The Hot Blog Archive for July, 2005

Sunday B.O.

Strong word of mouth is still driving Wedding Crashers to an excellent hold. It will probably end up being off more like 25%, but still

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Early Weekend Analysis

The only thing not crashing is Crashers, Wedding Crashers.
Okay

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Is Skinny Overrated?

“Lindsay Lohan is an attractive girl, but she’s not one of the world’s great beauties. But when she bounces down the hall in Mean Girls, she is magnetic. And it is way to simple to say, “Men like breasts.” Men do like breasts. But the bounce and the unaware way with which Ms. Lohan walked

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Friday Frivolity

Okay… silly one…
Who is the hottest woman in the movies today?
Who is the hottest man?
Who is the hot name most likely to be utterly forgotten by 2007?

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Does Cheese Go With Those Fries?

What is your standard for the great summer movie experience?
Do you need to be daxzzled (or bedazzled) or do you just wanna have fun?
Read. React.

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How Are Things Going At DreamWorks?

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THB. React.
LATE ADDITION: An excellent piece on DW by Kate Kelly and Merissa Marr at the WSJ brought up a key element that has escaped me… a major piece of the value of DreamWorks live action is that they have distribution rights to all the DreamWorks Animation films. That alone could add $50 million to $100 million a year in net revenue to DreamWorks SKG. Interesting….

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Oscar Geeks?

Guess it’s time to start the wrestling…
Read… react.
The Top Seven Early Contenders
Munich
The Producers
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World
Walk The Line
All The King’s Men
Jarhead

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Imitation The Dirtiest Job?

There was a terrific little film at Sundance a couple of years ago that I still tell people about called Dirty Work. The film by David Sampliner and Tim Nackashi follows three men who deal with our unpleasant business — Darrell, a septic tank pumper, Russ, a bull semen collector, and Bernard, an embalmer.
So I get a promotional e-mail about a show called Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel and was kind of happy for the filmmakers… they obviously converted their doc into a series, a la Morgan Spurlock.
Nope.
The TV show is kind of Spurlockian, but the doc filmmakers are not associated. More money for someone else. They know a good idea when they steal one. Sigh.
The Discovery Channel series is on Wednesday nights. And perhaps by coincidence, the doc, Dirty Work, is on Sundance Channel at 12:30a on Friday night… set those Tivos.

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With Due Respect…

What kind of idiot would hold March Of The Penquins, which could do maybe $30 million, as the “surprise smash of the summer?”
Chris Connelly, on a lame late piece on The Slump on Nightline, compared to it to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Huh?!?!?! There is no $100 million-plus surprise this year. There were two last year.
Isn’t it odd how being nice to the Penguins is a way of being dismissive of the theatrical business?
Of course, the most galling thing is that after it taking 16 years for the video window to get down to four months, all of a sudden it’s about piracy or marketing costs. It has never been about either. It has always been about big corporations and quarterly revenues. And the shortened window is a direct result of the long move towards the opening weekend obsession, so the theatrical window is almost never more than 8 weeks of significance, regardless of the DVD release date. If the theatrical window is only 8 weeks, the shortened window for DVD seems, from a distance, to make sense… but it doesn’t.
To have Walter Parkes on, happy to blame a very serious problem for DreamWorks on The Island on The Slump… oy. There is good reason for people at DreamWorks to be more nervous than he has ever seen them.
The industry has worked itself into this “window situation” since Batman in 1989. And it has succeeded in sucking more money out of the world’s pockets than ever before. The danger isn’t where we are. The danger is that some people don’t think it’s enough.

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Is It An Issue?

Veterans (and Matt Drudge) are up in arms about the mock notion of using a Purple Heart as a tool to remove the panties from a bridesmaid.
Is this even worth commenting on?

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Upcoming Weekend

So, here it comes… Stealth, Must Love Dogs, and Sky High…
Anyone planning on going to the movies?

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Michael Fleming Delivers The Mel Details

From Variety
Posted: Sun., Jul. 24, 2005, 10:00pm PT
Mel tongue-ties studios
‘Apocalypto’ to be filmed in obscure Mayan dialect
By MICHAEL FLEMING
When production chiefs from selected studios trooped to Icon Prods. headquarters after an invite to read the film Mel Gibson planned for summer 2006, they were surprised at the very first page of the script.
“The dialogue you are about to read will not be spoken in English.”
Gibson, who last made the most successful Aramaic-language film ever, is at it again.
“Apocalypto” hardly fits the traditional definition of a summer film. Set 500 years ago, pic will be filmed in an obscure Mayan dialect, presumably with the same kind of subtitles Gibson reluctantly added to “The Passion of the Christ.” It will star a neophyte cast indigenous to the region of Mexico where Gibson will shoot in October. And it likely will carry an R rating, unless Gibson tempers the onscreen depiction of violent scenes he wrote in his script.
Since Gibson’s bankrolling his pic and will sell foreign himself, studios were offered only a rent-a-system deal, such as George Lucas had with 20th Century Fox for his last three “Star Wars” films. And because “Apocalypto” is not a religious pic, there’s no guarantee of an encore turnout of the church groups and hardcore Catholics who made “The Passion of the Christ” a nearly $1 billion box office/DVD bonanza.
‘Passion’ prediction
At least three studios passed on the project before Disney bought it. Nevertheless, the fact that more than one studio bid for the project shows Gibson’s viability and makes laughable last year’s prediction by the New York Times that Gibson would be blackballed by Jewish executives after the “Passion” controversy.
That charge never really had much traction, said sources within Gibson’s agency, ICM. There was a post-“Passion” pile of scripts with $20 million-plus offers for Gibson’s acting services. While that paper piled up on ICM co-prexy Ed Limato’s desk, Gibson was accumulating pages of his own, scribbling “Apocalypto” in his office and becoming so passionate about it that he changed his plans to star in the Icon-produced drama “Under and Alone” for Warner Bros.
Even though studios including Paramount and Universal walked away from “Apocalypto” either for creative reasons or because Gibson’s asking price of a high P&A commitment was too high, Disney’s agreement to step up shows how much things have changed for Gibson since he struggled to get backing for “Braveheart.” Gibson felt he was too old to play William Wallace, preferring to cast Jason Patric, but he was hard-pressed to raise coin even when he agreed to star.
Paramount wouldn’t make “Braveheart” without a partner, and before Fox (which passed on “Passion”) stepped up, Gibson had a demoralizing meeting with his longtime haunt Warner Bros., which wanted another “Lethal Weapon” as a condition of the deal. Gibson made “Braveheart” on a shoestring, won picture and director Oscars and made money for both Paramount and Fox.
Happy with Disney
Now content to bankroll his vision and armed with his own overseas distribution and sales company, Gibson no longer goes hat in hand. Sources said at least two studios wanted the pic, but Gibson liked Disney, where he has a good relationship with Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. For its part, Disney agreed to Gibson’s tough deal terms.
Already, there is talk that Disney will program “Apocalypto” against the Warner Bros. film “Lady in the Water,” which just happens to be the first M. Night Shyamalan-directed film Disney hasn’t financed since the filmmaker’s breakthrough, “The Sixth Sense.”
For his part, Cook said he was confident “Apocalypto” fits the summer bill.
“We couldn’t be more excited about working again with Mel and his team,” said Cook. “This is one of the most original and unique scripts we’ve had the opportunity to read recently, and we plan for this to be an anchor of our summer schedule.”

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Box Office Sunday Estimates Analysis

The Slump Is Back!!!
Just kidding.
Actually, this weekend is a very good example of why Slump Chat is silly.
While Charlie & The Chocolate Factory held okay (read: not embarrassing) for a large opener and Wedding Crashers held exceptionally well, The Island smashed into the wall. It is the failure of The Island that makes this a down weekend. So

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Page Six vs Paramount

I am hardly the guy to be defending anyone at Paramount. But I found a Page Six item to be so unpleasantly inaccurate and inherently unkind that I feel I have to respond

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A Comprehensive Guide To The Artistry Of Miss Jessica Alba

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And if you want to see the QT version of these selected (read: remotely worth watching) moments from the new Into The Blue trailer… it’s here.

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

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