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Monday, July 21, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres







   




"Even if you aren’t one of those people worried about media consolidation — there are many in that number — the big bolt of lightning last week that pierced a summer of ennui in entertainment and publishing news was hard to resist. The unrequited bid that Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox made for Time Warner Inc. had it all: defensive consolidations taking shape in both distribution and content production; two like-size media behemoths in an awkward, high-stakes dance; secret meetings; board intrigue; and a naked grab for size and power. Plus, there was the gift that keeps on giving: Mr. Murdoch on the prowl. It was as if a big train with the word FUTURE emblazoned on its side was revving up. But it was difficult not to notice that one car had been uncoupled and would not be leaving the station. Even though both companies involved in the merger discussions were built on print franchises — Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper empire, and the storied Time Inc. magazine brand — neither owns print assets anymore. In fact, 21st Century Fox is in a position to make a deal and Time Warner is an attractive target partly because they both got rid of slow-growth print divisions. To the extent that the proposal offered a crystal ball on the future of media, print doesn’t seem as if it will be much a part of it. Mr. Murdoch moved onto his next quarry only after he had quarantined his own print assets under a separate public company. And Time Warner took on new allure when it shed those dowdy old magazine properties that now trade under their own ticker. Print has lost value in business realms because it has, in fundamental ways, lost traction with you and me. Think about what happened when the Malaysian airliner was shot down in eastern Ukraine. No matter where you were, or what you were doing, an ambient feed of information pulsed and heaved all around you. Graphic images soon appeared in social media feeds and breathless news alerts arrived in the inboxes of anyone with even a casual interest.  I happened to be at CNN for a taping session when news of the downed jetliner broke, and you could see the entire apparatus come roaring to life, getting everything in place to cover the kind of story — big stakes, scary pictures and international consequences — that a 24-hour news channel was made for. Then again, given the ubiquity of information and delivery devices, we already sort of live in an always-on news network. Between the flood of information online and the wall-to-wall television coverage, what is left for print?" (DavidCarr)











"Richard Linklater’s new movie, 'Boyhood,' which arrives in theaters nationally today, follows a child from the age 6 to his first day of college. It is the result of a remarkable act of dedication. Linklater and his collaborators got together for a few days every year over the course of 12 years, capturing the real aging process not just of his star, Ellar Coltrane, who plays Mason Jr., but of the actors who play his parents and sister. Coltrane gives an often wonderful performance, and Linklater captures and coaxes out boyish hand gestures of frustration and Mason’s tentative smiles when he starts classes at a new school or meets a cute girl. You can see the moment that Mason becomes himself. The expression on Coltrane’s face when Mason is trying to get out of a sex talk his father (Ethan Hawke) is giving mostly to his sister (Lorelei Linklater) will appear again and again throughout the rest of the movie. In a film that eschews histrionics and exaggerated high stakes, Linklater’s eye for that sort of detail and Coltrane’s ability to carry it through Mason’s many haircuts and new schools is absolutely pivotal. But even as the circumstances in which 'Boyhood' was made are without clear precedent, Coltrane’s performance comes to us at a moment of incredible wealth of child and young adult acting. For all that we are swamped with anti-heroes and superheroes, film and television are also giving us rich stories about childhood and teenage years, anchored in tremendous performances by very young actors. Part of what makes this moment so remarkable is the prior inexperience of the young actors who are giving us such wonderful performances. Coltrane had one movie credit to his name before Linklater cast him in 'Boyhood.'" (WP)

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