The Hot Blog Archive for March, 2005

Preston Sturges' Rules Of The Box Office

1. A pretty girl is better than an ugly one
.2. A leg is better than an arm.
3. A bedroom is better than a living room.
4. An arrival is better than a departure.
5. A birth is better than a death.
6. A chase is better than a chat.
7. A dog is better than a landscape.
8. A kitten is better than a dog.
9. A baby is better than a kitten.
10. A kiss is better than a baby.
11. A pratfall is better than anything.
Still true? Have any additions?

11 Comments »

One more Sin City thought…

I was in the book store today and looked through the “Yellow Bastard” graphic novel in the Sin City series. Amazing… intense… and emotional.
It is almost image for image, word for word, the same as the movie. But Miller’s drawings say more.
I guess the answer, for me, is that there is something literal about film that isn’t about most fine art. The edges of the images speak volumes… the jagged nature of them…
Here is a page that is duplicated in the film. It is just so much more powerful on paper.
And here is this rather smart film-to-comic comparison by FilmRot’s Mediamelt.

16 Comments »

Is this okay?

Welcome to the new page… but already one person said they liked the old one better.
There are limits to what we can – or will – do, but please let us know what we can do to make this blog page the best possible for you. Your input matters… almost as much as your output.

14 Comments »

More On Sin City

I wrote about Sin City in The Hot Button today

53 Comments »

More On Sin City

I wrote about Sin City in The Hot Button today

I had a couple more thoughts that I thought I’d add here…

I got an argument from a very smart guy this morning who believes that this film will be the most influential film of this decade. And what that got me thinking about was, “Have smart people started believing that the medium is the message?” Part of the argument, which is at the core of all but a sliver of Sin City support is… “It is unlike anything you’ve seen.” But is that in any way important?

Are we fetishizing filmmaking tools instead of drama?

I really have no argument with having made Sin City. It is not evil. It is not a waste of money… it will be profitable. It is not going to melt the brains of small children.

But it finally hit me… Sin City is the male response to the McG/Barrymore Charlie’s Angels films. It aspires to even less as a social statement. But since the C&A films failed to actually offer “girl power,” in the end the answers are the same. Harsh violence vs. cutesy violence, more male objectification vs self-objectification, hyper frame-loading vs. hyper editing.

Charlie’s Angels: Full Frontal was unlike anything we had ever seen. And to be fair, so was Romeo + Juliet/Moulin Rouge… again, using many of the same tools.

On the flip side, there was nothing in Pulp Fiction we hadn’t seen before. We just hadn’t seen it for, depending on the part of the film, a decade or two or three or four.

The other analogy that I meant to point out was Lucas’ recent run of Star Wars films. Those films were also CG, CG, CG… and the films are not given anywhere near enough credit, because of critical response, with breaking new ground in the technology. There are many arguments within the argument… I recently had a discussion with someone about how Lucas always made the cheapest decision instead of the best one… but big picture, Star Wars I-III made Sin City possible.

Meanwhile, MirrorMask is even more “you’ve never seen anything like it” than Sin City, but won’t get the embrace because it doesn’t pander to the geek thirst for sex and violence. (It also makes even less narrative sense and has even less emotionally connective characters, for the most part.)

The future of cinema is storytelling, not technology. When technology supports the storytelling, God bless… we all win. There will be better Sky Capatins and Sin Citys, using the technological opportunity to make real magic. Maybe it will be the Sin City sequel that is being talked about with QT as a full collaborator. I still argue that the 2 hour (aka, cut to the right length) Kill Bill might have been a masterpiece. QT understands character in a way that Rodriguez just doesn’t. And Rodriguez has visual skills that QT does not. I remain hopeful.

13 Comments »

IFP/West Moving To Dump The IFP

Variety reports that Dawn Hudson is finally tired of having to put up with those fussy New Yorkers (and others) who built the Independent Feature Project into a force for independent cinema over the decade or so before IFP/LA was anything more significant than an occasional seminar in L.A.
Sadly, this is no surprise. Back in November, when I seemed to be the only journalist in the country interested in the back room battle, Dawn Hudson refused to even discuss what was going on. To her credit, Dawn’s opposite number, IFP/NY’s Michelle Byrd, did sit down with me, though she refused to be tough on Dawn while still acknowledging the tensions that have always been a part of the national organization since Dawn took a dominant position in L.A.
The four month old Hot Button story is here, though Peter Rice will be unhappy to see the story back in front of people, as he later made the case for Sideways being made for only $16 million so effectively that I never broached the subject again.
The sad part of this seperation is that New York’s hands on efforts wil suffer. And NYC’s substantive indie filmmaking clique will be unable to take sides, since the marketing opportunity in L.A. is too much to turn their backs on. Even worse… they can’t blame this on the majors. Drat!

No Comments »

IFP/West Moving To Dump The IFP

Variety reports that Dawn Hudson is finally tired of having to put up with those fussy New Yorkers (and others) who built the Independent Feature Project into a force for independent cinema over the decade or so before IFP/LA was anything more significant than an occasional seminar in L.A.

Sadly, this is no surprise. Back in November, when I seemed to be the only journalist in the country interested in the back room battle, Dawn Hudson refused to even discuss what was going on. To her credit, Dawn’s opposite number, IFP/NY’s Michelle Byrd, did sit down with me, though she refused to be tough on Dawn while still acknowledging the tensions that have always been a part of the national organization since Dawn took a dominant position in L.A.

The four month old Hot Button story is here, though Peter Rice will be unhappy to see the story back in front of people, as he later made the case for Sideways being made for only $16 million so effectively that I never broached the subject again.

The sad part of this seperation is that New York’s hands on efforts wil suffer. And NYC’s substantive indie filmmaking clique will be unable to take sides, since the marketing opportunity in L.A. is too much to turn their backs on. Even worse… they can’t blame this on the majors. Drat!

6 Comments »

Photos: Bermuda Film Festival 2005

I did a column on the festival in The Hot Button today.
BUt now it’s time to get a real eyeful of the fun in this photo album

No Comments »

Photos: Bermuda International Film Fest 2005

I did a column on the festival in The Hot Button today.

BUt now it’s time to get a real eyeful of the fun in this photo album

3 Comments »

Photos: The Gates

I’ve been busy not putting photos up on the blog because it was a pain in the ass… turns out that TypePad makes it a lot easier than I thought.
So here is the first batch of shots… from The Gates, by Christo.

1 Comment »

Photos: The Gates

I’ve been busy not putting photos up on the blog because it was a pain in the ass… turns out that TypePad makes it a lot easier than I thought.

So here is the first batch of shots… from The Gates, by Christo.

4 Comments »

Universal Gets Out Of The Paper Pushing Business

From Universal Pictures…
Dear Friend,
We are pleased to tell you about a change we are making in order to make a wider selection of publicity material available to you faster. Effective immediately, we will no longer be mailing to you printed press kits for our films. An expanded selection of our publicity materials will be available online for viewing or downloading at www.xxxxx.net.
Replacing traditional hard copy delivery of our content with digital delivery not only allows us to expand our materials, but to make them available much faster by eliminating the time it takes for duplication, assembling and shipping. As soon as new materials are available, you will be notified by email, with a link to the newly posted content.
If you haven’t already registered for access to image.net, the process is very easy. Just go to www.xxxxx.net and follow the simple registrations instructions using the following referral code: XXXX.
Please note that the press kit for The Wedding Date is the last printed press kit you will receive from us.
If you have any questions please call xxxxx.net customer service at (888) xxx-1500 or email at customer-services@xxxxx.net.
Sincerely,
Universal Pictures Publicity Dept.

No Comments »

Universal Gets Out Of The Paper Pushing Business

From Universal Pictures…

Dear Friend,

We are pleased to tell you about a change we are making in order to make a wider selection of publicity material available to you faster. Effective immediately, we will no longer be mailing to you printed press kits for our films. An expanded selection of our publicity materials will be available online for viewing or downloading at www.xxxxx.net.

Replacing traditional hard copy delivery of our content with digital delivery not only allows us to expand our materials, but to make them available much faster by eliminating the time it takes for duplication, assembling and shipping. As soon as new materials are available, you will be notified by email, with a link to the newly posted content.

If you haven’t already registered for access to image.net, the process is very easy. Just go to www.xxxxx.net and follow the simple registrations instructions using the following referral code: XXXX.

Please note that the press kit for The Wedding Date is the last printed press kit you will receive from us.

If you have any questions please call xxxxx.net customer service at (888) xxx-1500 or email at customer-services@xxxxx.net.

Sincerely,

Universal Pictures Publicity Dept.

7 Comments »

Crisis Schmisis!

Sundance 2005: Crisis In Park City
Oy.
The reason why there is a crisis in Park City is because guys like Kohler, whom I like, and Amy Taubin, who I really don’t know, are busy screaming their danged fool heads off.
Sundance finally makes the forward thinking move of creating World Cinema categories and the softness of the first year’s choices are A CRISIS!
It’s called “the first year.” Sundance has had a decade of indie filmmakers timing their films to end up on the Sundance schedule, if they are lucky enough to get in. The festival has the absolute top choice of indie films from new filmmakers who are not likely to break into Cannes. But that is not the case with World Cinema. Films launch in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, etc, etc, etc… the machine isn’t used to saving the best for Sundance.
That will change.
A few sales and that will change in a hurry.
As for all the Sundance parties… uh… stay off Main Street. There is only one theater there and nothing playing there isn’t playing elsewhere. And the hype machines have not invaded any of the other theaters. If you are obsessing on Sundance obsessing on Paris Hilton, it is no one’s fault but your own.
In other words… move along… nothing to see here…

1 Comment »

Crisis Schmisis!

Sundance 2005: Crisis In Park City

Oy.

The reason why there is a crisis in Park City is because guys like Kohler, whom I like, and Amy Taubin, who I really don’t know, are busy screaming their danged fool heads off.

Sundance finally makes the forward thinking move of creating World Cinema categories and the softness of the first year’s choices are A CRISIS!

It’s called “the first year.” Sundance has had a decade of indie filmmakers timing their films to end up on the Sundance schedule, if they are lucky enough to get in. The festival has the absolute top choice of indie films from new filmmakers who are not likely to break into Cannes. But that is not the case with World Cinema. Films launch in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, etc, etc, etc… the machine isn’t used to saving the best for Sundance.

That will change.

A few sales and that will change in a hurry.

As for all the Sundance parties… uh… stay off Main Street. There is only one theater there and nothing playing there isn’t playing elsewhere. And the hype machines have not invaded any of the other theaters. If you are obsessing on Sundance obsessing on Paris Hilton, it is no one’s fault but your own.

In other words… move along… nothing to see here…

11 Comments »

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas