Back Seat Producers Season 03 Shows

BSP Episode 078: The Sixth Sense

Happy Halloween.

This is a special episode that we’ve been planning for a while.  We’ve got a few other episodes recorded before this one, but we wanted to release this for Halloween.

This is a full commentary track for the movie The Sixth Sense.

There is a lot of dead air toward the end of the track, it’s because we got more into watching the movie than commenting on it.

Thanks for listening!

Lots, LOTS more coming very soon.


News Briefs

DreamWorks Animation announced Tuesday that David Geffen has resigned from its board of directors but will remain a major shareholder. Jeffrey Katzenberg issued a statement saying that he looked forward “to working with David as a trusted adviser going forward.” It is unclear what role, if any, Steven Spielberg continues to play in the affairs of the animation studio.

Steven Spielberg is returning to Universal Studios, where he began his career as an unpaid intern in the 1960s (after first sneaking into the studio by, as he said, “looking important,”). Under a seven-year deal, Universal will distribute movies produced by his DreamWorks company and financed by India’s Reliance entertainment conglomerate. He’ll be joined by DreamWorks’ CEO Stacey Snider, but David Geffen, who reportedly negotiated the deals with Reliance and Universal and the exit from Paramount, will be leaving the company. Spielberg acknowledged that the Walt Disney Company had also made him an attractive offer to distribute the six DreamWorks films that he has said the company will produce annually. He told today’s (Tuesday) Wall Street Journal, “It was a tough decision because I love the whole legacy of the Walt Disney Co. … But when it came down to my final decision, it was about my feeling that it was right to return to the lot that gave me my first chance to be a director.” Although Paramount has distributed DreamWorks’ movies since 2006, Spielberg kept his offices on Universal’s lot. “Even coming through the gate this morning actually felt different,” he told today’s New York Times. “I felt better. Less like a squatter.” And in an interview with USA Today, Snider added: “It was really a decision not about terms or money, but ‘where do we belong?’ Steven and I felt the most comfortable there.” Snider also has a long history at Universal, having spent nine years there as a top executive.

Robert Downey Jr. has just signed on to do two more Iron Man movies as well as the superhero flick The Avengers.

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage will likely begin filming sometime in early 2009. Of it, Collider reported that director Rob Cohen has revealed the matter through a recent interview saying, “We met the writers yesterday and we’re trying to get into production by late spring, to have it out for the summer of 2010.” On the occasion, he also made time to confirm that this new XXX project will team him up once again with action man Vin Diesel who will reprise his role as Xander Cage, a law-breaking extreme sports enthusiast-turned-government agent. “Yes, they’re doing it with me and producer Joe Roth. We made the deal recently, it’s named XXX: The Return of Xander Cage,” he exclaimed. Despite Cohen’s remark on the filming plan, details on the third installment of XXX remain under tight wraps. Still, it is known that Columbia Pictures are looking forward to develop this second sequel.

Iron Man director Jon Favreau has seen parts of James Cameron’s highly anticipated Avatar and tells Ain’t It Cool News: “…he’s really pushing the boundaries on motion capture, he’s integrating live action with motion capture and CGI. It takes a painstaking and technical approach to that. And he really wants to make it a very visceral, emotional experience and he’s … he’s a bit of a P.T. Barnum in the sense that he likes to put on a big show.”

Being the replaced man in Imagine Me & You, Matthew Goode (soon-to-be Watchmen) managed to balance the anger and loneliness of being second place while his wife found true love with their wedding florist. Now The Hollywood Reporter posts that he will be starring in A Single Man along with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. This is Tom Ford’s adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel about a gay Englishman and professor named George (Firth). Over the course of one day, the story follows George as he tries to continue his normal life and routine after the death of his partner Jim (Goode). Moore will play one of his fellow professors.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal has picked up the movie rights to the upcoming Viper Comics graphic novel Villains. Universal reportedly paid a mid-six-figure sum for the rights, which could prove profitable if the lesser-known property enjoys the same super-hero buzz that other films in the genre have yielded. Sean Bailey produces via his Idealogy banner, and Matt Jennison and Brent Strickland are set to write the screenplay. Jennison and Strickland are also working on the stalled Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers and Joel Silver. Villains, not to be confused with the current Heroes volume on NBC, is a four issue mini-series by Adam Cogan and Ryan Cody. Villains focuses on Nick Corrigan, “an aimless 20-something who discovers that his aging neighbor used to be the notorious supervillain known as ‘Hardliner,’ now retired and living in hiding for the past few decades. Rather than turn him in to the authorities, Nick decides to blackmail him in exchange for lessons in the fine art of career super-crime. But the old pro is about to teach his student some lessons he’ll never forget.”

Bill Mechanic, the former chairman of 20th Century Fox and now founder of independent production company Pandemonium, told Collider that the long planned adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’ Torso is heading into production soon. “Torso is moving right towards the starting gate,” Mechanic tells the site. “We’ve got a screenplay and we’re waiting for Paramount to decide when to make it.” He also confirms what many have heard: David Fincher will direct the feature. “I’m hoping we’re shooting in March or April … [so] it should be [Fincher’s next project],” says Mechanic. And while he has a ton of faith in the project, he does admit that there will be departures from the source material, much in the way that the movie Fight Club broke off from the novel. “Torso the movie, which may not be called Torso the movie at the end of the day … makes the book better reading because it doesn’t follow [the book] literally,” Mechanic says. Torso is a historical fiction limited series published by Image Comics. The story focuses on the “Torso Murderer,” an actual serial killer in the 1930’s who left behind only the torsos of his victims, making them very difficult to identify for police without DNA testing. The investigator on the case and protagonist of Torso is Eliot Ness, Cleveland Chief of police and one-time head of the Untouchables, the police task force that enforced Prohibition and went after crime lord Al Capone.

Studio Briefing
USA Today


Weekend Box Office For October 24 – 26

#1 High School Musical 3: Senior Year from Buena Vista debuts at #1 this weekend bringing in $42 million. Musical showed in 3623 theaters and cost $11 million.

#2 Saw V from Lions Gate debuts at #2 this weekend bringing in $30.5 million. Saw showed in 3060 theaters and cost $10.8 million.

#3 Max Payne from Fox drops two spots to #3 this weekend bringing in $7.6 million bringing its total earnings to 29.6 million. Payne showed in 3381 theaters, up 5 over last. Budget is for Payne is $35 million.

#4 Beverly Hills Chihuahua from Disney drops to #4 this weekend bringing in $6.9 million, bringing its total earnings to $78 million. Chihuahua showed in 3190 theaters, down 49. Budget for Chihuahua is unknown.

Rounding out the top 10 are:

#5 Pride & Glory : Weekend Gross: $6,325,000 / Theaters: 2585 / Gross:$6,325,000 / Budget $30 million

#6 The Secret Life Of Bees: Weekend Gross: $5,935,000, down 43% / Theaters: 1630, up 39 / Gross:$19,208,000 / Budget $11 million

#7 W: Weekend Gross: $5,330,000, down 26% / Theaters: 2050, up 20 / Gross:$18,749,000 / Budget $25 million

#8 Eagle Eye : Weekend Gross: $5,136,000, down 26% / Theaters: 2558, down 768 / Gross:$87,987,000 / Budget $80 million

#9 Body Of Lies : Weekend Gross: $4,065,000, down 40% / Theaters: 2150, down 564 / Gross:$30,890,000 / Budget $70 million

#10 Quarantine : Weekend Gross: $2,550,000, down 58% / Theaters: 2228, down 235 / Gross:$28,770,000 / Budget $12 million

A note on “Gross”: On average, studios will earn approximately 55 percent of the final gross.


Box Office Mojo

DVD Review Preview Text Reviews

DVD Preview: Inside Bob Dylan's Jesus Years: Busy Being Born Again

Gonna Change Your Way of Thinking

Joel Gilbert’s documentary on Bob Dylan’s sudden conversion to Christianity is an authentic, detail-oriented and thought-provoking work. It is a must see for fans and casual viewers alike. The subject-matter alone is fascinating and remains, thirty years from its occurrence, a little told story about the already mythic and mysterious artist. 

On November 9, 1979, Bob Dylan shocked San Francisco (and America at large) by performing nothing but new songs from his gospel album titled “Slow Train Coming,” and other then-unreleased gospel songs written by the rock poet. The fans, expecting his hits, classics, or the man they have created in their mind as a result of all of his previous records, is nowhere to be found.

When presumably being asked something about why he didn’t play any of his old songs at the concert or why he may have changed his music’s message, Dylan speaks in archived footage from the era “The old stuff’s not gonna save them and uh… I’m not gonna save them. Neither is anybody else gonna save them. They can boogie all night. It’s not gonna work.”

The purpose of the first-half seems to be orienting the viewer with the world Dylan was entering at the time: The Vineyard Movement, a decentralized and individualistic approach to Christianity—progressive at the time. This viewpoint, coupled with the perspective of Messianic Judaism, or, Jewish believers in Jesus as the foretold Messiah, frames the manner in which Bob Dylan, of Jewish descent, considers and then pursues his own journey to Jesus Christ.

The second-half of the film covers the most controversial music Dylan had made since he went electric in 1965.  Alienating his fan base once again, Dylan pursued this journey of personal discovery as his primary artistic expression for two and a half full-length albums and four years of touring, after which fans and critics alike remain, I would argue, mostly confused about where his belief system stands today. We are treated to samples of Dylan’s preaching at the concerts, and interviews with the band, and there is, at the heart of the film, a serious discussion of the seemingly contradictory dichotomy between religion and rock ‘n’ roll and whether Dylan was able to reconcile the two.

The film is helmed by Joel Gilbert, and released by the company Highway 61 Entertainment. Gilbert and the company seem to be offshoots of a professional Dylan tribute band called “Highway 61 Revisited.” Gilbert dresses like Dylan, and passes as a shadow of someone who might have been a version of Dylan in “I’m Not There.”  Gilbert’s appearance is a bit distracting—it makes the film seem wholly subjective from the jump. But Gilbert asks the right questions about this period of life, challenges his interview subjects from different perspectives, and is a competent and informed interviewer.  It also does an excellent job of bringing in voices of contempt for Dylan’s work during that period, most notable of which apparently was Joel Selvin, writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Selvin really gives the music industry, critics, and disenchanted fans, a voice in this film.

I would argue that the only weakness of the documentary is that the entire affect of the film, in the aggregate, seems to be sympathetic to Dylan’s conversion. But, in truth, the film spends a lot of time trying to understand what Dylan was converting to, rather than promoting or discouraging why he converted.

In the end, the film ends on a different type of note than it began, takes a somewhat surprising turn, and attempts to reveal what the film feels Dylan has always been trying to get at in his never-ending search.

As a fan of Dylan, my greatest acclaim for this film is that it covers a great deal of unchartered territory, to my knowledge, for the very first time on film and uses primary sources. It may be the most important source on Dylan’s Christian music to date, period. Only “Behind the Shades Revisited,” a book on Dylan’s life, has adequately shed some light on Dylan’s work in this period to my knowledge, besides the few interviews Dylan has given himself.  For enthusiasts and analysts of Dylan’s work, that makes this film very important.

I highly recommend this film for both people who love Dylan and casual viewers who may not have even been aware that this period of Dylan’s music existed.

No matter what conclusion one draws about what Dylan’s life or music means, your perspective is limited prior to having seen this documentary if you had not been deeply involved in Dylan’s music during this period or are not a huge fan of it. It will change the way you think about Dylan’s music, and perhaps his life. If you’re measuring Dylan’s artistry through metrics that do not include an analysis of this period, it will create a different set of rules to do so.

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Saw V

With the events of Saw IV now past, it’s believed that the killer known as Jigsaw has finally been put to rest, but those of us who’ve seen the movie know better because of another protege of the famed killer. One lone FBI agent, Peter Strahm (also seen in Saw IV) believes he’s still out there as well, and after surviving his own Jigsaw deathtrap, Strahm is believed to be unsuited to continue the investigation, but he continues on his own. Now, as five new people are put through the Jigsaw paces, Peter Strahm seeks to find the truth, and we’re given insight as to how this new Jigsaw came to be…

Saw V continues what I believe anyway is your genuine horror epic, and while this film seems a little more sedate than the previous entries, it still delivers the goods in it’s own way, and basically, I tend to think that if you’re a fan of the series, and appreciate all of what it does, then you’ll like this one as well.

But also, much like the previous entries, you can’t go into this one as a virgin to the material and hope to get it all. The creators behind the series have pretty blatantly made it so that you need to see the other chapters, and for me anyway, that’s part of the fun of the series. There’s always things left open with each previous film and each new film pulls some retroactive continuity moves and answers those questions, and they do it in a way that really works. There’s a formula to the whole thing, but yet there’s always something new added, but still working in the formula.

This time around, there’s a new director on board, David Hackl, and Hackl does a decent enough job filling the shoes of both James Wan and Darren Lynn Bousman before him, though he doesn’t quite have the same flash that Bousman has, this still fits visually with what’s come before. And more importantly, so does it’s story.

Tobin Bell returns to the series yet again, and really it wouldn’t be Saw without him in some way, also returning from the previous film are actors Costas Mandylor os Detective Mark Hoffman and Scott Patterson as FBI Agent Peter Strahm and Betsy Russell as Jill Tuck, John Kramer’s wife. New faces to the series this time includes actors like 24’s Carlo Rota, Julie Benz, and veteran character actor Mark Rolston. The entire cast does a great job here, and much like I did with Saw IV I have to give high marks to Scott Patterson again, and would just love to see this guy break out into some bigger stuff.

There’s still lots of questions, including one very big one, to answer from this film, and of course Saw VI has already been announced. As a huge fan of the series, I can’t wait to see it, and so next year at this time, I no doubt will. In the meantime though, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Saw V as long as you’re a fan of the series.


Soderbergh wants Zeta-Jones for "Cleo"

Steven Soderbergh is developing a 3-D live-action rock ’n’ roll musical about Cleopatra to be called “Cleo” and he is asking Catherine Zeta-Jones to play the Egyptian queen and Hugh Jackman to play her lover, Marc Antony.
Projected to cost $30 million “Cleo” will be shopped for financing and distribution within the next two weeks. Greg Jacobs is producing with Casey Silver.
The music has been written by the indie rock band Guided by Voices, and the script is by James Greer, a former bass player for the band and writer for “Max Keeble’s Big Move“.
While Soderbergh’s recent history includes a spate of wildly different projects, this one will be his first full-blown musical.
Soderbergh, who’s about to release the Benicio Del Toro vehicle “Che” and wrapped Matt Damon vehicle “The Informant,” is also prepping a Richard LaGravanese (P.S. I Love You, The Bridges of Madison County) scripted Liberace film at Warner Bros., with Michael Douglas attached to play the entertainer and Damon to play his companion, who sued him for palimony.
Before “Cleo,” Soderbergh’s directing “The Girlfriend Experience,” setting porn star Sasha Grey to play a $10,000-a-night call girl in a film that will be simultaneously distributed in theaters, on DVD and on the HDNet movie channel by Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s HDNet label.


Back Seat Producers Season 03 Shows

BSP Episode 077: Count of Monte Cristo

Yeah, so we talked about the Count of Monte Cristo. We probably talked almost as much about Man in the Iron Mask.

This episode also features a Booster Seat Producer review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Don’t forget to join us on Wednesday nights at about 9:00 PM Central on (Follow BetterintheBack or TonyMast on Twitter to be updated when we go live.)

Sorry this one is late, It’s all my fault. If we crank things up we could see 2 or three more episodes drop by the end of the week.


Weekend Box Office For October 17 – 19

#1 Max Payne from Fox takes #1 this weekend bringing in $18 million. Hills showed in 3376 theaters. Budget is $35 million.

#2 Beverly Hills Chihuahua from Disney drops to #2 this weekend bringing in $11.2 million, bringing its total earnings to $69 million. Chihuahua showed in 3239 theaters, up 21. Budget for Chihuahua is unknown.

#3 The Secret Life Of Bees from Search light debuts at #3 this weekend bringing in $11 million. Bees showed in 1591 theaters and cost $11 million.

#4 W from Lions Gate debuts at #4 this weekend bringing in $10.5 million. W showed in 2030 theaters and cost $25 million.

#5 Eagle Eye from Paramount. drops to #5 this weekend bringing in $7.3 million, down 32% and bringing its total earnings to $81 million. Eye showed in 3326 theaters, down 288. Budget is $80 million.

Rounding out the top 10 are:

#6 Body Of Lies : Weekend Gross: $6,880,000, down 46% / Theaters: 2714, up 4 / Gross:$24,481,000 / Budget $70 million

#7 Quarantine : Weekend Gross: $6,300,000, down 55% / Theaters: 2463, up 2 / Gross:$24,687,000 / Budget $12 million

#8 Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist : Weekend Gross: $3,900,000, down 39% / Theaters: 2241, down 180 / Gross:$26,707,000 / Budget $10 million

#9 Sex Drive : Weekend Gross: $3,566,000 / Theaters: 2421 / Gross:$3,566,000 / Budget $19 million

#10 Nights in Rodanthe : Weekend Gross: $2,680,000, down 41% / Theaters: 2115, down 460 / Gross:$36,892,000 / Budget unknown

A note on “Gross”: On average, studios will earn approximately 55 percent of the final gross.


Box Office Mojo

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Max Payne

Detective Max Payne lost his wife and child to a brutal killing. And though now, Payne is bound to a desk, he still continues to try and solve the murder himself and soon he finds the clues that leads him to the pharmaceutical company that his wife had worked for, currently trafficking in a super-soldier drug called Valkyr, that has hallucinatory effects on most who take it…

Max Payne is the latest video-game to movie conversion and it comes to us from the hands of director John Moore, who was wonderful with the film Behind Enemy Lines but less so with some more recent efforts. The game itself was really quite fun, bringing with it the mechanic of “bullet-time” allowing you to slow time for some really cool effects a la John Woo movies or more recently, The Matrix.

The movie is certainly an earnest effort and above anything else, absolutely has a fantastic look to it, but what it lacks is the fun factor which comes way too little and too late into the film.

The first hour has it’s moments, but for the most part is just so dry that I just didn’t really care about anything that was happening in it. Max himself, at least in this movie, is a one-note character, just driven to the point of being the atypical “cop on the edge” character. Now that would’ve been fine had there been a little more wit about everything else going on, and that doesn’t necessarily mean having to have humor about it, but just something else to it that would’ve at least made it much more fun to get into. Unfortunately, it lacks this, and as such, it’s pretty boring until about it’s last half hour. And even though things pick up then, they don’t pick up enough, at least by what’s promised in the trailer.

Pretty much, the trailer has all of the best parts of the film in it.

Mark Wahlberg plays Max, and he’s certainly got the look and the intensity, but little else, but then as I said, if this had a little more wit about it, he wouldn’t have needed anything else. He’s backed up with actors like Mila Kunis, Amaury Nolasco, Donal Logue, Chris O’Donnell, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Kate Burton and Beau Bridges, and all do a decent enough job, but again all are hampered by a pretty pedestrian first two acts.

I’d recently watched the movie Shoot ‘Em Up again and had a pretty good time with it and actually think that what Max Payne needs is just a little of what Shoot ‘Em Up has in abundance, and that’s more of a wilder over-the-top and somewhat self-aware fun factor, primarily during it;s first hour… had it done that, this could’ve been a whole lot of fun, but as it is, it looks great but doesn’t have anything really cool or fun in it that you haven’t already seen played out over it’s trailer. Not one of the worst that I’ve seen for the year, but certainly a big disappointment.


Weekend Box Office For October 10 – 12

#1 Beverly Hills Chihuahua from Disney takes #1 again this weekend bringing in $17.5 million, bringing its total to $52.5 million. Hills showed in 3218 theaters, up 3. Budget is unknown.

#2 Quarantine from Screen Gems debuts at #2 this weekend bringing in $14.2 million. Quarantine showed in 2416 theaters and cost $12 million.

#3 Body Of Lies from Warner Bros. debuts at #3 this weekend bringing in $13 million. Lies showed in 2710 theaters and had a budget of$70 million.

#4 Eagle Eye from Paramount. drops to #4 this weekend bringing in $11 million, down 37% and bringing its total earnings to $70 million. Eye showed in 3614 theaters, up 98. Budget is unknown.

Rounding out the top 10 are:

#5 Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist : Weekend Gross: $6,500,000, down 42% / Theaters: 2421, unchanged / Gross:$20,810,000 / Budget $10 million

#6 The Express : Weekend Gross: $4,731,000 / Theaters: 2808 / Gross:$4,731,000 / Budget $40 million

#7 Nights in Rodanthe : Weekend Gross: $4,610,000, down 37% / Theaters: 2575, down 127 / Gross:$32,366,000 / Budget unknown

#8 Appaloosa : Weekend Gross: $5,015,000, down 33% / Theaters: 1290, up 245 / Gross:$10,886,000 / Budget $20 million

#9 The Dutchess : Weekend Gross: $3,322,000, up 217% / Theaters: 1207, up 1080 / Gross:$5,620,000 / Budget unknown

#10 City Of Ember : Weekend Gross: $3,200,000 / Theaters: 2022 / Gross:$3,200,000 / Budget $38 million

A note on “Gross”: On average, studios will earn approximately 55 percent of the final gross.


Box Office Mojo