Old MCN Blogs

Film Fatale

DOOMSDAY: Neil Marshall Interview

Marshall’s action-movie fandom shows up in spades in the movie’s climactic chase, a ten-minute free for all that owes as much to Roadrunner cartoons as it does to Mad Max. (Though the writer-director admits that he “annoyed” his music composer by using John Carpenter’s film music as a temporary score, he had only one track in mind for the movie’s finale: Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “War.”)

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TERMINATOR Time Loops

I’m not the only one who’s bewildered by the criss crossing time lines (loops?) of THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES and the first two TERMINATOR movies. (I guess we’re supposed to put T3 out of our minds, as though it didn’t happen. But it did: I saw it.) Todd Seavey leaps into the the whole time…

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What '24' Would Have Looked Like in '94

If Fox runs out of episodes of 24, the network can run this top secret, never before seen pilot: what the deadly game of spies vs. terrorists would have looked like in 1994. Produced by College Humor (Thanks to Andrew Hearst of Panopticist for the link)

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Quoted

We are big. It’s the Advertising that got small.

“With 100 million daily readers, newspapers are a tremendous scoring opportunity” – A group called the “Newspaper Project” making the case that news on the printed page is not on the verge of extinction.

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I will find you. And I will Kill You.

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people…

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Reeler

Coming Soon: The Reeler Wanders Off On Its Own

Dear readers, When I started The Reeler in June 2005, my primary goal was to establish a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about New York City cinema. If you are even a casual reader of this site, you will know that I have a ways to go before achieving that not-quite-modest aim….

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Mad at 'Marie,' Jumping for 'Joy': Film Blog Comment Chaos

For reasons I shall disclose to you sooner or later, this is going to be a short day for me. In the meantime, I’d like to refer you over to a pair of interesting discussions that should unfold on the blogosphere for a while to come: –Over at Hollywood Elsewhere, editor Jeffrey Wells has once…

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"Dream Job," "Arts Reporting" Unironically Paired At Hunter College Panel

OK, so maybe this has something to do with the Reeler Karma I was talking about last week, or maybe, again, it is just the the rich getting richer: Lewis Beale, whose essay last month on cinema’s Jewish babe renaissance is the most popular post ever published on this site, is slated to take part…

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Shrinking Film Critic

Seinfeld's doc-diss

The doc-maker who disses Seinfeld back has a point, but it’s not the one he thinks it is …

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Eddie Murphy wuz robbed

I mean, I’ve always loved Alan Arkin, but his performance in Little Miss Sunshine was pretty much what we’ve come to expect of him, his patented, deadpan codger. Whereas Murphy tried something wholly new in his career, and it was quite sensational, not only for being unexpected. Meanwhile, Peter O’Toole’s badly lifted face seemed to…

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Monday-morning quarterbacking on Oscars

I especially enjoyed when Pilobolus formed itself into Ellen DeGeneres’ crimson velour tracksuit. Other trenchant observations: Helen Mirren is sexier at any age than any woman with a facelift. Jack Nicholson is starting to look like Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. The actresses all seemed to have strangely symmetrical, erect nipples. Big attempt to make…

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Old MCN Blogs

Quote Unquotesee all »

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin