You get paid extra for bringing props, driving your own car, and – if you’re lucky – getting membership in a professional union. Now, of course, the industry needs more extras than ever: “As streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon double down on original programming, filming for television shows is no longer relegated to a standard nine-month network television schedule—meaning jobs like mine can be available year-round.”
The news isn’t exactly scintillating. “The continued rise of streaming services, and their need for a constantly renewed library of content, means that informational documentaries will continue to be made. … They demand little of the viewer and are easy to digest, not to mention relatively cheap to produce. But at the same time, in the case of literature, they reduce their subject to a series of outworn clichés, where the lives of all writers begin to resemble each other.”
You’d think it was 1811 at the movies, at least for women and their enjoyment of sex. “Female characters who have sex as casually as men have long been punished in popular culture, but a few decades ago things looked as if they were changing for the better.” (Spoiler: They didn’t.)
The territory now ranks among the most financially attractive locations for shooting movies. The benefits extend to feature films, documentaries, animation projects and TV series. To qualify, a film’s minimum spend should be 1 million euros, or about $1.2 million, and the minimum budget must be 2 million euros, or approximately $2.3 million.
Instead of burning down the customary system of releasing movies, Amazon is ready to become a full-fledged studio, equipped to handle every step in the life span of the films it creates and acquires. In the past, Amazon partnered with the likes of indie distributors Roadside Attractions, Bleecker Street and Lionsgate to support the rollout of its movies in theaters. But starting with Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” in December, Amazon will begin distributing its own films and overseeing all parts of their theatrical campaigns.
Shiraz Higgins used the false name Sid Mohammed when he announced a so-called justice-pricing model to charge white men as much as $20, while others would pay $10 based on the purchasing power of individual groups and “price discrimination.”
It’s still not clear what the entertainment systems in driverless cars will look like. The women have seen mockup designs that are very preliminary. “We don’t know if we’re essentially going to be presented with a platform from car companies where they’ll say, like, ‘Here’s your screen. Put what you want to put on it’ and now we’re competing with Netflix and Hulu,” said Muller. “Or is there a way to be part of the conversation, help shape what the entertainment experience is like for people?”
“Whatever arrogance you have – is the past lesser or greater? It’s all the same. And loss is loss is loss. And so wars are united, because they are big loss machines. They drive families apart and then some people don’t come home. … And that’s why they’re so instructive, because they remind us again and again of the worst of us. And we hope in some ways that by studying it you might mitigate it, but it won’t. There will always be wars and everybody feels it the same.” (podcast plus transcript)
“When the Taliban charged in to Afghanistan’s state-run film company in the mid-1990s intent on destroying all the movies, Habibullah Ali risked everything to save them. He hid thousands of reels of footage showcasing Afghanistan’s rich cultural history … Two decades later those reels, which include long-lost movies and documentary images of Afghanistan before it was ravaged by violence, are being made available to watch again through digitisation.”
“Burns has long worked with multiple teams; these different squads of writers and producers mean that he can sometimes release as many as two ambitious films in a single year. Among these collaborators, Novick stands out. She is one of the few people who have shared directing credit with Burns more than once, collaborating with him on Frank Lloyd Wright, Prohibition, The Tenth Inning (an update to Baseball), The War, and now The Vietnam War. Novick, not Burns, now conducts most of the interviews for the films they make together. And the movies that result are a product of a unique alchemy: Novick’s penchant for obsessive research blended with Burns’s eye for narrative arc.”
“Big Hollywood names have helped found the Committee to Investigate Russia, a nonprofit aiming to spread information about Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and create debate about possible threats to the country’s institutions. The committee launched Tuesday in the U.S., with director Rob Reiner on the advisory board and actor Morgan Freeman featured in an introductory video.” (And that video has led to a big anti-Morgan Freeman campaign in Russia.)
At the Los Angeles LGBT Center awards night, Rhimes spoke up. “Everyone has the right the see themselves on the screen, and I think it’s really dangerous when that doesn’t happen,” she said. “People deserve realistic portrayals.”
Just ask Artaud: Language is insufficient to communicate the pain of existence (so add some intensely horrible sound to your unsubtle movie, and communicate it that way).
Apparently, audiences will accept almost anything as long as it has to do with controlling women. See: Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey.
After the opening episode arrives over the usual airwaves, the show is only going to be available on CBS All Access – something that executives hope will get more people to sign up for the streaming service.
Now (just look at Girls’ Trip and Daphne) is the time for women who “are neither the victims of, nor inertly, Sleeping-Beauty-wise, waiting to be enlivened by, male desire.”
While “virtual multichannel video programming distributors” like Hulu, YouTube TV and Sling TV are poised to grow, they’ll significantly cannibalize the existing base of traditional pay-TV customers, according to RBC’s analysis. About 15% of the addressable market for “vMVPDs” will come from legacy cable and satellite subs, with 10% from “cord-never” broadband-only households.
Alyssa Rosenberg: “In & Out feels both like a slightly embarrassing artifact of its time and an ultimately correct argument for how (lots if not all of) America would change in the decades since its release.” On the other hand, “if [the movie] were released today, it would be drowned in an actual flood of think pieces.”
Melena Ryzik talks to Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, and Darren Aronofsky. And no, they don’t agree on what the film means, or even necessarily what it’s about.
“Say what you will about Darren Aronofsky, but the guy knows how to get a reaction out of people. … We caught up with Aronofsky a few months before the film’s premiere, while its contents were still top secret, to talk about its allegorical meaning, its startlingly unusual use of Kristen Wiig, and the surprising difficulty of its postproduction process.” (Warning: spoilers included.)
“La Soledad is the latest in a glut of Venezuelan films telling unflinching, complex stories of life in the troubled Andean nation. It might seem surprising, given the increasingly authoritarian regime of Nicolás Maduro, that these films have often benefitted from state funding. … A major reconfiguration came in 2005 with a reform to the country’s national cinematography law. This dictated quotas for the proportion of Venezuelan films in theatres, initiated a tax on cinemas and distributors to fund Venezuelan film-makers and granted tax exemptions for private-sector support of Venezuelan films. Since the new law came into effect, more and more Venezuelans have been going to cinemas: a record 4.2m did so in 2014.”
“About 125,000 of New Zealand’s 4.7 million people speak the Maori language … There are concerns that numbers are declining, putting it at risk of dying out. But with one in three Maori people in New Zealand younger than 15, experts said the chance for youth to see a wildly popular movie in their own words” – Disney planned from the beginning to translate Moana, based on traditional Polynesian stories, into Maori – “could turn the language’s fortunes around after more official efforts faltered”
“At stake is no less than the future of the movie-exhibition business, an industry that has seen ticket prices rise almost 100 percent over the last 20 years while offering scanty new innovation over that time – e-ticketing and, to a lesser extent, reclining seats comprising its premium product.” So why is there not more excitement in the industry? Chris Lee explains.
“Before the emergence and rapid proliferation of film editing at the dawn of the 20th century, humans had never been exposed to anything quite like film cuts: quick flashes of images as people, objects and entire settings changed in an instant. But rather than reacting with confusion to edits, early filmgoers lined up in droves to spend their money at the cinema, turning film – and eventually its close cousin, television – into the century’s defining media.”
“The final tally for the 2017 Emmys, hosted by Stephen Colbert on CBS, avoids the all-time low 11.3 million viewers that tuned in last year. In the key demo of adults 18-49, this year’s show did bottom out, slipping 10 percent from a 2.7 rating to a 2.5 rating. Overnight ratings are naturally below those of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which took a 12.6 overnight rating among households.”
“Netflix’s selection of classic cinema is abominable—and it seems to shrink more every year or so. As of this month, the streaming platform offers just 43 movies made before 1970, and fewer than 25 from the pre-1950 era (several of which are World War II documentaries). It’s the sort of classics selection you’d expect to find in a decrepit video store in 1993, not on a leading entertainment platform that serves some 100 million global subscribers.”
“Directed by Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards stars Frances McDormand as a woman who takes a stand against the police, using the titular three billboards after her daughter is murdered and months later no arrests have been made. The rest of the cast includes Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell (who, along with McDormand, is already receiving awards season buzz), John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage.”
The problem especially afflicts the major fall festivals: Venice, Telluride, Toronto. “The way films are received at major festivals … dictates how independent and prestige titles will be positioned for the rest of the year. That positioning will then influence the Oscars, which govern in turn the types of films that get made and celebrated. While most big film festivals are built on good intentions, the atmosphere around them has become oddly reductive.”
“I do feel like Netflix is commodifying stand-up. This boom, at least as defined by me, is about treating comics as individual artists with distinct points of view, not people providing a service. Stockpiling stand-up as content and telling people it’ll be there whenever you need a laugh is completely antithetical to that. Has the boom already given way to a bloat?”
“This year streaming shows accounted for four of the seven nominees for Outstanding Drama Series, two of the picks for Outstanding Comedy Series, and programs like The Handmaid’s Tale, House of Cards, and Master of None have earned praise in nearly every major category. But earning a nomination only does so much; at the end of the day, it’s who takes home the statue that matters.”