Thursday Links: B-Side, Blockbuster, Avatar, 3-D

I’ve got a post percolating on the politics of The Hurt Locker, but for now, here are some quick pointers to some recent articles that are worth a click-through:

  • Filmmaker Magazine was the first to announce that B-Side Entertainment, which specialized in providing website services to film festivals, is closing.  The Filmmaker blog post provides an incredible overview of the company and the services they offered.  Founder Chris Hyams sums up this history saying that “We find ourselves at a time of great upheaval in the film industry. We are somewhere between the old and the new world. Technology is altering the way films are being made, and there are new avenues for how films can be consumed.”  Unfortunately B-Side was unable to make a financial model work for their company.  Bad Lit and The IFC Blog also react.
  • Responding to an LA Times article on Avatar’s animated acting,” Kristin Thompson has a thoughtful assessment of whether motion-captured performances, such as Andy Serkis’ Gollum and Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri should be considered for acting awards at the Oscars (or similar ceremonies).  Thompson concludes that the digital changes to actors’ facial features transform the original performance too much to make judgments about what to consider as the actual performance too fuzzy.  I don’t really have strong feelings here.  I’m not invested enough in the awards to care, but I’m also not sure where we draw the line given the long history of prosthetics, makeup, and other “artificial supplements” to an actor’s performance.
  • On his indispensible Twitter feed, Roger Ebert pointed to a Wall Street Journal article reporting that three major theatrical chains have now secured funding to convert as many as 14,000 screens from celluloid to digital projection, thus enabling them to project digital 3-D movies, thanks in part to the success of Avatar.
  • One of the fascinating aspects of Redbox’s rise to dominance has been the attempts by Blockbuster to reinvent themselves, a process that seems to entail throwing things against the wall and waiting for something to stick.  They are reportedly exerimenting with cell-phone movie rentals (so you, too, can have tiny, hypermobile movies in your pocket), moving toward online rentals (probably too little too late), and hoping that they can benefit from getting many Hollywood features for rental one month before both Redbox and Netflix.

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