Assemblog: May 17, 2013

Published on May 17th, 2013 in: Assemblog, Feminism, Film Festivals, Horror, Movies, Trailers, TV |

James Spader, from NBC’s The Blacklist

New this week on Popshifter: Chelsea thinks Xenia Rubinos’s Magic Trix is a “thrilling listen”; Metal Mayhem continues with Jeff’s take on Dangerous Toys and Judas Priest; Jeff also says that Big Country’s The Journey is the best new album he’s heard this year; Melissa B. parties traditional style with the new album from Kermit Ruffins and gets transported to the past with the reissue of Marty Robbins’s El Paso City and Adios Amigo; I recommend both the glam psychedelia of Burnt Ones’ You’ll Never Walk Alone and the party music of Dead Ghosts’ Can’t Get No, and revisit 2002’s excellent, unsettling One Hour Photo, recently released on Blu-Ray.

Last week was slim on news items for the Assemblog; this week, I’m a bit overwhelmed. So let’s get started.

First, on the continuing discussion of the future of streaming, Film School Rejects’ Landon Palmer has an intriguing take on Netflix vs. Warner Archive Streaming that frames the discussion on a way I hadn’t yet considered. He talks about vertical integration vis-à-vis the “the landmark 1948 Supreme Court decision in response to the antitrust case US v. Paramount Pictures.” I could see where this article was going and sure enough, Palmer cleverly recasts the heart of that legal issue a few paragraphs into his piece:

In effect, this framework for digital exhibition turns 21st century moviegoers into pre-1948 theater owners subject to practices of block-booking—if you’d like to watch a dozen or so titles available exclusively through the Warner Archive Instant, then you’ll have to take all their other titles as well.

It’s definitely something to think about, and to get the full impact, you should read the entire article. However, and not to sound like a broken record, I disagree with the idea that “one’s choice of films doesn’t depend nearly as much on where one lives” since, you know, Canada. Where are the film bloggers wondering how these changes will or won’t impact those of us in the other part of North America? Surely I can’t be the only one.

Yes, the Kickstarter conversation, um, whining, continues. And so people keep writing articles explaining why everyone needs to calm down. Scott Beggs at Film School Rejects summarizes his stance as follows:

After all the hand-wringing and pearl clutching and doomsdaying about celebrities utilizing Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site is reporting that both the Veronica Mars movie and Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here helped raise $400,000 for 2,200 other projects.

Indiewire has another perspective on the issue: the idea of film as an art form, not just popular entertainment and explains how, “the crowd-funding/Kickstarter movement in general is changing the fundamental paradigm of film financing from ‘investing’ in films to ‘donating’ to them.”

Don’t forget about the crowdfunding project from À l’intérieur writers/directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, for their upcoming film Among The Living.

The Mary Sue discusses the results of a report from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and states that “less than 30% of speaking roles in blockbuster films last year went to women.” Already sensing pushback from men, many of whom probably troll sites like The Mary Sue because they’re still pissed off about Anita Sarkeesian, opens the article with the following:

And before you think, “Well, sure, that’s less than half of what would really be ideal representation, but maybe it’s a sign of progress,” this is the lowest level of gender equity in roles in five years.

Even though the very first comment from “arealscruffy” states, “When half of the human race is dramatically underrepresented in the entertainment industry, there is a problem whether or not you want to acknowledge it,” naturally, the trolls come out to vent their spleens. The worst offender gets multiple explanations of how he’s ignorant, however.

I wasn’t totally thrilled with the final episode of Lost, but I’m not going to start using the #BlameLindelof hashtag on Twitter anytime soon. How do people have the time to go to every article that quotes or discusses Damon Lindelof and then trash him in the comments? Seriously? Do they realize that there are REAL problems in the entertainment industry, not to mention the world in general? At any rate, I’m a Lindelof fan, so I’m posting a link to this great interview with him from The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s been a while since we heard about The Equalizer, which has gone through a few directors in its march towards production. Antoine Fuqua has signed on to direct Denzel Washington in the titular role. Now Chloë Grace Moretz has been added to the cast. /Film remarks that Moretz will play a young prostitute who has a dynamic with Denzel Washington similar to the one between Jodie Foster and Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. Sounds amazing and I can’t wait to see this.

Here’s an intriguing film festival showcase that I’d be interested in attending. The Dark Side is a one-night-only event that will feature several short films by Brooklyn-based indie filmmakers and an industry panel hosted by Tony Timpone from Fangoria. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16. For details on the films and the location of the event, check out the Fangoria article.

In March I talked about horror film Under The Bed and linked to the French-language trailer. Now there’s one in English and it looks great. Check it out (H/T to Fangoria):

I’ll confess that since I cancelled my cable subscription, I haven’t kept up with Community or Parks and Recreation. I realize they’re available online, but I frequently forget to the check the City website on Fridays. I can’t speak as to the quality of either season, but I am aware that both shows have been renewed for the 2013 season. I’ll have to weigh in on my thoughts on both once I’ve had a chance to catch up.

However, there are two shows coming up on NBC that seem interesting. The first is Dracula, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. It finally has a trailer.

Thoughts: Despite the late 19th century setting, it still looks very modern. I’m not sure why Rhys Myers has an American accent and the Jonathan Harker character has an English one. Still, I’m intrigued.

Another NBC show that I probably wouldn’t have been interested in were it not for the actor in the starring role is The Blacklist, with James Spader.

Everyone’s commenting on Spader’s shaved head, but let’s face it: he’s going bald and probably sick of dealing with it. It’s odd that the trailer is over four minutes in length and gives away a lot of plot, but it’s hard to complain when we get over four minutes of Spader being creepy and smarmy. I definitely will be checking this one out.

We still don’t know the fate of NBC’s excellent Hannibal, which, if you aren’t yet watching, why the hell not? It has superlative writing, acting, production design, all of which combine to create a show that’s far surpassed the quality and enjoyment factor of The Silence of the Lambs. Show creator/writer/director Bryan Fuller says he won’t know if it’s been renewed for another week. Stay tuned.

—Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor

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