Z

The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2007

BYO New Year

Happy New Year to all of you.
2007 was full of adventure, mostly for better in my personal camp. I hope it was for all of you too.
May the writer’s strike soon end… may movies be surprising in the best ways… and may we all indulge our passions and our empathy for the passions of others in the year to come.

42 Comments »

No Hi-Def Discs, Thanks

I adore having my Blu-ray and HD players. I have a 1080 set and the image is beautiful, more so than any other delivery, including high-def satellite.
But this NYT story on the ongoing failure of the formats is pretty much on target, with one exception… upscaling DVD players, which has become one of the top threats to the new formats. No one wants to replace their collection of DVDs. And while some discs don’t upscale so well – I really don’t know what makes the difference, but it is noticeable – once you see how most of your discs can, the need to own a Blu-ray or HD player is diminished.
Another interesting point is that Blu-ray owners are buying more discs than HD buyers. I have had the good fortune of two of the Blu-ray driven companies putting me on their publicity lists. And I haven’t really bothered the others about it. But I bought the HD player and have been buying discs in both formats, trying to figure this all out for myself. And it seems, as a consumer, that there are a lot more titles that are exclusively Blu-ray than exclusively HD. This is changing with Paramount content. But there was a 3-for-2 HD deal at a retailer recently and I had a hard time picking three films in the format that I really wanted. (I went ahead and bought Boorman’s Excalibur by itself on Amazon for almost the same price after accounting for no sales tax and free shipping.)
Also, there is the problem that if you are into Blu-ray or HD, you need to have players on all your HD TVs if you are buying only those formats. (Nor can you bring it to a friend’s home, even if they have an HDTV but no player.) I am still a one-HDTV household, so watching a DVD in the bedroom or guestroom in hi-def is not an option at all. I’ll buy a second screen eventually… and when I do, the additional costs of a HD DVR, an additional hard drive to make it capable of holding hundreds of hours of hi-def programming and not just 30, the added program fees to DirecTV, and at least one hi-def player will probably cost more than the 42″ LCD or plasma TV… and that is assuming that I won’t want to bother with surround sound.
I love the formats and especially some of the stuff that artists have done, pushing the technoology. But it is harder and harder to foresee a future that will not be driven by hi-def coming into homes by cable, satellite and, for a bit, internet. As most of you might have noticed, WalMart quietly got out of the download business this last week.
The key to the entertainment is not quality… it is, as it always was, delivery.

15 Comments »

The Writers Strike Back

22 Comments »

Sunday Estimates by Klady – Dec 30

sunest1230.jpg

42 Comments »

Friday Estimates by Klady – 12/29

122907.jpg

47 Comments »

Holiday & Award Film Spoiler Thread

A couple of funky little things occured to me in recent days… neither is spoiler material, but it made me think that we should have a place to discuss all these films.
First, I finally saw Hellboy 2 trailer on DVD instead of Quicktime and the difference is of note, considering how visually dark the footage is. Much better on a bigger screen. Also, Del Toro offers an homage to John Landis in the trailer footage. Have you noticed?
Second, watching Sweeney Todd, which finally arrived on DVD (it’s been landing all over town and beyond since last Friday), I was reminded that one of Depp’s last beats in the film the film – which I will not mention in any detail here – but which you can in comments, where SPOILERS will be the order of the day – shares an idea with a Daniel Day Lewis moment in Gangs of New York… more so in the earlier cut. And now, they are duking it out for awards.
If you haven’t caught it – THE FOLLOWING COMMENTS SECTION IS FOR SPOILERS!!!
Since it’s not just one movie, please NAME THE FILM at the top of your comment, skip a line, and then start commenting. I know it’s a hassle, but others will appreciate it.
So…
“HAIRSPRAY
When Edna Turnblad has sex with Velma Van Tussle…”
And so on…

34 Comments »

Top Ten List at 155 – Pre-Publication Preview

(This entry was corrected at 2:40p on Saturday… more explanation below.)
top201229corrected.jpg
The Top 20, and particularly the Top 10, is getting pretty well cemented in.
Sweeney Todd and Michael Clayton keep going back and forth in the 9 and 10 spots. Juno keeps moving up. The Lives of Others could be knocked out of the 20 by The Savages, which is just a half-point behind. (Lives had 74 points last year. If added, the total would put the film in the current Top 15.)
No Country For Old Men no longer has a twice-the-next-highest-point-and-list-total status

5 Comments »

The WGA On The Letterman Deal

To Our Fellow Members,
We are writing to let you know that have reached a contract with David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company that puts his show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson back on the air with Guild writers. This agreement is a positive step forward in our effort to reach an industry-wide contract. While we know that these deals put only a small number of writers back to work, three strategic imperatives have led us to conclude that this deal, and similar potential deals, are beneficial to our overall negotiating efforts.
First, the AMPTP has not yet been a productive avenue for an agreement. As a result, we are seeking deals with individual signatories. The Worldwide Pants deal is the first. We hope it will encourage other companies, especially large employers, to seek and reach agreements with us. Companies who have a WGA deal and Guild writers will have a clear advantage. Companies that do not will increasingly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Indeed, such a disadvantage could cost competing networks tens of millions in refunds to advertisers.
Second, this is a full and binding agreement. Worldwide Pants is agreeing to the full MBA, including the new media proposals we have been unable to make progress on at the big bargaining table. This demonstrates the integrity and affordability of our proposals. There are no shortcuts in this deal. Worldwide Pants has accepted the very same proposals that the Guild was prepared to present to the media conglomerates when they walked out of negotiations on December 7.
Finally, while our preference is an industry-wide deal, we will take partial steps if those will lead to the complete deal. We regret that all of us cannot yet return to work. We especially regret that other late night writers cannot return to work along with the Worldwide Pants employees. But the conclusion of your leadership is that getting some writers back to work under the Guild

5 Comments »

BYOB Weekend

22 Comments »

Writers On A Plane

Bill Carter breaks the news… WGA will give a waiver to Worldwide Pants – and whether they like it or not – Viacom/CBS to employ WGA writers.
If this was a response to the growing crowd of people arguing that the strike will go well into the summer or the float of same on Nikki Finke’s gossip blog, it may go down as one of the worst moves ever by a union.
We are now beginning to see a theme from union leadership of picking favorites in every fight. Yes to Time-Warner

35 Comments »

Box Office Hell – Pre-New Years

bohell122807.jpg

14 Comments »

Holiday BYOB

Wed 12 noon – This thread has, apparently, turned into a discussion of what movie-related stuff people got for the holiday… some electronics… some DVDs… some with High School Musical stuck in the sleeve…

86 Comments »

The Night After Christmas

‘Twas the night after Christmas’, when all through the town,
Not a writer was writing, not even scabs

3 Comments »

Strike!

8 Comments »

Odd Promo For TWBB National Sneak


Looks viral… comes from our friends at Par Vantage… interesting…

7 Comments »

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

Z Weekend Report