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The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2008

BYOB – Sunday

78 Comments »

FYI – For Those Interested

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63 Comments »

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

178 Comments »

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

7 Comments »

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

31 Comments »

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

12 Comments »

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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