The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2005

An Interesting Note From A Reader

Looking back on the last couple of years (that

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Yesterday's Dreamamount Note To The Current Employees

RE: DREAMWORKS INTEGRATION PLANNING
First, thank you for the continued patience and dedication that you have demonstrated while we have worked through the details of the division of Paramount Pictures from CBS/Paramount Television. This has been a year of tremendous transition and we now have before us the task of planning for the integration of Paramount Pictures with DreamWorks SKG.
This process of integration analysis will involve us reviewing several areas of the company and looking for opportunities to optimize our organizational structure. Our goal will be to design an organization that has the most favorable operational environment and to have this process completed shortly after the close of the DreamWorks transaction.
Specifically, we are reviewing Information Systems and the worldwide Theatrical Distribution, Marketing and Television groups. Undoubtedly, very talented employees from both DreamWorks and Paramount will be impacted as a result of this review. The company will provide an enhanced separation package to those Paramount individuals who are displaced and will take all reasonable steps to help those individuals transition to other employment opportunities within the company and externally through outplacement.
For non-contractual Paramount employees, in consideration of executing a general release, the enhanced separation package will be based on two weeks of pay for each year of service, three months of company-paid COBRA and outplacement services. Contractual employees will receive a minimum of six months separation pay, three months company-paid COBRA and outplacement services or continued payments under their contract, whichever is greater.
Human Resources representatives will be available to consult with impacted employees and to outline in full detail the benefits to which they are entitled at the time final decisions are communicated.
While these tasks are never easy, we wanted you to hear from us that this review had begun. We also want you to be confident that we will communicate as much information as we can throughout this planning phase. And, more importantly, we want you to know that we are committed to making decisions quickly and doing all we can to minimize the impact of this transaction on our workforce.

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And The Worst Ten..,

Continuing the theme of absolute mediocrity in 2005, I don’t have a very big list of truly terrible movies this year. As much as I hate some of these movies, I don’t even feel terribly excited about denouncing them.
But I will…

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The Blood Fever At Dreamamount Builds

Going into the lovely New Year

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Hate To Even Mention Him…

But a friend inspired me to reflect on Jeffrey Wells for a moment and with Sundance just a few weeks away, I was inspired to dig up WellsDance.

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So You Know Why It's So Irritating…

We received this note earlier tonight…
Hi,
I’ve being tracking your “2005 top tens” chart and it seems to me that the chart is maintained in a not very consistence way.
As of last weekend when “Brokeback mountain” was at the top of the chart, there are a lot more critics in “blue columns” rated it as their top ten choices and a few of them rated it as number 1.
What a difference a few days made, today I am amazed that those critics in blue columns mysteriously dissappeared and non of them rated Brokeback Mountain as number 1.
Meanwhile “A history of violence” suddenly got a lot more critics (and many more rated it as number 1) in the blue columns.
Is this intentional manipulation or there is a better explanation for it?

I responded…
I am trying to remain respectful, but your assertion is not only insulting, it is quite wacky. Still, I will indulge you.
The blue columns indicate the new updates only. When the next update comes, the last blue group is made brown and put in alphabetical order with the rest. I suppose there would be some interest in each update remaining color coded, but we decided years ago that it was easier this way.
The first chart had 10 Top Tens… 7 BBM votes, 0 at #1
Next batch of 10… 4 BBMs, 1 at # 1 (total 1)
18 more… 9 BMM (20 total), 3 #1s (4 total)
23 more… 14 BBM (34 total), 4 #1s (8 total)
20 more… 13 BBM (47 total) 1 #1 (9 total)
And our most recent update… in which BBM fell (apparently unbelievably) fell to #2…
34 more (115 total charts listed, adding such right wingers as B Ruby Rich and J Hoberman)
10 more votes for BBM (total 57)
0 at #1. (9 total)
Please note that huge BBM supporters, like B Ruby Rich, did an unnumbered chart. Also please note that every one of the people who voted for History of Violence as #1 in this last group did not vote for BBM at all. In fact, only Jack Mathews, Leah Rozen and Gene Seymour – all members of NYFCC – gave Brokeback a top ten vote of any kind after choosing HOV as #1.
For the record, HOV now has 11 #1 votes to BBM’s 9.
Every critic who has been on the list remains on the list.
Thank you for your concern. And if you have any more, please feel free to write again.

As I have said in here before… there is a fever around BBM that has some people – even some of whom are not mouth-breathing, drooling, OCD columnists – acting with a stridency that makes something as simple as a bunch of critics embracing another movie seem virtually impossible without a conspiracy attached.
It is exhausting… and unfortunately reminiscent of Passion of The Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11 more than anything else in my online experience.

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Movie Club Time

David Edelstein kicks things off with his Top 20
And then AO Scott, Scott Foundas, and Jon Rosenbaum kick in

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The Worthiest?

1) “Baby Face” (1933)
2) “The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man” (1975)
3) “The Cameraman” (1928)
4) Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort, S.C., May 1940 (1940)
5) “Cool Hand Luke” (1967)
6) “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982)
7) “The French Connection” (1971)
8) “Giant” (1956)
9) “H2O” (1929)
10) “Hands Up” (1926)
11) “Hoop Dreams” (1994)
12) “House of Usher” (1960)
13) “Imitation of Life” (1934)
14) Jeffries-Johnson world championship fight (1910)
15) “Making of an American” (1920)
16) “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)
17) “Mom and Dad” (1944)
18) “The Music Man” (1962)
19) “Power of the Press” (1928)
20) “A Raisin in the Sun” (1961)
21) “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)
22) San Francisco earthquake and fire, April 18, 1906 (1906)
23) “The Sting” (1973)
24) “A Time for Burning” (1966)
25) “Toy Story” (1995)

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Weekend Estimates By Klady

4-Day Estimates / Weekend / % Change / Cume
King Kong / 30.8 / -58% / 118.2
The Chronicles of Narnia / 30.4 / -36% / 163.9
Fun With Dick and Jane / 23.2 / – / 30.7
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 / 14.6 / – / 19.8
Memoirs of a Geisha / 10.1 / 415% / 13.2
The Family Stone / 10.0 / -48% / 29.2
The Ringer / 8.2 / – / 8.2
Rumor Has It / 7.7 / – / 7.7
Wolf Creek / 6.1 / – / 6.1
Harry Potter & Goblet of Fire / 5.9 / -34% / 262.6

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Saturday Estimates by Mojo

Not a lot of change from Klady’s Friday numbers.
King Kong did finally hit $100 million on Day 11.
Brokeback Mountain tripled its screen count on Friday and, not surprisingly, stayed about even on the gross level.
According to these Saturday estimates, Christmas Eve day is up about 11% from last year, but it is much more spread out. Meet The Fockers did $7.2 million on the 24th last year. This year, Narnia/Kong did $9.7 million on top… and then there were five $1 million-plus films this year after the Top Two and only three last year after the Top One.
Through the 24th, measured by the daily Top Tens, December is up about 15% this year. And the last week of the year

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The Munich Attacks

It’s one of those weird Old Media/New Media things that I now keep reading about Munich‘s critical “comeback” as some sort of response to “Internet attacks.”
That is, to put it delicately, bullshit.
The core of the negative hum was Todd McCarthy in good old Variety, David Brooks in the good old New York Times, and one-sided opinion-pulsing by the good old wire services, which couldn’t wait to get a full picture of the Israeli reaction before doing exacty what they did earlier in the year – when they gave endless media attention to the crackpots who felt they needed to be consulted before Spielberg could make his movie – which is to jump the gun.
And of course, the excuse for the attacks? Old Media Time Magazine got an exclusive, did (in my opinion) a piss-poor job with the free pass they were given, and so muscular media types, forced into feeling like “outsiders,” lied to by Universal about Spileberg access, decided to take the other side and to attack the film.
Of course, Nikki Finke, who started this insanity with her feverish report on the non-news of a Munich non-junket, fiercely considers herself Old Media and her sense of righteousness on the story came from Old Media friends who patted her hard on the back for her non-scoop scoop and then ran their (LAT/NYT) own feverish versions of the non-story.
It is cheap and intellectually lazy to blame the web for this unneccesary fever. Ironically, one of the key defense claims by OM against the web – that everything starts with old media and that the web simply reflects their work – has been flipped on its head here… a coincident convenience in a case where it is looking like the worm is turning.
And with due respect to Anne Thompson, the notion that power reviews have now started pouring in for Munich are a reflection of “the intenet attacks” and are not as sincere as those critics would normally be assumed to be is kind of stunningly insulting to everyone involved – even though I don’t think it was a notion so intended. I don’t know Stephen Hunter, but I do know Dargis, Ebert, and Mathews and I wouldn’t want my head in between their fingers and their keyboards when they want to write something. And she didn’t even include Slate/NY Mag’s David Edelstein, who called Munich the best of the year, even though his breathren in New York would have argued the point hard against him during their post-screening beer.
Anyway… this seems to me to be another variation on the theme of internal combustion in the media these days. Take a few strong voices, obsess on them for a week, then find excuses for why things change a week later. There are no excuses needed, since things didn’t change… they just evolve normally. It is the downside of Slow Media trying to speed up. When everyone is hyper-fast in “reporting,” then everything is an alleged reaction to everything else. And most people are not as OCD as those of us covering this beat are. Not should they be.
Slow down.

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Friday Estimates

King Kong / Uni / 8.4 / 3576 / 95.7
Chronicles of Narnia / BV / 8.2 / 3853 / 141.3
Fun with Dick & Jane / Sony / 5.6 / 3045 / 13.1
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 / Fox / 3.9 / 3175 / 9.2
Memoirs of a Geisha / Sony / 2.7 / 1547 / 5.8
The Family Stone / Fox / 2.4 / 2469 / 21.6
The Ringer / Fox / 2.3 / 1829 / 2.3
Harry Potter & Gob Fire / WB / 1.6 / 2521 / 258.3
Munich / Uni / 1.4 / 532 / 1.4
Syriana / WB / 1.1 / 1724 / 26.7
Brokeback Mountain / Focus / 0.7 / 217 / 5.6
Also Debuting
Cache / SonyCla / 16.5 / 5 / -
The White Countess / SonyCla / 14.5 / 10 / -
Boy, do I not want to be the first to point this out… but King Kong will take longer to get to $100 million than The Hulk.
More eventually…

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From Another Post

A commenter brought up an interesting notion for some holiday pondering… what would have happened by now to the “great stars” who died before their time?
Would Marilyn Monroe be in Rumor Has It?
Would James Dean by married to Barbra Streisand… or Kevin Spacey?
Would John Belushi doing Brian Cox roles or Eugene Levy roles?

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My Weekend Homework

Before I do my Top Ten list next week, I’m feeling a distinct need to go get The White Diamond, Kings and Queens, and The Beat My Heart Skipped and watch them before I finish up.
It is safe to assume that I have seen all the studio stuff that may qualify, but anyone else want to add to my burden?

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

Julian Schnabel: Years ago, I was down there with my cousin’s wife Corky. She was wild — she wore makeup on her legs, and she had a streak in her hair like Yvonne De Carlo in “The Munsters.” She liked to paint. I had overalls on with just a T-shirt and looked like whatever. We were trying to buy a bunch of supplies with my cousin Jesse’s credit card. They looked at the credit card, and then they looked at us and thought maybe we stole the card, so they called Jesse up. He was a doctor who became the head of trauma at St. Vincent’s. They said, “There’s somebody here with this credit card and we want to know if it belongs to you.”

He said, “Well, does the woman have dyed blonde hair and fake eyelashes and look like she stepped out of the backstage of some kind of silent movie, and is she with some guy who has wild hair and is kind of dressed like a bum?”

“Yeah, that’s them.”

“Yeah, that’s my cousin and my wife. It’s okay, they can charge it on my card.”
~ Julian Schnabel Remembers NYC’s Now-Shuttered Pearl Paint

MB Cool. I was really interested in the aerial photography from Enter the Void and how one could understand that conceptually as a POV, while in fact it’s more of an objective view of the city where the story takes place. So it’s an objective and subjective camera at the same time. I know that you’re interested in Kubrick. We’ve talked about that in the past because it’s something that you and I have in common—

GN You’re obsessed with Kubrick, too.

MB Does he still occupy your mind or was he more of an early influence?

GN He was more of an early influence. Kubrick has been my idol my whole life, my own “god.” I was six or seven years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I never felt such cinematic ecstasy. Maybe that’s what brought me to direct movies, to try to compete with that “wizard of Oz” behind the film. So then, years later, I tried to do something in that direction, like many other directors tried to do their own, you know, homage or remake or parody or whatever of 2001. I don’t know if you ever had that movie in mind for your own projects. But in my case, I don’t think about 2001 anymore now. That film was my first “trip” ever. And then I tried my best to reproduce on screen what some drug trips are like. But it’s very hard. For sure, moving images are a better medium than words, but it’s still very far from the real experience. I read that Kubrick said about Lynch’s Eraserhead, that he wished he had made that movie because it was the film he had seen that came closest to the language of nightmares.

Matthew Barney and Gaspar Noé