The Hot Blog Archive for November, 2007

Sweenie & The Plasma Factory

There is a freaky embargo on Sweeney Todd, given that it had a junket, unofficial reviews are all over the place, it was reviewed by Harry Knowles a month ago, and I (and most of my colleagues) already know what dozens of people think of the film


Lunch With… Marion Cotillard

The star of La Vie en Rose talks about making the film.


Lunch With… Todd Haynes & Christine Vachon

How did I’m Not There come together? Find out from Todd Haynes and his producer (and producer to much of the indie community), the legendary Christine Vachon.
The conversation…

1 Comment »

A New WGA Direction

While hopes for a brighter week in reality next week in the negotiations is being held out and Bryan Lourd kept breaking the press blackout that existed until tonight, WGA started laying out the next round of strategy for the strike.
“The Showrunners Strike,” as the first month has been called, is pretty much over. The 10 or so showrunners who crossed lines are now done with whatever was pending. Television is as dead as it’s going to get until the strike ends.
The sense inside the union is that hopes for a quick end to the strike are now over. The very real threat that this strike will last until SAG negotiations are done is quickly becoming a consensus opinion. Underlying all of this is the question of when the other side wants the strike to end, because right now, there is little being offered.
The next phase is trying to have a direct effect on the movies that are currently in production… especially showrunner JJ Abrams’ feature, Star Trek. (Apparently, Eastwood’s The Changeling, another prime target, is hidden well enough behind studio walls that the effort to disrupt the show has been set aside.)
There are around 100 scripts that are currently considered within range of being produced at the studios in the near future. Projects do continue to fall through because “the scripts are not ready,” but whether actors are actually supporting the strike of being self-preserving, using the strike as cover for dropping out of iffy projects, is unclear.
Meanwhile, The Committee of Hyphenates, the 1400 or so writer-directors who are in both WGA and DGA, are starting a serious push to get DGA to join in real support of the WGA, as SAG has done.
And as far as the press goes, there is growing sentiment amongst the ranks that the media is being effectively played by – get this – being too encouraging, therefore crushing morale when things like this week it’s-gonna-happen talk or the notion that there would be real Teamster support turns out to be a dead end of nothing new. Guild members are being told not to trust any media gossip… even/especially if it makes them happy.
Personally, my favorite new adjustment by WGA is offering a set dollar amount for how little the union demands would cost the industry… just over $50 million a year. If the AMPTP had a sense of humor – a nasty one – they would just offer the union the $150 million over the three year contract as a flat rate addition to the current contract to change nothing. And if WGA had a sense of humor, they would offer to take the offer of an annual flat $250 per episode for free hourlong show streaming by making it for every 100,000 downloads… which is still only a quarter of a cent per view, which is about what the rate is for network reruns.
Every day I see the whole thing as more like another more familiar battleground… red vs blue… Democrat vs Republican. The WGA seems to be endlessly interested in talking about being righteous. And the money men just keep being about money… maybe it’s not moral high ground, but it is absolutely consistent and quantifiable. The problem is, in a war of public opinion, the Republicans won, against all logic, the last two presidential races.
Michael Moore is doing a quick stop in L.A. soon… maybe he can shake things up.


Pointing North – The Golden Compass Review

How much do I really have to say about The Golden Compass?
I liked it.
I don


The Theater Ate My Show!

Ever hear someone talk about a theater actor


Lunch With… The Actors Of The Diving Bell & The Butterfly

Meet Mathieu Amalric, Marie-Jos


Lunch With… The Diving Bell & The Butterfly Production Team

Meet screenwriter Ronald Harwood, director Julian Schnabel, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, and producer Jon Kilik, the team behind the scenes of The Diving Bell & The Butterfly as they discuss the evolution of the project, how it was shot, and how things fell together.
Here’s the 30 minute conversation…
(Coming tomorrow… those who are on camera in the film.)

No Comments »

One Strike Down

Not the one most of you were hoping for…
But at the end of Young Frankenstein tonight, Roger Bart announced that the Broadway strike was over.
Ironically, tonight’s performance had the worst stagehand glitches of any professsional show I have ever seen. However, on the east coast, on stage, things should be back to normal by Friday night.

1 Comment »

No Variety For Young Men

Charlie Koones’ exit from Variety is only surprising in that he lost the battle for the soul of Reed Business. It is more than a little ironic that the new guy is being sold as a web pro, when Charlie Koones has been pushing hard for the web-based future of Variety and associated properties.
My one daliance with Variety was over one such venture. The trouble, I found, was insane expectations for what the web could mean to the paper. It wasn’t enough that Variety be the first, aside from the WSJ (and now, increasingly, the NYT) to build a great web success off of a print business. They were envisioning a web success of significantly bigger levels than any Reed brand had ever achieved, online or off.
Charlie was fighting, according to insiders, Peter Bart’s old-schoolism a lot in the last year, building a web presence over Bart’s not-dead body. It is possible that “the new guy” will move Variety forward in an way that suits the product.
Charlie Koones, by the view of everyone I have ever known and respected, a major builder. And Old Media is still, for the most part, crawling. If Reed was not willing to push it, it is very easy to see why Koones wanted to head into them thar hills while the gold rush is still on. And while it’s not what it was, make no mistake… It’s still on.

1 Comment »

An Open Letter To Roger Ebert from Jeff Lipsky

Dear David,
As I sit at my desk, dressed to the eight-and-a-halves in anticipation of this evening


I've Got Spirit, How About You?

A rather odd list from the Indie Spirit crew this year. No one can really accuse the group of pandering to celebrity with its version of Best Picture


Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson


By Request: The No Country For Old Men Thread

This is a SPOILER comment thread for No Country… it has been asked for, discussed, avoided, and fought about…
If you don’t want the ending SPOILED, stay out of the thread. You are warned!!1


Paul Dano, Off-Broadway

Things We Want is the new show from Jonathan Marc Sherman, author of more than a half dozen off-Broadway shows. Having not seen any of the other work, it is hard to put this work into context, other than to say that you can feel from the play that it is a direct descendent of David Rabe

No Comments »

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“We now have a situation where audiences very often prefer commercial trash to Bergman’s Persona or Bresson’s L’Argent. Professionals find themselves shrugging, and predicting that serious, significant works will have no success with the general public. What is the explanation? Decline of taste or impoverishment of repertoire? Neither and both. It is simply that cinema now exists, and is evolving, under new conditions. That total, enthralling impression which once overwhelmed the audiences of the 1930s was explained by the universal delight of those who were witnessing and rejoicing over the birth of a new art form, which furthermore had recently acquired sound. By the very fact of its existence this new art, which displayed a new kind of wholeness, a new kind of image, and revealed hitherto unexplored areas of reality, could not but astound its audiences and turn them into passionate enthusiasts.

Less than twenty years now separate us from the twenty-first century. In the course of its existence, through its peaks and troughs, cinema has travelled a long and tortuous path. The relationship that has grown up between artistic films and the commercial cinema is not an easy one, and the gulf between the two becomes wider every day. Nonetheless, films are being made all the time that are undoubtedly landmarks in the history of cinema. Audiences have become more discerning in their attitude to films. Cinema as such long ago ceased to amaze them as a new and original phenomenon; and at the same time it is expected to answer a far wider range of individual needs. Audiences have developed their likes and dislikes. That means that the filmmaker in turn has an audience that is constant, his own circle. Divergence of taste on the part of audiences can be extreme, and this is in no way regrettable or alarming; the fact that people have their own aesthetic criteria indicates a growth of self-awareness.

Directors are going deeper into the areas which concern them. There are faithful audiences and favorite directors, so that there is no question of thinking in terms of unqualified success with the public—that is, if one is talking about cinema not as commercial entertainment but as art. Indeed, mass popularity suggests what is known as mass culture, and not art.”
~ Andrei Tarkovsky, “Sculpting In Time”

“People seem to be watching [fewer] movies, which I think is a mistake on people’s parts, and they seem to be making more of them, which I think is okay. Some of these movies are very good. When you look at the quality of Sundance movies right now, they are a lot better than they were when I was a kid. I do think that there have been improvements artistically, but it’s tough. We’ve got a system that’s built for less movies in terms of how many curatorial standard-bearers we have in the states. It’s time for us to expand our ideas of where we find our great films in America, but that said, it’s a real hustle. I’m so happy that Factory 25 exists. If it didn’t exist, there would be so many movies that wouldn’t ever get distributed because Matt Grady is the only person who has seen the commercial potential in them. He’s preserving a very special moment in independent film history that the commercial system is not going to be preserving. He’s figuring out how to make enough money on it to save these films and get them onto people’s shelves.”
~ Homemakers‘ Colin Healey On Indie Distribution