The Hot Blog Archive for July, 2007

A Correction… writ small

Well, at least the Los Angeles Times ran some form of correction. It is not nearly detailed enough or prominent enough to counter the heavily headlined misinformation of their previous story.
But it is something…
For the Record
July 26, 2007
Film critics: The headline (“Online Critics Expand Boycott Against Fox”) and deck (“Supporters Nationwide Join Chicago Group in Protesting Its Limited Access to Screenings”) on a July 20 article in the Calendar section inaccurately suggested that the Chicago Film Critics Assn.’s online critics alone were protesting 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Films’ alleged practice of limiting access to screenings and that supporters nationwide had joined Chicago’s protest. Film critics in other cities voiced support for the Chicago group but did not formally join it. The organization’s chief, Dann Gire, now says there was no formal boycott but a voluntary “action of protest.” The article also misspelled Gire’s first name as Dan.

Noah's Sienna Frenzy

Three years into Sienna Miller’s career everyone knew who she was, but nobody cared. It was hard to tell if the young lady had any discernible talent other than to smoke cigarettes, wear pretty clothes and tell the paparazzi to “fuck off.” I must say that personally, I was beginning to hate her.
The final straw for me came with the release of Factory Girl, a movie that wears its vapidity like a badge of honor. Ms. Miller’s performance resembles nothing like any human being anybody has ever met. Her performance was at turns flat, hammy, and worst of all: unoriginal. Miller was playing the ultimate wannabe: Edie Sedgwick, a woman famous for hanging out with more famous people and it was hard not to see the comparisons between the actress and her role.
After I walked out of Factory Girl I became convinced that there was nothing separating Miller from any other limited actress like Kirsten Dunst or Lindsay Lohan except for the fact that she had a British accent. And hey, Lohan did a pretty serviceable British accent in The Parent Trap, too.
Then I saw Interview and everything changed for me.

The rest…



Robert Zemeckis


Chicago Film Critics Assoc Update

As I have been the covering from the start – unlike some who would claim an exclusive because they found an e-mail in their inbox following two weeks of me reporting the evolving story and putting my ass on the line with the LA Times, Fox, and friends in the CFCA – here is the most recent event in the CFCA mishigoss, a letter from Dan Gire to his CFCA membership.
The reason this is not the last step in the chain is that the details of what the CFCA’s enforcement plan and Fox’s expectations are not addressed in this e-mail. That is the crux of this issue, not all the details, which were already pretty much covered in this blog in total days ago. This letter says, “The CFCA offered to put disciplinary teeth in its Ethics Code to ensure that its members would not release movie reviews early.” Dann Gire has not responded to an e-mail asking for any detail about what those teeth – understood initially to be dismissal from the group, the penalty of which includes not receiving Academy screeners – are now meant to be.
Dann also does some dancing with the timeline, Fox’s displeasure with the LA Times story, in which his quote that “an agreement between the studio and his 59-member group was imminent” was a particular cause of irritation since the deal was still up in the air with Fox waiting for Gire to get back to them, and finally with the upheaval in the ranks of CFCA membership, many of whom openly discussed leaving the group in light of the ham-fisted and embarrassing handling of all of this.
However, he does confirm how error ridden the LAT story was. Still waiting for that corrected piece, LAT.
If, in fact, the deal is set – the settlement is still not officially “signed off on” by Fox – and the penalty is being removed from CFCA membership and Fox screening lists if embargoes are broken (professionally or anonymously), I believe it can be a template to cover many of the screening issues of recent years. There will still most certainly be selective screenings and movies not screened at all, by Fox and every studio. But a formal agreement on embargo is an idea whose time has come, creating accountability on both sides.
Dan’s letter starts below and the rest can be found after the jump.
My Fellow Chicago Film Critics:
This will hopefully clear up a lot of the misinformation that has been passed around and reported about the Chicago Film Critics Association’s negotiations with 20th Century Fox.

(continued after the jump)

Read the full article »



Updated, 6:44p
I am headed to ComicCon for a screening tonight… so I won’t be here when the The Simpsons Movie review posts on the MCN front page later this afternoon. Here is a preview… click on the front page for the whole thing in the late afternoon…
As I write in much more detail at the top of the review, “My embargo was lifted and others, I was told, were being contacted to lift their embargoes. Obviously, this doesn



“You don’t want girls to think you suck dick at fucking pussy.”
That kind of says it all for Superbad. It is profane, obnoxiously stupid, and somehow precisely true. And you have to think about what was just said a few times while you are busy laughing at it.
There are dozens of other extremely quotable lines and moments from this film from producer Judd Apatow, the real teenage years of screenwriters Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, played in the film by Jonah Hill (playing Seth) and Michael Cera (playing Evan), for indie comedy director turned hip commercial comedy director, Greg Mottola.
But it is the overall package that makes Superbad easily the funniest film of 2007 so far and the hippest, stupidest, smartest, and most sweetly profane comedy of what now has to be known as The Apatow Oeuvre.

The rest….


Lo Notes

David Halbfinger took on the “trouble in movies” angle on the Lindsay Lohan arrest, getting a solid quote from Bernie Brillstein that, “I believe she


More ComicCon

ADDED, Wed 10:30a – Gavin Hood is now not heading to San Diego, as otehr business commitments came up. Also, the latest word is that Sweeney Todd is now not showing footage, in spite of Entertainment Weekly saying so… which actually surprised me… they generally don’t jump the gun. And I won’t be shocked, really, if the footage ends up turning up in spite of all the flipping.
The thing about all of this is that any veteran of studio events is aware that lots of stuff like this changes all the time… lots of talent to wrangle, lots of personal publicists to deal with, lots of choices to make (like showing Beowulf in 2-D in Hall H, but screening that footage in 3-D for press tonight).
So ComicCon is just another battleground for “scoops,” that are really gifts a day before showing this stuff to the whole world… which makes you wonder whether the generosity pulls the bottom out of the reveal?
This e-mail came across the desktop today…
A director friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) presenting materials from his film at Comicon, just told me he has had to CENSOR some of those materials because the Con wants to cater to the family audience. He’s actually making edits in his finished film footage so he’ll be allowed to show the material at the con…!
That’s right…Comicon staff is now CENSORING the material presented there.
I wonder how long it will be before they censor the outfits the girls are wearing and ban all R. Crumb and Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic from the Convention Hall Floor…?
He also speculated this is part of the reason Fox pulled out of the Con, because of HITMAN and AVP 2 and their desire to not censor their materials (see below).
Since when did Comicon cater only to the family audience? Like…ah…how about NEVER?!?
Comicon is dead. Long live Comicon.
I also have this:
Fox pulls out of Comic-Con after organizers nix its violent presentation
Fox will not be making a presentation at next week’s Comic-Con because organizers said their planned montages from the R-rated movies Alien vs. Predator 2 and Hitman were too violent for the increasing number of families and children that show up in San Diego for the convention. Fox said it is backing out simply because its presentations won’t be ready for the event, but sources close to situation said the studio decided if it couldn’t promote those two films it would rather show nothing at all. Comic-Con has established itself as the place where studios unveil the first looks at projects they want fanboys to buzz about.
Nearly 120,000 people are expected to attend this year’s convention, which starts its four-day run next Thursday (July 26). The event used to cater to young men, but has in recent years attracted more families with children.
This year’s panels include comedies Superbad and Get Smart and fantasy films The Golden Compass, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and Pixar’s Wall-E. Fox will be the only major studio not participating.

It turns out that Fox will be in San Diego, in spite of pulling out of the drama over them pulling out of the Room H spectacle. Gavin Hood will be there for Wolverine, though it is not clear whether Hugh Jackman will get off of Baz’s set long enough to come to The Con.
In addition, there will be a breakfast on Saturday morning where they will show some footage from Death Sentence. James Wan and Garrett Hedlund will be there and star Kevin Bacon will be in right after the breakfast (late flight).


The Frenzy Of Noah

This is the first effort on MCN from Noah, who most of you will recognize as a contributor on this blog. Here are some excerpts from the first column… have at it!
I see everything. I will see any movie that comes out because regardless of what the critics might be saying, I will always take the chance that perhaps they are wrong and perhaps I will be able to get that feeling that I look for. It’s like a drug for me and I can’t wait to get my next fix.
I never want to hate a movie. I might have preconceived notions, might feel that based on a certain star or a certain director that I may not like what I am about to view. But when I sit down in that seat, everything goes away and all I want to do is be entertained. But more than that, I secretly am hoping when I sit down to watch the next Brett Ratner film that he will somehow give me that high that I am longing for.
3) I’m not a particularly big fan of Asian cinema. I don’t really know what it is, but I’ve never really enjoyed anything other than a few Kurosawa films. I think it’s probably my fault, though I don’t know why.
4) The only critics I read regularly are James Berardinelli and Roger Ebert.
7) I’m 24 years old, live in New York City with my girlfriend and I try to go to the movies as much as possible. I’m also a rabid Mets and Knicks fan.
9) I’m extremely stubborn about my opinions, but when in arguments I try not to be mean-spirited. So I try not to call anyone an asshole just because they thought 300 was awesome and I thought it sucked.
10) 300 sucked hard.



Lunch With… Don Murphy

You asked for it… you got it…
Don Murphy on Transformers, Shoot Out, and life in Hollywood.
Here is the first part of the conversation.


Pot, Kettle, Lie

Okay… here’s an idea…
Who can come up with the best false rumor about the new Harry Potter look?
I’ll send the best/worst one a DVD or something if you want it.
Come on… let’s be a web of abuse!!!


Random Monday

Some people seem to have random things they want to discuss, so here is the space…
Please note SPOILERS if you are offering them… and really make them stand out, especially if you are chancing ruining someone’s Potter reading experience.


When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman…

I’ll keep this brief.
One of the difficult parts of juggling a blog, a column, a news site, and a lot of time on the phone and in person with “the industry” is remaining clear on what I have actually said or written out loud and what has been conversation between the lines. Remembering what is on and off the record is clear. But sometimes I feel like I have been talking about something forever and then I have to really consider whether I wrote it down for your consumption.
I have had so many conversations about Par and DW in the last two years, on and off the record, with stories I have run or decided to let slide, I have lost my grasp of what page I stopped reading at “last night.” So I shall sum up…
Ron Grover’s Business Week story on Paramount and DreamWorks was, essentially, a four-month old look at the situation at the studios Though it did a nice job of tying much of it together, it missed some of the real and simple causes of friction.
Meanwhile, C. Nikki Finke is trying to claim ownership of the issue, almost none of which dropped for the first time on her blog, no matter how many times she tells everyone she had an exclusive. The exception, however, is that she’s been getting the real inside spin from Grey’s camp for the last few months, starting with the comedic piece about how DreamWorks now looks like a reasonable purchase by Paramount. The problem with that analysis is that it is all surface. Someday, Nikki will learn to do her math and not just take everything at face value.


The Rat, The Fat & The Matt

It’s a funny thing about franchises.
There is only one Bond, 22 films into the series, an event pretty much every time out of the box. No doubt, a lot of what keeps it fresh is that the Bonds and the directors change while Bond remains a genre of its own through each generation.
Still, the top four films in the world this year are three or more films into franchises (Pirates, Spider-Man, Shrek, and Potter), the only films so far to gross more than $500 million worldwide (and likely the only ones this summer).
And then there is Bourne.

The rest


MCN Down

10:19p – And we’re back!
We’re working on it… not sure why the front page won’t load, but it won’t… fun fun fun… anytime now…


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