The Hot Blog Archive for May, 2009

Kirby Dick Transcript… DP/30…

The next step in the evolution of DP/30 will be written transcripts of the chats, for those of you who don’t want to spend the 30 minutes watching pretty pictures of a talking head or two. In honor of the CA Supreme Court decision to uphold Prop 8, here is a first glimpse, from my chat with Kirby Dick about his film Outrage, which, you will see, he feels might benefit from Prop EightRage out there… it’s edited and not complete… if you want the whole bite, the complete video interview is – as all DP/30s are – available.
David Poland: So how did you jump into this particular subject?
Kirby Dick: Well, I was in DC promoting


Doc Layering Is For The Fish

The phenomenon of Doc Layering is once again showing itself to be the wave of the moment in documentary film here at The 35th Annual Seattle International Film Festival. There are three films here about saving the sea and the animals it is inhabited by. The most professional is The Cove, the doc about one particular harbor in Tokyo where dolphins are herded and either sold into being show dolphins (a few hundred) or simply murdered to the tune of over 20,000 a year, even though dolphin meat is (for humans) toxically high in mercury.
The central theme in the film is the mass murder of these dolphins, though there is more than a passing discussion about the cruelty of keeping dolphins in showcase tanks at places like Sea World. In 2004, I watched at entire film at the Palm Beach Film Festival


BYOB – Happy Memorial Day '09

The Seattle fun continues… lots to write… hopefully this afternoon, I will get to it.
We are now into two of the highest profile Sundance docs – The Cove and We Live In Public – that require digestion… especially WLiP, which has some personal resonance that I need to think about for a while. I think the film is about a lot more… and a lot less… than Ondi Timoner might realize or wish to consider. On the other hand, maybe she gets it completely. I’ll have to ask. The Cove, on the other hand, is really about taking action and, as so many great films are, is about the power of the individual when focused. The former is about a person with the power to get started, but who never finishes… the latter about finishing at all costs and not worrying so much about how much attention one gets for starting.
Somewhere in the middle are The Yes Men, who have a kinda sequel to the first doc about them here, The Yes Men Fix The World. They are somewhere between the other two films… interested in very specific goals with very specific action, seeking to publicize their work until after the fact, in order to make their case about the need for us all to wake up. One of the interesting elements of this film is that they seem to be restarting their movie franchise, somehow seeming to be unhappy with the quite excellent first film. In the end, they are not as skilled as documentarians as the last team was – the have the directing credit on this one – and the loss of objectivity is not to their advantage. Still, an interesting film.
Still, I think my favorite so far is Terribly Happy, which, as a function of style not always level of talent, is like a hybrid of David Lynch and Chris Nolan, leading to intrigue, humor, and more ideas than this very intimate piece seems to be capable of delivering. It is possible to overpraise this film and the invocation of these directors may have this effect. But the hybrid makes for a quality film experience and, as is often the case, lower expectations make good seem great.
More later…


An E-Mail From A Committed NO Voter On The SAG Contract

“You may have seen the video on A rigidly scripted mantra that, just like the Guild Summary in our ballots, is remarkable more for what it DOESN’T say than for what it does tell us about the SAG TV/Theatrical contract.
These are pieces of DISinformation brought to us, at OUR expense, by the highly paid Crisis Management team of The Saylor Company, employed by OUR union because OUR union has been hijacked by “go-along-to-get-along” forces that think we can be fooled into drinking the Kool Aid.
VOTE NOW. VOTE NO on the SAG TV/Theatrical Contract
Here is a video hosted by Martin Sheen recommending a NO vote: Send out to the universe.
Below are links to YouTube videos filmed and edited by Rico Bueno of the Wild Bunch of Hollywood, from all the footage he has taken of our Vote No on the Contract pickets and rallies. They are true representations of our membership across the board, speaking from their hearts and their real life experiences. Worth watching.
This is Part One of Rico’s video
This is Part Two of Rico’s video
This is Part Three of Rico’s video
and here is a video by Rhonda De Felice.
Here’s what happened when one member attended the May 21st Informational meeting in Hollywood:
Date: Friday, May 22, 2009, 11:18 AM
Hi everyone….
I recently left a message in support of voting yes for the upcoming theatrical vote. Last night I went to the meeting at the Renaissance Hotelwhich was sponsored by the “Vote Yes” contingency, and I left the 3 hour meeting a definite “NO” vote…to my surprise. I highly recommend you all attend whatever information meetings are available before you vote. There’s a lot of bogus info floating around and I apologize for the last message I posted. At this point, sure, we will lose work in the short term by voting “no” now, but the alternative is to lose our residuals and if this happens, they will be gone forever. That would be tragic for all of us!!!
I hope you will all really inform yourselves before you vote. If anyone wants info about last nights meeting you can contact me directly.
Thanks and I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend!!!!

There is more information on the attached flyers. (1 | 2 | 3)You can download and print copies and pass them on.
In Solidarity
Scott Wilson”

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BYOB – Saturday

Things seem to be going apace with y’all… a bit of soul crunching, load blowing, and adult conversation to boot… glad to see it… here’s a fresh space for some more, as a lovely day in Seattle calls. 4 movies yesterday… good day. Really interesting film called Terribly Happy. More on it, and others, to come…


Friday Estimates by Klady – Terminator @ The Museum

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So… T4 will definitely not be the first $100m weekend of the summer. We’ll have to wait for Tr2.
The first ever $100 million weekend was 2002’s Spider-Man launch. The only May that has not had a $100 million kick-off since then was 2003… when X-Men 2 opened the summer with a very Wolverine-like $85 million. (X2 had stronger legs… but also, less competition.)
After all the talk about the strength of the box office this year, is this a sign of a downturn? Of course not. It’s the movies, stupid. There have never been more than four $40m+ openings in May before… this year, it looks like we wlll have five. The money is being spent, it’s just more spread out.
I would argue that this, however, IS the sign of a trend. More big, mid-sized openings, but fewer and fewer mega-openings. Studios need to adjust to this thinking, and as I have written before, they seem to have already started doing that, as there are fewer mega-priced movies – as well as overly expensive mid-price movies, like the $100m+ comedies – this summer than in years past.
These numbers are looking to be in the Madagascar/The Longest Yard range. TS is not looking much different – though in very different initial release patterns, making direct comparisons awkward at best – than T3. For Museum 2, Day 1 is higher than for the first film, but only about 25%, and the original was released in the days before X-Mas, when there is more shopping than movie going. The original came out of its second weekend with $127m… not likely to happen here. Plus, it faces a lot more competition, starting with Up, than the original did against a January release schedule.
Pretty decent numbers at the art house this weekend, including the experimental release pattern on GFE and the Jessica Biel sell that is only partially a Jessica Biel sell.


Circle Jerkin'

When I saw that Nikki Finke was running Jon Peters’ book proposal, I instantly knew four things: 1) I didn’t care, 2) I wouldn’t read it, 3) Someone trying to fuck with Jon Peters had sent it to Nikki, and 4) It was not news in any sane definition of the word, but 100% gossip about a book that would be 90% gossip when published.
Now, I see that Anne Thompson is jumping into it, following Patrick Goldstein jumping into it, because Kim Masters had already jumped into it.
Who got it first? Why was Nikki falsely claiming an Exclusive? How impressed Patrick was…
But again… the scary thing about this for me – given that Nikki often insists or implies she is leading on stories that she is not leading on… that Kim Masters often runs authoritative pieces weeks and months after it has been covered elsewhere in depth… and that Patrick seems unable to separate what news is and what gossip is at all these days, except that what starts on the web is gossip and what starts in Old Media (or with old media writers lashed to the mast of new media) is news



Seattle opened last night with In The Loop, the muscular Brit political comedy that premiered at Sundance in January. IFC is gettting tamped up for its release.
SIFF is one of the festivals that made plans for an official home on the heat of the economic boom and is now dealing with the bust. But it’s also the 35th birthday of “the biggest festival in America,” showing more movies for more days than anyone else. They rolled out their 35 Club last night, seeking at least $35 from every SIFF attendee. Not too much to ask and a real push up the hill.
Times are hard all over and it’s apparent here… but not where it matters… in the movie theaters.
Meanwhile, we wait on line for lunch at Salumi, one of the greatest joints in all of America. We’ll know what we can have for lunch when we get inside and someone tells us, though a guy did just come out and feed the entire line slices of salami. Yum.


BYOB – On The Road Again

Heading up to Seattle for a week… going for 3 or 4 movies a day… Salumi… Spike Lee… Hostel 3 dvds on the street…
I should be back online tonight…


The Right Guy Won


BYOB Mit Heraus Dem Abschlusswiderstand


Avta..Blah Blah Blah…

It’s always interesting to see how Old Media tries to engage internet buzz…
After being fairly slammed to the ground by James Rocchi on a Cannes panel about running a fan-fake Avatar trailer as The Trailer, and coming up with an kind of disinterest-in-a-major-simple-to-know-error answer that given in public might of gotten her fired by Old Media NYT, Sharon Waxman’s site is responding in much the way Sharon responded to being responsible for a false, poorly conceived wave of stories in the NY Times that the theatrical box office was on life support that led to a bigger wave of journalists taking the lie as gospel…keep shoveling the bullshit as though you are the expert.
Today’s headline blazer…
What’s the Deal With the ‘Avatar’ Trailer?
Studio squelches “Transformers 2” rumors, so is “Ice Age 3” a possibility?
Now even though a sane editor would take the website out of the Avatar business for a while, until they actually had some real news to impart or even comment on, I wouldn’t have any objection if Michael Spier, a good, smart guy, actually did anything to answer the question other than to field a bunch of online hum. But he doesn’t.
Instead, he reports what is not happening… as though that is news. And suggests, in a smarmy way, that something is wrong with the lack of action. Oy.
The answer is quite simple… Fox knows what it has… more importantly, Jim Cameron knows what he has… and the marketing world has changed dramatically in the last few years and summer trailers for Christmas event movies… just not important anymore.
The Weinsteins releasing a Nine trailer last week was not a show of strength, but a show that they were in Cannes and needed buzz for the company, long under the constant scrutiny of a media waiting for the wheels to fall off. That’s the ONLY trailer out there right now for a November or December movie.
The Lovely Bones wrapped principal photography almost a year and a half ago! Look for the trailer in September… IF they take the film to Toronto. IF! If not, they probably sit on it until Scorsese’s Shutter Island opens on October 2.
As far as I can tell, the #1 release of last December, Gran Torino, had it’s big trailer launch in… late October.
The #2 release of last December, coincidentally Fox’s Marley & Me, had it’s big trailer launch in… late October.
Even #3, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, after dealing with an international trailer break in May and throwing out a teaser trailer in mid-June, waited until September before finally releasing a complete QT trailer on Apple.
And all this prattle about trailering before a 3D movie… oy. Avatar is not a 3D movie. It is THE 3D movie. Shouldn’t we all expect it to be treated as such?
The NYT Times blog entry, noted by Spier, has a more sane sense of perspective. IMAX is treating this like the third big event in the history of their company, after The Polar Express and The Dark Knight.
I would bet good money that we will see one of two kinds of trailer launches.
1. They can go to ComiCon in July and launch it there, though there is not much of a history of December launches starting there.
2. They can launch, along with 40% of all the materials they will release in advance of the film, at some kind of big Fox event of some kind, probably in October.
That is how they roll… especially with Jeffrey Godsick back in the saddle. There is no reason to rush it out. They won’t have trouble getting attention. Once they launch, there will be an undying thunder until the release. So why would they consider sucking the air out of the room and spending a ton more managing this movie for more months than will change the game for them at the box office?
And add this… Fox has ONE movie between September and the release of Avatar, The Fantastic Mr Fox. They have seven between now and the end of September. How would you expend your publicity energy?


Publicity of the Future

I looked at the bottom of an e-mail from publicity firm MPMR and saw, “mPRm

Press Release – This Sounds Like A Great, Visual Heart-Tugger To Me



BYOB… T100 Style


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