The Hot Blog Archive for April, 2007

Ebert Speaks!

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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

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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

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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?

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Friday Estimates by Klady

Is there really anything to say?
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Gail Berman As A Political Statement

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

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Old Folkie

Jim Brown

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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.
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SPOT THE CELEBRITY AT STEAK & SHAKE
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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.

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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.

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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

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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.
Roger

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Swingin'! (Like From A Noose)

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

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Again…

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.)
DOH!

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"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

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A New Film Movement?

When is it time to demarcate a filmmaking

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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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 “Teaching how to make a film is like trying to teach someone how to fuck. You can’t. You have to fuck to learn how to fuck. It’s just how it is. The filmmaker has to protect the adventurous side of their self. I’m an explorer, I’m an inventor. Doc Brown is the character I relate to the most and he’s a madman. He’s a madman alone, locked up with his ideas but he does whatever he wants. He makes what he makes because he wants to make it. Yes, the DeLorean has to work in order for him to be a madman with a purpose—the DeLorean should work—but the point is I think everyone should try and find their own DeLorean. When Zemeckis was trying to get Back To The Future made, which he was for seven years, he was trying to get a film made where basically a teenager gets in a time machine, goes back to 1954 and almost —-s his mother. That pitch is extremely subversive and twisted in a way. My point is, he had a fascinating idea that no one had done before, but was clearly special to him and he stuck to it and made it what it was. When you do that you can create culture, but I think a lot of movies are just echoing culture and there’s a difference.”
~ A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night Filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour

Six rules for filmmaking from Mike Nichols
1. The careful application of terror is an important form of communication.
2. Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.
3. There’s absolutely no substitute for genuine lack of preparation.
4. If you think there’s good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody.
5. Friends may come and go but enemies will certainly become studio heads.
6. No one ever lost anything by asking for more money.
~ Via Larry Karaszewski and Howard A. Rodman On Facebook