| March 6, 2022
This will be brief.
Episode 3 is “The Brady Bunch” Birth episode. I see a lot of the “Easter egg” conversations online. Fascinating, but not my thing. Twins. The looming threat of Mephisto continues. Agnes is still hanging around, talking about her evil husband, Ralph. The little girl from Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) is all grown up and knows stuff. Once again, as in all three films, Wanda stops reality from coming into her manifested sitcom world.
I keep reading writers talking about how the show isn’t going fast enough. I don’t get that. It seems like anticipatory criticism, engaging one’s expectations before engaging the work itself. As always, this doesn’t mean that I expect an agreed-upon response, thumbs up or down. But when a show is using specific, detailed sitcom history as part of telling a tale that is clearly not a sitcom, the question is, “Why?” not “Why isn’t the sitcom funnier?” This is not unlike looking at Bridgerton and questioning the literal truth of racial history, as opposed to investigating the intention of making that choice. Or as someone once said to me, “Give them their fucking premise!”
What fascinates is the end of the episode, when Ms. Rambeau is expelled from Wanda’s vision by Wanda and we can see the military base and off to the right, the electronically created sets for WandaVision zapping along. We are getting closer to that mystery being exposed.
Also… the way Disney+ is managing the show for press. I’m on the list to get all the episodes, but I am not the NY Times. So I don’t know if there are variation in this… but so far, we were given the first three episodes… but there was only a 48-hour screening window, just before the public release. Episode 3 was put back on the press site at the same time it was released on Disney+. In fact, the first and only early look at the show noted, “Screeners will be available after the episode premieres on Disney+.”
Studios release content to press in a million different ways. But this seems unusual. For a show that has an online feeding frenzy, I was (happily) surprised that there was little writing about Episode 3 before it arrived. There was no embargo on reviewing Episode 3 in initial pieces… but I didn’t find anyone screaming, “Twins!” before last Friday.
The question, really, is whether Disney is protecting spoilers by keeping critics from writing early or is it is a philosophy about how to roll out content in 2021 or if this is specific to the early episodes of this limited series?
Amidst the endless conversation about how films/TV will be delivered, there is the question of how it will be marketed. Controlling the flow of the conversation is a big part of this, for sure. This is one of the most interesting elements of WandaVision in television history, if not Marvel history.
| March 6, 2022
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May 1, 2022
"Netflix, the great disrupter whose algorithms and direct-to-consumer platform have forced powerful media incumbents to rethink their economic models, now seems to need a big strategy change itself. It got me thinking about the simple idea that my film and TV production company Blumhouse is built on: If you give artists a lot of creative freedom and a little money upfront but a big stake in the movie’s or TV show’s commercial success, more often than not the result will be both commercial (the filmmakers are incentivized to make films that will resonate with audiences) and artistically interesting (creative freedom!). This approach has yielded movies as varied as Get Out (made for $4.5 million, with worldwide box office receipts of more than $250 million), Whiplash (made for $3.3 million, winner of three Academy Awards), The Invisible Man (made for $7 million, earned more than $140 million) and Paranormal Activity (made for $15,000, grossed more than $190 million).From the beginning, the most important strategy I used to persuade artists to work with me was to make radically transparent deals: We usually paid the artists (“participants” in Hollywood lingo) the absolute minimum allowable by union contracts upfront, with the promise of healthy bonuses based on actual box office results—instead of the opaque 'percentage points' that artists are usually offered. Anyone can see box office results immediately, so creators don’t quarrel with the payouts. In fact, when it comes time for an artist to collect a bonus based on box office receipts, I email a video clip of myself dropping the check off at FedEx to the recipient."
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