Acid re 'Flux'
When movies go under the radar
By Todd Leopold
Charlize Theron, looking deadly as "Aeon Flux."
ON CNN TV
Watch "Showbiz Tonight" on CNN Headline News, at 7 p.m. ET weekdays.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
(CNN) -- You've probably seen the commercials for "Aeon Flux": Charlize Theron, decked out in tight clothes and black hair, flipping and flying all over the future.
But you may not see many reviews this Friday. That's because the film isn't being screened for critics until the last minute.
And that's usually not a good sign.
Movie studios, and movie audiences, have a love-hate relationship with movie critics, the people who generally offer the first widely seen assessment of new films.
On the one hand, for a studio, any publicity is good publicity. On the other hand, few people believe "Freddy Got Fingered" earned so much as an extra dollar at the box office because it got so much attention. (Too bad for the studio that almost all of it was bad.)
For audiences, reviewers offer an opinion on the quality of a film. Some moviegoers take these reviews very seriously -- to the point that, if a reviewer disagrees with an audience member's belief, the critic gets bombarded with hate mail. (You should have seen some of the missives CNN.com received after Paul Clinton's lukewarm review of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.") But most people realize a review is one person's opinion -- part of a guide to decide if you want to spend your money to see the film.
Even so, you're a studio who wants to pull an end-around the critics, you open the movie cold. The hardcore fans -- and "Aeon Flux" has many -- will be in line anyway.
The odd situation with "Flux" is that it's being released in December -- a huge month for Hollywood -- and it stars Charlize Theron, who's become an A-list actress. If you really want to avoid notice, you dump the movie in January. Or August. Pretty much any time but now.
"Aeon Flux" may have had a few early screenings, and it may be an inventive sci-fi flick that does honor to its animated roots. But who's to know?
Eye on Entertainment offers an outline.
"Aeon Flux" has its origins in an early-'90s animated TV series created by Peter Chung that aired on MTV. The show consisted of a handful of short and full-length episodes, some of which ended with Aeon's death.
The movie, which some fans of the animated series have already criticized as being less than faithful to the original, takes place 400 years in the future. Disease has wiped out most of the human population; what's left lives in a walled city called Bregna, an allegedly perfect place.
Aeon Flux (Theron) is an agent for the opposition, the Monicans. Her goal is to assassinate the leader of the government. Frances McDormand plays her boss, the "Handler."
(Somehow, I'm reminded of a cross between "Logan's Run" and "The Prisoner.")
The film promises the usual sci-fi stew of special effects, acrobatics (Aeon is a very athletic assassin) and brooding landscapes. Whether it has a story or script is something else entirely. Karyn Kusama, of the highly rated "Girlfight," directed; Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi ("crazy/beautiful" and "The Tuxedo") wrote the screenplay.
"Aeon Flux" opens Friday. For pretty much everybody.
On the tube
|© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.