MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

The End of Days: April 20, 2011

This morning, TMZ announced Lindsay Lohan’s exit from the (alleged) Gotti movie.  This afternoon, TMZ announced her return to the (alleged) Gotti movie.  So… what kind of stupid you want to believe TMZ is will guide whether you believe, A) They were just used by first-time (alleged) producer Mark Fiore to negotiate with Lohan, B) The entire thing was just a stunt by Fiore’s publicists and TMZ was the lucky sucker to be used like journalistic toilet paper by the (alleged) producer, or C) this was all a scam by Lohan’s people to explain why she was playing such a small role in the film and showing how very responsible she really is. Or maybe someone explained to the (alleged) producer after the press conference that he couldn’t get insurance against Lohan flaking out if she was in a major role, but could get her covered – or was willing to take the chance she’d show and show sober – for a few days work. Welcome to Whack-A-Moron… Where Everyone Loses, But Is Sure They Won!

A day before launch, “Home Premiere” is nowhere to be found on DirecTV or their website.

Fox Searchlight continues to invest in the Brit Marling business, picking up the second of her Sundance films, The Sound of My Voice, almost four months after they first saw it. Sounds like a DVD buy. But more importantly, the question seems open to what Searchlight’s model is these days. Sundance pick-ups for Searchlight include Marling’s Another Earth, now this film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and The Film Formerly Known As “Homework” (The Art Of Getting By)… with the last one the only one with anything close to major commercial upside. Meanwhile, according to Mojo, they are releasing Dum Maaro Dum sometime this year, Malick’s Tree of Life which is expected to have one solid movie act and two acts of film critic yummies that actual ticket buyers will sleep through, Wayne Wang’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, The Bengali Detective and the two likely late-year hits, The Decedents, by Alexander Payne and with George Clooney and More at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, aka Cocoon With British Accents. In other words, when did Searchlight become Sony Classics? (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya. Yes, working in war zones is actually life threatening. I think we forget this too often. Of course, this is magnified by the many in the media who met Hetherington last year because of Restrepo. Someone we know died. And now, Libya is a little more personal to entertainment media. (RIP, Mr. Hetherington. You had the balls to do the serious work and made the ultimate sacrifice.)

Jodie Foster commits the ultimate act of feminism… calling out female movie execs who are just unlikely to hire a woman to direct a big film as any man. It sucks. But it is institutional, not misogynist. Though there is also the niggling truth that most big studio movies are made for teen boys… so why would you hire a woman or emotionally mature man to direct any of them?

Netflix is handing out raises… salaries of top execs doubling. After all, the stock price went through the roof, revenues were up 25% or so… and let’s not mention the part where streaming acquisition costs went up about 40 times (so far) over the pre-Relativity deal number. Cash out!

Variety ran a story about Tribeca’s for-profit acquisitions business, making it sound like Tribeca has launched or might launch some commercial movies after a decade as a very-well funded wannabe major fest. Of course, it wasn’t really about theatrical pick-ups, since there are virtually none out of the festival. But there are movies headed for the VOD and streaming market. And Tribeca does hide behind the skirts of their for-profit festival, pretending to have the best interest of the filmmakers in mind. The piece really comes down to Cinetic, which is also in that game, hating on Tribeca… and the piece leaves out Cinetic’s biggest beef, which is that Tribeca takes ownership of the films, while Cinetic, amongst others, does deals that allow the rights to stay with the filmmakers. And by the way, I don’t think there is a single picture on the Tribeca Online slate that is premiering at Tribeca. Some were Sundance titles… some Toronto 2010. It’s a very weird story…. lots of quotes that don’t seem to be attached to any specific allegations on specific movies… just shit being thrown against a somewhat sticky wall, sponsored by American Express.

31 Responses to “The End of Days: April 20, 2011”

  1. IOv3 says:

    We don’t even get bare tits on HUFFPOST!

  2. LexG says:

    LOOK. AT. HER. Does DP intentionally do this to torment me every time I’m on a short leash??? It seems to happen without fail (“Okay, enough antics, Lex, take a week off… Hey everybody else, check out O-Munn’s PIPING HOT boob gif and this exclusive K-Stew story!”) That said, I like to think of myself as EXTRA SOPHISTICATED, ’cause I’ve never been much of a “I have to see tits to be enticed!” kinda guy, which most guys are and which seems lowest-common denominator; Pics 2 and 4 and WAY sexier than the topless.

    Especially 2.

    More seriously though: Where is that word leaking out, re: TREE OF LIFE? Is the audience-pleasing third the dino stuff? Has there ever been a more REPULSIVE one-sheet than that closeup of a baby’s wrinkly foot in some dude’s disgusting hand? Blecch.

    I love Jodie Foster (who would think I was HILARIOUS, since she’s DOWN with Mad Mel), but I was all set to rant and rave about how women don’t really have the chops or the testosterone required to deliver a killer action movie… then as always I had to remember how INCREDIBLY AWESOME that Lexi Alexander’s two super HARDCORE guys-guy movies are, and how I wish she’d get mentioned at least ONCE IN A WHILE instead of the usual rah-rahing of Bigelow, which while well deserved always seems a notch overstated, and 21 years into the “no shit” category.

  3. IOv3 says:

    Dudes have a tendency only to appreciate other swinging dicks, and that’s just pathetic.

  4. arisp says:

    I0v – what does that even mean?

  5. IOv3 says:

    Arisp, Dudes seem to value the company of other men more than they do women, and I have always found that rather ridiculous.

  6. Joe Straatmann says:

    Oh hai, not safe for work…..

  7. IOv3 says:

    Yep Straat, he went with tits.

  8. IOv3 says:

    Tits aside, does anyone else here have any affection for Get Shorty? Good lord, I love that movie, and it really never ever bores me.

  9. aframe says:

    Searchlight opens Dum Maaro Dum this Friday on the U.S. Bollywood circuit; time will tell if they will then relaunch it on a more expanded mainstream arthouse level, which was their (not-so-successful) game plan with My Name Is Khan last year (successful B’wood circuit release in February; “mainstream” relaunch in May that flopped–because the arthouse moviegoers who wanted to see it already did in the initial release). Oddly enough, two Hollywood studios have Bollywood releases this week; the aforementioned Searchlight, and then Disney’s Zokkomon (which is one huge, messy misfire), which is their first live action Hindi film but third Indian production overall (after the 2008 Hindi animated feature Roadside Romeo and this January’s Telugu-language fantasy adventure Once Upon a Warrior).

  10. chris says:

    The lady who wrote Limitless did a bang up job. I hope more women get to hit that type of material.

  11. leahnz says:

    sorry to be the one to poke a hole in ‘the jodi foster theory’, but in order to make the assertion that female directors aren’t hired because of the perception that they’re ‘too risky’, they would first have to be given the $ and opportunity – and then have failed by some measure – to become a risk in the first place, and this simply is not the case.

    to make this argument one would have to show that the miniscule 7% of working female directors (or whatever the figure was in that article, i can’t actually remember but it was teeny) with their modest available budgets and corresponding production values disproportionately lose more $ than their male counterparts in the business, thereby earning the ‘risky’ tag, and i’d bet the farm this can’t be done.

    of the tiny percentage of working filmmakers who are female, several of those actually have a degree of relative commercial success in their genres (i mean that first twilight movie was such a financial flop no wonder hardwicke got the boot). the fact is there are very few female directors and those in the game are simply not given the chance (budgets) to fail and become a ‘risk group’, the entire notion is nonsensical (not to mention there are a fair few examples in cinema history of male directors’ movies screwing the pooch and losing bags of money, and yet weirdly enough with all the abject failure of male directors throughout cinema history, men in general aren’t painted with the ‘too risky’ brush in the industry, how can this be???).

    that’s because the ‘too risky’ thing is just a polite smokescreen – by definition a group first has to fail on some scale in order to become a financial risk and be shunned as such – concealing the real issue: not being considered ‘risky’ – female directors haven’t been given the chance to become a risk – but rather NOT BEING TRUSTED. there’s a difference and the latter is far more insidious, wrapped up with deeply entrenched attitudes about what women are and aren’t capable of, if being ‘in charge’ is in their nature, what they can be ‘trusted’ with, the tired but i imagine still widely if not quietly held bret-easton-ellisy belief that film is somehow an inherently male-perspective artform reliant on the ‘male gaze’ and male attitudes and male audiences to be ‘good’, moronically not connecting the dots that the reason such an attitude exists is because men have overwhelming been the ones making movies and the artform REFELCTS that paradigm, it is not INHERENT to it.

    and of course the catch 22 holds that if female directors aren’t given the chance to fail under the inane guise of being ‘risky’ (and they will fail, all directors do by some standard in the learning curve of their careers), they are also robbed of the chance to grow and succeed.

    as for the old ‘women can’t direct action’ — oh really, how many women are directing action in order to make that call? i’d think fewer than fingers on one hand, and those who do it actually do it comparatively well. even in some crapass actiony flick like ‘aeon flux’, kusama’s staging and execution of action is no poorer/as competent as a plethora of thoroughly mediocre male action directors who routinely get work and make mediocre/shit movies that don’t necessarily make decent bank, and yet it’s the approximately 3 women working as directors that pose this big risk. yeah right. i think given the current state of things, a far more apt statement using the same logic would be ‘men can’t direct action’.

    (and good grief, of course the boys don’t sit around in a circle of cigar smoke conspiring to keep the girls out, what a silly outdated notion for foster to engage with, what’s her thinking model, ‘rose’ and her ‘masters of the universe’ quip from titanic, set in 1812. it’s never that simple, if only. sexism is far more ingrained and institutionalised, it’s attitudes that rule the day, not collusion at weekly ‘boy’s conspiracy meetings’)

    also, it seems to me assuming female movie execs can’t be misogynists or sexist, or discriminate against women conditioned by the prevailing boy’s club attitudes – or that they aren’t even MORE scared of losing their jobs than their male counterparts if they step out of the box – is rather naive.

    what a rambling late night babble, i don’t have the gumption to trim, must sleep

  12. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Anyone who thinks women can’t direct action have never seen a Katheryn Bigelow movie or don’t know that they have seen a Katheryn Bigelow movie. How is it that she has only directed 8 feature films since 1982? Maybe it’s partly by choice; I have no idea what she has turned down if anything or what her career priorities have been. But I could never figure out why she wasn’t directing big-time movies long before she did K-19.

  13. storymark says:

    “…in order to make the assertion that female directors aren’t hired because of the perception that they’re ‘too risky’, they would first have to be given the $ and opportunity – and then have failed by some measure – to become a risk in the first place, and this simply is not the case. ”

    Seems like a bit of a leap. No one has hired a child to direct a big budget studio film either – and that would be a risk.

    Not equating women to children, mind – just saying that failure is not a prerequisite to something being considered a risk. I agree that women don’t get the opportunities they should, especially when it comes to genre fare – but that failure/risk point just struck me as a bit off.

  14. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    The Mary Lambert-directed Pet Sematary made more than $57 million in 1989. How did she not go on to a long career directing studio horror? That’s a huge hit and it looks like all it got her was the chance to do the sequel. And now she’s doing stuff like Mega Python Vs. Gataroid.

  15. David Poland says:

    The thing is, when you only have 7% of the pool, each individual example gets too much focus.

    There are reasons why Kathryn makes her choices, some of which include some mixed results on the financials on her pictures, some of which are all about her artistic interests and lack of interest.

    Mary Lambert has baggage. So does Catherine Hardwicke. Etc, etc, etc.

    There are a ton of male directors with baggage too, many of whom have even less opportunity than these women. But the majority of films are made by a middle class of directors, if you will, and there are not many women who end up in that group… plain old working directors.

    Maybe it’s because so many of the female directors who get a shot come to the table with other successful credentials… like black quarterbacks coming out of college.

    Fewer than 100 QBs are employed in the NFL in any season. Odds are not good for anyone. If the black QB is a college rarity, they are almost non-existent in the NFL… which doesn’t mean that there isn’t institutional racism that says that blacks don’t have the smarts to be QBS. But as the percentage of college QBs who are black has risen, so has the percent playing in the NFL. But getting back to the “other skills” issue, a black college QB who is 6′ 2″ and can run well may well be asked to try WR or RB in the NFL. There is some racism at play, but there is also the urge to take advantage of the talent, knowing that getting a QB slot is very rare.

    Anyway…

    When you start to see women directing Fantastic Four 3 or Adam Sandler movies or a Potter film, that is when you will start to see more change. Betty Thomas was a serviceable comedy director and, basically, didn’t stop working for two decades. And look, she’s did Chipmunks 2. Get the industry 10 of her and women will be shooting 35% of the studio films within 3 years.

    But the ones we discuss are the high profile ones who want to make art…. who are really ambitious beyond just working… who aren’t 100% reliant on directing… and those women, just like their male counterparts, are subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    David: By the oddest of coincidences, I read your last posting just after doing a phoner with an actor who has worked with Alan Rudolph. Neither one of us could answer the question: Why hasn’t this guy directed a movie in nearly ten years? “Secret Lives of Dentists,” Rudolph’s last movie, actually made a respectable amount of money for an indie. Seriously: Does he, too, have baggage?

  17. Ray Pride says:

    Joe, Alan Rudolph seems to have turned to painting in semi-retirement.

  18. Ray Pride says:

    And here are some more Alan Rudolph paintings, which appear not to have sold out.

  19. JKill says:

    Mary Lambert is an interesting, smart b-picture director whose movies, even something like URBAN LEGENDS 3, have interesting subtext and are almost always about something.

    As David mentioned, a lot of the filmmakers we’re talking about, including Ms. Lambert, like Hardwick and Bigelow and Lexi Anderson, are more auteurs, which means they’re on commercially shaky ground. And just to give a shout out, I thought Floria Sigismondi had an awesome debut with THE RUNAWAYS.

    That said…
    She’s moved to television in recent years but what about Tamara Davis? Three of the best low-brow broad comedies of the 90s (BILLY MADISON, HALF BAKED, CB4)…David, (I never know what I should refer to you as since I’m a relative newcomer to commenting) wouldn’t she be the type of filmmaker you’re talking about, a Betty Thomas if you will?

  20. David Poland says:

    Joe: 1. He’s 67. Hollywood is not friendly to over-60s. In fact, I would say that age discrimination in Hollywood is worse than any other kind, in terms of non-actors, and is rarely discussed.

    2. Not a guy who ever made anyone a lot of money. As you know, Woody Allen hasn’t been funded traditionally in about a decade. Rudolph had to fight hard to fund his last few films and Dentists was barely released and did under $400k… not $400k and $2 million in VOD for IFC or Magnolia (which, obviously, didn’t exist then).

  21. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I guess I just figured that after Pet Sematary became a huge hit, Lambert would have been offered tons of studio horror fare. And maybe she was. Maybe nothing panned out and that’s why her next major movie was the sequel 3 years later. Whatever the reasons I’m surprised her career took the path it did after PS.

  22. LexG says:

    “I thought Floria Sigismondi had an awesome debut with THE RUNAWAYS.”

    ABSOLUTELY. Get it should’ve been obvious from the sisterhood thematics inherent to the subject matter, but visually I couldn’t even BELIEVE it was a female director, since as I was watching that. It was like a portal into my fantasies, putting Floria on par with Sofia Coppola as female directors who manage to shoot young women more fetchingly, sexily and fetishistically than even Michael Bay or Zack Snyder.

    Hey, I like the GIRLFIGHT/AEON FLUX chick, too. And Kimberly Peirce did okay with the action bits at the beginning of STOP/LOSS.

    But, yeah, most women don’t know how to direct anything, much less action. They’re generally like ACTORS-TURNED-DIRECTORS: For every Clint, Mel, Redford, or Peter Berg with an eye and a style, most of them shoot film like it’s a videotaped play and don’t have any style.

  23. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, Dentists made $3.7 million. Still, I suppose that’s a lot, either.

  24. leahnz says:

    “But, yeah, most women don’t know how to direct anything, much less action”

    bullshit, brightspark. sick of your pathetic nonsense. the number of mediocre male directors with ZERO visual style working in the industry today so far outweigh the few female directors making movies it’s beyond a joke. MALE DIRECTORS HAVE NO STYLE. there you go, let’s make nonsensical generalisations.

    “Seems like a bit of a leap. No one has hired a child to direct a big budget studio film either – and that would be a risk.

    Not equating women to children, mind – just saying that failure is not a prerequisite to something being considered a risk. I agree that women don’t get the opportunities they should, especially when it comes to genre fare – but that failure/risk point just struck me as a bit off.”

    well actually storymark, what is off is your child analogy, because i’m talking about adult professional female directors, not children off the street expecting to direct movies. if you deem a group of professionals a risk, there HAS to be a reason they are a risky proposition. so why are female directors risky, because their low-to-modestly budgeted films never make $? no. because they have some track record of losing tons of $ in the industry? no. why are female directors ‘a risk’ any more than countless male directors? they aren’t, it’s merely an excusable way of saying female directors can’t be trusted in the industry the way men can, rooted in good old fashioned sexism. just because jodi foster has a theory doesn’t make it ‘true’.

    (edited to say i had to fix quite a few typos in that, sorry for posting so messy)

  25. leahnz says:

    and yet, i left jodie as ‘jodi’ a couple times, my bad, i don’t know what my problem is with that ‘e’ at the end

  26. LYT says:

    Penelope Spheeris may not have done an Adam Sandler movie, but she did do some with Mike Myers, and The Beverly Hillbillies, Little Rascals, etc.

  27. Krillian says:

    I wonder what the actual percentage is of females to males TRYING to become big-studio directors. I don’t think it’s fair to assume it’s 50-50 ratio. I can’t help but naively think Bigelow’s opened some doors.

  28. David Poland says:

    Penelope Spheeris was one of the sold middle class for a while. Don’t know why is ended so sharply. She turned 50 and focused on her doc for a while… and the wave of retro comedy kind of died off… but one would think she could have done a few more mediocre films at studios if she wanted to do so.

  29. SC says:

    DP, do you seriously believe that female directors are not discriminated against in Hollywood? Just the fact that many people believe that women can’t direct, means that they will be discriminated against. Because choosing a director is almost always a leap of faith, and the executives/producers will be unwilling to take such a chance on a female director if they have doubts about the ability of females to direct.

    And you must know how risk-averse the studio executives are. They generally want to make movies by rearranging elements from other movies that have been financially successful in the past, and one of those elements is a male director. A studio executive is likely to be fired if they make a “risky” decision that doesn’t pay off, like hiring a female director on a film that eventually bombs (even if it would have bombed with any male director).

  30. Derek says:

    Woah..are those really lindsays boobies? I didn’t know she bared them for the world to see! I still think she is hot and it doesn’t matter what people say about her.

The Hot Blog

leahnz on: Weekend BYOING

leahnz on: Trailering CATS (2019) (Tugger warning)

Sideshow Bill on: Weekend BYOING

palmtree on: Weekend BYOING

movieman on: Seen anything TWICE at theaters this year?

movieman on: Weekend BYOING

Sideshow Bill on: Weekend BYOING

G Spot 3000 on: State of The Industry: Feb 2019

movieman on: Weekend BYOING

Sideshow Bill on: Weekend BYOING

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I remember very much the iconography and the images and the statues in church were very emotional for me. Just the power of that, and even still — just seeing prayer card, what that image can evoke. I have a lot of friends that are involved in the esoteric, and I know some girls in New York that are also into the supernatural. I don’t feel that I have that gift. But I am leaning towards mysticism… Maybe men are more practical, maybe they don’t give into that as much… And then also, they don’t convene in the same way that women do. But I don’t know, I am not a man, I don’t want to speak for men. For me, I tend to gravitate towards people who are open to those kinds of things. And the idea for my film, White Echo, I guess stemmed from that — I find that the girls in New York are more credible. What is it about the way that they communicate their ideas with the supernatural that I find more credible? And that is where it began. All the characters are also based on friends of mine. I worked with Refinery29 on that film, and found that they really invest in you which is so rare in this industry.”
Chloë Sevigny

“The word I have fallen in love with lately is ‘Hellenic.’ Greek in its mythology. So while everyone is skewing towards the YouTube generation, here we are making two-and-a-half-hour movies and trying to buck the system. It’s become clear to me that we are never going to be a perfect fit with Hollywood; we will always be the renegade Texans running around trying to stir the pot. Really it’s not provocation for the sake of being provocative, but trying to make something that people fall in love with and has staying power. I think people are going to remember Dragged Across Concrete and these other movies decades from now. I do not believe that they will remember some of the stuff that big Hollywood has put out in the last couple of years. You’ve got to look at the independent space to find the movies that have been really special recently. Even though I don’t share the same world-view as some of my colleagues, I certainly respect the hell out of their movies which are way more fascinating than the stuff coming out of the studio system.”
~ Dallas Sonnier