The Hot Blog Archive for April, 2005

How Much Is Foxx Worth?

Does this add up?


A Day Without Blogging Is Like A Day Without Blogging

My home is being tented for termites today… I’m not looking forward to it… but the glory of wi-fi will allow the party to keep going….
Have you read David Thomson on the gay subtext of some very macho movies?
“On Rebel Without a Cause, I can actually point to several key figures on that film who had had some gay experience…”


One Big Lesson

Since it’s come up in two different entries today, I thought I would address the biggest public misstep I’ve made in recent years… the Phantom of the Opera Oscar column.
Reading back, I can only laugh at the hyperbole, my arrogance at throwing my track record into it, and my own stupidity in being that definitive on anything I had no control over.
There were very specific qualifiers in the column. But one of the lessons is that no one reads the fine print.
The half dozen or so bad calls that some readers love to throw in my face endlessly as proof that I am failable, almost all of them were failures of enhthusiasm. The Terminal, Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, The Rundown, Phantom… each made major marketing and/or distribution mistakes, in my opinion. But only The Rundown has had an upbeat afterlife… beyond the Phantom cult.
On the flip side, I still am amazed that Miramax was able to back into such a success with Hero after stumbling with the film for so long. The Day Ater Tomorrow still shocks me every time I think about its undeniable smash hit status… that piece of shit did $100 million after its huge opening weekend. I just don’t get it.
But the big lesson is… don’t promise a win when you don’t get to market the movie… or to handle the media… or to not reshoot two weeks out…
Okay… the real lesson is “don’t promise what you can’t deliver.”
Meanwhile, I’m sticking with Rachel McAdams, Ellen Pompeo, and Ginifer Goodwin to find their way to stardom. (That’s Joe Leydon’s cue to accuse me of drooling… thanks, Joe.)


Pretty Sensational Job By Searchlight…

… on the Nightwatch trailer
They even acknowledge that it’s in Russian… but it’s so cool looking, no one’s gonna notice…
28 Days Later numbers are clearly an option this July.


Early Box Office Analysis

Fox sold Drew Barrymore


Kingdom Of Heaven

No arab slagging here… it’s a movie about the futility of war…
The story starts with the Christians in control of Jerusalem and the arabs are ominously powerful.
Hot Button column
Does that mean anything?
Is it a problem that Jane Fonda is in it? (That’s a joke!)


Summer Guessin'…

20 Weeks Of Summer starts next week on MCN and I will save my obnoxious predictions until then. But what kind of money do you see flying around in the first six weeks of summer?
1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
2. XXX: State of the Union
3. Kingdom of Heaven
4. House of Wax
5. Kicking & Screaming
6. Star Wars III
7. Madagascar
8. The Longest Yard
9. Cinderella Man
10. Lords of Dogtown
11. The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants
Opening numbers? Domestic totals?



I have to say… there was a lot of negative stuff being thrown around L.A. about Jane Fonda and her comeback effort in the last 18 months. There were jobs she didn’t get, diva complaints, etc.
But man oh man, this woman is a 100% pro who can work a TV talkshow like Jordan worked a basketball. Watching her with Larry King and then David Letterman, she handled every question with charm and a directness that made you believe here and never made you feel that she was evading anything.
She understands what the Democratic Party has forgotten in recent years. She owns her successes and her embarrassments and just keeps coming. How long before someone tries to get her to run for Governor against Ahnuld?
I don’t know how Monster In Law is going to be as a film, but that thing that Fonda had in the best of my memories is alive again. And is a world of almost stars, I am very happy to see her back in the saddle.


"Fever Pitch Is The Hit Comedy Of The Season"

I just heard that tag on a spot on the Yankee/Red Sox game.
How can it be the hit anything if it hasn’t opened yet?
Another question… does anyone who isn’t a fan of the book know what The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is all about? Why won’t Disney tell us?
Last one… how did Sydney Pollack end up with “A Sydney Pollack Film” credit in a virtually invisible gray stuck inconspicuously between very dark and larger lettering for Kidman and Penn in the outdoor for The Interpreter? It’s almost like when a studio makes the name of the quote whore in a TV ad so small that no one can read it. But shouldn’t they be proud of Mr. Pollack, one of the top commercial, movie star diretors of this era?


How High The Comment Word Count?

I’m not sure we’ve ever had a 1400 word entry on the blog before… and I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to encourage it.
But “kit“s rant on Sin City was wild… almost too wild to hear past the froth in his mouth.
I’m pulling it off the Comments, where I found it, and you can read it, if you like, after the jump.

Read the full article »


Unexpected Insights Into Film Criticism

“Chelminski points out that (film) critics are even more inclined than other kinds to fatigue. Most (film) critics are sick of (watching) rich, expensive (films) and will do almost anything to have something new; a perfectly prepared (genre film) first gets a smile, and then a yawn.”
“At the same time, the book is wonderfully revealing about the double consciousness of the critic. Although pain-giving herself (and admiring of


There HAS To Be Something Else To Talk About, No?

Come on… let’s move past Sin City… we can do it…


The Movie Carpool Lane

As is so often the case, Anthony Lane writes his way into a meringue of criticism, too busy being air-udite to be emotionally connected to the heart of any film. But as is also often the case, there are a few gems in the jello.
In his review of Sin City and Lukas Moodyson


Feed Me, See More…

MCN, The Hot Blog & Movie City Indie are all up & running and available via feed now.
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1 Comment »


Folks… were slowly but surely on our way to asking commenters to register. This both helps us maintain some civility (not that I want to babysit) and to keep the comment space from being spammed.
The system we’ve chosen is TypeKey. It both allows you to register easily and quickly and to maintain – if you want to – your complete anonymity. Neither I nor other readers will not have access to your real identity or e-mail unless you so wish it. So, Spam Dooley, you will remain a mystery and never have to enter a fake e-mail address again.
To sign up or sign in, just click on “If you have a TypeKey identity, you can sign in to use it here” and it will take you where you need to go. We’ll probably change things over to allow only registered commenters in a week or two.
Happy to hear any feedback, positive or negative. And if you have any trouble with the software, let me know that too.


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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin