The Hot Blog Archive for July, 2006

Box Office Hell – 7/28

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Sex In Cinema… Not

“It’s really not that people are in desperate need of more sex in their summer movies, but it does seem to speak to a narrowing of ideas. And moreover, it seems that the relationship between the R and the PG-13 is getting more like the NC-17 and the R

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40,000 Comments (Previously, 35,000 Comments)

I noticed that the comments on the blog were approaching 35,000 a couple of weeks ago. Then I noticed that I personally was responsible for over 1000 of those comments.
So I have now waited until there were 35,000 comments aside from my own. And just now, we hit that oddball landmark. (With this entry, we are 87 entries away from 1000… but I think I’ll let my verbosity birthday slip by.)
Just a note to say thanks for participating.
For me, the joy of being on the web has to do with the interaction with the readers. It is all too easy to forget, living in the media bubble, that we are the arbiters only of our own opinions. If we can agree, disagree, and accept that it is all part of a valuable communication, we are all the better for it.
I do regret the one entry in the history of this blog that was erased… on August 19, 2005. A Day That Will Live in Infamy. I should have just left it alone. What’s one dumb spoiler in 35,000 comments?
And so it goes. Play on, players.
12:07p – And of course, an edit already… looking for the first entry, I realized that I completely forgot about the old site of The Hot Blog, which is still there. There were 284 posts there and 5089 comments (excluding mine). That blog started on September 5, 2004 with “Do I Need a Blog?”. So I guess this post should really be called 40,000 comments… and now I feel like I should have waited for 50,000 to mark an anniversary.

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Riiiiiiiiight…

I got one of those letters this morning

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I Really Hope I'm Wrong, But….

I saw a clip from Infamous, the long delayed Warner Indie take on Truman Capote. And all I can say is, it looks like the exact imitation and the style of film that is my worst nightmare of a Truman Capote movie.
Maybe Toby Jones’ performance (twice refered to in the ET “trailer” as having the voice of a woman) and appearance (he looks like a turtle with a wig) will grow on my over 90 minutes. I sure hope so. Because the preview made the whole thing look laughable… and not in a good way.

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The One You've Been Waiting For

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Snakes On A TRAIN trailer

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Can You Feel It?

We are moving into The Dead Zone for movie news.
August is the month of Toronto Film Festival announcements and changes in employment stature. And that

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FGME Brought To Down To Earth?

If I am going to write about the success, I guess I have to write about the disasters…
Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest came in a stunning second all-time this Monday, the record being third week Monday non-holiday. The record of $4,308,824 was held by Spider-Man. P2 missed by a daunting $4613.00.
New Disney movie chief Oren Aviv was unable to speak

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Crash Participants Apparently Suffering Standard Operating Procedures

I was so looking forward to reading a New York Times movie business story that just plain told the story

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Ink Stained Wretch Fight Tonight!!!

An interesting kind of double team from Traditional Media, fighting for the value of the internet.
First, there is Cathy Seipp in the L.A. Times, writing in an Op-Ed piece titled,

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Pictures On A MF-ing Blog

I have no idea of whether these are remotely worthy of conversation, but…
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Package 1
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Package 2
This image was left out of the package, presumably for focus issues, though I like the way it looks. In any case, this is the moment when Sam Jackson brought Carl Lee Hailey to the party…
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The Foreigners

Variety reports
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest raked it in over the weekend, bowing in 11 new markets to add $62 million to its coffers.
Pic, which has now grossed $217 overseas, became the 20th Buena Vista Intl. title to cross the $200 million barrier abroad and the 10th to plunder more than $500 million worldwide.
Perhaps the only real surprise over the weekend would have come had “Pirates” been bested in any of its new territories, which included Japan, Mexico and Brazil as well as a host of smaller ones (Hungary, Portugal, Poland) and some challenging terrain for Hollywood pics (India).
There are still major openings to come: Pic has yet to open in Spain, Germany, Italy and France.
In head-to-head square-offs around the globe, “Pirates” forced Warner Bros.’ No. 2 finisher of the frame, Superman Returns, to walk the plank every time.
And
With no major openings on its side, Warner Bros.’ Superman Returns flew in with $16.3 million from 5,900 prints in 40 markets. International cume is $110 million.
And
UIP’s Over the Hedge and BVI’s Cars continued Hollywood’s roll abroad with high-profile CG-animated fare: Both crossed the $100 million mark.

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What Defines The Quality Of A Director?

In another thread, a comparison about “what makes one director worse than another” started up. And so, for all of you… the question.
Can you compare Brett Ratner, who makes big, fat studio monstrosities, and Kevin Smith or Jim Jarmusch, who make personally driven films? Is it how the movie looks or how the movie feels? Is it the effect or the performances?
How do you make the comparison

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A Pirate-Free 2006 Record

In spite of what feels like a soft opening for Monster House, some acknowledgement should be given to Sony’s record-setting eighth $20 million-plus opener in one year, cracking the previous record held by Fox.
What is interesting is that it, like Fox’s record, comes at a time when a $20 million opening gets written off by a lot of people as mediocre.
But like the most $100 million movies in a year in an era where the blockbuster really starts at $200 million, it is a major achievement and should be touted. If just anyone could do it, everyone would.
There have been only 28 total $20 million openings this year. 8 by Sony, 5 from Paramount/DW Animation, 4 each from Fox & Universal, 3 from Warner Bros, 2 from Buena Vista, 1 each from Lionsgate & Dimension. (Sony would love to include The Benchwarmers‘ $19.7 million launch and Lionsgate Hostel

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Sunday Estimates by Klady

The FGME (fug-me?) continues to break a record a day. According to estimates, sfter 17 days, it is the Fastest Grossing Movie Ever by $21.6 million, increasing its lead over Star Wars: Episode Three – Revenge of the Sith by about $8 million in the third weekend

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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