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Entries Tagged as 'Films'

“A Victim, A Target”: One on one with an independent filmmaker

November 12th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on “A Victim, A Target”: One on one with an independent filmmaker

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 2.01.32 PM

Jonathan Rigler, a film major at Brooklyn College sat down with me to speak about his experience as a film student in New York City, his love of cinema, his short film “A Victim, A Target” and what lies ahead for him as an up and coming independent filmmaker.

A Victim, A Target from Jonathan Rigler on Vimeo.

Tags: Films · new york · Podcast

“A Victim, A Target”: One on one with an independent filmmaker

November 12th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on “A Victim, A Target”: One on one with an independent filmmaker

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 2.01.32 PM

Jonathan Rigler, a film major at Brooklyn College sat down with me to speak about his experience as a film student in New York City, his love of cinema, his short film “A Victim, A Target” and what lies ahead for him as an up and coming independent filmmaker.

A Victim, A Target from Jonathan Rigler on Vimeo.

Tags: Art · Films · multimedia · New York City

Boyhood: the little engine that could

October 22nd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Boyhood: the little engine that could

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With a decade-spanning narrative and a featuring a new spin on the coming of age genre, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been the breakout indie of 2014. Distributed by IFC films, Boyhood has been both a financial and critical success. Shot during a 12 year period with the same actors, it seems that the film’s groundbreaking concept has captured the imagination of audiences throughout the world.

Boyhood tells the story of Mason, a six-year-old boy who by the film’s conclusion is an 18-year-old young man on his way to college. The film features no gimmicks or plot twists, just simply the passage of time. It shows us how even the littlest and most insignificant moments in our childhood and our adolescence have a profound impact on who we become as young adults. Simply put, it’s like no other film you will ever see.

Critics have been raving and have rewarded Boyhood with an unheard of 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Linklater and his film are now being tipped as frontrunners for the Academy Awards next year. For such a tiny indie film like Boyhood, this is huge deal. Linklater is also being singled out as a potential Best Director frontrunner. He is seemed as overdue after years of great work (Dazed and Confused, the Before Midnight trilogy). The fact that he took 12 years to finish this passion project will only add to the chorus of people saying he deserves to win.

But how will Boyhood, with its miniscule $4 million budget compete with the bigger movies for the gold come awards season? Remember, the film is being distributed by IFC films which isn’t exactly known for putting down money for awards campaigns due to budget concerns. For this reason, independent studios and their films find it hard to compete for Oscars with the bigger studios.

Jonathan Rosen, an employee at the IFC center in New York City says that the film’s heart will be enough to persuade voters. “This is the first film where I have seen grown men crying when they were coming out of the theatre,” Rosen says. “The film’s concept is so simple and it’s themes so universal, that anyone can relate to it.”

He’s right. Whether you relate to the film through your own childhood or through having raised a child of your own, Boyhood will have you reaching for a tissue box by the time the credits start rolling

Tags: Awards · Films

Boyhood: the little engine that could

October 22nd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Boyhood: the little engine that could

ifc 3

With a decade-spanning narrative and a featuring a new spin on the coming of age genre, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been the breakout indie of 2014. Distributed by IFC films, Boyhood has been both a financial and critical success. Shot during a 12 year period with the same actors, it seems that the film’s groundbreaking concept has captured the imagination of audiences throughout the world.

Boyhood tells the story of Mason, a six-year-old boy who by the film’s conclusion is an 18-year-old young man on his way to college. The film features no gimmicks or plot twists, just simply the passage of time. It shows us how even the littlest and most insignificant moments in our childhood and our adolescence have a profound impact on who we become as young adults. Simply put, it’s like no other film you will ever see.

Critics have been raving and have rewarded Boyhood with an unheard of 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Linklater and his film are now being tipped as frontrunners for the Academy Awards next year. For such a tiny indie film like Boyhood, this is huge deal. Linklater is also being singled out as a potential Best Director frontrunner. He is seemed as overdue after years of great work (Dazed and Confused, the Before Midnight trilogy). The fact that he took 12 years to finish this passion project will only add to the chorus of people saying he deserves to win.

But how will Boyhood, with its miniscule $4 million budget compete with the bigger movies for the gold come awards season? Remember, the film is being distributed by IFC films which isn’t exactly known for putting down money for awards campaigns due to budget concerns. For this reason, independent studios and their films find it hard to compete for Oscars with the bigger studios.

Jonathan Rosen, an employee at the IFC center in New York City says that the film’s heart will be enough to persuade voters. “This is the first film where I have seen grown men crying when they were coming out of the theatre,” Rosen says. “The film’s concept is so simple and it’s themes so universal, that anyone can relate to it.”

He’s right. Whether you relate to the film through your own childhood or through having raised a child of your own, Boyhood will have you reaching for a tissue box by the time the credits start rolling

Tags: Awards · Films

Boyhood: the little engine that could

October 22nd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Boyhood: the little engine that could

ifc 3

With a decade-spanning narrative and a featuring a new spin on the coming of age genre, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been the breakout indie of 2014. Distributed by IFC films, Boyhood has been both a financial and critical success. Shot during a 12 year period with the same actors, it seems that the film’s groundbreaking concept has captured the imagination of audiences throughout the world.

Boyhood tells the story of Mason, a six-year-old boy who by the film’s conclusion is an 18-year-old young man on his way to college. The film features no gimmicks or plot twists, just simply the passage of time. It shows us how even the littlest and most insignificant moments in our childhood and our adolescence have a profound impact on who we become as young adults. Simply put, it’s like no other film you will ever see.

Critics have been raving and have rewarded Boyhood with an unheard of 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Linklater and his film are now being tipped as frontrunners for the Academy Awards next year. For such a tiny indie film like Boyhood, this is huge deal. Linklater is also being singled out as a potential Best Director frontrunner. He is seemed as overdue after years of great work (Dazed and Confused, the Before Midnight trilogy). The fact that he took 12 years to finish this passion project will only add to the chorus of people saying he deserves to win.

But how will Boyhood, with its miniscule $4 million budget compete with the bigger movies for the gold come awards season? Remember, the film is being distributed by IFC films which isn’t exactly known for putting down money for awards campaigns due to budget concerns. For this reason, independent studios and their films find it hard to compete for Oscars with the bigger studios.

Jonathan Rosen, an employee at the IFC center in New York City says that the film’s heart will be enough to persuade voters. “This is the first film where I have seen grown men crying when they were coming out of the theatre,” Rosen says. “The film’s concept is so simple and it’s themes so universal, that anyone can relate to it.”

He’s right. Whether you relate to the film through your own childhood or through having raised a child of your own, Boyhood will have you reaching for a tissue box by the time the credits start rolling

Tags: Awards · Films

Amy Dunne, anti-heroine?

October 21st, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Amy Dunne, anti-heroine?

 

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David Fincher’s Gone Girl has hit the cultural zeitgeist. It has been the subject of more think pieces and op-eds than perhaps any film this year. And although not really an “indie” film, the timeliness of the film’s subject matter and the national debate that it has caused makes it a good topic of conversation for this blog. Plus, I don’t think there is any credible cinephile out there who would argue that Fincher isn’t an auteur. And that is one of the things this blog does, it discusses the films of our greatest auteurs.

The main and most contentious debate surrounding Gone Girl is the film’s gender politics (warning: spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the film). Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, it tells the story of Amy and Nick Dunne, a perfect-looking couple from New York whose marriage goes sour after moving to Missouri. After learning his wife has disappeared and perhaps murdered on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick becomes the prime suspect and the focus of an excruciating media witch hunt. But we then learn that Amy has in fact faked her own kidnapping and murder in order to punish Nick for his affair with a younger woman.

Throughout the film, Amy lays waste with any man that comes across her with false accusations of pregnancy, domestic abuse and rape.

So is Amy a feminist hero who is using her power as a woman to get back at the men who have emotionally neglected her? Or is she the embodiment of the worst kind of stereotype of psychotic women who make up allegations of rape and abuse and even commit murder?

I would argue that it’s neither. I especially disagree with the theory that the film is sexist. Amy does not do the things she does because she’s a woman; she does it because she’s a psychopath. Amy is not meant to be a literal representation of all women. The same way that other cinematic psychos like Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter were not meant to be a representation of all men.

Maria Santic, a junior who minors in Women’s Studies at City College in New York agrees. “Why do all women on television and film have to be perfect saints? Women are extremely complex creatures,” she says. “I think Amy Dunne is the most three-dimensional female character I’ve seen in any film this year.”

Santic thinks that we do a disservice to female characters if they’re all portrayed as inherently good. “Amy wasn’t just in the kitchen being the supportive, devoted wife to the male protagonist; she was actually running the film’s narrative,” she says. “Nowadays you hardly ever see that on film.”

Santic points to an article in the New Republic by Becca Rothfeld in which she argues that Amy is a fascinating throwback to the femme fatale archetype of the Film Noir genre that was very popular in the 1940’s. Ironically, this is a decade in which female characters actually had more agency than they do in today’s films. In that article, Rothfeld compares Amy to the grandmother of all femme fatales, Phyllis Dietrichson of the 1944 classic, Double Indemnity.

I would also compare Amy to another intriguing archetype: the male anti-hero that we see on cable television today. Like Tony Soprano, Donald Draper and Walter White; Amy Dunne is a protagonist who does morally reprehensible things while also still maintaining the audience’s sympathy. The only difference is that Amy does it in high heels, and that shouldn’t be held against her.

Tags: Culture · Films

Amy Dunne, anti-heroine?

October 21st, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Amy Dunne, anti-heroine?

 

gone 2

David Fincher’s Gone Girl has hit the cultural zeitgeist. It has been the subject of more think pieces and op-eds than perhaps any film this year. And although not really an “indie” film, the timeliness of the film’s subject matter and the national debate that it has caused makes it a good topic of conversation for this blog. Plus, I don’t think there is any credible cinephile out there who would argue that Fincher isn’t an auteur. And that is one of the things this blog does, it discusses the films of our greatest auteurs.

The main and most contentious debate surrounding Gone Girl is the film’s gender politics (warning: spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the film). Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, it tells the story of Amy and Nick Dunne, a perfect-looking couple from New York whose marriage goes sour after moving to Missouri. After learning his wife has disappeared and perhaps murdered on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick becomes the prime suspect and the focus of an excruciating media witch hunt. But we then learn that Amy has in fact faked her own kidnapping and murder in order to punish Nick for his affair with a younger woman.

Throughout the film, Amy lays waste with any man that comes across her with false accusations of pregnancy, domestic abuse and rape.

So is Amy a feminist hero who is using her power as a woman to get back at the men who have emotionally neglected her? Or is she the embodiment of the worst kind of stereotype of psychotic women who make up allegations of rape and abuse and even commit murder?

I would argue that it’s neither. I especially disagree with the theory that the film is sexist. Amy does not do the things she does because she’s a woman; she does it because she’s a psychopath. Amy is not meant to be a literal representation of all women. The same way that other cinematic psychos like Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter were not meant to be a representation of all men.

Maria Santic, a junior who minors in Women’s Studies at City College in New York agrees. “Why do all women on television and film have to be perfect saints? Women are extremely complex creatures,” she says. “I think Amy Dunne is the most three-dimensional female character I’ve seen in any film this year.”

Santic thinks that we do a disservice to female characters if they’re all portrayed as inherently good. “Amy wasn’t just in the kitchen being the supportive, devoted wife to the male protagonist; she was actually running the film’s narrative,” she says. “Nowadays you hardly ever see that on film.”

Santic points to an article in the New Republic by Becca Rothfeld in which she argues that Amy is a fascinating throwback to the femme fatale archetype of the Film Noir genre that was very popular in the 1940’s. Ironically, this is a decade in which female characters actually had more agency than they do in today’s films. In that article, Rothfeld compares Amy to the grandmother of all femme fatales, Phyllis Dietrichson of the 1944 classic, Double Indemnity.

I would also compare Amy to another intriguing archetype: the male anti-hero that we see on cable television today. Like Tony Soprano, Donald Draper and Walter White; Amy Dunne is a protagonist who does morally reprehensible things while also still maintaining the audience’s sympathy. The only difference is that Amy does it in high heels, and that shouldn’t be held against her.

Tags: Culture · Films

Amy Dunne, anti-heroine?

October 21st, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Amy Dunne, anti-heroine?

 

gone 2

David Fincher’s Gone Girl has hit the cultural zeitgeist. It has been the subject of more think pieces and op-eds than perhaps any film this year. And although not really an “indie” film, the timeliness of the film’s subject matter and the national debate that it has caused makes it a good topic of conversation for this blog. Plus, I don’t think there is any credible cinephile out there who would argue that Fincher isn’t an auteur. And that is one of the things this blog does, it discusses the films of our greatest auteurs.

The main and most contentious debate surrounding Gone Girl is the film’s gender politics (warning: spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the film). Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, it tells the story of Amy and Nick Dunne, a perfect-looking couple from New York whose marriage goes sour after moving to Missouri. After learning his wife has disappeared and perhaps murdered on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick becomes the prime suspect and the focus of an excruciating media witch hunt. But we then learn that Amy has in fact faked her own kidnapping and murder in order to punish Nick for his affair with a younger woman.

Throughout the film, Amy lays waste with any man that comes across her with false accusations of pregnancy, domestic abuse and rape.

So is Amy a feminist hero who is using her power as a woman to get back at the men who have emotionally neglected her? Or is she the embodiment of the worst kind of stereotype of psychotic women who make up allegations of rape and abuse and even commit murder?

I would argue that it’s neither. I especially disagree with the theory that the film is sexist. Amy does not do the things she does because she’s a woman; she does it because she’s a psychopath. Amy is not meant to be a literal representation of all women. The same way that other cinematic psychos like Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter were not meant to be a representation of all men.

Maria Santic, a junior who minors in Women’s Studies at City College in New York agrees. “Why do all women on television and film have to be perfect saints? Women are extremely complex creatures,” she says. “I think Amy Dunne is the most three-dimensional female character I’ve seen in any film this year.”

Santic thinks that we do a disservice to female characters if they’re all portrayed as inherently good. “Amy wasn’t just in the kitchen being the supportive, devoted wife to the male protagonist; she was actually running the film’s narrative,” she says. “Nowadays you hardly ever see that on film.”

Santic points to an article in the New Republic by Becca Rothfeld in which she argues that Amy is a fascinating throwback to the femme fatale archetype of the Film Noir genre that was very popular in the 1940’s. Ironically, this is a decade in which female characters actually had more agency than they do in today’s films. In that article, Rothfeld compares Amy to the grandmother of all femme fatales, Phyllis Dietrichson of the 1944 classic, Double Indemnity.

I would also compare Amy to another intriguing archetype: the male anti-hero that we see on cable television today. Like Tony Soprano, Donald Draper and Walter White; Amy Dunne is a protagonist who does morally reprehensible things while also still maintaining the audience’s sympathy. The only difference is that Amy does it in high heels, and that shouldn’t be held against her.

Tags: Culture · Films

Snowpiercer and the VOD conundrum

October 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Snowpiercer and the VOD conundrum

 

snowpiercer 2

This past summer, Bong Joon-Ho’s dystopian sci-fi, action film Snowpiercer captured the imaginations of both mainstream audiences and art-house enthusiasts. The film’s combination of lush visuals and frantic action scenes alongside its very timely message about the socioeconomic battle between the haves and the haves not, made for a striking outing from the Korean director.

And yet, despite its financial and critical success (94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the majority of the chatter surrounding Snowpiercer centered on the film’s very unorthodox release strategy.

Radius-TWC, a sub-division of the Weinstein Co. that specializes in Video on Demand platforms for independent films, distributed the film by releasing it on VOD just two weeks after its theatrical outing. This is obviously not unheard of. VOD has been a go-to release platform in order for independent films to reach a wider audience for quite some time.

Snowpiercer marked a change because the film has the look of your typical and formulaic Hollywood blockbuster. Of course the difference being that its budget was a fraction of the price of say one of the Marvel films.

The result was a success for Radius-TWC. Snowpiercer’s VOD gross was actually higher than its theatrical one. Dozens of think-pieces were written hailing this triumph. Some were calling VOD the smartest way of distribution in order for indie films to not get crowed by bigger films in the marketplace. Others were hinting that VOD is where the future of film viewing was heading anyways.

Tom Quinn, co-president of Radius-TWC, told Entertainment Weekly this past July that Snowpiercer is a “game-changer.”

Some have their doubts though. Derek Carter, general manager at the Angelika Film Center in New York, feels that the studio could have had a bigger financial success if it had released the film in a wider and traditional theatrical form.

“At its peak, Snowpiercer’s widest release was 356 theaters. In 101 days in release it made $4.5 million,” he says. “If they would had released it in at least a thousand screens that movie could had made $20 million”. Carter believes that the studio did not market the film in a proper way in terms of commercials and trailers. And in that point I have to concur. Most casual film-goers that I know had not even heard of the film until I showed them the trailer on YouTube. All of them had interest in seeing it afterwards.

Carter also argues that the studio did not have much faith in the film’s financial prospects, hence the VOD release. “I could hear the proverbial jaws drop when I reported to the studio representative the first-week sales returns. They were actually surprised that it was doing well,” he says. “Trust me, VOD killed this movie!”

Carter argues that the Weinstein Co. similarly “dumped” other films in its indie slate, including: The Immigrant, Tracks and The disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.

It’s hard to say if a wider theatrical release would have helped Snowpiercer’s box office numbers. Despite its thrilling action and heart-pounding fight scenes, the film is at its core a very cerebral and dark political allegory that likely would have not appealed to a mainstream summer crowd looking for escapism.

What is clear though, is that this debate on the merit of VOD is not going away.

Tags: Films · VOD

Snowpiercer and the VOD conundrum

October 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Snowpiercer and the VOD conundrum

 

snowpiercer 2

This past summer, Bong Joon-Ho’s dystopian sci-fi, action film Snowpiercer captured the imaginations of both mainstream audiences and art-house enthusiasts. The film’s combination of lush visuals and frantic action scenes alongside its very timely message about the socioeconomic battle between the haves and the haves not, made for a striking outing from the Korean director.

And yet, despite its financial and critical success (94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the majority of the chatter surrounding Snowpiercer centered on the film’s very unorthodox release strategy.

Radius-TWC, a sub-division of the Weinstein Co. that specializes in Video on Demand platforms for independent films, distributed the film by releasing it on VOD just two weeks after its theatrical outing. This is obviously not unheard of. VOD has been a go-to release platform in order for independent films to reach a wider audience for quite some time.

Snowpiercer marked a change because the film has the look of your typical and formulaic Hollywood blockbuster. Of course the difference being that its budget was a fraction of the price of say one of the Marvel films.

The result was a success for Radius-TWC. Snowpiercer’s VOD gross was actually higher than its theatrical one. Dozens of think-pieces were written hailing this triumph. Some were calling VOD the smartest way of distribution in order for indie films to not get crowed by bigger films in the marketplace. Others were hinting that VOD is where the future of film viewing was heading anyways.

Tom Quinn, co-president of Radius-TWC, told Entertainment Weekly this past July that Snowpiercer is a “game-changer.”

Some have their doubts though. Derek Carter, general manager at the Angelika Film Center in New York, feels that the studio could have had a bigger financial success if it had released the film in a wider and traditional theatrical form.

“At its peak, Snowpiercer’s widest release was 356 theaters. In 101 days in release it made $4.5 million,” he says. “If they would had released it in at least a thousand screens that movie could had made $20 million”. Carter believes that the studio did not market the film in a proper way in terms of commercials and trailers. And in that point I have to concur. Most casual film-goers that I know had not even heard of the film until I showed them the trailer on YouTube. All of them had interest in seeing it afterwards.

Carter also argues that the studio did not have much faith in the film’s financial prospects, hence the VOD release. “I could hear the proverbial jaws drop when I reported to the studio representative the first-week sales returns. They were actually surprised that it was doing well,” he says. “Trust me, VOD killed this movie!”

Carter argues that the Weinstein Co. similarly “dumped” other films in its indie slate, including: The Immigrant, Tracks and The disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.

It’s hard to say if a wider theatrical release would have helped Snowpiercer’s box office numbers. Despite its thrilling action and heart-pounding fight scenes, the film is at its core a very cerebral and dark political allegory that likely would have not appealed to a mainstream summer crowd looking for escapism.

What is clear though, is that this debate on the merit of VOD is not going away.

Tags: Films · VOD

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