Sep 18, 2019
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Front Page, Industry News

Visionaries Take to the Small Screen for New Golden Age of Television

This could be the year when everything changed. Though there has been a gradual shift evolving over the past decade – beginning with David Simon’s The Wire, continuing through with The Sopranos and Mad Men – now with David Fincher’s House of Cards, Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake and Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace all hitting television this year; it isn’t just that viewers are turning to TV because the movie experience is more disappointing; it’s that audiences are turning to TV because of its own undeniable heat. Honored by the American Academy in Rome Monday night Bernardo Bertolucci says he’s discouraged by the Hollywood he once revered: “The American films I like now do not come from Hollywood studios but from television series, like ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Americans.”

House of Cards took everyone by surprise. Much was made of the idea that House of Cards couldn’t build buzz because it wasn’t being rolled out week by week; audiences couldn’t involve themselves in the plot, cook up conspiracy theories, or attach themselves to any one storyline. Since fandom drives so much of what makes any TV show popular, it was thought that none could be built for House of Cards. It was there to be swallowed whole, the entire story arc, all ten episodes. Viewers devoured it. But in some sense, no one knew how to manage it — it was unharnessed power, and it was out now. The kind of darkness at work, though tongue-in-cheek, speaks honestly to the sentiment of the time, how most of us view our government officials: Trust no one. Worse, behind every great leader is a team of self-serving corrupt vipers. The one bright spot in House of Cards, is Corey Stoll, who tries to do the right thing, the idealistic thing, and fails. House of Cards came on the heels of President Obama’s re-election, so it didn’t quite capture the liberal zeitgeist, that the best of the two contenders had won. The more cynical among us doesn’t see much of a difference between the two.

David Fincher, the Edgar Allen Poe of film directors, refused to fill House of Cards with uplifting characters. Because he had the freedom of the format being Netflix, he could head towards discomfort, not run from it. When Kevin Spacey goes down on Kate Mara while she’s calling her father for Father’s Day, who among us wasn’t icked out? Maybe at some point that repulsion flipped, and it became a turn-on. Either way, it was the kind of thing you couldn’t really unsee. Or forget.

Just when you think House of Cards is going to be about Kevin Spacey owning Washington, the tables turn. The hunter becomes the hunted as season one comes to a close. After 13 episodes you’d think you’d be satiated for a while, but no. As soon as Season One ends you need to find out what happens next.  House of Cards, unlike most of the dramas offered up on network television, doesn’t follow a specific formula. It isn’t a crime drama or a hospital drama – it’s political satire, which doesn’t exactly fly at the multiplex so much, even if it still had to run the same gauntlet of critics and bloggers before it even has a chance to play for audiences.

The thrill of House of Cards was that the filmmakers didn’t have to answer to anybody, at least not yet, not until the public got a look at it, not until we see if the Netflix model succeeded or failed. But honestly, with much of the content on Netflix being devoured before new material replaces it, how could House of Cards have failed?

We’ll never live through another House of Cards moment. It was really one of a kind. There will be a season 2, and perhaps more original programming on Netflix. There have been other series box sets we watch that way — one episode after another until the whole series is viewed almost in one sitting. But this is the first time we’ve been offered a marathon world premiere. House of Cards was impossible not to keep watching. One fresh episode ended and another was right there for the taking. I watched the whole thing at least twice, all the way through. Soon original programming on Netflix will be the norm. But for those who lived through it, we’ll remember the day everything changed.

Similarly dark, but to be expected coming out of the BBC and Sundance is Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, also streaming on Netflix. Campion’s thumbprint is all over the series, which follows a female cop (Elisabeth Moss) who returns to her hometown in New Zealand to solve the mystery of a pregnant 12 year-old who disappears. As beautiful as its setting is to look at, a raw ugliness emerges from behind closed doors. How would you even sell Top of the Lake as a feature film? But as a mini-series it is more than ample. There is no pressure to perform that first weekend, no pressure to satisfy the tastes of bloggers or even critics. It is just good storytelling, bravura directing, great performances beginning with Moss, but also Peter Mullen, and the supporting women — a tribe of old’uns camped out in freight cars by a lake. The wise women gather and discuss life’s larger themes. A young female cop hunts down the criminals. A child mother escapes into the hills to protect her little baby, even if she doesn’t understand what being a mother is yet. These characters are like a wolf pack, the females joining forces to see that justice is done. As in nature, they protect their young against predators, from the minds of Campion and Gerard Lee.

Finally, the third game-changer is Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra. So much better than most films made for television, it’s not as easily written off as, say, Hemingway and Gelhorn, Behind the Candelabra was so good it was chosen to be part of the Palme d’Or competition at Cannes. Soderbergh has said he’s satisfied that it played on HBO. But those who’ve seen the film lament that it didn’t get a feature film release if, for no other reason, Michael Douglas could have received an Oscar nomination. Soderbergh’s right, though, that Candelabra will be seen by many more people and it won’t have to have run the theatrical gauntlet either — no need to appeal uniformly to the wall of noise that decides what “the take” on a movie will be, thus snuffing out its chances for an awards run, and potentially hurting it at the box office. You know, the “Twitter effect.” Soderbergh has said that making movies isn’t fun anymore because dealing with the people who get them made is too much of a nightmare. That, and when he’s tried to do groundbreaking stuff in the past it’s been met with a shrug. No one has the kind of versatility Soderbergh has. The guy who made Bubble, the Oceans movies, the Girlfriend Experience, Magic Mike, Solaris, and earlier, with Traffic and Erin Brockovich he became one of the few directors to be twice nominated for two different Best Picture contenders in the same year. He won for Traffic. That no studio wanted to back Behind the Candelabra is astonishing, and shameful, and does not bode well for the future of film. Mass entertainment, genre movies, sequels? No problem. They will thrive in the brave new world.

Behind the Candelabra, like House of Cards and Top of the Lake, sets the bar so high that films and episodic television will have to improve just to match them. This is the impact shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire have had on this exodus of top talent away from film toward TV. TV just keeps getting better and better.

While major studios have at last cracked the code about how to give summer audiences exactly what they want as the critic-bloggers happily play along, they seem less inclined to back serious cinema that lasts. Why would they. If money is all that they’re interested in, money is what they’ll get. Piles and piles of it. There doesn’t seem to be any slowdown with audiences either. They like the sequels. They like the continual shift towards one male hero who makes good. International box office also seems to back up the notion of one size fits all entertainment. Movies now more than ever.

That has left it to those who work in the Oscar realm to fund, distribute and publicize movies that fall outside the perfectly honed paradigm. Those producers and distributors continue to support the “smaller” movies that really do attempt to tell stories that do more than just push the right buttons to give the chimp the reward. Movies like Fruitvale, Before Midnight, Stories We Tell, Frances Ha, and even what Zach Braff is doing with Kickstarter — even with the complaints – proves that there is still a thriving community for a select audience.

But.

What gets people excited is now much easier to access than waiting around for a movie to finally come to their corner of the world — critics and bloggers can help build buzz for a show on Netflix or cable but they can’t dismantle them. After all, you can watch everything on Netflix for just a small fee every month. That you get House of Cards and Top of the Lake as part of that fee seems almost too good to be true. How long will it last? Will Netflix start charging more for premium content? If it goes in that direction they could risk killing something that has the potential to redefine what we talk about when we talk about movies.

Source: Awards Daily

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Front Page, Industry News

Visionaries Take to the Small Screen for New Golden Age of Television

This could be the year when everything changed. Though there has been a gradual shift evolving over the past decade – beginning with David Simon’s The Wire, continuing through with The Sopranos and Mad Men – now with David Fincher’s House of Cards, Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake and Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace all hitting television this year; it isn’t just that viewers are turning to TV because the movie experience is more disappointing; it’s that audiences are turning to TV because of its own undeniable heat. Honored by the American Academy in Rome Monday night Bernardo Bertolucci says he’s discouraged by the Hollywood he once revered: “The American films I like now do not come from Hollywood studios but from television series, like ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Americans.”

House of Cards took everyone by surprise. Much was made of the idea that House of Cards couldn’t build buzz because it wasn’t being rolled out week by week; audiences couldn’t involve themselves in the plot, cook up conspiracy theories, or attach themselves to any one storyline. Since fandom drives so much of what makes any TV show popular, it was thought that none could be built for House of Cards. It was there to be swallowed whole, the entire story arc, all ten episodes. Viewers devoured it. But in some sense, no one knew how to manage it — it was unharnessed power, and it was out now. The kind of darkness at work, though tongue-in-cheek, speaks honestly to the sentiment of the time, how most of us view our government officials: Trust no one. Worse, behind every great leader is a team of self-serving corrupt vipers. The one bright spot in House of Cards, is Corey Stoll, who tries to do the right thing, the idealistic thing, and fails. House of Cards came on the heels of President Obama’s re-election, so it didn’t quite capture the liberal zeitgeist, that the best of the two contenders had won. The more cynical among us doesn’t see much of a difference between the two.

David Fincher, the Edgar Allen Poe of film directors, refused to fill House of Cards with uplifting characters. Because he had the freedom of the format being Netflix, he could head towards discomfort, not run from it. When Kevin Spacey goes down on Kate Mara while she’s calling her father for Father’s Day, who among us wasn’t icked out? Maybe at some point that repulsion flipped, and it became a turn-on. Either way, it was the kind of thing you couldn’t really unsee. Or forget.

Just when you think House of Cards is going to be about Kevin Spacey owning Washington, the tables turn. The hunter becomes the hunted as season one comes to a close. After 13 episodes you’d think you’d be satiated for a while, but no. As soon as Season One ends you need to find out what happens next.  House of Cards, unlike most of the dramas offered up on network television, doesn’t follow a specific formula. It isn’t a crime drama or a hospital drama – it’s political satire, which doesn’t exactly fly at the multiplex so much, even if it still had to run the same gauntlet of critics and bloggers before it even has a chance to play for audiences.

The thrill of House of Cards was that the filmmakers didn’t have to answer to anybody, at least not yet, not until the public got a look at it, not until we see if the Netflix model succeeded or failed. But honestly, with much of the content on Netflix being devoured before new material replaces it, how could House of Cards have failed?

We’ll never live through another House of Cards moment. It was really one of a kind. There will be a season 2, and perhaps more original programming on Netflix. There have been other series box sets we watch that way — one episode after another until the whole series is viewed almost in one sitting. But this is the first time we’ve been offered a marathon world premiere. House of Cards was impossible not to keep watching. One fresh episode ended and another was right there for the taking. I watched the whole thing at least twice, all the way through. Soon original programming on Netflix will be the norm. But for those who lived through it, we’ll remember the day everything changed.

Similarly dark, but to be expected coming out of the BBC and Sundance is Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, also streaming on Netflix. Campion’s thumbprint is all over the series, which follows a female cop (Elisabeth Moss) who returns to her hometown in New Zealand to solve the mystery of a pregnant 12 year-old who disappears. As beautiful as its setting is to look at, a raw ugliness emerges from behind closed doors. How would you even sell Top of the Lake as a feature film? But as a mini-series it is more than ample. There is no pressure to perform that first weekend, no pressure to satisfy the tastes of bloggers or even critics. It is just good storytelling, bravura directing, great performances beginning with Moss, but also Peter Mullen, and the supporting women — a tribe of old’uns camped out in freight cars by a lake. The wise women gather and discuss life’s larger themes. A young female cop hunts down the criminals. A child mother escapes into the hills to protect her little baby, even if she doesn’t understand what being a mother is yet. These characters are like a wolf pack, the females joining forces to see that justice is done. As in nature, they protect their young against predators, from the minds of Campion and Gerard Lee.

Finally, the third game-changer is Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra. So much better than most films made for television, it’s not as easily written off as, say, Hemingway and Gelhorn, Behind the Candelabra was so good it was chosen to be part of the Palme d’Or competition at Cannes. Soderbergh has said he’s satisfied that it played on HBO. But those who’ve seen the film lament that it didn’t get a feature film release if, for no other reason, Michael Douglas could have received an Oscar nomination. Soderbergh’s right, though, that Candelabra will be seen by many more people and it won’t have to have run the theatrical gauntlet either — no need to appeal uniformly to the wall of noise that decides what “the take” on a movie will be, thus snuffing out its chances for an awards run, and potentially hurting it at the box office. You know, the “Twitter effect.” Soderbergh has said that making movies isn’t fun anymore because dealing with the people who get them made is too much of a nightmare. That, and when he’s tried to do groundbreaking stuff in the past it’s been met with a shrug. No one has the kind of versatility Soderbergh has. The guy who made Bubble, the Oceans movies, the Girlfriend Experience, Magic Mike, Solaris, and earlier, with Traffic and Erin Brockovich he became one of the few directors to be twice nominated for two different Best Picture contenders in the same year. He won for Traffic. That no studio wanted to back Behind the Candelabra is astonishing, and shameful, and does not bode well for the future of film. Mass entertainment, genre movies, sequels? No problem. They will thrive in the brave new world.

Behind the Candelabra, like House of Cards and Top of the Lake, sets the bar so high that films and episodic television will have to improve just to match them. This is the impact shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire have had on this exodus of top talent away from film toward TV. TV just keeps getting better and better.

While major studios have at last cracked the code about how to give summer audiences exactly what they want as the critic-bloggers happily play along, they seem less inclined to back serious cinema that lasts. Why would they. If money is all that they’re interested in, money is what they’ll get. Piles and piles of it. There doesn’t seem to be any slowdown with audiences either. They like the sequels. They like the continual shift towards one male hero who makes good. International box office also seems to back up the notion of one size fits all entertainment. Movies now more than ever.

That has left it to those who work in the Oscar realm to fund, distribute and publicize movies that fall outside the perfectly honed paradigm. Those producers and distributors continue to support the “smaller” movies that really do attempt to tell stories that do more than just push the right buttons to give the chimp the reward. Movies like Fruitvale, Before Midnight, Stories We Tell, Frances Ha, and even what Zach Braff is doing with Kickstarter — even with the complaints – proves that there is still a thriving community for a select audience.

But.

What gets people excited is now much easier to access than waiting around for a movie to finally come to their corner of the world — critics and bloggers can help build buzz for a show on Netflix or cable but they can’t dismantle them. After all, you can watch everything on Netflix for just a small fee every month. That you get House of Cards and Top of the Lake as part of that fee seems almost too good to be true. How long will it last? Will Netflix start charging more for premium content? If it goes in that direction they could risk killing something that has the potential to redefine what we talk about when we talk about movies.

Source: Awards Daily

Leave a Reply

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You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Industry News

Visionaries Take to the Small Screen for New Golden Age of Television

This could be the year when everything changed. Though there has been a gradual shift evolving over the past decade – beginning with David Simon’s The Wire, continuing through with The Sopranos and Mad Men – now with David Fincher’s House of Cards, Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake and Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace all hitting television this year; it isn’t just that viewers are turning to TV because the movie experience is more disappointing; it’s that audiences are turning to TV because of its own undeniable heat. Honored by the American Academy in Rome Monday night Bernardo Bertolucci says he’s discouraged by the Hollywood he once revered: “The American films I like now do not come from Hollywood studios but from television series, like ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Americans.”

House of Cards took everyone by surprise. Much was made of the idea that House of Cards couldn’t build buzz because it wasn’t being rolled out week by week; audiences couldn’t involve themselves in the plot, cook up conspiracy theories, or attach themselves to any one storyline. Since fandom drives so much of what makes any TV show popular, it was thought that none could be built for House of Cards. It was there to be swallowed whole, the entire story arc, all ten episodes. Viewers devoured it. But in some sense, no one knew how to manage it — it was unharnessed power, and it was out now. The kind of darkness at work, though tongue-in-cheek, speaks honestly to the sentiment of the time, how most of us view our government officials: Trust no one. Worse, behind every great leader is a team of self-serving corrupt vipers. The one bright spot in House of Cards, is Corey Stoll, who tries to do the right thing, the idealistic thing, and fails. House of Cards came on the heels of President Obama’s re-election, so it didn’t quite capture the liberal zeitgeist, that the best of the two contenders had won. The more cynical among us doesn’t see much of a difference between the two.

David Fincher, the Edgar Allen Poe of film directors, refused to fill House of Cards with uplifting characters. Because he had the freedom of the format being Netflix, he could head towards discomfort, not run from it. When Kevin Spacey goes down on Kate Mara while she’s calling her father for Father’s Day, who among us wasn’t icked out? Maybe at some point that repulsion flipped, and it became a turn-on. Either way, it was the kind of thing you couldn’t really unsee. Or forget.

Just when you think House of Cards is going to be about Kevin Spacey owning Washington, the tables turn. The hunter becomes the hunted as season one comes to a close. After 13 episodes you’d think you’d be satiated for a while, but no. As soon as Season One ends you need to find out what happens next.  House of Cards, unlike most of the dramas offered up on network television, doesn’t follow a specific formula. It isn’t a crime drama or a hospital drama – it’s political satire, which doesn’t exactly fly at the multiplex so much, even if it still had to run the same gauntlet of critics and bloggers before it even has a chance to play for audiences.

The thrill of House of Cards was that the filmmakers didn’t have to answer to anybody, at least not yet, not until the public got a look at it, not until we see if the Netflix model succeeded or failed. But honestly, with much of the content on Netflix being devoured before new material replaces it, how could House of Cards have failed?

We’ll never live through another House of Cards moment. It was really one of a kind. There will be a season 2, and perhaps more original programming on Netflix. There have been other series box sets we watch that way — one episode after another until the whole series is viewed almost in one sitting. But this is the first time we’ve been offered a marathon world premiere. House of Cards was impossible not to keep watching. One fresh episode ended and another was right there for the taking. I watched the whole thing at least twice, all the way through. Soon original programming on Netflix will be the norm. But for those who lived through it, we’ll remember the day everything changed.

Similarly dark, but to be expected coming out of the BBC and Sundance is Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, also streaming on Netflix. Campion’s thumbprint is all over the series, which follows a female cop (Elisabeth Moss) who returns to her hometown in New Zealand to solve the mystery of a pregnant 12 year-old who disappears. As beautiful as its setting is to look at, a raw ugliness emerges from behind closed doors. How would you even sell Top of the Lake as a feature film? But as a mini-series it is more than ample. There is no pressure to perform that first weekend, no pressure to satisfy the tastes of bloggers or even critics. It is just good storytelling, bravura directing, great performances beginning with Moss, but also Peter Mullen, and the supporting women — a tribe of old’uns camped out in freight cars by a lake. The wise women gather and discuss life’s larger themes. A young female cop hunts down the criminals. A child mother escapes into the hills to protect her little baby, even if she doesn’t understand what being a mother is yet. These characters are like a wolf pack, the females joining forces to see that justice is done. As in nature, they protect their young against predators, from the minds of Campion and Gerard Lee.

Finally, the third game-changer is Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra. So much better than most films made for television, it’s not as easily written off as, say, Hemingway and Gelhorn, Behind the Candelabra was so good it was chosen to be part of the Palme d’Or competition at Cannes. Soderbergh has said he’s satisfied that it played on HBO. But those who’ve seen the film lament that it didn’t get a feature film release if, for no other reason, Michael Douglas could have received an Oscar nomination. Soderbergh’s right, though, that Candelabra will be seen by many more people and it won’t have to have run the theatrical gauntlet either — no need to appeal uniformly to the wall of noise that decides what “the take” on a movie will be, thus snuffing out its chances for an awards run, and potentially hurting it at the box office. You know, the “Twitter effect.” Soderbergh has said that making movies isn’t fun anymore because dealing with the people who get them made is too much of a nightmare. That, and when he’s tried to do groundbreaking stuff in the past it’s been met with a shrug. No one has the kind of versatility Soderbergh has. The guy who made Bubble, the Oceans movies, the Girlfriend Experience, Magic Mike, Solaris, and earlier, with Traffic and Erin Brockovich he became one of the few directors to be twice nominated for two different Best Picture contenders in the same year. He won for Traffic. That no studio wanted to back Behind the Candelabra is astonishing, and shameful, and does not bode well for the future of film. Mass entertainment, genre movies, sequels? No problem. They will thrive in the brave new world.

Behind the Candelabra, like House of Cards and Top of the Lake, sets the bar so high that films and episodic television will have to improve just to match them. This is the impact shows like The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire have had on this exodus of top talent away from film toward TV. TV just keeps getting better and better.

While major studios have at last cracked the code about how to give summer audiences exactly what they want as the critic-bloggers happily play along, they seem less inclined to back serious cinema that lasts. Why would they. If money is all that they’re interested in, money is what they’ll get. Piles and piles of it. There doesn’t seem to be any slowdown with audiences either. They like the sequels. They like the continual shift towards one male hero who makes good. International box office also seems to back up the notion of one size fits all entertainment. Movies now more than ever.

That has left it to those who work in the Oscar realm to fund, distribute and publicize movies that fall outside the perfectly honed paradigm. Those producers and distributors continue to support the “smaller” movies that really do attempt to tell stories that do more than just push the right buttons to give the chimp the reward. Movies like Fruitvale, Before Midnight, Stories We Tell, Frances Ha, and even what Zach Braff is doing with Kickstarter — even with the complaints – proves that there is still a thriving community for a select audience.

But.

What gets people excited is now much easier to access than waiting around for a movie to finally come to their corner of the world — critics and bloggers can help build buzz for a show on Netflix or cable but they can’t dismantle them. After all, you can watch everything on Netflix for just a small fee every month. That you get House of Cards and Top of the Lake as part of that fee seems almost too good to be true. How long will it last? Will Netflix start charging more for premium content? If it goes in that direction they could risk killing something that has the potential to redefine what we talk about when we talk about movies.

Source: Awards Daily

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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