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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
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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

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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.

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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

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“Chad Harbach spent ten years writing his novel. It was his avocation, for which he was paid nothing, with no guarantee he’d ever be paid anything, while he supported himself doing freelance work, for which I don’t think he ever made $30,000 a year. I sold his book for an advance that equated to $65,000 a year—before taxes and commission—for each of the years of work he’d put in. The law schools in this country churn out first-year associates at white-shoe firms that pay them $250,000 a year, when they’re twenty-five years of age, to sit at a desk doing meaningless bullshit to grease the wheels of the corporatocracy, and people get upset about an excellent author getting $65,000 a year? Give me a fucking break.”
~ Book Agent Chris Parris-Lamb On The State Of The Publishing Industry

INTERVIEWER
Do you think this anxiety of yours has something to do with being a woman? Do you have to work harder than a male writer, just to create work that isn’t dismissed as being “for women”? Is there a difference between male and female writing?

FERRANTE
I’ll answer with my own story. As a girl—twelve, thirteen years old—I was absolutely certain that a good book had to have a man as its hero, and that depressed me. That phase ended after a couple of years. At fifteen I began to write stories about brave girls who were in serious trouble. But the idea remained—indeed, it grew stronger—that the greatest narrators were men and that one had to learn to narrate like them. I devoured books at that age, and there’s no getting around it, my models were masculine. So even when I wrote stories about girls, I wanted to give the heroine a wealth of experiences, a freedom, a determination that I tried to imitate from the great novels written by men. I didn’t want to write like Madame de La Fayette or Jane Austen or the Brontës—at the time I knew very little about contemporary literature—but like Defoe or Fielding or Flaubert or Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or even Hugo. While the models offered by women novelists were few and seemed to me for the most part thin, those of male novelists were numerous and almost always dazzling. That phase lasted a long time, until I was in my early twenties, and it left profound effects.
~ Elena Ferrante, Paris Review Art Of Fiction No. 228

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