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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

The Assassination of Caryn James By The Cowardly Sub-Editor



Who knew that the New York Times would let lazy surmise and reinforcement of lazy cliche rule the roost? Doing her best impersonation of a pigeon in the park flying overhead, Caryn James starts her year-end characterization of the movie world like this: “Who knew that Ben Affleck could direct and Josh Brolin could act? Or that Casey Affleck could act and Johnny Depp could (sort of) sing? Even as the entertainment world splinters into ever-smaller niches, 2007 was a year when stars broke free of their confining boxes, when the most appealing work often came out of nowhere, while big names landed with giant thuds. Mr. Brolin burst out of a niche you could kindly call small time. Hardly anyone — except the Coen brothers — took him seriously before his crafty portrayal of a not-too-smart but not-too-stupid guy who stumbles across millions in drug money in their magisterial “No Country for Old Men.” Add Mr. Brolin’s dynamic performance as a sinister cop in “American Gangster,” and it’s clear that his strong screen presence is no fluke, that he won’t have “James Brolin’s son” or “Barbra Streisand’s stepson” trailing after his name anymore. Ben Affleck’s career had become a tired “Gigli” joke, and his first film as director had the trappings of a vanity project. He shot it in his hometown and even cast his kid brother, Casey, in the lead. But the joke was on the skeptics. “Gone Baby Gone,” about a child who goes missing in Boston, turned out be a sharply made, psychologically astute thriller.” To use Doris Lessing’s memorable neologism, James is sounding an awful lot like an unemployed, unemployable “blugger.” Further insult is added to Casey Affleck’s performance (and family) in a few words about The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford; it’s just too painful to go on.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch