The Hot Blog Archive for March, 2007

In Bermuda….

It took a while, but I finally made my escape from New York… though it was hardly a brutal experience being stuck there. Amongst other things, it allowed me to check out Phillip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz in a show at The Public.
I keep apologizing, but the truth is, I am in a definitive in mode, in terms of information, and not in so much of an out mode. There have been a number of things that have made me want to write lately… until I actually have to sit down and do the writing.
A little sleep and a little sun should help move things along….
The Last Week
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Friday Box Office

Not too much to say. The 300 drop is not surprising. The only real surprise this weekend is the strong opening of Dead Silence, which theoretically is right up against the 300 audience.
Decent reviews for Premonition seem to indicate that Wild Hogs will still be able to advertise “#1 comedy In America” for a third weekend.
I am rather disgusted by the spin that Variety continues to put on the “300 vs The Critics” thing. But I am equally irritated by critics who are fighting the issue as well, giving it more life. Even the great and wise Joe Morgenstern wrote about it in the WSJ Weekend Journal. And the fact is that this stuff happens every year and though the number was and is massive, we are a long, long way from any indication that anything has changed because of this movie… as in, “Didn’t we have this discussion last July when Pirates 3 opened?”
It is, simply, idiotic to argue that saying that this film is like a videogame is wrong either in conceit or detail. Rarely has a film so accurately embodied that accusation, whether you think “it’s a videogame” is praise or an insult. It is equally foolhardy to argue that all CG-heavy movies are the same as videogames. It is equally idiotic to start the “critics are out of touch” schtick again… yes, they are out of touch… they are in the business critical analysis of films. Real audiences don’t have that responsibility. And we don’t know what real audiences think of 300 yet. Based on that opening, when it hits $300 million, I will start writing about how the film really has become a cultural event. Until then, it’s chasing Night At The Fucking Museum.
So where are the trend stories about America wanting more movies about museums?
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Yeah…. I know…

Sorry I have been so far gone…
For kicks, if you want to guess at what I am going to rip into in the Sharon Waxman ShoWest article, you can prestage it now!
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/movies/15show.html
Or you can use this space as you see fit…

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Daily David – A New York State Of Michael Moore

I caught Michael Moore on the streets of Manhatten, literally and figuratively, on Tuesday night after being at SXSW for the premiere of Manufacturing Dissent. The “caught” part was that he was, with two of his producers, having his first (and last) cigarette. After years in editing rooms with editors and others catching a butt break, he decided to see what it was all about.
Was this really Mike’s first cigarette ever? He says so… and one hopes so. He was so amused about the idea of being caught by “the media” having his only cigarette that I can’t believe that it wasn’t 100% true. Yet, it seems so unusual. And I didn’t talk about it in the Daily David for that reason. I really don’t want to have a bunch of people e-mailing me to tell me that they saw MM smoking some other time. But the conversation is interesting and amusing either way, which is just sooooo Michael Moore.
And I already feel guilty for questioning his veracity, because he was so funny and sweet and generous about the whole exchange. Also sooooooo Michael Moore.
Anyway… it’s a long one, but hopefully it will add to the conversation.
QuickTime | YouTube | iKlipz

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Daily David @ SXSW – 2 Films

What Would Jesus Do & Manufacturing Dissent
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QuickTime | YouTube | iKlipz
And – indieWIRE on both films

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The Daily David – Going To SXSW

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QuickTime | YouTube | iKlipz

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Land, Lots Of Land…

Just some room for y’all to talk about whatever on a travel day…

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300 Spoiler Thread

You asked for it…. you got it…
Personally, I don’t think the movie can be spoiled, as it has a brain no larger than a head of a pin…. all groiin all the time…. but I guess a third act is a third act… and box office is box office….

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Here In Austin…

It was a long morning’s journey into day as I landed in Auston for SXSW on the 7:45a fight. By the time I had landed in the town that always winks, 300 had set a record for a non-summer/non-X-Mas-Giving opening, Morgan Spurlock had grown a Moses-like beard, and a former Abu Gharib guard had landed in Austn with a new female companion that he met on MySpace. What a country!!!
Within a few hours, I would find out why the response to The Ten was so lukewarm at Sundance, how many familiar faces from other places could fill the Ironworks bbq joint behind the Austin Convention Center, and how many murderous sheep can fit in a whisky bar. Even more surprising, I felt myself being very ambivalent about Michael Moore.
Well…
I guess that’s not such a surprise.
More to come as the weekend progresses… it always takes a day or two to figure out how to pace myself at a festival and in this case, I will be heading to the airport almost exactly 48 hours after landing.

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Box Office Hell

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DeNiro By QT

At the request of Jimmy The Gent, here someplace to discuss the QT analysis of Robert DeNiro…
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
(Sorry about the color… it gets better as the piece progresses)

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Rental/DVD Purchase Note

In the midst of all the fighting about it, I’m not sure I emphasized that anyone likes Zodiac or thinks it comes up a little short should be renting/buying Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, which is now available via Palm Pictures.
The story is about Korea’s first serial killer and the long, frustrating, emotionally draining effort to catch him.
If you love Zodiac as an experiment in form, this film will not eclipse it. If you are interested in the story, this film kicks ass.

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The A. Klein Of Western Civilization

Andy Klein has always been a very good film critic. But in the last six month or so, he has been on fire. I think, ironically, the war in Iraq has been really, really good for him. He is an angry young man again and he is willing to put it out there, hard and strong, and as close to reckless as you can get without being reckless.
(Disclosure: I have agreed with him on many of the reviews I find so amusing. But I have also appreciated many of the reviews on which there is disagreement. He is just plain putting it out there.)
Andy’s work is not well archived at L.A. City Beat, but you can read through it at Rotten Tomatoes.
This week, it

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Desperately Seeking Slumpin'

I haven’t really had the urge to call EW’s Joshua Rich an idiot. He’s hardly a savant, but there are no sharp edges that slice dangerously close to any ugliness. Until today.
In a PopWatch piece called “Hollywood’s box-office year: Good news, but for whom?,” he continues to argue the false notion that “The business is still struggling.”
Of course, it does struggle. But not in a way that this guy is equipped to even consider. He opines further:
“We’re the ones who stand to pay

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas