January 23, 2017

Tag Archives: This Film Is Not Yet Rated

The Weinstein Company Accepts NC-17 Rating on Blue Valentine in Order to Appeal It

hollywoodnews.com: In response to the ratings given to two of its upcoming films, The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has engaged a formidable legal team to challenge the NC-17 rating for ‘BLUE VALENTINE’ and the R rating for ‘THE KING’S SPEECH’ given by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), according to TWC Co-Chair Harvey Weinstein.
“While we respect the MPAA, I think we can all agree that we are living with an outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror and ultraviolent films the same rating as films with so-called inappropriate language,” explains Weinstein.
In mounting the challenge, TWC has assembled a team of top attorneys including David Boies, who serves as legal advisor on both films, Bert Fields, who is overseeing the appeal for ‘THE KING’S SPEECH,’ and Alan R. Friedman, the lead attorney for ‘BLUE VALENTINE.’
‘THE KING’S SPEECH’ drew an R rating due to its multiple occurrences of strong language, even though it is used in a non-aggressive, non-sexual, therapeutic way. Director Tom Hooper states, “I hope that language can be judged by its context just as violence is currently judged in context. The f-word in ‘The King’s Speech’ is not being used in its sexual sense, or in its aggressive sense, but as a release mechanism to help a man overcome a stammer in the context of speech therapy, in a scene that is also very funny. This was a technique that David Seidler, the writer, encountered as a boy in the 1940s – discovering he didn’t stammer on curse words was hugely helpful to him overcoming his speech problems. Fortunately in the UK we have been granted a 12A, and the on screen certificate will explain that there is some bad language “used in the context of speech therapy”. I hope that in the light of this context the R rating for the movie can be reconsidered.”
Prompted by the decision from the British Board of Film Classification to lower the rating of ‘THE KING’S SPEECH’ to 12A, the equivalent of our PG-13, and to use the specific warning: “Contains strong language in a speech therapist context,” as well as the outcry from parents, teens and educators who have already seen the film, TWC has requested what is referred to as a Special Hearing with the MPAA. The Special Hearing is necessary because the film is now within 25 business days of its theatrical […]

‘Clash of the Titans’ poster begs the question: where are the titans?

On Friday, April 2, Warner Brothers is releasing their first major tentpole release of the year, Clash of the Titans– well, not counting Valentine’s Day or Cop Out. As often happens when you’re processing the details of studio promotional campaigns as a matter of professional obligation rather than personal interest, I saw the posters that Warner Brothers released in conjunction with the film, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually looked closer at their content. One of them, sadly, revealed the Kraken, which the accompanying TV ads are proclaiming as the film’s climactic adversary; another one more gracefully depicted Perseus (Sam Worthington) atop his winged-horse companion Pegasus. But upon closer inspection, the third was purely baffling: Perseus screams victoriously at the skies while holding a ball of, well, I don’t quite know what he’s holding.
Anyone even casually familiar with the 1981 original, much less the new film’s marketing campaign, probably knows that this is supposed to be the head of Medusa, the one creature whose powers are possibly a match for the Kraken’s. But the question remains why Warner Brothers would put out a theatrical one-sheet poster in which the creature’s iconic countenance wasn’t immediately visible?
The problem isn’t that I’m some Medusa-phile who feels that the character deserves more time in the spotlight, although I’m not sure that Sam Worthington is still enough of a name by himself to get audiences into theaters. Rather, it’s that of all the designs the filmmakers and artists and marketing experts came up with, they ultimately chose on that just looks freaking awful. But according to a trusted source who asked not to be identified, the answer is both simpler and more complicated than a matter of creativity by committee: the MPAA, not the studio, nixed something more remarkable, or even just more recognizable, before the posters could be released.
Ironically, it didn’t even occur to me that what Perseus was holding was a head, be it human, demigod or otherwise, only that he was not showing that head’s familiar face. But evidently the ratings board insisted that Warner Brothers replace Medusa’s melon with something that looked less immediately recognizable as a beheaded person, even if its eyes were glowing and its hair was swarming with snakes. All of which begs the question: where does the line exist between MPAA’s regulation of mainstream moviemaking and promotion and unreasonable creative constraint, if not […]