The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2008

Weekend Estimates by Klady

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BYOB – Get Gu Weekend

What will a 152 minute running time mean to The Dark Knight?

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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Get Smart opened to a number right along the lines of last summer’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which is a success for WB marketing. My guess – and no one out there is doing anything but guessing at this point – is that the casting picked up viewers from each of the stars – Carell, Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, and Alan Arkin – each of whom has a very specific constituency. This is the summer that What Stays In Vegas has grossed the quietest $77 million you will ever see, but not hear. Get Smart is The Next Comedy for anyone other than Sandler fans. After two weeks of Hulk, Panda, Zohan, and Night, it seems to have been a chance for everyone who wasn’t into those narrow titles to get out of the hear.
And the next comedies are weeks away with Meet Dave, Momma Mia!, and The Step Bros all into July… so get a laugh while you can. And prepare for the four-quadrant assault of Wall-E and Hancock with a strong boy showing for Wanted.
The Love Guru is a flop for Mike Myers, though his career is so limited, it’s hard to put into career perspective. This opening was worse than Wayne’s World… better than WWII. Very Balls of Fury.
It’s lovely to see a studio try to cash in on their gossip columnist flacks to spin that they spent less to sell the film than normal. But if you were watching the media, Guru was running spots endlessly, as was Smart (including both films with 30s on The Office this week).. but Smart had actual tie-in ads – for which the advertiser, like Sierra Mist Undercover Orange, pays the cost of the ad buy – while Guru had a total of ZERO. Also, the last push by WB, which probably meant nothing at the box office, wasn’t for The Rock, who has been the main focus of ads for the last month, especially in cross- promotionals, but is focused on improvised spots featuring a more familiar Carell. Clearly what WB was getting as feedback was that fans weren’t seeing Carell in the way they like him. So, improv spots with SC as an entertainment journalist interviewing Rock and Hathaway, with Hathaway in front of a CG Kremlin backdrop, etc. An interesting idea – advertise the movie by avoiding the movie – but as I say, probably too late to have much effect, one way or the other.

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Little Miss Hassid?

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Every time I see this one-sheet, I wonder the same thing. The wig is so obviously a wig… either Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin is The New Julia who dies from cancer at the end of this film or she’s playing a Hassidic girl who is marrying very, very young.

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I See Bad Movies

Someone suggested this, kinda, in another thread…
But it really does seem like we are now in the moment where a thread about bad movies is an absolute theraputic neccessity for the first time this summer.
Yes, word is that Get Smart is good, even if it really isn’t anything like the TV show. But there is a lot of crap sliding our way… and one masterpiece.
Here’s a thread for the ugly feelings… let it out… it will feel good… promise…

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BYOB

Yes, I know…. barely here this week… it will be like this for a couple of weeks.
Play on…

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Matson – Mike Hears The Trees

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The cartoon

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SvapnaPrayatna

A couple of things about the Indian deal with DreamWorks.
1. It

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BYOB – Delayed

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My Tony Picks

Bad internet connections and trouble in the air slowed this one down… a lot.
The entire list

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Weekend Estimates by Klady

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More to say?
Sandler’s second Zohan weekend was a steep drop in his history. My sense is that the movie is a tweener. Sony did a fine job of launching the film, but while this Sandler movie would likely be pleasing to a wider-than-usual demographic, it’s not quite well enough made to be a crossover film for Sandler. It’s a small shame, since a director one step up on the skill scale could have taken this material to a level that would have made it even more intriguing. But for the Sandler base, it’s got a lot of good silly, but perhaps they were all at The Incredible Hulk or The Happening this weekend… or perhaps they find sex with women over 60 or political subtext or the overall message of acceptance unappealing.
Fox (and Len) estimated the The Happening number to just over the Unbreakable number. Who knows whether that will hold tomorrow? If it does, it will be his third best opening and either his third or fourth best grosser in his six-film primary career. (I really don’t think Wide Awake is relevant, unless you are talking about his ouerve.)
The Incredible Hulk looks like it will be about 13% behind Hulk. It

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Long Night's Journey…

I never thought it would happen to me.
(Nah, it’s not one of those stories!)
The 2 hour weather delay was irritating. But the 5.5 hours stuck inside a plane, 3.5 hours of it 5 feet from the gate, but not at the gate, making a retreat back into New York City impossible… that’s what got me.
The 8:30 pm edt flight landed in Los Angeles at 6:20am pdt… almost 13 hours later.
I could have gone to China.
But the undiscussed horror of travel nightmares like this is not just the hours stuck – we had no overflowing toilets and most of the passengers slept through much of it – but recovering from the experience.
What really struck me was that American Airlines knew that the delay, once we were sealed into the plane, would be at least 2 hours because of the long back-up of planes trying to leave JFK. And instead of informing the passengers, it pretended everything was normal. This was before they decided they needed to refuel the plane after we sat near-but-not-at the gate for the first 90 minutes.
I knew trouble was brewing, but I didn’t want to be “the troublemaker,” which was an issue added to getting out fo a plane at 2:30 am at a near deserted JFK with the goal of, what, hoping to find transportation back into the city to pay some ridiculous amount for a hotel room for 8 or 9 hours before starting the whole process again.
One thing I did on the plane was read Sway, a book about the inclinations we all show in our human interactions. One of the stories was of a KLM pilot who killed a plane full of people trying to stay on schedule and not pay for passengers to have an overnight stay

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Raining

It’s pouring in NYC, so I guess I should be happy to be returning to sunny Calfornia…
The Incredible Hulk now looks to open slightly behind Hulk, with somewhat longer legs to come… but don’t expect much more than $175m… which is a win, even with an alleged $150m budget. Marvel has something good going and needs to be cautious not to convince themselves that there is more to it than there is.
The scary R rating for The Happening, combined with the underestimated box office power of Mark Wahlberg makes the film no Lady in the Water. Still, it ain’t no Signs either. Wait and see…
Here in NY, I’ve had three remarkable theater experiences… two of which I can write about. The first is the Public Theater version of Hamlet, which opens officially in Central Park in a few days. The other, much to my shock, was Boeing – Boeing (which should be Boeing-Boeing-Boeing). Both shows mark the wider debut of lead actors who will soon become part of acting lore and, if only in support, acting fame in the US.
More on both when I get to a real keyboard…

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Heckuva Town

Good afternoon…
Running around NY has superseded finding a wi-fi signal, but thanks to the iPhone, here are a couple of items…
I was shocked to read a bit of bias spin as a front page story of the NYT today. The game was to position the sexism spin of the Clinton campaign, a rather desperate and vile piece of strategy that The Clintons used to try to w/sp-in the election their way months after having known they could never catch up with Obama short of a collapse or felony by that side. Like so many Clinton games, there seems little interest in the ugly afterbirth of the political spin.
What really struck me about this piece, written by 2 women who had done strong work during the campaign, including a March look at the media pushing back against Obama after SNL making “give Barack a pillow” life as swallowed Clinton spin, was that it played two distinct games. First, it made the media defend itself as though they were the only ones who felt they had been fair. This always makes the side self-defending look bad. And second, they somehow “forgot” the Pew/Harvard study that all put said that the bias was mythology. Instead they found a study by a George Mason professor of unknown methodology or legitmacy. Boo.
Then, the great Manohla, who I do think is great, spent the first graph and a half suggesting that the negative reviews of The Happening were based on predisposition, not the movie.
Bullshit.
I, for one, was hoping that this film would be good or great. Yes, there are brickbats a’ready. And some would be unleashed whatever the film was. But the notion that this was a strong performance by Mark Wahlberg, an actor who has become amazngly reliable and likeable, is about as tone-deaf a call as I have heard from this esteemed colleague.
The Happening would be a perfectly fine 30 minute episode. But it is stretched into a terrible film with out and out bad performances from actors as charismatic as Wahlberg, Leguizamo, and Deschanel.
Sad about Tim Russert and amazed it’s been 18 years at Meet The Press. (The same reporter at NYT who co-wrote the Hillary piece this morning contributed to the breaking story and added a shot at Russert as being too outspoken on Hillary. It would be unkind and inaccurate to keep selling that smear as accurately reflective of his history.)
Anyway, I will get to the computer soon. For now, I remain waiting on line for Hamlet in Cental Park. Oh this too, too line-waiting flesh….

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BYOB – Another Airplane

Ah, for the travel to end…
But I think it will for a month or two… soon.
Meanwhile, you are left yet again to fend for yourselves for a while…

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The Hot Blog

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“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima

“They’re still talking about the ‘cathedral of cinema,’ the ‘communal experience,’ blah blah. The experiences I’ve had recently in the theatre have not been good. There’s commercials, noise, cellphones. I was watching Colette at the Varsity, and halfway through red flashes came up at the bottom of the frame. A woman came out and said, ‘We’re going to have to reboot, so take fifteen minutes and come back.’ Then they rebooted it from the beginning, and she had to ask the audience to tell her how far to go. You tell me, is that a great experience? I generally don’t watch movies in a cinema at all. Netflix is the future. It’s the present. But the whole paradigm of a series, binge-watching, it’s quite different. My first reaction is that it’s more novelistic, because if you have an eight-hour season, you can get into complex, intricate things. You can let it breathe and the audience expectations are such that they will let you, where before they wouldn’t have the patience. I think only the surface has been touched with experimenting with that.”
~ David Cronenberg