The Hot Blog Archive for January, 2013

Live Action Toy Story

byob globes


Weekend Estimates by 0DarKlady

So… it looks like Sony is estimating a big drop-off in movie attendance for Zero Dark Thirty because of the combination of both Sunday and The Globes tonight, estimating $9.1 on Friday, $9.4m on Saturday and $5.6m today. So, on a normal weekend, they’d probably be closer to $27m on the 3-day estimate.

But the problem, aside from Kathryn Bigelow not getting an Oscar nomination, is a 59/41 split male-to-female in the audience this weekend. This, as I keep writing, is no surprise, as Sony has sold almost exclusively to men. In a year when dramatic movies have been regularly cracking the $90m and $100m mark, there is nothing terribly surprising or triumphant about this opening. It’s fine. Don’t get me wrong. I am not screaming about a car wreck. But as I noted yesterday, this 3 days is not even what Black Hawk Down opened to a decade ago. Hell, it’s almost $10m less than Sony opened The Green Hornet to just two years ago.

On the other hand, it is better than the best weekend of Argo or Life of Pi and even Lincoln‘s best weekend of $25.7m would likely have been behind ZD30‘s 3-day if it wasn’t for the presumed Globes’ Sunday effect. No one can actually know whether ZD30 would have powered through Christmas had they gone wide as originally scheduled, generating at least $80m and eliminating the so-called “torture debate” with the opinions of real moviegoers. One can only wonder.

Open Road’s A Haunted House actually opened pretty well. It’s a little behind Open Road’s success last January with The Grey… so it’s not a complete surprise… but it’s still a nice opening, really. Spooked by the comedy was Gangster Squad, for which this opening wouldn’t be so bad… except it feels a bit like they found their audience and have no idea of how to expand that base.

Here is a close-up chart of just the Oscar nominees, 8 now in release and the 9th that is not…


A Small Thing To Look For On Globes Night…

Last night at an event, Fox’s Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva gave set of these cufflinks to the Life of Pi team; director Ang Lee, actor Suraj Sharma, composer Mychael Danna, and producers Gil Netter and David Womark. They should all be wearing them tomorrow night.

1 Comment »

Friday Estimates By ZD Klady

Another strong opening expansion day for an award-chasing film. The template on this one, however, is more 2002’s Black Hawk Down than Lincoln. And by that standard, this opening day also has to be a little bit of a letdown. A little bit.

With due respect, the public has not spoken to Kathryn Bigelow not getting an Oscar nom… this number has to do—as almost every single opening does—to marketing and not media issues. Sony has done a decent job marketing this film to men and a mediocre one (at best) marketing it to women and Oscar voters. Bigelow not being nominated was a failure. I believe that voting issues were a big part of it, but also, the failure to make the case for her and the film is on the studio and its strategy & tactics.

And my guess is—guess—that there was another $5 million out there this weekend for this movie if some women—not all—felt this was a great choice for them as well as for their male counterparts. After all, this is a movie with a woman at the heart of it who stands up against the boys’ club and turns out to be right. It’s Norma Rae in the CIA… in part.


The most overstated box office story of the week has been the “Oscar bump” story. ZD30 is a massive expansion. Neither Django Unchained or Les Misérables is looking at a weekend bump. Lincoln will be up in the mid-teens, though there was a 7% theater expansion and the film’s numbers were slowing enough to feel even a fairly small bump. Silver Linings Playbook had a 9% theater expansion, but is looking at growth in the 30s, but like Lincoln, the actual dollars we’re talking about are low enough ($1.2m last Friday to $1.5m this Friday) that the idea of a bump gets exaggerated. Life of Pi is estimated to drop “only” 20%, which is better than a normal weekend, but hardly a news flash. Argo‘s impressive 48% leap from last Friday to this one is less exciting when you realize that WB doubled the screen count and the double is still only an estimated $335k yesterday.

In other words, the only real story here in terms of a bump is Lincoln and even that is so-so.

In non-awards box office, A Haunted House came up behind Gangster Squad to win Friday. There is a good chance that GS will regain the #2 slot by the end of the weekend as these spoof movies tend to weaken over even the first weekend. I’m not really shocked by the Gangster Squad start, as the young stars of the film—all of whom I really like and like to see work—have narrow box office powers and this film hasn’t played to those commercial strengths. The ads have gotten to be more and more about Gosling and Stone, which is smart, but not so much that it became the draw of the film. Sean Penn is a great actor and sometimes hits gold, but his stylized work here kinda works against what people like about Gosling. Brolin is a little lost in the marketing. They just never found that clear call to action for ticketbuyers. This isn’t a terrible opening, but it’s not a thriller by any means. It will be interesting to see how the film travels, as this group of actors includes some of the star power that Hollywood expects to rely on for the next couple of decades.


Tarantino HIp Hops Around Actual Questions About Django By An Actual Journalist

This is why I haven’t gotten a Tarantino DP/30, though ironically, I would never press a DP/30 guest – especially a first timer – this hard on something about which they were uncomfortable talking.

The thing is, he doesn’t really want to talk about it. And I have always suspected that it’s because he really has nothing to say on these issues. Critics have allowed him to through iffy spin, like “The reason that made me put pen to paper was to give Black American males a western hero…give them a a cool black folkloric hero that could actually be empowering and actually pay back blood for blood.”

Of course, when pushed for thoughtfulness he hides behind the notion that he’s said all this before. But he hasn’t. And he does have a responsibility, not answer for the violence in his movies, but to explain intent. But “it’s cool” diminishes the critical legend about who this genius is.

I don’t even think he needs to answer about societal impact. I would be happy to accept “it’s a movie, man,” with some passionate discussion about how violent movies have always been around and how he feels cleansed by them and continues in that tradition… or some such thing. His reality.

But he’s like an animal trapped by his creation. His status has a lot to do with the hyper-fanboy-rationalzation of many otherwise serious critics, trying to tell people he is doing something important… after they laugh their ass off at a movie that engages racism in a rather flippant, entertaining way. Just being the most brilliant collage artist ever to put film through a camera is not enough. And it’s a shame for him, because in interviews like this – rather rare and only in other countries – he comes off as a petulant ass, when it seems he’s really just a bot over his head being of such “cultural importance.”


DP/30: Gangster Squad, director Ruben Fleischer


DGA 2012

Not much to say.

Spielberg, Bigelow, and Affleck were mortal locks. Hooper has a more Best Picture nom-likely film than Haneke, Anderson or Russell. Ang Lee has a “bigger” visual film than Haneke or Russell.

As for Tarantino, no screener
= no nod.


Weekend Estimates by Chainsawed vs Unchained Klady

Chain is my heart… ay yi yi yi yi.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D couldn’t manage 3x opening Friday… or even close… which kinda sucks. But no killer thriller can complain about a $20m opening weekend. Unless you have a sequel with a huge following, 20 is the target and everything over it is gravy.

The Hobbit is doing well, even though it had the biggest drop (45%) in the Top 10. It also has 2.5x more in the domestic bank than any other December release at this point. So the pain can surely be withstood.

On either side of the little guy, awards chasers Django Unchained and Les Misérables. Django passed Les Mis‘ overall domestic this weekend and the trend looks to continue as Django is one of the strongest holders and Les Mis on the weaker side. As noted yesterday, one can’t take away the success of Les Mis. But the phenomenon pitch has turned out not to hold much water.

In other awards fighting, Lincoln continues to hold like a champ, just under $145m domestic after a 27% drop this weekend and Oscar nominations on the way. Silver Linings Playbook will hit $35m on Monday in its painfully slow expansion. No doubt, Weinstein is planning on getting nominations this next week that will more than double that number, powering a national expansion. Life of Pi keeps pushing along, perhaps a few weeks (and a Best Picture nod) away from $100m domestic. The Impossible had a somewhat rough expansion to 572 screens. Zero Dark Thirty continues to kill on a limited – but less limited – 60 screens. Argo crossed the $110m mark this weekend. And Amour had a strong, but not overwhelming weekend on 3 screens.


Friday Estimates by Texas Kladysaw 3D

Ok. So it ain’t The Devil Inside (by almost 40%), but it is the second biggest January horror opener in history. Not bad.

It’s a half-mil behind the last reboot of the gas & insanity powered franchise in 2003… though this one has the added benefit of a 3D bump. Still, not bad.

A $26m opening would put it right in the wheelhouse of Underworld and Taken that studios are happy to hit this time of year. So… not bad.

Apparently, unless you have to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. Of course, I loved the last reboot and many hated it. So one never knows until one sees the film.

The rest of the chart looks awfully familiar, though Django (the n-word ain’t silent) has broken past The Miserable and The Short to be the top veteran by a decent margin. Truth is, the others have started running out of steam and DU is just doing very solid business. It’s off 35% from last Friday, which is not miraculous… but is very good.

The Hobbit had three times as much domestic box office as Django going into Friday, so I hardly think this is cause for alarm at WB. But “they” would like to get to $300m domestic and that is not as clearly possible as “they” would like. Hobbit passed $250m yesterday and should be over $260m by the end of the weekend. And they’ll be close to – if not over – $800m worldwide by Monday too. The first Rings film did $872m worldwide. Still a possibility for this first Hobbit film… and by no means anything less than a big success.

Les Misérables isn’t quite the grosser that its $18m opening Tuesday suggested. But it’s doing great. And the foreign push has barely begun. Domestically, it should pass $100m on Sunday. If not, on Monday. That puts it in a category with only 7 other musicals in history. Honestly, I have no idea where this film is headed. $150m seems likely. Beyond that, I just have no way of guessing what Oscar nominations will or will not do for this gross. Remember, Chicago didn’t expand until after nominations. Les Mis gives every indication of being over its box office hump. So, we’ll see…

Parental Guidance is one of those very quiet $50m+ grossers.

Jack Reacher is not dead… but $65m at this point… not that thrilling. $80m domestic seems to be where it’s headed.

This is 40 hits 50 today.

And Lincoln is at $140m as of Friday and headed to, certainly, more than $150m.


The 2013 Crystal Ball: Part 1 – Oh, How Studios Will Stream

This year’s crystal ball is primarily focused on delivery systems, as this is the next big hump for the film and television industry. In fact, once over this hump, I suspect that we will see a much more stable business for at least a decade before some other form of interruption arrives.

First Window is still very, very important, in both film and television, but the future is being re-ordered by what happens after that First Window. Networks, as we knew them, are on their last legs as what they were. They will, I think, continue on as gathering places for, primarily, First Window content. They will be marketing brands that can then be sold by subscription. They are already – in the last few years – being sold “by subscription” to the cable and satellite packagers.

Cable/Satellite is probably the best place to describe this massive change. And for the sake of sanity, I will make the evolution of cable/satellite model into The Sheep instead of The Wolf it started out as a sidebar.

The overall point of that sidebar is that the game is going to continue to change. Sports is 95% a First Window business. Movies and television for Post-Theatrical are not. There is a lot of money in film/tv product long after First Window.

Both film and television are desperately looking for ways to increase revenue from the Post-Theatrical Window after the popping of the DVD bubble and now, the death of DVD as it is replaced by internet-based options and some wire-based VOD. And so, in spite of endless attacks on the integrity (multiple meanings) of Theatrical, the industry is creating more windows, not fewer, to create more revenues.

In terms of the studios, Warner Bros was most aggressive and Fox the most passive… just as with DVD. WB bought Flixster (and with it, Rotten Tomatoes, which they should liberate from the company, holding some benefits… best to Amazon, which could pair it with imdb, which would be smart) and is now branding with it for streaming, especially via Ultraviolet. Meanwhile, Warner is sucking some dollars out of Netflix to tide them over until they are able to match or surpass the price Netflix is paying them yearly via their own direct streaming arm.

Disney has also taken a big bite of Netflix. About $300m a year, which is more than I even imagined. But Netflix has been suffering under the weight of change, so it needs to overspend to keep from drowning. Still, I expect that the end of 2013 could see a deal for Disney to purchase Netflix outright. And if not, to do so in 2014. I expect that Apple will never want to become a one-studio business with iTunes and as a result, Disney too will have to find its own brand. Netflix is ripe for the taking for the acquisitive Disney under Iger.

Sony is the next studio with big changes due. Perhaps this is the moment to say, before getting to my projections for Sony’s Home Ent strategy, that 3D TV is stillborn. The “next big thing” is 4k television. Sony invested heavily in 3D TV and is now the leader in 4K. The big difference is that 4k is progress without glasses. It will work with every show/film. And it will, like Blu-ray has, create another platform for every studio to both re-sell their libraries and/or create a premium tier for streaming. The technology will require downloading films rather than straight streaming. I think it will be years before all but a few of the most effectively wired will be able to stream files that large. And the experience of watching sports in 4k will, it seems, be even more exciting than sports in 3D.

Back to Sony Home Entertainment… I believe the company will reinvest in streaming, probably re-branding Crackle as well as re-introducing the PS3 as the best set-top box for streaming.

I expect Universal/Comcast to launch its own streaming brand soon… perhaps in specific association with Comcast.

I expect Paramount to take greater control of EPIX and not only to focus on streaming a la HBO Go, but to become the first full-out subscription-based monthly streaming outlet that you don’t need to have on your cable/satellite to receive. Like Netflix or Hulu $7 – $8 a month to stream premium cable window product from Paramount and Lionsgate as well as a lot of stuff from the back catalogs of both studios.

That leaves Fox… waiting for 2014. At that point, I would guess that the communal idea of Ultraviolet starts to break down seriously and maybe Fox takes that over whole.

The overall point is that all 6 majors will likely have individualized streaming businesses by this time next year or soon thereafter. Subscription is the future for Post-Theatrical. There will be some kind of cross-breeding with the cable/satellite elements as well. But the key will be expanding the base of subscribers, not selling individual products. 80 million households spending $5 a month is a $4.8 billion piece of business. Until the studios are comfortable that they can at least double the number of subscribers currently with Netflix, they probably won’t jump. But that day is coming and it’s coming surprisingly fast.

In the Independent world, I would expect that when Disney does eat Netflix, it will spin off the independent arm and the children’s only arm. In other words, you would be able to buy Netflix or Netflix Indie or Netflix kids for $8 a month and then if you wanted to add the other 2 brands, you could do it for, say, $2 a month. So the whole thing for $12 a month, but nothing sold for less than $8 a month.

Someone will get smart and create The VOD Channel, across all platforms, but importantly targeting both the streaming and Cable/Satellite worlds. In this marketplace, Sundance and IFC have been struggling to find the perfect balance for years. But now, with so much product going to VOD, there needs to be some consortium that changes the target from individual films to a – for lack of a better word – channel. Imagine a channel/streamer that openly offers 50 new films every month with holdover product for a 6 month window. So, subscribers would have 300 films of less than a year of public age at any time, including 50 brand new films each month. For this, a $5 a month charge for the cable channel ($3.50 back to the channel) with a target of 10 million subscribers… which would be about 8% of the market… making a $400m a year business. Take $100m off the top for operations and that’s an average of $500k per film for this narrow window which would still allow for DVD, theatrical (as it now operates with VOD), and ongoing freedom for the filmmakers to make ongoing deals with Netflix or whomever. And, of course, the payments per film could scale, so the “bigger” films could be paid a million or two and the smaller ones could be paid $50k or $100k… but something of a legitimate amount.

This is not a completely new idea… except for the scale. The Sundance Now Doc Club charges about $1.50 a month over a year for 5 – 10 docs – some old, some new – each month, all online. I am suggesting paying 3x as much for about 7x the content, but all new.

In other, non-home content delivery predictions…



2012 Top Ten…. plus…

It’s been a good year for movies. Not always in America, though Sundance 2012 gave us some very good and challenging pictures, especially docs. Foreign-language films did well by movie lovers in the spring and certainly through Cannes. The summer movie season was uneven, but seemed to satisfy an unusual number of unsatisfiable people. And the fall was loaded with very good films.

I have listed 35 films… which leaves out a lot of films I really liked. And that’s before removing Toronto movies that haven’t been released. I am also doing a doc Top Ten, leaving all docs off the #11-#35 lists (there’s one in my Top Ten). I could easily go another 20 on films I liked, but just don’t think of when using the word “best.”

For me, the hardest decision is right at the top. Two movies that couldn’t one much more different. One, an intimate journey to a natural death. The other, an epic thriller of unusual intelligence and insight. I finally decided on a tie between these two remarkable films, listed in alphabetical order.

1. (tie) Amour – Michael Haneke has become the The Great Man of world cinema. His films challenge audiences bit only to examine big ideas, but in most cases, to unravel just what the question the film is asking. Amour has a small mystery at the end, but the journey to that moment is so intense and intimate that it won’t start fights at dinner after the film… just shared ideas between people who have been stripped bare of their artifice. Perhaps the greatest magic trick of all is that we experience over a year of a shared life and it just evaporates over the running time, as real life does. This is one of those soulful films that can be placed amongst the list of greats, not a fun picture to experience over and over again, but absolutely undeniable in its power, finesse and humanity.

1. (tie) Zero Dark Thirty – Comparisons to Lawrence of Arabia are not inappropriate. Boal & Bigelow deliver a movie so epic, so deeply satisfying, so raw and real feeling that the immediate reaction amongst those who fear the subtext that some could take from the film’s fact-based story that they exploded with rage. If it wasn’t so frustrating to see the first de-euphemised studio-level feature about the War On Terror, it would be a huge compliment to the film and the filmmakers. Of course, I consider this kind of thinking about a film—pretty much any film—to be idiotic… not unlike the rage from a religious group over the representation of their chosen deity in anything less than a pure format. What ZD30 has shown regarding the issue of torture, more than anything else, is that people with politic agendas would like to whitewash history in retrospect. Relatively contemporaneous reports on the issue suggest that the film is dead accurate in regards to the issue.

But a great movie is not the sum of its political hubbub. The torture in Zero Dark Thirty is required viewing, especially for those who shy away from the idea of witnessing such barbarism. It is what We, The United States of America, chose to do as a matter of policy for a time. It was not rogue stupidity or excess. And as the film shows, it is most often quite ineffective and frustrating. And now and again, a sliver of value emerges. The 2 hours of the film in which one real-life character doggedly pursues that sliver and engages an entire organization to built the case she thinks can lead somewhere important is remarkable. This is not just her journey. It is a ride through a complex process, many dead ends, changes of tactic and strategy, lives lost in the same pursuit, politics, seeming defeat, and ultimately, through a decade of hard work by scores of people, an event that changed the world… if not in reality, then in perception.

A movie that can entertain wildly while challenging the audience to think about its sense of the world and to acknowledge the messy ramifications that decisions made to look simple so as to be sold politically… this is a rare and wonderful thing. I don’t take offense at the many bright people who would like to see each of the big issues in this film explored in greater depth from more angles. But that was not what this film was meant to be. It is the embodiment of what we, as film lovers, think of as “70s movies.” It is a masterpiece.

3. Rust & Bone – I tend to think of Jacques Audiard as a nastier Bob Zemeckis… a master of genre with something more to say underneath the obvious entertainment of it all. I was introduced to Audiard via Baxter (tag line: Beware the dog that talks), back in 1990. He was a co-writer. He wouldn’t direct his first feature until his early 40s, with 1994’s See How They Fall, which, befitting the season, starred Jean-Louis Trintignant. He’s made 5 films since and 3, by my count, are legitimate masterpieces. Rust & Bone got off to a slightly rocky start at Cannes last May. Prison dramas, like Audiard’s last film, A Prophet, are one of the genres in which critics allow themselves to luxuriate. Romantic dramas, not so much. And indeed, for all the genre conventions included in R&B, it is a story about love. It also breaks the conventions of all the genres it touches – hardluck guy, fight movie, hot chick finds inner beauty, tragic accident, girl finds animal, handicap to overcome, lowlife learns to be responsible parent, melodrama, hard-R sex flick, dark comedy – creating its own brutal, romantic, sweet, bitter tale that is unlike anything every before.

Marion Cotillard gets the showy role and does her best work ever, seeming more comfortable in her own language and playing perhaps her most grounded character. And the Ginger to her Fred – who is really the lead of the film – is Matthias Schoenaerts, who was so great in Bullhead last year. He may have the harder role. He is a big, strong, good-looking guy who screws up in virtually every way possible, often intentionally. Fr the movie to work, you have to be on his side and stay on his side. And Audiard loads the deck against him. Still, he keeps the audience connected, not unlike the way Clooney can… but this is a better role than Clooney has every had (the closest being Michael Clayton). Lots of great supporting performances, but especially Corinne Masiero, who has one of her brother’s natural advantages in the story, but manages a dogged kindness that makes this one of the great supporting performances.

4. The Master – I love a great puzzle movie. This one follows in the steps of Eyes Wide Shut, both in its intricacies and the frustration it offers most audiences. Paul Thomas Anderson is still in pursuit of his inner Kubrick. He’s getting closer. This film kind of reminds me of the step or two before Crimes & Misdemeanors for Woody Allen, who was looking for the perfect balance of his two sides… but this is more accomplished than those Woody experiments. I still feel that Boogie Nights is PTA’s most complete work. But it is a fairly conventional narrative by the standards that he works in and the Kubrick standard. All of his films since have been more complex conceptually, but he hasn’t found the combination of deep complexity and audience accessibility – at least on a big cult level – that makes Kubrick so singular (and The Coens, who also work that turf, so consistently fascinating).

I believe Freddie and Dodd to be two sides of one brain, maturing to the point where Dodd (and his wife) decide Freddie must be forever banished. This isn’t a clever trick, like Fight Club, but something far less literal. But there are plenty smart people who interpret it differently. I think the nude party, followed by the marital masturbation, is defining. If you believe the nudity is real, you see the movie in a very different way than those of us who believe we are seeing Dodd slipping into his inner Freddie.

But puzzle though it is, Anderson is also crafting, with his amazing team, every shot of the film the way a master paints. Each image is a stroke of the brush, not just a story being told. For that reason, this film is too special to put any lower on my list this year.

5. The Grey – I just love this movie. Joe Carnahan is a madman, a guy’s guy, and, as it turns out, a deep thinker. Another movie about life and death, The Grey is the most conventional genre piece on this list of ten. But every time you think you are getting “one of those movies,” Carnahan raises the bar. One of Liam Neeson’s all-time best performances, we feel the cold, the fear, the exhilaration of being challenged by death… a manly tale in the best way. This is the kind of movie George C. Scott might have made in his prime with a director who understood all that beautiful rage.

6. Lincoln – As unSpielberg a Spielberg movie as we have seen since sections of A.I., this is a true collaboration between writer and director, with Tony Kushner’s script palpably at the core of the work. There is some sentiment here, but mostly, it is a smart, scholarly, demanding work that reminds us of how much Lincoln’s story is still the story of leading America. Not much but the costumes has changed in over 150 years. The craftsmanship is impeccable. And in Daniel Day-Lewis, Spielberg found an actor who loses himself in the way we remember young DeNiro and Pacino and Hoffman… but even more so. DDL is rarely given the chance to show off.

7. The Gatekeepers – This year’s great doc, Dror Moreh’s second. isn’t a ground breaker in doc filmmaking. It’s not the most beautiful. It’s not the most complex. But like Deliver Us From Evil a few years ago, Moreh delivers on-camera interviews that burn the house down. Great issue docs by Kirby Dick and Eugene Jarecki this year… but those are big subjects by terrific directors. This is once-in-a-lifetime stuff. The leaders of Israel’s top security organization, the Shin Bet, on camera, telling their history and the organization’s history with Palestinian relationship, expressing their passion and love for the State of Israel… but ultimately expressing a pretty much unanimous perspective on the future of this relationship from the highest levels of the Israeli government.

8. The Perks of Being A Wallflower – A kind of antidote to Twilight, Perks captures the ebb and flow of coming of age in a way we haven’t seen in quite a while. This is one of those movies that surprises with its unwillingness to do what you expect, but without seeming to try to surprise you. Terrific performances that melt into the storytelling. Strong work from a first-time director, who also wrote the book and the screenplay. This is just one of those sticky movies that everyone wishes for each time they go into a movie theater.

9. Ted – Crude, rude, and socially unacceptable. Sorry, purists, but this is the comedy of the year. It’s ingenious, it’s insane, it’s shockingly believable, and mostly, it’s just plain funny. I am still unhappy that the writer/director/co-star allowed himself from very 2012 references. They will age and get in the way of classic status for the film. But this was one of those very, very rare films whose idea was not destroyed in the process of making it. “What if a kid promised to be best friends forever with his teddy bear and it came true… and 30 years later, there are consequences?” Bingo.

10. Cloud Atlas – This one is a matter of taste and skill and more feeling than intellect. It’s a universal opera, interested in so many of the issues of human life, love, fear, freedom, and death. But it’s the way The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer put it all together that is truly revolutionary. I doubt the filmmakers feel this way, but I imagine this film could be re-cut 100 different ways and still work. It’s like listening to great music, open to interpretation by the player, but somehow, in some unclear way, sticks to your spirit if you allow it a place. In time, it will, I think, be one of those films that turns up on your viewing portal at any point in the film, and floods your senses in an undeniable way.

I don’t think you are stupid or constipated if you don’t love or even like this film. As much as any film on this list, it speaks to the evolution of the motion picture experience. Filmmakers are making films with less interest in, as we have called it for a few decades, four quadrants. It doesn’t have to be everyone’s taste. But for those whose taste it is, it is sweet, sweet nectar.

MY NEXT FIVE (in alphabetical order): After Lucia, Looper, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall, This is 40

MY NEXT FIVE (in alphabetical order): Argo, Django Unchained, End of Watch, Killer Joe, Killing Them Softly

AND ALSO SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED (in alphabetical order): The Amazing Spider-Man, Anna Karenina, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises, The Deep Blue Sea, Flight, Haywire, The Intouchables, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Moonrise Kingdom, Paranorman, Prometheus, Take This Waltz, Wreck-It-Ralph.

MY DOCUMENTARY TOP TEN (in alphabetical order): Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Chasing Ice, The Gatekeepers, The House I Live In, How To Survive A Plague, The Imposter, The Invisible War, Paul Williams Still Alive, The Queen of Versailles,West of Memphis,


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