Medium Grey: How Hollywood could compete with pirates
In a federal courtroom on Friday, a judge ruled that much of the evidence the FBI had gathered in the hope of convicting MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom for pirating billions of dollars worth of American intellectual property may have been obtained illegally. If you're not familiar with the saga of Dotcom, he is a German-born Internet entrepreneur who founded the file sharing site and its sister site, Megavideo. In January, he was arrested by an Interpol SWAT team in his New Zealand home on copyright infringement charges from the United States Department of Justice. Since then, he has become the poster child of the online piracy debate.
Medium Grey: Trayvon Martin case puts Fox executives in moral limbo
Last month, a Fox executive spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the studio's upcoming release, "Neighborhood Watch," saying, "We are very sensitive to the Trayvon Martin case, but our film is a broad alien-invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida."
Today, the story of the neighborhood watch captain of a gated community in Sanford, Fla. who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin on February 26 is news in every corner of the country. Since the shooting gained national media coverage on March 8, everyone from Geraldo Rivera to President Obama has added his or her two cents about race relations, gun rights, and hoodies.
Fox's inopportunely titled "Neighborhood Watch"—starring Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn, and Ben Stiller—has been in the works since September 2011. The film follows four suburban dads who form a watch group to get away from their families only to stumble upon an extra-terrestrial plot to destroy Earth. In an unfortunate and unexpected coincidence, Fox released a teaser trailer on February 29—three days afer the Martin shooting—to pique interest for the film's planned July opening. The trailer shows the film's four leads rolling through their neighborhood in a minivan, intimidating residents with Dr. Dre music, and making guns with their fingers.
Filmmaker alumna tells personal story
Filmmaker and alumna Ali Codina '00 fielded questions from an emotional audience last Thursday after screening her 2009 debut documentary, "Monica and David," in Smith Auditorium.
Medium Grey: ‘Hunger Games’ tops, ‘Carter’ flops
In sight of the lackluster premiere of "John Carter" two weeks ago, Disney already projects that they will lose upwards of $200 million this quarter on the Martian epic, making it the most colossal failure in motion picture history ("Cutthroat Island" 's inflation-adjusted loss of $145 million in 1995 now ranks a distant second).
Medium Grey: Academy Award winners assured a place in popular memory
When conversation turns to the Academy Awards, one of the first comments is invariably something like, "boy, there weren't that many good movies this year." The pickings are somewhat slim this season (we now live in a world where Jonah Hill will forever be referred to as "Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill"), but popular opinion always seems to lament that each year produces worse films than the one preceding it.
Medium Grey: Delighting in silent-era homage, ‘The Artist’ nearly perfect
In 1929, silent film star Lillian Gish declared the cinema "a new Esperanto," or a new artificial language that combined aspects of all cultures. At that point, Gish was most famous for playing waifish damsels in D.W. Griffith's early epics like "Birth of a Nation" (1915) and "Broken Blossoms" (1919), but she was able nevertheless to recognize how the language of film could be understood by all.
Medium Grey: Fox Studios falls short in campaign for motion-capture Oscar
On Tuesday, the studio heads at Fox and actor Andy Serkis lost their campaign for an Oscar nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actor. Serkis played the chimp Caesar in the sci-fi prequel "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011) and was probably Fox's best chance for a nomination in the category. Nonetheless, his performance is still distinguished in that, unlike those who were named nominees, Serkis did not appear in a single frame of film.
Medium Grey: ‘Community’ pulled after poor ratings
This week, the cast of the NBC sitcom "Community" will grace the cover of TV Guide. The show just won the magazine's Fan Favorites Award after garnering hundreds of thousands of votes online. One place you won't be able to see "Community", however, is on the air.
Medium Grey: Red Scarlet brings digital film revolution
Film stock is mean. It's an angry, unforgiving, analog medium that requires constant light, attention and pampering or it will ruin you. But this 100-year-old plus format also captures the most aesthetically-pleasing image imaginable when compared to digital, videotape and other motion picture media.
Medium Grey: Investment firms constrain contemporary cinema
In the spring of my freshman year, Greg Johnson '77 gave a talk about his life as a film producer in Hollywood. He showed his film "Smoke" (1995) and shared some interesting production stories before taking questions. After a few job-related inquiries, someone jokingly asked, "Why do movies suck today?" Some laughed, some were taken aback, but Johnson took the question very seriously.
Medium Grey: 'Black Swan' sparks Hollywood labor debate
Film industry faces serious questions after two interns file suit against Fox Searchlight Pictures
For a long time now, it has been notoriously difficult to break into the world of film and television. Although internships are a common avenue to entry-level positions in a variety of different fields, internships in the film industry have recently become a necessity for those hoping to pursue a career in film.
Talk of the Quad: Death and pumpkins in Mid-coast Maine
It was approximately 2:45 p.m. on Saturday when Marvin Tarbox Jr., a 59-year-old Shriner from Hancock, flipped his go-cart off a mobile ramp during the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest Parade. The ramp, attached to the roof of a 1990 GMC Suburban, failed, causing Mr. Tarbox to flip end over end and his bare head to strike the pavement.
Medium Grey: With ‘Drive,’ Refn makes gold for the silver screen
The films of Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn are about as subtle as a boot to the face. He's made a name for himself by combining heavy synth scores, stylized slow motion, disaffectedly masculine antiheros, and images of extreme violence. In his latest opus, "Drive" (2011), Refn perfects his style.
Talk of the Quad: The changing face of Maine Street
The Grand City Variety store closed a little shy of two months into the start of my freshman year. I went there once to buy thumbtacks and then it was out of business. I had little opportunity to appreciate the institution, which sold everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to brassieres, but I did have a good deal of time to think about its absence as the storefront sat vacant for the next three years.
Medium Grey: Star Wars originals beat new Blu-ray
Medium Grey will be a biweekly column devoted to current trends in the film and television world. Topics might span reviews, breaking news in the industry, or more general issues facing the medium. I'm your columnist, David Shuck '12, a film studies minor, aspiring filmmaker, and co-president of the Bowdoin Film Society. I've worked on both the development and production side of major network television, and recently returned from a semester of film production abroad at FAMU, the Czech national film academy in Prague. Please note that movie talk is based almost solely on subjective opinion, and this column is just that.