The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2005

Weekend Estimates – 12/11/05

Oh, those Christians!
With reports of a Friday number ranging from $23 million to $27 million, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe finding itself stuck at $65.7 million for the weekend is a small disappointment. Friday was great, Saturday was a little soft and Sunday is estimating low.
If Narnia’s number holds up, it


Have You Seen The Kong Girl Spots?

King Kong should be through the roof, but the tracking says that it is not doing nearly as well with females with males.
So Universal send their spot masters back to the drawing board and came up with two “girl friendly” spots. 1 | 2
How do they work?


LA Film Critics

Does any of this help anyone? Hurt anyone? Is it remembered on Monday?
Best Picture
Brokeback Mountain
Runner-up: A History of Violence
Best Director
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Runner-up: David Cronenberg, A History of Violence
Best Actor
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Runner-up: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Best Actress
Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone
Runner-up: Dame Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Best Supporting Actor
William Hurt, A History of Violence
Runner-up: Frank Langella, Good Night, and Good Luck
Best Supporting Actress
Catherine Keener, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Capote, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, & The Interpreter
Runner-up: Amy Adams, Junebug
Best Screenplay
Dan Futterman, Capote
Runner-up: Noah Baumbach, The Squid & The Whale

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Pryor Is Dead

Long Live Pryor.
My memory of the man is from a room in the “Riot House” when I was 13, overlooking the Comedy Store driveway. Pryor drives in – I think it was a Corvette – and we yell. “Hey Richard!” And he yells back… two or three rounds of yelps up to us on the 8th floor. A good guy. And a walking legend.
Walking no more. But he should be remembered forever… for his film work, yes, but more so for being a breakthrough star for comedy in every way, including but not limited to being a Black comedian.
The great SNL sketch, “Racist Word Association” after the jump…

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Friday Box Office Estimates – 12/10/05

There is little doubt now, The Chronicles of Narnia will be the biggest December opening in history, and is likely to be surpassed next weekend by King Kong. A monster month.
It is possible, remotely, that Narnia will for short of LOTR: Return of the King, but given the youth appeal, it seems more likely that Saturday will have a significant upswing. The other question will be whether Sunday suffers for the half-day loss of the presumed Christian audience.


It's Funny…

To hear Jay Leno having the same voice as I have this week.
I’ll be writing some over the weekend. Sorry for the quiet time, but I am trying to get healthy and apparently sleeping helps.


Narnia's coming

Is it worth lining up for?
And how many of you got to that midnight screening of Memoirs of a Geisha last night?


Murder Of A Geisha

To the non-Japanese eye, the life of the geisha may appear intoxicatingly exotic, perfumed with face powder and the mildest suggestion of sex, but at least in the film, which is credited to the screenwriter Robin Swicord, the whole thing plays out like “As the Okiya Turns,” complete with devious rivals, swoonworthy swains, fabulous accouterments, a jaw-dropping dance number recycled from Madonna’s Drowned World tour and much clinching, panting and scheming.”
“Even the formidable Ms. Gong cannot surmount the ruinous decision to have her and Ms. Zhang, along with the poorly used Mr. Yakusho, deliver their lines in vaguely British-sounding English that imparts an unnatural halting quality to much of their dialogue. The. Result. Is. That. Each. Word. Of. Dialogue. Sounds. As. If. It. Were. Punctuated. By. A. Full. Stop. Which. Robs. The. Language. Of. Its. Watery. Flow. And. Breath. Of. Real. Life. Even. As. It. Also. Gives. New. Meaning. To. The. Definition. Of. The. Period. Movie.”

Who Wrote This Brutalization Of Cold Mountin’:
A. Armond White
B. Rex Reed
C. Manohla Dargis
D. Joe Morgenstern
The answer (no cheating!)


Thursday Slog…

I have something in my chest… not thinking flu… but feeling a little like John Hurt.
There’s a 20 Weeks column going up in a little while that might offer some conversational fodder.
Have you been looking at , the new NYT Oscar blog, The Carpetbagger?
Are you interested in Time-Warner trying to compete with Defamer?
I’m sure I’ll think of something worth blogging after lunch…


Still Breathing…

Sorry about the lack of posting…schedule’s a little screwy…


Munich Displeasure

Shmuel Rosner of Haaretz is not a fan of Munich.
His position is interesting… and even from his POV, not as negative as the expectations of some.
But more compelling are the responses, which quickly make clear just how strong people’s feelings are on these issues and how unwilling most are to accept the point of view of others.


Hot Button Preview

Kong and Munich today… not posted yet (as of 2:41am), but…
“Included is what will go down in history as the greatest CG action scene ever, which includes the trailer shot of Kong, Ann, and the T-Rex. Imagine Jurassic Park times 10 and a whole lot more. That scene will be held up to the Ben Hur chariot race, the opening of Saving Private Ryan, the opening chase of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Matrix chase sequence, the T2 chase, the Heat bank robbery, and others unnamed as the very best in history.”
“Fears from pro-Israel folks are completely unfounded, though undoubtedly, someone will find some reason to complain. That someone will be a braying jackass. There is one speech from a Palestinian about how he perceives the conflict with Israel, but it is really about his perception and not a direct attack on Israel, even if he believes in the end of Israel. Moreover, there is a lot of Jew love in this movie. The discussion of honor being inherent to the Jewish religion is repeated a few times.
But most importantly, the film really isn


Word From NY

I head Munich screened this morning for NBR and they are stilll expected to go for Brokeback Mountain, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Felicty Huffman. Nothing clearly for Munich, though Lynn Cohen (who attended the Q&A after the screening) has an outside shot at Supporting Actress.
But of course… this could all change by morning. The small core that decides who wins NBR seems to make the calls that they decide are best for business.
Truth is, the NBR is so disreputable that I probbaly shouldn’t be reporting this at all. It just doesn’t matter.


T3 – Munich Myths & Truths

The Myths and Reality of Munich
After the slaughter of its Olympians, Israel vowed to hunt down the killers. But, says a new book, that’s not whom it got
Posted Sunday, Dec. 04, 2005
Golda Meir didn’t want to believe the news. The Israeli Prime Minister had heard media reports that West German police had rescued the Israeli Olympic athletes taken hostage by terrorists in Munich. Now Zvi Zamir, head of the Mossad, was phoning from Germany at 3 a.m. to correct that account. “I saw it with my own eyes,” he told her. “No one was left alive.”
That was the end of a debacle that had begun 23 hours earlier, when Palestinian terrorists from the Black September organization burst into the dorm housing the Israeli delegation at the 1972 Olympics and took 11 of its members hostage. It was also the start of a much longer, more complicated chapter in the saga: Israel’s methodical extraction of revenge. About the events in Munich on Sept. 5, 1972, there is considerable clarity. The story of the reprisal missions, on the other hand, has been befogged by mystery. The notion persists that the Israelis drew up a list of those responsible for Munich, then, one by one, knocked them off. But that’s largely a myth, according to an upcoming book by TIME reporter Aaron J. Klein, Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel’s Deadly Response (Random House; 272 pages). The Israelis, Klein writes, had to settle for smaller targets, killing activists who for the most part had nothing to do with the Munich massacre and leaving alive, to this day, some who were involved.

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T2 – Steven's Prayer For Peace

His “Prayer For Peace”
Posted Sunday, Dec. 04, 2005
Just after finishing his new movie about the aftermath of the massacre at the Munich Olympics, Steven Spielberg talked with TIME movie critic Richard Schickel, who collaborated with him on the TV documentary Shooting War, about his reasons for taking on Munich, his anger at the International Olympic Committee and his modest plan for improving Arab-Israeli relations.
TIME: WOULD IT BE FAIR TO SAY THAT THIS MOVIE IS, IN THE END, ABOUT THE HUMAN COST OF A QUAGMIRE? Yes. And also for me this movie is a prayer for peace. I always kept thinking about that as I was making it. Some-where inside all this intransigence there has to be a prayer for peace. Because the biggest enemy is not the Palestinians or the Israelis. The biggest enemy in the region is intransigence. Do you know Amos Oz’s books? There’s a wonderful quote we found, that sort of makes sense to me: “In the lives of individuals, and of peoples, too, the worst conflicts are often those that break out between those who are persecuted.” They see in each other’s faces a reflection of some larger oppressor. That may well be the case with the 100-year conflict between Arabs and Jews.
DO YOU THINK THIS FILM WILL DO ANY GOOD? I’ve never, ever made a movie where I said I’m making this picture because the message can do some good for the world–even when I made Schindler’s List. I was terrified that it was going to do the opposite of good. I thought perhaps it might bring shame to the memory of those who didn’t survive the Holocaust–and even worse to those who did. I made the picture out of just pure wanting to get that story told. I thought it was important that at least my kids someday could see what happened, just to hear that story being told. I feel the same way about Munich. I don’t think any movie or any book or any work of art can solve the stalemate in the Middle East today.

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The Hot Blog

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