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

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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