May 16, 2014

The World That I See: Reads and Listens #15


It’s been a hectic few weeks in real life, and that’s made this blog a quieter place. When the kids are sick and work gets busier, film viewing takes a back seat. Even so, I’m getting ready to rebound and start posting more once again. My Jean-Luc Godard marathon began this week with Contempt, and I’m hoping to catch some new films in the near future. My next series will focus on young filmmakers, beginning with Richard Ayoade’s The Double. There are so many interesting faces to watch as the medium evolves to a new distribution model that varies from the traditional formula. The challenge is finding the time to uncover the hidden gems and rising stars that could become household names in the next decade.

Here are some interesting blogs and podcasts that are definitely worth your time:

I’ll begin on a different note and talk about The Season Pass Podcast, which is easily my favorite theme park podcast. Doug Barnes, Robert Coker, and Brent Young are so excited about the industry and do a excellent job mixing their enthusiasm with the business side. I’ve recently caught up with a bunch of their latest episodes, and the podcast does an amazing job going beyond the normal routes of conversation. My favorite was the latest edition of the Disney Files with Chad Emerson, who covered many of the pivotal issues facing the Disney parks in the near future. Doug and Chad also dug into Universal’s plans for rapid expansion at their resort and the impact that it could have on Disney’s Florida parks.


Twin Peaks has countless devoted fans, and its reputation is still strong thanks to younger viewers catching up with it on DVD. The challenge for many of them is what to think about Fire Walk with Me, the theatrical prequel released after the series was cancelled. Joel Bocko and Tony Dayoub at To Be Continued are doing a series of conversations that explore the film and delve into the themes behind it. Their first entry makes an intriguing case that gives one reason for the vitriol from a lot of viewers.

Over at Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman paints a bleak picture of Americans’ interest in subtitled films. They’re being abandoned by Netflix, don’t have the powerful theatrical distributors, and aren’t seeing the gains from video on demand. It’s possible the numbers could improve, but the case against this happening from Kaufman is pretty strong. The potential in our modern age is for audiences to have better access to a more diverse selection of movies. The question is whether we actually want that variety.


Continuing the bad news, Shailene Woodley made headlines with bizarre comments against feminism. Melissa Silverstein at Indiewire’s Women in Hollywood blog used this opportunity to shed some light on the subject. She makes 12 points to Woodley that spotlight the continued challenges for women in the film industry and the direct connections to feminism.

Finally, Donald Wilson at Film Comment talks about “The Great Flood” of releases that can be overwhelming to film critics in larger cities. He makes the case that publications like the New York Times shouldn’t try to cover every small film. Wilson wants critics like Manohla Dargis to serve as gatekeepers that provide content on movies that are truly worthy of attention. This statement offers a good summary of his views:

Instead of attempting to achieve some impossible platonic ideal of fairness (the Times, though it reviews every release, certainly prioritizes films in a number of subtle ways: review placement, photo inclusion, length, additional feature coverage), shouldn’t the cultural gatekeepers live up to their responsibilities? Instead of covering every film released, they should make smart decisions about what films are worth covering (and on what platforms they’re being released—should great films released only on streaming be penalized for how they reach viewers?). I imagine that the arts editors, in conjunction with the lead reviewers—who, one assumes, talk to other critics, hear about interesting films, and see other interesting films while attending film festivals—could do a decent job of putting together an editorial calendar that makes sense. Films would fall through the cracks, sure. But instead of being a clearinghouse, the weekly review coverage could be a curated space for the best writing about the best films. Does the front page of the Times cover all the news? Or just what’s fit to print?

4 comments:

  1. Some really good articles that are worth checking out. Thanks Dan. Look forward to reading your thoughts about The Double

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    1. Thanks Vern! It may be a little while before I get to The Double due to a busy schedule, but it will definitely happen.

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  2. Glad to see your enjoying the Twin Peaks series that Tony & I have been conducting (he's got the last entry going up in the next few days). Just wanted to let you know I'll be doing a David Lynch Month on my own blog starting next week, including a video essay as well as a massive round-up of quotes & excerpts about Twin Peaks (which kind of provides the underpinning for my reading of the series' demise in that first letter), and also a full round-up of my own reviews of Lynch's work, gleaned from your own favored method: the viewing marathon. My site, by the way, is Lost in the Movies: thedancingimage.blogspot.com

    Great to hear you are doing a Godard marathon as well - I hoped to do one in the past but never got to it and have still mostly just seen films from the most famous part of his career (beyond Weekend, I've seen Le Gai Savoir, British Sounds, Tout va Bien, Letter to Jane, Hail Mary, In Praise of Love and, sadly, I think that's it). I often feel that he's my favorite director though the very different Lynch has been tugging at my other arm lately. I'll be sure to check it out. Glad I discovered your blog while checking out backlinks to the Peaks series...

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    1. Joel, I'll definitely be following your blog for the David Lynch Month; thanks for the heads up about it! As far as Godard, there are so many that I need to see. I've only caught Breathless, Band of Outsiders, A Woman is a Woman, Vivre Sa Vie, and Contempt (for the marathon) so far. I still have a long way to go. Thanks for the comment, and I'll be checking in on your blog soon.

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