The Hot Blog Archive for September, 2008

Voter Registration

Whomever you support, you should vote if you are eligible to do so.
The Obama campaign sent a URL that I found very helpful. It can get you registered, but even if you have registered, it allows you to check whether you are still properly registered.
I know that every year around this time, I wonder whether my registration is properly set. And tonight, there was a news report that many people have been dumped from the voting rolls.
So, here is the link. You can use it just as well no matter who you support, even if you are hyper-aware that it is an Obama sponsored site..


Stupidest Protest Ever

Blind people protesting Blindness.
Blindness is a metaphor in the movie… as it has been forever.
The idea that sighted people in their 20s, 30s and older suddenly becoming blind, surrounded by others who are suddenly blind, would not be disoriented and find it hard to deal with a massive new challenge is pretty absurd on its face.
To quote Marc Maurer, president of the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind, who said to the AP, “The movie portrays blind people as monsters, and I believe it to be a lie. Blindness doesn’t turn decent people into monsters.



(note: this e-mail was sent to me as part of a mass group, the contents are not private, and the name is only blocked because there is no reason to make this private person into a public one over my use of the e-mail to express ennui.)


Nikki Finally Passes Into Unredeemable

I’ll keep it brief.
Nikki Finke, apparently exhausted by pretending to report anything, is now exposing exactly what she does and who she is. “Irresponsible, willfully ignorant, mean-spirited hack,” comes to mind first.
And everyone knows it.
And no one wants to say it out loud


A Few Blu-Ray Tidbits

The first studio to offer Blu-ray screeners to awards voters?
Not Sony, as you migh expect. WB. The only question is whether The Dark Knight will land before the real Blu-ray DVD release.
Also, WB broke more ground with the release of the Speed Racer Blu-ray, which includes the Blu-ray, a DVD game AND a free digital download of the movie.
In the Disney Blu-ray of Sleeping Beauty… a regular DVD as well (not to mention a host of BD-Live features that I haven’t had a chance to play with yet).
What do people want? All of it.
ADD, Mon 10:55p – What could be more horrifying than an unrated Blu-ray of Forgetting Sarah Marshall?
Is there anyone in need of a clearer view of Jason Segel’s penis? We know that Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis will not be any more naked in the unrated version than in the theatrical release. So what… naked Russell Brand? Help me, Rhonda!


Peter Venkman for Mayor

1 Comment »

Is ANYONE Buying This?

We all know the leanings I share with the majority of commenters on this blog.
But is ANYONE actually buying the spin that the Republicans voted down the bailout becaause Nancy Pelosi blamed Bush for the state we are in when she gave a pre-vote speech today?
Is ANYONE buying John McCain trying to blame Obama for the Republicans not voting for the bailout?
I mean… really?


BYOB – Crash: Episode 3


Hot Button – Scottgar Rudgen & Nikkie McFinkey

I don’t know if it’s 42 West or Rudin’s office itself that is publishing its list of grievances in the guise of Nikki

1 Comment »

Found On The Web…

(this is not an endorsement of this website… unless there is a check coming.)


The Reader… Coming To Theaters Near You (if you live in NY or LA) On Dec 12

A joint Weinstein/Daldry press release has been issued.
As explained before, no surprise. (Even less so after the Project Runway ruling.)
“We are issuing this statement together to emphasize the fact that we are in complete agreement on the date we have chosen to release “The Reader.” Working together, we developed a plan to extend the post-production schedule in order to give Stephen Daldry the additional time he needs to successfully complete the film in time to release it on December 12, 2008.”
“On their own, Scott and Harvey spent this weekend working together to find a way to accommodate my needs so that I may fulfill my obligation to the studio without compromising my vision for the film. I am thrilled and relieved that we have all found a way forward to work together to bring ‘The Reader’ to theaters this year.”
PS 6:29p – Why kind of con artist spin is the absurd notion that this is a win-win for Weinstein and Rudin? As I keep writing, this was never about the war of the wills. It is about money. Period. Everyone associated with Rev Road, from top to bottom, wanted The Reader to go away until next year. Period.
The only con better than “they are conceding post-production dollars and a move to NY” (when there was no other choice but to rip the film from the director, as he is putting the stage version of Billy Elliot up in NY right now) is “the movie isn’t ready.” Making adjustments to get a film done is normal. And the movie is ready 90% of the time that things have moved along enough for someone serious to be asking, even if it is not in the ultimate final form.


Self-Loathing Dems; Part II

I was struck by Nora Ephron’s “McCain Won The Debate Because Obama Didn’t Slap Him Hard Enough” piece on Huffington Post. She was hardly alone. But what a bunch of whinny, self-destructive babies we on the left have become. We are so used to being under the thumb of conservative aggression that we’d rather get in our punches than win an election… or rather, we don’t really believe we can win, so we need our young, black, frontrunning presidental candidate to express our rage rather than to be the ideal we profess to see as so superior.
It’s the old “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged” thing. And I hate it.
The one thing that wrongheaded conservatives have is that they believe… even when, as now, they would be embarrassed to win with such a terrible team running.
Obama is not an attack dog. If he pretends to he one, he will lose. Yes, we could all write quips to throw at raging granny McCain. But it’s about winning, not the rush of a beatdown. And whether you were watching the meter on CNN or reading post-game polls, the key voters, the Independents, are turned off by the negative crap. And we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that it’s because we are right and the other side is wrong.
You could see it on SNL last night when they tried to be more than even-handed by making Obama the butt of the nastiest crap thrown at him… a few laughs… but McCain’s stuff got bigger laughs because people get that and figured it out on their own, much as with Palin.
So calm down… stop obsessing… change isn’t easy… but it’s on the way. Don’t, as Grandpa would say, snatch a loss from the jaws of victory. Obama is smarter than the elders of our party. He’ll take his 6 point win and never have to bloody an opponent who is so good at bloodying himself.


I Can't Let You Blog That, Dave

Keir Dullea as Dr Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey
Anthony Mackie as Major William Bowman in Eagle Eye
What do they have in common?
Hint: It’s not the skill set of the director or screenwriters.
Another hint that is angering some as a spoiler, so it now after the jump…
(Edited, Sunday 6:37p)

Read the full article »


The New Palin Trend: Sympathy.. For The Sexist Treatment… By McCain

Liberal Judith Warner – “On Tuesday afternoon when I went to The Times Web site and saw the photo of Sarah Palin with Henry Kissinger, a funny thing happened. A wave of self-recognition and sympathy washed over me.”
Right Winger Rod Dreher (thankfully a former film critic) – “I remember the morning I woke up in my college dorm room and went in to take my final exam in my Formal Logic class. I knew I was unready. Massively unready. And now I was going to be put to the ultimate test. I sat down in Dr. Sarkar’s class and resolved to wing it. Of course I failed the exam and failed the class, because I had no idea what I was talking about. I wasn’t a bad kid, or even a stupid kid. I was just badly unprepared, and in way over my head. Seeing the Palin interview on CBS, I thought of myself in Dr. Sarkar’s exam. But see, I was a college undergraduate who had the chance to take the class again, which I did, and passed (barely). I wasn’t running for vice president of the United States.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates takes the Dreher and runs with it – “Which brings me to the sexism of John McCain. He knew full well what Sarah Palin was going to face if he nominated her. He knew that reporters would go through her past, that they’d quizz her on the present, that she would need to be ready, and he shunted concern aside, and tossed her to the wolves. Think on that for a mement. For one last run at the White House, he risked a future star of the party he claims to call home. How do you do that? I don’t meant to rob Palin of agency, certainly she is also a victim of her own calculations and ambitions. But where I am from, the elders protect you, and pull you back when you’ve gone too far, when your head has gotten too big.”
And just for the record, the take on the debate
And from Politico…
McCain at campaign HQ, making calls
After a late night flying back to Washington, McCain is at his campaign HQ making calls to push a deal on the financial bailout, according to a top aide.
He won’t be headed to Capitol Hill today.
As for why not, Mark Salter told the campaign pool reporter: “Because he can effectively do
what he needs to do by phone.”


Paul Newman, 1/26/25 – 9/26/08

I’m not quite ready to write on this. Unlike so many of my colleagues, I didn’t start the sad assignment of writing this weeks ago. (And don’t take that as a slap at any of them… just the nature of rumors and editors and deadlines.)
Newman = movie star.
He is a major part of the foundation of the love of movies for anyone over 40 in the world.
I will write more later. But here is some space for you…


The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin