Remember When…

Filed under:Movies — posted by Anwyn on January 6, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

…VHS tapes were released, and you could only get them by rental for months and months and they cost a hell of a lot of money to buy them?

Yeah, those days are long gone. Now you can’t rent them right away in case the delay might make you twitchy enough to go ahead and buy them.

SAN FRANCISCO – Netflix Inc. will delay sending out Warner Bros.’ latest movies by nearly a month in a concession that the DVD-by-mail service made so it could gain rights to show its subscribers more movies over the Internet.

Damn, you mean I can’t Netflix The Invention of Lying for another month? Sob.

Sop to the deal reminiscent, but not quite the same as, tobacco companies telling people not to smoke:

“If this causes more of our subscribers to drive down to a store to buy a DVD, we think that will be good for the entertainment ecosystem,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer.

Sure, why not? It’s not like the $17 customers plunk down for the purchase is going to come out of their Netflix budget. And Netflix is used to dealing with complainers. At least this time they have a contract partner to point to as the bad guy.

By acquiescing, Netflix will get a steep discount on Warner Bros.’ discs — savings that the company intends to use to expand the selection of movies and TV shows available for instant viewing over the Internet.

Warner Bros. already has agreed to contribute hundreds of additional movies to that service — triple the current catalog. They will include many titles that have only been out on DVD for three to eight months.

H/t: Slublog.

Shorter Kyle, Shorter Me, Same Sherlock

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn @ 11:19 am

Kyle Smith boils down his argument against the new Holmes movie to objecting to the portrayal of Holmes as action man:

Must we filter every bit of popular literature through the wow-seeking now? … As for the badassery, please. Fencing (and, for that matter, boxing) were gentlemen’s pursuits. A gentleman is pretty much the opposite of a badass. If you want to show a guy beating up villains, why bother to call it Sherlock Holmes? Why not just call it “Die Hard with a Roommate”? The key to Holmes (and by the way, the fencing and the boxing were just character flourishes; he hardly ever solved problems using physical power) was his massive intelligence.

And I reply in a comment awaiting moderation that, no, he doesn’t use physical prowess to solve the problems, but a) that’s not what the movie shows him doing, and b) Doyle’s Holmes does use physical prowess to collar the guys perpetrating the problems, which is what the movie shows. I’ll grant that Doyle’s Holmes would not wade into the finale brawl on his own without Watson, Lestrade, and crew, which he does in the movie, but he definitely is prepared for, and triumphant in, physical confrontation. In A Study in Scarlet, just to take one example, Holmes tricks murderer Jefferson Hope into turning his back to him, snookers the handcuffs onto Hope, and then, joined by Lestrade, Gregson, and Watson, subdues Hope as he tries to throw himself out the window. One guy so ferocious it takes four, including Holmes, to wrestle him down and tie him up with towels. Yeah, no action there.

I think the main source of the disconnect is that while Doyle notes these things, he doesn’t dwell on them, doesn’t describe them in any detail, and thus doesn’t create anything approaching an atmosphere of danger and action. Holmes looks at clues, he sits and thinks, and at the end, he notes out loud the steps he took to reach his conclusion. But in between, there really is a lot of action. And Downey’s Holmes looks at clues, he sits and thinks, and he notes out loud the steps he takes to reach his conclusion. But in between, there really is a lot of action.

P.S.: Funny enough, in another theater in another decade, I probably would have been solidly on Kyle’s side of the question.

Previously: I Detected Some Holmes Under All That Sherlock

Every Night in My Dreams

Filed under:History,Movies,Sad — posted by Anwyn @ 10:51 am

James Cameron reportedly considering making a movie about the WW2 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Titanic was a good movie, let me stipulate up front, but these days I never watch it because it’s too sad. At the same time, it’s at least a little bit Disney-fying, for lack of a better term, of the wreck. I fear for the same treatment being applied to the WW2 bombings.

The double-bombing survivor Cameron spoke to passed away this week at the age of 93. RIP.

H/t: Lileks.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace