The Hot Blog Archive for February, 2007

Coppola Redux

Just two notes on the Coppola screening story that broke here on the blog last week.
1. Spielberg was not in attendence.
2. Coppola’s camp insists that the cut shown to the group is a final cut.
Personally, I have no idea why it would be a final, given that the film has not been shown to distributors yet and a room filled with some of the most talented directors in the world might have an insight or two about how to make it better… but that’s what they insist and so I report it to you.
There is also coverage of the event in the SF Chronicle right here.

4 Comments »

How Long?

I really like Dave Germain and I never know whether stories like this were forced assignments or a spin on answering a specific issue in a generic way, but today

27 Comments »

Zodiac

I wish I could be more positive about Zodiac. I am a big Fincher fan and I think he is capable of real greatness. He is also capable of tying himself up in knots of nothingness with his clever brain. Zodiac is such a twist.
No question, Act One is the best. Here is where Fincher is able to do what he does best and to do it with some new turns. Even the odd beats – which, with a perfectionist like Fincher, had to be intentional – like a woman driving a car and losing any pretense of watching the road, basically works, since Fincher is so busy channeling Hitchcock and a ton of specific movie references along the way.

The rest…

16 Comments »

The Dominant Festival

In the entry about Johnny Depp, a few discussions have started up that I see as bait for new entries. So, sorry to be talking awards at all right now, but I think these general issues are worth discussion.
One was the question of my description of the race’s markers. I wrote (in a comment):
The end of Cannes marks the end of the first eighth mile. Toronto gets us to the quarter mile. First week of November is the half mile. December 12 or so will be the three-quarter mile marker. Nomination morning is the mile. And the finish line is just a quarter mile from there.
A reader responded that, “The number of Cannes winners to get even a nomination at the Academy Awards in any category was so negligible that I had to also search Toronto and Venice to see how Foreign Language films fared just to make the time I wasted looking at Cannes worth some of the effort.”
This is accurate factually. No film that’s won Sundance has ever even been nominated for Best Picture either. Brokeback Mountain is the first film since Atlantic City to win Venice and get nominated (none has ever won). Berlin has a few more nominated winners, but they also

14 Comments »

Just One Guess

I really don’t want to get into next year’s awards yet. (This has not stopped me from talking to some reporters about it.) At some point, one has to stop complaining and just hold back.
Also, next year is no clear read. Movies like Che’ (Episode One) could arrive… or not. Movies like Sweeney Todd could deliver… or not. Strong foreign directors like Suzanne Bier could become strong US-studio film directors… or not. And veterans like Mike Nichols could be unstoppable… or not.
So…
Just this.
I believe now that Johnny Depp is a 95% bet to be nominated for Best Actor as the title character in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in a very, very crowded field of 2007 male movie performances

66 Comments »

Gold Tarnished By Bad Production Choices?

This list will be spelled out in detail in The Hot Button today (and when it posts, I will link it here). Nut here is a sneak peek…
Here are my ten most problematic elements (in no particular order)

55 Comments »

Congrats To Jackie Costigan

unclejackie.jpg
gkingoscar.jpg

2 Comments »

Back In Biz… And Relieved That It's Over

I’m getting down to work now on some writing about the show…
A couple of quickies.
1. I thought it was the worst produced Oscar show in memory. I’ll give you a rundown and a Boittom Ten in The hot Button in the morning.
2. I couldn’t be more happy for the winners… except for An Inconvenient Truth. It isn’t a good movie. It’s a lovely political statement however. For me, King, Scorsese, Arkin, Arndt, Monahan, Miller, Schoonmaker, and the Guillermo group are all people I admire, adore, or both.And I think it was right for Hudson, the great Milena Canonero, The LIves of Others, Santaolalla (whose scores are all on my iPod), and the Sound, Sound Editing, and Efx all deserved to to win without question. Sure, there may have been other preferences, but there are almost no cases in which you can make an argument that The Academy made a serious mistake of judgment.
3. The only real surprises on the night were Marie Antoinette for Costume (thought it made perfect sense) and The Danish Poet overcoming three studio’s shorts. Others, like Arkin, The Etheridge song, Pan’s nods, were all building to a point of reasonable expectation over the last few weeks.
I kind of wish I didn’t have to work tonight. I feel like sitting in a ski chalet hot tub or something, embracing the final freedom of certain muscle groups. But that will wait for tomorrow.
Sorry it too so long to get back in the comment business. Glad you’re all back.

18 Comments »

Quite Frustrating

It’s funny how this blog being comment unavailable for a few days takes away my personal sense of what a blog is supposed to achieve. Just yapping from my side into cyberspace with no hope of a response is not terribly interesting to me. Even when some of you irritate the excrement out of me, this remains a place to which I am inviting a world of opinion.
We hope to have commenting working again soon. No news yet from our server company, where the fault seems to be.
Onward…

31 Comments »

TypePad Problems

We don’t really know what the problem is… hopefully it will be resolved soon…
If you feel a great need to comment in a hurry, the e-mail is poland@movieicitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Klady

Title | Distributor | Gross * | Theaters | % Change | Cume
Ghost Rider | Sony | 6 | 3620 | -61% | 65
The Number 23 | New Line | 5.8 | 2759 | New | 5.8
Reno 911!: Miami | Fox | 4.1 | 2702 | New | 4.1
Bridge to Terabithia | BV | 3.5 | 3139 | -44% | 36.2
Norbit | Par | 2.9 | 3145 | -35% | 67.8
Music and Lyrics | WB | 2.6 | 2955 | -37% | 26.7
Breach | Uni | 1.9 | 1493 | -36% | 16.2
Amazing Grace | IDP | 1.4 | 791 | New | 1.4
Daddy’s Little Girls | Lions Gate | 1.4 | 2111 | -53% | 21.7
The Astronaut Farmer | WB | 1.3 | 2155 | New | 1.3
Also Debuting
The Abandoned | Lions Gate | 0.23 | 1000
Starter for 10 | Picturehouse | 13,000 | 20
Gray Matters | FreeStyle | 8,900 | 15

2 Comments »

A Quiet "Oscar" Pre-Event

On Thursday night in Napa, Francis Ford Coppola unveiled his first film in a decade, Youth Without Youth, to a crowd of collaborators, friends, and in a unique turn, major directors, including most recent Oscar winners.
Spielberg, Lucas, and Scorsese were all there, as were other directors who received the elaborate invitation and were able to get up there.
This is the first step of “test screening” for Coppola, who has always used test screenings (not NRG comment cards) to reshape his films. Word is that the film is “good, but very difficult.”
Works for me.

Rob Lowe, Snow White & The Worst Oscar Number Ever


(found by Oscarwatch)

1 Comment »

Lunch With… Jesus Camp Directors Ewing & Grady

2 Comments »

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

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