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New Escapist Column! On the Pre-Packaged Cult Appeal of “Cocaine Bear”…

We’re launching a new column at The Escapist, called Out of Focus. It will publish every Wednesday, and the plan is to use it to look at some film and television that would maybe fall outside the remit of In the Frame, more marginal titles or objects of cult interest. This week, we took a look at the release of Cocaine Bear, which is an obvious attempt to manufacture a cult hit.

On one level, it seems like a fool’s errand to try to build a movie with the express purpose of making a cult hit. After all, cult hits only grow organically, often over years and through home media or television. However, changes to the industry – including the collapse of home media and the decline of linear television – make it very difficult for movies to find that sort of niche. Cocaine Bear feels like a movie designed with that understanding in mind, a film very consciously pitched towards streaming virality as much as theatrical box office.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

296. Jaws: The Revenge (Jaws ’87) – Shark Week 2022 (-#27)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn, Darren Mooney and Emma Kiely, and this time with special guest Jason Coyle, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

This week, we’re doing something a bit unusual. To line up with Shark Week, we are covering the Jaws franchise. So today, rounding out the week with Joseph Sergeant’s Jaws: The Revenge.

Following the death of her son Sean in a freak shark attack, Ellen Brody becomes convinced that her family has become a supernatural magnet for sharks. Her surviving son Michael convinces Ellen to travel to the Bahamas, where she meets a mysterious sea plane pilot named Hoagie. As a relationship begins to blossom between Ellen and Hoagie, Ellen discovers that perhaps there are some secrets that can’t be escaped.

At time of recording, it was ranked 27th on the lists of either the worst movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On the Pandemic’s Failed Streaming Revolution…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With disappointing box office for Black Widow and Jungle Cruise, and pending lawsuits from actors like Scarlet Johansson, it seemed like a good time to dive back into the ongoing debate about streaming during the pandemic.

With cinemas closed and audiences trapped at home, the pandemic was the perfect testcase for the viability of streaming as a sustainable long-term business model for major Hollywood studios. Many of these studios had been pushing for something like this for decades, to effectively vertically integrate production and delivery. However, with a year of experimentation in the rear view mirror, it increasingly seems like the streaming revolution promised by the pandemic is a bit of a dud.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Secret Shame: Classic Films We Haven’t Seen…

One of the things about having a blog is the fact it takes a significant amount of self-confidence to publish. I mean, even if you’re just doing it for own sake, it still takes a great deal of faith to put something out there for others to see and read. To be honest, I’m not sure I properly consider myself a “critic” and certainly not an “expert”, at least not in a sense that requires big inverted commas. I don’t like to think that I make statements of cinema, and I hope (perhaps with a hint of arrogance) that I might contribute in some way to some discussion about cinema somewhere. Still, I’m always a little bit embarrassed at all the great films I haven’t seen. I feel like it diminishes me in some way, not even as a blogger or any nonsense like that, but as a film fan.

Getting in deep with my classic movies...

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Waiting for Super Special Editions…

I own DVDs. I own a lot of DVDs. However, I don’t have all the movies that I would like to have. Which seems odd, because I also own a lot of forgettable nonsense that was on special offer in some bargain basement somewhere – Kurt Russell’s Soldier, for example. So, how come I don’t own all those classic films I would love to get my grubby little hands all over? One reason: I know that there’s going to be a super-extra classy hyper deluxe edition coming at some point down the line. Am I the only person who does this?

Two years and counting on my Amazon wishlist...

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Can Avatar Save Blu Ray?

Avatar is already the fastest selling Blu Ray of all time, knocking The Dark Knight from its perch. But what really struck me is how close the Blu Ray sales figures – estimated at 2.7m – are closing in on the DVD numbers – 4m. Could Avatar not only save the planet, but also the home media format?

Blue Ray?

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When Cinemas Strike Back…

Hmm… I knew there wasn’t good news on the horizon when Disney announced they were steamrolling ahead with their plan to truncate the cinematic run of Tim Burton’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland adaptation. Obviously driven by the home entertainment market (and the fact that parents would be look for distractions for the kids as the summer holidays approach), they want to release the DVD 12 weeks after the movie premieres, rather than the standard 17 weeks. As you can imagine, this has ticked off the cinemas who make more money the later into a film’s release you see it, so it looks like we may have a boycott – in the UK at least. 95% of 3D screens may not be showing it. Including Cineworld, the largest cinema in Dublin.

Through the looking glass but not necessarily on the big screen...

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Public Enemies is better on DVD…

My dad happened to rent out Public Enemies on bluray over the weekend. I was somewhat disappointed when I went to see it in the cinema – and a large portion of my disappointment arose from Michael Mann’s filming style; he filmed in digital rather than on film and used handheld cameras. The effect was somewhat disconcerting in a 1930s period piece, looking almost like my dad had shot it on his handheld camcorder. It appears that a smaller screen (a High Definition TV) works wonders in remedying these technical faults.


Would it look even better on my iPod?

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The Future of Home Entertainment?

Blu Ray isn’t working quite the magic for home entertainment media that it should. The DVD market share is still falling and Blu Ray can’t seem to rise fast enough to catch it. There’s a lot of talk about whether hard copy media – actually owning a piece of hardware containing the movie – is outdated and the future of media consumption lies in direct downloads, but I don’t ever think that people will stop buying disks or videos or whatever the hard-copy medium of the day is.

The Watchmen Blu Ray allows director Zack Snyder to offer a blow-by-blow account of the movie.

The Watchmen Blu Ray allows director Zack Snyder to offer a blow-by-blow account of the movie.

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