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Archives: December 2005

Trade review on “The Promise” not very promising

The Brothers Weinstein’s decision to dump China’s most expensive film ever is becoming clearer, per Bob Kohler‘s review in Daily Variety today:

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“Riding a wave of unabashed fantasy and incendiary anticipation, Chen Kaige’s “The Promise”…defies both gravity and logic. Pic is a mixed bag of near-risible storylines, second-rate CG effects, some fabulous set pieces, somewhat cartoonish martial arts fighting and difficult international casting.”

Ouch.

But see for yourself, Angelenos: It starts a Foreign language Oscar qualifying run at the Laemmle Fairfax 3 at 11:30 am today, just in case you missed the two yuan pirated Pay-Per-View special in Inner Mongolia.

NBC asks, “What if God was one of us?”

And the answer comes on Friday nights at 10 p.m., in the form of your own, personal Jesus: “Book of Daniel.” Jesus.jpeg

Now, we are usually stuffed with cholent and singing “Shir HaMalot” come 10 p.m. on Friday nights, making yours truly an exceedingly poor arbiter of whether this is a good idea or not.

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One thing we can be certain of, the conservatives are going to go nuts. This show, judging by its description in NY Newsday, makes “The Shield” look like “Joan of Arcadia.” (The pastor who rolls with Jesus has a gay kid, is addicted to pain killers and is married to a drunk.)

Also: We’re all for long-lede pieces, but what’s with the January 1, 2006 dateline, Newsday?

Broken “Promise”? Chen vs. Harvey in first Weinstein Company fracas

Oh my. The honeymoon is clearly over at the Weinstein Company. chen_kaige-2.jpg

Reuters reports, via the Hollywood Reporter:

“Chinese director Chen Kaige’s new movie “The Promise” will no longer be distributed in North America by the Weinstein Co. because of a dispute over the release strategy, the film’s producer said Wednesday.

However the period adventure/fantasy, which is China’s submission in the foreign language Academy Award category, still will open as scheduled Friday in a Los Angeles theater for a one-week Oscar-qualifying run so that it also will be eligible in other categories, producer Etchie Stroh said.

Beyond that, Stroh said, he plans to meet with other distributors next week in hopes of securing a new North American distributor.”

Look, I liked Michael Vale as much as the next guy…

..and who didn’t get a chuckle out of those “Time to make the doughnuts…Dunkin’ Donuts commercials? Hell, who doesn’t love Dunkin Donuts? In my time, I consumed many a Blueberry muffin with hot cocoa perched on a stool in a certain D&D on Long Island.
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But 330 Google news items about Fred the Frickin’ Baker?

There aren’t even that many hits on Tom DeLay‘s money laundering trial.

Are we missing something here?

Indie film: It really is who you know

Google co-founders and billionaires Sergey Brin and Larry Page are entering the indie film business, helping to finance a friend’s independent movie. broken_arrow.jpg

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The Internet tycoons are the executive producers of “Broken Arrows,” — not be confused with the John Woo movie of similar title — and it tells the story of a man “who loses his pregnant wife in a terrorist attack and then takes a job as a hit man.”

The AP also reports that:

“The film is written and directed by Reid Gershbein, a computer graphics designer at Dreamworks Animation who became friends with the Google founders when they were doctoral students in computer science at Stanford.”

Ok. Point of information? We checked out Reid’s indie film blog. And all we can say is this: It contains an alarming surfeit of emoticons, and new entries from Reid receive colorful headlines like, “Yay! Update!”

Yikes.

Lunch at Michael’s: Welcome, Citizen Journalists!

We took a break from Michael’s this week but that doesn’t mean you can’t send us in your observations from the holly-bedecked dining room filled with Proust-evoking madeleines and heartfelt media joy. If you were there, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your observations our way; otherwise, fear not – we’ll be back next week for more fun.

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed and owl-eared tipster reports the following:

The back room of Michael’s was closed off and dark on this rainy media-macher deprived Thursday, and the front room was half empty, but Diana Ross and her hair were in the window at table #1 with an unknown woman with less hair, Gerry Inzirillo of Saul Kerzner’s Sun resorts was in the power corner at table #4, social PR eminence James Mitchell was in the opposite corner, and Garry Zarr of the American Museum of Natural History was at the Michael Wolff memorial table with author Michael Gross, who was overheard asking the waitress if he could order an exorcism along with his lunch, just before Mitchell called across the room that he’d bought ten copies of Gross’s “740 Park” for Christmas presents. Speaking of books, Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew was at table #14 and Lewis Korman of Savoy Entertainment Books was at table #18. Finally, Michael Barker of Sony Pictures represented the movie busines at table #23.

Do owls have ears? Fishbowl is an expert orinthologist. In any case, sounds like a great day at Michael’s – we’ll see you all there next week. Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep us away!

Spielberg’s “Munich” reticence making sense

Watching the wires as scrupulously as we do from our little underwater castle, it’s becoming a whole lot clearer why Spielberg is largely keeping mum about “Munich.” munich_olympics_close.jpg

– The Mossad guys think “Munich” is “absurd.”

– The Israelis don’t like “Munich” much, either.

– Even the terrorists — never known for good humor — spurn “Munich” and are even annoyed they weren’t consulted. (How do you find terrorists? In the Yellow Pages, under “T”?) poppins2.jpg

And you wonder why Steven is thinking about making “Mary Poppins“?

Peter Rubin: A Jeopardy Legend, Brought Low By Showtunes

peter & trebek.jpgAlex Trebek giveth, and Alex Trebek taketh away – yes, friends, the reign of Brooklyn-based freelancer and man-about-town Peter Rubin has come to an end, but not before he won a whopping $29,400. Go Peter! Highlights from his last night: “Who is Jack Welch?” “What is ‘Shook The World?’” “What is Uruguay?” Lowlights: Wrongly identifying Christina Applegate as starring in the musical “Chicago.”* Good guess…FOR SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T LIVE IN NEW YORK! Here, Peter, hold out your wrist. Now, slap. (Here, you can borrow the well-worn ruler from your brand-new pal, all 10.5-inches-and-counting of it.) Otherwise he missed answers from “Menopause” The Musical” and “Sunset Boulevard” (Peter Rubin is ready for his closeup, Mr. DeMille). In Peter’s own words after being dinged straight through the Musical Theater category by his showtune-warbling opponent:

I just stood there, blinking. My mouth was probably a little bit open too, but mostly the blinking. Where’s my “Dancehall Reggae” category? My “Mid-90s Hip-Hop” category? Nowhere, I tells ya. It’s all New Testament and show tunes. I made up for it in “Word Lore” and “The Winter Garden” though. Suckas.

Well, suckas except for the whole not-losing thing. Still, he got to go home with a fistful o’ dollars and his pride mostly intact, except for some trash-talking from Trebek:

The first night I was on I picked up 21,000+…had a rhythm going with
the buzzer and didn’t have to contend with things like my own ignorance. Your tipster, sadly, missed that show and was able to zero in on Monday, and what what was likely one of the uglier victories in Jeopardy history. How could it not be? So, so ugly. So ugly, in fact, that Trebek saw fit to open Tuesday’s show with a broadside–it was edited out in the airing, but he said something about “hopefully tonight will go a little bit better than last night.” Believe me, you haven’t lived until you’ve been browbeaten by a man like Trebek. It was all I could do to keep answering in the form of a question.

Well, Peter, all’s well that end’s well, except for the whole showtunes thing. The New York Post picked up the story (we’re going to brazenly take credit), but THEY didn’t get to rub Peter’s bald head. I’m just sayin’. Congratulations on your win, Peter, and don’t worry about the whole not-knowing-who-Abel-was thing, in a week all that will be soooo 2005, except for when I repeatedly reference it on Fishbowl. Thanks for playing!

p.s. Number of emails from young ladies who also wante to rub Peter’s shiny bald head: 1.

GQ ‘Pardy Pooper [NYP]

*It’s “Sweet Charity.”

A quick dispatch from the paparazzi front

The photographer who crashed into Lindsay Lohan’s Mercedes back in the spring, thus inspiring anti-paparazzi legislation, will not face criminal charges. From People:

“Based upon the damage sustained to both the victim’s and the suspect’s cars it appears that, although the suspect was most likely driving carelessly when he collided with the victim’s car, it was not an intentional assault,” Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney William Hodgman said regarding the allegation that photog Galo Cesar Ramirez had deliberately plowed his minivan into Lohan’s car.

Gentlemen, re-start your engines!

Watching them watch us: rounding up the usual cliches

What the NYT says about Los Angeles culture today:

- SoCal real estate is relatively expensive! Who’d have thunk?

- Oh, and we like to give each other plastic surgery as gifts. (Note to my friends: there are four more nights of Hannukah and my toes aren’t going to straighten themselves.)

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