It’s old news that the increased presence of high-profile film stars in TV land is just another not-so-subtle sign of the recession in action: Those usually used to a fat paycheck from the film studios have had to think out of the box — or rather, right into it, as have 2012 Emmy nominees Glenn Close of Damages, Kathy Bates of Harry’s Law and Steve Buscemi of Boardwalk Empire, to name just a few. But their presence is also a sign of another larger shift in the entertainment media landscape, one that has also been in development for a while now: The boundaries between the kind of content on TV and in film may be disappearing altogether.
Time to jingle those piggy banks and see what shakes loose — if you’ve ever wanted some of the best of contemporary and classic films for your very own, here’s your chance. Barnes & Noble is offering all of Criterion Collection’s movies at 50% off, including such faves as HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, 12 ANGRY MEN, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, THE THIN RED LINE, THE 39 STEPS, RUSHMORE and the miniseries CARLOS. Most titles are available on beauteous Blu-ray.
The world of film is changing. For one thing, there’s not much actual film anymore. The future is digital; more and more, it’s streaming on our computers, too. Every week in Legal Download, we survey the landscape of online movies to bring you a snapshot of what’s available. This week, we announce our retirement and then take it all back for a look at the indie productions of director Steven Soderbergh you can find online.
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Indie Soderbergh
We all know now’s not the best time of year to go to the movies. Over at Grantland.com, Robert Mays dubs the months of January and February “Dumpuary,” a fitting name for a season that has become known as Hollywood’s dumping ground for its most hopeless projects. In his piece, Mays spends an entire Dumpuary weekend at the biggest multiplex in Los Angeles, watching every single movie at the theater in an apparent attempt to kill himself. Somehow he survived, even through a bowel-clenchingly terrifying double feature of Katherine Heigl and talking chipmunks. To borrow the title of a particularly unpromising Dumpuary release (the words Dumpuary and release just go together so well, don’t they?), it’s enough to make a man go out on a ledge.
Traditionally, January is the time when studios dump their loser movies into the recycling bin of the public’s consciousness, tossing ill-fated action flicks with monosyllabic actors or woebegone romantic comedies with badly matched C-listers into theaters because people are too cold to leave the house anyway.
By January, the Oscar rush has come and gone, and it’s the time to cut one’s losses and release some of those less golden efforts in hopes that they might find an audience despite it all, even if it’s just angry people who get off on yelling epithets at the screen to impress their passive-aggressive dates.
I saw CONTAGION last weekend and by God it’s the first thriller I’ve ever seen where a lingering shot of a coffee cup (or martini glass, or door handle) recently fondled by the recently infected is one of the scariest shots. A coffee cup! And it actually is scary. The camera holds just long enough to make the object – and the unseen germs just deposited there – terrifying. I’m not talking about a gasp-out-loud- sort of terrifying, but a sick to the stomach, this-could-surely-happen-to-me sort of terrifying.
Friends on Facebook have cried “Blah!” as in, “It’s boring!” Well, maybe. Moments, I admit, feel slow. But isn’t that refreshing for a thriller? Nobody but Soderbergh could impose a new pace on a well-worn genre, and nobody could rally such high power stars to, one by one, froth at the mouth. They die so well.
When you name your child Spalding Gray you might as well drive straight from the maternity ward to the theatre because you have sealed his fate. A Spalding Gray cannot remain unknown; he will not settle for unfamous, uncelebrated or unreknowned. Of course, in this case the kid lived up the name and became one of the most sought after, most admired and best loved writers and performers of the century, if not of all time. Yeah, you could say I’m a fan.
With movies like the OCEAN’S trilogy, CHE, and THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, Steven Soderbergh has proved he is one of the most prolific working filmmakers. His latest directorial effort, THE INFORMANT! is no exception. But don’t let the trailer fool you. The happy, bumbling, well-meaning corporate exec turned informant is only part of the story. Mark…
Steven Soderbergh is a busy, busy man. You would think CHE: PART ONE and TWO and THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE would be enough films for one director to release in a year, but come September Soderbergh will add one more to the list: THE INFORMANT! starring a pudgy Matt Damon as a CEO with a conscience…
Sundance Institute announced today that Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies, and videotape (1989 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Winner) and Wendell B. Harris’s Chameleon Street (1990 Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize Winner) have been selected for the Festival’s From the Collection screenings. Each year the Festival presents two retrospective screenings of influential feature-length films from the Sundance Collection at UCLA, paying tribute to significant works in the history of independent film.