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Re: “Don Jon: a love triangle between a woman, a man and his laptop

Can Tony Danza match his performance in Going Ape?

Posted by Matt on 09/25/2013 at 10:10 PM

Re: “Don Jon: a love triangle between a woman, a man and his laptop

JGL has nothing on the Gorgeous One...

Posted by The Gorgeous JR on 09/25/2013 at 3:12 PM

Re: “Don Jon

This movie had all the elements for a great ribald comedy, along the lines of Tom Jones or the early Woody Allen flicks. The guy is addicted to porn, his apartment, his car, his buddies, his family and the church. He falls in love with a manipulative woman who sees the man she can build out of the raw material - but not the man he is. He has to come to grips with his depersonalization of the women around him and learn to truly interact. With an all-star cast including the wonderful actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza, and some wonderful direction and acting; it should be a good movie. It should be, but it isn't. It's a comedy that isn't funny. After just a few minutes I was repeating to myself, "Alright, we get it. He's addicted to porn. Get on with the story. Show me a movie." But it fails. It takes 1-1/4 hours of the 1-1/2 hour movie to get to the story. It's Joseph Gordon-Levitt's first job of writing and first job of directing. OK, so it wasn't awful but it was a comedy without laughs. He should have stuck to one or two positions but he falls down on the writing/directing/starring thing. Miss this one... it's TOO boring.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by richardk on 09/25/2013 at 11:22 AM

Re: “The Trials of Muhammad Ali

Excellent

Posted by Ade Soudan on 09/18/2013 at 9:02 PM

Re: “The Spectacular Now

A compelling film that's well worth seeing. The stars, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, are young people to watch for future greatness. Superb acting. I thought it was well-written, it was directed and edited perfectly, the acting was great and the screenplay was wonderful. What wasn't to like? I was quite impressed. It fully lives up to the hype and the positive reviews.

Posted by richardk on 09/13/2013 at 8:00 PM

Re: “Austenland

I thought it would be a cute movie: a woman who's obsessed with Jane Austen goes to a British mansion where one is immersed in Austen novel imagery and characters. Presumably our heroine finds romance and some comedy. Well it was cute, but it could have been so much more. There could have been better dialogue, more character exposition, better acting, and better jokes. It's not an awful movie - it is fun. But it certainly isn't a great movie. The postscript/epilogue that plays as the credits start was better than the whole film and the comic shots playing during the credits were far funnier than anything that happened during the film. Bret McKenzie (of Flight of the Conchords fame), although a 2nd lead, steals the film and shows remarkable acting talent for his small role. Wait for cable.

Posted by richardk on 09/11/2013 at 8:12 PM

Re: “Austenland fails to summon a story about obsessive readers

This film has a lot of problems. Jug Report tackles one of them: "bust shaming": http://wp.me/p3INSa-5E

Posted by Jug Report on 09/10/2013 at 3:09 PM

Re: “Lee Daniels' The Butler

The Butler was a great story that needed to be told and needs to be seen. It was not the strongest film in the acting dept. but it was a stirring and moving statement nevertheless. The movie is bigger than the performances. I like the switch between live people and newsreels/TV reporting to tell the histories. I like the sets and the costumes. I like the feel of the sweep of time and changes - the changes to the people and the changes to America. Everybody should see this film; especially the young folks who do not know what went before or who see dates and places and cannot put a human face on the events.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by richardk on 08/25/2013 at 3:26 PM

Re: “The ATL Twins are Spring Breakers forever

Lots of hating in these comments for such a benign article about a couple of guys that want more out of life than what they see in their future.
They are working, paying taxes I assume, they are not criminals (well, maybe breaking some drug laws but most of us have) and they are trying to build a storyline for their lives that they can use to break in to the entertainment industry.
Sure, there is a certain desperation to it all but don't all dreams come with a certain stench of desperation until they come true.
I hope it all works for them.
By the way, saw the movie, thought it was silly and a step up from child porn. Korine creeps me out but to each his own.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Carl White on 08/24/2013 at 3:38 PM

Re: “Blue Jasmine

One might think that Woody Allen had produced another comedy from the TV ads and trailers. There's nothing funny about this fine drama. There will be the inevitable (and deserved) comparisons to Streetcar Named Desire. Unlike Streetcar, this isn't a melodrama, it's a tragedy based on the harm Jasmine does to herself in her attempted recovery from mental illness. However, in Blue Jasmine's last scene Simone Signoret's vulnerability and "other worldly" distance from reality in Ship of Fools was brought to mind. There were folks laughing in the theater - and there are depictions of the absurdities of life and people - but I found the laughter jarring and ill-conceived. I kept wondering what the hell was wrong with these people for laughing at things so sad and so not meant to be funny. The scenes generating a few laughs were hard-hitting looks at the realities of just living. Cate Blanchett's performance is so perfect, so Oscar-worthy, it will be hard to even notice some wonderful work done by a fine supporting cast. This movie will hit you hard, even hours after leaving the theater, but you must see the phenomenal Blanchett work in this film.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by richardk on 08/14/2013 at 7:47 PM

Re: “I'm So Excited (Los amantes pasajeros)

What a wonderful farce! Imagine Monty Python meets It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and you'll just be touching the surface of this insane romp. Picture this: the ground crew (Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in cameo appearances) at the airport are more into each other than their jobs and they mess up big time. The plane takes off and the landing gear on one side of the plane is shot. The economy class passengers don't know because the stewardesses in economy always drug their passengers to keep them quiet and so they won't be bothered but one of them accidentally drugged herself and the other stewardesses, too. The plane isn't going from Spain to Mexico, it's circling in Spain trying to find an empty runway to accommodate the emergency landing. In business class there are an assortment of the wildest characters you can imagine, drunk stewards who ply them with liquor and drugs to take the edge off (but with a side effect of increasing libido). Because one of the stewards has "loose lips" there's an amazing amount of plot exposition and character backgrounds to help the audience get fully vested in the story and the people. Hilarity ensues. There are some belly laughs and tons of chuckles and even some touching moments. This film is not for the prudish - there's lots of sex in business class and in the cockpit - but since it's so incredibly inventive and original and clever with so many unexpected plot twists; don't miss it. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Posted by richardk on 07/28/2013 at 8:03 PM

Re: “Midnight in Paris

I wish I'd seen this when it first came out so many months back. I wish it had been made and I'd seen it when I was little or a teen or even decades ago. There are few screenplays with such brilliant writing. The words, the concepts, the character exposition wash over you more like a tidal bore than a wave. It's too trite to say it's breathtaking, but it does take your breath away - and your heart. A terribly clever plot, a list of Hollywood royalty as the stars (even in cameos and minor roles), wonderful acting and the beauty of Paris (past and present) and you've got a truly great film. It has so much to say about the human condition and so much to say to people everywhere. A slow start belies how important the movie really is. This is one to watch again and again and again.

Posted by richardk on 07/28/2013 at 7:50 PM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

Oy,

Always nice to have a fairly civil debate. If you are ever in LA, give me a shout. First drink is on me.

Posted by Adrian H. McDonald on 07/22/2013 at 10:59 PM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

"California had 100 years and is home to every major studio, yet they still need to offer a tax credit to keep production in the state."

Now that's your best point so far.

But it's a different age and Cali shot itself in the foot in many ways...on the other hand, you'll never go broke betting that the Ga. pols will not screw up.

The economy is the deciding factor. If it stays on an upward trend, and state black ink continues... Laissez les bons temps rouler.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by oydave on 07/22/2013 at 10:35 PM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

I never said programs were cut because of the film subsidy. The point I was making is that, it seems to me, when revenue tanks and the choice is between funding higher education, primary education, pre-K programs, healthcare (the core government functions etc.) or a program that diverts public funds to subsidize 30% of the cost for movies and TV shows, most rational people would have a hard time defending using scarce public funds to pay for movies. I don't know how people can defend such a lavish public subsidy when kids can't get into pre-K.

As for education spending, New Hampshire ranks in the top 10 for achievement and spends over $12,000 per pupil for K-12 (placing it among top 10 states for funding). Georgia was ranked 36th for student achievement in the same Kids Count rankings and per-pupil spending for K-12 was under $3,000 per pupil. New Hampshire's HS graduation rate is also well above the national average, in the 80%+ range and Georgia is well below the national HS graduation rate, in the high 60% range.

While agree that throwing more money at education spending doesn't necessarily mean there will be a correlation in performance, the New Hampshire vs. Georgia example proves the opposite of the point you were trying to make.

Rankings aside, what about that pre-K waiting list? Again, should public revenue go to putting them in a pre-K program or be used to subsidize a movie? I know you want Georgia to "win the fight", but what does that even mean? How about winning a fight to lower tuition costs? Or winning he fight to have universal pre-K? Maybe not as sexy as winning the next Hunger Games movie, but clearly much more important.

I also didn't say Georgia should pick and choose what shoots there, I said that a requirement that the projects be set in Georgia would be a good idea because it would help foster the PR angle and any potential tourism impacts. No, you can't pick what will film in Georgia, but you CAN pick what films will get the subsidy. I offered the suggestion because, one would hope, you would want to get the most bang for the buck.

Wishing for a nation free of state film subsidies isn't some fantastical wishful thinking. Before 2003, it was the reality. No state had a film tax credit program back then. Film tax credits are a blip on the radar in the 100+ years of the US film industry. The historical norm is a level playing field without the subsidy. I am arguing for a return to normalcy. I also recognize there is a competition for these jobs, and it's global. So I think a more pragmatic policy option would be a single national credit. It would keep the jobs domestic and end the costly game of one-upsmanship among the states.

And Pinewood isn't paying to build the studio in Georgia. Rather, they agreed to put their name on the project and manage the facility for the Atlanta-based investors. If you look at the success rate of studios built in areas dependent on large incentives to lure productions, the success rate is horrible. Even Albuquerque Studios in New Mexico has spend most of its existence in bankruptcy. Santa Fe Studios is in trouble. In Michigan, Raleighs Pontiac Studios has been one of the most tragic studio failures and is costing the state millions as it continues to default on bond repayments.

Pinewood Georgia's stages will depend on the ongoing existence of the massive incentive to keep its stages booked. Spending millions on a huge venture when the ultimate success hinges on indefinite public support via the incentive is exactly the most prudent investment. Has the constant bubble crisis taught us nothing? The housing bubble has scary parallels to the current film incentive bubble. After Pontiac's collapse, Raleigh decided to start pulling out of the studio game. And worth noting is the fact that the big six studios themselves haven't thought it prudent to build a single state in a single state outside of California. Disney, Paramount and Universal have all begun massive expansions in Southern California. How, exactly, is Georgia going to win this fight you mention?

Finally, you have failed to address many of my key questions: The problem with the film credit is the plan ahead. How long does it need to be offered? When, if ever, will a sustainable industry exist capable of standing on its own two feet? Since New York, Toronto, BC and now even California are forced to offer incentives to retain production, what makes anyone think they will ever have a self-sustaining industry?? California had 100 years and is home to every major studio, yet they still need to offer a tax credit to keep production in the state.

Posted by Adrian H. McDonald on 07/22/2013 at 5:50 PM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

K...but...

The laggard Georgia school rankings and test score aren't due to funding levels. Frequently, schools that spend the most have the worst results, and, as in the case of New Hampshire, schools that spend relatively little have outstanding results.

The drop in higher education funding here was because of the precipitous drop in state revenue due to the financial meltdowns felt nationally, globally even. It had nothing to do with bad movies being lured to shoot in Georgia. There was also a drop in every state budget in every department. It is misleading to point to school children and say Ron Burgundy is eating their lunch.

You can't pick and choose which movies come to shoot here. You may not like Anchorman 2, but the caterer's check will clear just as fast as the check for the caterer on the Flight set. And the good will for the state isn't all from a positive image of the state in the picture. A lot of it is from the lips of the people affected, the folks who come here to work on the pictures. Word of mouth is slower than a picture of Savannah but it's pure gold as well.

"If Georgia turns into the new Hollywood, so be it. But competition should be based on the skill and quality of the workforce and the local industry, not a government tax subsidy."

Wishing that things were as they should be can make you crazy. It's a dog eat dog world and you have to fight for everything you get. The fact that an industry "on wheels" is making with the brick and mortar...Pinewood Studios and others...means that we are winning that fight. The word subsidy does make me cringe. But I still say a tax credit is not a true subsidy and that by forgoing potential revenue, Georgia receives a wide range of rewards that more than make up for it.

Posted by oydave on 07/21/2013 at 9:14 AM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

Oy,

Sorry if you think I am being negative. It's not my intent. I am just being realistic. And I agree with pretty much everything your last comment mentioned. Yes, it is a great stimulus that means lots of money spent in a pretty quick amount of time that means lots of jobs for lots of people and lots of spending at lots of vendors. That said, Georgia could get the same benefit if it gave a 30% credit to money tourists spend. Better yet, give a 30% credit to any person or company doing large capital expenditures, like a hospital building a new wing...whatever. The stimulus effect can come from almost any sector, not just production spending.

The problem with the film credit is the plan ahead. How long does it need to be offered? When, if ever, will a sustainable industry exist capable of standing on its own two feet? Since New York, Toronto, BC and now even California are forced to offer incentives to retain production, what makes anyone think they will ever have a self-sustaining industry?? California had 100 years and is home to every major studio, yet they still need to offer a tax credit to keep production in the state. Is investing such a huge amount of money to an industry that is on wheels really something that makes sense? If the state spent the $200 million to build infrastructure, at least it would have something durable that can benefit residents for years to come, like new roads--whatever. Hell, how about using state funds to build a studio owned by the state. Hire a group like Pinewood to manage it and split the revenue. And while we are at it, how about a stipulation that Georgia gets a share of profits (should there be any)?

From a national perspective, the US isn't gaining any new net jobs. The jobs created in Georgia means jobs lost in California or someplace else. Almost every state is competing just to move these jobs around the map. About 10 years ago, the main problem was Canada (and they are still a problem). Now the problem is the US fighting itself. I often argue for a single federal film credit that would supersede the state incentives. Let's level the domestic playing field with a single incentive, compete on the global level rather than with each other and let the chips fall where they may. If Georgia turns into the new Hollywood, so be it. But competition should be based on the skill and quality of the workforce and the local industry, not a government tax subsidy.

And Walking Dead rules, BTW. Set in Georgia. Filmed in Georgia. If the state is going to benefit from film tourism, then more projects should be encouraged to change the setting. Crap like Last Vegas, Anchorman 2 or Footloose isn't going to draw tourists. With Last Vegas, Georgia effectively paid out millions for tourism campaign for Nevada. Silly. As for the Georgia logo, move that sucker up front. If Georgia is covering a third of costs, then it deserves to have it's logo up front with the other producers. The vast majority of audiences never see a logo buried at the end of credits.

Does Georgia have a slight surplus this year? Yes. And that's great. But it didn't have one in many recent years while it was offering its film incentive. During the same time Georgia was paying for movies and TV shows, spending on higher education went from over $11,000 per-student to under $5,000. Adding insult to injury, in order to cope with the budget cuts, tuition is up over 60-70% at the state's major universities just since 2008! Pre-K-12th grade funding has been cut every single year since 2002, totaling cuts of over $4 billion. The Pre-K program has suffered cuts and, even now, there is a waiting list of 8,000 children. And these cuts are just the tip of the iceberg.

In my view, taxpayer money should be used on things like the Pre-K program, not subsidizing the salary Jennifer Lawrence is getting for the latest Hunger Games movie. Is it any wonder why Georgia ranks 40th for middle school math? It's a matter of priorities and, in my opinion, they are out of whack.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Adrian H. McDonald on 07/20/2013 at 3:58 PM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

Nice article & subsequent discussion. I can't believe I just saw it!

Personally I'm cool with the 20% tax credit incentive for those producing films in GA. But I don't understand handing out an extra 10% just for including the GA logo in the credits. That requirement should be part of the 20%. That's a LOT of money that GA is losing for no good reason. Let's not sell GA short here. The state has every kind of environment desirable to major film studios: big city, swamp, woods, mountains, beaches. And let's not forget the biggest plus for Hollywood: discounted labor. Giant studios with sets are here and more are being built. Hollywood wants us, maybe even needs us. The tax incentives need to stop at 20%.

Re: photo on page 5: Is that Jake "the snake" Roberts?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by bloodgimp on 07/20/2013 at 11:07 AM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

Good arguments. Not buying...but good arguments.

OK. For the sake of good argument, let's say you tax hounds are right and it IS costing sweet, merciful, bountiful, beautiful Georgia real money, not potential money like I say but real money.

What it boils down to is that the state is cutting taxes to stimulate growth, a proven tactic to improve and stimulate economic activity...a tactic that isn't foolproof or guaranteed, but which sometimes works great. I submit it is working great here. Narrowly focused on one industry, yes, but the stimulative effect spreads out. You can't get over the production company flying high and free like a marauder but what about the truck rental place, what about Bones and a hundred other pricey hash joints, what about the laid off carpenter suddenly building sets, the lumber yard that sends him wood? On and on it goes and these are real Georgia workers and real Georgia companies who, a couple of years ago, were not making much money and not paying many taxes who suddenly are. Even if this burst of tax revenue from locals doesn't equal the real money you say it's costing the state, the money they are making that they weren't before damn sure is a godsend to them, and it's not a narrow little clique in one industry. It's not just grips and make up artists, it's dishwashers and clerks....and Kroger and Williams Bros. and paint stores and furniture rental stores...all paying Georgia taxes.

And this is still unanswered by you Negatonians. When Georgia adopted the tax credit, the economy was stinko. Like everyone, we were recovering from the late unpleasantness. The latest news from the Peach State taxman is that revenues are up and there is a nice surplus. No, I'm not saying The walking Dead, etc. is why, but isn't it obvious that this program isn't hurting the state economically? Would you rather have a little more in the state kitty for the goobers in the legislature to screw up or would you rather the clerks and the Kroger, and yes, the grips, Goddess bless 'em, to have it? Can you at least admit that over the life of the program, state revenues have increased and the state is doing OK, for whatever reason? If it's not hurting the state, why are your panties in such a wad?

And you totally ignore the intangibles of good will and PR for the state. Not readily measurable but it's there. If there were nothing to it, PR as an industry wouldn't exist and good will wouldn't be something in contracts.

The skeptical writer of the article, who went through all the negatives, said it well at the end of the piece: "It's hard to argue that the credit isn't working in Georgia's favor."

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by oydave on 07/20/2013 at 9:22 AM

Re: “Georgia's blank check to Hollywood

If Georgia cut a $30 million check to the movie, that would be a payout, right? Hopefully we can agree on that.

But that sounds bad, doesn't it? A $30 million check to help pay for 30% of the cost on a movie like Hunger Games 2 doesn't sound like wise use of public funds. A direct cash payment to help pay for movies and shows, like Honey Boo Boo, isn't a great idea. But how about getting that $30 million to the movie more indirectly? Sounds great! Just give $30 million in "tax credits" to the production and allow these credits to be sold for 80-95 cents on the dollar to those in Georgia that do pay taxes. They pay the cash to the production and then get to use the "tax credits" instead of having to pay the same fair share that every other person and business in Georgia has to pay.

How much are we giving and to who? We don't know.
How much are they spending, who are they hiring and where are they from? We don't know.
Who is buying all these credits to get a break state taxes that everyone else must still pay? We don't know.
Wouldn't it be better to just lower taxes for, I don't know, everyone?? We don't know (but yes).

BTW--I loved the "Yo Adrian" comment. I have never heard that before. :)

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Adrian H. McDonald on 07/20/2013 at 1:51 AM

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