George Clooney goes on epic rant tearing into hedge fudge founder.

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A few days ago, Daniel Loeb, the founder of hedge fund Third Point, a major investor in Sony, sent a letter to his investors stating how fed up his was with Sony and their recent box offices failures (e.g. White House Down, After Earth).

In a recent interview with Deadline, George Clooney, had a few things to say about Mr. Loeb.

Here is the rant in its entirety and, I assure you, it’s well worth the read, particularly for anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes studio nonsense that goes on:

I’ve been reading a lot about Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund guy who describes himself as an activist but who knows nothing about our business, and he is looking to take scalps at Sony because two movies in a row underperformed? When does the clock stop and start for him at Sony? Why didn’t he include Skyfall, the 007 movie that grossed a billion dollars, or Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained? And what about the rest of a year that includes Elysium, Captain Phillips, American Hustle and The Monuments Men? You can’t cherry pick a small time period and point to two films that didn’t do great. It makes me crazy. Fortunately, this business is run by people who understand that the movie business ebbs and flows and the good news is they are ignoring his calls to spin off the entertainment assets. How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where when they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired. A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.

[Loeb] calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpet bagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles. Films like Michael Clayton, Out of Sight, Good Night, And Good Luck, The Descendants and O, Brother Where Art Though?, none of these are movies studios are inclined to make. What he’s doing is scaring studios and pushing them to make decisions from a place of fear. Why is he buying stock like crazy if he’s so down on things? He’s trying to manipulate the market. I am no apologist for the studios, but these people know what they are doing. If you look at the industry track record, this business has made a lot of money. It creates a lot of jobs and is still one of the largest exporters in the world. To have this guy portraying it that Sony management is the bad stepchild and doesn’t know what it is doing and he’s going to fix it? That is like Walmart saying, let me fix your town, putting in their store, strangling all the small shops and getting everyone who worked in them to work for minimum wage with no health insurance.

“It’s crazy he has weight in this conversation at all. If guys like this are given any weight because they’ve bought stock and suddenly feel they can tell us how to do our business — one he knows nothing about — this does great damage than trickles down. The board of directors starts saying, ‘Wait a minute. What guarantee do you have that this movie makes money?’ Well, there are no guarantees, but if you average out the films Will Smith and Channing Tatum have made, you will take that bet every time, even if sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

Hedge fund guys do not create jobs, and we do. On the movie we just made, we put 300 people to work every day. I’m talking about nice, regular people, and when we shot in a town, we’d put another 300 people to work. This is an industry that thrives; there are thousands of workers who make films. You want to see what happens if outside forces start to scare the industry and studios just make tent poles out of fear? You will see a lot of crap coming out.

What do you think about what Clooney had to say to Deadline? Do you think he makes valid points? Do you think Loeb is correct in his view of trying to please investors? Chime in with your thoughts!

Ellen DeGeneres Hosting Oscar Ceremony 2014

Ellen DeGeneresSome people watch Oprah, some people watch The View (dear God, why? squak squak squak!) and some people watch Fox and Friends. Me? I subscribe to the Ellen channel on YouTube. Although her stint at the Oscars a few years back didn’t work all that well, I still think she’s great at being funny with her stand-up and guest interviews alike. She does all sorts of good humanitarian work and makes people laugh while doing it. Also, she’s great in Finding Nemo. It’s safe to say I’m a fan.

And now we get this Tweet from her earlier today:

So yeah, I guess this is official. I’m willing to give her a second try on this one and actually look forward to it. Would I have chosen someone different to host if I were in charge? Yeah probably. But I’m happy with this choice.

Penny is the New Bond Girl

Thanks to Mamo’s Matt Brown’s happy Tweet, I learned two things about Bond today that I wasn’t previously aware of. One, Sam Mendes is coming back for the next installment. This is news that has been out for some time apparently and I managed to miss it somehow. So, yay. Two, Queen Penélope will now be amongst the elite. She will join the club of a small but fortunate group of ladies known as “Bond girls.” Yes, Penélope Cruz has signed on to play 007’s (Daniel Craig) love interest in the follow-up to the most successful Bond film to date, Skyfall.

From “a source”:

“The producers have tried to get Penelope before, but she has never been available because of other commitments. The discussions have been going on for some time and they are working out the contract details now … She got back into shape fast after the first baby and will no doubt regain her figure quickly this time. She’ll be a great Bond girl. Bond girls are always brainy as well as sexy, and that’s totally Penelope.”

Turning 40 next year, this makes Cruz the oldest Bond girl to ever play the role. And I for one, couldn’t be happier about the news. I wouldn’t have thought Skyfall could be topped; one of my favorite films from last year. But this is one very large step in that direction.

Dueling Oscar News

1) As if the Oscars weren’t already meaningless enough, Oscar voters will now no longer have to actually watch movies in certain categories before voting. Now I actually thought that this is the way it whas been for years but apparently just yesterday The Academy announced it would now be sending Oscar Voters DVDs for the following categories: Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film.

So voters are no longer required to see the movies on the large screen and can now just ignore them from the comforot of their own home as the screening sit idly on a coffee table or kitchen counter before putting a check mark on their ballots. Perhaps I’m being cynical?

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2) To the chagrin of many and the joy of many more, Seth McFarlane has reportedly been offered the Oscar hosting gig for 2014. Both The Academy and Seth’s people have remained silent on the issue, but this is the rumored news. Not to get into yet another debate about who an ideal Oscar host would be, but there you have it. Discuss.

P.T. Anderson’s next film is all Set to Start Shooting!

We stopped doing news items, casting items and the like around Rowthree as just ‘extra content’ some time ago; instead favouring the more solid information and material regarding upcoming and in-release films – such as trailers, festival screenings and you know, actual reviews. All that being said, this is bit of news is too good to pass up, especially considering there are a number of us around here that consider The Master to be easily the best film to be made, acted, and discussed by film lovers last year. According to Cinemablend, P.T. Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice is set to start shooting, with Joaquin Phoenix in the lead and There Will Be Blood cinematographer Robert Elswit shooting on 35mm film with a Warner Brothers studio backing. God bless that someone out there is still enabling Anderson to be able to do thing things his way, that is to say: The Classic Cinema Way. Shooting is expected to start this month.

Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon- private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era. It’s been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” except that this one usually leads to trouble.

Details on Emmerich’s “Independence Day II & III”

Its no secret I’m a pretty big fan of Devlin/Emmerich’s Independence Day. I remember just a few days of seeing that film in the theater (was it three or four times?), there was talk of a sequel in the works. Well here we are, twenty years later and not much word on the sequel. Until recently.

Roland Emmerich is taking down the White House this summer, but apparently after that, ID Forever Part One and ID Forever Part Two will be on the way. The scripts are already in place and re-writes are happening as I type. The films will take place about twenty years after the original (so… now I guess) and though mostly a new cast, it will also include some of the original characters. Emmerich had this to say:

The humans knew that one day the aliens would come back. And they know that the only way you can really travel in space is through wormholes. So for the aliens, it could take two or three weeks, but for us that’s 20 or 25 years. It’s a changed world. It’s like parallel history. Humans have harnessed all this alien technology. We don’t know how to duplicate it because it’s organically-grown technology, but we know how to take an antigravity device and put it in a human airplane.

It’s still some of the same characters, but also new younger characters; it’s a little bit like the sons take over. The first one ends on a little success, but only enough to give the humans hope. And then in the second one they free themselves again..

Some of the early art direction and set design is also underway apparently, so I’m personally hoping for a 2015 release on this one. Possibly even late summer of 2014? I’m probably alone on the excitement for this one, but I can’t be alone. C’mon, how many alien invasion movies do we get anymore? Not many.

How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song: Available March 26th!

At last year’s Flyway Film Festival, Matt and I were honored to be among jury members for the fictional narrative feature category. While voting, it was a pleasure to award best director to Gary King for his musical, How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song. Now, some may be screaming bias, but our jury is not alone in the festival world of awarding HDYWAJSS accolade after accolade. And now for the good news…

You can see HDYWAJSS starting Tuesday no matter where you are. You don’t have to wait for a festival screening to check it out as it will be available for download on several major platforms (Vudu, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, etc.) and a DVD and Blu-ray will also be available on Tuesday. Here’s the OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

 

As a side note, if you’re in the Minneapolis area, I’ll see you at the upcoming screening on April 11th because despite being able to see it at home starting Tuesday, quite honestly if you can get to a big screen to see this spectacle. It’s quite shiny! Sign up for the Tugg to ensure your spot today. It will be at the Southdale AMC. Probably see you before and after stumbling from bar to bar in the area.

Jurassic Park IV Director Confirmed: Colin Trevorrow

Apparently Colin Trevorrow was high in the running for the Star Wars VII gig (as reported by the internet). I saw the new and thought, “who?” Looking him up on the ever faithful IMDb, it seems he’s done very little; the most visible part of the repertoire being the much underseen Safety Not Guaranteed. The short of the long of this is, I still think to myself, “who?”

Here’s what producer Frank Marshall (‏@LeDoctor) had to say via Twitter: “Thrilled to have director on JP4, Colin Trevorrow, an exciting young filmmaker who understands and respects the world that is Jurassic Park.”

Except that it will be in 3D. The original Jurassic Park is hitting theaters again in early April… also in retro-fitted 3D. Can you feel my excitement?

Full press release:

Long-awaited fourth installment of this groundbreaking film franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment to be shot in 3D

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, March 14, 2013 — Colin Trevorrow has signed on to direct Jurassic Park 4, the highly-anticipated fourth installment of the blockbuster franchise that has grossed $1.9 billion at worldwide box office since the first film was released in 1993.

The Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment production will be produced by Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley with Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer. The script was written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).

Trevorrow directed Safety Not Guaranteed for FilmDistrict and Big Beach Films starring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson. The critically-acclaimed film debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where screenwriter Derek Connolly won the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. The film also won Best First Screenplay at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards, where Trevorrow was nominated for Best First Feature.

Universal will release Jurassic Park in 3D on April 5. With his remastering of the epic into a state-of-the-art 3D format, Spielberg introduces the three-time Academy Award®-winning blockbuster to a new generation of moviegoers and allows longtime fans to experience the world he envisioned in a way that was unimaginable during the film’s original release.

Watch the 1993 masterpiece Super Mario Bros. in full!

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Once or twice a year, something reminds me of that this movie happened. Today, I was reminded of it when I saw an original NES for sale on Craigslist.

I was only eight years old when I first saw the Super Mario Bros. movie. Imagine my excitement: not only were they making a movie about that awesome Mario game I spent so much time playing, the good guy from Roger Rabbit was playing Mario. As we first popped the movie into our VCR and the familiar NES music played over the opening credits, fading into whacky cartoon with talking dinosaurs narrated by Dan Castellaneta (aka Homer Simpson), I was immediately confused.

And that confusion never ceased during the entire 100 minute runtime.

I probably watched the film a dozen times as a kid. I never quite understood what it had to do with the video games that I loved so much, but I tolerated it – maybe even strangely enjoyed it. Now as an adult, I enjoy it for other reasons, mostly because I get a kick out of its campiness, how bizarre the entire script is, and the complete disaster that it turned out to be.

A meteorite somehow splitting the earth into two parallel universes. Dennis Hopper as an OCD, greasy-haired King Koopa. Giant “de-evolved” goombas. Fisher Stevens. The silly backstory for why Mario and Luigi were two Italian plumbers saving a princess.

Imagining the studio execs coming up with all of this as a means of capitalizing on Nintendo’s popularity is even more amusing.

Even more interesting are the almosts of this movie. Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Killing Fields) was the first to propose the film in a studio meeting. Danny DeVito and Harold Ramis were in talks to direct at one point. Tom Hanks was once on board to play Mario with Hoskins being brought on due to being a “more profitable” actor. Oh, the what-ifs.

As it would turn out, the film would bomb making less than $21 million back of its $45 million budget. Critics and gamers alike slammed it. And since then, Hoskins hasn’t spoke very kindly of it or its duo of directors. “The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Brothers,” Hoskins said in a 2007 interview with Guardian. “It was a fuckin’ nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! Fuckin’ nightmare. Fuckin’ idiots.”

You know what, though? The movie is right here for you to watch in its entirety. See if you can resist.