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Movie Answer Man (05/06/2001)

Q. With the enormous critical and financial success of "The Producers" on Broadway, and since the movie is your all-time favorite comedy, I am curious to know how you like the stage version. (Richard Motroni, Redwood City CA)

A. I saw the Broadway-bound production in Chicago and loved it. It would be unethical for me to comment on the New York production, however, since Mel Brooks sold me 100 percent of the rights.

Q. I read a news article claiming that all of the films President Bush shows on Air Force One have been bowdlerized to remove graphic violence and sex. I find it profoundly disturbing that someone who was elected to defend our rights routinely watches censored versions of films that destroy the artistic visions of their creators. (Dirk Neely, Los Angeles CA)

A. It's sad that our President doesn't want to share the same experience as other American moviegoers, if only to inform himself.

Q. The Answer Man ran an item about how the ads for "Blow" claimed the critics "unanimously" praised it even though about half of them disliked it. I have to ask: HAS there ever been a movie which critics supported unanimously? (Brad Randall, Plano TX)

A. has been monitoring the nation's major movie critics since August 1998. Since then, 10 films have scored 100 percent on its Tomatometer. They are, in diminishing order of number of reviews, "Toy Story 2," "Chicken Run," "A Hard Day's Night," "The Truman Show," "Life is Beautiful," "The Taste Of Others," "Sense And Sensibility," "L.A. Confidential," "The Winslow Boy" and "The Girl on the Bridge."

Q. The penultimate frame of "Blow" tells us that George Jung's daughter has never come to visit him in prison. Yet the credits list "Kristina Jung" in the cast, playing the part of "Clerk." She won't visit her father in jail, but has no qualms in appearing in a movie about him? What's up with that? (Craig Avitabile, Milton MA)

A. A New Line rep says, yes, it is George Jung's daughter. She played a clerk but the scene was cut out. They decided to credit her anyway.

Q. In the Mexican Oscar nominee "Amores Perros" there's a disclaimer that "no animals were harmed in the making of this movie." I don't buy that for a minute. Are we supposed to believe that these dogs are just "acting" in the fight pit? Can dogs really be trained to just pretend, to such an extent? (David Avalos, Chicago IL)

A. The film includes violent scenes in which fighting dogs are apparently maimed and killed. The American Humane Assn. has issued a statement saying it did not monitor the Mexican production, and the disclaimer "is unauthorized by AHA." However, the AHA's detailed review of the film describes a video submitted by the filmmakers which shows how the fight scenes were filmed. Trained security dogs "that played aggressively with one another" were used; their mouths were muzzled invisibly to prevent harm; makeup was used for blood, and tranquilizers were used to make the dogs appear dead. The AHA concludes: "There is no program of humane oversight for film in Mexico. Therefore, AHA appreciates the voluntary efforts of the Mexican trainers and handlers who have demonstrated a deep concern for the welfare of the animals in their care during the production. However, although the dogs were unharmed, tranquilization is not allowed under the AHA Guidelines. AHA believes that tranquilization of an animal is a risk that we do not recommend for the purposes of filmmaking. Also, AHA's Guidelines are not utilized in Mexico. For these reasons, AHA has rated the film 'Questionable'.

Q. On your TV show, Richard Roeper referred to "Bridget Jones-ses Diary." I had been taught to form the possessive by adding an apostrophe, so that it sounds like "Bridget Jones' Diary," without the added syllable. They may spell it " 's " but it should be spoken as though it was spelled correctly, or "s'." Please blame my high school English grammar teacher, Mrs. Emily Midgette, deceased. (Robert Mckenzie. Nathalie Va.)

A. The first rule in Strunk and White's The Elements of Style reads: "Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's." So "Jones's" is the correct spelling. But how to pronounce it? I turned to an expert, Kaylie Jones, whose novel was made into the wonderful movie "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries." She responds: "The teacher was a little too exclusive with her grammar rules. Both are acceptable, although I prefer Jones' for speed and look. But The New Yorker, for example, prefers Jones's, and lists, in fact, 'Bridget Jones's Diary' as the title. For pronunciation, definitely JONZEZ. The other sounds absurd. So you and Roeper were right."

Q. While watching the DVD of "Dogma," I noticed that in the scene where Linda Fiorentino's character is trying to convince Jay and Silent Bob to accompany her to New Jersey, Jay says "I feel like she's Ben Kenobi, I'm Han Solo, you're Chewy and we're in that (bleeped)-up bar!" Aren't Jay and Silent Bob inspired by C3P0 and R2D2? One is tall, slender and speaks at great and annoying lengths while the other is short, fat and hardly utters a word. (Roy Chang, New York, NY)

A. Kevin Smith replies: "From as far back as 'Mallrats' people have been asking me this question, and I have to admit it's an interesting theory. However, I'd be lying if I said the similarities were intentional. While Jay and Silent Bob may suggest the world's most famous droids, it's purely coincidence. However, if my embracing of your theory makes you rush out and see 'Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back' when it hits theaters nationwide August 24th, then may I take this opportunity to say that there has never been a more astute observation of my work."

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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