New this week on Popshifter: Danny is not very fond of the film 360, out now on home video; Chelsea is over the moon about the new Big Dipper album, Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet (and shares their new video for “Robert Pollard”); Lisa voices unpopular opinions about It’s A Wonderful Life; Cait raves about the new white vinyl 7″ from Concrete Blonde; I express admiration and frustration for Take This Waltz; and Elizabeth talks about Community, Disney, Netflix & Verizon in a new installment of “TV Is Dead, Long Live TV.”
Canadian Netflix subscribers have something to brag about now. Lionsgate has arranged a deal with Alliance Films so that The Hunger Games will stream on Netflix Canada starting December 31, before Netflix’s US subscribers will have access. So Canadians, even though our Internet freedom squirms beneath the iron fists of monopolies, ridiculously high monthly fees, and embarrassingly low bandwidth caps, there is some reason to rejoice.
There may actually be a new My Bloody Valentine album next year! Is it clichéd of me to love this band’s two albums so much? Too bad. Sadly, MBV will not be playing near me on their upcoming tour but no doubt any shows in Toronto would sell out instantaneously. Thank you to Bloody Disgusting for this news. To read an interview with band member Debbie Googe on the upcoming tour, album, and her tenure in Primal Scream, check out this piece from Drowned In Sound.
If you’ve been following the Oscar season, filmmaker roundtable discussions on The Hollywood Reporter, one thing is quite clear: there are no women filmmakers included. Film School Rejects’ Daniel Walber takes the news organization to task for this embarrassing and outrageous omission. Naturally, the very first comment on the article is the typical kind of derailing that makes articles like this necessary in the first place. Rather than sum it up, you should just read the whole thing.
As far as female filmmakers, one who definitely wouldn’t get invited to a Hollywood roundtable is Jennifer Lynch. I had some Twitter conversations a few weeks ago with folks calling her “incompetent” (scare quotes used because what the fuck) and it made me sad. Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Boxing Helena and no, I haven’t seen Surveillance, but Chained was damned fine filmmaking (read my review here).
Lynch’s Bollywood thriller Hisss was a movie that I first started hearing about several years back and which almost vanished from discussion entirely because it was supposed to be so awful. According to Lynch, if Hisss was crap, it wasn’t her fault because the filmmaking reins were completely yanked from her hands. The development of this disaster is covered in a documentary called Despite The Gods. The Hollywood Reporter has a good review of this doc which I have yet to see, but is on my list to watch.
In case you didn’t know, Ms. Lynch is the daughter of David Lynch with whom there is a short interview in The Hollywood Reporter. Get this; Lynch actually praises digital over film and to be honest, I think his reasons are sound: the democratization of filmmaking. Granted, from a technical or visual perspective, there are advocates on both sides of the film vs. digital debate. One wonders, however, how much of this animosity towards digital (much of which is being voiced by wealthy white guys) comes from a position of unchecked privilege. Read the whole thing here.
One meme that keeps circulating on the Internet this week is the poor box office performance of Brad Pitt’s newest film, Killing Them Softly, particularly the fact that it received an F from Cinemascore. I will admit that I had neither heard of or given any consideration to Cinemascore before this week (much as I also do not care about the Rotten Tomatoes rating of films). If I want to see a movie, I will see it even if critics I respect have reviewed it negatively. That’s the thing, though. Cinemascore is even more bare bones than Rotten Tomatoes because it polls “movie audiences on opening night for their reaction to the latest major movie releases” and asks them to grad films on a scale of A through F.
Pajiba’s Dustin Rowles points out that Killing Them Softly made $7 million this last weekend, which is roughly half of its budget, and that it’s likely to recoup that money. However, all anyone takes away from the Cinemascore conversation is AUDIENCES HATED KILLING THEM SOFTLY. Pajiba also lists which eight films have received an F from Cinemascore, a service that has been around for 34 years. It’s not as cut and dry as mainstream vs. arty/indie/unusual either, if you look at which recently released film received highest and lowest scores. I’d also like to point out that the obsession with box office returns being the measure of a movie’s quality is also problematic, but that’s probably a discussion best served by a longer article.
As someone who only recently saw (and loved) Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, I’m genuinely pleased by the news that not only is it set to become a stage play but that Paul Williams is writing the score. Fans of Phantom of the Paradise rejoice! It’s an exceedingly dark and heartbreaking movie, so it will be interesting to see how it translates to the stage. (H/T to Bloody Disgusting.)
—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor