The Big Sick
Finds that laughter-through-tears sweet spot, often in the unlikeliest of places.
Q. Why is it that the James Bond series went so far? It's not that they are particularly awful, though there have been some shockers. I just cannot imagine a scenario these days where 21 films of one series could be made. I, and everyone else, want more Jason Bourne, but another 18? How did it happen?
Q. What do you think about the "red band" trailers, which are now used in theaters and on the Internet to advertise R-rated films?
Q. At the end of "Sullivan's Travels," Joel McCrea is flying to Hollywood. On a table is a book: Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou. He says he's not going to make it as a movie because he wants to make more uplifting movies. Is there a relationship to the George Clooney movie by the same name?
Q. As you said yourself, "The Clone Wars" is "basically just a 98-minute trailer for the autumn launch of a new series on the Cartoon Network." From a review standpoint, does it not matter in the least that this "movie" is in all truth three Saturday morning cartoon episodes shown back to back? Is there no regard for whether the movie achieves what it desires for its target audience, children?
Q. Los Angeles, home to the film industry, employs some of the least competent projectionists I've encountered anywhere in the world, and I'm getting tired of getting up mid-movie to complain that the picture is out of focus (the problem even surfaces in press and festival screenings!).
Q. In your review for "The Dark Knight," you say that the Joker is a product of his father's poor treatment, but that's just one story he uses to explain his scars. Another is that he did it for his wife, and Batman interrupts before he offers a -- most likely -- different story. I think the point was that he doesn't have a cause. Who's wrong here?
Q. Your Answer Man item about the availability of Pauline Kael's criticism reminded me that I hadn't brought you up to date about our looking into a reprint of Going Steady. Our paperback editor checked out the situation regarding her work, and it appears that the small British firm of Marian Boyars Publishers Ltd. now has rights to most of her titles. Just talked with our paperback editor, and she confirmed that Little, Brown (the original publisher of Going Steady) had directed her to Kael's literary agency in England, Curtis Brown Ltd, since rights had reverted to Kael in 1988.
Q. Recently there has been a press argument between Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood. I'm wondering what you think of Lee's accusations. Spike Lee is a talented, original voice in American filmmaking, but what he has to say about "Flags of Our Fathers" seems to be a little off the mark. Your thoughts?
Q. I'm still wondering why it's so tough for Marvel to reconcile psychological extrapolation and pure action with the Hulk. Having seen both incarnations, they're vastly different movies, and I'm still curious why it's so tough to dabble in the middle rather than one or the other. I still prefer Ang Lee's version, when all is said and done, even if the new version was fun. Felix Vasquez Jr., Bronx, N.Y.A. The original comics were good at meeting in the middle, but movie audiences, I think, want to jump one way or the other.Q. I agree with pretty much everything you said in your "Incredible Hulk" review but I thought I'd give you some additional info about the plot. The plan of Gen. Ross is not to create Hulk soldiers but to use Hulk to create "Super Soldiers," which Blonsky became on their second meeting (the serum didn't look to me like it needed much improvement, but what do I know?). That means, in comic book geek language, that he wants to create a bunch of Captain Americas. Alexandre Rowe, Montreal
Q. I know it's ridiculous to think of an "Indiana Jones" movie without snakes, but can you tell me if there are a lot of snakes in the movie? My wife has a really extreme phobia of snakes, but we would like to see it. Is it loaded with snakes or is there just one part with the extremely large snake? Is there a cue I could give my wife to tell her it is time for a restroom break or should I simply sneak out and see this one on my own? Any insight you could give me would be much appreciated.