Media

A-List Stars Used To Sell Movies. Now, Not So Much

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“The shelf-lives of A-listers are just much shorter. Basically, you find a lot more actors having that spark of an A-list spark. The ability to structure a career almost as completely and militantly as someone like Tom Cruise” — who conquered Hollywood hit by hit — “is very tough.”

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“Saturday Night Live” Is Going To China

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“After 40 years as a weekend staple on U.S. television screens, Saturday Night Live will start a Chinese version in partnership with Sohu.com Inc., operator of an online search engine and video streaming sites.”

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Why Net Neutrality Ruling Might Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

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“Competition on the internet is constantly evolving and poorly understood. AOL was a has-been before the ink was dry on the relentless complaints about its unassailable monopoly; cable content is suddenly challenged by streaming video; DSL, once thought dead, now offers 25-75 Mbps service. Yet the FCC’s rules ignore this complexity, insisting on a one-dimensional conception of internet competition that’s never actually existed.”

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ISIS And Its Sophisticated Cinema Of Terror

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“The cinematography is as crisp and chilling as a horror movie. Men in orange jumpsuits kneel on a beach beneath a sky of broken clouds. Executioners hover over them, dressed in black, knives aglint. … This and other recent execution videos released by Islamic State are slickly produced narratives of multiple camera angles, eerie tension and polished editing that suggest the filmmakers are versed in Hollywood aesthetics.”

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When Hollywood Was Truly The Wild, Wild West

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“The new movie colony’s lax self-governance galvanized middle-American arbiters of morality into a force so disruptive and outspoken that even an assumed untouchable like Zukor feared their wrath, lest their cries for reform prompt the Federal Trade Commission to censor his often lurid but profitable movies.”

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A Run Of 1009 Weeks Wasn’t Enough For This Movie, Say Mumbai Film Fans

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“No sooner had it been revealed that DDLJ, as it is known, was being taken off the silver screen than the protests began. According to Yash Raj Films, the production house behind the film, the sudden announcement ‘resulted in a spontaneous and an overwhelming outcry from the cinema-going audience, as well as dedicated fans of the movie, expressing their shock and disappointment.’ And so the record-breaking film was reinstated.”

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The ’80s Mexican Sci-Fi TV Show That Brought Incredible Talent To Hollywood

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“The origins of these goddamn gifted Mexican filmmakers can be traced back to 1988, with the premiere of La Hora Marcada (The Marked Hour), a Mexican television anthology series devoted to tackling experimental horror, science fiction, and urban legends from Latin America. Think of it as the Mexican answer to The Twilight Zone.”

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Hollywood Cheers New Net Neutrality Rules

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“This is clearly a victory for everyone — not just Hollywood, but everyone who uses the Internet,” said Chris Keyser, president of the Writers Guild of America, West. “It is a critical moment in the ongoing fight for free expression and robust competition.”

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“The Brother From Another Planet”: J. Hoberman on Godard

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“Taken with cinema, but not taken in by it, … [Godard] is also the brother from another planet, at once straightforward and cryptic, an epistemologist of cinema, wondering why the film frame became a square and why lenses are round. … What to make of the Godardian mind? You might say that, as prolific as he is, Godard suffers from the attention-deficit disorder of genius.”

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BBC Will Have To Give Up Licence Fee, Say Lawmakers

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“The BBC should reduce its output and the television licence fee should eventually be scrapped, a parliamentary committee has said after considering the role of the publicly funded broadcaster in the wake of a string of scandals and industry changes.”

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Why British Political Satire On TV Stops Being Satirical When It’s Adapted By Americans

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“Failure is a wellspring of British comedy, but its American counterpart rewards ‘optimism [and] a refusal to see oneself in a bad light’.” Christopher Orr looks at how Game of Thrones changed from savage political parody to dramatic thriller as it crossed the Atlantic, and how The Thick of It morphed into the farce of Veep.

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Richard Linklater Considering Sequel To “Boyhood”

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“I wake up in the morning thinking, ‘The twenties are pretty formative, you know?’ That’s where you really become who you’re going to be. It’s one thing to grow up and go to college, but it’s another thing to … So, I will admit my mind has drifted towards [this sequel idea].”

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The Murky Gay (And Not-Gay) Politics Around Graham Moore’s “Stay Weird” Oscars Speech

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“A lot of people assumed that by comparing himself to Turing, Moore was specifically addressing the plight of people who aren’t straight … But knowing that he’s straight, and knowing the primary controversy surrounding The Imitation Game has been about its minimization of the gay experience, makes Moore’s Oscars moment a somewhat strange one. In fact, it’s striking how much his speech is decidedly not aimed at gay people.”

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How Mexican Filmmakers Reached Hollywood’s Top Tier

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It’s not just Alejandro González Iñárritu’s wins for Birdman. Alfonso Cuarón won last year for Gravity, and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won Oscars two years running for those movies. Then there’s Guillermo del Toro, Rodrigo Prieto, and others. “So who is this band of Mexican artists and how did it fight to the top of one America’s most competitive industries?”

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Indeed, Why *Did* A Certain Movie Win So Many Oscars?

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“Above them all, at the Oscars at least, came ‘Birdman,’ which has very little to do with the real world, but everything to do with creative egos and hermetic artistic pursuits. This year, that seemed right and preferable to the Oscar voters. It was a movie that believed in actors, and forgave everyone’s flaws, and knew how to put on a show.”

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