Good Morning Hollywood, August 10: Why So Serious?

Will Ferrell gets instructional, and Kevin Kline sure can enunciate

In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Will Ferrell gets instructional, and Kevin Kline sure can enunciate.

“The Other Guys” stars Will Ferrell and is directed by Adam McKay, so viewers know what they’ll be getting in the end credits of a movie from the team that brought us “Talladega Nights” and “Anchorman”: funny outtakes, right? Wrong. Instead, it’s a series of graphics illustrating the inequities of executive compensation and the causes of America’s financial crisis, more “Inconvenient Truth” than “Step Brothers.” Gary Susman talks to the designers of the sequence, who call it “a spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down,” and admit that Sony was nervous. And by the way, if you make it to the end of the lesson, then  you get an outtake. (Moviefone)

Kevin KlineNoah Forrest hates to rag on independent films, but he can’t help it: he just doesn’t like “Life During Wartime,” a film that “has no reason to exist,” because director Todd Solondz, he says, has regressed rather than grown as a filmmaker. His essay is something of a referendum on the state of indie cinema, which he thinks has gotten predictable and less satisfying than mainstream major-studio product. But he likes “The Extra Man” and loves its star in some rather unique ways: “[Kevin] Kline has always been one of the great enunciators of cinema, but here he finally has a role which utilizes that ability to speak clearly, in an American upper-crust accent that almost borders on British in its formality.” That’s high praise, I guess. (Movie City News

The Toronto Film Festival has an unusually strong documentary lineup this year, so doc blogger A.J. Schnack talks to TIFF programmer Thom Powers about a slate that includes Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Alex Gibney, Charles Ferguson and many others. Quick takes: Herzog in 3D is unexpectedly wonderful, Ondi Timoner’s “Cool It” will be the most controversial environmental film of the year, and Errol Morris has moved from politics to a lurid, comedic and perverse story with “Tabloid.” (All These Wonderful Things)

Here’s a story from late last week, thanks to a tip from Cinematical: Chris Thilk looks at the new studio strategy of releasing movie clips online – seven or eight each from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Despicable Me,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” – and wonders if the marketing tactic has actually backfired, and caused “clip overload.” But after going back and forth for 11 paragraphs, he mostly decides that the clips are good for a movie if the film is good and the rest of the marketing campaign works, and not so good if the movie is lousy and the campaign lackluster. Which is to say, the clips by themselves don’t have all that much impact one way or another. (Advertising Age)

Studio Briefing points out an interesting tidbit: most of the top video-on-demand movies for the last week of July, according to Rentrak, were flops at the box office. The list starts with a (commercial if not critical) hit, “Clash of the Titans,” but includes “Cop Out,” “Repo Men,” “Brooklyn’s Finest” and “The Losers.” So the moviegoers who used to turn up their noses and say, “I’ll wait until it’s on video” apparently now say, “I’ll wait until it’s on VOD.” (Studio Briefing)