The Download: 'Grace of Monaco' Getting Cannes-d, Batsuit, 'Blade Runner 2'

Blade Runner

Grace of Monaco's poor reviews, Ben Affleck in the batsuit, and Blade Runner 2 -- we talk about all that and more in this week's Download.

Binh: Nicole Kidman's Grace of Monaco took a beating at its Cannes premiere on Wednesday. I can't recall any movie that got savaged like that at the film festival. The Guardian says it's "so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk" and that it somehow managed to outdo Naomi Watt's disaster epic Diana. Its Tomatometer is currently at 5%, but I don't see it rising. I believe we have found 2014's worst reviewed movie. You think Olivier Dahan will be more open to Harvey Weinstein's suggestion to recut the movie now?

Jeff: Yeah, Peter Bradshaw usually isn't so scathing in his criticism -- even his negative writeups are very measured in that charming British way. This looks like a megaton bomb.

Binh: Naomi Watt and Nidcole Kidman are close friends and they are usually interchangeable. For them both to be in -- in Watt's word -- a "sinking sink" is such an odd coincidence. You know Harvey Weinstein didn't like Dahan's cut of Grace of Monaco and he pulled from its March release in the US and instead opted to have the movie open in Cannes. You think this is Weinstein's way of pressuring Dahan into recutting the movie?

Jeff: Given the multitude of dickish Weinstein stories, I guess I wouldn't be surprised. That would be kind of funny, actually.

Sara: Can we add the amazing Vanity Fair cover story she did way, way back when they thought the film would be released to audiences March of this year? She said she was going to make the part incredible if she had to set herself on fire (or something similarly dramatic). The risk, I'm so sad to hear, isn't matching the "reward."

Binh: You mean this one? I'm not sure if there are any risk-taking in this movie. A paycheck is a paycheck, right?

Sara: Yes, and I thought her point (which she made before Watt did much press for Diana) was that her character evoked so much imagination she owed the role a lot of commitment. I did think that piece was a little obvious and excessive but it hit all the crowd-pleasing touch stones (royalty, glamor, privacy for the queen, blah blah) so it goes.

Binh: Being royalty does not mean your life is entertaining as a movie. No one is asking to see a Prince Charles biopic, for example. Of course, she would say all the right things about her movie.

Sara: I wasn't under the impression Grace of Monaco was boring--Princess Grace's life had plenty of intrigue--I thought it was lifelessly portrayed. Was I wrong?

Binh: No, you're right on that point.

Jeff: So does that make this Nicole's Reindeer Games?

Binh: Her Catwoman, maybe?

Moving on, what do you think of Ben Affleck in the batsuit? It reminds me of the Michael Keaton Batman. By the way, have you seen the memes that pic inspired?

Sara: I haven't seen the memes but my first thought was he appeared misshapen--I realize he's slouching but for a first look it's surprisingly imprecise.

Jeff: It's Thursday, which means I'm up to my clavicles in work, so I haven't looked at the meme, but I know it's Sad Batman. Which sounds funny.

How much can we really tell from one picture? I mean...there's no Schumacher neon, which is a good thing. But other than that, anyone could be in the suit. How do we know it wasn't Sara under six miles of padding?

Sara: My pilates instructor will never forgive you.

Jeff: I said under SIX MILES OF PADDING!

Binh: Ben Affleck hasn't been in Daredevil shape for a looong time. The padding kind of fits the narrative of an older Batman who needs all the padding he can get. And that one picture shows that he won't be a ball of sunshine, you know?, like he needed a beat down from a certain boy scout to get him out of his funk.

Jeff: I still think Affleck's much too young to be playing "old Batman," and I'm still thoroughly convinced that Snyder is going to run a hot CGI iron over any vestige of character development or earned emotion in this thing, but if I had to review the movie based on this one still, I'd give it a thumbs up.

Binh: They need a famous actor to play Batman who will grow along with franchise so they can't go too old. Hugh Jackman is only a couple of years older than Affleck and he's already contemplating about hanging up the tights. This movie is too important for Warner Bros and Snyder, so I don't think you'll get Sucker Punched with this one. Just hope they don't play it too safe.

Sara: Hugh Jackman would have made a great Batman--I realize that's impossible since he's Wolverine--but he's a great kind of angsty. I didn't get casting Affleck because even when he played a down-in-the-mouth TV superman the guy could only ever be bummed...not wistful, not beleaguered, not burdened by conscience, just bummed.

Jeff: I want Gene Hackman to play Batman.

Sara: Ha! His last role was 2004. Right now he might be able to pull of a zombie joker with incredible gravitas.

Binh: Really, has it been that long ago? I just looked up his age. Wow, he's 84 years old, so...do we even know what Hackman looks like now or if he's still able to move around? Kevin Spacey is an option if you want someone who sort of looks like Hackman.

I guessing one of the reasons Affleck was cast is because Warner eventually wants him to direct one of superhero movies. This is to get him familiar with Snyder's process maybe?

Jeff: He could roll out of bed and kick Henry Cavill's ass with one hand tied behind his back. He's Gene Hackman. I'm just talking smack and spitballing, really, and yes, I'm sure this role was the carrot on the stick for Affleck to get a first-look deal for more passion projects like Argo.

Spacey was already Lex Luthor, so he can't do it. Dammit, Hackman is 84? We need a guy in his 50s or 60s. I'm blanking on anyone in that age bracket. Oh, hey, how about Sean Penn? He'd make for a fun Batman.

Binh: If we're going for actors who couldn't or wouldn't touch this movie, why not bring back Christian Bale? He could stare down anybody.

Jeff: I don't want to listen to him growl anymore. Is that selfish? I'll be selfish. And don't forget that Penn came fairly close to starring in the Farrelly brothers' Three Stooges movie. He couldn't possibly have that much of a problem with this.

Sara: Hackman was Luther first! Could you imagine his hard it'd be to cast around Penn's height? They'd need to cast an actual child as Robin or risk making batman look like a munchkin.

Jeff: Oh God, you're right! How could I have forgotten? I was blinded by my fanboy wishes for Hackman to come out of retirement. There's no reason for Robert Duvall to get all of the good (and some of the bad) old man roles, after all.

Sara: Do you know what I just learned from this conversation? That we'd have to back in time to be happy with Batman.

Binh: Can't please everyone, Sara.

So what do make of Alcon's open letter begging Harrison Ford to come back to the Blade Runner sequel? It reeks of desperation, and if Ford is really interested in returning, they wouldn't have to do this.

Sara: While I agree it seems desperate, I think it's smart. He can ask Ford. Agents and producers can ask. Ridley Scott can ask. But no one will be more persuasive than the throngs of culty fans who officially know Mr. Ford could be the one thing holding back their hopes and dreams (of electric sheep).

Jeff: Given how indiscriminate Ford seems to be with his scripts these days, I doubt it was a necessary step. I mean, he already publicly said he was interested in seeing the script -- so I think this was more of a public show, you know? I wouldn't be surprised if he were already on board, and this was being done for effect.

Sara: Agreed. But I don't think it's fair to judge his choices. He's 73 or something and at that age you take what you can get. Ed Asner said at the Up press conference "you don't say "no" to a part."

Jeff: Ed Asner doesn't get offered the parts Ford does! He also didn't have the luxury of starring in two of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time.

Sara: Yeah...you want to talk about the mighty and the fallen? Duvall has an indie out this Friday called A Night in Old Mexico I haven't seen it but I refer you back to what Ed Asner said.

Jeff: Madam, I have been adding reviews for that movie all week, and they all fall over themselves to praise Duvall while damning the film itself.

Sara: Fine, fine but he's old, has pedigree and gets shafted because who writes about octogenarians? We seem to think that (depicting seniors) is what documentaries are for--as if you suggest our nation's elders are of anthropological value...like a woven basket or an urn.

Jeff: "A woven basket or an urn." Oh my God, that's marvelous. I think it might also be the title of Hal Holbrook's next movie.

Binh: Why argue this point? Just bring Asner and Duvall together for the Grumpy Old Men remake. Problem solved.

Sara: You know how many seldom-cast oldies would come a-calling? It'd be like a cattle call for every actor who remembers Woodstock.

Jeff: Ugh. We're probably nine months away from that announcement.

Sara: Yeah, it'll be big. Bring your sitting walker.

Binh: Getting back to Blade Runner 2, you're saying that this is nothing more than Alcon's way of telling people how awesome the Blade Runner sequel is and that everyone from the first movie is involved, so ignore Prometheus?

Jeff: That's my somewhat cynical guess, yes.

Sara: I think the stunt had many motivations but agree entirely with your reading of it.

Binh: Perhaps he read a draft of the script and had a bad feeling about it. It'll be fun watching how this develop. Well, that's all the time we have for this week. Until next time.

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