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September 2, 2018

‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ Review: Melissa McCarthy Gives Her Best Performance as a Forger Who Dreams of Fame — Telluride

Melissa McCarthy has shown the potential for a role that deepens her screen presence for some time, but her brash, rambunctious performances have been restricted to broad comedies that usually fall short of exploring what such a character might be like under more realistic circumstances. At long last, she’s landed the right opportunity with “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, director Marielle Heller’s charming melancholic comedy about real-life writer-turned-criminal Lee Israel, who forged some 400 letters by dead celebrities and pawned them off until the FBI caught up with her scheme. A lonely, infuriated New York woman prone to turn her luck around no matter the cost, Israel provides the ideal template for McCarthy to project her talents onto a more sophisticated plane, and — complemented by a top-notch Richard E. Grant as Israel’s partner-in-crime — she rises to the occasion.

The movie opens in 1991, as the hard-drinking Israel gets fired from her day job and struggles to make rent at her dilapidated uptown apartment. Once a celebrated magazine journalist, she found some success writing biographies years ago, but her penchant for non-commercial subjects led to an interminable dry spell. Her latest pitch to tackle the life of Fanny Brice invites more than one blank stare. “We may disagree on what we consider fascinating,” her frustrated agent (Jane Curtin) says, when Israel storms her office to complain about Tom Clancy’s multimillion-dollar paycheck. “Oh, to be a white man who doesn’t even know he’s full of crap,” she sighs.

Israel wants her work to succeed on its own merits; she doesn’t believe in selling out, but needs an outlet for her talents that pays the bills. Her cat’s sick, her benevolent landlord’s losing his patience, and she can barely afford a decent meal. Salvation arrives from an unexpected direction: After fooling around with her typewriter one night, she discovers that she can easily forge letters by Dorothy Parker, Noel Coward, and others, selling them off for hundreds of dollars apiece. Suddenly, a daring new creative outlet materializes that sends her careening down a dangerous career path.

The movie takes its time allowing this scheme to take shape, building out Israel’s solitary existence to ground her actions in a credible place. The screenplay, written by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty from Israel’s memoir of the same name, shows the hallmarks of the funny-sad balance that distinguishes so many of Holofcener’s female-centric character studies. Israel certainly makes for an emotionally rich centerpiece, a 51-year-old gay single woman who would rather drink at home and pet her cat than let any new people into her life. The screenplay drops hints of one old relationship that went sour for that exact reason, setting up the arrival of her ideal wingman: At a grimy bar, she’s approached by Jack Hock (Grant, note-perfect), a catty raconteur and philandering street urchin who shares her alcoholism.

As the pair launch a friendship steeped in late-night bar sessions, she confides in him about her scheme, and for a time they’ve launched a foolproof operation. Heller, stepping up with a slick, inviting narrative after her audacious coming-of-age debut “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” presents the initial stages of the scheme with the ebullience of a heist movie. It’s so much fun to watch Israel get away with things that her immoral obsession becomes infectious.

As the movie tracks Heller through every step of her scheme, the story rolls along with a smooth jazz score and Brandon Trost’s bountiful New York City imagery, as Heller channels the dark urban milieu of vintage Woody Allen. Despite the audacious nature of Israel’s scheme and the eventual intrusion of the FBI, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” maintains an intimacy with Israel’s story and keeps the cast to a minimum. While her rambunctious chemistry with Grant dominates some of the best scenes, Israel also develops intriguing relationships with the various literary dealers she swindles, including a seedy blackmailer (McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone), and would-be writer Anna (Dolly Wells), a good-natured woman whose interest in Israel opens up the possibility that she hasn’t lost the chance for longterm companionship for good.

Of course, Israel’s self-destructive path eventually catches up with her, and Heller arrives at this predictable outcome with a satisfying emotional payoff. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” sticks to its contained story throughout, rarely going to surprising places, and probably doesn’t benefit from expectations of daring storytelling on par with its protagonist’s big gamble. However, McCarthy elevates the material at every opportunity, and whenever the camera lingers on her expressions, she’s a study in contradictions — tough and tender all at once, unsure which side of that spectrum to unleash. It’s dizzying to watch her world fall apart as she scrambles to hold the scraps together. She keeps searching for an outlet in all the wrong places, suffering through the sting of realization that she’s screwed up all over again, and you can’t help but root for her to succeed again.

Arriving on the calendar just weeks after the embarrassment of her misguided muppet farce “The Happytime Murders,” McCarthy gives her best performance just in time. One could argue that her Oscar-nominated turn in “Bridesmaids” had an unparalleled vulgarity that bordered on iconic, and the intriguing crime-gone-wrong dramedy “Tammy” (which McCarthy and Falcone co-wrote) now looks like a dry run for the richer performance she gives here. The movie reaches the apex of its appeal in a closing monologue in which the forger celebrates her work before an unforgiving judge. Considering that she ultimately profited from telling the story of her exploits, it’s unclear if Israel’s penance was ever genuine. But McCarthy’s performance succeeds primarily because it leaves that tantalizing question open ended as the credits roll.

Grade: A-

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”  premiered at the 2018 Telluride Film Festival. Fox Searchlight releases it theatrically on October 19.

Source: IndieWire film

August 30, 2018

About that Email You Sent Over Labor Day Weekend…

We’re getting ready for fall, which is a really busy time for StoryCorps, with a planned upgrade of our email system.

While this happens, there will be a temporary disruption in delivery of emails to any address that ends in storycorps.org. This process will start Friday, August 31 at 7:00PM and continue through the weekend. Chances are, if you send us an email during this time, you will receive a bounce back message or undeliverable message.

Here are three suggestions for how to deal:

  1. If you receive a message that your email was not delivered, please resend your email after Monday at 7:00AM.
  2. Save your email a few more days and be in touch when our offices open Tuesday, September 4. (All our locations are closed in observance of Labor Day.)
  3. Log a ticket in our Help Center; we’ll reply when we’re back in the office.

If your message is regarding a reservation this weekend, please leave us a message at (646) 723-7027.

 
In the meantime, please enjoy a StoryCorps classic that also happens to be an email love story:

Source: SNPR Story Corps

August 28, 2018

Why Dual Native ISO Should Be the New Industry Standard

What does “Dual Native ISO” mean, what does it do for your shots, and why would its acceptance in the film and video industries matter?<p>Every few …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

August 26, 2018

Could ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Hit $200 Million? After This Weekend, It’s Quite Possible

Conventional studio thinking doesn’t leave room for a contemporary film set in an entirely Asian milieu to reach even $100 million, and “Crazy Rich Asians” will pass that number sometime early next weekend. And with a tiny box-office drop of six percent in its second weekend, it could see a total domestic gross as high as $200 million. 

“Crazy Rich Asians”

The film opened on a Wednesday, so weekend-to-weekend comparisons aren’t the same as a normal Friday opener. But those numbers are nearly as good, a little more than nine percent down, and that’s phenomenal. It suggests a momentum that could mean that substantial gross remains ahead, and broadened interest that will come from publicity and word of mouth. (Of note: 73 percent of the audience was non-Asian this weekend.)

Next weekend will also see the benefit of a holiday release with Labor Day weekend. There’s not much competition, either; studios usually ignore it. Historically, those films doing well see a pickup for the four-day holiday, by at least 20 percent and often more. (Last year, the third weekend of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” climbed about 30 percent.) If “Crazy Rich Asians” sees a four-day gross of $30 million next weekend, after adding a likely $12 million during the precedent weekdays, it would stand at nearly $120 million.

That trajectory would place it ahead of “The Help,” 2011’s sleeper August smash. Tate Taylor’s film opened one week earlier in the month, so had a bit of an edge in better playtime. But it ended up (adjusted) at $198 million. “The Help” also opened on a Wednesday, and its second five days fell 26 percent. That was an excellent hold, and suggested a lengthy run ahead.

September is no longer a dead zone. “The Nun” (also Warner Bros.) has high expectations on September 7, though there will be plenty of room for both to thrive. But don’t be surprised to see “Crazy” in the top three films for at least a few weeks.

Courtesy of STX Entertainment

Until recently, Melissa McCarthy reigned as the biggest draw in comedy. She stars in and produces “The Happytime Murders,” which tries to combine a retro-Muppets film feel (director Brian Henson is the son of Jim) and a “Sausage Party” raunchy comedy feel. With a $10 million opening, it didn’t work. This is her worst wide opening since she rose to prominence around 2010.

Even worse is “A-X-L,” a family-oriented tale set in the world of robotic dogs; it couldn’t even manage $3 million in 1,710 theaters. Global Road, which was formed with seemingly solid backing and top industry veterans with its initial release earlier this year, has been taken over by investors. This won’t help their future. The company also canceled the upcoming “City of Lies” with Johnny Depp; this might be more a result of their financial standing than the quality of the film.

 

the meg

The Meg

Even so, this was a great box-office weekend of $100 million, up from $69 million this time last year. “The Meg” retained the #2 spot with a 38 percent drop. Another rare non-franchise studio release (though hardly original) is up to $105 million domestic, with $408 million so far worldwide. That’s with one major territory (Japan) yet to open, making $500 million in reach. That will push it into a decent profit, even with its $130 million budget (before marketing).

Already at $538 million worldwide, “Mission-Impossible: Fallout” (Paramount) — with China still to open — continues its very strong domestic run with only a 26 percent fifth weekend drop. After “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Incredibles 2,” it is only the third film this summer to be among the top four in its fifth weekend. It needs about $28 million to reach what “Rogue Nation” grossed (adjusted) three years ago.

“Christopher Robin,” helped by the dearth of family alternatives, dropped only 28 percent. It held in better than its mediocre opening, and already has exceed a three-time multiple over its opening. $100 million now seems not impossible.

“BlacKkKlansman” also continues to stay strong, dropping 28 percent. Spike Lee’s film has reached $32 million, with $50 million plausible, terrific for the $15-million budget film.

Last week’s two openers fell much more. Peter Berg’s Mark Wahlberg starring “Mile 22” dropped 56 percent and won’t reach $40 million, unexpectedly soft for what has been a strong partnership. “Alpha” kept its drop to 46 percent, but it won’t move much above $30 million.

The Top Ten

1. Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros.) Week 2 – Last weekend #1

$25,010,000 (-6%) in 3,526 theaters (+142); PTA (per theater average): $7,093; Cumulative: $76,818,000

2. The Meg (Warner Bros.) Week 3 – Last weekend #2

$13,030,000 (-38%) in 4,031 theaters (-87); PTA: $3,232; Cumulative: $105,301,000

3. The Happytime Murders (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: C-; Metacritic: 29; Est. budget: $40 million

$10,020,000 in 3,256 theaters; PTA: $3,077; Cumulative: $10,020,000

4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount) Week 5 – Last weekend #4

$8,000,000 (-26%) in 3,052 theaters (-430); PTA: $2,621; Cumulative: $193,901,000

5. Christopher Robin (Disney) Week 4 – Last weekend #6

$6,340,000 (-29%) in 3,394 theaters (-208); PTA: $1,868; Cumulative: $77,629,000

6. Mile 22 (STX) Week 2 – Last weekend #3

$6,030,000 (-56%) in 3,050 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,713; Cumulative: $25,171,000

7. Alpha (Sony) Week 2 – Last weekend #5

$5,600,000 (-46%) in 2,719 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,060; Cumulative: $20,161,000

8. BlacKkKlansman (Focus) Week 3 – Last weekend #7

$5,345,000 (-28%) in 1,914 theaters (+126); PTA: $2,793; Cumulative: $32,038,000

9. A-X-L (Global Road) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 34; Est. budget: $10 million

$2,939,000 in 1,710 theaters; PTA: $1,719; Cumulative: $2,939,000

10. Slender Man (Sony) Week 3 – Last weekend #8

$2,785,000 (-42%) in 2,065 theaters (-293); PTA: $1,349; Cumulative: $25,403,000

 

 

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Source: IndieWire film

August 26, 2018

John Cho’s ‘Searching’ Grabs Specialty Crowd as ‘Papillon’ and ‘Support the Girls’ Struggle

The dog days of summer are a dropping ground– just before the festival launch of many major award season entries –for weaker commercial entries that need room to breathe. Still, multiple new titles opened this weekend. One, Sundance grad “Searching” (Sony), looks set for wider interest ahead.

Remake “Papillon” (Bleecker Street) opened in 544 theaters, neither platform nor wide, but standard for general interest openers that still require special handling. Results were desultory, but without a lot of competition the grim period prison drama probably could have done no better, with a chance of some Labor Day holiday playtime ahead.

“The Wife” (Sony Pictures Classics) showed some real strength on its second weekend and should play well for the next few weeks. A standout run could help position Glenn Close for awards ahead of the glut of new contenders that will soon arrive.

Opening

Papillon (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 52; Festivals include: Toronto 2017

$1,151,000 in 544 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $2,115

This weakly-reviewed second version of the true island prison escape story stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek, while the first showcased Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen at their peak. Nearly a year after Red Granite’s $12-million foreign-sales title premiered at Toronto, it opened in sophisticated upscale theaters to modest results similar to two previous Bleecker Street releases, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and “Beirut.” Both films scored domestic totals between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000. This looks to end up in the same range.

What comes next: This will stay at about the same level next week.

John Cho appears in <i>Search</i> by Aneesh Chaganty, an official selection of the NEXT program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Juan Sebastian Baron. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Searching”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute, photo by Juan Sebastian Baron

Searching (Sony) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Sundance, San Francisco 2018

$360,000 in 9 theaters; PTA: $40,000

While “Crazy Rich Asians” boosts Asian-American actors, John Cho, a leading box-office success both in studio (“Star Trek”) and specialized films (“Columbus”) shines again in this missing child thriller. He stars as a dad who researches his beloved missing daughter’s computer and finds out who she really is. Sony opened this Sundance premiere in nine theaters as a platform release (rare outside of awards season) to a strong result. This should enhance its attention as it moves to a more conventional wide break.

What comes next: This expands to 1,100 theaters this Friday.

Support the Girls (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 86; Festivals include: South by Southwest, San Francisco 2018

$(est.) 51,000 in 34 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 1,500

Set in a Hooters-style venue and shot in Austin, Texas with a strong female ensemble led by well-reviewed Regina Hall, this drama opened in more than 20 cities in a mixture of specialized and African-American neighborhood theaters. The result was mediocre overall, despite rave reviews with major placement in top newspapers. This film might get more attention on other platforms ahead. It’s tricky to grab initial specialized attention with characters who are outside the daily lives of most specialized audiences.

What comes next: The reviews could give this some traction for expansion, but overall this ‘tweener looks like it will struggle to get a lot more national attention.

The Bookshop (Greenwich) – Metacritic: 62; Festivals include: Berlin 2018

$48,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: $12,000

Spanish director Isabel Coixet (“The Secret Life of Words”) has worked in several countries. This time she goes British, as a young woman opens a bookstore in a resistant conservative 1959 English coastal town. This could be an appealing subject for older audiences in the week ahead. With only modestly favorable reviews, its opening is strong enough to give it a foot in the market for interested moviegoers.

What comes next: This expands quickly to 65 theaters for the holiday weekend, so we’ll see soon how much appeal this could have.

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Oscilloscope) – Metacritic: 84; Festivals include: Berlin 2018

$8,060 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,060; Cumulative: $11,915

This documentary portrait of tennis champion (already the subject of the narrative film “Borg Vs. McEnroe” earlier this year) opened exclusively on Wednesday in New York to a decent initial five day gross.

What comes next: Timed to expand while the U.S. Open takes place, this expands to top markets next weekend.

“Crime + Punishment”

Crime + Punishment (Hulu) – Metacritic: 88; Festivals include: Sundance, Seattle 2018; also on Hulu

$(est.) 8,400 in 3 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 2,800; Cumulative: $(est.) 8,400

Parallel to its debut on Hulu, Stephen Maing’s acclaimed documentary opened in three theaters in order to cop some good reviews. Sure enough, its Metascore is slightly ahead of the three breakout documentaries this summer. The subject — eye-popping New York Police Department quota systems that unfairly target minorities — doesn’t lend itself to major theatrical audience response. But theater placement will get this more attention.

What comes next: Nearly all of its viewings will be on Hulu, but it’s eligible for Oscar consideration and could enter that conversation.

Andrei Roublev (Janus) (reissue)

$12,979 in 2 theaters; PTA: $6,490

Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal 1960s Russian film opened in New York along with only one show in Los Angeles (at the Aero) to a better-than-average result for a reissue.

What comes next: This will have limited engagements in top cities ahead.

The Wife - Production & Publicity Stills 10.11.16 sc 5 pt 1/2 - CASTLEMAN HOME- LIVING ROOMFriends and family are gathered at the housePRODUCTION OFFICESuite 6, 1st Floor, Alexander Stephen House, 91 Holmfauld Rd, Glasgow, G51 4RYTel: 0141 428 3776credit Graeme Hunter Pictures,Sunnybank Cottages. 117 Waterside Rd, Carmunnock, Glasgow. U.K. G76 9DU. t. 01416444564 m. 07811946280 e. graemehunter@mac.com"

“The Wife”

Graeme Hunter Pictures

Week Two

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics)

$217,382 in 18 theaters (+4); PTA: $12,077; Cumulative: $380,112

The second weekend for this family drama set at a Nobel Prize ceremony is grabbing major attention for Glenn Close. This initial expansion is one of the best performers for SPC since “Call Me By Your Name.” The grosses are better than “Paris Can Wait” at the same point. With not many appealing options for the older specialized crowd in the next few weeks, this drama looks primed for a performance ahead of “Paris.”

Blaze (IFC)

$51,286 in 7 theaters (+4); PTA: $7,326; Cumulative: $104,476

IFC’s unusual release of this Ethan Hawke-directed biopic about a little-known but influential Texas musician added more theaters in that state after its Austin debut. These are decent results for a regional release, which will see two more Texas theaters plus Nashville open this week before a wider national expansion the following week.

Juliet, Naked (Roadside Attractions)

$250,370 in 43 theaters (+39); PTA: $5,822; Cumulative: $344,602

This musical romantic comedy starring Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, and Chris O’Dowd got some sampling its second weekend as expanded quickly to major cities nationwide. The entertaining film could pull some crowds over the upcoming holiday weekend.

"We Are Animals"

“We Are Animals”

Cinereach

We the Animals (The Orchard)

$(est.) 44,000 in 11 theaters (+8); PTA: $(est.) 4,000; Cumulative: $(est.) $134,000

With elements of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Moonlight,” and “The Florida Project,” this critically-supported independent film set among disadvantaged young people expanded to top cities this weekend to modest results.

Memoir of War (Music Box) 2-18

$17,743 in 11 theaters (+9); PTA: $1,613; Cumulative: $35,682

This French World War II resistance drama expanded to several new theaters with a typical response these days for subtitled films.

Expanding/ongoing (grosses over $50,000)

Eighth Grade (A24) – Week 7

$440,000 in 366 theaters (-176); Cumulative: $12,480,000

As the season winds down, this acclaimed middle-school drama is A24’s third film (including “Hereditary” and a third of the gross for “Lady Bird”) to bring in over $10 million this year. It’s the best performer of the wider specialty films in release.

Puzzle (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 5

$372,433 in 265 theaters (+157); Cumulative: $1,210,000

More than doubling the theaters gave this drama about a suburban woman coming out of her shell by playing jigsaw puzzles wider exposure, but not much in the way of gross. This should top out despite a national release including crossover theaters no higher than $2 million.

Bobby Shafran, David Kellman and Eddy Galland appear in <i>Three Identical Strangers</i> by Time Wardle, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Newsday LLC. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Three Identical Strangers”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Three Identical Strangers (Neon) – Week 9

$310,000 in 221 theaters (-55); Cumulative: $11,137,000

This non-celebrity-focused documentary continues to add to its already impressive total. This is Neon’s second $10 million-plus grosser in its under 18 months of existence (“I, Tonya” grossed over $30 million). For context, A24, which became successful quickly, was in its third year when it achieved that.

Sorry to Bother You (Annapurna) – Week 8

$151,500 in 88 theaters (-55); Cumulative: $16,606,000

Boots Riley’s imaginative science-fiction comedy is firmly placed third among this year’s many Sundance successes in gross (behind “Hereditary” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”).

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (FilmRise) – Week 3

$120,000 in 85 theaters (+13); Cumulative: $618,730

This gay conversion drama continues it modest response as it expands to more cities.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus) – Week 12

$120,000 in 160 theaters (-46); Cumulative: $22,319,000

Mr. Rogers’ very busy neighborhood keeps adding to its population nearly three months after its release.

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal Blindspotting

“Blindspotting”

Photo by Ariel Nava/Lionsgate

Blindspotting (Lionsgate) – Week 6

$70,000 in 38 theaters (-9); Cumulative: $4,145,000

This Oakland-set independent film handled by Lionsgate’s partner Code Black has grossed more than all but four of this year’s Sundance non-documentary releases.

Also noted:

McQueen (Bleecker Street) – $49,235 in 51 theaters; Cumulative: $1,118,000

Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street) – $45,134 in 66 theaters; Cumulative: $5,800,000

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich)- $37,964 in 34 theaters; Cumulative: $338,254

Madeline’s Madeline (Oscilloscope) – $18,922 in theaters; Cumulative: $68,540

The Captain (Music Box) – $11,800 in 8 theaters; Cumulative: $83,235

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Source: IndieWire film

August 26, 2018

David Lynch Narrates ‘Curtain’s Up,’ a Short Film About Cinema, Ideas, and Meditation — Watch

David Lynch may never make another film — his most recent, “Inland Empire,” was released in 2006 — but at least he’s still narrating them. He’s done that with “Curtain’s Up,” which comes from Stella McCartney, Case Simmons, and his son Austin; like much of Lynch’s extracurricular work, the 10-minute short explores his thoughts on the creative process, among other things. Watch it here.

“Cinema is a language. It can say things, big abstract things, and I love that about it,” Lynch says as the short begins. “Some people are poets and have a beautiful way of saying things with words, but cinema is its own language and so you can express a feeling or a thought that can’t be conveyed any other way. It’s a magical medium.”

Lynch also ruminates on the ways in which painting inspired his love of film, how ideas are like fish, and his love of transcendental meditation (TM). “Maybe enlightenment is far away, but it’s said that when you walk toward the light, with every step, things get brighter,” he says. “Every day, for me, gets better and better, and I believe that enlivening unity in the world will bring peace on Earth. So I say, ‘peace to all of you.’”

Lynch most recently co-wrote and directed all 18 episodes of “Twin Peaks: The Return,” earning dual Emmy nods for doing so.

Source: IndieWire film

August 26, 2018

Three Million People Still Use Netflix to Rent DVDs, Presumably to Avoid Late Fees

You may have forgotten that Netflix still mails DVDs to people, but three million subscribers haven’t. That’s according to a new Variety report on the company’s state of affairs, which notes that, at $7.99 per month or higher, the streaming giant’s DVD plans bring in around $50 million per quarter.

That’s money that Netflix might not be making had its short-lived, ill-fated Qwikster spinoff actually panned out. If you’ve already forgotten about that poorly named venture, a reminder: Netflix was already growing tired of physical media back in 2011, and in an effort to hasten its transition toward a streaming-only platform announced its DVD offerings would now be under the guise of a new brand. (Making the whole thing even better was the company’s failure to secure the @Qwikster handle on Twitter, which belonged to a teenager who frequently tweeted about marijuana.)

Still, those three million subscribers are dwarfed by the approximately 130 million users currently signed up for Netflix’s streaming service. Speaking to Variety, CEO Ted Sarandos said that the company “never spent one minute trying to save the DVD business” and this was always the direction things were headed.

“Back then, [Reed Hastings] said that postage rates were going to keep going up and the internet was going to get twice as fast at half the price every 18 months. At some point those lines would cross, and it would become more cost-efficient to stream a movie rather than to mail a video. And that’s when we get in.”

Source: IndieWire film

August 26, 2018

Marvel Is Pushing for ‘Black Panther’ to Be Nominated for Best Picture, Not Best Popular Film

Reactions to the Academy’s announcement of a new Best Popular Film award have been mixed, which is a polite way of saying that most consider it a bad idea — especially in the year of “Black Panther,” the rare superhero movie to be as well received among critics as it is among audiences. According to a new Los Angeles Times report, Marvel Studios head Kevin Fiege has invested in a “significant awards season budget” for the first time, and doesn’t want to settle for the new award.

“Right now, I think [Academy CEO] Dawn Hudson would crawl in a hole if ‘Black Panther’ gets snubbed for best picture and winds up landing in the popular film category,” one anonymous Oscars consultant said to the Times. “The funny thing is that Dawn would be way more disappointed than anyone at Marvel.” Disney has hired Cynthia Swartz, a veteran Oscar strategist, to lead the film’s award campaign.

“I would like to see the hard work and the effort and the vision and the belief of the talented filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who sat across the table from us a few years ago and said, ‘I have been wrestling with questions about my past and my heritage and I think I really want to tell a story within this movie,’ ” Feige said. “And that he did it so unbelievably well and with so much impact…seeing that potentially being recognized is what excites me the most.”

Source: IndieWire film

August 24, 2018

A Guide to Drone Photography/Cinematography for Architecture

Drone photography has been one of the biggest advancements in aerial photography and cinematography. Drones began making a huge impact on filmmaking …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

August 19, 2018

Netflix Is Now Playing Ads for Its Original Series While People Are Binge-Watching

The day you all feared has finally arrived: Netflix is now playing ads for its original series in between episodes of other shows. After reddit users complained about the change, the streaming giant confirmed that some viewers will now be seeing brief trailers for the likes of “Insatiable” while binge-watching.

“We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster,” Netflix said in a statement to Ars Technica. “A couple of years ago, we introduced video previews to the TV experience, because we saw that it significantly cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster.”

A rep for the company stressed that this is being done on a trial basis so far, but the implication appears to be that more and more users will see ads if they prove successful in increasing viewership for Netflix’s original series and movies.

No word yet on how long this testing period will last or how many customers are actually seeing ads already, but initial reaction has been expectedly negative; whether that ultimately makes a difference remains to be seen.

Source: IndieWire film