The Hot Blog Archive for May, 2006

That Slippery Summer Slope

Can we make any summer assuptions anymore?
“In spite of all the slump talk, last summer was the first in history to have seven $185 million-plus movies, the previous record being five. A big part of that was the pleasant surprise of Batman Begins and Mr & Mrs Smith joining July 4 targeted War of the Worlds as three films over that figure in June. Until Spider-Man 2 and Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban both did it in 2004, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me was the only June release in history to crack that mark. (EDIT, 1:06p, 5/25/06 – I stand corrected… the first Batman did it in 1989.)
This summer, Cars, Superman Returns and Click all have a shot at the target. Some tough talk about the first two have some people questioning them and Adam Sandler seems to have a glass ceiling at $180 million, so all three could come up short just as easily – though all three are pretty sure bets to come close in even the worst case scenario.”

The \rest of the 20 Weeks of Summer Column


My Footnotes To The Used Guys Story

Good story by Sharon Waxman on the end of Used Guys, a very expensive high-concept comedy that SCREAMS The Cable Guy and Toys..
That is the first of a few things that were left out that probably should have been included.
1. The Cable Guy


Learning From Having Your Nose Shoved In It

Funny how the take on Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette is described by Reuters as “Cool French reaction to ‘Antoinette’,” by the AP as “Coppola’s Marie Antoinette earns a few catcalls from French at Cannes,” and by The Telegraph as “French fail to see the funny side of Marie Antoinette
Ya think that blaming The French instead of offering the kind of definitive view the media loves to simplify it all into has something to do with the whiplash on the Da Vinci Code reviews?
At least The TonyOhla has the good taste to take the heat for themselves, as their two takes equal one mixed review.


One Problem With The Videogame Biz

There are a bunch of movies that don’t have videogame titles…. too much money involved and if the movie stiffs, the game is likely to as well. And of course, it takes years of lead time.
So when Snakes on a Plane, which seems like the most obvious dark horse videogame idea of the summer, arrives in August, don


Why Can't The Left Make Better Movies?

Damn that right wing! They are so good at making big popcorn movies and the left just doesn’t know how to entertain an audience…
HA! Just kidding. But here is a look at two well meaning films that I wish were made well.
The Hot Button, May 24, 2006


Odd Press Release Header

I know that it’s product. You know that it’s product. We all know that they all know it’s product. But did they have to call it product?
This is how the header for the Fox Searchlight schedule for the next 10 months showed up in my inbox this morning.

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Ghost Rider – Home & Away

So many trailers are now getting picked up wherever they land by websites, Sony apparently decided that launching the Ghost Rider trailer, both international and domestic, on Apple at the same time. So then, the question… how are they different?
Well, there are some minor style differences, a date on the domestic, and more printed words on the domestic. Aside from that, I picked up on these three variations.
First the domestic
Peter Fonda doesn’t appear to the rest of the world
This is the first image of Eva Mendes here at home
Fire… heh heh
And now the international
A kiss is still a kiss… but not in the USA
Here is our first lingering glimpse of Ms Mendes in the rest of the world
Ghost Rider rips up a small commercial street, but not here…
One of the things consistent in both versions? Ghost Rider uses his flaming chain almost the exact same way that Spider-Man uses his web to pull himself across the face of a building. And it’s in slow motion in case you might have missed it. Magic.


New York Times Editors Staying Away From Positive Box Office Stories In Droves

The New York Times couldn’t be bothered to write a story on the success of The Da Vinci Code last weekend. They did pick up a Reuters and an International Herald Tribune wire stories.
This just continues the record-shattering 29 week slump in box office reporting (aside from Arts, Briefly) in the New York Times, from Oct 8, 2005’s reporting of the absurdly off-the-mark OTX study, entitled “Study Finds Young Men Attending Fewer Films” until May 8, 2006’s “New ‘Mission’ Opens Weaker Than Expected.”
There were two “up” weeks in those 29 weeks. After months of “slump” reporting, Lorne Manly wrote, “Doing the Hollywood Math: What Slump?” on Dec 11. This was followed by Sharon Waxman, who took a moment to write “A Good, but Not Great Start For Kong” on Dec 19, 2005.
But after that, nothing all winter and spring, as the box office trended up.
This phenomenon could be explained by a BSX study that shows that middle aged editors don’t like going to the movies anymore and don’t want to edit any stories that show that exhibition is back up this year and that Home Entertainment is now “inexplicably” slumping.
Fortunately, Ms. Waxman and her editors did find the time to question the release strategy of The Da Vinci Code just one week ago. If the BSX figures are right, don


Getting Into The Da Vinci Figures



X-Men 3: The Last Review

X-Men: The Last Stand is a real Brett Ratner movie.
And by that, I mean that it is endlessly flawed, hamfisted in many ways, but still has enough flourishes to get away with it. Not every Brett Ratner film is as successful a film as this one. There were moments when I considered whether this is his best film. It may be. But it is really too flawed to allow the word


The New (And Probably Last) Superman Returns Trailer

I know I’ve been tough on Superman Returns, but this new trailer, which seems to be responding to some of the gentility of The Man Of Steel is much better. Consider the teen boys sold.
But is the closer, which you will see if you watch, a real Twister/ID4/Day After Tomorrow moment that make it a must-see movie for a lot of people? Or is it just too familiar?


Interesting HBO Weekend

In my hotel room this weekend, I somehow ended up watching a mini-festival of bad movies featuring Batman & Robin and Sliver.
Wow! They were as bad as I remember. Maybe worse!


Commenter Entry Of The Week

Jimmy The Gent started this conversation in another thread…
Here’s a fun question: What has been your most memorable summer at the movies?
For me, I think it’s a draw between 1986 and 1993. I was 7 going on 8 in 1986. You had: Top Gun, Hard Choices, Raw Deal (a guilty pleasure), Invaders From Mars, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Mona Lisa, The Manhattan Project, Back to School, The Karate Kid, Part II (another guilty pleasure), Ruthless People, Runniing Scared, Labyrinth, About Last Night…, Psycho III (an underrated movie), Big Trouble in Little China, Great Mouse Detective,
Aliens, Stand by Me, She’s Gotta Have It, Manhunter, The Fly, and Night of the Creeps. You also had so-bad-its-good stuff like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Maximum Overdrive, Cobra, and Transformers: The Movie.
In 1993 I was 14 going on 15. That summer saw the release of: Much Ado About Nothing, American Heart, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Dave, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Carnosaur, Menace II Society, Cliffhanger, The Long Day Closes, The Music of Chance, What’s Love got To Do With It, Jurassic Park, Sleepless in Seattle, Jaquot, The firm, Rookie of the Year (a great baseball movie), In the Line of Fire, Poetic Justice (an uderrated movie), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (an underrated late-career Brooks with an early glimpse at Chappelle), So I Married an Axe Murderer (early Fat Bastard sighting), The Fugitive, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Heart and Souls (a great Downey performance), The Secret Garden, Manhattan Murder Mystery (a great Allen, a great portrait of marriage, and one of the lovliest showcases for NYC), King of the Hill, The Ballad of Little Jo, and Man Without a Face (a fascinating movie to examine in light of Gibson’s later directorial work).
Who’s next?


Friday Estimates By Klady

Okay… not much more to say about The Da Vinci Code. I


Mea Culpa-ing Now

Well, I should start eating crow now.
The Da Vinci Code is still an awful movie, but it will get well past half way to my 20 Weeks of Summer estimate this weekend alone.
It will be another week or two before we see what kind of legs this one has, but expect a barrage of “critics are out of touch” stories before the ink on Sunday’s papers dries.


The Hot Blog

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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