New this week on Popshifter: I assemble my favorite reviews from Fantastic Fest 2012, reveal the full lineup for Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2012, and review two new worthwhile Blu-Ray releases: The Tall Man and Chained; Emily calls John Cale’s oddly-titled Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood “recommended listening;” Chelsea says the songs on Dark Dark Dark’s Who Needs Who are “catchy and insightful;” Michelle has conflicted thoughts on The Minus Times Collected; Ricky Lima poses questions to Artistic Director David Dacks about the upcoming X Avant New Music Festival; and Elizabeth brings us her latest installment on Linear TV.
Hollywood Reporter posted an article about the extremely intriguing new service called MoviePass. It’s an all-you-can-watch movie service that was initially launched in San Francisco last year, but ran afoul of AMC because of misinformation that was included in an article. All you can watch? This strikes me as remarkable, a sure sign that someone, somewhere is paying attention to the models established by Netflix, Zip, and other DVD and streaming video services. Stacy Spikes, the CEO and co-founder says:
“In our beta trial, we saw an increase in theater-going by 64 percent and increases in concessions by 123 percent. We found that because they weren’t coming on out-of pocket cash each visit, they tended to almost always purchase concessions. So we feel it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Since concessions are essentially pure profit for theaters, I can’t imagine this being a bad thing. A few comments about the service on an article in /Film seem less than enthused, pointing out that the pass only covers “the average price of a ticket” and not the full price and that you can’t reserve seats ahead of time so movies on weekends are not an option. There are also concerns raised about how the service is connected to an iOS smartphone app and how that is limiting.
Yet those in other countries where similar services exist seem thoroughly pleased with the idea. As for me, I think this is amazing. Even 80 – 90% of a ticket price is better than nothing and not everyone goes to see movies on Friday and Saturday nights, when they are most crowded and most likely to be jam-packed with texting, annoying teenagers. (Insert “get off my lawn” comment here.) These complaining commenters are annoying. How are these kinds of services going to thrive if people refuse to use them because they aren’t perfect? It’s still a beta test. Obviously the perks could improve with a larger subscription base, so we have to start somewhere.
Cole Abaius from Film School Rejects has a hilarious piece on the virtual throw down between Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir and Bad Ass Digest’s Devin Faraci about whether or not film culture is dead. An excerpt:
Boiled down, their theses might look something like this:
- O’Hehir: Movies have lost their position in the populist cultural conversation due to quality television and the internet as partially evidenced by the way the New York Film Festival’s line-up and importance have shifted (and diminished from a classic perspective).
- Faraci: Movie culture is alive and thriving, but it belongs now to people who don’t own monocles and who attend Fantastic Fest because movie enthusiasm is changing and the internet has democratized everything. Also, “mise en scene.”
What’s interesting about this is that Abaius doesn’t pit the two against each other like Old Guard vs.Young Turks, but points out that even those who consider themselves rebellious punks can be snobs, too.
Indiewire’s Matt Singer has something to say on this topic, too. It’s actually a better article on the topic than Abaius’s as it comes across like less of a personal attack and more of an analysis of how this is a rhetorical question that comes up constantly and is essentially pointless. Singer includes other recent, similarly themed articles from David Denby and David Thomson in his piece.
Denby’s article in particular makes O’Hehir’s look avant garde by comparison, especially when he pulls the typical “old movies good” and “superhero movies bad” argument and acts like Terence Malick is the only filmmaker doing anything of importance. No women and few people of color are mentioned as doing anything of importance in his world, a sentiment that makes sense after reading this part of the article:
“These observations annoy many people, including some of the smartest people I know, particularly men in their late forties and younger, who have grown up with pop culture dominated by the conglomerates and don’t know anything else.”
I’ll be honest, I skimmed through the Thomson article Singer mentioned because it used the absence of new movies on that recent Sight & Sound list as proof that movies are dying and then went on to rant about movies that are 70 years old and Paul Thomas Anderson, and frankly I got bored.
Seeing as none of these folks found it necessary to mention how amazing genre films are, I will. Elijah Wood is apparently a big horror fan. I didn’t know this! Besides his recent turn in the Maniac remake, he’s formed a production company called The Woodshed to make genre films. Huzzah! You can read all the details here, but when I saw these two names listed as being involved I got super excited: Panos Cosmatos (Beyond The Black Rainbow) and E. Elias Merhige (Shadow of the Vampire).
Entertainment One has snagged Brian De Palma’s latest film Passion for distribution in North America. You know, the one with Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams that screened at TIFF. Excellent news.
Fear.net has alerted me to L.A’s Cinefamily Halloween and horror celebration this month and the list of films is pretty impressive. It’s presented in conjunction with the aforementioned Woodshed and is “a 30-day midnight video nasty watch-a-thon to commemorate the 30 year anniversary of the video nasty uproar in the U.K.”
I had to laugh when I saw Xtro listed. I don’t know what was considered offensive about it, except maybe for the fact that it’s offensively awful. Do not let the screencap above fool you. This is a terrible movie. If you’ve seen it, you know. Also: MOOSE KNUCKLES.
Finally (because I’ve gone on way too long this week), Film School Rejects is also celebrating Halloween, with a “31 Days Of Horror” series that discusses a new movie every day! Check it out for suggestions for your own viewing parties.
—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor