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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.

49 Comments »

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.

13 Comments »

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.

35 Comments »

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

29 Comments »

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

10 Comments »

Hot Button – The Indie Thing

There have been very good

12 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

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