Not a Blog

No Surprises

December 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm
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Black Monday is here, and true to expectations, the Jets fired John Idzik and Rex Ryan.

Idzik was a disaster from day one, and set the franchise back years.  He did leave plenty of salary cap room for his successor, which is about the only good thing that can be said for him.  He was bad at drafting and worse at free agency.

Firing Rex was a huge mistake, though.  Gang Green will have a hard time finding anyone even half as good.  All that talk about Jim Harbaugh was as empty as I suspected.  Rex will turn up again as head coach, and soon, and will lead his new team to the playoffs… sooner than the Jets will be returning there, I fear.

So the Jets need a new GM, a new head coach, and… most of all… a quarterback.  It makes no difference who occupies the front office and stands on the sideline so long as Geno Smith and Michael Vick are the choices behind center.  With Rex and his defense, we only needed an adequate quarterback to win; without them, we need someone good enough to go up against Tom Brady twice a year.

The future does not look bright.

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Winning and Losing

December 29, 2014 at 12:51 am
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So the Jets won and the Giants lost, and this painful and depressing NFL season is finally over… for my teams, at least.

The Giants O looked terrific against the Eagles, right up until Eli threw that final fatal interception.  Odell Beckham continues to look like a budding superstar, and Reuben Randall has started to make some great plays as well.   Next year, with Victor Cruz back, the passing attack should be as dangerous as any in the league.  But the running game still needs a lot of help.  Might be that's more the O line than the RBs.  And the defense… the defense could not stop the Eagles, and really, hasn't stopped anyone all season, which is a disgrace for a franchise with a proud history of defensive excellence.  I'd keep Tom Coughlin as head coach, and Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator, but I think the G-Men need to replace Perry Fewell as defensive coordinator, and draft defense, defense, defense.

As for the Jets, beating the Dolphins is always a nice way to end the season, though all the victory really did was move Gang Green lower in the draft.  Geno Smith played the best game I have ever seen him play, aside from that one absolutely idiotic fumble.  Even so, I do not believe he is the answer at QB, and I hope both he and Michael Vick are somebody else's problems next year.  Tomorrow is Black Monday, when coaches and GMs are fired all over the league, and it is widely expected that the Jets will be cleaning house.  I certainly hope they do give John Idzik his walking papers; his two years have been a disaster, and the team today is significantly less talented than when he came in.  He started his tenure as GM by trading away Darrelle Revis, one of the team's best players and a cornerstone of Rex Ryan's defense, and it's pretty much been downhill from there.  Idzik was a salary cap guy, just like Mike Tannenbaum, his predecessor.  I really hope Woody does not make that mistake again.  The Jets need a football guy in charge.

As for coach… if it was up to me, I'd keep Rex Ryan.  Defense wins championships, and Rex has proven himself one of the best defensive minds in the NFL.  Give him some cornerbacks, and a quarterback and wideout who are at least adequate, and he can take you to the playoffs, as he proved his first two years.  Even more crucially, though… if you fire Rex, who do you bring in?  I don't see anyone out there who is going to be a sure-fired improvement.  Change for the sake of change never gets you anywhere in the NFL.  Unless the Jets have a better coach than Rex in their pocket, firing him would be a big mistake.

But these are the Jets, and big mistakes are standard operating procedure, so watch… Rex will get fired tomorrow.

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Happy Holidays

December 25, 2014 at 10:58 am
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Merry Xmas to all.  Hope Santa was good to you.

(Maybe some of you found THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE under the tree.  Or THE ICE DRAGON).

Those of you near one of the 300 independent theatres showing THE INTERVIEW today, do go and take in a show, and help us make a statement.

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We Got It!

December 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm
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Just got off the phone with Jon Bowman, the booker at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.  Jon just got off the phone with Sony.

THE INTERVIEW will open at the Cocteau on Christmas Day.  Four shows: 2pm, 4:30, 7pm, and 9:30.

We were otherwise going to be closed on Christmas.  We're opening just for this film, and will devote the whole day to it.

We have booked a full run, so THE INTERVIEW will continue to run for two weeks, in rotation with the other films that we had already committed too before this all broke.

We may schedule some midnight shows if there's enough demand.

So come join us, and celebrate Christmas… and free speech… with Seth Rogen.

CHRISTMAS EVE ADDENDUM: All four of our Christmas Day showings are completely sold out.  Tickets for the Friday shows are going fast, and those will probably sell out as well.  We are adding extra shows on Saturday to accommodate the demand.

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Sony to Release THE INTERVIEW

December 23, 2014 at 11:39 am
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Exciting news this morning.  Sony has announced that it will show THE INTERVIEW on Christmas Day at "selected theatres."

Our friends at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin have already booked it.

We at the Jean Cocteau are trying to do the same.

Watch this space for further details.

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Twists and Turns

December 22, 2014 at 12:59 am
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Sony's stance on THE INTERVIEW seems to take a new twist every day.

Now we are told that, yes, they are going to release the film.  They are just not sure how.

Of course, this all depends on who you believe.

THE NEW YORK POST says they plan to release it on Crackle, their own streaming internet service:

Other sources say the POST is wrong:

Bit Torrent says that it is willing to show the film:

I don't know about any of this.

What I do know is that Sony's statement that it "had no choice" but to cancel the film's release is plainly false.  It had plenty of choices, and still does.

The best of those choices, I believe, is to open THE INTERVIEW in theatres on Christmas Day, as originally planned.  I have been in communication with the owners and operators of other independent cinemas and arthouses, and representatives of some of the smaller chains, and I know that hundreds of these venues would gladly screen this film, if only Sony will make it available.  Regal and AMC and the megaplexes may have caved, but the independents have not.   Sony could have the film on five hundred screens by Christmas, if it wants to.  And I would love for the Jean Cocteau to be one of them.

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Another Win, Another Loss

December 22, 2014 at 12:23 am
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The Giants won.  The Jets lost.  Both teams have long been eliminated from playoff contention, so it did not truly matter in either case, but still… it was good to see the G-Men win, and it stung to see Gang Green lose again, especially to the hated Patriots.

The Giants pretty well dominated the St. Louis Rams from start to finish, though there were a few spots in the middle where the score got closer and I worried that Big Blue might be letting this one slip away.  But no, though the defense was shaky at times, the offense looked great.  It has become more than apparent that the Giants have a new star in Odell Beckham Jr.  Barring injury, he may turn out to be the best wideout the team has ever had in its long and storied history.  He already seems to be in a class with Megatron and Dez Bryant as one of the very best in the NFL, and he should be a cinch for Rookie of the Year.  Next year, with Victor Cruz back to play beside him, the Giants' offense should be truly dangerous.  But we need to do something in the draft and free agency to shore up the defense before Big Blue can hope to contend.

And yes, I think Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese should both be back.

One last comment on the game.  I have never hated the Rams, the way I hate the Cowboys and the Patriots (though I certainly feared to play them when they were the Greatest Show on Turf), but under their present coaching staff, they have become the dirtiest team in the NFL.  The late hits and general nastiness today were so flagrant even the commentators had to take note of it.  I hope the NFL does as well.  Big fines, please.

As for Jets v. Patriots… sigh… well, they blew another one.  Or, to be more precise, Geno Smith blew another one.  Some people were calling this a blowout, but Gang Green actually outplayed Evil Little Bill and his minions for most of the game, and held a slim lead late into the second half.  Rex Ryan's defense played lights out, harassing Tom Brady all morning, sacking him several times, and Geno was playing decently on the other side of the ball.  Until the fourth quarter, that is.  Until it really counted.  Then he served up an INT to set up the Patriots go-ahead touchdown.  Still, New England was only ahead by one point, all the Jets needed was a field goal, and they drove down into field goal range, and things were looking good… until Geno took a sack on a crucial third-down play, and the game-winning 40-odd-yard field goal attempt became a 52-yarder.  Which got blocked, of course.  Game over.

One more game on the schedule, then the house cleaning begins.  Win or lose next week, I think Rex Ryan should be retained as Jets coach.  THe team still plays hard for him, he's a great defensive mind, and … most crucially… I don't see where the Jets are going to find anyone better.  Evil Little Bill is not leaving his Evil Empire to coach the NYJ.  Bill Parcells is not coming out of retirement.  Vince Lombardi is not returning from the dead.  I would rather have Rex than the latest phenom from the college ranks, or the hot coordinator from some playoff team.

I do, however, hope that John Idzik gets his walking papers next Monday.  And they need to get rid of Geno Smith and Michael Vick as well.  The Jets will never contend with either of them at quarterback.

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Sony and THE INTERVIEW, Once More

December 20, 2014 at 11:05 am
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Discussions of North Korea, cyber war, the corporate cowardice of Sony Pictures, and THE INTERVIEW have been taking over the airwaves these past two days, and millions of words have been devoted to the issues.  I won't try to rehash them all here.

The most important words, and the truest words, were those spoken by the big man, President Obama.

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I agree with everything the President said there.

One of the most important bits, in my opinion, is toward the middle, where he talks about the chilling effect the cowardice of Sony and the big movie chains could have on other filmmakers going forward.  This is a point that very few of the talking heads on television seem to be addressing.  It is not theoretical.  THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING. The damage has already extended well beyond THE INTERVIEW itself.  Paramount, a studio that has NOT been hacked, and has NOT been threatened, has already reacted by pulling TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE from all the theatres that wanted to show it as a substitute for THE INTERVIEW.  They have made no public statement as to their reasons, but I think their reasons are plain… they are afraid of drawing down the wrath on North Korea and the hackers.   Meanwhile, New Regency and Fox — neither of them part of the Sony hack, neither of them theatened — have scrapped plans forPYONGYANG,  a Steve Carrell movie about North Korea, based on a popular graphic novle.

This a textbook example of "chilling effect."  Nothing could be more clearcut.  Not just one Seth Rogen/ James Franco ( or Flacco) movie has been impacted, but three different projects, one ten years old, one still in preproduction.

 Of course, Sony has taken issue with the president's declaration that they "made a mistake."  (A very mild way of putting it, in my opinion.)  No, no, they did not make a mistake, they are insisting, they had no choice.  Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton instead tried to shift the blame to Regal, AMC, and the other movie chains who announced that they would not not screen the film.   "We have not caved, we have not given in, we have persevered, and we haven't backed down. We have always had the desire to have the American public see this movie," Lynton said.

Sorry, but that's bullshit.  Sony did have a choice.  They still do.   They can release the film tomorrow, if they want.

Sony is correct in one regard: the big movie chains are getting off way too easy here.  All the discussion has focused on Sony, but in fact the cowardice started with Regal, with AMC, and  the other monarchs of the multiplex who decided to bow to the threats and pull THE INTERVIEW from their screens.  But for Sony to suggest that once that happened they "had no place to show the film," is disingenuous.

I have already stated that the Jean Cocteau Cinema will show THE INTERVIEW here in Santa Fe, should it be made available to us.  And yes, we're a tiny little arthouse, only 125 seats… but the crucial point is, we would not have been alone.   According to NATO (the National Association of Theatre Owners, not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), there are 39,662 movie screens in the United States.  Regal, the largest and most powerful of the chains, has 7318 of those.  The other big chains have thousands too, but…

Do the math.  There are still THOUSANDS of screens out there not under the control of the mega-chains.  Smaller chains, regional chains, arthouses, and many many many small independent movie theatres like my own… theatres that would have jumped at the chance to show a big Christmas movie, an opportunity not often afforded them.  Regal may have been intimidated, but I don't think Alamo Drafthouse would have been.  I suspect Quention Tarantino and his New Beverly Theatre in LA would have stepped up, he's no stranger to controversy.  And there are thousands more.  So don't give us this "boo hoo, we have no choice, no one would have showed our movie" okey-doke, Sony, because it's not true.  The INDEPENDENTS would have showed your film.  We still will.  Release it, and see.

Rachel Maddow did an excellent story last night about the parallels between THE INTERVIEW case and the SATANIC VERSES incident, when Iran declared a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, threatening to kill not only the author but also his editors and publishers.  It is worth remembering that, in that case as in this, the big chains were the first to cave.  Waldenbooks, B. Daltons, and Barnes & Noble all responded by announcing that they would not be selling THE SATANIC VERSES.   But… here's the important part…Rushdie's publishers did not flinch, but stood firm for the book, the author, and the principle of free speech.  And who stood with them?  The independent bookstores.   All the shops around the corner, the specialty stores, the mom-and-pop operations came forth and said, almost as one, "We'll sell your book."  And they did, in unprecedented numbers.  THE SATANIC VERSES was a huge bestseller, not because of the chains, but in spite of them.

Maybe Regal is afraid is to show THE INTERVIEW.  The CEOs in the corporate suites are too scared by what their lawyers are whispering in their ears about potential liability.  But mom and pop have more guts, I'd bet.  Release THE INTERVIEW, Sony, and hundreds of small chains and indy theatres will snap it up all across the country.

And hey, Paramount, we'd snap up TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE as well.  So climb out from underneath your desks, and make it available for us to book. 

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Amazon Stocking Stuffers

December 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm
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Amazon is running a special "Stocking Stuffer" sale on selected items for the month of December.  10% off.

The selected specials include the HEDGE KNIGHT and SWORN SWORD graphic novels from Jet City Comics.


Go here for details.

And happy shopping to all.

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I Call It Craven

December 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm
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The cowardice is contagious, it would appear.

In the comments to my last post, several of my readers suggested that we follow the lead of the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin and show TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE at the Cocteau, since Sony has wimped out and pulled THE INTERVIEW.

It sounded like a great idea, so we took immediate steps to do so.

Only to learn that Paramount has now decided to withdraw TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE from exhibition.   We won't be allowed to show the film, and neither will Alamo, nor any of the other independent venues that wanted to use TA:WP to replace THE INTERVIEW.

 Regal.  AMC.  Cinemark.  Sony.  And now Paramount.  Where does it end?

 I guess I should contact our new North Korean masters to ask them what movies we will be allowed to show at the Cocteau.


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