The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2006

Top 20 Of Top 10s

Thought you might want to discuss how things are going so far… another 86 lists to be added
Rank

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Klady's Friday Estimates

This is one of those weird Fridays where analysis is somewhat defied. What we are really doing is analyzing the season, since the day-to-day is so different than any other time. It

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I Guess It Really Can't Be Avoided

Over at Hollywood-El-Swear, a grown up director- George Hickenlooper – went apeshit on our very own JWEgo aka Spam Dooley after Dooley posted in response to George’s buttboy’s 8.5 star rave:
“why picture George when you know he did not direct this movie? did he sell you some white stuff?”
Lame. But it pissed GH off and the highlights of his response were:
Hey asshole, I am in the process of tracking you down. When I find out who you are, and I will, I am going to file a nice fat defamation of character lawsuit against you. I have spoken to my attorneys and Bloom Hergott and your sinister, unrelenting proclamations of my alleged drug abuse and my having been removed from the picture, both blatantly false, malicious, and cruel, is grounds for a big fat, juicy lawsuit. You have seriously exposed yourself legally and you only better hope you don’t have any assets, prick-face, because when my attorneys get through with you, you’ll be pushing a mop at the La Brea Burger King.
Prick face. Nice.
” warn you JWEgo as I finish the final mix of Factory Girl… when I find out who you are, you will here from my lawyers. In fact as an incentive, I am offering anyone who provides me with the identity of JWEgo by this weekend, I will pay a reward of $1,500.00. Thank you. GH”
JWEgo then folded like a $3 deck chair:
“No need to find me Mr. Hickenlooper. I repeated a comment that I was told by someone who seemed to know. I apologize if I was wrong. I hereby state that I have no idea what I am talking about and IN NO WAY intended to upset you.”
Not enough for George…
“JWEgo: You still have not told me who you are. And tell me who told you this? I am not going to drop this matter. I have already had two separate people identify you for me. You do not have a lot of fans apparently. This is disappointing to me because if you are who these people say you are, I thought we were friends. I admire your work and we even discussed working together. So if it is you, why would you post these viscious, false and puerile diatribes. You better come forward with me on this, because I will pursue this unrelentingly, not so much because it has hurt me, but because it has hurt my five-year-old.”
Well… if Mr. Hickenlooper’s 5 year old is on the internet reading Wells and other internet pornography, I am afraid a visit form Child Protective Services is appropriate. But I am guessing that it was just hyperbole.
Spammy has, so far, backed off every time anyone – I was the other one, I guess – got close to finding out for sure who he is. It’s no secret that most people think he is Don Murphy… even if he dissed Transformers on this blog a few weeks back. (Give ’em the ol’ razzle dazzle…)
The only really interesting thing here is a grown up actually putting a bounty on an anonymous commenter’s head and losing his shit in a public forum.
Oh… and the movie pretty much sucks. Hickenlooper

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What

Sorry, but this is not going to be an argument against Dreamgirls. I will probably write that in February sometime, but not today
The reason I am writing this is that I am finding myself deeply amused by this week

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The Worst 10 Of 2006

Of course, as I point out in the column… and want to point out again… I managed to avoid the Bloodraynes, Beerfests, and The Marines. Still, the list goes on…
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
Y ou can live with bad and you can live with pretentious, but the combination is deadly. Steven Shainberg had the good taste to hire Robert Downey, Jr. to play The Man Upstairs in this film. But pretty much every other decision involved was a misstep. Doing a Diane Arbus film that isn’t really about Diane Arbus

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From Inside My Coma

I just don’t want to do much besides drink coffee and tell stories this week… it’s kinda brutal, really.
I don’t even want to go see James Brown’s body. (You have to give it to we Jews… close the frickin’ casket… please!)
Anyway… y’all know the drill… play nice… no eye-gouging, please. I’m sure I will find inspiration sometime today…

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Broadway, Where Is Thy Sting?

A long and very thoughtful comment by wongjongat on Weekend Box Office (near the bottom) got me thinking about why musicals have had it so rough lately. What started as a comment became the following:
Personally, I think the death of movie musicals can be most accurately be laid at the feet of Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and revivals.
There are many good shows from the last 20 years, but not a whole lot that scream for a screen version. And with multiple touring companies becoming a norm under Cameron Mackintosh’s Really Useless Co., the theater experience is far more available all over the country within a year of a show getting hot on Broadway.
Sondheim and Lloyd Webber have been dominant figures. Lloyd Webber makes operettas. Sondheim makes more esoteric shows that don

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Ho Ho Ho

clintclaus.jpg

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The Palette Of The Modern Movie Critic

When I watch Gordon Ramsey or Top Chef or some similar show on TV, it often occurs to me that as much as I enjoy cooking, my palette is just too simple for me to ever become a great chef. I can make really tasty things inside of my palette.
Filmmakers often struggle when they have expended the breadth and width of their palette and still want to work. A guy like Robert Zemeckis has a taste for endless variety and keeps using his long-honed skills in a variety of genres. Oliver Stone is still struggling to get out of the Vietnam era. He knows how to direct, but what does he have left to say?
Critics cannot reasonably afford themselves the luxury of a narrow palette. Yet, someone like Pauline Kael is remembered for the details of his palette and her inflexibility. Anthony Lane is revered for being acid-tongued and generally uninterested in films themselves aside from the platform they afford him for his witty craft. And Armond White has become nearly legendary for his gift for narrowing a film down to a strong political position that often has nothing to do with the film itself.
Like Political Correctness, Cinematic Correctness is both heroic and villainous. Hurting films, like hurting words, must somehow be both protected and destroyed by the keepers of the flame.

The rest…

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Going To The Movies?

It seems to me that a lot of you must be going to the movies this week. So what do you think? What is there to talk about other than Dreamgirls grosses and Good Shepherd thrombosis?

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Weekend Box Office

Klady will be here shortly, but here are a few sneak peeks at the small openers…
1. As previously reported, Dreamgirls was massive on 852 screens on Monday, with $8.7 million, about $100,000 of which came from added midnight shows around he country. It is the #3 Christmas Day opening ever, the #10 Christmas Day gross overall, and the single best day for any musical ever (Moulin Rouge had the previous best day ever with $5.68m on 2279 screens – Chicago

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What Is A Good Number For Dreamgirls?

Every once in a while, it seems like time to make an offering of what would be a number that is “good” or “great” or disappointing for a highly anticipated opening. Dreamgirls

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This Space For Rent

I just thought I’d make some space for y’all to talk about whatever if you happen to be wanting to chat during the holiday…

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Merry Christmas To All

And to all a sad loss.
The Godfather of Soul is dead… long live James Brown.
About 18 years ago, I took my then-girlfriend to a Jame Brown concert at The Beacon in New York. Her eyes widened as she realized we were in a tiny ethnic minority in the room. I don’t think she had experienced anything like that before. But The Godfather made her feel good, like I knew he would.
A few weeks later, I shot a segment for a show I was working on in NY for “The James Brown Auto Alarm.” Someone would touch the car and it would start…. “Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh” as only JB could scream. It was one of the coldest days in NY that year when we shot it and I ended up having to act in it because someone didn’t show up. The line was, “Thank you, James Brown,” but it was so cold I couldn’t get my mouth to annunciate. I tried to improve on

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The Box Office To Come

For any movies now open, studios can, within about 15%, figure out with about 95% certainty what the rest of 2006 is going to look like for them. Black Christmas and Dreamgirls are really the only box office stories left to present themselves.
As it went last year, the Friday before X-Mas pretty much lays out a number that a film will perform close to on every day except the two down days of X-Mas Eve and X-Mas, and the unusually up day of the day after X-Mas. 2004 was unusual because that Friday was X-Mas Eve, but the Day before that, the Thursday, pretty much offered the same rule.
The extra day is a big advantage for films this year over last, since the day after the New Year

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

What do you make of the criticism directed at the film that the biopic genre or format is intrinsically bourgeois? That’s the most crazy criticism. That’s an excuse for not engaging with the content of the movie. Film critics sometimes, you know, can be very lazy.

Come on, formal criticism is valuable too. But I’m amazed when this is the thing they put in front of the discourse. My situation is that I’m dealing with a highly explosive subject, a taboo subject that nobody wants to deal with.

Karl Marx? Yes, this is the first film ever in the Western world about Marx. And I managed to make an almost mainstream film out of it. You want me at the same time to play the artist and do a risky film about the way my camera moves and the way I edit? No, it’s complicated enough! The artistic challenge — and it took me ten years with Pascal to write this story — was the writing. That was the most difficult part. We were making a film about the evolution of an idea, which is impossible. To be able to have political discourse in a scene, and you can follow it, and it’s not simplified, and it’s historically true. This is the accomplishment. So when someone criticizes the formal aspects without seeing that first, for me, it’s laziness or ignorance. There’s an incapacity to deal with what’s on the table. I make political films about today, I’m not making a biopic to make a biopic. I don’t believe in being an artist just to be an artist. And by the way, this film cost $9 million. I dare anyone in the United States to make this film for $9 million.
Raoul Peck on The Young Karl Marx

“The Motion Picture Academy, at considerable expense and with great efficiency, runs all the nominated pictures at its own theater, showing each picture twice, once in the afternoon, once in the evening. A nominated picture is one in connection with which any kind of work is nominated for an award, not necessarily acting, directing, or writing; it may be a purely technical matter such as set-dressing or sound work. This running of pictures has the object of permitting the voters to look at films which they may happen to have missed or to have partly forgotten. It is an attempt to make them realize that pictures released early in the year, and since overlaid with several thicknesses of battered celluloid, are still in the running and that consideration of only those released a short time before the end of the year is not quite just.

“The effort is largely a waste. The people with votes don’t go to these showings. They send their relatives, friends, or servants. They have had enough of looking at pictures, and the voices of destiny are by no means inaudible in the Hollywood air. They have a brassy tone, but they are more than distinct.”All this is good democracy of a sort. We elect Congressmen and Presidents in much the same way, so why not actors, cameramen, writers, and all rest of the people who have to do with the making of pictures? If we permit noise, ballyhoo, and theater to influence us in the selection of the people who are to run the country, why should we object to the same methods in the selection of meritorious achievements in the film business? If we can huckster a President into the White House, why cannot we huckster the agonized Miss Joan Crawford or the hard and beautiful Miss Olivia de Havilland into possession of one of those golden statuettes which express the motion picture industry’s frantic desire to kiss itself on the back of its neck? The only answer I can think of is that the motion picture is an art. I say this with a very small voice. It is an inconsiderable statement and has a hard time not sounding a little ludicrous. Nevertheless it is a fact, not in the least diminished by the further facts that its ethos is so far pretty low and that its techniques are dominated by some pretty awful people.

“If you think most motion pictures are bad, which they are (including the foreign), find out from some initiate how they are made, and you will be astonished that any of them could be good. Making a fine motion picture is like painting “The Laughing Cavalier” in Macy’s basement, with a floorwalker to mix your colors for you. Of course most motion pictures are bad. Why wouldn’t they be?”
~ Raymond Chandler, “Oscar Night In Hollywood,” 1948