6 Degree: Friday Flix


Happy Holidays Film lovers! This week at the movies, there is a trickling list of film awards that are beginning to give us a sense of the biggest winners for this award season. And the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi has finally opened in theatres before Christmas. In addition, Turner Classic is showing Christmas films as well as some other recommended films to record. For this week, we recommend Modern Romance and Little Shop around the Corner

The National Film Registry has announced their annual film picks. They have added: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; Superman; Titanic; Gentlemen’s Agreement with Gregory Peck; Field of Dreams; 2000 Memento; Spartacus; and the 1978 Superman from director Richard Donner starring Christopher Reeve; Also preserved, the Disney classic animated film, Dumbo from 1941 and Die Hard with Bruce Willis

The Deal from Disney: Buying up 20th Century Fox, Disney has not exactly cornered the market, but they have really brought the hammer down on their competition. In addition to owning the Star Wars franchise, the other Film Franchises include: The Marvel Cinematic Universe (HUGE); plus Predator/Alien…, which adds up to about ¼ of the ENTIRE film industry! Warner Bros is the second largest market share at 15%, then Sony, Universal and Paramount. Who says the Big Studio Age of filmmaking is dead?

Films reviewed in 6 Degrees Magazine: Man on Fire with Denzel Washington from 2004, Doctor Zhivago from 1968, The Apartment from 1960, and The Wolf Man from 1941 are all reviewed in the magazine this week. These films are worth a second or third look, if you’ve never seen them.

Film Reviews in Theatres Now: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Lady Bird, as well as The Shape of Water are all reviewed and recommended. Coco, the children’s animated film from Pixar has been number one at the box office for the past several weeks.

From Hollywood: One article this week asks, “Are Cinematic Universes hurting cinema?” The argument is on the one hand, pushing the fact that the filmmaker-driven method, where the director has total control of the film and the creative process is the best, as opposed to the broad focus on the Big Picture, the larger universe where someone oversees a vision for the entire story and emphasizes that the focus should be on that. The argument is that there can only be one or the other, not both methods! The notion is that the ‘shared universe’ method doesn’t work well. The bottom line is that audiences have become more sophisticated, and have caught on to the fact that this shared universe method isn’t working. The article ends with this nugget: “The cynicism of audiences of Hollywood remakes, sequels and high-concept films and inevitable franchise fatigue is something to talk about for another day.” Unfortunately, that day has arrived! I do believe that audiences are not going to simply let a film ’coast’ on the reputation of the series or the franchise. As always, the audience will flock to a well-written film with a strong plot, compelling lead characters and original ideas. These are still the ‘bread and butter’ core films that all successful studios feed from. Disney may buy all the studios they can absorb, but if they don’t have these core ingredients in the films they make, than Hollywood will become nothing but a fond memory before too long.

This year, the inevitable film lists have been trotted out. For the most part, the best of 2017, the best sci-fi films, the best romantic comedies and horror films are all mildly amusing as a kind of parlor game. But there is never any real analysis other than listing of films by rote, with picks coming from critics based on their own personal bias. The bigger picture to focus on is when we look at the films that the National Film Registry board has added, as well as the films from the past 17 years that make up the 21st Century. These are the films that stand the test of time.

The films that have a lasting impact on our culture, and changing cultural and societal messages are the films that will resonate in the long run. Here’s hoping that you begin to have a fun and relaxing holiday time with friends and family, with plenty of time to make the trek to the cinema. See you at the movies!-ML

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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