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.

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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

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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…

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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

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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

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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)

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Congrats To Jackie Costigan

unclejackie.jpg
gkingoscar.jpg

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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.

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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…

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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

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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)

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Lunch With… Jesus Camp Directors Ewing & Grady

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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