Carroll Spinney, now 84, has been playing the two characters since the show’s launch in 1969 and has appeared in thousands of episodes (not to mention a feature film, a documentary, and guest appearances on other shows).
Eighty million subscribers watched Netflix romcoms this summer. Netflix released a series original movies as part of its “Summer of Love” over the past few months, including “Set It Up,” “The Kissing Booth,” “Like Father,” “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” and the aforementioned “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” The company said Tuesday that it was already in production of “the next set of original rom-coms” for its members.
“It’s hard, from the vantage point of our Peak TV era, to grasp why Dallas caused such a global ruckus. In 1980, the show was arguably the hottest pop culture entity in existence; about as many Americans tuned in to find out who shot J. R. as voted for president. … After more than 35 hours of interviews, we learned that the stories behind Dallas are nearly as over-the-top as the stories on the screen.”
“Based on real events, Kler (The Clergy), by the director Wojciech Smarzowski, which includes testimonies of survivors, features an alcoholic priest who encourages his lover to have an abortion, a priest accused of abusing a young boy, a senior cleric engaged in corruption and blackmail, and a grotesque, foul-mouthed archbishop cutting deals with politicians and mobsters, all operating with impunity.” Despite denunciations by conservative laypeople and churchmen, the film is breaking box office records and encouraged many victims to speak out.
The new children’s media look nothing like what we adults would have expected. They are exuberant, cheap, weird, and multicultural. YouTube’s content for young kids—what I think of as Toddler YouTube—is a mishmash, a bricolage, a trash fire, an explosion of creativity. It’s a largely unregulated, data-driven grab for toddlers’ attention, and, as we’ve seen with the rest of social media, its ramifications may be deeper and wider than you’d initially think.
French director Jacques Audiard won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival for directing The Sisters Brothers. How did one of France’s greatest filmmakers, who consistently discusses and urges more gender equality in film, wind up with a hypermasculine Western?
Whose fault is that? Well … “Many Australian film-makers are locked out of cinemas. Australian producers too often lack the resources to compete with the massive marketing budgets of US films, while Hollywood cinema distributors dominate our screens. Like stocks in supermarkets, the bigger the marketing spend, the greater the shelf space accorded at the local multiplex.”
Remember cutting the cord? It might be time to retie the knot with some kind of bundle, because … whew: “An uncomfortable reality has set in: There’s too much. To Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now, add WarnerMedia, Disney, and Apple as omnibus, general interest streaming destinations. Investors have poured a billion dollars into something called Quibi, which has an unfortunate name but exclusive Guillermo del Toro content. And the niche options continue to proliferate as well.”
But is there a future for mid-budget films? “Some industry observers believe the format has been consigned to the dustbin by a Hollywood obsessed with tentpole franchises.” The producers – who can claim The King’s Speech and Lion as well as the prestige TV series The Top of the Lake – say the future is fine.
Well, teenagers and other young people still make up most of the audiences for movies – “so it makes sense that cinema reflects problems that affect them – police racism and far-right violence, yes, but economic and environmental hostilities, too. In the tumult of 1968, there was talk of a ‘war against the young.’ Fifty years later, that just sounds like how it is – and a war creates war movies.”
Director John Carpenter, star Jamie Lee Curtis — who says the film was “the greatest experience I’ve ever had professionally” — and several co-stars talk about the making of the movie the effects the franchise (ten sequels and remakes) has had on the culture. (Curtis: “No one involved with the movie anticipated it would grow its own industry.”)
On 22 July 2011, the far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik used a car bomb to kill eight people and injure 209 in downtown Oslo, then took a ferry to a youth camp on Utøya island, where he shot 102 people, 69 of whom died. Paul Greengrass’s 22 July is a docudrama depicting the attacks and Breivik’s trial; Erik Poppe, who wanted to keep Breivik off the screen entirely, made his Utøya – July 22 as “one long, seemingly unbroken take that follows one young girl on Utøya experiencing the attack in 90 minutes of real time.”
“Officially unveiled last month, StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative seeks to help people with opposing political views who don’t know each other have civil, personal conversations. Participants can record face-to-face conversations using the StoryCorps mobile app or by visiting a StoryCorps booth. … Facilitators will encourage participants to discuss questions that could help them find common ground.”
Says British Film Institute curator of silent film Bryony Dixon, “With nearly all of the people I’ve shown these films to there is an audible gasp when they see something from 120 years ago and they look new. That’s a very strange feeling. All of those things that tell you something is old have been stripped away.”
Over the last few years, there has been a rising fear of giant tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and the Google-owned YouTube, for a whole host of reasons. The fear often boils down to this: These companies host problematic content and then have algorithms to push that to an unprecedentedly large audience. Although it’s not often thought of in the same way, Netflix has a similar model and scale.
“Multiple ideas were pitched, but only one seemed to believably get Jimmy out of the jam they had written him into while also shoving him toward his shyster destiny. Here, in interviews with [co-showrunner Peter] Gould and the episode’s writer, Gordon Smith, we dug into how the writers solved that challenge and where it left our favorite ambulance-chaser.” (video)
“With NBCUniversal’s help, the struggling social media giant preps more than a dozen original series for its 188 million users as it muscles into a crowded market. … But its slate won’t be ripped from the Netflix playbook. All Snapchat scripted series will average about five minutes an episode and be released daily in the signature vertical video format.”
Kizuna Ai, an anime-style cartoon character with two million followers, “is part of an emerging trend where 3D avatars – rather than humans – are becoming celebrities on YouTube, with dedicated fan bases and corporate deals. It’s becoming so popular that one company is investing tens of millions in ‘virtual talent’ and talent agencies are being established to manage these avatars.”
“[A new study] suggests that the Russian government has been indirectly restricting Hollywood and foreign films for the last four years by assigning them tight age restrictions. … As families and teenagers constitute a large proportion of moviegoers in Russia, industry sources say tighter age restrictions could cost foreign releases a significant share of potential box office gross, which could reach 15 percent-20 percent.”
The studio has acquired ABQ Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of a plan to bring as much as $1 billion in production to the state over the next 10 years.
“Sesame Street has more than 5 billion views on YouTube … but ChuChu has more than 19 billion. Sesame Street‘s main feed has 4 million subscribers; the original ChuChu TV channel has 19 million — placing it among the top 25 most watched YouTube channels in the world.” Alexis Madrigal travels to ChuChu headquarters in Chennai to find out how they do it — and talks to a scholar of children’s media about the pluses and pitfalls of their style of video.
There was controversy around the movie, titled Clergy, even before it hit cinemas: at a film festival last month, once it was clear that the film would likely win the audience award, organizers canceled that category. Even so, Clergy attracted 1.7 million viewers in its first week; that’s about 4½ percent of Poland’s entire population and the equivalent of 14.5 million in the U.S.
The lack of prosecutions stems from a clash between the #MeToo ethos, which encourages victims to come forward years or even decades after abuse and harassment that they’ve kept private, and a legal system that demands fast reporting of crimes and hard evidence.
Increasingly, this is looking like a marketing masterstroke. The latest is data Foursquare shared with Yahoo Finance, in which the location tech platform measured the difference in Nike store foot traffic between the week after Labor Day (September 4-10) and the week before Labor Day (August 21-27), then compared it to the same period in 2017, and found that overall foot traffic to 242 Nike stores in the U.S. went up by an average of 16.9%.
Barry Jenkins on his new adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk: “[With Moonlight,] the whole movie is created to almost force the audience to confront what this character is feeling. And so it’s really easy to sit outside the film and just want to hug the film, to hug the main character. But this is Baldwin. In Baldwin, everyone’s implicated, including himself. So I think there’s not a passive path through this film.”
Damien Cave: “Our dry, sunny isle far from swampy Washington seems to be the latest pinup for the American desire to check out and start over. It reminds me a bit of Hawaii in the 1970s and ’80s (the era of Fantasy Island, Gilligan’s Island, and Magnum P.I.) and more recently with Lost. Or to go further back, it’s what Mexico was for Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac and the Beats in the 1950s and ’60s — a place of great beauty where familiar rules and conflicts could be sidestepped or ignored.”
According to a new paper from Morten Bay at the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future, a large majority of the social media comments about the film were “deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments.” By analyzing tweets about the movie, Bay found a coordinated effort, similar to the one used in the lead-up to the 2016 election, to weaponize the debate about the movie to further the notion of chaos in American society. “Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the US alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation,” Bay writes.
Sandvine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report offers some interesting insight into user video habits and the internet, such as the fact that more than 50 percent of internet traffic is now encrypted, video now accounts for 58 percent of all global traffic, and Netflix alone now comprises 15 percent of all internet downstream data consumed. But there’s another interesting tidbit buried in the firm’s report: after years of steady decline, BitTorrent usage is once again growing.
Yes, they can interfere with police radio, ambulances, and air traffic control, but they “gave immigrant communities programming in their native languages, ran charity drives and created the first radio specifically for black Britons. Pirate radio was also the site of some of Britain’s most important musical innovations.” But the wildcat stations are starting to disappear. Why? Because they’re becoming legitimized.
The public broadcaster won seven trophies, with HBO and CBS following with six each.