The Hot Blog Archive for April, 2007

Ebert Speaks!

On the last day of EbertFest, we got a little Roger Time via the tech dept at University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign
QuickTime | iKlipz | YouTube


The S&M Of SM3 In Review

How do I dislike thee, Spider-Man 3? Let me count the ways …
Been There, Done That
You Take Yourself So Seriously
Some Ideas Cannot Be Written Off As Noble Failures
Self-Parody Is Franchise Suicide
Coincidence Is One Thing, But …
Basil Exposition Not Only Lives, But He Appears Out Of Nowhere
Thought You Knew What Was Happening? FUCK You, You Don’t!
The Full Spoiler Heavy Review


Keep Asking

A dance with American Airlines this morning in which one customer service person and then their supervisor gave me one set of rules that conflicted completely with a different customer service person’s advice of last week was followed by by a third person who put all the pieces together and came up with the reasonable answer after 30 minutes of effort on their part reminded me…
The answers you seek come with patience and effort. Luck helps, but even that can be wasted or overcome.
Do not seek the sound of one voice to guide you. Gather many voices in a sincere effort and then trust your own instincts in synthesis.
So, fortune cookies aside… is there enough information out there that you trust and respect to build opinions as strong as you’d like to hold?


Friday Estimates by Klady

Is there really anything to say?


Gail Berman As A Political Statement

How is it that after all these years, we keep on getting the same stupid


Old Folkie

Jim Brown


Ebertfesten Thursday

Thursday at EbertFest brought The Weather Man, which I saw for the first time here. Seeing it, it was clear that Paramount blew the marketing utterly. But it was equally clear to me that the biggest mistake was that this very smart, very indie screenplay was made by a director who creates images that were too beautiful for the material contained. Of course, with all of these kinds of comments I make, they can be proven wrong by special execution. But all through The Weather Man, I was struck by how distracting the images were, even simple character shots, blowing past the intimacy that was inherent in the script.
I also felt that perhaps Gore Verbinski has seen some of the Swedish comedies, particularly Songs From The Second Floor, which had some of the slick style of this movie while dealing with some similar content. But in spite of some of the absurdism of this screenplay, it’s really an intimate, fairly direct examination of self-awareness.
Thinking about who would have been the best director for this material, Peter Yates came to mind. And part of that was that he was the very wrong director for a great Bill Goldman screenplay, The Year of the Comet, missing the movie it should have been by a mile. But Gore Verbinski would have been a great choice to make that script, as Yates would have been great for The Weather Man.
I didn’t get to attend the great Moolaade, which I saw earlier, but the powerhouse seemed to blow away audience members who dragged themselves out of the theater last evening.
Finally last night was Perfume, a movie that died in the U.S. by way of little marketing, few screens, and a misconceived release date. This is a film that grossed $130 million overseas and $3 million in the United States.
What fascinated me most on this film, which I quite like, is how it has become even more relevant since I saw it last October. The third act speaks rather profoundly to the politics of the world right now as well as the ugliness of mass thought. We are so vulnerable… because we want to be. But like Spielberg, the film definitely suffers for some audiences for lack of irony.
And we found Sanjiya, who has found a job quickly after being rejected by the American Idol public, perhaps in a career to which he is best suited.


I Miss Jack

I had a funny relationship with Jack Valenti (who barely knew who I was). I almost always disagreed with his spin on controversial issues, like the ratings. But I always admired his tenacity and skill set. The guy was a perfectly coiffed bulldog. And he protected the film business more aggressively and more successfully than 99.9% of people can begin to imagine.
Ironic that today the MPAA’s CARA board overturned an R rating on The Hip Hop Project, allowing the language to go so the film can reach its target market of kids who need to know there are better options in the world. I really like Dan Glickman, who seems committed to making the MPAA a more adventurous, fair place for the benefit of filmmakers and audiences. But Dan is no Jack. There is no other Jack, really.
He has been missed. He will be missed, especially by any of us who ever got to tussle with the man.


Summer Preview

I do expect this to be the first $4 billion summer in history, beating the 2004 best ever.
We have never had more than two $300 million in a summer before. I expect three this year.
If my estimates are right, this could be the first summer with six $200 million-plus movies. We have had a few summers with five $200 million-plus movies in a summer before. But again, by my estimates this summer’s Top 10 will gross about 20% more domestically than ever before in the history of summer exhibition… nearly $2.5 billion.
But what will really be interesting is the second wave, not the Big Three. Evan Almighty will be a big family film, more so than Bruce Almighty, which sold itself with T&A jokes. How big can Ratatouille be after Shrek 3 sucks the market dry and it faces Evan, too?
How big will Transformers be? Will any adults go? And how will they do with Harry Potter opening one week later? The same fate that War of the Worlds faced with Fantastic Four smacking it down in weekend two by a 46% margin could happen again.

The rest…

And the chart


In Champaign

Actually, Roger Ebert would prefer it to be called Urbana-Champaign. He grew up in Urbana, so he has a bit of a bias.
After some flight delays that had me arrive here after 8p last night after starting at 7am in L.A., I missed what apparently was a big parade of media here to see Roger come out. By the time I arrived near the end of opener Gattaca, there he was, in the Laz-E Boy, as promised. And smiling. And greeting wave after wave of well wishers, including family members who still live here in Urbana.


Swingin'! (Like From A Noose)

Spider-Man (3), Spider-Man (3),
Screws up just like a sequel can



Now, Reuters is running stories that there are pirated Spider-Man 3 DVDs on the streets of Beijing before actually playing the DVD (here is the link to the update after they tried to play the thing).
You think they coulda waited? Especially since anyone who hs ever bought a DVD in China knows that many of them are either defective of mislabeled. (Also reminds me of a Dark Water DVD I bought in NY 6 weeks before the Jennifer Connelly movie opened… and bombed. But when I played it, it turned out to the Japanese version with the American artwork.)


"It's mine you hear? Mine ALL MINE Get back in there. Down Down Down! Go Go Go! MINE MINE MINE!!!"

The a-hack of vulgaries is on now, as the big summer movies start landing and like the Oscar season last year, more publications crush to enter the movie gossip landscape, desperate for attention.
Not nearly as desperate as a few of those already in the space, seeing their position as Leaders Of The Hack slowly usurped.
Anyone who was actually paying attention knew last summer that Spider-Man 3 and Pirates 3 were heading where Superman Returns had already landed


A New Film Movement?

When is it time to demarcate a filmmaking


Hulking Out

Why do I sometimes smack down other media?
The story of the grey Hulk is a classic.
Collider sits at a Spider-Man 3 table. Avi Arad uses the phrase “new color” in the midst of a long quote about the changes in the next Hulk film.
There is a follow up question about color, which in Hulk history could be grey, and Arad answers, “We


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“Critics have said that I’ve made a career out of confounding expectations. Really? Because that’s all I do? That’s how I think about it. Confounding expectations. Like I stay up late at night thinking about how to do it. “What do you do for a living, man?” “Oh, I confound expectations.” You’re going to get a job, the man says, “What do you do?” “Oh, confound expectations. And the man says, “Well, we already have that spot filled. Call us back. Or don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Confounding expectations. I don’t even know what that means or who has time for it.”
~ Bob Dylan

“There was somebody from Creative Screenwriting Magazine who was here earlier, and she said ‘Have you got any advice for writers?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, write standing up’. Because this time around, I bought a cheap little stand off Amazon, and I wrote standing up, because it’s slightly uncomfortable – it’s not so uncomfortable that you can’t do it, it’s slightly uncomfortable. And it means you don’t end up going on the internet, basically, because you’re there to do a fucking job. So I’ll write for 25 minutes… then I’ll go and play on the PlayStation for a bit. And I do this all night. I go nocturnal. And then I go back and I’ll write a bit more, and then I go back to the PlayStation, and then I go back… And hopefully by then, I’ll lose track of time and then I’ll be writing for fucking ages, and then there’s a point where you get excited about it. So my advice for writers is always: write standing up, and get Scrivener, and write in 25 minute bursts, and get a PlayStation.”
~ Charlie Brooker

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