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.

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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.

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The Writers Strike Back

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Sunday Estimates by Klady – Dec 30

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Friday Estimates by Klady – 12/29

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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…

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Top Ten List at 155 – Pre-Publication Preview

(This entry was corrected at 2:40p on Saturday… more explanation below.)
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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

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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

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BYOB Weekend

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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

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Box Office Hell – Pre-New Years

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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…

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The Night After Christmas

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

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Strike!

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Odd Promo For TWBB National Sneak


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

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The effect of the avalanche, and Tomas’ refusal to acknowledge his terror, seem to have devastating effects. But the interesting thing about Force Majeure is the sly suggestion that maybe this event could have a liberating effect on the family.”
~ Robert Horton 

 “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