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Daily Reads: Trailer Mania is Ruining Film Culture, Bring ‘Goodbye to Language’ To Wide Release and More

Daily Reads: Trailer Mania is Ruining Film Culture, Bring 'Goodbye to Language' To Wide Release and More

Criticwire’s Daily Reads brings today’s essential
news stories and critical pieces to you.

1. Trailer Mania is Ruining Film Culture. The cast of “Furious 7” has overhyped the film’s trailer, but that’s becoming normal for modern film coverage, with Marvel’s recent unveiling of nine films to be released over the next five years being the ultimate example. Scott Meslow of The Week wrote about how constant teases and explosions of coverage for those teases are becoming insidious.

For all the great work being done every day, film journalism has become bogged down by a pair of interrelated problems: a film industry that thrives on a culture of endless fan-generated hype, and an Ain’t It Cool-esque approach to blogging that has inspired a cottage industry of websites uncritically reporting everything that comes across their inboxes or Twitter feeds. Read more.

2. What Happens When a Show is In Trouble. Every new TV season brings new shows, followed by cancellations for any shows that are no longer profitable or promising. Blogger, TV writer and “Almost Perfect” co-creator Ken Levine wrote about the process of working on a struggling show that’s on its way to being cancelled.

You are trapped in a nightmare. And it becomes clear your show has no future. But you still have to make them. You still have to write till 4 a.m. You still have to reassure the cast…The network insists you reshoot a scene. Your star was slated to co-host a holiday parade on your network but they just dropped her. She won’t come out of her trailer. The table reading for the next show tanks. The cast hates the new direction. You have to do a page one rewrite for an episode you know will never air. Read more.

3. “Last Action Hero’s” Video Game Proves Its Message (Accidentally). The Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Last Action Hero” was a critical and commercial disappointment when it came out, a violent, self-aware action film that often just played less self-aware than it should have been. The disappointing film had an even more disappointing video game, one that Noel Murray of The A.V. Club argues proves its muddled message.

In the 1990s, video games practically became the starting point for blockbuster licensing, before any posters, T-shirts, or play-sets. But the choice to produce a “Last Action Hero” game is questionable, given that the movie is sort of a critique of the violence that kids absorb from popular culture. Danny’s depicted as a jaded preteen who’s been numbed to mayhem by Jack Slater movies and cartoons. And yet here’s the “Last Action Hero” video game: nothing but one shoot-out, punch-out, and fireball after another. Read more.

4. The End of Movies As We Know Them. 35mm film’s phasing out in favor of digital is not a new development, but it’s gone further with news that Film Lab New York, the last 35mm film lab in the city, is shutting down. Matt Patches of Playboy writes about the reasons to keep 35mm going as long as it can, with the greatest reason being preservation.

A film print degrades, but the human eye can notice. It’s those frames Tarantino is all about — we see the print. Plionis can use a computer to re-scan those frames for touch up and creation of new prints. When they’re done, that print can return to lock-up, where that grey-and-white-Mac-logo-of-death can never consume it in a merciless hard drive crash. A well-maintained film print can last over a century. The oldest usable videotapes are about 60 years old. Files logged on computers are a big question mark. Read more.

5. Bring Godard to Wider Release, ASAP. The latest film by Jean-Luc Godard, “Goodbye to Language,” makes revolutionary use of 3-D, but few are going to be able to see it because few arthouse theaters are equipped to show it, while some that are aren’t willing to. Variety’s Justin Chang wrote about why something needs to happen to get the film a wider release.

In the Godard film, the world is recognizably our own, albeit richer, stranger and more painterly than we’re accustomed to, thanks to a diverse and disorienting panoply of digital camera formats and lo-fi optical tricks. Immersion is decidedly beside the point. “Goodbye to Language” makes us intensely aware of its experimentation for the duration of its 70-minute running time, to sometimes bewildering, always stimulating effect. It’s a bracing reminder that a tool co-opted by the studios and typically used for the mass amplification of spectacle can, in different hands, reveal a treasure trove of unexplored aesthetic possibilities. Read more.

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