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Film intelligence: We've been framed

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: folks have some lovely bones to pick with Peter Jackson’s new filmmaking format, Martin Scorsese still loves his new filmmaking format and — hang on a sec, I have a call coming in.

1. Techno Wizards

This week is CinemaCon, a giant convention for the movie industry where distributors hype their upcoming projects to exhibitors and the media. One of the most talked about presentations at this year’s CinemaCon was the first footage from Peter Jackson’s adaptation of THE HOBBIT. By all accounts, everything content-wise looks promising, as you would expect from the guy who turned “The Lord of the Rings” into one of the supreme movie epics of our lifetime. But reaction to Jackson’s choice to shoot at 48 frames per second — twice the normal rate — was met with far more skepticism. Devin Faraci at Badass Digest said that 48fps looks like “a hi-def version of the 1970s I, Claudius. It is drenched in a TV-like — specifically 70s era BBC — video look…the magical illusion of cinema is stripped away completely.” Not exactly what you want to hear about a movie that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Such is the danger of early technology adoption: sometimes it helps you soar and sometimes it hobb(it)les you. [Badass Digest]

2. Text Mixed Messages

Another big story coming out of CinemaCon this week: the debate over texting in movie theaters. According to David Lieberman at Deadline, some exhibitors are considering relaxing the ban on cell phones in their theaters because they’re worried about losing young audiences who’ve grown accustomed to texting and tweeting anywhere at any time. If some theaters want to permit people to use their phones at specially marked screenings, fine: I’ll know exactly what theaters to avoid at all costs. Look, I’m as hopelessly addicted to my mobile as anybody — in the time it took to write the last sentence I checked my Facebook page eight times (and now nine) — but even I think the movie theater must remain a sacred, phone-free zone. Why pay fourteen dollars to see a movie and then not watch it because you spend the entire time doing something you can do anywhere for free? That’s just dumb. If you want to do that, how about this instead: I’ll charge you just seven bucks — half-price! — to sit in a dark room in my house. [Deadline]

3. We, the Jury

The Cannes Film Festival is less than a month away and getting closer all the time. This week, we learned who’ll be joining the previously announced president, director Nanni Moretti, on the Cannes 2012 jury. The folks who’ll be awarding this year’s Palme d’Or include directors Alexander Payne, Andrea Arnold, and Raoul Peck, actors Ewan McGregor, Hiam Abbass, Diane Kruger, and Emmanuelle Devos, and fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. If you’re one for conspiracy theories, here’s one to keep an eye on, as noted by The Los Angeles Times' Steven Zeitchik: McGregor is close with his MOULIN ROUGE co-star Nicole Kidman, who appears in the Cannes competition film THE PAPERBOY. [Movieline]

4. “This summer, prepare to be HOOK-ed.”

After bowing to a decidedly mixed reaction in the chilly climes of Park City at the Sundance Film Festival last January, Spike Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER will hope to find receptive audiences during a more tonally appropriate release this summer. The film, the story of a 13-year-old boy sent to live in Red Hook with his grandfather, will be released by indie distributors Variance Films; in a statement, Lee said he was proud to get back to his independent roots. “From my very first joint back in 1986, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, I have been an independent filmmaker, and even today I still am…we believe 100 percent that there is a starving audience for American independent films like RED HOOK SUMMER.” Hungry moviegoers will be able to satisfy their appetite when SUMMER opens theatrically in New York City on August 10, and then expands to “the top 30 markets” throughout the month of August. [Press Release]

5. The Last Temptation of Scorsese

Martin Scorsese had a lot of success with his first 3D film, HUGO; he made what was essentially a longform essay on the importance of film preservation and garnered five Oscars and over $175 worldwide at the box office in the process. His success was so great, in fact, that Scorsese, speaking at an event at CinemaCon, said he’d love to have had access to 3D technology earlier in his career. “I would have practically done all my films in 3D,” he told panel moderator Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter. Practically all of them? Is it too late to post-convert KUNDUN? I think 3D would really make the scene where the young Dalai Lama recognizes objects from his past lives pop. What’s next? THE BIRTH OF A NATION 3D? Please, whatever you do, don’t answer that question. [The Hollywood Reporter]