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Old August 20th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #16
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The same digital technology that allows indie filmmakers to do things visually that a major studio couldnt dream of doing 20 years ago also helped kill the sense of novelty in special effects movies that have fueled the box office since the late 70s.

Superman the movie was a big deal when it came out in 78--but a new Superman or Batman or King Kong isnt. They have been done--CG gorillas were done in Mighty Joe Young(itself a remake). The only thing they could have going for them is strong storytelling--which doesnt happen easily when studio chiefs are business school grads with little knowledge or enthusiasm for storytelling.

George Lucas recently said the blockbuster is dead(which he helped create--and kill). He is now looking at 3d as a way to bring audiences in-another novelty angle--which has been a big part of moviemaking from the start when people paid a nickel to turn a crank on a peep show machine.


I find myself watching a lot of AIP, Hammer and small b movies from the 60s and 70s--they often had bad effects but their storytelling skills were on show. Great fx eventually get dated--and if the storytelling around them isnt that grand there isnt as much reason to rewatch them.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 10:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Felis
Okay, I'm interested, what do you guys not agree with exactly?
Mostly it was when you implied that the technology to record high quality video is something that shouldn't be sold to consumers. You're among a lot of folks that are trying to use that equipment to get their foot in the door or make a new door or whatever. There's a lot of channels on cable these days and someone gets to provide content for those. If we have access to high quality equipment we have a chance of doing just that.

No it isn't a "right" to make quality video but the people who make the equipment should have the right to sell it to whomever they please. When you suggested limiting the quality of video equipment sold to consumers I think most of us here didn't think that was such a good idea.

Then there was smaller issues like Hollywood making the kind of movies you described. I think Hollywood has already made those movies to death but that's just my opinion. I've seen enough Carrie type movies where a disgruntled outcast has some magic power to reek havoc on the prom queen. I thought you were suggesting more movies like that and I think they have been done to death.

Obviously this is just a matter of taste and really unimportant but the deal with "160x120" resolution movies and having to have a "professional license to make DVD's" seems awfully harsh to me. There are other uses for DVD's besides copying movies. I have very little desire to make pirate copies of movies because I rarely watch a movie more than a few times anyway. But I certainly want the ability to record my own stuff onto DVD whether it's my kids openning Christmas presents or the concert video I produced and sold or a wedding video. The idea that we would not be legally able to do these things is just off the charts to me.

I don't know if you just didn't realize how what you said could be taken but I don't know you so I don't know if you really don't want anyone to have the ability to make DVD's without a license. That is what you said.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #18
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can you imagine if the government controlled who made movies and who didn't?

It would be better if movie studio's and music companies found a way to make DVD's and CD's that couldn't be copied.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 02:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Zimmerman
can you imagine if the government controlled who made movies and who didn't?

It would be better if movie studio's and music companies found a way to make DVD's and CD's that couldn't be copied.
IMO it would be better if they just sold them at a reasonable rate. They would make more money that way than they ever did. I could see myself buying movies if they only cost $3 and I could download them easily. I'm never going to make a habit of going out and paying $20 for a movie (or more). My guess is there are 10 more just like me. That means they are losing sales money.

It's pretty simple IMO. iTunes did this and they do very well for themselves. They don't share with the artists very well but that's more about Apple than anything else. The business model is there now. Other places are doing it better for all. It's the way of the future.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 05:19 AM   #20
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Jack, I in the first case dissagreed with you ,in that - if I understand you correctly, because English isn't my native tongue - you said Hollywood should make less experimental movies, and more bigger fun movies.
While I think that's the problem with Hollywood: they always play it on 'safe'.
Some great movies come out of that safe side, but the best ones come when filmmakers take a risk (Se7en, Schindler's List, Adaptation, Memento, Fight Club, Dancer in the Dark, Requiem for a Dream, A Clockwork Orange,... I know some of them may be produced independantly and later distributed by a big studio)

Not saying that every movie has to be really original and experimental, but where the early blockbusters (Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Empire Strikes Back,...) had some very good quality - good dialogue, good characters, stories with some twists, great direction,... the new ones only seem to be build on dumber and dumber tales and really trashy direction sometimes. Not all of the new ones of course, and maybe there was so much trash in the early blockbusters too, but they just didn't survive so I don't remember them, but...
Isn't it a bit strange that at the same time this thread is created, at the forums of Spielbergfilms, there is a same kind of thread about it... so more and more filmfans are noticing this. (discussion if of course aimed towards spielberg)
For people who are curious, the link is:

http://www.spielbergfilms.com/forum/...ead.php?t=5017

Best regards,

EDIT: rereading that thread on Spielbergfilms, it actually doesn't have THAT much in common with this thread... Sorry.
Ow, and I have to say: I was delighted that last year, at the oscars, some really good - and many independent produced - movies were nominated, like Brokeback Mountain, Crash - not my favorite, but by an independent studio I believe, no? - , Munich the biggest movie of the nominated and from a large studio, but not a 'Hollywood' movie by all means, ...
It was good to know that for once big awards didn't went to 100 million dollar pictures but to 10 million dollar pictures.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 08:00 AM   #21
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I think this relates to what i was saying. Spielberg and Lucas benefited greatly from tapping into the notion of putting A budget resources towards B movie concepts--something that studios did not do prior to Star Wars(2001 wasnt a b movie subject). Harryhausen films were considered cheap Columbia matinee projects. You would have to go back to the original King Kong to find a case where the studio threw all its resources behind a subject that was escapist fantasy fare(though I would argue that the original Kong was risky on a number of fronts--but the medium was new).

But the novelty has worn a bit thin. When movies like Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park came out they were big event pictures because they showed you things you hadnt seen before--you could argue they had their narrative faults(especially JP), but you saw something unique visually. After Jurassic Park, the FX supervisor Dennis Muren, who worked on every major FX film for Lucas and Spielberg, said that it would be a long time before something came along that gave the audience the sense of awe that you had when you saw CG dinosaurs for the first time. Hasnt this been true?

On the Spielberg thread discussion, it is interesting that ET was all over the place in the 80s-rereleased a couple of times-and he didnt even want to release it on video. In 2002 it pretty much bombed in theaters(maybe it was bad timing after 9 11). I think he pretty much abandoned his summer movies after winning an oscar. His last effort at one was War of the Worlds--and it got savage reviews.

Beyond that--I notice that a sense of "fun" in summer movies tends to be missing--this is especially true for comic book themed movies like Batman Begins, Spider-man, the Hulk, where they seem to attempt to be important and serious with a subject matter that should be exciting and escapist(Batman wasnt escapist). Superman the movie was fun. Empire Strikes Back was fun--Attack of the Clones was not.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 08:24 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Phelps
IMO it would be better if they just sold them at a reasonable rate. They would make more money that way than they ever did. I could see myself buying movies if they only cost $3 and I could download them easily. I'm never going to make a habit of going out and paying $20 for a movie (or more). My guess is there are 10 more just like me. That means they are losing sales money.

It's pretty simple IMO. iTunes did this and they do very well for themselves. They don't share with the artists very well but that's more about Apple than anything else. The business model is there now. Other places are doing it better for all. It's the way of the future.
Good point and I would buy more too if they were cheaper. I go in the store and see some movie for $17.99 I don't buy it. They could sell a lot more at $9.99.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 08:27 AM   #23
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Yeah,but many summer blockbusters rely on CGI, and not that much more on original characters, interesting relations or even just good suspense. Look at Jaws. It's so exiting! Because the direction of suspense is so great...
Compare that to some newer blockbusters...

BTW: I think War of the Worlds was actually pretty good, but I'm a spielbergfan, so not that objective, although I know which things I felt were wrong for the movie, and which things were great.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 09:45 AM   #24
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Hmmm, I see your points too. But I wouldn't put the possibility of licensing too far if piracy is REALLY that big an issue. If it is, then something's got to be done about it and I figure if you're going to film school to learn how to make films then you may as well get some sort of license, though the examples are ridiculous, as a doctor would get a medical license, a lawyer one for law, and a police officer a badge and gun. But then again, maybe piracy is just a scapegoat for the lack of really good movies. If I were designing the plan though, consumers would still be able to make films but they would be restricted to one format (preferably the one that could be jammed in theatres) and the filmmakers would be allowed to purchase the higer end equipment, like say consumers can now buy Bluray's and HD-DVD's to record to, we would be able to buy holographic disc storage recorders for distributing purposes in Ultra HD or something like that. So when a film festival recieves a Bluray or HD-DVD, they'll know it was from a consumer who made a film who would still have all the possibility of getting a distribution deal with some studio to eventually make a lot of money or practice his craft of choice license or not.

But you see, that's just an idea, my perspective is definitely skewed as I'm a student, so I could see the advantages of some plan like this. If there's some way to stop piracy without alienating consumers, I'm all for it because I'm a consumer too at this point and I love technology like this, but if piracy's making people lose jobs over an industry as sensitive as the movie industry then I'd go along with any plan, no matter how harsh, to keep the fun experience of movies a social event and not some late night boredom thing to download off of my, internet, cable, or sattelite service.

Plus, it's better than having metal detectors in theatres don't you think? =)

"Yeah,but many summer blockbusters rely on CGI, and not that much more on original characters, interesting relations or even just good suspense. Look at Jaws. It's so exiting! Because the direction of suspense is so great...
Compare that to some newer blockbusters...
"

So I see, Mathieu, and I will plan a remedy accordingly for my films after I get out of school. ;)
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Old August 21st, 2006, 09:53 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Felis
"Yeah,but many summer blockbusters rely on CGI, and not that much more on original characters, interesting relations or even just good suspense. Look at Jaws. It's so exiting! Because the direction of suspense is so great...
Compare that to some newer blockbusters...
"

So I see, Mathieu, and I will plan a remedy accordingly for my films after I get out of school. ;)
I'm planning the same thing, Jack ;-)
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Old August 21st, 2006, 10:24 AM   #26
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I didnt think War of the Worlds was as bad as the reviews I saw for it tended to suggest. He was trying to please fans of the 53 Pal movie, and yet also be more true to the book. The only big negative I felt was the son reappearing at the end. I suspect audiences expected it to have a more epic ID4 type of scale. I really think Spielberg became bored with the summer movie formula after Schindler(even when he was making JP). Or he feels he is slumming unless its based on a Kubrick or respectable science fiction author.

Jaws was much stronger in characterization even though it is itself a very simple story thematically--but he was working with strong producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown and didnt have as much control over the script as he did around JP.


The wow factor is hard to recapture when you are bombarded with FX year round--and that is on top of the fact that film scripts are not as developed as they once were. Even some non-summer movies, like Man on Fire and Flightplan, hinge their existence on major plot hole implausibilities that should have been spotted long before they got to production.

Lazy writing.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 11:07 AM   #27
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Hi Kelly,

I agree completely with you on War of the Worlds.
The only thing I didn't like was the son re-appearing at the end.
For the rest, I actually liked the non-ID4 approach to the subject, but the more raw and dark realistic approach.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 01:06 PM   #28
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Jack i can't just say i disagree with Your POV... it just irritates me. Because i am the man who grew out from regular Joe with understandig that my work belongs to everyone. Thatswhy i've gone through several battles author rights authorities. Because they tried shut down sharing my own creation. I said all those times to them that i don't need any protection from myself, just stay away! I asked why you investigate me? Who are the people whom i harm with my actions. They just answered they act according anonymous complaints. Anonymous complaints - which is ciminal act in itself IMO.
So my conclusions are that such organisations operate just like maffia and they have always enough money to get You on Your knees.

Thatswhy those words:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Felis
Nobody said the Average Joe had to be able to make his own films...
sound forme like words from Nazi speech.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 12:36 AM   #29
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I really think the model has to change Jack. We can only watch reruns of the Beverly Hillbillies so many times before Jethro really starts to get on our nerves.

Someone is going to fill up all that air time on all those channels. I think we'll see a flood of new material that doesn't have anything to do with the Hollywood movie industry. We already see a lot of things coming from other places that show up on the Discovery Channel etc.. I think it's a great thing myself because it gives us far more choices for entertainment and information.

The new media is here to stay. With the advent of the internet and video blogs and a plethora of other things to come we will see the new technology put to great use. I think there will still be room for Hollywood.

But to limit the public on what technology they can own is borderline fascism IMO. There are good reasons to limit who can have a medical license. There are good reasons to never deny the public the right to express their point of view in whatever form they want.

The internet and the video camera will change the world just like the printing press did. The free flow of information is a very good thing. The more we have gatekeepers over who can say what they want the more chance we have for abuse.

A lot of people would say that the Madison Ave. / Hollywood media culture has stifled debate in the world for a long time. I just don't want to live in a world where some government agency gets control over who can produce media because governments have a VERY bad record of abuse when they have that control. Just look at the many countries around the world where the state controls what gets said by controlling who can have access to the media. It isn't a pretty thing.

We have had our share of bad information in the west coming from our own media culture because they had the control over the media by being the only people who could afford to produce it. Thankfully those days are over because of the new media.

Handing control back to the government because of a perceived piracy problem is not something I could ever support. Piracy is a problem that can be solved by new technology - not by stifling the growth of technology and that is what would happen if the public doesn't have access to the new devices to create media. At this point movie piracy is miniscule compared to music piracy and the music industry has successfully addressed piracy. We don't see that many people downloading movies compared to music by a large factor because of the limits of bandwidth on the internet. I don't think piracy is even making a dent in Hollywood to be honest. It might at some point but by then maybe the new business model will already be in existence.
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 10:41 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Starfelt
and was talking about the number of camera men - not camera department. I do know the difference. The point again, is to make decisions that drive the budget up, that allow the producer to collect the paycheck they are looking for.
There's actually a big difference in the way that films are budgeted now than in 1988 when Lethal Weapon II was made. The accountants are running the ship now. The below-the-line (including camera dept.) has been cut down hard, the fat mostly gone and the cuts going to the bone in many places. In all but the biggest movies we have to fight to keep the basic tools to do the job.

What remains the same is that the producers are the ones making the money...they've just figured out how to maximize it for themselves on the front end as well as the back end.

On a huge stunt/effects day that costs probably half a million, having enough cameras to cover the one-time-only big boom is a minor factor (each camera position costing roughly $3500 in personnel and equipment, not counting film).

The anecdote still has some truth, but it's a bit specific in that a show that can schedule 17 cameras is also likely splashing out in other departments as well (miles of cable, emptying LA out of all the rental 18K's, that sort of thing).

It's sort of like when Bruce Willis insisted that it was the union crews that was driving up the costs of making movies, when he knew full well that just one of the 8 producers makes many times more than the total cost of the salaries of the crew on a given movie, not to mention the inflated star salaries.
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