“Revenue from sales and rentals of movies and TV shows totaled $12 billion in 2016, down 7% from the previous year, according to data released Friday by trade organization Digital Entertainment Group. Meanwhile, subscription streaming continued its torrid growth last year, surging nearly 23% to $6.23 billion in consumer spending, the group said.”
Maureen Ryan, chief TV critic for Variety: “I really take my hat off to men and women of color and women who actually fight these tropes in the room because every time you open your mouth for whatever reason to contradict the showrunner, you’re taking your career in your hands.”
Coverage of the entire night, from fashion to wins and losses (seriously, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, you didn’t vote for Mahershala Ali?!) to the gaffes and speeches that marked the night.
Shows like “Atlanta” and “Insecure” show how middle-class African Americans are feeling about economic security – that is, that there isn’t any. “These sitcoms remind us of the centrality of race, not just to our conversations but to policies around income inequality.”
The low-down on La La Land, Manchester By the Sea, Moonlight, Arrival, and so. much. more. Despite his prediction that Manchester WILL win best drama, this critic says, “a win for Moonlight would certainly be a satisfying rebuke to the new fashion for crude and ugly reactionary politics – and a vote for humanity.”
Movie writer and director Barry Jenkins grew up a year older and just a block or two away from playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney – but somehow they didn’t meet until Jenkins was working on the movie that’s rocketing through awards season and audience emotions. “They remember the same swinging tree, dancing at jams held in the amphitheater, and the annual turkey bowl.”
Moonlight got the top honor as a film and for its director, Barry Jenkins, and a couple of other awards, and Manchester-by-the-Sea snagged most of the rest, leaving La La Land in the cold.
The showrunner for the new Netflix-owned-and-produced comedy says, “I knew that I wanted to write something personal, I knew I wanted to write a multi-cam, and no joke, the first phone call I got was, ‘Hey, Norman Lear wants to sit down and talk about doing a remake of One Day at a Time.’ Yeah, the stars aligned.”
“According to the tale, as the silent black-and-white image of a moving locomotive filled a movie screen in Paris, the people in the cinema thought it was going to drive right into them. They panicked, and bolted for the back of the theater.” In fact, that’s probably the movie business’s first-ever urban legend. Eric Grundhauser walks us through the evidence. (includes video)
Well, the BBC tried it, and the resulting tweetstorm was pretty strong – and so was the counterbacklash. (In fact, this isn’t the first time ISIS humor has been tried, although the first practitioners were themselves Syrian.) (includes video)
“The high fees for television’s 1% — at a time when business models, episode orders, and distribution strategies are in the midst of a massive transition — has exacerbated the earnings gap between stars and supporting players.”
Affleck is getting awards and nominations galore for his performance in Manchester by the Sea. Last summer, Nate Parker was considered an even more likely contender for The Birth of a Nation – until word of his rape trial during college spread, whereupon his prospects plummeted. (Parker was acquitted.) Is the difference because Affleck is white and Parker is black? There are certainly reasons to think not, but the question keeps coming up.
The Academy just looooves movies about Hollywood. (Exhibit A: The Artist) (What, you don’t remember The Artist?)
“The Writers Guild of America hands out only three movie awards – a paltry number compared to the guild’s 26 TV categories – but this year’s list of nominees is complete with an interesting split from the Academy.”
The movie project billed itself as a professional quality fan “Star Trek” project. “To the purpose and character of the use, the judge writes that Axanar attempts to “stay faithful” to the Star Trek canon with nary any criticism, seemingly shrugging off defendants’ arguments of staging a ‘mockumentary.’ To the nature of the copyrighted work, the judge writes that after 13 Star Trek motion pictures and six television series, these types of works “are given broad copyright protections.”
“Chez Nous (AKA This Is Our Land) stars Émilie Duquenne as a nurse who becomes a political success in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region after becoming involved with the Patriotic Bloc, a thinly disguised fictional version of the Front National. … The trailer briefly features a character apparently modelled on Le Pen, played by veteran performer Cathérine Jacob.” The movie doesn’t open for another seven weeks, but already party leaders are using words like “scandalous.”
“Television companies are looking for ways to build hype for their new shows and make them stand out amid a glut of high-quality original programs. This year there could be as many as 500 scripted shows on TV and streaming services, compared with about 300 in 2015, according to estimates from the cable network FX. Theater owners, meanwhile, are eager to fill seats during slow periods including the autumn months, and hoping to diversify their businesses as the box office becomes increasingly unpredictable.”
Thoughts of “the bubble,” and of its rhetorical cousin “real America” kept coming up as I tried to organize my feelings about the year’s movies. The phrases are both booby traps—labels that, when applied to culture, seek to impose a divide between art that is oblivious and art that is aware, or between movies that are about and for honest plain-spoken Americans (current example: Patriots Day) and movies that are for “coastal elites” who think rural white dudes are scary as hell (I don’t know … Nocturnal Animals?
“Television has long had a fraught relationship with the ‘regular’ person. Many of its shows, from Leave It to Beaver on down, have relied on the power of aspiration—the ideal family, the ideal group of friends, impossibly beautiful people inhabiting impossibly beautiful places—to amplify the appeal of the ‘normal’ worlds they’ve served up to their viewers… Those shows and their many, many counterparts claimed to embrace averageness; they also, however, scene after scene, treated averageness as something to be overcome.”
Unlike in recent years, when films like “American Sniper” and “The Hangover” broke through, not one movie rooted in a real-life setting was among the top 10 box office performers.
“The North American box office closed out the year with $11.4 billion in ticket sales, ComScore said Sunday. That marks a new record for the industry, bypassing the previous high-water mark of $11.1 billion that was established in 2015.”
“In modern times, cinema became the tenth muse. Why? Because it’s nourishing itself from literature, from architecture, music, philosophy… What that means is that even if you don’t know it, you have to deal with those elements. New technology brought to us the consciousness of making images. Today you have any still camera, any video camera, you push a button, things happen automatically. Today film students don’t know anymore how to realize an image. At the beginning, the so-called photographers had to practice, they had to study how to do it. The same thing was for cinematography. You grow up in learning how it’s possible to use a piece of mechanic and some chemistry to turn an idea into a realized image. Today, nobody knows. You don’t need to know. You push a button and get an image.”
“When we looked at how many active Facebook users in a given ZIP code “liked” certain TV shows, we found that the 50 most-liked shows clustered into three groups with distinct geographic distributions. Together they reveal a national culture split among three regions: cities and their suburbs; rural areas; and what we’re calling the extended Black Belt — a swath that extends from the Mississippi River along the Eastern Seaboard up to Washington, but also including city centers and other places with large nonwhite populations.”
Who, and what, will get nominated for Academy Awards – and what’s still in the running even as the discussion narrows?
Also, it’s paying $13 million – thirteen. million. dollars. – per episode of “The Crown.”
“Something rare happened this year: the best American film releases – Moonlight, La La Land, and Arrival – were also the most beautiful.”
Here’s what lies ahead after we all catch up with this year’s Oscar nominees and winners.
Dan O’Keefe explains how his father invented it as a family holiday 50 years ago, and how it got into a Seinfeld script. (O’Keefe really, really hoped it would get cut.) The real-life Festivus didn’t have a set date or season or the Feats of Strength, but there was an aluminum pole and there was most definitely Airing of Grievances.
“Gone is the lone genius with a shed full of goofy contraptions and bubbling liquids. Today’s fictional researchers work in realistic labs, with high-tech equipment, and in teams with others. Their dialogue is scattered with words from the latest scientific literature, and they have so much depth and personality that they carry entire shows.”
From “Empire” to “Blackish” and, in new shows, from Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar” to Donald Glover’s “Atlanta,” TV approached the new civil rights movement with varying degrees of success.