MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland


A rather brilliant move, I think, by Miramax today, sending out hardback copies of No Country For Old Men. It’s not a movie-themed cover. It’s not the cheaper quality paperback that would have cost them at least a few bucks less per unit to send out. It is a move that says, this is a serious book… a film of literary weight… and not just some movie with a lot of killing.
It is also a tacit call for us to read. Dear God! Read!!!
Then there was the odd delivery of the day. Shipped by Techincolor, Warners delivered the 2-disc “Special Edition” of Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix. There were Warning letters from both WB and WIP about the responsibility of getting screeners… but what we got was the same DVD that is every story in America… even the grocery stores!
Even wilder, this disc has a digital copy included. It’s actually quite smart, though the download doesn’t work on Apple or, naturally, on iPods. I think this is a part of the future of DVD sales… including a digital version of the film, but specifically for your iPod or iPhone or whatever portable device you own.
But the screener warning letter tickled me as I got, very pleasantly, a shipment that could just as easily come from
Also landing today… The Golden Compass. Still pending… There WIll Be Blood, Sweeney Todd, and I Am Legend

Be Sociable, Share!

14 Responses to “Lighter…”

  1. Weird, I got that Harry Potter DVD, like, three weeks ago. Before Thanksgiving, at least, and definitely well before the street date. I thought it odd at the time, given that the digital copy you mention.

  2. doug r says:

    Got my screener of the Simpsons Movie on Tuesday. Ok, my wife bought it at the video store.
    There was a feature I hadn’t seen on a DVD before. If you watch it with the commentary that includes Matt Groening, they actually STOP the film at a few points to discuss the creative process. I was not aware this was possible, maybe other directors are just not as technically savvy.

  3. Me says:

    Speaking of books and movies, can someone who has seen Into the Wild tell me if the movie sticks to the book and deals with all the other crazy kids (including the author) who had similar experiences dealing with life-threatening situations? Those passages made the story relevant and important to me, and I can’t imagine how a movie solely about this one kid who goes to Alaska, is really all that interesting.
    To me, the book was about how this kid’s story was indicative of something larger and more universal that the author really captured. So I’m curious to know if it was a good adaptation or a limited one?
    (Then again, it’ll help if I just go ahead and see it at the second-run theater this weekend.)

  4. jeffmcm says:

    No other crazy kids except those Alexander Supertramp meets along the way, no Jon Kracauer in the movie version.
    But I’d say it did indeed succed at the ‘larger and more universal’ thing you mention.

  5. I actually disagree completely, Jeff, and that’s probably my major problem with the film. It’s too insular and small, it doesn’t lift me the same way reading the book did.

  6. Josh Massey says:

    Oddly enough, No Country For Old Men marked the first time I wished I hadn’t read the book beforehand. The movie (unbelievably so) seemed like a richer experience, but the thing was so faithful that something was lost.
    Oh, and I also just saw Order of the Phoenix and was blown away. I have liked the last two films in the series, but I was surprised at what a large step forward this one took. I seem to be in the minority here, but that sucker is solidly in my top ten right now.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    I didn’t read the book of Into the Wild, so maybe that was your fatal error, Kris.

  8. Cadavra says:

    Josh, if you really wanted to be blown away, you shoulda seen PHEONIX in IMAX with the 3-D sequences!
    On screeners: Disney sent me a plain vanilla one of RATATOUILLE, even though the bells-&-whistles commercial version has been out for a few weeks. 🙁

  9. Me says:

    On Into the Wild, I guess when I heard they were making the movie, I was hoping for something more like Touching the Void, and could see how the form would fit the book perfectly. Moreso than the straight drama it sounds like Penn actually made.
    Still, from the sounds of it, it is a good movie, and if I have the time, I’ll check it out this weekend.

  10. Cadavra, how sad. Maybe you’ll have to go and purchase the DVD instead?!

  11. Eric says:

    Including a digital copy of a film with the DVD is one of those ideas that seems forward-thinking, but I really doubt it’ll ever take off.
    1. It’ll be virtually impossible to provide a digital file that will be playable on even a majority of the portable players out there. There are no standards. And so far the studios are afraid to get into bed with Apple, so even an iPod-specific file seems out of the question.
    2. How much more are they going to charge me for the extra digital copy? $5? $10? You know it’ll be something, and that something is more than the price of the many free programs out there that can digitize a DVD for me.
    David, can you give us any more details on the digital file that’s included with Harry Potter? Format, file size, resolution, etc.?

  12. Ben C says:

    The Say Anything commentary goes on a full twenty minutes longer than the film itself.

  13. David Poland says:

    Cad – You know, this is the Academy rule… no bells and whistles. Some screeners don’t even have steps so you can jump forward in the film, which is pretty basic, especially if you get interrupted when watching somethign and have to go back later.
    But let me recommend the Blu-ray of The Rat. Just saw that Blu-Ray players are now available at the $299 price point. Worth it.

  14. mutinyco says:

    Virgin Mega Store in Times Square has been running a side by side comparison of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Two things I noticed:
    1) Blu-Ray does seem to have an edge. Both are sharp, but I did feel that Blu-Ray had slightly more depth.
    2) Every sample they played from a 35mm-shot movie looked like shit. Digital doesn’t translate film grain well, and HD only makes that problem worse. However, Blu-Ray was also sampling Chicken Little — and as that was digital from start to finish, it looked absolutely exquisite.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon