Richard Brody: “As it says in the Good e-Book, ‘There is no end to the making of lists, and too much Googling will wear you out.’ Yet one list, published on Wednesday, got me going at once, and the results are below.”
“There’s a silver lining to all this: With more alternative forms of film and TV release available, there are myriad options to showcase independent work. To compete in the children’s movie market, big studios may need an action-adventure spectacle with merchandise; but HBO and Netflix could do for children’s programming what they’ve already done for grown-up shows.”
Nicole Kassell: “Because I’m working on such high-caliber TV shows and getting to direct such great material it does make me very picky about what I’ll take time off to do for a feature. I want it to be a deep, deep passion project. I’m seeking material that grips me personally, emotionally, politically and that lets me do something artistic. But in our culture, very few of those films are getting made.”
The backlash from US pay-TV services likely stems from already declining pay-TV revenue in North America. It is expected to fall by US$13.5 billion over the next five years. Removing set-top box rental revenue to pave the way for competitors like Google, Apple and Tivo, will only add to this decline.
Using what it calls the “binge scale” – with “shows to savor” on one end and “shows to devour” on the other – Netflix “said viewers typically binged on thrillers such as Breaking Bad and The Killing, but were more likely to take their time over the more political narratives of House of Cards or Homeland.”
“What’s really happening? How did Hollywood become overrun with sequels, and why does it suddenly seems as if nobody wants to see them? The short answer is that the movie industry has over-learned the lesson that sequels perform well at the box office and has tried to sequelize every marginally successful movie. The deeper answer is that, on top of long-term structural declines in movie attendance, Hollywood is losing its grip on young people.”
While week one was filled with fighting the urge to turn on the TV and brainstorming other activities, weeks two and three were when things started to change for me physically and mentally. Most notably, I felt less stressed. A lot of the programs we used to watch, like Dateline or 48 Hours Mystery, had elements of suspense, drama, and violence. Had this stuff been rubbing off on me?
“Cinematographers XX, whose website went up in February, is one of several new efforts among professionals in the industry to correct its gender inequity. The International Collective of Female Cinematographers, a networking and resource site that went live in April, is another. It was formed, a spokeswoman said, ‘out of the desire to get rid of the singular excuse we hear so often: ‘There just aren’t enough female D.P.s.””
“As long as Hollywood doesn’t see Hamilton as ‘what gimmick can we glean to slap on other projects for money’ … but takes risks for the audience to enjoy, then we could start to see movie musicals marching back toward their live action origins. Book of Mormon, Next to Normal, and many other musicals not even created yet could be the revitalization of the genre – but Hamilton is the linchpin.” (Lin-Manuel Miranda may beg to differ.)
“In some ways, it’s a counter-intuitive argument: Regardless of what you think of Netflix or Amazon’s core business, their studios have produced some of the best television in recent years.”
Following political controversy over some of its original projects last year, “The Space – the Arts Council England and BBC joint digital art venture-– is reverting to its original brief … [of] projects that capture and distribute live art events and those using technology to enhance artworks.”
“If left unopposed, this misguided DSM strategy will only serve to buffer the power of monopolistic players in the new online marketplace, squeezing out opportunities for thought-provoking European films to be made, and fostering a monoculture of formulaic blockbusters.”
“‘Maya and Marty,’ a collaboration with the producer Lorne Michaels, grew out of her successful 2014 NBC special ‘The Maya Rudolph Show,’ which drew 7.2 million viewers. Every week, the new show will feature a lineup of skits and celebrity guests. The first episode included Miley Cyrus, Larry David and Mr. Hanks and brought in 6.4 million viewers.”
Of course, it’s about how women can be useful to male actors: “I do feel that it is through the prism, the lens, the perspective of the female eye – the loving female eye – that a man is almost given permission to be vulnerable.”
Or recent sequels – excepting “Captain America: Civil War” – may simply suck.
In other words, if you’re older than 35, you don’t have to give up the movie theatre quite yet.
“Sony executives disputed the perception of internal upheaval at the studio, maintaining that the close proximity of the changes is a coincidence. Though the moves were seen as surprises in much of Hollywood, Sony countered that both are strategic moves that have been in the works for months.”
“The most damning thing one can say about [the American] ‘Bake Off’ is that it’s sweet TV, the television equivalent of a feel-good Upworthy post that would go viral on Facebook (‘This Show About Cakes Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity’).”
What extent do these buzzy boycotts actually affect the spending habits of the general moviegoer? Users of Twitter, where protest hashtags are predominant, reflect only 23 percent of all Internet users, many of them young, affluent, and living in urban areas, according to the Pew Research Center. Moviegoers, meanwhile, are a very diverse bunch, spanning all ages, geographic locations, and household incomes.
Steve Lickteig: “Here’s what I think the future sounds like: You will get in your car and say, ‘Play my news briefing, plus all of last night’s baseball scores, including highlights from the Yankees game. Oh, and give me last week’s Vows column from the New York Times.’ Then, like magic, your audio system will assemble this playlist. That news briefing you asked for? It will come from sources you pre-selected, places like NPR and news organizations yet to be created.”
Willa Paskin: “Where Vine has fetishized brevity and Snapchat ephemerality, Facebook Live encourages video-creators to go long, more than five minutes and up to 90, and caches its videos. … The formal innovations of Facebook Live are length and durability, along with the ‘live’ aspect. And yet so far very few Facebook Live videos have figured out how to capitalize on any of this at all.”
“1. Cut a hole in a box.
The Lonely Island disrupted the distribution and aesthetic of filmed comedy.”
“In March of [Andy] Samberg’s final season, Seth Meyers, SNL‘s head writer at the time, had an idea: a bracket, voted on by the staff of the show, to determine the greatest digital short of all time.” As it turned out, one of the most popular of them all (over 150 million online views) didn’t even make it past the first round of voting. (And “Andy Popping Into Frame” didn’t even make the ballot, so feh!)
“It’s time to fight the canons that be. Slate asked more than 20 prominent filmmakers, critics, and scholars – including Ava DuVernay, Robert Townsend, Charles Burnett, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Wesley Morris, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. – for their favorite movies by filmmakers of color and used their picks to shape our list of the 50 greatest films by black directors.”
“Hitchcock remembered that his early work had taught him to ‘change the way audiences read an action or an expression by changing the intertitle’.” Anna Aslanyan explains how that concept reached an apotheosis in the Soviet release of the 1922 British silent Three Live Ghosts.
“Even the most ardent cultural nationalists know there’s a problem. On television, regulations requiring that about half the programming day be devoted to Canadian shows were created for linear schedules; they make little sense in an on-demand environment. Also, unregulated foreign services – that would be Netflix – face no such requirements. Nor does Netflix contribute to the Canadian programming funds underwritten by the cable and satellite companies.”
“Emilio D’Alessandro, Kubrick’s trusted personal assistant and friend for more than 30 years, told the Guardian that the director wanted to tell the story of Pinocchio and to shoot a movie about Monte Cassino, one of the most bitter and bloody battles of the second world war.”
Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast and Maleficent writer Linda Woolverton on working at Disney: “I wasn’t wanted. … And I was a girl. They were, like: Who the hell are you?”
Blame 40 years of relentless pop culture parodies.
“It took 17,000 supporters of the Tacoma-based public radio station less than five months to donate the money. A fund-topping $500,000 matching contribution came from a collection of businesses and individuals.”