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 »

Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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