The Hot Blog Archive for November, 2008

Gurus o Gold – Darkhorses

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The full charts…

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BYOBox Office

Not at the real computer, so you will have to get numbers on front page, but here is some space to discuss…

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Bagger Goes (A Little) Native

My favorite person to read during Oscar season is David Carr. Too tired of it all to press his nose up against the glass, he sees the dirt in the corner of the panes and keeps it all in perspective.
And then, his first two Hollywood missives of the season

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You Have A $150 Million Movie… Now What?

Only eight movies before Twilight have cracked $100 million domestic from distributors that were not studio-affiliated. And the only company in that group that are still seriously in the distribution business is Lionsgate. And they got their one movie in 9-figures from Miramax, a Disney division. Avco, Newmarket, Orion, USA

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Friday Estimates by Klady

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Tracking aside, why would anyone be surprised by the opening of Four Christmases? Last year, Fred Claus got the worst possible reviews on the planet and with Vince Vaughn and the brilliant but not-box-office Paul Giamatti, and opened to $18 million. But even more interesting, This Christmas opened to a $26 million 5-day over Thanksgiving last year. The year before, Deck The Halls (does anyone even remember that film existed?) opened to $12 million. In ’04, the widely slammed Christmas with The Kranks opened to $22 million.
And look at the marketplace. If you want to go to a light comedy that is not for children, what are your options? This is the only movie out there. And then, add on the interest in Christmas movies. And then add Reese Witherspoon to Vince Vaughn. (I would say that WB learned the lesson last year that keeping Rachel Weisz out of Fred ads was a mistake… but 1) they didn’t make this film, and 2) there was no way that Reese Witherspoon, clearly a bigger rom-com draw than Vaughn, wasn’t going to be front & center here.)
Similarly, on the down side, who is so very shocked about Australia?
I mean, you know that the studio is not thrilled. If the film opened two weeks ago, as originally scheduled, this is the kind of weekend they would be expecting a Weekend Three for this film, not opening. But that said

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DP/30 – Kristin Scott Thomas


The star of I’ve Loved You So Long

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DP/30 – Michelle Williams


The star of Wendy & Lucy

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A Ben Button Quickie

I want to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button again before really digging into it. (Idiots who think that “yay” or “nay” is the same as a review deserve the shallow level of thought they embody.)
That said, what is intensely striking about the film, for me, besides the beautiful imagery and fine performances is that there is virtually no conflict in the entire film.
And I think that is what Fincher is chasing these days, artistically. Zodiac, which had more conflict, was certainly trying for a similarly minimalist aesthetic.
It is not an easy task… to make an epic drama with no central or even much secondary conflict. And I am not really sure whether he made it or not.
What I do know is that Slumdog Millionaire – still anticipating Gran Torino and Seven Pounds – is clearly the frontrunner in the Oscar race right now. In this season of mixed feelings, Ben Button is most likely good enough/big enough to be nominated… but is unlikely to win anything in the top categories.
If there is an Ambiguity Bowl, there will be a fight between Button and Rev Road for a Best Picture nomination, while clearer players like Slumdog, Milk, and Frost/Nixon seem much easier to build constituencies for.
And by the way… this film is NOT Forrest Gump in any real way. Everything that made Gump what it was, whether critics or memory likes it or not, is not in evidence here. And that is schmaltz and a character in the lead who while passive is actually an unstoppable forward moving object who pushes through a lot of real obstacles, which Ben Button never has to do in this film.
More next week, after another look

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Review – The Trouble With AUSTRALIA

I love Luhrmann.
I do. I think he is one of those directors who has incredibly good taste, loves to walk on the tightrope without a net (his logo at the top of Australia includes the line

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Documentary Short List

I was away when the list of 15 was released by The Academy

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Thankful '08

It has been a year of much turmoil in this country and in both industries of filmed entertainment and journalism. So much so that a list of my film pleasure thanks seems insanely indulgent. And unfortunately, in this year, far too limited. But it has been a tradition for a long time and one that gives me some perspective and no small amount of pleasure. And so

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BYOB – Return to L.A. (again)

I’ll be out of circulation for the next 20 hours or so… everyone play nice… have some conversations that are smarter than The Hot Blog deserves!

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Raddon Resigns

I don’t have the time to get into this in any detail, as I am about to catch a plane. And to quickly throw something up would be unfair. But I wanted to leave a space where people can discuss it if they like. And here it is…

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The Two Big Take Homes Of IDFA

The films here in Amsterdam have been quite good. I am sad to be headed home before seeing more of them

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Quickie on Hancock Blu

When the disc arrived, promising two versions (and a free digital download), I threw it in the PS3 immediately and took a look.
Yes, the infamous sex scene is in the

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook