A lot of offline activity at the home office of The Chutry Experiment this week, so many of these links are probably old news for some readers. Still, as I mentioned in my previous post, blogging links helps me to think through ideas for longer projects. Hopefully I’ll be a more diligent blogger soon.
One of the stories I’ve been following is the introduction of Movie Review Intelligence, a new film review aggregator along the lines of Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. Anne Thompson has agood discussion of the niche that MRI is trying to serve, pointing out that the site bills itself as giving more weight to prominent film critics such as Roger Ebert. She also points out that many consumers of film reviews also now give more weight to aggregate scores rather than the reviews of one or two individual critics, which seems about right to me. Even more significant, as this column by Thompson from a year ago suggests, many younger film fans are turning to studio-friendly sites for their information about what to watch.
Many of my readers have probably already seen the teaser for Michael Moore’s new documentary, a parody public service announcement in which Moore asks viewers to donate money to “Save our CEOs.” Although the teaser offers little specific detail about the new film, it seems like Moore at his populist best, fighting against the absurdities of the intersections between power and money and how they’ve played out during the bank bailout. According to The Wrap, at the New York premiere of the teaser, Moore had “ushers representing Moore’s satirical organization” collect donations, which were then given to a local food bank. Christopher Campbell has a nice roundup of links to articles talking about the teaser. A nice bonus: Moore has also posted a video documenting the reaction of a NYC theater audience to the teaser.
Via NewTeeVee, a discussion of the fact that Netflix doesn’t offer subtitles or closed captions for their streaming videos, a problem that apparently affects web video in general. Apparently, Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation that would require that web video be accessible to people with disabilities, but so far it has not been signed into law. Neil Hunt, the Chief Production Officer at Netflix, explains why making streams with closed captions is somewhat difficult, and estimates that they will have closed captiona available, hopefully by 2010.
Scott Kirsner has two recent posts that have a number of useful links about digital cinema. The first mentions the new indie start-up, DF Indie Studios, headed by Mary Dickinson and Charlene Fisher. Here’s the NYT on the new indie studio, and as usual, Anne Thompson has an insightful take (as well as the full text of the press release announcing the DFIS launch). Scott also points to a WSJ article about Alec Duffy who won the rights to an unreleased Sufjan Stevens song and decided that rather than making the song available online, he would require fans to come to his apartment to hear it with the hope of building a shared community around music.
NewTeeVee also discusses the idea of a “Watch Later” queue proposed by venture capitalist Fred Wilson. Essentially, the queue would be a DVR for web video, allowing viewers to save videos for later viewing. I already do this implicitly by saving videos on delicious or emailing them to myself (or, more rarely, adding them to my favorites on YouTube), so I’ll be interested to see if it works out. My sense is that it may not be necessary in that most people who watch web video already have cobbled together solutions for bookmarking videos they want to watch later. But I could be wrong. Still, given the “Watch Now” and “Broadcast Yourself” rhetoric that bounces around in the land of web video, the idea of “Watching Later” is kind of cool.
Finally (for now), Andrew O’Hehir has an excellent overview of some of the recent changes in the digital cinema distribution landscape, focusing on some of the major players and how they are carving out niches (or not) for reaching online movie and TV audiences, with a special focus on indie films. My impressions about digital cinema are similar to his, especially on one key point: “no single device or delivery mechanism is likely to dominate the others, at least for the foreseeable future. Individual films will be made available in multiple ways, either consecutively or all at the same time.”