The number of female protagonists in the 100 highest-grossing films fell five percentage points last year, according to a new report from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. Women made up 24 percent of featured protagonists, defined for the study’s purposes as characters from whose perspective the story is told. It’s an odd occurrence, given that the three most popular films of last year’s domestic box office list each featured a woman in a lead role: Rey in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” and Diana Prince of “Wonder Woman.”
A nearly century-old radio station like WNYC swooping in to save a group of sites that helped write the rules of online journalism does contain a hint of irony. But when you consider these radio stations have managed to weather technological changes from the transistor to the television, the idea that they might be able to help younger newsrooms navigate the choppy waters of the digital revolution—while benefiting from their digital native audiences—doesn’t sound so crazy after all.
“David Zindel, son of American playwright Paul Zindel, filed the complaint Wednesday alleging that [Guillermo] Del Toro’s critically acclaimed film, which has more Oscar nominations than any other this year, has ‘exploited’ the play Let Me Hear You Whisper and should have credited and licensed his father’s work.”
Says Walter Iuzzolino, who curates a selection of European television for broadcast in the UK and streaming in the US, “You often pretty much know what you’re going to get from a Scandinavian, or French, or Italian show. But there is something about the Belgians that means a show is never entirely straight. So The Out-laws is like a family comedy stroke thriller. You’re watching something like Desperate Housewives with a gun, and then gradually it becomes darker and darker. Professor T has almost Ally McBeal-like musical and dream sequences alongside straight police procedural.”
When we sort through our feeds, “latest” has an obvious chronological sorting mechanism; even “popular” has a fairly clear and agreed-upon definition. “Trending,” however, does not. It’s similar, but not the same as “popular”; generally speaking, it means “popular, in some relative, technically defined way.” That is, the “trending” sections of major platforms are, as of now, algorithmically determined, their contents selected by formulas developed internally at those companies and kept private.
Russian media outlets and government officials, right up to President Putin, have been thunderously denouncing two of the nominees for Best Documentary Feature: Icarus, about the Russian doctor who blew the whistle on the country’s athletic doping program, and (perhaps more surprisingly) Last Men in Aleppo, about volunteer emergency medics working amidst Syria’s civil war.
“[David] Glasser, known within the company as the ‘third Weinstein’, is expected to claim that his termination was ‘nothing more than a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from the very people who were empowered to halt Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior – chairman Bob Weinstein and the two other members of the TWC board of directors,’ according to a statement from his law firm.”
The individual hand-painted sheets that were used to make the films have become distorted and cracked over time. The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) is working with Disney to try to save the beloved pictures that led to some of the world’s most iconic animations.
Black Panther is a blockbuster that feels like it belongs to the artists who created it as much as the company that produced it. In a market dominated by sequels, the projects that actually break through with viewers tend to be movies that were made with more of a purpose than just being another link in a never-ending money-making chain. Black Panther is poised to make more money around the world than any Marvel movie aside from 2012’s The Avengers.
“‘Do you know the girl who was shot then brutally stabbed over and over until her face was barely recognisable?’ If you’re familiar with the gory juggernaut of a genre that is the true-crime podcast, you will know this scenario is only a slight exaggeration – and that the genre is ripe for a spoof. Which is where intrepid investigator David Pascall comes in, alongside the residents of Bluff Springs, Nebraska, in A Very Fatal Murder.”
“By one count, America alone produced close to 500 television shows across networks, cable and streaming services last year. … Competition is so fierce that a bizarre premise seems like the best way in. Would I watch a show where Daniel Radcliffe works in a bar? Maybe. Would I watch Miracle Workers, a show where Daniel Radcliffe plays an angel battling against the worst instincts of his boss” – God – “who is also Steve Buscemi? Almost definitely yes, if only to see what it’s like.”
The idea of media literacy may not seem to mix with the fun of TV and movies. But when kids relate to the content, they’re more engaged, and they can learn critical-thinking skills from discussing it. All you want to do is get your kids to think more deeply about what they’re watching. You may want to reinforce the positive ideas on the shows, or you might want to offer a different perspective. Teaching kids to pause and think — and not just accept things at face value — is teaching them a valuable skill.
“Almost 27 years to the day after the movie’s release (when it became a surprise sleeper hit at the box office and an award winner), Silence‘s cultural impact feels more profound than ever. Audiences’ obsession with true crime and the pathology of serial killers, the ongoing conversations about female representation in Hollywood, even Hannibal Lecter himself – all of it is at the forefront of so much of today’s pop culture.” David Sims explains why.
When Jeffrey Dunn came to Sesame in September 2014 (after a career at Nickelodeon and the company that owns Thomas the Tank Engine), licensing revenue was plummeting and revenue from PBS was covering less than 10% of the TV show’s production costs. Journalist Kerry Hannon reports on how Dunn has turned the company around.
For a glimpse of that future, look to the world’s largest toymaker, Hasbro. The company is showing off its new Iron Man mask this weekend at Toy Fair, which uses augmented reality to stage a battle against Thanos. Slip on Iron Man’s red helmet and gauntlet, set up the three AR markers around the room, and watch Thanos and his armies surround you. The suit is Hasbro’s first foray into augmented reality, but follows the work of companies like Disney, which introduced its Star Wars Jedi Challenges AR experience last year. The consumer appeal of this stuff is obvious: In AR, you’re not playing as Iron Man. You are Iron Man.
Are best director – Guillermo del Toro – and best picture – in BAFTA’s case, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri – now a lock for the Academy Awards? (Maybe!)
It’s not clear yet whether the firings of many reporters and hosts will affect listeners’ willingness to donate money. However: “WNYC held a one-day pledge drive in late December, after Mr. Lopate and Mr. Schwartz were fired, and the station had its hosts address the controversy and promise transparency. The station declined to disclose the full results of that drive, though it said last week that listener donations in December and January were up 11.5 percent from the same period a year before.”
You might know Danai Gurira as a major character on The Walking Dead or as the playwright of Eclipsed, which starred Lupita Nyong’o and ran on Broadway to much acclaim. In the Marvel movie, she plays the leader of a group of women warriors who protect the king. “When I sat down with [director Ryan] Coogler, what’s so very important to me as an African woman and as a playwright who writes from the African perspective — because of the lack thereof, or the misrepresentation thereof, or the distortion thereof — it was very important that an African narrative is treated with the respect and authenticity.”
Analysts predicted an eye-popping $165 million North American weekend take – and their predictions were promptly dismantled by $218 million in ticket sales in North America alone, and almost $400 million globally. The records are almost too many to name: “Black Panther instantly became the top-grossing film in history by a black director (Ryan Coogler) and featuring a largely black cast. … Theaters scrambled to add show times to accommodate crowds; AMC Southlake 24 in suburban Atlanta squeezed in 84 show times on Friday alone.”
The company won’t say what the “cause” is against David Glasser, but “Glasser came under fire this week after the New York attorney general’s office sued the studio, alleging civil rights violations.”
Jewelry designer Douriean Fletcher met costume designer Ruth E. Carter by chance, twice – the second time when she was playing an extra and getting a costume fitting on the set of “Roots,” designed by Carter. “‘At first, I didn’t even recognize her,’ Carter said recently. ‘But when I did, I told her to take off her costume and get to work creating pieces on my show.'”
Michael Phillips: “Whenever there’s another mass murder in our country, action films become a strange and ghoulish experience, beyond whatever the filmmakers have created for our consumption. There are times when the gun fatalities and revised statistics get to you. They’re too much. Too much. There are times when movie slaughter, and extravagant, adrenaline-pumping shootouts, cannot easily be enjoyed.”
Justin Goldman filed the lawsuit after he snapped an image of New England Patriots quarterback Brady, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and others on a street in 2016. Shortly thereafter, he uploaded the photo to Snapchat. The photo then went viral, with others uploading it to Twitter. Subsequently, various news organizations embedded the tweets with the image in stories about whether the Celtics would successfully recruit basketball player Kevin Durant, and if Brady would help to seal the deal. Goldman sued some of these news outlets.
“Nymphetmania has a long and hoary pedigree in Hollywood, and flourished years before Nabokov gave us the Lolita syndrome” – from DW Griffith’s child-woman ingénues such as Lillian Gish and Mae Marsh through Taxi Driver and Pretty Baby right up to late Woody Allen. “It is no longer possible to rationalise as consensual certain egregious pairings, or to accept with equanimity the sexualisation of underage performers. We have begun to take a second look at the smarmy overtones of movies such as Allen’s Manhattan and Louis CK’s now-shelved I Love You, Daddy, in which ‘protective’ older men ogle daughter figures in utterly self-serving ways.”
“The Times will produce a daily 30-minute radio version of the podcast for distribution to stations starting in April. Though the podcast is released at 6 a.m. Eastern time, public radio stations will be able to air the radio version between 4 p.m. and midnight Eastern time.”
In what seems to be the first, and surely won’t be the last, incidence of life imitating this particular piece of art, “members of the Justice 4 Grenfell group paraded billboards emblazoned with the words ’71 dead’, ‘And still no arrests?’, ‘How Come?’ around central London locations in an attempt to keep victims of last June’s tower block blaze ‘in the national conscience’.”
In the era of auteur-driven film and television, YouTube has always been a space for auteurs—or as they’re known online, creators—to maintain complete autonomy over their content. The transition from online platforms to traditional media may seem like a natural next step, but oftentimes taking that leap comes with immense risk. For online creators, the biggest part of that risk is loss of creative control.
“Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined filmmaker Ava DuVernay and producer Dan Lin on Monday to launch the Evolve Entertainment Fund, a public-private partnership aimed at creating new opportunities for communities that have been historically excluded from the entertainment industry. The fund plans to raise $5 million by 2020 to award grants to various entertainment industry organizations.”
“Omarosa Manigault Newman, a three-time contestant on NBC’s The Apprentice, volunteered to enter a surreal house in which minor celebrities, acting out under constant media surveillance, conspire to eject their rivals one by one.
Then she went on Celebrity Big Brother. That it took the second experience (a CBS reality show) to get Ms. Newman to open up about the first (her tenure in Donald J. Trump’s White House) may not be the model of civic discourse that the founders envisioned. But it’s the one Americans voted for, and maybe the one we deserve.” (includes video)
It was a perfect genre for the early days of television, and was quite successful, as you can see on YouTube in old episodes of What’s My Line and To Tell the Truth. “[It] was a purely American invention, yet somehow it’s become deeply associated with modern British TV. Here’s why.”