3 items from 2017
Last week, in response to the news that Netflix had finally cracked the Cannes competition lineup (a breakthrough that inspired the Federation of French Cinemas to question if a movie that skips theaters should even be considered “a cinematographic work”), I wrote about the streaming giant and how they’ve performed as a distributor. My conclusions were, uh, not super favorable. Criticizing the company’s penchant for pricing out the competition, hoarding the hottest indies on the festival circuit, and burying them on their site without the benefit of a proper release, I argued that Netflix isn’t a distributor so much as “a graveyard with unlimited viewing hours,” and that “it doesn’t release movies, it inters them.” It’s a problem that extends to the well-funded features that Netflix produces themselves, a problem that’s only going to get worse as those titles continue to get better.
See MoreNetflix Keeps Buying Great Movies, »
- David Ehrlich
So, going into the final stretch before the Oscars are announced, I have a question: if you like—no, love this year’s front-running La La Land, does that make you a bad person, or just deluded? Don’t laugh—there may be people at your own Oscar party who will have already come to their own conclusion on that conundrum. This year’s presumptive favorite is so presumptive that people are talking about the film as if it had already won and are projecting as to whether it’s an enduring classic or just another meh-fest to be thrown on the mediocrity pile along with Crash, Chicago, Argo, The Artist and about half of the rest of Oscar’s Best Picture winners since the Academy started handing out awards at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929. It is hard to deny, no matter how much you like or dislike La La Land, »
- Dennis Cozzalio
In the nearly 75 years since the Oscars began awarding a documentary feature, no non-fiction filmmaker has ever been nominated for director, despite being eligible for the prize.
The most obvious reason is that “directing” seems antithetical to the spirit of nonfiction, which is about revealing unsullied truths about the world in which we live. Documentary directors have been generally regarded as observers or journalists, rather than as creative artists, and the Oscar process has, until recently, rewarded more conservative approaches to the form.
Such prominent documentary figures as Errol Morris and Werner Herzog worked for decades before the Academy honored them. Morris’ “The Fog of War” won the 2004 Oscar and Herzog’s “Encounters at the End of the World” was nominated in 2009. But even those films, as quirky and iconoclastic as they are, operated in the familiar spheres of journalistic interrogation and fact-filled nature docs. It’s always been expected »
- Scott Tobias
3 items from 2017
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