Friday Links, Part One

After seeing this blog included on the list of “100 Awesome Blogs By Some of the World’s Smartest People,” I feel obligated to, you know, actually blog something and try to live up to the hype.   I’m often skeptical when I receive this kind of praise.  My impostor syndrome kicks in and I wonder how they could have missed all the other cool blogs that I read, but it is nice to be included in some pretty select company.  I have a couple of longer blog posts percolating right now, including a couple focused on future writing projects, but with grading and end-of-semester demands, I’ll have to leave things at the level of an annotated links post for now:

  • Via Karina, a cool idea from Roger Ebert to compile photographs of the childhood homes of a number of prominent film critics, a project he took on after his hometown of Urbana, Illinois, placed a plaque in front of the house where he lived as a child.
  • Twitter, apparently, continues to be the root of all evil.  The Wrap has an article about Hollywood studio execs expressing concern that Twitter will further limit their ability to hype this summer’s blockbusters.  It’s also responsible, apparently, for putting the final nail into the coffin of print-based film reviews. The focus of concern is the new site Flicktweets, which compiles movie tweets in real time.  Of course, studios expressed similar concerns when text messaging was first catching on in the US, and the last couple of summers have seen record box office.  Given that many of the reviews tend to be positive and that Twitter can be used to organize trips to the movies (among other things), I don’t think there’s much cause for concern. Unless the movies themselves are bad.  As for critics, anyone who wants more than a one-sentence synopsis, which is most people I’d imagine, will continue to seek out good writing.
  • One other point about Flicktweets: I would think that this would be one of the most valuable data-mining tools that any studio could ever have.  After all, you have hundreds, maybe thousands, of Twitterers offering their first impressions of your new movie.  Might be a good way to figure out how to make them better next time (or even how to promote them on DVD).
  • I’m posting this interview for no reason other than the fact that Tilda Swinton might be one of the coolest people on the planet.  I can’t wait to see two of her new films: Julia andThe Limits of Control.  Toward the end there is a terrific bit about her film festival, which will be going “mobile” this year.
  • Anne Thompson has a link to news that Hulu has now arranged to show a number of Bollywood films on their site. Cinematical offers further details, but this appears to be further evidence that the Hulu model seems to be increasingly attractive as one significant digital distribution option for studios.
  • Some political doc news: I’m sure I’m way late to the party on this one, but apparently, Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? is now being turned into a documentary (via Variety).  Frank’s book sought to explain why red-state Americans often voted on social issues and against their economic intersts.  Given the widely-documented failures of the Republican Party in 2006 and 2008, I think it would be easy to argue that Frank’s book has lost some of its explanatory power, but I would suggest that his arguments might be still be useful as a way of decoding the so-called Mustardgate, in which a host of conservative pundits sought to paint President Obama as an “elitist” for asking for spicy mustard on his hamburger.  It’s the exact same playbook they used against Kerry.  The good news is that it doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
  • Speaking of Twitter, I came across the intriguing-looking new documentary, Disconnected, on my Twitter feed earlier today.  Disconnected focuses on the experiences of three college students who decide to go without computers for three months (this includes typing papers, which forced them to learn how to use manual typewriters). The documentary was produced in collaboration between students and faculty at Carleton College and is available for purchase at their website.
  • Patrick Goldstein, who was also one of the (well-deserved) “100 Awesome Blog” honorees, has an interesting post or two about the Summer Movie Posse, a group of Los Angeles-area high school students who watch trailers for summer movies with Goldstein and discuss their reactions to them.  Their discussions say a lot about how that particular demographic reads movie trailers and how trailers inform our expectations of films.  And if Goldstein’s sample is right, then, the makers of the Transformers movie won’t be able to blame a bunch of Twitterers for what appears to be a very lousy film. The biggest complaint: the Michael Bay-helmed film just looks like a bunch of visual noise, and the trailer fails to offer anything resembling a clear narrative (it’s shocking to hear that about a Michael Bay film, by the way).
  • This Onion video about the response of Trekkies to the new, updated Star Trek film is pretty funny.

More links on the way in Part Two.

1 Comment »

  1. The Chutry Experiment » Quantifying Film Reviews Said,

    May 14, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

    [...] also seem to imply that sites such as FlickTweets that compile film reviews posted to Twitter may actually help to expand positive buzz for a given film.  More than anything, though, a closer look at specific cases would probably tell [...]

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