Sistema TV in San Juan has been taken off the air because, following Hurricane Maria, the university holding its license decided to cease all non-academic activities.
“As they gathered, someone mentioned that The New Yorker story was up. The assembled employees read in silence. They listened to the tape. They knew that voice too well. Some began to shake, and many of them wept as they contemplated the roles they might have played as accomplices, unwitting or not.” Dana Goodyear talks to current and former employees, many of whom insist that they knew Harvey Weinstein was “a bully, a screamer, a yeller, a thrower, a pig – not that he was a rapist.”
“The real problem is much bigger than Rotten Tomatoes—it’s that so much of Hollywood is now fixated on capturing the widest audience possible with every film. Blockbuster action movies, superhero franchises, jolty horror pictures, and animated family films that can draw large crowds are the order of the day. Even mother!, which was light on actual scares but heavy on mood and allegory, was marketed as a horror movie in an attempt to pull viewers; theatergoers who felt misled by the advertising may have contributed to the F CinemaScore rating.”
The satire by Armando Ianucci (creator of Veep) is getting great early reviews in Britain (The Guardian‘s critic called it the movie of the year). The Russians beg to differ – even though no one there has seen it and the distributor hasn’t even applied for a license for it yet. A pro-Kremlin newspaper pro-Kremlin newspaper called the film “a nasty sendup by outsiders who know nothing of our history”; one politician said it was a “planned provocation” and another described it as an “unfriendly act by the British intellectual class … [part of an] anti-Russian information war.”
Richard Overy points out where Armando Ianucci’s new The Death of Stalin gets the history wrong but allows that cinematic license could be legitimate. But the caricature, he writes, is just wrong, and not only because Stalin’s victims deserve better: “The presentation of Stalin and his cronies as a collection of foul-mouthed misfits … will certainly not help to understand the Russia of the 1950s while it mocks by implication the Russia of today, a country still shaped in some ways by the legacy of Stalin’s modernisation drives and the operation of the Stalinist state.”
“A last gasp of the old west duly became the first movie western. But from there, the task quickly became mythmaking. The western turned inexorably towards the past – or a version of it. Soon came the movies that defined the genre, tales of heroes in stetsons and dastardly “injuns” somewhere between propaganda and mass hypnosis. The west had to be won, most westerns said, to save innocence from savagery. There were exceptions, and some of those were fantastic films – but the racism stuck. Eventually, there was a reckoning – an apology even.”
“Park Chan-wook … combines dark humor, a painterly sense of composition and lots of gore. But beneath the violence lies a deep humanity – and a love of the absurd.”
“Nielsen announced the initiative on Wednesday morning, but it has been collecting Netflix viewership data over the last two months in a kind of test run. The company said it was able to determine how many viewers were streaming Netflix content through audio recognition software in the 44,000 Nielsen-rated homes across the United States.”
“The question then becomes, are the scores on Rotten Tomatoes just reflective of the history of criticism, and thus of conventional opinion? Or are the Rotten Tomatoes contributors themselves the critics who prop up these reputations, and thus pave the way for smarter conversations about film online?”
“The mini-studio announced Monday that it has entered into an agreement for [Los Angeles billionaire Thomas] Barrack’s private equity firm, Colony Capital, to provide a cash infusion to the New York company. … They have [also] entered a negotiation period for a sale of all or part of the beleaguered firm’s assets.”
This happened first: “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.” Then today, he clarified, “When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man.”
Christopher Rogers of Halt and Catch Fire:”We call it redefining the story of losers. History seems to gravitate toward narratives centered on big personalities, so when you talk about this world, you talk about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. If you talk about search, you talk about Google. But it’s so much more complex than that. It’s millions of people in obscurity who did most of the heavy lifting, only to have somebody step in and get the credit.”
The Academy’s press release emphasized that its decision was about more than just Weinstein. “As Academy standards go, it was a very swift response. But it leaves the question of other members like Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby, whose behavior has been equally as troubling as Weinstein’s.”
But has anything changed? Jackie Kong, director of the 1987 cult classic Blood Diner, says no. “This is real life. … You’re still not trusted; you’re still not hired. You can be this icon, this cult figure, but they have to be enlightened already, otherwise you’re fighting an uphill battle.”
“Harvey Weinstein may be the central-casting version of a Hollywood predator, but he was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry. The only thing that shocked most people in the film industry about the Harvey Weinstein story was that suddenly, for some reason, people seemed to care. That knowledge alone allowed a lot of us to breathe for the first time in ages.”
Richard Brody, responding to the great director’s dyspeptic guest column in The Hollywood Reporter, argues that the Internet has made criticism more democratic and often better-informed, that the aggregated critical scores on Roitten Tomatoes really do help identify good new films, the best of which rival anything from Scorsese’s heyday, and that Scorsese’s unhappiness arises from a major generational shift.
If there was any fallout from Picturegoer series, it didn’t make the papers. Nobody got fired, nobody was disgraced, nobody followed up. Nearly 20 years later, on May 21, 1975—so around the time producer Sam Spiegel was allegedly trying to force himself on Theresa Russell, but a few years before Roman Polanski was arrested for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old—Variety, reporting on a new committee the Screen Actors Guild was establishing to investigate what were euphemistically called “morality complaints,” asked, “ ‘Casting Couch’: Fiction or Fact?”
Uta Briesewitz, who was David Simon’s director of photography on The Wire and is now directing episodes of his current series, The Deuce, talks about filming a masturbation scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal and explains how she can tell just by watching whether a sex scene was directed by a man or a woman.
“The disembodied hand has a sinister cinematic reputation. … But on social media, the hand has been cast in a new role, as a symbol of artisanal craftsmanship and entrepreneurial zeal. … This time it’s a helping hand, channeling its energies toward cooking party foods and executing creative household hacks.”
Manohla Dargis observes how Weinstein’s treatment of relatively powerless young women has been considered normal behavior in the film industry for most of its history – and considers whether the current backlash is a turning point.
NPR stations are well on their way as the leading radio news source in 20 of the 50 or so Nielsen PPM markets according to NPR. In those 20 markets, NPR has more weekly cume listeners than their commercial news/talk competitors.
The awfulness of Rotten Tomatoes and Cinemascore. (But he does give a defense of mother!, so there’s that.)
“Without Mr. Weinstein, this studio, already struggling at the box office and hobbled by an exodus of senior staff members in recent years, is in serious trouble. The movie and television company’s other founder and co-chairman, Bob Weinstein, has a substantial track record running Dimension Films, a label dedicated to horror movies and family fare, like the Spy Kids franchise. [David] Glasser, sometimes referred to in Hollywood as the third Weinstein brother, is an experienced executive. But Harvey Weinstein is the one who called – or screamed – the shots, often pushing the company forward by sheer force of will.”
“Late Thursday, Harvey Weinstein called top Hollywood talent agents to ask for a substantial favor: to please speak up in his defense as he contended with sexual harassment allegations stretching back decades. When none did, and with the remnants of the Weinstein Company’s board moving to fire him as the studio’s co-chairman, Mr. Weinstein got more frantic. On Sunday, he sent an email to agents and studio executives that said he was ‘desperate’ for their help.”
Brenda Barnes succeeds longtime KING FM General Manager Jennifer Ridewood, who was at the helm of the station when it transitioned to a listener-supported public radio station in 2011. KING FM now has more than 15,000 members and last year garnered $4.4 million in revenue, up from $2.1 million in 2010, before the transition occurred, according to the station.
She was supposed to be co-directing Faces Places with artist JR, a 34-year-old. Here’s his take: “”At the beginning it was a little bit harder for me because she would just direct everything and I couldn’t place one word, and at some point I had to be like, ‘OK, if we’re really co-directing, I have to fight.'”
Netflix paid a lot of money – but it’s not going to meet Canadian content guidelines, and it will not make promises about French-language productions, either. How do Canadians in the TV and movie production industries feel? Hm: “In Canada, we have created regulations and rules by which companies are allowed to access our Canadian people and marketplace. Netflix and the other over-the-top services are not necessarily contributing to that content creation.”
The history of African American women on late night is limited but prestigious – previous hosts have been Whoopi Goldberg, Mo’Nique, and Wanda Sykes. So Thede’s new The Rundown is “both a risky proposition and a potential breakthrough for BET, which has a sporadic history of late-night talk-show programming, and for Ms. Thede, who was most recently the head writer and an occasional performer on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore.”
Yup, AIM started it all. “You kids don’t understand. You will never understand. You walk around in habitats of text, pop-up cathedrals of social language whose cornerstone is the rectangle in your pocket. The words and the alert sounds swirl around you and you know how to read them and hear them because our culture — that we made — taught you how. We were the first generation to spend two hours typing at our closest friends instead of finishing our homework, parsing and analyzing and worrying over ‘u were so funny in class today’ or ‘nah lol youre pretty cool.'”
Familiar intellectual property has two advantages for a TV network. First, it’s already vetted. An editor with experience in science fiction has already made the sign of the IDIC over it and fired it out of a photon torpedo tube. Its characters, its world, and at least the skeleton of its plot live in the fictional universe.