Are you all watching the Cannes Cam? Opening ceremonies start soonish.
Speaking of, more inevitable "Da Vinci Code" stories (and we’ve avoiding the bulk of them). At the New York Times, Sharon Waxman writes about the unprecedented marketing of a film 96% of people polled were aware of and 60% "definite interest," and then slaps us with this:
Industry estimates of the film’s expected ticket sales for the opening weekend at the domestic box office range from $70 million to over $100 million.
Ouch! For a film that’s never going to keep the interest of most anyone under 16? We shall see.
Adam Edwards in the Telegraph writes about how, for all their varied fury or bemusement about the book and the film, many churches in England are happy about the cash infusion and renewed interest they’ve brought about.
[T]his cascade of freshly generated cash is putting kindly theologians in a hilarious quandary. These gentlemen may not want to be bothered by believers in Dan Brown’s fanciful notions – but also, they don’t want to dismiss new spending customers out of hand.
Take, for instance, the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, the Very Rev Alec Knight, who, while cheerfully branding the book ”a load of old tosh”, happily agreed to let the film be shot at the cathedral after the producers made a donation of Â£100,000.
And Peter J. Bower in the New Yorker has an interesting piece on Sony Pictures’ spinning of the film for Christians.
So how is the damn thing? Fresh off the wires, AP‘s David Germain reports of last night’s press screening that "reaction from Cannes critics ranged from mild endorsement of its potboiler suspense to groans of ridicule over its heavy melodrama." And at the Risky Biz blog, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Anne Thompson, who found the film overly cautious, writes that:
The thing to remember about the Cannes press, especially the film
critics, is that they are global, sophisticated, pretentious and quite
often vicious. They love to slam the seats at a press screening, or
hiss a movie during the closing credits. That level of rejection did
not occur tonight. For the most part the movie unfolds like an
engrossing glossy international thriller, and hews fairly closely to
the book, which is a page-turner, if mechanically executed. But there
were uncomfortable waves of titters throughout the film tonight, and
when the BIG REVEAL comes, there was outright laughter.
[Update: David Hudson rounds up more early reviews at Greencine Daily.]
Feh. Far more entertaining than the film will probably turn out to be (two and a half hours?) is Laura Barton‘s interview with the film’s villain, Paul Bettany, in the Guardian, in which we are reminded that an evil albino is really the role the extremely beige Bettany was born to play:
Bettany has the type of bleached-out colouring that makes looking at
him something like blinking through the midday sun. On screen this can
be used to convey a peculiarly wholesome prettiness – as Tom, in Lars
von Trier‘s "Dogville," or as a faded tennis player in "Wimbledon" – or to
unsettling effect, as a struttingly brutal upstart in "Gangster No 1,"
for example, or now in "The Da Vinci Code."
Inexplicable great quote from Bettany on living in America:
"[I]n America bread lasts so long. You buy bread, and then
it’s bread forever – it’s Forever Bread! I remember when I first went
over there and bought a pint of milk, and I kept going up to it, weeks
later, going I can’t believe this! It’s still fresh! It’s a miracle!
And at the Hollywood Reporter, Winnie Chung and Jonathan Landreth write that Lou Ye‘s in-Competition "Summer Palace," which is set to premiere tomorrow, has in fact not been approved by Chinese censors yet, which could cost the director distribution in his homeland along with many other problems.
+ ‘Da Vinci Code’: The Mystery of the Missing Screenings (NY Times)
+ Da Vinci double standards (Telegraph)
+ HOLLYWOOD HERESY (New Yorker)
+ ‘Da Vinci Code’ Misses the Mark for Critics (AP)
+ Cannes Unveils Da Vinci Code (Risky Biz Blog)
+ The Da Vinci Code. (Greencine Daily)
+ When albino monks attack (Guardian)
+ Who Says Evil Albinos Are Such Bad Role Models? (New York)
+ Making waves on the Riviera (Guardian)
+ ‘Palace’ in China’s doghouse (Hollywood Reporter)