black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             

In the music business, Napster’s vision eventually became a reality. Today, with services like Spotify and Rdio, you can pay a monthly fee to listen to whatever you want, whenever you want. But in the movie and TV business, such a glorious future isn’t in the offing anytime soon. …

[F]or now, the Internet has met its match: Hollywood. …

The main reason you won’t see a comprehensive, all-you-can-eat movie plan soon is something called “windowing,” the entertainment industry term for the staggered way movies are released to various outlets.

Like salmon, Hollywood movies are governed by rigid life cycles. First, a movie is released in theaters. A few months later, it heads to second-run outlets like airlines and hotel pay-per-view, and later it goes to Blu-ray, DVD and digital services that allow you to purchase or rent films à la carte.

Then, about a year after a film’s theatrical release, trouble kicks in. That’s when a movie is made available to pay-TV channels like HBO, Starz and Epix. These premium periods are exclusive; when a movie gets to a pay channel, it often can’t be shown on any other streaming service. … 

Windowing also explains why Netflix’s movies feel so old. It takes about five to seven years after a movie first hits theaters for all its pay-window restrictions to expire. Only then does it become available to all-you-can eat services like Netflix. …Why are movies released in this staggered way? And why can’t the system change to accommodate an all-you-can-eat plan? Money, of course.

HBO and other premium networks have agreed to pay billions of dollars for the exclusive run of major studio films. HBO has said that, despite the cultural cachet of its original programs, movies are its most popular content; consequently, it has purchased rights to about half of all the movies released by major studios in the United States until beyond 2020.

At least in this decade, then, a monthly movie plan that offers all of the movies isn’t going to happen.”

Movie Streaming Services Will Continue to Blow (meanwhile in Appleland)

“I hate superheroes. I think they’re abominations. They don’t mean what they used to mean. They were originally in the hands of writers who would actively expand the imagination of their nine- to 13-year-old audience. That was completely what they were meant to do and they were doing it excellently. These days, superhero comics think the audience is certainly not nine to 13, it’s nothing to do with them. It’s an audience largely of 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-year old men, usually men. Someone came up with the term graphic novel. These readers latched on to it; they were simply interested in a way that could validate their continued love of Green Lantern or Spider-Man without appearing in some way emotionally subnormal. This is a significant rump of the superhero-addicted, mainstream-addicted audience. I don’t think the superhero stands for anything good. I think it’s a rather alarming sign if we’ve got audiences of adults going to see the Avengers movie and delighting in concepts and characters meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of the 1950s.”

Alan Moore (via richardrushfield)

Fine. But the emotionally-stunted or “subnormal” adult-male audience is not just feeding on the Superhero franchises; Hollywood has had them on a bottomless diet of Sandler-sagas, Hangovers, and Seth Rogen-overloads for years. The fact that this audience exists is a cultural issue. The “infantalization of our culture" is a deeply-rooted American epidemic. It’s not Hollywood’s fault that (the majority of) our men refuse to grow up. Hollywood is simply doing what it’s built for: profiting off of them.

Ridley Scott on The Counselor
NYT: The script is by Cormac McCarthy. Anyone who’s familiar with his writing shouldn’t find the brutal tone of this film too surprising. RS: It’s relentless. I think he writes the truth. Because life is like that most of the time in some shape or form, whether it’s illness or the end of the world. Cormac’s a writer’s writer. You read his writing and think, I can do that, and then you sit down and try. And you try, dude.
As a director, do you ever feel jealous of a novelist, who is able to work with no interference? No, because most novelists are desperate to do what I do.
You’re known as a director who excels at creating alternate universes. Universe to me is, if you’d like, the final character. Your landscape in a western is one of the most important characters the film has. The best westerns are about man against his own landscape. I think people have lost the ability to do that.

Ridley Scott on The Counselor

NYT: The script is by Cormac McCarthy. Anyone who’s familiar with his writing shouldn’t find the brutal tone of this film too surprising.
RS: It’s relentless. I think he writes the truth. Because life is like that most of the time in some shape or form, whether it’s illness or the end of the world. Cormac’s a writer’s writer. You read his writing and think, I can do that, and then you sit down and try. And you try, dude.

As a director, do you ever feel jealous of a novelist, who is able to work with no interference?
No, because most novelists are desperate to do what I do.

You’re known as a director who excels at creating alternate universes.
Universe to me is, if you’d like, the final character. Your landscape in a western is one of the most important characters the film has. The best westerns are about man against his own landscape. I think people have lost the ability to do that.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: 'Girls' Through the Veil

There’s a lot of talk around the web about Lena Dunham’s new HBO joint Girls and its lack of diversity. Part of the problem is that those of us who fit into that amorphous space of “black alternative” or “Afrobohemia” or whatever we are called today, so rarely see ourselves represented creatively. […] 

With that said, I think storytellers—first and foremost—must pledge their loyalty to the narrative as it comes to them. I don’t believe in creating characters out of a desire to please your audience or even to promote an ostensible social good. I think good writing is essentially a selfish act—story-tellers are charged with crafting the narrative they want to see. I’m not very interested in Lena Dunham reflecting the aspirations of people she may or may not know. I’m interested in her specific and individual vision; in that story she is aching to tell. If that vision is all-white, then so be it. I don’t think a story-teller can be guilted into making great characters. […]

I thought about that episode after one of the writers on Girls responded to the criticism by tweeting sarcastically, “What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME.”  That comment understandably set of a new round of outrage. But it should also set off some reflection. I don’t know Dunham or anyone who writes for Girls. Perhaps that was a rogue comment that says nothing about her team. Nevertheless, I think it’s only right to ask whether you really want black characters rendered by the same hands that rendered that tweet. Invisibility is problematic. Caricature is worse. […]

There has been a lot of talk, this week about Lena Dunham’s responsibility, but significantly less about the the people who sign her checks. My question is not “Why are their no black women on Girls,” but “How many black show-runners are employed by HBO?” This is about systemic change, not individual attacks.

It is not so wrong to craft an exclusively white world—certainly a significant portion of America lives in one. What is wrong is for power-brokers to pretend that no other worlds exists. Across the country there are black writers and black directors toiling to bring those worlds to the screen. If HBO does not see fit to have a relationship with those writers, then those of us concerned should assess our relationship with HBO.

“It’s like a “Saw”-style torture-porn movie with a laugh track […].

Is “The Hangover Part II” a comedy? Yes, definitely, but only of a recent strain: the now-dominant form of cinematic humor we’ll call the jokeless comedy. This mutant subgenre is the offspring of two genetically compatible fathers: Todd Phillips, director of both “Hangover” films, as well as “Old School”; and Judd Apatow, director of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” and the producer/midwife to a litter of similar-looking movies with mix’n’match titles. (“Forgetting the Greek”? “Get Him to Sarah Marshall”? “Drillbit Taylor Express”?) Together, like Lenin and Trotsky, Phillips and Apatow have engineered a comedic-cinematic putsch. “Old School,” in 2003, was the April Theses for this uprising, and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” in 2005, was its October Revolution.

Their movies are, at first glance, similar: profane but intrinsically sweet-natured comedies about doughy broheems orbiting one another, water bongs and adult life. Apatow’s boys are usually fringe geeks or happy outcasts (comedy nerds, career stoners), while Phillips’s characters are unhappy, neutered or denatured adults: dentists, stereo salesmen, sad-sack husbands and henpecked clods. In Apatow, the enemy is adulthood, which ruins life; in Phillips, the enemy is women, who ruin men.

What these auteurs truly have in common, though, is that they have systematically boiled away many of the pleasures previously associated with comedy — first among these, jokes themselves — and replaced them with a different kind of lure: the appeal of spending two hours hanging out with a loose and jocular gang of goofy bros. […]

If not jokes, then what do these films offer? The primary pleasure of pretty much every comedy these days is this: Bros hanging with bros. Bromance! (In the case of “Bridesmaids,” the bros are women. But don’t worry: the film still contains the Congressionally mandated explosive-diarrhea scene.)”
©2011 Kateoplis