1. "Test Screening Details on The Simpsons.' " L.A. Weekly's Nikki Finke on audience reaction to The Simpsons Movie. An elaboration on reports from Ain't It Cool News.
"A reliable informant sends the following: 'I, too, attended the first public test screening last Tueday night at the Lloyd. Matt Groening sat four seats away from us, James L. Brooks and a plethora of writers sat behind us in two rows. It was good but very rough. Lots of animatics, both pencil drawings, and CG match moves and storyboards. Pretty enjoyable all around though and a pretty amazing screening experience, perhaps one of the best of my life thus far. It's in the top five at least. Here are a few more details: The film was about 90 minutes + some more. It was very rough in places with CG animatics and match move models of characters and then pencil sketches. Some were just story boards. The plot of the film is like a big episode, but kept pretty straightforward and linear. Not a ton of wacky digressions, but the focus is on the family first and foremost. The first 45-50 minutes are pretty tightly written and cut, with a lot of well structured 'A' jokes followed up very quickly by the smaller 'B' joke. At this point, the film is pretty well mapped out and plotted, but still very very malleable. I would say the most work needs to be done near the last third of the film. It just feels a bit fast in how it wraps up, otherwise, it's a solid piece of entertainment. There were more than a few points where I had to remind myself that I was watching a movie, not just an episode and they even make a few jokes about this too. The film is in Scope/2.35:1 and makes a joke about this in the first 3-4 minutes.'"
2. "For Girls, It's Be Yourself, and Be Perfect, Too." The New York Times' Sara Rimer on the conundrum faced by high-achieving girls.
"It's out of style to admit it, but it is more important to be hot than smart."
3. "Ari vs. Mata Hari." The New York Observer's Sara Vilkomerson on the return of HBO's Entourage, and Vince's a new agent, played by Carla Gugino.
"The last time we saw them, the boys were firing Ari, and now, to add insult to his injury, there's a stiletto-wearing interloper prowling around. The April 8 premiere introduces us to Vince's new agent, Amanda, a pillow-lipped, steely bombshell with a penchant for black, low-cut garments. Played by Carla Gugino (of Sin City and Snake Eyes fame), Amanda is sex in a power suit. She's all soft curves with taut, coiled energy, unafraid of a 6 a.m. phone call and very big on eye contact."
4. "Heads Will Roll." L.A. Weekly's Robert Abele on The Tudors.
"Naturally, there is careful calculation worthy of the proverbial palace corridors in spicing up a 500-year-old chunk of throne drama so that it has the dark pull and libertine frankness that pay-cable audiences expect. Just look at the name: If they'd called it Young Henry VIII, it would have conjured up the stuffiness of public television; call it The Tudors, though, and you evoke the family-business intrigue of The Sopranos. (Dynasty has been used already.) And if your lead character is a mistress-taking pleasure seeker who enjoys gallivanting with a posse of close male friends, doesn't that have the hedonistic ring of a 16th-century Entourage?"
5. "DVD's 4/1." Green Cine Daily editor David Hudson provides a rundown of pretty much everything that's been written about Criterion's new Eclipse line of DVDs.
"This was the week that Criterion introduced its new line of DVDs. Published under the Eclipse banner, the company offers a series of auteur-oriented boxed sets, in the $70 dollar region, beginning with Early Bergman, a gathering of five of the director's earliest films. Announced as the next box is a sampling of Louis Malle's documentaries. Costs for the boxes are kept at a minimum by the absence of extras."
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.