now that’s a bad buzz

When I saw Casino Royale the other night, I witnessed the strongest reaction ever to a movie trailer … well, unless you count some of the vintage trailers shown before movies at Alamo Drafthouse, and that’s not at all the same thing. I mean the strongest reaction to a movie not yet released.
I was at a preview screening the night before Casino Royale officially released, and the theater was packed but fairly well-behaved. And then the trailer played. No, I’m not talking about the Apocalypto trailer, which seemed to leave people cold but didn’t generate a lot of reaction.
I’m talking about Rocky Balboa. The negative reaction was astounding. Most people seemed not to be aware that the movie had actually been made, that it would be released in the next month. “Unbelievable!” I heard. I think some people thought at first that it was a joke trailer. “They’re not seriously gonna make that.” “Aw no. You’re kidding.”
The audience as a whole was incredulous that Sylvester Stallone’s character would actually be returning to the ring and fighting, that this was being presented as any kind of realistic option. Stallone as a trainer, they might have bought. But the theater echoed with derisive laughter. Every time Stallone or Burt Young appeared on screen, they laughed. They snickered at “Junior” too.
If this were a highbrow crowd at one of the arthouse theaters, the reaction I saw to the trailer wouldn’t mean much to me. But the trailer played before Casino Royale, one of a number of trailers for obviously male-centric films (I started wondering if I would see a single non-wife in films in the next six months, then remembered the target demographic for a Bond film), and the audience was a mix of people who didn’t mind going to a second-rate multiplex for a free movie. In other words, apart from the press, not film geeks.
Rocky Balboa could turn out to be a great movie. I have no idea. But if people in general are reacting like they did to that trailer, it’s going to tank at the box office. Is it poor marketing, or is the premise truly that silly? Guess we’ll find out in a couple of weeks.

Holidailies update

I know, I can’t stop talking about Holidailies. Sometimes I’m amazed that the collaborative project is in its seventh year. I’m amazed that so many people want to sign up for the portal. I love that we keep coming up with new features … right now we’re working on a list of optional daily writing prompts, so if you’re stuck on a topic to write about on a certain day, you can always use the prompt topic. In addition, we were inspired by NaBloPoMo to create a Holidailies at Home randomizer for handy browsing. (The NaBloPoMo organizer was also kind enough to link to us, which I appreciate because we’ve picked up some new writers this year. Thank you, M. Kennedy!)
As of this moment, we have 139 people signed up for the portal and another 50 for Holidailies at Home, and registration is still open. We’ve got a full panel of readers ready to pick the Best of Holidailies entries; in fact, I’ve got a waiting list of readers. Wow. We filled all our sponsorship slots. Everything is set for Friday morning, when the posting begins. I can’t wait.
Side note: I said last time that Celluloid Eyes was going to participate in Holidailies last year. Then I went back and looked at last year’s Holidailies posts, and realized that it just doesn’t work well for Celluloid Eyes. I tend to focus on film-related writing here, and there’s so much personal stuff I prefer to write during the holiday season. So Celluloid Eyes is no longer on the Holidailies portal list. However, if you peek at the portal list, you might observe that I’m still planning to participate. And who knows, I might post here more often anyway. I’ve still got a few reviews to catch up on, and some other movie stuff to rant about.
Holidailies begins on Friday — if you’re looking for stuff to read in the next month, check it out. Repeatedly.

Deja Vu (2006)

Deja Vu: 2006, dir. Tony Scott. Seen at Gateway (preview screening).
I grew up in the New Orleans area (Metairie, to be specific), and that’s the primary reason why I decided to see Deja Vu. In addition, I am one of the five people who actually liked Tony Scott’s previous film, Domino, so I went into the movie with cautious optimism.
Deja Vu is a good thriller with a supernatural twist, and with a minimum of that Tony Scott trademark camera style that makes me feel ever so slightly nauseated from vertigo. However, I think that if you are from New Orleans, you need to be aware of at least one plot mechanism that may make the movie hard to watch.
The movie opens with a crowd of people all piling onto the Algiers ferry one morning. At first, I wondered why everyone was wearing Mardi Gras beads, and thought, “Those damn filmmakers probably thought New Orleanians always walk around with beads on.” However, a few carefully placed signs and lines of dialogue indicate that this is supposed to be Fat Tuesday itself, 2006, post-Katrina. (I am still dubious, because I feel that Mardi Gras anywhere near the Quarter should be much more crowded … no one is even wearing a costume! And why would a group of schoolchildren be on the ferry; Fat Tuesday is a school holiday in south Louisiana. But I digress.) I hadn’t seen any trailers for this movie at all, so I had no idea what would happen next — I figured this was a setup where some of the people on the ferry would turn out to be important characters later.

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Holidailies: Register, sponsor, read

If you’ve ever read Ain’t It Cool News (AICN), or anything about the Butt-Numb-A-Thon (aka BNAT), you know that AICN founder Harry Knowles refers to the annual BNAT screening event as “Geek Christmas.” It takes place on or around his birthday, and he obviously loves to plan the movies to show, the treats in the gift bags, the guest list, and the event as a whole. I haven’t actually attended a BNAT yet, but I can imagine he is just as enthusiastic during the event as he appears to be beforehand.
I don’t have a BNAT event to schedule (maybe someday …) but I suspect I know exactly how he feels. For the past seven years, my own little happy holiday takes place in mid-November and December. For the past two days, I feel like it’s Geek Christmas, or to be fair to my Jewish husband, at least Geek New Year’s … well, there’s definitely a holiday spirit in the air.
We opened Holidailies for registration on Friday morning. Since 12:01 am on Friday, I’ve received dozens of email alerts that people have signed up, and it’s like being showered with tiny gifts. People I know in real life, people whom I didn’t realize kept websites anymore, people who seem to update sporadically are all signing up and it’s a real treat. I have been known to exclaim aloud, or IM The Beau with joyous, “Look, Margaret signed up! And Pooks is signed up, and Katie! I forgot about Katie!” Later in the day, “Oh, my god, Jane Duvall has a site again!” and “Oh, look who’s back!” I nearly ran out of exclamation points. The Beau, who gets the same email notifications, even pointed out one or two signups he was happy to see.

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Holidailies rides again

Celluloid Eyes has become more of a film blog than a personal site in recent years, but there are still people who remember this as the go-to site for Holidailies, the annual collaborative writing project. So I wanted to let you know that Holidailies is happening again for 2006. We haven’t updated the website yet for 2006 (although there’s a recent announcement posted to show that we’re working on it) but my fellow Holidailies partner and I are hard at work refurbishing the site. Well, he’s hard at work; I’ve got all the light chores.
If you haven’t heard of Holidailies, it’s a project that I started back in 2000. Every year, a bunch of people decide to update their personal online websites (blogs, journals, whatever) daily in the month of December. It’s grown from a handful of people on a webring to a full-fledged portal with all kinds of extra features. Last year, we had 250 registered participants: half posted to the portal every day, the other half “played along at home.”
Tying it in to the current theme of this blog: there’s no reason why film blogs can’t participate, updating every day with a movie review, short essay, anecdote, or commentary of some sort. I don’t know yet if I’ll participate myself with Celluloid Eyes or with another blog, or just stick with administering the site this year. But it’s loads of fun. I’ll post more info here as we update the Holidailies site and iron out the details.