The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2008

BYOB – Sunday

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FYI – For Those Interested

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BYOB – Thursday…

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Ocupado.

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The Media Foists Its Own View Of Middle America On Disney

I find it fascinating that the media is now having a field day – four links on the cover of MCN and more to come, I’m sure – taking the position that Wall-E’s portrayal of a future…
STORY SPOILER WARNING
… in which earth has been decimated, the survivors live on corporately-controlled ships in which they are kept satisfied and simple-minded so there are no rebellious thoughts – not unlike The Matrix.… duh! –
END SPOILERS
….is all about the people being… OMFG! – FAT!!!!!
To me, the whole attitude combines two of the media’s worst traits… first, gross oversimplification… second, the tendency to look at groups in which they are not – or have been not since they dragged themselves into the media universe – reflected.
Is there anyone whose parents didn’t tell them that too much TV and junk food and laziness would make them into a miserable, brain damaged blob? I mean, really, is this idea so simple and obvious that “critics” look right past it and feel compelled to make it all about our obsession with weight?
There is a real hatred in the media, both left and right (coasts and ideologies), of the “soft” middle of America. Fox News pretends not to have this so it can bow to the right wing, which is allegedly favored by the heartland… but look at its parade of blonde, tartified women anchors and, often, “experts.” They are as image conscious as Maureen Dowd as Jessica Rabbit on her book cover.
By making this into an issue, all “we” are doing is pointing at the fat people and saying, “Why doesn’t Disney feel sorry for them? They are fat! We know… we’ve seen them in tank tops at Disneyland (while we cut in front of them with special passes that we had our producers and editors get for us from our media friends and partners at Disney)!”
Deep dark truthful mirror time, kids.
Obviously, there is a satirical thread in this film that has a Wal-Mart like corporation taking over the entire planet. There is no government… only the corporation. You know, like every smart person with an eye on a world that is becoming dominated by commerce over ideology has recognized for more than a decade.
Obviously, Wall-E is a cartoon… and bodies in jellied pods have been done before. So has a world in which young people are tricked into thinking that all is well and as soon as they hit 30, they are killed and thrown off the ship. So here we are in a generation that shops in big box stores in bulk, in a nation where obesity is epidemic not because we are an inherently lazy people but because portion control and self-control is out of control, where we spend more and more time attached to machines and not enjoying the simple activities of life, like playing in the yard, the way we once did… it all makes sense.
And might I point our, Wall-E sounds a hopeful note, that all we have to do to change is to choose to change our outlook and to make a real effort.
And while all this mewing about Wall-E is going on, media seems to endlessly look away as we and our children are endlessly told that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and the MTV Idiot Squad are what we all must look like if we are to be worthy in this world… without the slightest f-ing sense of irony or rage. You think Wall-E is insulting its audience? Compared to the cover of People or Us or any of those crap rags, it is LOVING its audience. And you can be sure that its audience will love it back.
It is stunning how stupid we are all willing to allow ourselves to be in order to make a civil discussion into A STORY.
Boo on us.

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Wanted: Fight Club Without A Brain

I’ve dreaded digging into Wanted, the over-the-top, uninterested-in-reality or narrative mediocrity on its way from Universal. Don’t even get me started on this film getting a pass, as it surely will, while the same supporters bitched about Speed Racer‘s visuals, who paid no attention to Daywatch and little more to Nightwatch, who don’t care that the film doesn’t really deliver on its Jolie promise, and are kind of pleased that it may be the bloodiest, nastiest movie released by a major studio… probably ever. (Of course, it is such a Tom & Jerry On Crack cartoon that the violence has no impact.)
But Anthony Lane, often too interested in amusing himself for me, hit it dead on in the first graph of his review.
What is it like being Timur Bekmambetov? No artist should be confused too closely with his creations, but anybody who sits through

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BYOB – Tuesday… And On…

I don’t know how soon I will be adding the next entry… could be 10 minutes… could be 5 days…
Be careful out there.

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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

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Sony Marketing Is Fine, Thanks

I don’t know why Crazy Nikki needs to do her little pissy dance, raining on her BFF, Sony Pictures, now and again… maybe just to prove she is not the sycophant that she really is.
In any case, I am not going to go far into this, but there is no excuse at all for her going after Josh Goldstine (not even spelling his name right), except perhaps that it is the only name involved with the positive changes coming for Sony Marketing that she had remotely enough info on to try to plant a “toldja!” on when the official news breaks shortly. (Maybe it

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Asserted – Peter Berg Is A Major Director In Process

One of the blog comments in the Hancock piece below suggests that I think that shaky-cam is somehow what makes Peter Berg an interesting director. No. Not close.
My point is that any director of substance makes choices that have meaning to him. A director does have a choice about where to take a movie and Peter Berg has consistently made choices that are, indeed, more adult-minded and with each film, increasingly deep.
The Rundown was a goof, but the unwillingness to fall into cutesy, while certainly walking the tightrope, was apparent.
Friday Night Lights took the whole thing seriously

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Welcome, Luddites!

So now the two biggest internet bashers in entertainment journalism, Patrick Goldstein and Peter Bart, are bloggers. All I can say is

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BYOB – June 23

Your space, but please, I have noticed an increase in personal sniping and cursing in comments, and it is not welcome or needed. You can be entertaining without being foul-mouthed and hurling f-bombs at everyone else.
And “are you stoned?” and all its variations really should be banned from this blog and all others. This comment has joined Hitler in the category of accusations that go too far to be of value.

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Going Off Half-Cocked

Based on the early test screening reviews of Hancock… reviews of a film that is different in many ways from the one being released into theaters… I kind of understand the general negativity surrounding the film.
But that

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Hot Button – No, The Stars Are Getting Smaller

I feel a burning urge to respond to Anne Thompson

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Taxi To The Toilet

There was actually a very good film by the same title as this entry… Taxi Zum Klo… apologies for the grab.
But Alex Gibney continues to push ThinkFilm on his Oscar winner, Taxi To The Darkside, now claiming that Think was fraudulent in its handling of the film, allegedly knowing that a financial crisis was coming that would get in the way of a wider post-Oscar release.
IndieWIRE does a good job of offering the Gibney side, the Think side, and the objective side.
I look at the numbers on Born Into Brothels, Think

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Hot Button – The Indie Thing

There have been very good

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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