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The Hot Blog Archive for October, 2006

Halloween In SaMo

How does showbiz’s West Side roll with All Hallows Eve?
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Interesting Screener Thing

I just threw Little Miss Sunshine into the DVD player for the first time, mostly to make sure the disc was working, and I have had a bit of a baby revelation .
This movie plays a lot better on DVD than on a big screen.
People talk about the number of DVDs and the delivery dates a lot. But a small scale movie with strong performances, a lot of close-ups, and of course, status as a comedy, does seem to have a real advantage on DVD. And in this case, it is a movie with a lot of pastels, which really jump in a different way on the TV screen. The color is dense in a way you rarely see on TV.
I was already feeling like LMS had moved into a likely BP slot. But watching it on TV, even more so. I think that a lot of people who were so-so-on it will see it over the holidays with their families who want to watch it and find themselves surprised by being more engaged.

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Gurus o Gold – 12 Wks From Noms

Susan Wloszczyna’s entry got caught in the e-mail and Scott Bowles turns out to be on vacation. So, this week’s GoG is now complete. The effect of The Woz’s entries were mostly felt in moving Ms Farminga up. And between Susan and a missed #5 entry from Glenn Whipp, Brad Pitt leaps over Jack Nicholson and into 2nd place this week.
Here are the final pulls. The set that was up earlier can be found after the jump.
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The Rest Of The Charts

Read the full article »

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I'll Show You The Life Of The Penquin!!!

I don

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Print Hits, April – Sept 2006

Just thought this was a little interesting.
The three national newspapers are the only 1 million circ papers left.
The Houston Chronicle is the only smaller market paper in the Top 10. (See Joe Leydon smile.)
For all the talk about Page Six’s “scandal” dragging down the paper, The NY Post had the biggest growth amongst the Top 25 papers.
Separately, the Newspaper Association of America also reported that, according to its analysis of online traffic data from Nielsen/NetRatings, nearly 57 million people visited newspaper Web sites in the third quarter, up 24 percent from the same period a year ago. That figure made up 37 percent of all Internet users.”
And our Hometown Fishwrap had the biggest drop in circulation, falling 8%, which represents more than 50,000 fewer papers sold each day.
USA Today: 2,269,509, (-1.3%)
The Wall Street Journal: 2,043, 235, (-1.9%)
The New York Times: 1,086,798, (-3.5%)
Los Angeles Times: 775,766, (-8.0%)
The New York Post: 704,011, +5.3%
Daily News, New York: 693,382, +1.0%
The Washington Post: 656,297, (-3.3%)
Chicago Tribune: 576,132, (-1.7%)
Houston Chronicle: 508,097, (-3.6%)
Newsday: 413,579, (-4.9%)

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Let's Play… FIND THE REVIEW!!!

David Denby is the calmer, better movie educated, veteran half of the New Yorker critics team. Unlike Anthony Lane, he is not so much in love with the sound of his own typing as he is with movies. So I expect well considered, clean stuff from him when I read his work, whether I agree with it or not.
But this week has had some really surprising moments in criticism and I consider them instructive about criticism, more than about the movies involved. I will apologize if any of you feel it is piling on in any way.
Babel has brought out absolute abusiveness in some of the most classical critics, including the previously blogged Andy Klein…
(EDIT, 3:10p Sunday – STOP THE INTERNET PRESSES!!!! I screwed up royally. After years of assuming Joe Morgenstern is the review I am reading when I open the Wall Street Journal to a big movie review, I didn’t look at the review byline when reading the paper on Friday. The WSJ’s Babel review is from JOANNE KAUFMAN, not Joe Morgenstern… my apologies to all involved. As I wrote, “Coming from a gentleman and a gentle man as Joe M, that review is a closed fist to the jaw than a slap across the face. I still hardly believe I read it.” It was neither.)
Denby is more moderate on Babel and expresses similar concerns to my own

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Sunday Estimates by Klady

Not much more to say about Saw III

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Friday Estimates

Saw III is off to a faster start that either of the first two films, sight unseen. Basically, on this series, Lionsgate does what is otherwise the skill set of Screen Gems or Dimension. Solid, simple, sell to one audience and one audience only.
The Prestige has a shot at $45 million or $50 million, which is no disaster, but no thrill either. Look for foreign to be stronger. And Flags of Our Fathers may not get to $30 million, which is an indicator of audience word-of-mouth, regardless of whether some major critics have embraced the film.
As we work through the awards season, critics are far overvalued as are groups like HFPA. The former only makes major waves when throwing a light as a group on a specific film or performance. The latter is in the game of guessing what the Academy voters will think. Neither answers the specific question… what will 6000 middle-aged and elderly Academy voters love?
That is why Babel is not nearly as muscular a player as some would have you believe and Flags is in trouble. It is also why Munich got nominated last year, in spite of scathing attacks from some angry critics. (That one should also remind us that if our sense of the whys changes depending on how we personally feel about a film, we will endup being wrong more often than not.) Reverse Analysis is significant, in that an understanding of history does matter. But as a predictor, it is pretty iffy.
And the danger of being perceived as underperforming at the box office is the good reason why smaller quality films wait for December. If a film like The Hours goes out in December in limited release and doesn’t soar, it is seen as needing space. If a Ron Howard film opens in summer and doesn’t hit $100 million, it is seen as a failure. And The Academy does not, with a few exceptions, vote to nominate failures.
Open Season will quietly become Sony Animation

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Another Travel Day…

Here is some box office…
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And 20 Weeks, 18 Weeks To Go
Can you smell it? Come on, take a good, deep whiff

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Brutalizing Babel

Andy Klein of LA City Beat kinda knocks the crap out of “Alejandro Guilermo.” as he calls the director/writer duo responsible for Babel.
The attack is a rather harsh for my tastes. I think there is genius there, but it is precocious and a bit of restraint would go a long way. But still…
Andy’s way of going at them was too funny and razorsharp not to note. Here is Andy’s opener.
Welcome to the Make Your Own Alejandro Gonz

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Slate Goes Luddite

I got the impression from his work that Michel Agger was a young man, if not in body than in mind. But a quick read of his response to Steven Levy

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Taking Sides?

Interesting that Time.com (who knows if it will be in print?) decided to run a Jeff Ressner piece mocking Paramount

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Lunch With David: Return To Ammo

According to a (stupid) study, sequels with numbers don’t perform as well as sequels with names, so…
The Lunch

19 Comments »

Semantics? Apparently More

After running my Flags of our Father review, I got a lot of letters with a similar issue to the following

15 Comments »

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“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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