Tuesday Links

Some of the recent film and media links that have crossed my radar recently:

  • Martha Irvine’s Washington Post article about the increased competition that movie theaters face now that digital distribution streams, such as Hulu and iTunes are becoming viable, has spawned quite a bit of discussion. Irvine, in my reading, offers a pretty thorough analysis, noting that theaters may increasingly serve as locations for special premium events and, following Charles Acland, author of Screen Traffic, predicts that current practices will lead to “more blockbuster action films geared toward the theaters, while character-driven films might open at theaters to create buzz, but ultimately get more play online.”  Like most of the experts Irvine interviews, I don’t think movie theaters will be obsolete any time soon, but the article does address a number of the important shifts that are taking place in the practices of moviegoing.
  • Henry Jenkins has a report on some fascinating research on the relationship between movies and video games conducted by Alexis Blanchet, showing that over 20% of games produced for some popular platforms have movie tie-ins.  Blanchet has also passed along to Jenkins a “graph which looks at film to game translations based around their original ratings.” You can check out Blanchet’s own website, in French and English, for further information.
  • Steve Pond and Anne Thompson, among many others, have weighed in on the new voting process for the best picture Oscar.  Rather than simply counting the number of first-place votes, a tiered system, in which voters rank their favorites from 1 to 10 in order of preference, will now be used.
  • Anne Thompson also has a discussion of a promotional video for the reboot of At the Movies, the show that helped launch the reputations of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert but had seen its ratings falter in recent years.   For what its worth, I generally like the update: A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips seem very knowledgeable about cinema and speak about it with eloquence and enthusiasm.  That being said, I found myself contemplating ways in which the format could be tweaked, especially given that both Scott and Phillips seem to have similar backgrounds.  As I watched, I wonderedhow it would play to have a panel of four participants discussing movies and movie culture more broadly, with two regulars (Scott and Phillips, perhaps) and a slate of rotating guests, not unlike the approach used on Real Time with Bill Maher.  Such an approach might be an effective way of introduing a diversity of opinions and perspectives into the mix.
  • Finally, Microsoft UK’s Ashley Highfield offers a stern warning to TV producers to get their online acts together lest they face an “iTunes moment.”

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