New Movies: Look Straight in the 'Eye'

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This time of year, Hollywood studios dump the budget-busting refuse of failed projects and unworkable scripts. Critic Daniel Holloway looks at The Eye and a Hannah Montana concert film.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Thanks, Rachel.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

You're welcome.

BILL WOLFF, host:

Well, I was trying to come up with the perfect verb to describe January and February as months.

STEWART: Mm-hmm.

WOLFF: Stink. They stink.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: That's all I could come up with. They're dark and they're cold, and bills are due, and spring is like a little, tiny dot on a distant horizon. And for people who love the movies, the deep winter months lay equidistant between autumn's flood of Oscar hopefuls and summer's popcorn crowd pleasers. So, what are you left with? You're left with Hollywood studios dumping the budget-busting refuse of failed projects, unworkable scripts and desperate attempts that capitalize on celebrities at the moment. This is where you see your Eva Longoria vehicles.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: So…

STEWART: No.

WOLFF: Amid - that's a tease.

STEWART: Oh.

WOLFF: Amid the model of the January releases, is there anything that it is worth laying down the cash and two hours of your life that you'll never get back to see? We are blessed to be able to turn to the great Daniel Holloway, movie critic for Metro newspapers, for guidance during these lean times. And look at this, Daniel is in the studio.

How are you?

DANIEL HOLLOWAY: I'm good. How are you doing?

WOLFF: Well, thanks for coming in here. We're excited to have you.

STEWART: Yeah, last time we saw you, you were seeing themes at Sundance, you were seeing…

HOLLOWAY: Motion pictures.

STEWART: Motion pictures.

WOLFF: And I understand that having seen the field…

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: …in Sundance, you were not allowed to see the film of Jessica Alba, the great Jessica Alba, one of the great thespians. Her latest oeuvre is called "The Eye." And as I understand it, you weren't allowed to see it. What is the story there?

HOLLOWAY: This seems to be a recurring trend with Jessica Alba films that they want me to pay my $11 to go see them. And it's been a while since I have.

WOLFF: Oh, no critic screenings?

HOLLOWAY: No critic screenings for this film.

WOLFF: That's typically not such a good sign.

HOLLOWAY: No, it's not. It's usually a sign that it's a not a film that should be seen…

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: …by critics or other people.

WOLFF: I understand.

STEWART: What does she do in this movie?

HOLLOWAY: I think she gets eye surgery? I think she has like eye - is this correct? Because I…

WOLFF: Not me.

HOLLOWAY: I think - my belief is that she has the eyes of someone else put into her head.

STEWART: Ah.

HOLLOWAY: And then she can see things, like she sees dead people.

WOLFF: Oh, you know what, I saw a movie poster on a subway. There's a hand coming out of an eye socket.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah.

WOLFF: Yeah.

HOLLOWAY: So I think she maybe - she has a small person living in her eyeball.

WOLFF: That's kind of fantastic. All I know about her is she is knocked up with some guy named Cash's baby.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. He was the assistant director on the "Fantastic 4." And, you know, Jessica Alba, you know, kind of has a lot of pull when it comes to being, you know, a nice looking lady. And you want to just like sit her down and explain to her, sweetie, you don't date the assistant director, you date the director.

WOLFF: She's a below the line kind of girl. Well, I give her credit for that. Now, let's get into movies that you might actually have seen. There is the sensation that is "Hannah Montana."

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: I don't have young children yet, so I don't know much about "Hannah Montana" except that Miley Cyrus is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, this "Achy Breaky Heart" guy. And it's the biggest thing in the world. It's the most important thing that there is. Apparently, there is now a "Hannah Montana" movie called "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour," is this correct?

HOLLOWAY: This is correct. And it's in Disney 3D.

WOLFF: Oh.

HOLLOWAY: I'm making quote marks with my fingers when I say that.

WOLFF: Oh, Or Disney 3D.

HOLLOWAY: Yes, It's like it's different than other 3D.

WOLFF: (Unintelligible)

HOLLOWAY: The best I can tell, Miley Cyrus is a young woman who is stricken with multiple personality disorder.

WOLFF: Oh, good.

HOLLOWAY: And she believes herself to be herself and also a character named "Hannah Montana." And Hannah - and the only way I can tell the difference between the two of them is that one of them wears a blonde wig and the other one is a brunette. And the way that - this is basically like a kind of typical concert film. Though - except that she comes out at the beginning of the show and she sings some songs as "Hannah Montana" and she wears a blonde wig and usually something pink. And then she goes backstage and then these guys named The Jonas Brothers come out and play a couple of songs. And they're basically like Hanson without the ability to harmonize.

WOLFF: Oh.

STEWART: Oh.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah.

WOLFF: Ooh, a little rough.

HOLLOWAY: And then she comes back as Miley Cyrus and she sings some more songs and she has brown hair.

STEWART: So what if you have a little brother or a cousin who's dying to see this, is this painful to sit through if you're just trying to be great Aunt Alison and take somebody to the movies or…

HOLLOWAY: The music is - it's harmless. I mean the film is harmless. The music is harmless. It's not the most annoying stuff that you've ever heard. It's not going to…

WOLFF: We have samples. Could we listen to some? Well, first I wanted to, you know, we have a "Hannah Montana" song.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah.

WOLFF: We'll play you a Miley Cyrus song there. This is a "Hannah Montana" song.

(Soundbite of song, "Rock Star")

Ms. MILEY CYRUS (Singer): (Singing) …that there's something special between us. Why don't we find out. But you don't really know me. Guess you don't need me.

(Soundbite of music)

WOLFF: It's sort of Go-Go's with younger, will you give me that?

STEWART: Sure. Yeah.

WOLFF: Okay. So that is a "Hannah Montana" song. Now we have a Miley Cyrus song. Let's give this a listen to see how different it is.

(Soundbite of song, "See You Again")

Ms. CYRUS: (Singing) I've got my sight set on you. And I'm ready to aim. The last time I freaked out, I just kept looking down. I st-st-stuttered when you asked me what I'm thinking about. Felt like I couldn't breathe.

(Soundbite of cheers)

STEWART: Well, it's that Miley rocks a little hard.

WOLFF: Miley's a little dark, a little Black Sabbath.

HOLLOWAY: I will say this for Miley. She's 15, so you have to be careful how you phrase this. The Miley persona seems to be the more provocative on stage.

STEWART: I see. Yes.

WOLFF: Sort of Chris Gaines to…

HOLLOWAY: Yes.

WOLFF: …Garth Brooks (unintelligible) "Hannah Montana."

HOLLOWAY: Excellent analogy, the way you pulled Chris Gaines out of your pocket there.

WOLFF: Yeah.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. It's - she's, you know, she's a little bit darker, a little bit edgier, I guess.

WOLFF: All right. So a 12-year - for a 12-year-old folks who love "Hannah Montana," this is worth the 11 bucks or the seven bucks or whatever it cost to get a kid into a movie.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. If you really need to score points of your kid this week, take them to see this.

STEWART: That's the way to get it.

WOLFF: Okay. So now, if you're tween - if your 13-year-old child is more on the sophisticated end, the next movie we want to talk about might be the ticket. Actually, not really.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Unless your 11-year-old will…

HOLLOWAY: What movie?

WOLFF: …think some Lebanese movies about five women who work in a beauty salon, which case your kid impresses your worldly adult friends, spend a lot of time alone after school. This movie is called "Caramel." Tell us about it.

HOLLOWAY: It's directed by Nadine Labaki who received a residency at Cannes to do this film. The film premiered at Cannes last year. And it's basically like - it's if a beauty shop genre exists - this exists within that genre. It's five women all at different stages in their life, all dealing with sort of different issues that you're probably pretty familiar with if you've ever watched "Sex in the City" or seen any film like "Beauty Shop" or like "Steel Magnolias."

But they're dealing with it while living in Beirut, which adds a little bit of a different twist to it. You see one woman who is with her boyfriend and they're getting hassled by the police because they're in their car alone late at night. The same woman is later concerned because she's getting married to that boy and she's not a virgin. And this is - could be potentially disastrous whereas it wouldn't be in an American film.

WOLFF: So for an American audience, you have both the drama and emotion of that sort of ensemble woman's cast, plus some insight into the difference between living in Beirut and living in Manhattan.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. And I think it strikes a pretty good balance between the two. The things they deal with while being somewhat specific to living in Beirut, are also pretty universal.

WOLFF: So worth seeing.

HOLLOWAY: Worth seeing, definitely.

WOLFF: Okay. Well…

STEWART: All right. A jump from TV to the movies quickly.

WOLFF: Yeah.

STEWART: You teased it. You got to…

WOLFF: We got to get to this. There is something called "Over Her Dead Body."

STEWART: Something.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: In the script here, which I did not write but I'm glad to, at least, paraphrase, "it has both romantic and comedy," in quotes. And, in fact, the story…

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: …say, quote, "romantic," quote, "comedy," quote, "starring Eva Longoria" as a bride who dies in a terrible car accident on her wedding day. And then a year later, decides to haunt the woman her bereaved fiance, played by Paul Rudd, finally falls in love with. Can we hear a clip real quick?

(Soundbite of movie, "Over Her Dead Body")

Mr. PAUL RUDD (Actor): (As Henry) Why did she come here? I mean, why - what does she want to tell me?

Ms. LAKE BELL (Actress): (As Ashley) She says that she can tell that you're torn between being faithful to her memory and the feelings that you have for me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. EVA LONGORIA (Actress): (As Kate) That's how I did. Aw, oh, oh.

STEWART: What happened - wait. (Unintelligible). I like Paul Rudd. If Paul Rudd's an anchorman, Paul Rudd is a funny, funny guy. How did Paul Rudd end up in a Eva Longoria vehicle?

WOLFF: As my wife said, he probably needed to put a wing onto his house.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: His brother's going to make a buck, that's how.

HOLLOWAY: You just want to jump into this film and rescue him all the way throughout. It's absolutely terrible. It's really rough. Eva Longoria's in like, self-parity mode.

WOLFF: Eva Longoria, just very briefly, we got to go because we're running out of time, but people like Eva Longoria, who become sensational in a cover of a magazine, you always wonder, will that person, in this case, Eva Longoria, survive in the movies? Eva Longoria - enduring quality or she's done when her TV show goes off the air?

HOLLOWAY: When her TV show goes off the air, she goes to becoming a full San Antonio Spurs fan.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: There are worst ways to spend your life. That's all I have to say.

STEWART: Daniel Holloway is a movie critic for Met Show Daily Papers, a friend of the BPP, sometimes guest host. Hey, thanks for coming in, Dan.

HOLLOWAY: Thank you, guys. Have a great weekend.

STEWART: Good to see you as always.

HOLLOWAY: Thanks.

WOLFF: Good to see you.

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