Let me start off by saying that I am fully aware that in discussing the Academy Awards and other accolades in late May, I am being anything but timely. But the nature of these ramblings is that they are spawned by any random thought that strikes me, and perhaps the discussion may be helped by not running the risk of being derailed by any frustration over snubs.
What got me thinking about the Oscars, and awards in general, was checking out info on a few films on my watchlist and finding that they had been Best Picture nominees. I had put them on my watchlist due to having heard high praise for them, so it didn’t really come as a surprise, but it was nevertheless news to me. (The films in question, if it matters, were His Girl Friday and The Ox-Bow Incident). This got me to thinking. There are certainly Oscar-nominated films on my watchlist, but only in a few cases were films there specifically for that reason. And then I got to thinking that, as somebody who tries to be informed on movies, I really ought to be sufficiently informed on these films to have an opinion on what should and shouldn’t have won.
Which means I need to add the whole lot of them to my watchlist, minus those I’ve seen already. Continue reading →
When one is a blogger, it’s natural that from time to time one blogs about blogging. I’m fairly sure any writer periodically thinks about the writing process itself. And being a blogger leads to being part of blogging communities, which in turn leads to discussions about blogging. It’s all very circular.
As I am mostly a movie blogger, and read movie blogs, one of the questions I see come up often is how we all go about writing our reviews. I’ve generally just given a few short lines, but I thought I’d do a full post on my process here. People might find it interesting, and other bloggers might find it useful — or have suggestions that I’ll find useful. Either is good. Continue reading →
“Well, my telephone is ringin’
Only it was Chairman Mao
Just tell him anything
I just don’t wanna talk to him now”
– Van Halen, “Apolitical Blues”
It’s early May, and my voter’s ballot just arrived in the mail (Oregon has statewide vote-by-mail). There’s nothing on the ballot I really want to talk about, but that’s kind of the point. It’s a May election, in an odd-numbered year. Across the U.S. (international readers, don’t worry, though the examples may be from the U.S., the thrust of this isn’t U.S.-centric), people care to some degree about the issues, but it’s unlikely anybody’s getting into a full election-time fervor about it. Politics are vaguely on peoples’ minds, but they aren’t the dominant part of most peoples’ attentions right now.
That makes this a good time for me to talk about politics. Or more precisely, why I don’t generally talk about politics on my blog. Continue reading →
You’ll pardon me, I hope, if this article at time seems a little disjointed and more prone to meandering than even my usual rambles. It’s being written under the first dose of Vicodin for an infected broken tooth, and my body and mind aren’t quite used to the sensation just yet. I say this not to garner sympathy (feeling OK now, if a bit loopy), but rather to explain any unusual eccentricities (or errors) in my writing — and mainly to explain what got me thinking about this particular article’s point to begin with.
See, as I was drawing points of comparison with the urgent care nurse on the level of pain I was in this evening (yesterday evening by the time you read this), my closest point of comparison was the ordeal I went through when I had my lower wisdom teeth removed. And when I had some down time to think, I remembered the movies that I had added to my DVD collection shortly before I went in for that procedure. Continue reading →
Happy Easter, everybody — or, given the likelihood that many of you are viewing this post after the day in question (seriously, go spend time with your families), I hope you had a happy Easter. Those of you who don’t celebrate, well, I hope it’s a good day anyway.
Easter is kind of a strange holiday when it comes to Hollywood movies. It’s a major holiday in the U.S. — though not an official “U.S. holiday”, it’s celebrated by a large portion of the population. But unlike other major holidays, Hollywood tends to ignore it. It’s a trait that it shares with Thanksgiving, but not with Christmas, Independence Day, or Valentine’s Day. Consider this year’s Good Friday releases: G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Host and Tyler Perry’s Temptation of a Marriage Counselor. Do any of those sound like “Easter films” to you?
It may sound strange to think it’s strange for Hollywood to overlook a holiday, but Hollywood has a history of piggybacking on holidays to give their movies a boost. Continue reading →
As I mentioned in the post-script to my Hobbit review, that film was the 900th feature film that I’ve seen. Or, more precisely, the 900th that I’ve seen and remember clearly enough to have rated on IMDb. There are, no doubt, several films from my youth that I no longer remember clearly, but if it’s something that I’d want to see again as an adult to evaluate, then it doesn’t really count (those that I do remember clearly are rated and counted). And, as stated before in my Reeling in the Years post, I’m only counting those feature-length films that have been released to theatres. Now, I’m waiting for the 1000 mark to do a breakdown of what years I’ve seen, but 900 is good enough to take a look at the genre breakdown.
Last Saturday, I did something I haven’t done in many years: I watched a new episode of Saturday Night Live. I did this for a couple reasons, the main one being that some friends had said it was a good episode, and that this was a rarity for the current season (I’m in the Pacific Time Zone, these friends are in Eastern and Central, so I was able to get a heads-up; and yes, this does mean I wasn’t watching it “live”). I had also seen some chatter from Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin that they would be on, and I’m a fan of the older comics, so that was an incentive as well. And finally, I’ve been reading a book on the history of Saturday Night Live (which I’ll probably give its own review when I finish it), so the show has been on my mind lately.
Justin Timberlake was hosting, and while I’m not the biggest fan of him as a serious actor, he does pretty well in sketch comedy. Since I haven’t really watched it since high school, I didn’t expect to recognize any of the cast members; other than the surprise of seeing Kenan Thompson among the players, this held true. But overall, even though I didn’t know the comics, it felt like the same show. I didn’t like every sketch, but I laughed at most of them, so I’d say it was a fairly good episode. Naturally I got a big kick out of the “five timers club” and the Three Amigos salute.
I don’t see a need to recap the whole episode. But all this reading and this recent watching has gotten me thinking about the show, and about sketch comedies in general. So it seemed like a good time for a ramble on the subject. Continue reading →
It’s been a while since I last gave my thoughts on Hollywood’s franchise-building techniques; almost exactly six months, in fact. Back then I talked about when it’s acceptable for Hollywood to remake a film. This time I thought I’d take a broader approach and look at when it’s appropriate for Hollywood to reboot an entire franchise.
Now, technically, even a single film can be viewed as a franchise. But for the purposes of this discussion, I’m looking at those situations where there is either more than one film in the franchise (e.g., Rocky), or where there’s one film but a pre-existing character and story from other media (e.g., The Phantom). (I’ll note that those examples were chosen specifically because I am unaware of any reboots in the making for either… and in the case of Rocky, I hope there never will be. But more on that later.) I’ll also note that I’m not really counting cases like Robin Hood and King Arthur, where there are dozens of films on the same characters, but they aren’t really connected as such.
Rebooting a franchise has a certain logic to it. It’s a known money-maker, or at least is strongly hoped to be. But for one reason or another simply continuing the series as it stands is untenable. So, assuming Hollywood wants to reboot a franchise, what are the things to consider? Continue reading →
On Wednesday, I talked about the roadblocks that will slow down the adoption of digital delivery for movies and replacing DVDs and Blu-Ray. But that shouldn’t be taken to mean that the internet is all bad for film. Far from it, in fact.
Even aside from giving movie bloggers like myself an outlet to talk your ears off, the internet is unquestionably a boon to people who go to the movies for entertainment. Online ticket purchasing can cut down time in lines, and even if one prefers to hand one’s money over to the cashier directly, just the ability to look up the showtimes for every film all week is a big help. But even if we just keep the discussion to digital content delivery, as with the previous article, the internet has the potential to usher in, if not a new golden age, at least one of shiny bronze. Continue reading →
According to futurists and technophiles, one day all our entertainment will be delivered digitally. Physical media will cease to exist as a concept, saving us all space. To hear some tell it, this day is fast approaching, or even has already come. The first e-reader debuted in 1992, and today, just a mere two decades later, they’ve made such inroads that a poorly-managed chain of bookstores can go out of business. Sarcasm aside, there’s a definite trend toward the digital in today’s media. While it may have taken e-books a few tries, they do seem to finally be gaining traction. Music is transforming even more quickly, as the MP3 player made digital transfers the relative norm. And now the studios and distributors are trying to push digital delivery for movies.
To a certain extent, it makes sense. After all, DVDs and Blu-Ray, just like CDs, are essentially just physical delivery devices for digital content anyway. Why not just distribute the movie digitally? The data is the same regardless, why mess with the plastic? The day when all our movie collections exist only as an abstract collection of ones and zeroes is probably bound to happen eventually. I’m a web developer by trade, and many of my peers are avid technophiles; I, however, tend to be something of a Luddite by comparison. I’m seldom an early adopter of new technology. In my eyes, “obsolete” isn’t an appropriate term just because there’s something newer; that something newer has to be superior in every meaningful way. The floppy drive wasn’t obsolete when the CD drive came out; it was obsolete only once the CD burner was out and was as cheap to purchase and use.
The day when digital delivery renders DVDs and Blu-Ray obsolete is not yet here. Continue reading →