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 »

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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