The Hot Blog Archive for September, 2007

Das Vaknifeya

In Eastern Promises, Cronenberg takes on Knight

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Just Making Sure…

After some blog commenters accused me on not writing about movies and only business, I wondered if it was true… after looking at the last month of blog entries, my guilt was relieved.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Before The Devil Knows You

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Docs

Kim Vonyar does a nice job starting down the doc road for the year in Cinematical.
But she misses the most important doc of 2007 by a country mile… Tony Kaye’s best-ever-in-the-category Lake of Fire.
If you think I am exaggerating, go see the movie. It’s no cuddly Moorian tour of abortion clinics with wacky right-wingers out on the lawn, happy to be humiliated by a celebrity.
If you haven

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Klady's Sunday Estimate – Sept 30

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Klady's Friday Estimates

If you are looking for history this weekend, the last weekend of September will find you The Rock in The Rundown ($18.5m start) and Disney releasing The Guardian ($18m start) . Or perhaps you like Remember The Titans ($20.9m) and Open Season ($23.6m) and The Corpse Bride ($19.1m).
Actually, last year it was Open Season vs The Guardian

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Hot Button – You Are What You Emulate

Truly original films are a rare commodity. They always were. But upon passing its hundredth birthday, the film industry is evolving in the way all the other arts have. There are plenty of remakes, but more interestingly, there are now more and more films that involve high quality talent, with high end aspirations, that can be tracked back to earlier film, particularly the early 70s era of independent minded studio magic.
There are two different forms of this phenomenon. The first form is film that flatters past greatness by Evolutionary Imitation. Those include:
Network + Erin Brockovich + Syriana = Michael Clayton
Days of Heaven + Heaven’s Gate + McCabe & Mrs. Miller + Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid + The Long Riders = The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
In the first case, there is story subtext in the first act that is clearly reflective of Network. I completely believe Tony Gilroy when he admits he admires the film and when he says he wasn’t cribbing. In the case of Jesse James, there are a variety of wildly familiar style points that Andrew Dominik has built into his own vision of this not unfamiliar story.
The other form, which I find more interesting, are the Completionist Films, such as:
Prince of The City + Superfly + Hoodlum + The French Connection + Mr. Untouchable = American Gangster
Hotel Rwanda + Shooting Dogs + Shake Hands With The Devil (the doc) = Shake Hands With The Devil

The rest…

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Box Office Hell – Sept 28

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(updated Fri night with EW and BO Prophets)

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How Do You Know A Studio/ Producer/ Filmmaker Is Staining Their Jockey Shorts?

They show their Oscar-chasing art film to Fantastic Fest or Butt-Numb-A-Thon, where they know they control the dispensing of opinion, before they show it in less tightly controlled circumstances….
And sometimes, they even get a sweet kiss from a trade blog

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Maybe Some Bionic Writers?

I watched Bionic Woman tonight… and I have to say… zzzzzzz…
And not the way something like Desperate Housewives just isn’t my taste. This show is trying so hard to be yet another version of Heroes that it is little more than a bunch of mediocre action and tough talk. What makes Heroes work (at least in the first season) was the sense of mystery. You liked the characters and you wanted to know how it all came together. And about half way through the season, it was, like, “Get On With It!” And they did.
This one has the Matrix sequel problem… in the pilot there is already no where to go… the woman gets bionic and already knows how to use all the tools. And so the drama? Bad on one shoulder and Worse on the other?
This show may be the biggest hit out of the box to crash and burn by season’s end.

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Not New, But…

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Who'll Do It?

It occurred to me last night…
The battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD is hot and heavy… both companies are willing to spend millions to get studios to join the effort on one side or the other…
The biggest challenge for the marketers is to get people to, finally, commit to buying these machines.
And what group would be an obvious key demographic for the players involved? How about 6000 members of The Academy and the 9000 or so people who are in guilds, groups, and media who also get screeners?
Of course, the majority of these folks can afford to buy machines if they so choose. But getting them/us off the dime is a challenge.
So what if either Sony, on the Blu-Ray side, and Microsoft on the HD side made a play to make sure that those who get 50+ screeners this awards season get them in traditional DVD AND in the High Definition version of their creation?
If I have 20 of the top movies of the year sitting on my shelf in one of these formats, even if I can just pop in the regular DVD, isn’t the temptation to consider a new player increased significantly… especially if I have the hi-def TV, which this demographic has more in larger numbers than most?
It’s the old razors and razor blades concept, except that in this case, the cost of the initial razor is what is prohibitive… and if you can get them to buy the razor at all, there is an incremental value to selling these blades instead of the old one… but the bigger issue is not making a fortune on DVD “razors,” but market share for these players, which is life and death… especially to the Japanese business model.
Of course – and not entirely unfairly – some of you will think I just want a bunch of free High Definition DVDs on my shelf. Guilty.
But had I not recently joined the hi-def game. After a week with a souped up DVR

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Do You Know The Way To Chevalier?

I have tried conventional means to find Wes Anderson’s Hotel Chevalier on iTunes… but nope.
However, this link on Defamer got me there and the same link came back to me when I “Send To A Friend”ed it to myself.
Odd.
The link opens my iTunes program to Home-Movies-Short Films-Fox-Hotel Chevalier… which doesn’t exist if you go, for instance to Home then Movies then Short Films… there is no Fox link available at this time.
Really odd.
Does Fox Searchlight want it to be mysterious and hard to find? Or is it really just meant for the wank sites?

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GREAT News for Hot Blog Fans!!!

(The following came from a promotion house… a few minor edits are italicized)
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HOSTILE: PART II –
UNRATED (HACK)’S CUT

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is gearing up to release the Unrated Director’s Cut of Hostile: Part II which (abuses) Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, and Heather Matarazzo onto DVD and Blu-ray. The “shocking(ly hateful)” sequel will be available to own on both formats as of October 23rd. Of course I could go into more detail as to the insane amount of extras this release boasts (like the Cat O’Nine Tails With Lube In The Handle and the How To book on stalking those teen bitches who won’t give you the time of day in history class), but I figure it would be best just to let you hear it from the (genius auteur’s) mouth himself.
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE:
ELI ROTH breaks down the HOSTILE: PART II DVD releases (with utter sincerity/contempt)
OHHH.. and don’t forget to brush up on your Slovakian!

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Agreed

For weeks, said Mr. Ross, NBC producers and executives had declined to comment for his piece. Then, last Wednesday, NBC News president Steve Capus had publicly questioned Mr. Ross

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Gurus O' Gold: The Early Days

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The Full Charts…
Once again, we have launched Gurus o’ Gold for the awards season. This year, there is a bit of a shake up in the line-up, which we are trying to address for those who are not on this chart this season

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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