Tale As Old As Time: March 2017 Movie Preview

E: More and more, March is becoming a hot movie month.

M: And March 2017 is becoming a month of increasingly insane schedules for at least two of the three Quibbling Siblings. Our apologies, but this will be a late, bare bones preview.

C: A preview-slash-review, if you will. What’s come out already in March, and what’s still to come? Some pretty intriguing stuff!

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Oscar Flicks and Rogue Blockbusters: December 2016 Movie Preview

M: Star Wars. Oscars. Assassins. December starts off slowly, but once it gets going it’s got it all.

E: If a film’s going to be eligible for Oscar, it has to play for at least a week before the year’s out.  So Christmas, particularly, is packed full of last minute contenders jostling for attention.

M: It’s been a few years since I voiced this complaint, so I’ll do it again now. I hate the system that allows movies to be released on literally two screens (one in NY, one in LA) in December, then get release wide right around when people are actually voting for the Oscars. My proposal is this: to qualify for Oscars, at the time of the voting deadline the total number of screens your film is being shown on must be equal or higher in the calendar year you are qualifying for. So, if you release on two screens in December, you can’t expand beyond two until after the voting is complete. If you want to be eligible in 2016, really be a 2016 movie.

E: Thanks, M; that was not predictable at all. You get that it’s strategy, right?  Studios want their movies to be fresh in voters’ minds when they vote. Almost never does a movie from the first half of the year get Oscar attention.  I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying, that’s the game.

M: That’s my point. The attention span of the Oscar nominators and voters is so insanely small that studios play to it, and movies that are really 2017 movies end up winning awards for 2016 because they play the game. I’d prefer to try to minimize the game playing, or at least punish people for the manipulation.

E: I’m not sure it really qualifies as manipulation.  That said, the real point is that there’s so much good stuff in December; it’s a heady mix of blockbusters and grown up dramas, and I for one couldn’t be happier about it.

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Fall 2016 Television Preview: Sunday

E: Welcome to the best night on TV, the night when cable pulls out all the stops.  Want prestige adaptations?  We’ve got ’em. Costume dramas?  You’re on.  Movie stars?  Check.

C: And I… don’t think I watch anything on Sundays. I’m the low-brow one on this gang, I guess.

M: Something tells me I’ll give you a run for your money there. In Thursday’s post we mentioned how that night has fallen off as the most competitive, best night on TV. Well, Sundays was always up there, now it’s the king of the hill (though, not Hank Hill). But it’s become a weird hill. NBC has football (which until about 5 years ago was on ESPN), CBS decided to go with a slate of similar-but-different, law enforcement-y procedurals, with acronym-happy NCIS:LA, Madam Secretary and Elementary. FOX, as it has for years, has gone all comedy on Sunday, and ABC is kind of schizophrenic, with the fantasty-ish Once Upon a Time, followed by the very heavy Secrets and Lies, and ends with the extremely soapy Quantico. What a weird night.

E: Two things you won’t get this fall? Game of Thrones (it’s such a long wait until April) and The Good Wife (sigh).

M: Poor E, her long-time favorite show has come to an end. Was it at least a satisfying end?

E: Confession time: I have still not actually watched the final two episodes.

M and C: WHAAAT!?  whaaatminion

E: I know.

C: Okay but seriously, that is shocking.

M: Like, “end of The Sixth Sense if you hadn’t heard there was a twist” shocking.

E: I know! I was really glad they were ending it (boy it got really dark and unsatisfying in later seasons, even though it still gave us the most brilliant, topical cases of the week and the most vivid characterizations on television), and I was glad it went out on the creators’ terms, but I don’t know.  It’s too emotionally fraught.  What if I don’t like it?  I heard mixed reviews, and I just could not — still cannot — bring myself to watch.

C: Well, I can’t say I don’t sympathize. I’ve given up on some of the shows I was the most emotionally invested in because I couldn’t handle the loss of the things I liked about it. But, you know, usually with a season or two left, not two episodes. Poor E 😦 Continue reading

Get Ready for the Dog Days: August 2016 Movie Preview

M: Um, yeah. Last month, for the first time in years, we missed a monthly movie preview. Our bad.

E: Which is a shame, because we’re left with the spottiest month of the summer to review.

C: But in happier news, I’m back! After knocking a few items off my to-do list (got a PhD, got married), I finally have time to devote to the really important things, like lamenting the absurdity of a Ben Hur remake with my siblings.

E: Or the poor quality of this year’s August releases.  But even that paucity is sweeter with you.

C: Aww. Anyway, it’s really just a normal August, with one potential blockbuster, one or two looks-good-but-could-wait-for-video quality films, and the rest pretty humdrum fare. By which I mean, a great time to see what’s still in the theaters from July. Like Ghostbusters, which is delightful!

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Just The Blockbusters: June 2016 Movie Preiview

M: So while May is the official start of summer movie season, June is the true start of the season when the studios know that their customers ages 22 and under are out of school and are looking for air-conditioned fun. With that we’ll get the most anticipated animated movie in years, and some other seemingly fun fare.

E: June might just be the most blockbuster heavy month of the year. The studios have brought out what they thinks are the big guns, boys and girls.

M: I think July will give it a run for it’s money, but yeah, June’s got the big guns. As for the Siblings, well, the June movies start on Friday, but C is getting married on Saturday! Needless to say, she won’t be joining in, and neither E nor I have a lot of time to devote to this.

E: We have rather a lot going on, thank you.

M: Therefor, we’re only running through the big releases. Our apologies, and we should be back on track a month from now (when there’s at least one zany looking smaller release that I’m interested in discussing).

E: We hate to skimp, but if a skinny preview is all we can deliver, I’d like to think it’s better than nothing.

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Civil War Apocalypse: May 2016 Movie Preview

M: So, it’s rainy and cold (high 40’s, low 50’s), and promises to be about the same for the next five days. It snowed a couple weeks ago. This means, clearly, that it’s summer movie season! Well, at least, that’s what it means in New England, where spring generally fluctuates between “extended winter” and “hotter than hell”.

E: I’m pretty sure this is how we started the May preview last year, too. Doesn’t feel like spring here, let alone summer, but that’s what Hollywood considers it.

M: Well, that’s depressing. I’m sure I blamed Al Gore then, so I’ll lay off him this year.

E: Yes, I’m sure you did. I’m amazed at your forbearance.

M: Weather aside, with May come summer blockbusters, and this May is no exception. Now, we only have a couple, and there’s an overall lack of depth to the month’s offerings, but we’ve got at least the two comic-book tent poles to get us through.

E: And a couple of high profile adaptations which seem likely to generate big box office, as well as a low profile literary adaptation that I’m absolutely salivating over.

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The Sweet Triumph of Getting It Wrong: Oscar Reactions, 2016

E: Well.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been so happy to be wrong.

Honestly, I’m generally pretty happy to be wrong because it means that there was a surprise.  Though it looked like last night’s awards had settled into complete predictability, there were a few surprises and a couple of truly shocking moment (good and bad) alongside all of the expected wins.  Let’s take a quick look. Continue reading