boys. Or that guy who was a Civil War-era actor. Or that guy with the beret and the mustache. Or that guy who got kicked out of Heaven. Or … wow. No wonder it’s called Apocalypto. Anyway, it’s actually quite good. And bloody!

Hoo-boy. They say even bad publicity is good, but how about the kind of bad publicity that draws enough attention and ire to make you look bad, but not enough to generate serious, compensatory buzz? So, De Beers is pissed because they think Blood Diamond, Ed Zwick’s 1999-set message flick about conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone will hurt Christmas sales. On the other hand, the New York Post reported that Warner Brothers allegedly has yet to make good on a promise to furnish artificial limbs for 27 child and teenage amputees used as extras in the film, and reportedly planned to wait until the film’s release, so the gesture would coincide with Diamond’s marketing campaign. L.A. Weekly countered, quoting both Zwick and an Amnesty International spokeswoman in repudiating the charge (Amnesty-lady called it “beyond loathsome”), offering Zwick’s explanation of a “good-works” “Blood Diamond Fund” that was set up using cast and crew members’ money, to be matched by Warner Brothers, and suggesting that the bad pub is being engineered on behalf of the World Diamond Council. Still, with all this fuss, the film is a relatively lowly 66 (below Saw III, The Santa Clause III: The Escape Clause, and Pulp Fiction) on’s MOVIEmeter, which calculates “hot” films based on search data. Read more about Hollywood’s still-developing relationship with Africa — with Blood Diamond as a jumping-off point.

OK, look. The sub-head (or “deck,” if you want the lingo) for this column mentions “snap judgments.” And in my expert, overwhelmingly uninformed snap judgment (I’ve seen a preview), The Holiday — Kate Winslet notwithstanding — doesn’t leave me hopeful. But a reviewer from the future assures me I should be just that — stay tuned for his opinion next week.

Lewis Black, Freaks and Geeks creator Paul Feig, and others will try to save Unaccompanied Minors, but at first glance it looks suspiciously like “Home Alone: The Clusterfuck.” (Hmm. It’s a kids’ movie. I should lighten up.)

And ah, yes — the Bijou. Just received an email that John Cameron (Hedwig) Mitchell’s Shortbus, which purports to be a frank-and-beautiful (“Frankenbeautiful?”) discussion of human sexuality (it’s all famously unsimulated), makes it here this Friday, as does Guadalupe, a Spanish-language film wherein brother-and-sister archaeologist-scientists investigate a mysterious image of the Virgin Mary.

Whew. Did you read this whole thing? Wow. High-five.

My advice for the week: Love like no one’s ever seen you dancing.

 — Brian Villalobos


Local premiere dates for limited-release films are tentative and can change at the last minute. Please check your local theater listings to confirm showtimes.

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