The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2006

Very Amusing

So I’m reading the Guardian story on Bryan Singer and there is a quote from “some online bloggers” who felt the 1-sheet read as gay and the quote seemed awfully familiar.
“Some online bloggers, then still to see the film, were not convinced: “Gay director, gay outfit, gay Superman, and now GAY POSTER!” wrote one. “What teenage boy wants to see the movie attached to this poster?” jeered another.”
One Google later, I had the answer… “TheManWho,” who ironically was telling me just a day ago how out of touch I was with the mainstream, provided both quotes in one comment in the “Must Be A Full Moon” entry on May 17, 2006 01:21 AM
The full quote is, “It’s an incredibly homoerotic subtext. What are WB thinking with this film? Folks have been going on about the heavy gay overtunes from the stills of this film for MONTHS now. True–it might only be the small internet audience. Nevertheless, this only heightens the whole “Gay director, gay outfit, gay Superman, and now GAY POSTER!” cheer from all over the net. Poland pretty much nailed it. What teenage boy wants to see the movie attached to this poster?”
I want to add, again, that the “gay Superman” issue in this blog and in my writing was never about the idea that Superman would be a gay character. It was always about the advertising and the lack of edge, which as I keep reminding people, I felt WB turned the corner on – as regarded appealing to young men – a few weeks ago.


Cirque du So What



Saw III, Hand & Tooth

The US Saw III poster was on MCN (amongst many other places) today… but this one came in from Brazil’s Cinema em Cena (for Braziilan release, far from the MPAA) this afternoon…


Superman v Thursday

Looks like Superman Returns did around $11.4 million on Thursday.
But here


Do YOU Miss The American Way?

MSNBC’s Erik Lundegaard explains away the change of “Truth Justice & The American Way” to “Truth, Justice, And All That Stuff” in Superman Returns in the NYTimes Op-Ed Section.
And his point is well taken… to a point…
My feeling on it is still that the replacement of “the American way” with “and all that stuff” is much more of a concious choice than he wants to believe… and I don’t have to be a right winger to think that. Had Singer & Harris & Dougherty just left it at “Truth & Justice,” it wouldn’t have bothered me, for many of the good reasons Erik brings up. But the glib “and all that stuff” reads to me like either an evasion for international sales reasons or a slap… but not as a new idea of how to approach the basics of Superman.
But i may be alone… what do you think?


Striking Colors

I don’t know that I have ever seen a one-sheet with this depth of color. Somehow, Sony seems to have gotten a real sense of texture in these one-sheets, even when wall-sized. The image idea is ok, but the color really hit me…


20 Weeks 12

“Mr. Anti-Slump 2006 is here to tell you that the first seven weeks of this summer is the worst of the last five years.”
“Next summer, May starts with Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3 two weeks later, and Pirates 3 a week after that. Are you scared of monsters?
The parade of sequels to $100 million hits continue in June with Ocean’s Thirteen (a fourth third), Fantastic Four Two, and Evan “Not Bruce” Almighty.
Transformers shoots for July 4 while Harry Potter V returns to summer for the second time and The Simpsons hit the big screen.
But August makes July look a little slow with Bourne 3, AVP2 and Rush Hour 3 all arriving, along with Oscar nominee Amy Adams playing purebred to the Underdog.:
Holy Moley!
B.O. Intermission


Roy Batty's Shout Out To Jerry Falwell

Jerry Falwell’s June 25 Sermon offered this key passage:
“You know, you almost got to be a homosexual to be recognized in the entertainment industry anymore. Ellen [Degeneres], and all the rest. I love them, pray for their souls, but they’re immoral. And the Hollywood scene — five and eight and 10 marriages — not something to be emulated.”
I guess we need a new chant… “We Great… We Straight… Get Used To It!!!!”


The Basis For Superman 4.0:Superfamily United?



All CG… Even The Eyes… Amazing…



The Super Thread

I figure we might as well have a place for people to come and spew as they see Superman Returns over the next week or so.
It’s not a firm rule, but I think it best that we set this as a SPOILER area… so if you don’t want to know, don’t look at comments. And I think it best that opinions – questions are ok – be left to people who have actually seen the film, as opposed to fighting over assumptions.
That said… have at it.


Spider-Man Three-ser

It’s Here
Whaddya Think?


Unburying Hot Chicks

This already ran on MCN as part of my weekend review of the Los Angeles Film Fest, but the other stuff I covered seems to be getting a lot of attention and this doesn’t. It’s not the best film at the fest, but it is a wonderful project and Chick Tracts (I just bought the entire current collection for under 20 bucks and am looking forward to it arriving on my doorstep) are a great part of Americana. So….
Luke Y Thompson, New Times‘ tallest, most tattooed, most multi-color haired critic and he told me about the film he was most anticipating on the entire schedule… Hot Chicks.

Somehow, as
I was jamming through the online catalog for the festival, I just
went right past Hot Chicks. But had I been paying closer
attention, I would have been almost as enthusiastic as Luke. The
screening was of 9 short films, each based on one of what are known
as Chick Tracts. They are those little cartoon booklets that you
have probably had handed to you on the streets of some part of town
where souls are in need of saving. These mini-comics were all written
and drawn by Jack T. Chick. According to
his website
, over 500 million of these things have been sold
to groups and distributed across the globe. 500 million!

My memory is
of getting these from Jews For Jesus followers. Others remember
other religious groups handing them out. The clever thing is, they
are so cheap to purchase (15 cents) that they make an impressive
handout. And they are all stories of salvation that end with an
admonition to accept Jesus into your life.

So I settled
into my seat at The Crest to see the films and quickly found out
that the folks who made the films were all friends and had all spurred
each other on to make these films over the last 5 or 6 years. Each
film has a distinctly different style, including two of the films
that were made by the same team. One of these films by Rodney
& Syd
recreated the Chick
"Titanic" using the Jim Cameron film,
Titanic. Their second film, based on the
, Somebody
, was one of my favorite of the nine. They essentially
take the drawn images in the Chick
and bring them to life in very clever animation.

The films that
stuck closest to the tracts were probably my favorites. All of the
films adhered to the idea that Chick’s words would be the script
and that the tracts would serve, to some degree, as storyboards.
But styles varied widely. What was fascinating was how each filmmaker
(many are first time filmmakers) decided to do their interpretation.
For instance, the first film, Bewitched?
(by Tim KirkChick
), used puppets to tell its story of how television infects
the culture. One of the films, Wounded
(by Todd HughesChick
), is based on a tract that has been taken off the market
because the morays around child abuse have changed. In that film,
the victimized child is played by a mannequin while everyone around
him is played by adults. Angels?
(by Tommy! – Chick
), the story of a rock-n-roll dream attained and then destroying
the dreamers, is done in a style best described as post-modern Super
8 by way of Kenneth Anger.

(by Bryce IngmanChick
) is a story about a lost dog who narrowly escapes a dog
pound needle and somehow, amazingly, its owners see this as God’s
intervention and it moves them to being born again. Doom
(by P. David EbersoleChick
) tells the story of Sodom & Gomorrah. And La
(by Jamie Tolbert FranklinChick
) tells the story of a sick young girl who desperately
wants to go trick-or-treating on Halloween and does and has her
soul saved when one of the neighbors drops a Chick Tract into her
candy bag.

My favorite
of the films, probably because it is most precisely a Chick
come to life, was Party
, directed by Anonymous. Why anonymous? Because there is
some fear that Jack Chick, who is still alive at 82, might
get all litigious on their collective asses.

The filmmaker
actually gave me permission – after some pleasant harassment – to
publish her name. But after seeing how often the Chick Publications
sends out cease and desists, I have decided to keep it to myself.
She is an actress, remarkably beautiful, very sharp, surprisingly
unflinching about the truth, terribly well married and, by amazing
coincidence, did a guest spot on a Sunday night primetime TV show
that I Tivo’d.

(In another
odd showbiz small world coincidence, a guy playing in an old friend’s
charity poker tourney on Sunday was pitching a local stage show
starring this woman’s husband. And almost more oddly, I had dinner
with this woman’s ex-husband just a week ago – and I had never before
met this woman or had any social conversation with this man until
these two meetings. High school with money indeed!)

I don’t know
if she has a future as a director based on this short, satirical
film but, like I said before… concept is everything on these
and, to me, she got the inherent joke of Chick Tracts best of all,
so much so that the film could really be seen as a positive and
believing take on a Chick Tract if your beliefs went that way.

The bottom line
is, this group has no interest in distributing their films for any
revenue. (Fact is, very few of them could get clearances on their
pre-recorded music or images from other media.) They aren’t even
posting their films to their
. They screened at LAFF and will show again at Outfest
at midnight on July 8. From there, who knows.

I am going to go out on a limb and post a short clip from Anonymous’
film, Party Girl. It is four pieces from her work, slapped
together shoddily via QT Pro. But it’ll give you some idea…
and it makes me smile like crazy. Here
is the 3mg QT file


Scientology Orientation Videos

I don’t want to step on one of MCN’s bloggers’ feet, but Justine “Film Fatale” Elias sent me a link to one of series of Scientology recruitment videos posted on YouTube and I worry that – since they appear to be shot on video at a recruitment center – that they will be pulled off YouTube soon.
Justine actually sent them wondering if they were real. But it looks like a video camera job. And though there are a few things that really seem wacky, it would be awfully elaborate for a hoax with very little payoff.
I do not consider these pirated, in that the material is openingly available at no cost to everyone and there is no economic interest damaged by their posting. I consider them journalistic record. But, I don’t know that You Tube’s lawyers wil see it that way when they get the cease and desist. And YouTube is designed so we cannot download and keep any of this, so time may beof teh essense if you are interested. I know that I am.
Anyway, here is the link to the poster’s homepage. Scientology Orientation Video is all he has posted, 9 of what seems ot be a series of 10.
I’ll be interested in what people think of it.



Like Superman Returns, Pirates 2 is too long by about 30 minutes. And the script tends to bog down every time the story gets a bit complex for its own good.
Oh yes


The Hot Blog

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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