The Magnificent Seven
Rarely have so many charismatic actors been used in a film that feels quite as soulless as Antoine Fuqua’s update of The Magnificent Seven.
A. According to Rob Friedman of Warner Bros., there is indeed a new version of "Casablanca" in the works--but with no Kevin Costner or Demi Moore. It will be directed by Chuck Jones, will be titled "Carrotblanca," and will star Bugs Bunny.
Q. This is a cry of frustration: Why do they keep making previews that give away the entire plot of the movie? The recent film where Peter Falk plays an 80 year-old man leaves little to expect from the movie itself. I notice on the AMC movie channel that in the old days, previews used to be a come-on, to lure people in. These days I sometimes don't attend a movie because I already know what's going to happen. It is especially bad in the case of romantic movies, where you see the couple meeting, their initial dislike, how they start to love each other, etc. The worst example was "Speechless." The film was OK, but I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already heard EVERY good line in the previews. (Richard Hubbell, Arlington, Va.)
A. You mean like when she says "Shall we speak the unspoken language of love?" And he says, "You mean the kind only dogs can hear?" And they crawl under the sheets and bark?
Q. Read your review of "Quick and the Dead," and I have some advice for you: Stay off the riverboats. You mention the contestants must be crazy to enter a contest where the odds are 10-to-1 in favor of their being killed. You are way off on the odds. Assuming an even-money bet in each of the shoot-outs (one chance in two), the chance of a contestant winning 10 successive even-money shoot-outs are 1023 to 1. (Tony Licata, Chicago)
A. You are right about riverboat math. Now let's figure the odds the Hollywood way. Assuming a contest involving 12 supporting actors, plus Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone and Leonardo Di Caprio as The Kid, what do you think the odds are that Hackman will kill The Kid in order to face Stone in the final round?
Q. Why is it in the movies that whenever the radio plays "Moonlight Serenade" by Glenn Miller, the next thing that happens is the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor? (Dana L. Marek, Pasadena, Texas)
A. What goes around, comes around. Every time you hear The Doors, we attack Vietnam.
Q. We saw "Vanya on 42nd Street" last week. The print at the Galleria 10 Cinemas had no end credits, which was a little disconcerting because we were expecting to see a cast list. I find it hard to believe that Louis Malle would make a film with no end credits considering the film was made in New York with its strong unions. The theater manager said the print "arrived with no end credits." (R. Steven Daniels, Birmingham, Ala.)
A. We called the manager's bluff. According to Dylan Leiner of Sony Classics, "We checked with the depot at which the print that played in Birmingham is stored. The print is intact with full end credits." And no wonder, since virtually all features have end credits. Some theaters cut them off, however, to clear the house for the next crowd. Demand your money back!
Q. For the past 20 years, my husband and I have been trying to identify the female off-screen narrator in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Do you know who she is? (Julia Van Buskirk, Geneva, Ill.)
A. The great Kim Stanley. And check out her work in "The Goddess," a 1958 film loosely inspired by the career of Marilyn Monroe. Bonus answer: The voice on the telephone in "Rosemary's Baby" is Tony Curtis.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
Writers at RogerEbert.com share their favorite "Star Trek" moments in honor of the original TV series' 50th anniversary.