“Netflix has morphed into an international service that streams in nearly every country around the world. This fast-paced growth has meant that the company’s dedication to improving models now extends to just about everything it does. Another reveal at Labs Day was that it has even created an online translation test, called Hermes, that helps it recruit the best foreign talent to dub its shows and movies.”
“Drive-ins also appealed to a new audience-a mixed bag of viewers of different classes, neighborhoods, and races. … They were some of the South’s first integrated sites, and African-American moviegoers felt more safe and respected there than in the dirty balconies of Jim Crow movie theaters. Obese and disabled people, housewives and children, and working-class families also flocked to drive-ins. This sense of mixing … created anxiety among cultural and business leaders and a perception of the movie theaters as ‘passion pits’ where anything could happen.”
Well, if “golden age” is the right term. “If you have a massive appetite for high body counts, stunning fight choreography, and general onscreen savagery, Hollywood might finally be meting out enough punishment for you to scream your safe word.” Jordan Crucchiola looks at how and why this has happened.
“On 19 March 1977, the world changed, after which there was a long uncomfortable silence.” Danny Leigh goes looks into the background and influence of a movie that, after four decades, has lost none of its power to freak people out.
Yes, that’s despite Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, 127 Hours, and Steve Jobs. In a Q&A, he tells Kevin Lincoln what on earth he means by that.
Years after most Americans switched to flat-screens, we’re just now beginning to deal with the long-term ramifications of sustainably disposing of old cathode-ray televisions and computer monitors. This dangerous, labor-intensive, and costly undertaking will have to be done for each of the estimated 705 million CRT TVs sold in the United States since 1980.
Richard Brody considers Samuel L. Jackson’s controversial comments about the casting of black British actors in African-American roles (in particular, Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in Selma) – in particular, how Jackson may have a point.
The Film Censorship Board of Malaysia had declared that four minutes of what they deemed sensitive material must be cut before they approved release of the movie: in response, Disney withdrew the film from the country. Now the Board has relented, though they’re giving this fairy tale a 13-and-over age rating. (Well, that’s better than Russia did.)
“There are only three known episodes in which the character ‘Grump’ appears, each time playing the villain in a moral allegory. Whenever Grump visits Sesame Street, chaos is not far behind.”
“Cinema watching in the traditional way is definitely in decline. Television is growing partly because of the physical quality of televisions these days. Plus the combination of programmes made with proper production values so you can have a proper experience at home. All the money goes on the screen.”
“For a while, the only time you’d ever see a psychologist comment publicly about video games was in the context of blaming violent ones for all manner of societal ills – most famously, for school shootings.” Now a pair of psychologists is arguing that such blame is – well, not quite as ridiculous as “reefer madness,” but …
“We thought if Iron Man and Thor and Captain America are Marvel superheroes,” Disney chief of motion picture production Sean Bailey tells Drew Taylor, “then maybe Alice, Cinderella, Mowgli, and Belle are our superheroes, and Cruella and Maleficent are our supervillains.”
The filtering issue was highlighted in a video on Thursday by British user Rowan Ellis, who suggested that YouTube’s restricted mode appeared to have “some kind of targeted effect” for L.G.B.T. individuals. Over the weekend, many video creators and users complained on Twitter, recycling the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty, which was trending worldwide by Sunday night.
This feat would make it the first $100-million opener of 2017 (beating out the $88-million opening of “Logan” as the year’s best so far), as well as the highest March opener ever, edging just past the $166 million grossed by “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” last year. It would also shatter the $135-million record held by “Finding Dory” for the largest opening of a PG-rated movie.
Though, to be utterly clear, there were Black and Asian British people (and visitors to Britain) in any historical times a drama could cover, the costume dramas have no roles for them. Thandie Newton: “I love being here, but I can’t work, because I can’t do Downton Abbey, can’t be in Victoria, can’t be in Call The Midwife – well, I could, but I don’t want to play someone who’s being racially abused.”
And despite setbacks and many, many, many denials from the studios, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers earned that dreamer (and Fox, which finally took on the project) billions.
One of its five public strategies to meet that goal: “Netflix is now dividing up its subscriber base into 1,300 taste communities, which are solely based on past viewing behavior. Each and every user can belong to multiple such communities, and all of these communities spread across the globe. Sure, Yellin admitted, German comedians may be more popular in Germany, but there’s also plenty of users in the U.S. who turn into their shows.”
Seriously: FilmStruck and Warner Archive Instant will make certain you never leave your house again, if you like classics.
The studio may be cheap with its actors about some things (stories abound), but “with such past box-office winners in its fold including Cinderella ($544 million) and Jungle Book ($967 million), stars are clamoring to sign on for the studio’s live-action offerings.” This weekend’s huge take for the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” may only accelerate that trend.
Jack Gray devoted most of his life to protecting the rights of freelance scriptwriters for film, radio and television in this country –a group he believed were the most vulnerable to exploitation in the creative industries. A talented playwright himself in his younger years, he gradually gave up imaginative writing in favour of reports, speeches and policy papers for the cause he passionately believed in.
“On paper, news that Netflix is phasing out the stars in favour of a thumbs up/thumbs down system should be heartening. From later this year, we’re told, Netflix subscribers will be asked one simple question: essentially, did you like this or not? Click the thumbs-up button and Netflix will suggest similar titles for you to watch; click the thumbs-down and it’ll make that sort of thing harder to find during future visits. Percentages will also be introduced, to show you how suited you are to any given content. It’s viewing as online dating basically.”
“It seems to me to misunderstand the fundamental appeal of television; that it is bedtime stories for grownups. You plonk yourself in front of the screen to be entertained. That doesn’t mean being fed pap; contemporary television is increasingly a feast for the upper reaches of the mind as well as the primitive bits that would be just as happy banging a stick on a stone. But it does mean being presented with a finished product: a complete, satisfying entity with a beginning, a middle and an end (however many seasons it takes to get there). We want to cede control to someone else.”
“The telephone survey of 1,001 registered voters, conducted jointly by Republican and Democratic polling firms and released Thursday as Trump’s budget landed, showed 73 percent opposing federal cuts for public television; meanwhile, 83 percent, including 70 percent of those who voted for Trump, wanted Congress to find budget savings elsewhere. NPR, meanwhile, has also found a powerful Republican ally in Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that grants federal funding for the CPB.”
“It’s clear that the new generation, the generation of digital natives, has expectations of how they relate to any experience or any content or any moment. The arts sector needs to master and take advantage of the digital transformation, as opposed to pretend that we are victims of it.”
“In the last few years, and with greater intensity in the last 12 months, people started paying for online content. They are doing so at an accelerating pace, and on a dependable, recurring schedule, often through subscriptions. And they’re paying for everything. You’ve already heard about the rise of subscription-based media platforms — things like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Spotify and Apple Music. But people are also paying for smaller-audience and less-mainstream-friendly content. They are subscribing to podcasters, comedians, zany YouTube stars, novelists and comic book artists. They are even paying for news.”
“There is no viable substitute for federal funding that ensures Americans have universal access to public media’s educational and informational programming and services. The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions – all for Americans in both rural and urban communities,” said CPB President Patricia Harrison in a statement.
“In other words, defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would mean hurting the local TV and radio stations that a whole lot of Republican voters watch and listen to.”
“Let’s bring back vocal dubbing. If you’re going to hire famous actors to bring some star power to your movies, help them out by letting someone else do the hard part. Back in the movie musical heyday, this practice was fairly common — the late Marni Nixon, for instance, provided the singing voice of everyone from Deborah Kerr to Audrey Hepburn — but those who provided dubbing often went without fair credit. But that’s a black mark against Hollywood, not against dubbing itself.”
When the video clip went viral, an incorrect assumption made by a lot of viewers on social media – and several media outlets – raised quite a few hackles. As Roxane Gay tweeted, “Today one of the funniest, most charming videos showed me that we have way more work to do than I ever thought.” Caroline Davies explains. (includes video)