Live from various parts of West L.A.!

I was at a screening at Sony (it’ll always be the MGM lot to me) earlier tonight, so to avoid traffic and strike while the iron is hot, tonight’s post comes to you directly from various branches of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. (As one closed, I was forced to migrate…)

* A little detail everyone seemed to miss yesterday: the possibly upcoming “Vlad” that I discussed last night is technically a movie about Dracula but is not, in fact, a vampire movie. It’s a tale that will to some degree hew to the historical reality of the not-quite-literally bloodthirsty Romanian ruler Vlad Dracul, it turns out. Via The Playlist, there’s an informative Entertainment Weekly interview with the screenwriter.

Another detail I personally missed last night: writer Charlie Hunnam is one of the stars of FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” which I’ve never seen but have been hearing great things about and which, of course, our own Jason Zingale has been blogging right here at PH. “Vlad” is being compared to both “300” and “Braveheart” — two movies I personally strongly disliked partly because they both offend my sense of morality, but I’m still curious to see if this one pans out.

* “Paranormal Activityhit it in France and the UK, but not in Germany. I’m imagining a guy in a turtle neck with a look of disdain. “Your pretense at being haunted by demons grows tiresome!”

* A “toldja” for Nikki Finke that’s going to impact what I do here quite directly. Variety will be starting to go behind a pay wall tomorrow. Finke thinks this is necessary, but it will also mean — unless I’m missing something — that bloggers won’t be able to link to their content (because you readers woudn’t be able to read it, unless I’m misunderstanding how this all works). When The New York Times tried doing that some time back with their op-ed features, they disappeared from direct mention on political blogs and the experiment was ultimately deemed a failure. This isn’t quite the same thing, but of course in the case of Variety, they have a core audience in the business who feel like they need to keep up, so it might well work for them. We shall see.

* In a slightly related story. Sharon Waxman‘s current count of laid-off/encouraged-to-retire movie critics is up to 55 and now some wise guys are paying critics as focus group subjects. Some see this as a conflict of interest. I’m not convinced it qualifies, but it’s a little sad. I’m not convinced criticism is really a dying career, but it may become more of a blog-based star system as time goes on, with only a very few superstar critics making a good living on it. Or not.

* The next “Twilight” film will be on Imax screens as well as ordinary ones. Is that even news?

* Steven Soderbergh is keeping busy with a new doc about late monologist Spaulding Gray to debut at Park City’s Slamdance fest this January.

* There’s  a not very strong rumor going around some of the geek movie blogs that James Cameron‘s next film after “Avatar” will be some kind of transposition of Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai to outer space. Of the several blogs that I saw covering this, the only that even mentioned that a Roger Corman opus had already done that back in 1980, was by Nix at SciFi Cool and now the link apparently can’t be found. Anyhow, as far as I know it is only here that you’ll learn that Cameron was actually an art director on “Battle Beyond the Stars” in connection with this item. So, assuming he does this, will Corman get a piece of the film? What about the Kurosawa estate and Toho?

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