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Wkd Box Office: Ninja Turtles $24.5 Mil

By | Sunday March 25, 2007 @ 7:29am PDT

PG vs R-Rated Movie Battle At Box Office: Ninja Turtles Kick ’300′ Butt For 1st Place

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Identity Of Producer ‘Mr. X’: No Mystery

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 8:36pm PDT

An oft-repeated truism about Hollywood is “never let them see you sweat’. Which is why movie people go to great lengths to hide even the hint that their careers may not be going well. So I’m certain that’s why a veteran film producer decided to call himself “Mr. X” when he recently penned for The Times Of London a revealing first-person piece under the title “Will I Ever Eat Lunch In This Town Again?” about his tough time getting even one project going. question-mark2.gif“Ostensibly, I produce movies for a living. The most recent movie I had a hand in producing won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Pretty heady stuff, to be sure. The reality, though, is slightly less fulfilling. We shot that film two years ago and, since then, I’ve produced nothing. Zilch. Not a frame of film, a byte of sound, a kernel of popcorn.” So who is he? Mercifully, he left a lot clues in the article. 1) There was the Best Picture Oscar-winning film shot two years ago that he helped produce. 2) He refers to his “old boss Harvey Weinstein”. 3) He talks about trying to make a script about a border patrolman. 4) He lines up for it a director who’d just helmed “a very well received film whose lead actor was nominated for an Academy Award”. 5) He has a nice way with words. Based on these few facts, the first source I contacted guessed Mr. X’s identity in 2 minutes: he’s … Read More »

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PETA Makes Charge That Golden Retriever Puppies Dying On Set Of Disney Sequel

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 2:45pm PDT

puppies10a.jpgPETA is accusing Disney of ignoring an animal crisis on a movie right now that has allegedly resulted in the deaths of at least four golden retriever puppies and the serious illness of dozens more. People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals tells me the problems are on the Vancouver set of the film Snow Buddies, a sequel to Disney’s Air Bud. The group urgently faxed Disney CEO Bob Iger about the situation yesterday afternoon and asked him to cancel the studio’s planned distribution of the Keystone Productions film. ”Underage puppies from an unlicensed puppy mill in New York were illegally transported to Vancouver in apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act,” PETA’s letter said. “Puppies who were being used for Snow Buddies fell ill with parvovirus, which is extremely contagious, and had to be taken to a veterinary hospital… Additional puppies were brought in to replace them. These puppies have reportedly fallen ill, too.” disney.jpgSo far, Disney has ignored this letter and another PETA sent to Iger back on March 19 first alerting him to the situation. The previous letter said: “After receiving several complaints, PETA has determined that the Keystone production Snow Buddies has been using 25 underage golden retriever puppies. The puppies were shipped to Canada from an unlicensed New York breeder in apparent violation of the U.S. Animal Welfare Act. The breeder has admitted that the puppies were between the ages of 6 and 7 … Read More »

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Apatow Expecting ‘Knocked Up’ Backlash

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 1:33pm PDT

knockedup_earlyposterbig1.jpgSo you think no one in Hollywood ever reads those cruel public forum and blog posts written by filmgoers just to torture movie people? Well, the guy behind Knocked Up does because clearly he’s neurotic to the extreme. Judd Apatow, the writer/director/producer (whom I just called the “latest Hollywood hottie”) should be enjoying the fact that the South By Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas, loved his forthcoming filthy and funny film. But he writes on those good reviews ”make me think that a painful backlash is inevitable. I feel like starting the backlash, just to get it over with. It makes me want to examine my entire relationship with criticism. Throughout my career I’ve gotten good reviews and bad reviews. I have gotten reviews that are so bad a weaker man would never get up off the canvas after reading them.” So what Apatow does is indulge his weakness for reading them. judd_apatow.jpg“I like to put my name in the Google news and blog alerts and receive every single thing written about me and my work on the Internet. Then I can go home and stew on all of it, feeling both good and ashamed in quick succession. There is really no limit to the amount of time I can spend looking for any madman’s rambling about something I have been a part of. Time never moves faster than … Read More »

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Mel F-Bombs Protest At College Screening

By | Saturday March 24, 2007 @ 11:38am PDT

mel-gibson-outburst.jpgYes, it’s true that Mel Gibson cursed an assistant professor and Mayan community leader – but only after the duo disrupted a question-and-answer session at a Southern California University which was screening his Apocalypto Thursday night. That’s something the Internet gossips have failed to point out. Here’s what Gibson’s publicist Alan Nierob tells me happened at Cal State Northridge after Central American Studies assistant professor Alicia Estrada and her friend heckled him during the school’s Cinemateque film series. “The event organizers threw her and her friend out of the event as they were rude, disruptive and the crowd had yelled at them to give up the microphone (which they didn’t) and to sit down and shut up. Mel told her to fuck off and make her own movie after they accused him of racial stereotyping in his film Apocalypto.” gibson-apocalypto.jpgNierob’s account jibes with that in Friday’s Los Angeles Daily News, but online gossips are trying to portray Gibson’s curse as unprovoked. The actor/director at first calmly answered questions about the film from 130 students, many of whom had stood in line for hours just to hear the actor/director/producer speak. Twenty minutes in, Estrada took the microphone and said Gibson’s graphic portrayals of bloodthirsty Mayans engaging in human sacrificial rites were wrong. “She said it was a racist film toward the Mayan community,” a student Josue Guagan, 22, who says he is half-Mayan, related to the Los Angeles Daily News. But Gibson still remained patient in answering. Then … Read More »

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PG vs R-Rated Movie Battle At Box Office: Ninja Turtles Kick ’300′ Butt For 1st Place

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 5:25pm PDT


SUNDAY AM: It wasn’t even a fair fight between computer-generated imagery on the big screen. On Friday, 100% CGI-created Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles easily knocked those 300 CGI-helped hardbodies off their No. 1 pedestal. So who benefits the most? Warner Bros., which has bragging rights to both hit pics. Turtles fought their way to a $24.5 million weekend from 3,110 theaters, compared to 300‘s $20.7 mil weekend from 3,280 venues. At issue was just how much nostalgia there would be among teens who grew up with TMNT the first time around. But the Turtles‘ fourth feature is grittier than the previous live-action films, and that worked for PG audiences. (TMNT is produced by Imagi Animation Studios and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company — the latter two bought the rights from New Line.) The blockbuster 300 dropped only 38% starting its 3rd week out for a hot new cume of $162.5 mil. This R-rated gorefest has exploded into a cultural phenomenon judging from all the smart parodies now available on YouTube. Mark Wahlberg’s so-so reviewed thriller Shooter from Paramount opened in 3rd place, making $14.5 mil for Friday-Saturday-Sunday from 2,806 playdates. Disney’s Wild Hogs continues its long motorcycle ride in 4th, with a $14.1 mil weekend from 3,401 theaters and a hefty new cume of $123.6 mil. shooter_posterbig.jpgThe Top 10 at the movies this weekend were filled with new product. Holdover Premonition, a Sandra Bullock thriller from Sony, climbed to 5th place (only a drop of -42%) with $10.1 mil for the weekend from 2,831 theaters. Its new cume is $32.1 mil. Fox Atomic’s horror film sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted #5 Friday but dropped to #6 in final weekend numbers of $9.8 mil from 2,447 venues. Hollywood was especially curious to see how New Line’s newcomer The Last Mimzy fared this weekend because the kiddie pic was directed by the studio’s chairman Bob Shaye. New Line spent a fortune marketing it as a result (complete with toy-bribed sneaks) but Mimzy only mustered 7th place and a $9.6 mil weekend from 3,017 venues despite the usual Saturday matinee bounce. Sony’s 9/11 drama Reign Over Me was intended all along as an opportunity for Adam Sandler to show his acting chops since he makes so much $$$ for that studio in his comedies. So it didn’t matter that the pic finished 8th after an $8 mil weekend in 1,671 theaters. Lionsgate’s PG African-American targeted sports pic Pride placed 9th, with a $3.7 mil Fri-Sat-Sun weekend in 1,518 playdates. Finishing the Top 10: Lionsgate’s horrorific Dead Silence dropped 56%, making only 3.5 mil from 1,806 venues this weekend for a new cume of $13.2 mil. Meanwhile, Chris Rock’s bomb at the box office I Think I Love My Wife (Fox Searchlight) dropped out of the Top 10 altogether its second week out. Read More »

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Lily ‘Liberated’ By F-Bomb/C-Word Video

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 3:47pm PDT


Not even Lily Tomlin had seen that three-year-old guerrilla video shot on the set of I Heart Huckabees which showed her and director David O. Russell setting off F-bombs and even the “C” word. My colleague Frank Houston of sister alt-weekly Miami New Times spoke to Tomlin the day after the video – actually, two snippets of two scenes — suddenly surfaced this week. Previously, it had made the rounds of Hollywood talent agencies back in 2004 and acquired instant urban legend status because it never went public. (The New York Times‘ Sharon Waxman chronicled this back then.) ihearthuckabees_bigposter.jpgThis week, got hold of the video, then it quickly migrated to YouTube. “Oh my God, the one in the car is on there?” Tomlin asked. “I’ve never seen it. Is that when I’m sitting in the seat and really going nuts? Oh my God, I’m gonna die when I see that.” The 67-year-old actress laughs about it now.  “I love David,” she said. “There was a lot of pressure in making the movie — even the way it came out you could see it was a very free-associative, crazy movie, and David was under a tremendous amount of pressure. And he’s a very free-form kind of guy anyway.” The second video, shot on the set of the office of Tomlin’s … Read More »

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Hollywood White Guys Have No Rhythm…

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 1:56pm PDT

chernin_1.jpgUPDATE: Here’s a YouTube 2007 video of Tom Cruise trying to dance in London. Did he have a stunt double do his rockin’ in Risky Business?

It sounds like one of those hilarious Hollywood moments that you probably had to be there to fully appreciate. So, last night, Mr. United Artists aka Tom Cruise was honored by the nonprofit Mentor LA, do-gooders dedicated to helping schools and neighborhoods in LA’s poorer areas. So this Promise Gala held on the 20th Century Fox studio lot was chaired by Megan and News Corp. prez Peter Chernin along with other power players and their wives: Paramount’s Brad Grey, Disney’s Bob Iger, Sony Pics’ Michael Lynton, Warner’s Barry Meyer, Universal’s Ron Meyer, MGM’s Harry Sloan, Yahoo’s Terry Semel (ex-Warner’s) Why honor Cruise? His “long-standing commitment to working for positive change in the world.” Yeah, barf. Anyway, the dinner featured musical performances by both Kanye West and Stevie Wonder. So when Stevie got his groove on, Tom and Katie (no, she wasn’t left home) cruisedance1.jpgstood up and started clappin’ and dancin’. And that meant Peter Chernin and Ron Meyer and Terry Semel who were all sitting at the head table also had to stand up and start clappin’ and dancin’. It wasn’t a pretty sight, I’m told. Especially Semel’s strange contortioning. “They were embarrassing themselves. Not one of these white guys could keep time to the music. It was really painful to watch Hollywood have so little rhythm.” … Read More »

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Nielsen Business Media Prez/CEO Dead

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 1:32pm PDT

robertkrakoffa.jpgRobert Krakoff, president and CEO of Nielsen Business Media which owns The Hollywood Reporter, died unexpectedly last night in his Boston apartment, according to Nielsen chairman and CEO David Calhoun. Among the magazines Krakoff oversaw were Editor & Publisher, BillboardAdweek, Mediaweek, Brandweek and Photo District News.  Nielsen is expected to name COO Greg Farrar as interim CEO.

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Why I Think LAT Is Such A Horror Show

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 12:39pm PDT

scream_3.jpgNow I’ll paint a brief picture of the Los Angeles Times post-Grazergate that’s even gloomier than Andres Martinez’s. Sanctimonious newsroom reporters and editors acting all holier-than-thou about journalism ethics, even though they never complained about the impropriety of their ousted editor Dean Baquet’s behind-the-scenes cozying up to a Billionaire Boys Club of potential local buyers for the LA Times. An editor who supervised opinion and Op-Ed and editorial sections spiralling into irrelevancy, primarily because of bizarre takes on events or issues mostly written or assigned or edited by a small clique of fringe (neo-con, libertarian, thuggish right-wing, self-loathing liberal, feminist-hating female) ideologues all palsy-walsy with each other. And a publisher with a charter membership in the Reagan Republican, friend-of-Donald-Rumsfeld, “we don’t admit our mistakes” club, who, as the Tribune Co. toadie, wasn’t supposed to drink the LA Times newsroom Kool-Aid yet just demonstrated spinelessness by not standing behind his own judgment calls responsible for Grazergate.

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Newsroom Feared Grazergate Cover-Up; Martinez Angry Over LA Times Turmoil; UPDATE: O’Shea Now Angry At Martinez

By | Friday March 23, 2007 @ 9:31am PDT

Friday PM: Still more Los Angeles Times roiling, this time from top editor Jim O’Shea who answers outgoing editorial editor Andrez Martinez’s “mud-slinging” at the paper’s newsroom reporters and editors, including O’Shea. In a memo entitled “What’s really important”, O’Shea gives a pep talk to the dispirited staff. (“You all should be so proud of yourselves and your paper. We can’t get distracted by noise from those on the sidelines.” Then he proceeds to list some recent accomplishments, prizes, etc.) But the top editor also squares his shoulders against Martinez’s Internet assault. “I’m not going to sit here like some silent lamb while he distorts my record and attacks this newspaper and my newsroom. I am not in charge of the editorial board of this newspaper. The editor of the editorial page reports directly and independently to Publisher David Hiller. That is as it should be. I strongly believe in the principle that separate editors should be in charge of news and opinion. To suggest that I told David Hiller I didn’t want the editorial board reporting to me on a “whim” is untrue. He is referring to part of a longer conversation with Nikki Finke, and to take my remarks out of context is unprofessional and sloppy. Moreover, no one in this newsroom is on a campaign to ‘storm the editorial page and bring it back into lockstep with the newsroom.’ It is true that we have journalists in the newsroom who don’t agree with Andres’ views on the ethical problems that led to his resignation. I count myself among them. But these are legitimate, genuine differences of opinion held by people with a passion for the news and this newspaper. To suggest otherwise is pitiful… Lastly, Andres suggests I came to Los Angeles as some sort of agent of Tribune Company to quell an ‘uprising by the imperial subjects’. logo_latimes.gifTo refer to the journalists at this newspaper in such a manner in an insult to hard-working people who happen to disagree with Andres. I came here because it was an honor to be selected to lead a great newspaper with an excellent staff in one of the most interesting cities in the world. I will stand on my record and credentials as a newsman and journalist. The suggestion that I make decisions simply to curry favor with the staff is also simply untrue. We face hard times. If I have to make decisions that are unpopular with the staff but in the best long-term interest of this newspaper, I will not hesitate to do make them. That is what leadership is about. I’ve said that openly from the day that I walked into this newsroom. I believe in full disclosure.”

Friday AM: martinez2.jpgHere’s another update on the chaos inside the Los Angeles Times post-Grazergate: Andrés Martinez (photo right) may have left the newspaper, but he is not slinking away quietly and he’s not surrendering to accusations of ethical violations. Instead, he’s using the Internet to attack not only the decisions and actions of the two Chicago Tribune guys sent in by embattled parent Tribune Co. to run the Los Angeles Times, publisher David Hiller and top editor Jim O’Shea, but also those of individual newsroom editors and reporters still smarting from their hero Dean Baquet’s unpopular ouster by the Chicago bosses. Martinez’s main charge is that the newsroom has been trying to dictate to the supposedly independent editorial/opinion/Op-Ed pages. The gloomy picture he paints is of a paper in the throes of internal turmoil, with Hiller (photo left) on one side, the newsroom on the other, and Martinez trapped inbetween. david_hiller1.jpg(Here’s my brief opinion.)  My own new reporting shows that Martinez tried to bridge this gap Wednesday after the paper’s media reporter Jim Rainey was tipped to the potential scandal and started nosing around the editorial editor’s personal life. So Martinez took the unusual step of contacting the newsroom’s leader, LAT managing editor Doug Frantz, and explaining every step that led to Hollywood producer Brian Grazer’s selection as the first Current guest editor, including details on Martinez dating Grazer’s PRwoman. Frantz at first agreed with Martinez there was no story for Rainey to pursue. But instead of quelling the internal controversy, that resulted in even more newsroom consternation that the paper’s management would engage in a cover-up of the supposed scandal. Soon after Wednesday, not uncoincidentally, details about Grazergate were leaked onto the Internet via (where LA Times newsroom staffers had also gone to complain about the Tribune Co. vs Baquet drama.) And Rainey’s story was going forward with Frantz on board now. (Martinez after his resignation used today to fight back.

Fascinating how old media is using new media. Read More »

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Ex-Page Six Gossip Sues Bill & Hill Clinton

By | Thursday March 22, 2007 @ 3:55pm PDT

jared-stern.jpgAP is reporting that former New York Post gossip Jared Paul Stern today sued Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle in connection with that alleged 2006 shakedown scandal. Among those included as defendants in the lawsuit are the New York Daily News and — huh? — ex-President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton. So now this has devolved into one of those politically motivated lawsuits? Uh-oh. Stern accuses the Democratic political couple of attacking him in an effort to suppress negative stories about themselves. The AP quotes the complaint as saying, “This was intended as a prelude to Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency in 2008 as Page Six and the New York Post, clintons.jpgowned and operated by Rupert Murdoch, were perceived as significant impediments to a successful candidacy and the Clintons’ return to the White House.” Grocery magnate and private investor Burkle is known to be the Clintons’ close pal and a big-time Democratic donor. But Stern’s lawyer Larry Klayman just happens to be a long-time critic of the Clintons and a founder of Judicial Watch which played a major legal role in both the Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers lawsuits against the Clintons that went on and on and on. Stern alleges all the defendants defamed and inflicted emotional distress on him and wrecked his job as a Page Six contributor. Stern was … Read More »

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Adam Sandler’s Wacky Wonderful Week

By | Thursday March 22, 2007 @ 12:37pm PDT


Adam’s pic Reign Over Me is opening nationwide this Friday. It’s the opposite of a comedy and it has Sandler playing drama, so it’s near-impossible to market. Yet few actors have enjoyed a promotional ride like Sandler has this week, most of it just like the film’s tagline “Let In The Unexpected”. On Tuesday, Letterman went home sick with the stomach flu, so Sandler was recruited as a last-minute fill-in for Dave. This was believed to be the first time the Late Show host had shown up for work and couldn’t go on. No, Sony Pictures didn’t poison Letterman to give Adam some national TV face-time much less a full-hour on a high-profile show. reignoverme_posterbig.jpgSo there was Sandler lovin’ it. He did a pretty decent opening monologue. He plopped his bulldog Matzoball down comfortably in the guest chair for an interview. He brought on Don Cheadle, his co-star in Reign Over Me and together, they sang Endless Love to one another. (Clip of the singing here. Sandler’s opening monologue here.) After Letterman, Adam went to New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts where the cast of his movie got a standing ovation from an audience that included Tim Robbins, Salman Rushdie and Chris Rock. (Suddenly, people were winning bar bets that pigs would fly before that ever happened.) Now the film got a great New Yorker review despite its downer subject: a guy who loses his family in 9/11. The only problem I see … Read More »

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Andres Martinez Has Just Quit LA Times; Publisher Kills Grazer’s Sunday Current

By | Thursday March 22, 2007 @ 9:50am PDT

UPDATE: I’m told there was just a meeting among the staff of the Los Angeles Times‘ editorial/opinion/Op-Ed pages which editor Andres Martinez supervises and he told them he has just quit. This follows publisher David Hiller’s decision this morning to kill this Sunday’s Current section guest-edited by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer to “avoid the appearance” that a conflict of interest led to his selection because of a romance between Martinez and the PR woman repping Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment. The paper’s newsroom was up in arms over so-called Grazergate and Martinez snaps back at the news reporters and editors via the LAT Opinion blog where he explains his decision to take a hike. Now the LA Times has posted its own updated story about today’s fast-breaking developments on its website here.

See my previous detailed account of what happened: An LA Times Affair: Romance Between Editorial Editor And Hollywood Flack Helps Showbiz Producer Grazer Get Guest-Edit Gig; Now Publisher May Not Print This Sunday’s Opinion Section

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A Los Angeles Times/Hollywood Affair: Now Andres Martinez Speaks Out After Grazergate Kills Sunday Opinion Section Causing Editorial Editor To Quit In Uproar

By | Wednesday March 21, 2007 @ 6:19pm PDT




WEDNESDAY PM: The Los Angeles Times is supposed to report entertainment news. Now it’s making the news with its own Hollywood scandal. A lot of eyebrows were raised recently when powerful entertainment mogul Brian Grazer was tapped as the first of what would be quarterly ”guest editors” of the Sunday LA Times‘ classy Current opinion section. Well, woo-hoo. It turns out there was a romantic relationship between Andrés Martinez, the paper’s editorial pages editor who assigned the gig to Grazer, and Kelly Mullens, an exec for the Hollywood PR firm 42West which just happens to represent Grazer’s production company Imagine Entertainment. logo_latimes.gifI’m told that publisher David Hiller knew all about it and still didn’t pull the plug — even though the girlfriend’s PR boss Allan Mayer was the person who flacked Grazer to Martinez in the first place. Now Hiller has killed this Sunday’s Current that was put together by the producer rather than run a mortifying editor’s note. And a furious Martinez has quit in protest. Granted, it’s not news that a pushy Hollywood PR firm had considerable influence with the local paper. This is a case of unusual influence. But was it improper influence? And, really, isn’t the Current mess the publisher’s fault since he was making the final decisions after all?

Now the LA Times‘ opinion section is embarrassed, the paper’s news side horrified, the Hollywood mogul humiliated, the PR company spinning. Media critics already beating up on the Tribune Co.-controlled LA Times are gonna have a field day with the latest contretemps. (I’m sure ousted editor Dean Baquet is enjoying it. After all, Hiller fired him.) If all this isn’t enough to get Hollywood and media circles buzzing, consider that, irony of ironies, Grazer and his Imagine partner, director Ron Howard, made the 1994 pic The Paper about journalism ethics at a big city daily. Read More »

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Mystery Solved: He Made ‘Hillary 1984′

By | Wednesday March 21, 2007 @ 5:59pm PDT

hillary_clinton_1984.jpgThe Internet has been buzzing about who made that ”1984″ anti-Hillary Clinton political video posted on YouTube on March 5th under the username ParkRidge47. (Hillary Clinton was born in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1947). There was even a suggestion that Hollywood mogul David Geffen commissioned it to help that other Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Huffington Post claims to have solved the mystery: ”We have learned the video was the work of Philip de Vellis, who was the Internet communications director for the successful 2006 U.S. Senate campaign for the Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, and who now works at Blue State Digital, a company created by members of Howard Dean’s Internet Team.” Read his post here. The anti-Clinton video, dubbed “Vote Different,” has been splashed across the television news and viewed almost 1.4 million times on YouTube. Three days later, an anti-Obama clip, “Barack 1984,” posted on the same site three days ago but so far has had only 250,000 viewings.

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Pedro Talks Clint, Quentin, Marty & Sex

By | Wednesday March 21, 2007 @ 2:38pm PDT

pedro.jpgThere’s never enough written about Pedro Almodóvar. Who knew that his three favorite films are All About Eve, Some Like It Hot, and John Ford’s The Searchers? That he hates every movie with John Wayne and Spencer Tracy? That he likes Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino? So the latest issue of GQ has the director of the high kitsch/low cleavage Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the sweet sadism of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, and the most recent Volver, talking about why gays make sexier movies than heteros, and disses Marty Scorsese in the process.It’s true that when heterosexual men make movies — I’m not talking about pornos — they pay less attention to the power and sexual beauty of women. The goal should be simple: to create a wonderful woman. Just pay attention to a woman. It doesn’t matter whether you are gay or straight—if you pay attention, you will discover how rich they are. I don’t like when journalists, usually heterosexual, say, “Oh, you understand women better because you are gay.” That’s absolutely ridiculous. I’m gay, but I don’t want to become a woman. I understand women because I’m interested in them. I like them personally. I like them as dramatic subjects. And I have to say, as dramatic subjects, they are richer than men. But male directors today aren’t interested. I don’t want to reproach Martin Scorsese, but Scorsese never portrays women as full characters … Read More »

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Why Did He Hire Her In The 1st Place? Details On Taymor vs Roth Not In NYT

By | Tuesday March 20, 2007 @ 6:20pm PDT

julietaymor.jpg vslogoa.jpgjoe-rotha.jpg

What a mess surrounding Revolution Studios’ Across the Universe thanks to the idiocy of hiring director Julie Taymor, who may be lauded as a visual iconoclast in the pages of The New York Times but also derided as a cinematic loon based on what Hollywood sources tell me. So now this musical romance pic has dissipated into two warring versions, and its scheduled September playdate hangs in limbo. (See the trailer here.) Meanwhile, distributor Sony Pictures is tiptoeing around the issue of not releasing the pic, especially with a full frills marketing campaign, unless Taymor compromises; the studio is supposed to distribute all of Revolution’s film product under Joe Roth’s about-to-end deal there. In a perfect world, Sony would love to get behind Across The Universe because it’s synergistic. Told mainly through numerous Beatles tunes performed by the characters, it takes advantage of that Sony/ATV music publishing catalog owned with Michael Jackson that boasts some 250 Fab Four songs. Of course, Roth has only himself to blame for his fight with Taymor. This is just the latest of the many missteps he’s made at Revolution whose films have mostly bombed at the box office despite expensive Sony marketing campaigns. He is, after all, the one who hired Taymor in the first place even knowing her notorious Hollywood reputation for directorial pretension and indulgence, which is exactly how people describe her impossibly artsy-fartsy cut of this pic which audiences dislike. acrossuni.jpgWhen Taymor wouldn’t listen to reason, Roth (himself a pretty lame film director) went in with an editor to cut his own version which is not just shorter but more commercial. So I can’t understand why Taymor isn’t kicked to the curb since she doesn’t have final cut. And I’m perplexed why The New York Times took Taymor’s side in this squabble and ignored the terrible truths people have told me about what a disaster she was on this project. Today’s article compares Taymor to Orson Welles. Ridiculous. The article fails to mention Sony’s Beatles biz synergy. Good grief. And there’s not a word about Taymor’s history of awful fights over length and content as the director on Titus (with producers and the MPAA over a possible NC-17 adults-only rating for too much sex and violence and gore, and with Anthony Hopkins who threatened to walk) and on Frida (with Harvey Weinstein, culminating in a loud expletive-filled fight in the lobby of NYC’s Sony Lincoln Square as shocked preview-goers filed past.) The NYT must have let its Nexis research account expire. Also, the paper of record implies that Across The Universe has been “taken away” from the director. Not yet. Now the details. Read More »

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Sony Plans Another Comic Book Franchise

By | Tuesday March 20, 2007 @ 10:03am PDT

hornetbig.jpgSony has optioned the rights to the Green Hornet for a feature film. I’m underwhelmed. Not just because there are already way too many comic book pics. But more because this one’s notion of crusading newspapers is such a quaint relic from the distant past. According to today’s press release, Neal H. Moritz and his Original Film snagged the rights and will produce. Already the studio is talking new franchise just as Spider-Man 3 comes out May 4th and Spider-Man 4‘s script is underway. (But don’t count your Hornets until they’ve hatched… Sony’s two Spider-Men have made $1.6 bil at the box office and its Ghost Rider just passed $200 mil.) The Green Hornet made his debut on January 31, 1936 on WXYZ Detroit; he was the creation of the station’s George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, who also came up with the Lone Ranger. The series ran until 1952, then moved to comic books. In 1966, the character debuted on TV for one ABC season, catapulting Bruce Lee to stardom as Kato. The Hornet series follows the adventures of Britt Reid, a bored playboy whose life is changed when he inherits his father’s crusading newspaper, The Daily Sentinel. sony_pictures_logo.jpgHe saves the life of Kato, a Japanese man with incredible technical and martial-arts skills who becomes Britt’s closest ally. (Ah, now I get the Sony connection.) So there’s … Read More »

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