The Hot Blog Archive for September, 2005

So Little To Say This Week

It’s a funny week when I have endless column ideas and almost nothing for the blog. Perhaps it’s the sudden late heat in L.A.
I can’t speak for The Greatest Game Ever Played, but the rest of this week’s movie release line-up smells like the “before” at a sewage treatment plant.

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Best About-Fucking-Time DVD Release

From The NY Press’ “Best Of” Issue
The Cassavetes Collection
Long Island

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Hold It Right There!

There are few dealmakers smarter than David Geffen. Even as a man with great taste acting as an impresario over the years, it has been his skill at the negotiating table (and away from it) that has made him a billionaire.
And here, in the Universal deal, we see his skill as a Texas Hold

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Asking Again

In the A.O. Scott stuff, these questions never seemed to be answered by people posting. And I find them very interesting. So I ask again, with no tongue in cheek, but with sincere interest in your perspectives…
Tell me, is North Country a conservative tract? Sure, it

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Missing The SS Joke With Page Six

For whatever reasons, Page Six decides to take a swipe at Steven Soderbergh

5 Comments »

Great Tip From A Reader (RP)

The Sony promos from Nip/Tuck’s premiere – which include a new Dick & Jane trailer and first looks at campaigns for Freedomland and All The King’s Men can be found here.
Click on Kelly Carlson and a Java theater comes up with all the pieces.

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Keith Richards Running SAG?

As per a very funny reader….
rosenberg_alan150x175.jpg
Arrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

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This just in…

From Tuesday’s USA Today aka “The NYT Assignment Desk”…
Adds director Mark Waters (Mean Girls), “It’s clearly not inspired by the Schiavo case.” He doubts those on either side of the right-to-die issue could co-opt what is essentially a fantasy. “It’s not like there is a political or religious agenda to the movie. Everyone wants her to wake up.”
But just as Million Dollar Baby caused a ruckus over its depiction of assisted suicide, Heaven could raise concern over its Hollywood-ized picture of a young and healthy-looking coma patient. Especially since a life force in the form of Witherspoon’s somewhat vaporous presence clearly hovers outside her prone body.

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A.O. Krazy 2

Where Scott goes off the rails is not in trying to come up with a more complex analysis of genre films, but in tying their existance and tone to some sort of intent.
As pointed out by others here, the subtext of what is perceived as audience friendly is a discussion. The idea that Just Like Heaven, which is not only completely derivative of films from every decade of the history of narrative cinema, but which was launched before Bush was re-elected, is wacked.
Additionally, adding a context on intent to Emily Rose, which was never intended to be anything but a thriller cheapy, is way off base.
Even if you want to play this game, how about some balance? The top movie of the summer, Star Wars, is on its face anti-empire. On the flip side, it could be said that it is pro-Iraq, as the next films are all about freeing the people from The Empire, which is what Bush-ites would say Iraq is all about. That is the beginning of a long, complex, and unwinnable conversation.
It is insane to sit there at try to deconstruct some screenwriter

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Early Weekend Analysis – 9/24

Emily Rose kicked the ass of The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane.
Go figure.
It seems that Red Eye brought Flightplan down to its level, instead of Flightplan being the Big to Red Eye

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A.O. Krazy

Here is A.O. Scott’s piece on why we should be reading political subtext into Just Like Heaven and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
My read? Put down the pipe, Tony. I know that every molecule of our body could be, like, an entire universe and we could just be one atom in the body of a giant… but dude, you need to mellow that harsh.

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Finally, A Full Movie Weekend

What are you going to see?
A History of Violence
Daltry Calhoun
Dear Wendy
Flightplan
In Her Shoes
Oliver Twist
Proof
Roll Bounce
Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride

30 Comments »

Coppola is Finally Getting Back to Work

But do you care? Or is it just me?
From Variety
Francis Ford Coppola will return to directing after an eight-year hiatus with a self-financed, low-budget pic to lense in Bucharest.
The bigscreen adaptation of “Youth Without Youth” is based on the novella by Romanian author and intellectual Mircea Eliade. Coppola penned the screenplay and is producing through his American Zoetrope banner. Fred Roos and Anahid Nazarian exec produce.
Tim Roth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz and Marcel Iures will star in the pic, skedded to begin production Oct. 3.
Story centers on a professor whose life changes after a cataclysmic incident during the dark years before WWII. Becoming a fugitive, he is pursued through far-flung locations including Romania, Switzerland, Malta and India.

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Oscar Chat

is on the awards blog.

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