Often, sci-fi and low budget indie productions go together about as well as chocolate and onions. The high budget demands on special effects eventually hamper the entire story. Clone Hunter is indeed [ ... ]
The film begins on an ominous note. Eerie strings play as the film fades to white. Soon, a ship appears out of the fog. Cut to a gumshoe, looking and speaking as if he has stepped straight out of a [ ... ]
Postcards from the President- discussions on the film biz
Best TV To Film Adaptations
Written by Trent Daniel
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 21:57
One clear sign of Hollywood’s lack of imagination is the number of times that any remotely well known TV shows are re-imagined as movies. For the most part, this idea has not worked, as the films are either severe disappointments (The Avengers, Twilight Zone: The Movie) or awful ideas in the first place (The Flintstones; Scooby-Doo; The Beverly Hillbillies). Below are 5 films that were actually successful when adapted to the wide screen from television. Perhaps there are lessons here for the creators of upcoming adaptations (I’m looking at you, 24).
1. The Untouchables (1987)-This move is perhaps both Director Brian DePalma’s and Kevin Costner’s finest moment. It is a non-stop thrill ride that features wonderful performances (in particular Sean Connery’s Oscar winning Officer Malone and Robert DeNiro’s over the top Al Capone). It gets right what too many action films do not-namely, it takes the time to establish characters we come to actually care about, which makes the action set pieces (which are terrific) that much more memorable.
2. The Fugitive (1993)-This is the only TV to film adaptation to ever be nominated for Best Picture and it deserves it. Starting with its spectacular train wreck escape, the film is riveting as Dr Richard Kimble
(Harrison Ford, perfectly cast in his specialty as the reluctant hero), wrongfully convicted for his wife’s murder, desperately tries to stay one step ahead of US Marshall Gerard (Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones) while trying to clear his name. Like The Untouchables, The Fugitive delivers great action, yet takes the time to establish involving characters and a riveting story.
3. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999)-Not only is this one of the best TV to movie adaptations, it is also one of the funniest movies of the past 15 years, as well as, in a demented way, one of the best musicals. As South Park always does, this movie often goes way, way beyond the limits of good taste, yet still accomplishes the remarkable feat of making sometimes pointed comments on society while being absolutely hysterical at the same time.
4. Star Trek (2009)-This was a close call over Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (easily the best of the movies with the old school cast). I give the recent version a slight edge out of gratitude for revitalizing a beloved franchise that some critics felt was dying. Though not without its flaws, it is clear that the movie was made by people who dearly loved the old show (most notably Director JJ Abrams). The movie is a lot of fun, with great special effects, various in jokes (watch for the red suit) and a mostly solid re-casting of beloved characters (kudos to Karl Urban’s spot on recreation of Bones McCoy).
5. The Naked Gun (1988)-People often forget that The Naked Gun originated as a short lived but now legendary show called Police Squad! Though I believe Airplane! is still the best of the Zucker Brothers comedies, few movies are as successful at the insane throw-every-joke-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks style of comedy as this one (Leslie Nielsen is perfectly cast as the hapless Detective Drebin). For better or worse, this film and Airplane! were the inspiration behind such dubious franchises as the Scary Movie and Disaster Movie series.
It's that time of year again where many are trying to choose interesting and affordable Holiday gifts for their friends and family. I urge you to pay a visit to www.indiefilmkiosk.com As always, it is the video store where less is more. We offer a unique selection of foreign language films and great American independents as finished goods dvds. Yes, not a download but an actual living and breathing dvd.
Titles like Kim Ki Duk's disturbing BAD GUY and the edgy French romance WILD CAMP, are just two of the great films available. There's docs like AMERICAN CANNIBAL and WALL, great American indies like EL CAMINO, starring Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) and comedies like the unforgettable WEST WITTERING AFFAIR and SLIPPERY SLOPE.
All of these dvds and many more are offered with the best prices on the internet. And if you spend more than $25.00 we throw in free shipping too. How can you go wrong?
Over the years those of us who work in independent film distribution have had a love hate relationship with Netflix. While they used to carry at least a few units of everything, their business model put a big hurt on Blockbuster and ultimately our bottom line. Netflix can service the entire country with 90-300 units of an indie title. They have no problem making indie film audiences wait weeks for a selection. Blockbuster, on the other hand, needed at least 1,800 units, usually more, to service the entire country. It's not hard to do the math to see where revenue has disappeared. None the less, the near guaranteed sale to Netflix on everything we released eased the pain a bit.
--Until recently, when Netflix has begun to pass on indie titles, even for streaming only. This is a terrible turn of events for independent films. Ironically, it is Blockbuster Total Access (soon to be just Block online) that is now the only champion left for independent film rental product of any real consequence.
Our latest release, the sci fi film CLONE HUNTER, is available through Block Total Access. If you are a subscriber, or are just tired of the Netflix shuffle, check it out. The film streets August 10. If you've never been to Blockbuster Online, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how efficient their interface is. I think its one of the best kept secrets in home entertainment.
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The Future Of Electronic Delivery Is Now
Written by Bruce Frigeri
Friday, 11 June 2010 11:32
The statement from the Time-Warner CFO that the studio was ìaggressivelyî transitioning away from packaged media is just the latest indication that the future of electronic delivery of movies is pretty much upon us. Sales of dvds and blu ray have been falling for years. Now fueled by a recession that seems to have no end, that drop has become a plummet. Distributors of finished goods scramble to compensate for the reduced revenue per title by releasing ever more filmsóan approach that exhausts consumers and inevitably waters down the quality of new releases with too many mediocre films. The other trend that drives current release strategy is the obsession with cast driven product; as if ìBî grade actors never make a bad film. What these trends have given us is a cluttered market full of mediocre and even bad films with very little room for innovation and creativity. The only growth area for packaged media is kiosks like Redbox. Unfortunately the wholesale price these new outlets are willing to pay is so low, and their shelf/inventory space so limited, that they donít come close to making up for all the revenue lost in other areas of home entertainment. They do however offer the average consumer the cheapest method to legally watch a movie; albeit usually a very predictable one. Bland selection or not, this price advantage and the ongoing recession mean that these kiosks are going to be with us for some time to come, whether the studios and other big dvd distributors like them or not.
This brings us to the future that we are already living. In this distributorís opinion, there are three things slowing down the tidal surge towards electronic delivery of home entertainment. The first of these, with the notable exception of InDemand, is the absence of any meaningful presentation strategies by the Video On Demand services. Available titles, particularly new releases, are lumped together with almost no sorting or categorizing. Such a cluttered presentation makes the need for effective searching software and hardware ever more imperative. Unfortunately, neither the software or hardware currently available to consumers is up to the task.
This situation is the second reason that v.o.d. has still not completely overwhelmed packaged media. Whereas any gamer has a wireless hand controller that can interact in very specific ways with the game console and the television, most v.o.d. consumers only have their rather archaic remote to use as an interface. How long will it be before the cable companies introduce a wireless mouse-type device that will solve this problem? I predict such devices will be available by the end of this year. On the other hand it is hard to believe that such devices arenít already in use.
The demise of Hollywood Video/Movie Gallery has to be one of the great slow motion collapses in business history. Before their merger in 2005, the two companies were the number two and number three rental chains in the country. I remember the bafflement that came over me when I heard the news of the merger. Why would Hollywood agree to such a thing? Well, it was money of course that drove the deal, just as it was money or the lack thereof, that drove the new entity into oblivion five years later. The market forces that would contribute so mightily to their demise were already storm clouds on the horizon when Movie Gallery foolishly purchased Hollywood Video, primarily with debt and stock swaps. It was this debt, coupled with an incredible lack of foresight on the part of Movie Gallery management, which led to the new entityís inability to adapt to the changing distribution landscape.
As a dvd distributor and indie film fan, I have always had a warm spot in my heart for the old Hollywood Video. They were a well run company with smart people making decisions in a timely manner. Hollywood was much more likely to give a lesser known title a chance than Blockbuster. In fact, we had two substantial indie hits; Bad Guyand The River, which Blockbuster refused to carry at all. Movie Gallery was always a much less sophisticated operation, relying on deep copy depth of mainstream Hollywood titles to make a profit. To their credit, Movie Gallery realized that the Hollywood acquisition people knew more about the rental business than they did and deferred to their judgement on almost all independent and foreign language titles. Unfortunately Movie Galley did next to nothing to adapt to the new distribution models that were posing such a threat to their core rental business. Whether it was due to the huge debt load incurred as a result of the Hollywood Video acquisition or just plain lack of imagination, Movie Gallery found itself whipsawed by both Netflix and various video on demand services. If consumers wanted a huge selection of films at an affordable price they went with Netflix. If it was convenience that mattered they could watch most mainstream titles with a few clicks of their tv remoteówhile the pop corn popped in their microwave
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The award winners from the South By Southwest Film Festival were announced today. Reading about them made me wistful. SXSW has always been my favorite N. American film festival and I've skipped it now two years in a row. The reason I chose to stay home again is quite simple. In spite of my affinity for all things Austin, TX, there is simply no business to be had for the vast majority of films that screen at South By Southwest.
Of course every year is different than the last, and with delivery systems evolving on a weekly basis, perhaps there will soon come a time where it will once again be at least modestly profitable for distributors to release good quality American independent films.
As has been discussed here many times over the past couple of years, the forces working against independent films are many and formidable. The landscape is littered with well executed, creative work that either drowned some brave distributor in red ink, or simply withered on its creators' hard drives, ignored by an unforgiving marketplace.
Perhaps variations of the new browsing software that has caused so much controversy on Netflix will enable good independent films to be discovered in the VOD and On Line universe. Or maybe an enterprising producer or creative distributor will figure out how to economically negotiate the current distribution landscape and find the audience that is surely still out there for these films. Sooner or later it is going to happen.
In the meantime one can only hope that the good films at SXSW, and there are always good films there that don't win any awards, get a chance to be seen. They represent a creative energy that is too often missing from mainstream releases. More importantly, they remind us of just how diverse and rich our country's creative life still remains. The film business, and our culture, are better off when these films have a place in it...
In the wake of Inception, I thought it might be fun to create a list of 10 of the best mind mess movies. All of these films are very good, with some masterpieces. What they have in common is a tendency to question re
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