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Good Morning Hollywood, July 19: A Grain of ‘Salt’

Angelina scores, Jerry slumps, Edith sings and Night makes moviegoers laugh

In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Angelina scores, Jerry slumps, Edith sings and Night makes moviegoers laugh.

The Hollywood Reporter has the first review of “Salt,” and Kirk Honeycutt likes what he sees. “While preposterous at every turn, ‘Salt’ is a better Bond movie than most recent Bond movies,” writes Honeycutt, who thinks that it’ll make Sony a lot of money and reassert Angelina Jolie’s position as a serious action star.  (The Hollywood Reporter)  And then Todd McCarthy follows with his own review, which is similarly positive (with reservations, because no critic is going to review a movie like this without reservations): “the set pieces are exciting and Angelina Jolie is shown off at her action-figure best.” (Todd McCarthy’s Deep Focus)

On the other hand, it’s worth mentioning this tweet from In Contention contributor Guy Lodge: “Whenever I read that Jolie is ‘at her action-heroine best’ in SALT, I think of TOMB RAIDER, and wonder how low we're setting the bar.”(Twitter)

Nicolas CageHas Jerry Bruckheimer lost his boxoffice mojo?  TheWrap looked into that question last week, and now the Wall Street Journal has done so as well.  Anthony Kaufman’s answer: yes, the weak returns for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” on the heels of “Prince of Persia” do mean that Bruckheimer is in a slump … and no, he doesn’t really know why.  But the first commenter on his story has an intriguing point: Nicolas Cage now has a string of disappointments as a leading man, so why aren’t people jumping on him the way they are on Tom Cruise? (Speakeasy)

And while we’re on the subject of the WSJ’s Speakeasy blog, I can’t let this opening sentence pass without comment: “Of the many head-scratchers in the new Christopher Nolan film ‘Inception,’ here’s another: who sings the lovely song that plays in the background during the dream sequences?”  A head-scratcher?As the WSJ quickly points out, it’s Edith Piaf singing one of her signature tunes, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” – and if you’re looking for things to puzzle about in “Inception,” it hardly qualifies.  But it is interesting to learn that Nolan chose it for the film before he ever cast Marion Cotillard, who won an Oscar for playing Piaf in “La Vie En Rose.” (Speakeasy)

Here’s some bad news for M. Night Shyamalan, who can probably ease the pain of his “Last Airbender” reviews with that film’s healthy grosses.  According to Matt Dentler, when the trailer for the Shyamalan-produced horror movie “Devil” ran before a recent New York showing of “Inception,” the audience began laughing the minute “from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan” appeared onscreen toward the end of the trailer. “After the disgrace of his last few films … Shyamalan’s name is a joke to movie goers,” says Dentler.  (indieWIRE)

Canadian director Atom Egoyan, an indie icon of sorts, looks at the current state of independent film and suggests that film festivals “may well represent the last form of theatrical exhibition for certain kinds of filmmakers.”  One problem, he says, is that with the success of independent films in the 1990s, people (particularly in the United States) wanted to jump into the game without any education in film, oversaturating the market with films that weren’t very good.  But it might undercut his argument a bit when the discussion turns to what was wrong with the original French version of “Chloe,” and what he had to correct in his recent remake … which was greeted in most circles not as a big improvement, but as a film that was, in the words of the New York Times, “tedious and mechanical.” (The Edmonton Journal)