Tag Archives | Hollywood

Nothing Happens Unless White Folks Say So

redhook summerJames Mcbride, co-writer of Spike Lee’s ‘Red Hook Summer,’ has penned a pull-no-punches open letter to Hollywood, detailing some serious issues on race and representation in cinema, and what it means to be a storyteller in an overtly commercial studio system. Via Colorlines.

The reviews for Spike Lee’s film “Red Hook Summer” that premiered at Sundance earlier this week have not been good. His comments made after the premiere about Hollywood studios knowing “nothing about black people” made more headlines than the actual film.

An open letter published yesterday by “Red Hook” co-writer, James McBride, is sure to make even more headlines because he takes the film community to task and says “nothing in this world happens unless white folks says it happens.”

Below is an excerpt from McBride’s open letter on the 40 Acres and a Mule website:

Three days ago, at the premiere of “Red Hook Summer” at The Sundance Film Festival, Spike, usually a cool and widely accepting soul whose professional life is as racially diverse as any American I know- lost his cool for 30 seconds.

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Meeting Ahmadinejad, Trashing ‘Hollywoodism,’ And Eating Kabob

Tehran, Iran: Iran seems to many to be next in line for the Iraqi freedom treatment, the latest in a long line of “enemy” nations menaced by overt and covert military threats by the United States and its allies.

Tehran. Photo: Maryam Ashoori (CC)

Tehran. Photo: Maryam Ashoori (CC)

As the psyops operations and media propaganda intensifies, you might think war is imminent for defense and that Iran is doing what countries under threat do in these circumstances—such as mobilizing their people and preparing for a bombing onslaught.

Think again. While I have been told that military targets have been or are being moved around, the atmosphere in Tehran is relaxed with more talk of a cultural battlefield than a military one. There’s a commemoration under way of the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution and an international conference on “Hollywoodism and Cinema” as an extension of an annual Fajr film festival.

And that’s what I am doing here, as a guest participant in an event that sees Hollywood as a bigger enemy than the Pentagon.… Read the rest

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The Freakonomics Of Hollywood’s Piracy Claims

MPAA2The Freakonomics dudes have called BS on Hollywood’s piracy claims. Adrianne Jeffries reports for BetaBeat:

Anti-piracy rhetoric holds that online piracy is a devastating force on the U.S. economy, responsible for the theft of between $200 billion and $250 billion per year and the loss of 750,000 good American jobs. “These numbers seem truly dire: a $250 billion per year loss would be almost $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And 750,000 jobs – that’s twice the number of those employed in the entire motion picture industry in 2010,” write the economists over at Freakonomics.

But those numbers are wrong, the authors say, citing a breakdown by the Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez.

In 2010, the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that these figures “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology,” which is polite government-speak for “these figures were made up out of thin air.”

More recently, the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) placed the number at $58 billion; but that reporter is methodologically flawed, Mr.

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Motion Picture Industry Threatens Politicians

Former Sentator Chris Dodd

From the sickening department at Techdirt:

Reinforcing the fact that Chris Dodd really does not get what’s happening, and showing just how disgustingly corrupt the MPAA relationship is with politicians, Chris Dodd went on Fox News to explicitly threaten politicians who accept MPAA campaign donations that they’d better pass Hollywood’s favorite legislation … or else:

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,”

This certainly follows what many people assumed was happening, and fits with the anonymous comments from studio execs that they will stop contributing to Obama, but to be so blatant about this kind of corruption and money-for-laws politics in the face of an extremely angry public is a really, really, really tone deaf response from Dodd.

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‘Non-Visible’ Art Sells For $10,000

fracsGenius or madness? Surly acting hunk James Franco sold an intangible, undetectable work of conceptual art, created in collaboration with the design duo Praxis, to a Montreal collector for $10,000. Paste reports that the masterpiece is titled "Fresh Air" and is described as thus:
A unique piece, only this one is for sale. The air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen. No matter where you are, you always have the ability to take a breath of the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce. Every breath you take gives you endless peace and health. This artwork is something to carry with you if you own it. Because wherever you are, you can imagine yourself getting the most beautiful taste of air that is from the mountain tops or fields or from the ocean side; it is an endless supply.
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Are You Ready For ‘Blade Runner’ Prequels And Sequels?

blade runnerIf you enjoyed the Star Wars prequels then I suppose you might be more well disposed towards the idea of doing the same with the sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner, but I can’t say I have high hopes for any prequel or sequel. Like it or not, Deadline Hollywood reports that they’re coming:

Warner Bros-based financing and production company Alcon Entertainment (“The Blind Side,” “The Book of Eli”) co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, in the most significant property acquisition negotiations in the Company’s 13-year history, are in final discussions to secure film, television and ancillary franchise rights to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic 1982 science-fiction thriller “Blade Runner.”…

Alcon is negotiating to secure the rights from producer-director Bud Yorkin, who will serve as producer on “Blade Runner” along with Kosove and Johnson. Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will co-produce. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.

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Inside Scientology: Brainwashing, Violence, And Slave Labor

scientologycommonsNo, the above isn’t hyperbole. The New Yorker has a fascinating and authoritative exposé on Scientology. The experiences of Hollywood director and ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis are the starting point, but the piece hits upon everything from the cult’s origins to its use of violence and child labor to John Travolta magically healing Marlon Brando’s leg via touch:

In December, 2009, Tricia Whitehill, a special agent from the Los Angeles office, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the F.B.I.’s office in downtown Clearwater, which happens to be directly across the street from Scientology’s spiritual headquarters.

Whitehill and Valerie Venegas, the lead agent on the case, also interviewed former Sea Org members in California. One of them was Gary Morehead, who had been the head of security at the Gold Base; he left the church in 1996. In February, 2010, he spoke to Whitehill and told her that he had developed a “blow drill” to track down Sea Org members who left Gold Base.

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Lawrence Wright’s Amazing ‘New Yorker’ Feature On Scientology

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Paul Haggis. Photo: David Shankbone (CC)

Lawrence Wright’s forthcoming tell-all book about the Hollywood uber-cult Scientology (The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs.The Church of Scientology) has been in the news often the past few weeks, mostly concerning speculation about whether or not award-winning scribe Paul Haggis “officially” collaborated with Wright.

The book still hasn’t been scheduled for publication and considering the cult’s propensity for litigation it might face considerable delays. For those who can’t wait, Wright has contributed a fascinating and lengthy essay on the topic to the current issue of the New Yorker.

It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the cult of Scientology. Here’s the beginning:

On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, received a letter from the film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. “For ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego,” Haggis wrote.

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Mark Wahlberg Smells Of Skunk

MarkwahlbergshprAccording to his kids, anyway, Marky Mark smells of skunk. US Magazine reports that he’s given up smoking weed to save his kids from his skunky odor. The cynic in me says it might have more to do with his becoming a big shot in Hollywood, not only as an actor but also as executive producer of HBO shows like Entourage and Boardwalk Empire (note the part of his quote below where he says he goes to church instead of partying – yeah right, Mark!):

“I stopped smoking weed for my kids,” explained the star, who added that he’s replaced weekend partying with church-going.

“One day, we were driving and you could smell it from somewhere. My daughter asked what the smell was so I told her it was a skunk. Then she said, ‘Sometimes Daddy smells like that!’ to me and my wife. So I knew I had to quit.”

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