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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Another Academy Mis-step

You can't make this stuff up. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued an edit yesterday, stating that going forward the winners of four categories will have their Oscars given to them during the commercial breaks - and will not be seen by the show's viewers.

Oscarfest Just Gets Worse and Worse
This will be a first for the 91st Oscarfest and the choices meet with great criticism by the Academy's rank and file. The four categories are: Cinematography, Film Editing, Live-action Shorts, and Make-up.

Now, while I'm all in favor of the time saving efforts to shorten the Oscar telecast, I, also, question the choices.  Cinematography and Film Editing are at the center of any film's production and really deserve telecast recognition. But, once again, the Academy blew-it and made another huge mis-step.

Jim Lavorato


Well, it's not WHO you Think! Social media is all about fan-base and how you interact with your base.  Finding that perfect demographic that will cling to your tweets, selfies, Instagram pics, and Facebook and YouTube videos. Right now, the Top 10 Hollywood socialistas are the following:

1. Dwayne Johnson
2. Will Smith
3. Prijanka Chopra
4. Kevin Hart
5. George Takei
6. Tommy Chong
7. Jussie Smollett
8. Ricky Gervais
9. Terry Crews
10. Jason Momoa

Friday, February 01, 2019

Hollywood TIDBITS by: Seymour Flix

Academy Awards Get Worse By The Year

Who will be singing at the Oscars?
It's no secret that CMG is a big critic of the Oscars - prior posts abound regarding the ridiculous nature of the Awards from the political use of the podium to the very type of Awards bestowed.
That said, this year did not disappoint. Finding it impossible to even get a noted celeb to host the show this year's show is destined to be another flop.

For example, last week the studios representing three of the nominated Best Original Song were told that they had no time for them to perform their 'tunes' during the Oscarcast. Then..... this week they were told they would be included. So, as it stands now all five songs will be performed but (here's the catch) in a 'truncated 90 second form'. It this nuts!

It was not clear which, if any, of the performers associated with the nominated songs had accepted the Academy's offer to perform, be it Emily Blunt, Lady Gaga, Kindred Lamar and SZA, or Willie Watson.

Sources tell CMG that all of the nominees had united and told the Academy it was an "all perform or none perform" deal. It should be noted that the Academy tried to substitute the nominated songs with an opening of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by member of Queen. This was resoundly rejected by Queen and will not be happening.

The five Best Original Songs nominated are:
- "I'll Fight" - 'RBG' - by Kate Hudson
- "The Place Where Lost Things Go" - 'Mary Poppins Returns'  by Emily Blunt
- "Shallow" - 'A Star Is Born' by Lady Gaga
- "All The Stars" - 'Black Panther' by Kindred Lamar and SZA
- "When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" - "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by Willie Watson 

Speaking of the Oscars, the CinemaCon gets the Cold-shoulder as well?
Losing Its Grip?

Sony Pictures will be spurning CinemaCon this year and Fox hasn't decided if it will attend the annual gathering of studios and movie exhibitors.

A representative of Sony confirmed that the studio decided against attending the fest. Sony did not elaborate on why it is opting out. Normally, all of the major studios give an hour-long presentation of their upcoming roster of films with footage and high-profile actors hyping the movies.

Fox, which is being acquired by Disney, has not yet decided whether to made a separate presentation of have it folded into Disney's presentation.

CinemaCon is operated by the National Association of Theatre Owners. Could this be the beginning of the end for the fest? With Netflix, Amazon and other non-Hollywood players now being part of the movie-scene and not being part of the cinema exhibition who knows?

Brits Are Happy, as Film and TV Production in UK passes $4 Billion Mark

Topping 3.1 billion pounds in 2018 the spending on high-end TV was up 4% and was the highest since tax breaks were introduced for big-budget productions in 2013.

England remains a production hot-spot, with multiple new studio projects in the works. Three of 2018s top five grossers at the British boxoffice were filmed in the U.K. - "Avengers: Infinity War", "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again", and "Bohemian Rhapsody".

For 2019, the now Bond film will go into production as will TV biggie "Game of Thrones", and there is talk of Netflix setting up a U.K.-based production hub in Pinewood.

So, it appears that the U.K. will remain one of the most in-demand places in the world to create movie and TV content.

Just saying,

Seymour Flix
Movie critic  & Raconteur

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

'And The Winner Is'

And The Winner Is!
This year's Academy Award winner is, hands-down, Netflix. Amassing 15 Award nominations, Netflix was only bested by Fox/Searchlight with 20 and Disney/Universal with 17 each. Amazon, Netflix's content streaming arch rival, picked up three nominations, as did Paramount. Netflix's showing puts it on an equal footing with the major studios and foretells the future of movie distribution. 

Cinema exhibs take note: it's time to seriously consider using Netflix for distribution of their original content. Even if released day-and-date its content consumers want to view and screening by cinemas  will bring in viewers.  Don't dismiss Netflix's current and future influence and clout in the movie industry. Forming a relationship with Netflix would be very wise and prudent.

The big winner at this year's Oscars clearly has already been given and accepted - it's Netflix.

Just saying,

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Monday, January 14, 2019

James Bond: The Franchise With No End In Sight

Connery with iconic Aston Martin DB5
Next Year, 25 motorheads will be taking delivery of new DB5s - the famous car used in the early Bond films, such as 'Goldfinger'.  CMG had previously scribed about this event and now it is a reality. Aston Martin, EON (Bond movie producers) and special effects team at Pinewood Studios will deliver-up 28 of the retro DB5s.  To be dubbed 'Continuations', in a nod to the working title of the next Bond film (#25).

Bullet shield
One of the cars will remain at Aston, one for EON, and one to be auctioned for charity, the remaining 25 are already pre-sold at an all in price of  $4.26 million. The cars will be finished in the original Silver Birch and boast several of the authentic Goldfinger-spec gadgets. The ejector seat won't be present, nor the machine guns, or wheel slashers. The red ejector seat button (which will serve another purpose) will be present, as will the revolving number plates, and hopefully the bullet-proof shield.  Up-to-date navigation, phone, sound, media screens will be repackaged in retro guise complete with old-school handset mounted in the driver's door.
Wheel-slashers won't be included

These DB5s will be a lot of fun for those rich enough to indulge but they will not pass off as the genuine movie cars (of which there were three). The last which sold for $3.35 million or about $900,000 less than the new retros sold for.

Aston Martins are great cars and the DB5 one of their best models ever made. The newest is the DB11 which is being phased out to make way for a new DB12. Can't wait to see it!

Jim Lavorato
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

City of Angels Going To Seed

Tents and trash on the streets in trendy Venice area of LA
Liberal laws regarding squatters' rights have resulted in swelling on-street encampments in Los Angeles - many in up-scale neighborhoods and are a real test case for the area's showbiz residents.

Vandalism, tire-slashing, assaults, home robberies, are rampant as LA grapples with the homeless epidemic. Last year, the city budgeted $100m for affordable housing, addiction treatment, job placement, and health-care services - to no avail.

It has become very difficult for residents with liberal social beliefs to balance their political values with the transient issue they have to endure and the impact the street-people have on their property values.

Encampments of non-domiciled people have swelled in LA's trendy residential areas, where homes easily sell in the eight-digit figures and up!  Tents, set up on the streets (many equipped with mini-refrigerators, TVs, heaters, etc.) vie with pedestrian traffic.  These 'camps' even have names. According to police, the encampment squatters use a media app called 'Next Door' to monitor which residents are most vocal about their opposition to encampments and then target those residents for retribution.
To protect streets of squatters residents construct large planting boxes

Hollywood's vagrant problems started when laws and ballot measures were enacted during the early 2000s. For example, a 2006 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court required that law enforcement in LA could no longer enforce a ban on sleeping on sidewalks anywhere in the city.  While two CA ballot measures, that were overwhelming approved in 2016, decriminalized many felonies to address the State's over-populated prisons.

There seems to be no quick-fix for the issue, and like its sister city San Francisco, it is and will remain one of LA's most difficult problems. 

Jim Lavorato