Sunday, February 24, 2008

On the Academy Awards

Despite my love of film, I do not much care for certain aspects of Oscar season.

Yes, I watch every year. Yes, I appreciate different parts of the telecast. I am also in the minority in that I have seen many, if not all, of the films in competition in the main catagories.

But still, the reduction of the cinematic arts to a horserace does bother me.

I guess it is the same as when a yearlong church attendee is crowded out on Christmas eve. Several questions are natural, inevitable: Who are you people? What are doing here? Why do you care about this now?

I must admit I tire of conversations with people who are still trying to make the time to see No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, and so on. What more can I say to them except that these films are of quality and are worth their time? Box office returns indicate that they won't make it out, may never make it out (give or take Juno). But still they must talk to me, since I am the "movie guy."

Now granted, since most people now see films via little red envelopes, the Oscars becomes a reason to rent. It is also widely assumed that films make more money at the box office after winning an award (I think the truth of that bit of folklore is best reflected in the sentiments expressed here).

Maybe I should just stop being so miffed about all this and be glad that people are talking about something besides for sports for a change around the ol' watercooler. Each year, it is certainly an uncomfortable fifteen minutes in the spotlight for me, but maybe more people will see better films as a result. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fims Viewed (January 2008)

You're Gonna Miss Me
The Golden Compass
The Mirror (Tarkovsky)
Ann Everton- Short Films Collection
The Lady Vanishes
Dinosaurs Alive 3-D
There Will Be Blood
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Les Enfants Terribles
The Charles
The Landmark
The Senator/ The Rotunda
Other (DVD, BMA, Suburban Multiplex)
TOTAL: 13 (10 in movie theaters)
NOTES: The month began with another great free screening at the BMA (Frankenheimer's Seconds, which made it clear once again that the fact that I have never seen the original Manchurian Candidate is a serious lapse). Be sure to make a note of tonight's free screening at 8:30 of Xala, which was written up this week in the City Paper without the usual sneer or smirk.
I did not make it out much this month, either renting or heading to my local house. I have been in lock-step with the Hitchcock revivals, filling in blanks or re-watching old favorites, and have enjoyed once again the Charles' chronological survey of a filmmaker's work (I gained much from series on Ozu, Kurosawa, and Bergman).
I did enjoy watching the collected works of local filmmaker Ann Everton. The collection is available as a free rental at the Charles Village Video Americain, and I would say to check it out if you are up for an adventure or simply watch some of the films online.
I don't think there is much to say about Film Distribution in General this month. I did miss Youth Without Youth's local bow, but for the most part the game has been to have as many Oscar-nominated films at your theater as you can manage (I got a kick out of the Charles' low-tech message board list in the lobby as a response to the Landmark's ads trumpeting thier nominated films). I also always enjoy when the Landmark is playing the same film as the "dollar movie;" this time it's No Country for Old Men that is unspooling at both the high and low end of the film landscape.