The Hot Blog Archive for October, 2008

Rashid Khalidi

The Association Scumbags of the McCain Campaign are looking for one thing in the Rashid Khalidi tape… an image of Obama standing next to an Arab.
I am done being nice in any way about this campaign… scum, scum, nothing but scum.
The LA Times wrote this article last April. The McCain camp showed no interest until… two days ago. There is no indication whatsoever about Obama being influenced politically by Khalidi… in fact, both have agreed that they disagree on Khalidi’s positions on Israel. And now, knowing that the LAT will hold up their journalistic standards, John McCain is saying that he understands that Bill Ayers is in the tape too. At a college professor’s going away party… on his way to a new job at Columbia. So this way, they get to mine this crap and use the withholding of the tape as a scare tactic.
How can John McCain sleep at night?
How low has he sunk?
THIS is the mark of the man. THIS is what speaks about who this man has become. McCain was an honorable man who has become the very worst kind of political scumbag, using insinuation and alleged associations, trumped up well beyond reality, to try to scare a few people in thinking the black man is evil and untrustworthy.
I am beyond disgusted.
And before you bring up your bullshit, “this angers you because it scares you” line, think about what you are supporting here. We can disagree all day long on politics, but scum my tactics are scummy tactics, whatever side you are on. I am horrified that this system has brought this man so low. An American tragedy.


Is This Right?

It is certainly anyone’s right to take a position on anything in this election.
But if AP is runinng a columnist who is taking a position, shouldn’t the piece be labelled as “commentary” and not simply published as though it is the same kind of straight news that AP offers most of the time?
Calvin Woodward runs an anti-Obama take on the Obama infomercial, claiming to be a “fact check,”
when if you read the fact checks, most of the “false” information is based on, admittedly, opinions about the details and not actual false facts.
Anyway… I’m not concerned about this guy going out under the AP header… only that his work is not marked clearly as commentary, which agree with it or not, is exactly what it is.


BYOB 102908

It’s Wednesday… and Bond shows tonight… and AFI launches tomorrow night… and Che’ in The Chinese on Saturday…


Who Will Defend This Poor Man?



I Broke A Sweat This Morning.

Change, like death, is a funny thing. You may know it


Oscar Movie du Jour 2 – Frost/Nixon

Another quickie…
The conversion from stage to film is pretty much perfect. It is very, very much the stage show well turned into a film, though it never feels stilted or limited by its origin. If you didn’t know it was a stage show first, you might not guess… anymore than you might about something like Good Night, And Good Luck. Ron Howard does an excellent job, though the only real new image idea he found was the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop for Nixon’s banishment… lovely.
Frank Langella just gets better and better as the movie moves along, as he did on stage. A remarkable piece of work and a sure nomination to go with it. Michael Sheen is excellent, as he was on stage, but just doesn’t get the showy role… go for Supporting Actor and take your nom, sir.
Great supporting cast of Platt, McFayden, Rockwell, Rebecca Hall, and one significant improvement from the stage, a subtle, strong performance by Kevin Bacon. The improvement was not just the actor, but more about the role being open to a more subtle interpretation in the film, where it didn’t need to reach the back row.
It’s The Queen with one of our kings and a little less flourish to it. It should be a very popular film for adults and curious 20somethings.


Billboards… Paid Billboards

Interesting new use of outdoor technology.
Sony seems to be breaking new ground with an old idea with electronic billboards – which rotate 6 ads or so in most situations – that are Bond-only, with 6 rotating images, 4 or which are for advertisers who are co-branding with the movie.
This has become a norm for TV ads, with marketers jumping on the hot new movie for the cost of a major ad buy, cutting the number of ads the studio itself feels compelled to purchase for cash. But I have never seen this kind of use on a billboard.
Of course, these electronic billboards are relatively new, so of course, it is a new idea. And a very smart one.
My guess is that Sony is paying 50% or less of the cost of owning the entire video rotation billboard with the variety of ads, all of which focus on the film, a unique proposition that makes a strong impression.
This is especially interesting as outdoor is one of the areas where there is a lot of budget cutting in studio marketing plans.
I wonder how quickly Summit can organize a similar deal for outdoor on so-far-little-seen Twilight outdoor.


Milk Does A Critic Good

This is a quickie between films, but…
For the first time in my memory, we have a major Oscar movie that actually is a gay agenda movie. But on the making, it is so much more. It is a brilliant, powerfully humane piece of work that reaches well beyond the issue of gay rights or any idea that this is a gay-only film.
Sean Penn gives an Oscar lock performance of power and subtlety that ranks with the best of his career.
Great work by Franco, Hirsch, and Josh Brolin, who may not have enough screen time or empathy for awards, but got the mixed emotions of a murderer so right that I felt my blood go cold watching a shot of him walking a fateful hallway.
And the mixture of doc footage and this drama is amazing, pushing the bar farther and racking up another great piece by Harris Savides.
More later…
(Correction, 9:35p – Misspell in iPhone entry land…)


Slapping At Bolt

Bolt has become a TribCo obsession in the last couple of days.
John Horn had an interesting story yesterday about Disney attaching a 6 minute Bolt preview/EPK to Beverly Hills Chihuahua and getting some pushback from exhibitors… though apparently not enough pushback to make it a story before Horn saw the segment in a theater with his kids and asking questions. (Ironically, this blog-like bit of reporting-after-personal-experience was exposed by BFF Patrick Goldstein in his blog entry.)
Then today, TribCo


DP/30 – Thandie Newton, Part 2


Andrew Johnston

It’s been a long time since I have seen Andrew Johnston.
We lived on opposite coasts, friendly primarily at film fests. There were years in which we chatted regularly on the phone or e-mailed a lot, often suggesting quality NY-based articles we could link to. But that kinda petered out, especially after he left Time Out New York for US Weekly.
But he was a smart guy. And he was one of those people who I was always genuinely happy to run into. He was often deep in thought, with a frown… but he always found a smile and a good thought.
And now, he is gone at 40. Cancer. Very, very sad.
He will be missed.

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Another (Major) One Bites The Dust

And so, the LA Times is now a one critic newspaper.
Good times.
Carina Chocano is off the payroll, leaving only Ken Turan as a full time celluloid thumper. As usual, fame before beauty


A New Lie Via Drudge

Another nutter out there is selling an absurd interpretation of an Obama chat on public radio in Illinois about whether the Warren court was radical, which he feels it was not, in interpreting the constitution regarding civil rights.
He then talks about the civil rights movement being so court focused that it forgot to put appropriate energy into the real ways of building power, organizing within local communities.
Drudge chooses to spin it into the completely willful misinterpretation that the Naked Emperor News likes, which is “2001 OBAMA: ‘TRAGEDY’ THAT ‘REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH’ NOT PURSUED.”


Returning To Movies…

I have to say, I am looking forward to it.
And not just because this blog will be more fun… and I think it will be. But because I really do love movies and look forward to really caring about them that way again.
The drama of the election is, indeed, above and beyond. For me, the election has gone from unwinnable by either Obama or Clinton, to believing in Obama, to being really offended by Clinton getting nastier as her chances slimmed beyond a reasonable comeback, to thinking McCain would be honorable, to giving up on that, to being stunned by Palin, to being amazed at the level of interest in Palin, to being amazed by just how bad a choice Palin was, to trying not to be smug.
And soon, it will be over. And I will pray that Obama, clearly the better choice, can get a real handle on things. Unlike Bill Clinton, I don’t believe that Obama is ready to throw his beliefs overboard if the water looks rough. But can he really do great things while holding on to them? I don’t know.
But I’ll be at the movies. And sadly, watching the parade of pain in a narrowing, but ultimately healthy industry.
I’m ready to get back to it, fulltime. I am glad that I made the choice to allow politics onto this blog – and not onto MCN. But enough is enough… just nine more days of it.


Another Interesting Polling Anomaly

I find myself gobsmacked each day, after seeing reports of poll after poll after poll of Obama being at least 7 point ahead and pulling away in many once-contended states, a new headline of


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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