Not Terribly Important, But …

All the News That Hix Would NixFor years, the Variety website was a source of magnificent frustration for people like me, who can willingly lose hours — or even days — wallowing in industry coverage.

Magnificent, because the coverage is indeed insanely detailed (and I love that kitschy jargony zing) … and frustrating, because of the site’s subscription firewall, which demanded $300 a year for unlimited access. You could get a two-week trial if you were willing to supply an e-mail address, but after about four months I ran out of aliases.

Point is, they finally came around, and is now fully accessible through an ad-supported model. They’re not even those annoying full-page interrupts; just unobtrusive banner ads, usually pushing a movie for Oscar consideration. (Today, for instance, it’s Universal’s “United 93“.)

Anyway, I’ve just found this weekend’s box-office stats, which are really depressing: “Apocalypto” came in at number one, which means Mel Gibson will be able to make another one of his high-toned splatter fests somewhere down the line. (“The Holiday” is number two, which at least slows Nancy Meyers’ insidious momentum for now.)

So, yay! Variety’s back! And just in time for me to read up on the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival — on account of I’ve just been invited to sit on the FIPRESCI jury at the 2007 edition.

Eleven days in California. In early January. Maybe things really are starting to turn around.

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