Film Check

Film History, Opinions, and Industry Roundups

Month: June 2020 (Page 1 of 2)

Living Up to Expectations: Watching Classic Films for the First Time

      When I was studying to become an English major, I was taught many theories on how to analyze texts and films. One of these theories was “close reading” which required the reader to look at the text and nothing more. Close reading prohibited any outside information like events that happened when the book was published or even the life of the author. I primarily disliked close reading due to its exclusion of outside knowledge. I believe outside information can help improve one’s experience reading a book or watching a film. When I read The Bell Jar, my knowledge of Sylvia Plath granted me a unique perspective of the book. However, I was never afforded the opportunity to read The Bell Jar isolated. Maybe, if I read the book without knowing about Plath, I could have enjoyed it even more. My experience with The Bell Jar was similar to my experience watching classic films for the first time. I recently watched Casablanca, and, like The Bell Jar, I was never afforded the opportunity to experience it without any outside information. I knew that Casablanca was considered to be one of the greatest films of all time when I started to watch it. But did it live up to my expectation? Somewhat.

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Changing the website

Hello there. Sorry for the delay but there will be no articles publish this week. There is a lot of stuff I need to do, which leaves me no time to write and research this week. Furthermore, I am changing the flow of articles I write. I’ve been doing articles about the history of film, opinion pieces, and industry roundups once a week. However, the history of film articles requires a massive amount of time and research, so I may limit the number of historical articles I write. Furthermore, I will write more opinion pieces in order to replace the history articles. I really do enjoy writing about the history of film and I will definitely continue researching but the articles will just take longer than usual.

Industry Roundup Week of June 14

Industry Roundup

Top TV/Film on Netflix (As of June 18, 2020)

  1. 365 Dni
  2. 13 Reasons Why
  3. Iglesias
  4. Da 5 Blood
  5. Space Force
  6. Alexa & Katie
  7. Avatar: The Last Airbender
  8. F is for Family
  9. Pokémon Journey
  10. How to Get Away with Murder

Jeffrey Katzenberg is “optimistic” about Quibi’s future.

Despite not doing as well as expected, former chairmen of Disney, Jeffrey Katzenberg is “quite optimistic” about the future of his streaming service, called Quibi. Katzenberg said that since Quibi’s launch in early April, he and his company were able to examine what people like and didn’t like about the app. Katzenberg is confident that Quibi will be successful for the rest of the year. To read more, click here.

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The problem with modern day film criticism (and why I like Ebert)

         Saying that I love film is quite an understatement. After all, I created this blog just to talk about films. I also love the fact that other people are able to create their own film blog and share their thoughts about films too. Because of the online film community, I have been introduced to so many great films. However, while there are great film critics and communities out there, I do have a few problems with some modern-day film criticism. While I am not trying to paint a picture that all film reviewers and communities are bad, but I have noticed a rising trend in film criticism that I would like to address.

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“1888-1908”- The First Theater

          Thomas Edison created a film projector called the vitascope and sold them to many vaudeville theaters as an act.[1] For example, the vitascope played at the Keith’s Bijou Theatre in Philadelphia.[2] However, many times, theaters were not able to use the vitascope due to electrical problems.[3] Across the Atlantic, two French technicians, Auguste and Louis Lumiere were also selling a projector/camera called the cinématographe.[4] The cinématographe was hand-cranked, so it did not have the same electric problem as the vitascope.[5] As mentioned, Edison sold his vitascope to Keith’s Bijou Theater. That same theater later replaced its vitascope with the cinématographe two months later for a 19-week run.[6]

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Industry Roundup Week of June 7

Industry Roundup

Top TV/Film on Netflix (As of June 11, 2020)

  1. 13 Reasons Why
  2. 365 Dni
  3. Space Force
  4. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
  5. Queer Eye
  6. Fuller House
  7. Avatar: The Last Airbender
  8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  9. Queen of the South
  10. The Last Days of American Crime

SAG-AFTA agreed to a new deal with AMPTP.

SAG-AFTA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), one of the biggest unions in film, was able to reach an agreement with AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers), which represent major studios and broadcast networks. The current contract will expire on the last day of this month. The benefits gained by SAG-AFTA include increases in wages and an increase in residuals from streaming. To read more, click here

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Why Theaters Might Survive

       There have been a lot of discussions recently about the future of movie theaters. Questions surrounding the longevity of theaters have been asked mainly due to the rise of streaming services. Now, with AMC announcement of a net loss between $2.12 and $2.42 billion for this past quarter, the future seems quite bleak for theaters. While I am no expert on business, I do believe that theaters will survive.

        First of all, Hollywood, especially directors, won’t let theaters go under. When Kodak went under, directors like JJ. Abrams and Christopher Nolan convinced Hollywood studios to help bail out Kodak. Furthermore, many directors like Nolan and Steven Spielberg believe in classic Hollywood techniques and traditions. This means shooting movies on celluloid and making films specifically for the big screen. These directors would never think about making a film that would skip the theater and go straight to streaming. Spielberg even said that “I want to see the survival of movie theaters. I want the theatrical experience to remain relevant in our culture.” Lastly, with the overturning of the paramount decree which prevented studios from owning theaters, many theaters can now be bought by studios.

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Kinetoscope parlor. Photo Courtesy from the American Society of Cinematographers.

“1888-1909”- The Kinetoscope

          Thomas Edison and his employee, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, were credited for making many new inventions in filmmaking during this era. They created both the kinetoscope and the kinetograph. The kinetoscope was a four-foot-high box that played film reels on a loop.[1] The viewers paid a nickel to watch a film through the box’s lens peephole. [2] The kinetograph was the first film camera, which used 35mm film. Both Edison and Dickinson created many films, using the kinetograph, at Edison’s studio in West Orange, New Jersey. [3]  These films include Dickson Greeting, Men Boxing, Duncan Smoking, and many other shorts.[4] However, the films were only shown at exclusive events. For example, Dickinson Greeting, which was filmed in 1891, was only shown to members of The Women’s Club of America.[5]

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Industry Roundup Week of May 31

Top TV/Film on Netflix (As of June 4, 2020)

  1. Space Force
  2. Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
  3. Fuller House
  4. Sweet Magnolias
  5. Avatar: The Last Airbender
  6. The Help
  7. The Healer
  8. Clueless
  9. Uncut Gems
  10. Riverdale

AMC said that it has “substantial doubt” that it will survive after the economy reopens.

During an announcement to its shareholders, AMC said that they have “substantial doubt… about [their] ability to continue.” Furthermore, they announced a net loss between $2.12 and $2.42 billion for their first quarter. To read more, click here

List of films premiering at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival revealed.

The Cannes Film Festival was originally supposed to take place between May 12-23 but was pushed back due to COVID-19. However, the festival finally announced what films are set to premiere this year. Some of the films include the newest Wes Anderson’s film “The French Dispatch”, Pixar’s “Souls” and Studio Ghilbi’s “Aya To Major (Earwig and the Witch).” To read more, click here

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HBO Max and why it poses a threat

          Nowadays, it seems like streaming services are appearing everywhere. Disney released its service late last year and NBC is planning to release its service, called Peacock, this July. All these services range in quality, content, and especially price. Peacock is offering two versions of their service; a premium version and a free ad-based version. However, free members are not allowed access to the full NBC catalog. Disney’s service, which is called Disney Plus, offers Disney’s complete catalog including all the Marvel and Pixar films. Furthermore, their acquisition of Fox means Fox’s properties are on Disney Plus as well. The question now is whether HBO Max poses a threat to these streaming services.

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