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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.

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “TENET and 2020’s Not-busters”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Lee Murkey for the fifteenth episode of the year, for a discussion looking at the not-busters of the pandemic era, particularly Russell Crowe’s road rage thriller Unhinged and Christopher Nolan’s TENET.

You can listen to back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Column! On the Meaninglessness of “Godzilla vs. Kong”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release and success of Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max and in cinemas last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the film’s aggressive rejection of meaning. Godzilla vs. Kong is not a movie particularly concerned with subtext or metaphor. It is not a parable for mankind’s confrontation of the unknown, the hunger for war that lurks in every human heart, or even the dangers of how mankind is treating the environment. Instead, it’s a movie about a giant monkey punching a giant lizard until one of them falls down. However, maybe there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, particularly following a year that has – for many people – been over-infused with meaning. You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

222. Fa yeung nin wah (In the Mood for Love) – Chinese New Year/Valentine’s Day 2020 (#239)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Stacy Grouden and Luke Dunne, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, a Valentine’s and Chinese New Year treat. Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love.

Sixties Hong Kong is in a state of transition. Lives overlap in the densely populated city, as the Chan and Chow families move into the same building. Over time, Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow come to suspect that their spouses are having an illicit affair. This act of betrayal draws the two strangers closer to one another, even if neither seems entirely sure where this intersection will take them.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 239th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Malcolm and Marie

The reactions to Malcolm and Marie have been divided, to the say the least.

On one extreme, some critics have been quick to laud Sam Levinson’s black-and-white character study as a surprise late addition to the awards race, a bracing old-fashioned character drama anchored in two compelling performances that interrogates a relationship that never seems certain whether it will implode or explode. It is the kind of film that invites comparisons to works like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Boys in the Band or even something like Autumn Sonata: characters trapped in a confined space, with the drama ready to boil over.

On the other extreme, critics have been quick to argue that Malcolm and Marie is an indulgent mess anchored in a grossly unlikeable and shallow protagonist that never digs beneath the skin of its central characters. More than that, Levinson seems to use the film as an opportunity to work through his own issues as a promising (and privileged) young filmmaker who feels like he has not necessarily been given the critical respect that he deserves. Malcolm and Marie is a series of self-serious monologues delivered in the aesthetic of a (very pretty) Calvin Klein commercial.

As ever, the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.

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New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Is HBO Max Going to Change Cinema As We Know It?”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Maggie Iken for the fifteenth episode. Obviously, the big news is the fallout from the announcement that Warner Brothers would be sending all of its films next year to HBO Max, but we also dig into two horror movies – the recent Freaky and the seasonal Krampus.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

 

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “The Multigenerational Legacy of Sir Sean Connery”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Stacy Grouden for the eleventh episode. With Halloween officially behind us, we turned our gaze to November movies like The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values. We also reflected on the passing of Sir Sean Connery. We took a look at the trailer for Songbird, the first pandemic-xploitation movie.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Video! On the Snyder Cut and the Future of Pandemic Cinema…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with the Monday article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This month, it will be releasing on the Thursday.

With that in mind, here is last week’s episode, covering the long-looming release of The Snyder Cut of Justice League, and why this might represent an attractive model for studios desperately looking for new (and affordable) content in the midst of a pandemic.