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John Wick

The film breathes exhilarating life into its tired premise, thanks to some dazzling action choreography, stylish visuals and–most importantly–a vintage anti-hero performance from Keanu Reeves.

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Low Down

Preiss' movie does a consistently excellent job of explaining the lure of jazz, and the psychology of addicts, their enablers and their children, without explaining…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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The Birth of a Button (and a Blog)

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The Formal Mr. Poland, aboard the 2006 Floating Film Festival. (Photo by Kim Robeson)

Happy "Birthday" to David Poland, whose Hot Blog, Hot Button column and Movie City News are favorite sources of information and commentary about The Biz around here. This week marks the Ninth anniversary of The Hot Button and the 1000th entry in The Hot Blog.

Check out the latest column to see how much has changed (and hasn't) over these nine years. He's also posted his Rules of Thumb -- sort of a combination of the Ten Commandments for Understanding Showbiz and Charles Foster Kane's "Declaration of Principles." I think he's dead right on all counts.

Congrats, David!

TOP TEN HOT BUTTON RULES OF THUMB

1. Great Media Outlets' Standards Are Less Stringent When The Subject Is Entertainment And That Sucks.

2. $150 Million Is No Longer A Blockbuster In Theatrical… But Right Now Represents The Start Of A Road To More Than $200 Million In Returns to The Studio In Most Cases Thanks To The New DVD Market And Expanded International Theatrical Market.

3. Successful Movie Advertising Sells One Idea At A Time… And There Actually Has To Be An Idea Worth Selling

4. The Story Of The Moment Is Almost Never The Real Story

5. There Are Very Few Journalists In Entertainment Journalism

6. Talent Is Your Friend Until It's Time For Talent Not To Be Your Friend

7. Reviewing Scripts Or Test Screenings Is Selfish And Immoral… You Do Not Know What Effect Sticking Your Nose Into Process Will Have And More Often Than Not It Is Negative

8. Opening Weekend Is Never About The Quality Of The Movie

9. There Are Things I Know And Things I Don't Know And Sometimes They Change

10.Love What You Do And Do What You Love Or Get The F--- Out.

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