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‘The Fountain’ (2006)

It is sometimes hard to separate the actual doings of a film from the film’s publicity materials. With a writer and director like Darren Aronofsky (‘Pi’,’Requiem For a Dream’) who seems to pride himself on the rich, mythical, and often opaquely puzzling presentation of patterns in human behavior, achieving this separation is especially difficult.’The Fountain’ is a triptych bound together by the search for immortality as a means to preserve love. Interweaving stories tell the tales of a Spanish Conquistador searching for the secret to immortality, immorality that will free the Queen he loves from the bondage of the Papal Inquisition, in the form of the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden in New Spain; of a cancer researcher desperately trying to find a way to stop the growth brain tumors in monkeys fast enough to find a cure for his dying wife who instead finds a way to reverse brain aging; and of a mystic traveling through space with a tree that he not only loves but is dependent upon for continued life. [Read more →]

‘The Lookout’ (2007)

Did anyone see any advertising for the directorial debut of screenwriter Scott Frank last year? “Scott who?,” you say — and that’s where the problems begin…

The other sadness is that Mr. Frank, the award-winning writer of ‘ Minority Report ‘ (2002), ‘Out of Sight’ (1998) and ‘Dead Again’ (1991) got next to no promotional support for his debut feature. It was budgeted at $16M, took in $4M and slipped quietly beneath the waves 5 weeks later.

Problem is, Mr. Frank’s feature shared it’s opening weekend with last year’s Tarantino/Rodriguez double-feature ‘Grindhouse’ (2007) and it was released by the post-Weinstein Miramax and Spyglass Entertainment. [Read more →]

‘Minority Report’ (2002)

With the recent Eliot Spitzer bust and talk of the NSA’s ‘Total Information Awareness’ program back in the wind, I was compelled to take another look at Steven Spielberg’s ‘ Minority Report ‘.

I’d seen the movie and written another review of the movie back in 2002 and wasn’t so impressed with it — I felt that Spielberg had taken the Philip K. Dick material and slicked it up just a bit too much. When Ridley Scott adapted ‘ Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep ‘ ( cf. Blade Runner’ (1982)) [Read more →]

‘The Long Tail’ and the future of film (and tv)

About 4 years ago, with the UK launch of the new Battlestar Galactica , people were saying that the old network model of commercial programming was irrevocably broken — the new Galactica was co-sponsored by the UK’s SkyTV (a Rupert Murdoch subsidiary, like the US’ Fox Networks) and by some massive miscalculation, the US partner Universal Television’s SciFi Channel never thought that fans might redistribute the show on their own, by upoading DVR’ed episodes to the internet.

And so it went.

More recently, however, I’ve been seeing talk of The Long Tail and the new economics of media rental outfits like Netflix, Blockbuster and Gamefly that are capable of offering a larger inventory than the old brick-and-mortar stores, simply because they don’t have to make their entire inventory available at multiple localized stores: Because they deliver their rentals by mail, it’s unnecessary for them to operate at that ‘local’ level. Fact of the matter is, these new virtual rental and distribution agents do more business than the brick-and-mortar stores [Read more →]