While Bernie Sanders did his thing on the floor of the senate today, Hollywood liberals, and a few conservatives too, we’re busy doing their thing so that the guys who owned all the studios would have all the more money to save from their big, big tax break. To wit…
* Robert Rodriguez and the other makers of the modestly budgeted “Machete” got a nasty surprise from the Texas Film Commission, which appears to be reneging on $1.7 million in tax rebates. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, It has something to do with a law against providing the incentives to films portraying Texas and/or Texans negatively. Every film portrays people negatively. This reeks of political selectivity, probably related to the film’s deliberately nonpartisan lampooning of anti-immigrant hysteria and demagogic politicians. “Machete” goes out of its way to avoid naming the evil politician played by Robert De Niro as a member of either party, in fact.
If Texas doesn’t change it’s tune, and fast, I agree for once with the L.A. Times‘ Patrick Goldstein and seriously hope nobody from outside the state shoots a single foot of film in Texas until such time as the state seeks to elect non-mouthbreathers to statewide office. They have, indeed, fucked with the wrong Mexican.
* Alleged flaming communist eco-extremist and actual blowhard James Cameron is working on a possible series of “immersive” 3D films built around Cirque du Soleil with writer/director Andrew Adamson (“Shrek”). Though Nikki Finke in her “toldja” piece merely reprinted a vaguely written, woolly press release. The L.A. Times actually got them to describe the project in a coherent way. The first movie will be a pastiche of all the shows currently playing in Las Vegas with some kind of linking device. More films may follow though what they’ll be, who the heck knows.
* While we’re on the topic of Cameron, the true meaning of “avatard.”
* A bit of news I missed from earlier this week. While all the complaining in the world couldn’t reverse the widely ridiculed R-ratings given to “The King’s Speech” and “Made in Dagenham,” Harvey Weinstein worked his famed pre-Oscar magic on the potentially commercially ruinous NC-17 given to the drama “Blue Valentine,” reportedly for a single charged sex scene featuring a married couple played by Ryan “Hey Girl” Gosling and Michelle Williams. After much industry criticism, the likely Oscar nominee has been talked down to an R.
* Matt Damon is “circling” “Elysium,” the new film from South African “District 9” whiz Neil Blomkamp. “District 9” star Sharlto Copley is already on board, but almost nothing else is known about the movie. Are we even so sure it’s going to be science fiction of some sort?
* You may have heard that the mystery of who killed the widely liked and respected publicist Ronni Chasen, and why, has been mostly solved. Nikki Finke presents a series of mostly very logical questions by a reporter named Allison Hope Weiner that makes it seem unclear whether it really has.
After listening to the details of the press conference, one of my police sources familiar with the investigation questioned the credibility of the investigation and quipped, “If I’m murdered and you find my body in Beverly Hills, please drag my body to LAPD. Even if you have to leave a bloody trail.”
Ouch. Quick, someone call Axel Foley.
* You’d think he’d be on top of the world right now, but Jessie Eisenberg is going from playing a baby billionaire to collecting “Free Samples.”
* I think pretty highly of James L. Brooks but, Jeebus H. Christofolis, the budget of his upcoming romantic comedy, “How Do You Know,” turns out to be $120 million, says The Hollywood Reporter. Remember, this is a movie where people just talk and kiss and stuff, set in New York, not outer Mongolia during an ice age. They don’t part the Red Sea or fight off hordes of alien invaders or flee the destruction of the planet. Of course, $27 million of that is the salary for Reese Witherspoon and Jack Nicholson, with Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd (getting a mere pittance of $3 million), and Brooks himself all having very nice pay days. All told, the major talent were paid a routinely absurd $50 million .
Subtracting those enormous sums, that still means that Brooks made a $70 million dollar film about people talking in offices and very nice apartments, even if he did reshoot significant portions of the movie. I simply don’t know how you justify that. Also, with that kind of money being spent, you’d think they would at least spring for a question mark cost for the title. (Via Film Drunk.)
* Apparently what the world needs now is a “Clash of the Titans” sequel.
* In an over-the-top stupid moment sure to make “The Daily Show,” CNN used a clip from the most notorious moment of “Dumb and Dumber” — you know the one — to illustrate a story about a man suffering from a truly painful and debilitating illness of the digestive tract. Stupid and stupider.
* Guess what this year’s top movie moneymaker from Fox is? Ready. “Knight and Day,” says Mike Fleming. Yeah, I don’t know anyone who liked it either. I guess we can’t count out Tomcat, or Cameron Diaz, just yet.