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

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“I’m an ardent consumer of Fassbinder. Years ago, when I heard that he was a big admirer of Douglas Sirk, I went straight to the source — to the buffet Fassbinder dined out on — and found that there was plenty more. And what palettes! I love the look of Fassbinder movies. Some of them are also hideous in a way that’s really exciting. When you go to Sirk, it’s more standardized. The movies produced by Ross Hunter — those really lush, Technicolor ones. I know Sirk was a painter and considered himself a painter first for a long time. He really knew how to work his palettes and worked closely with whatever art director he had. I was a guest speaker for the Technicolor series at TIFF Bell Lightbox and we screened Magnificent Obsession. To prepare for that, I watched the movie with a pen and paper. I wroteto down the names of the palettes. Soon, I realized those general color terms weren’t good enough. I used to be a house painter and I remembered the great names of the 10,000 different colors you could get in a paint chip book. So, I started to try to name the colors. Sirk used 100 different off-whites, especially in the surgery scenes in Magnificent Obsession!”
~ Guy Maddin On Sirk And Fassbinder

“I’ve never been lumped in with other female directors. If anything, I’ve been compared way too much to male filmmakers whom I have little to nothing in common with except visual style. It’s true that women’s filmmaking is incredibly diverse, but I am personally interested in how female consciousness might shape artwork differently, especially in the way female characters are constructed. So I actually would encourage people to try to group women’s films together to see if there are any threads that connect them, and to try to create a sort of canon of women’s films that critics can talk about as women’s films. One reason I want to be thought of as a female filmmaker is that my work can only be understood in that context. So many critics want to see my work as a pastiche of films that men have created. When they do that, they deny the fact that I am creating my own world, something completely original. Women are so often thought of as being unable to make meaning. So they are allowed to copy what men make—to make a pastiche out of what men have created—but not to create original work. My work comes from a place of being female, and rewrites film genres from that place. So it’s essential for me to be placed into a history of female-feminist art-making practice, otherwise it’s taking the work completely out of context.”
~ Love Witch Writer-Designer-Director Anna Biller