Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Last Picture Show

LeSueur Minnesota, July 2011

While watching last Sunday's Academy Award Show, it struck me that everything thing about the industry seemed a little less- Kodak is bankrupt, the "Best Picture" nominees were, for the most part, not exactly blockbusters, but even more importantly, they didn't capture the imagination of a large group of movie goers.

War Horse and Moneyball were genre pictures, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and The Help were strong dramas but not exactly timeless masterpieces, while The Tree of Life was a personal vision of director Terence Malick. The Artist was the big winner of course- a throwback to the silent films of the twenties- it was pleasant and well done but I can't help but think that if it had come out in the twenties it would have been just another film. Hugo, Martin Scorsese's 3-D adaptation of Brian Selznick's graphic novel, a technical tour de force, was also tribute to early film makers.

There have never been more movies being made. HD TV on large screens in the home is replacing the trip to the cineplex, video on demand is on your computer or even in your pocket, but the theater experience is soon to be a thing of the past. Expensive, unpleasant (more and more ads before the show) with ear-splitting (and often lo-fi) sound and even low-quality digital projection.

Maybe it's just me, am I too old? I don't know. But grandeur of HOLLYWOOD is fading fast. It was always a dream factory, and there were always more bad films made than good ones. There just aren't very many sweet dreams anymore.

Which leaves us with Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Written by Woody, on a typewriter(!), this subtle musing on desire, art and bygone times may well be the film that will be remembered in the next millennium.

By Professor Batty


Anonymous I'd Rather Be in Iceland said...

I think this is why I love Bollywood films, old-school glamour, truly classy stars and some really novel ideas. Plenty of clunkers too! The whole scene is much more about the stars.

Anonymous Niranjana (Brown Paper) said...

I haven't seen a Hollywood film in a theatre in two years apart from Winnie-the-Pooh (for my son); I'm in my thirties. I find I have little patience with mainstream Hollywood's self-congratulatory flourishes. But I was a lot more forgiving in my twenties. So, perhaps it *is* an age thing. As in, older=wiser.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

IRBII ~ I enjoyed Bride and Predjudice immensely, maybe not "pure" Bollywood, but very refreshing.

Niranjana ~ Hollywood goes through cycles, the Sixties were AWFUL, the Seventies pretty good, but lately it's been pretty lame. And they can't seem do a proper musical at all!

Blogger Shoshanah Marohn said...

I agree with Niranjana! I also went and saw the Winnie-the-Pooh movie, which was great. It seems like I thought everything was fantastic when I was a teenager, because we didn't have a movie theater in Sebastopol, so it was just so special to go to the movies. Now I'm 37 and jaded. Also bitter- Sebastopol now has a movie theater!

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