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Reinventing Cinema

Reinventing Cinema: Movies in the Age of Media Convergence

Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    Reinventing Cinema
    Book Description:

    For over a century, movies have played an important role in our lives, entertaining us, often provoking conversation and debate. Now, with the rise of digital cinema, audiences often encounter movies outside the theater and even outside the home. Traditional distribution models are challenged by new media entrepreneurs and independent film makers, usergenerated video, film blogs, mashups, downloads, and other expanding networks.

    Reinventing Cinemaexamines film culture at the turn of this century, at the precise moment when digital media are altering our historical relationship with the movies. Spanning multiple disciplines, Chuck Tryon addresses the interaction between production, distribution, and reception of films, television, and other new and emerging media.Through close readings of trade publications, DVD extras, public lectures by new media leaders, movie blogs, and YouTube videos, Tryon navigates the shift to digital cinema and examines how it is altering film and popular culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4854-8
    Subjects: Film Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. 1-15)

    In June 2007, two stories in the entertainment press underscored the ways in which film culture has been redefined by digital cinema. First, Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company made the decision to release documentary raconteur Michael Moore’s exposé of the health care industry,Sicko, one week earlier than planned because of the threat of rampant internet piracy. A pirated version ofSickohad been leaked briefly to the video sharing site YouTube, and eager bloggers were weighing in with their readings of the film several days before movie critics and political pundits were slated to see and review the movie....

  5. 1 THE RISE OF THE MOVIE GEEK: DVD Culture, Cinematic Knowledge, and the Home Viewer
    (pp. 16-37)

    One of the most successful horror films of 2002 was Gore Verbinski’sThe Ring, a remake of the 1998 Japanese filmRingu, which had itself become a cult classic among fans of horror films and Japanese cinema. InThe Ring, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) faces the challenge of identifying the source of a mysterious videotape that kills anyone who watches it exactly seven days later. Rachel learns about the tape after her niece, Katie, dies and she overhears a group of students discussing the tape. The film then depicts Rachel’s investigation, in which she discovers the story of an isolated...

  6. 2 THE SCREEN IS ALIVE: Digital Effects and Internet Culture in the 1990s Cyberthriller
    (pp. 38-58)

    In March 2003, I attended a special screening of D. A. Pennebaker’sZiggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars(1973) at a drive-in theater in Atlanta as part of a local film festival. As I watched I discovered thatZiggy Stardustwas the perfect movie with which to indulge my desire to experience a film at a drive-in, with its 1970s “innocence” meshing with the nostalgia for the past when drive-ins were far more common. But at one crucial moment, I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw a scene fromThe Matrix Reloaded, a movie I hadn’t yet seen,...

  7. 3 WALL-TO-WALL COLOR: Moviegoing in the Age of Digital Projection
    (pp. 59-92)

    During the March 2006 Academy Awards broadcast, Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal offered what seemed like an innocuous introduction to one of the show’s notorious film montages, commenting that “there’s no place to see [movies] but the big screen.” The montage featured epic scenes from widescreen masterpieces such asBen-Hurand2001, in order to remind viewers of cinema’s ability to present scenes of vast scope and scale. Because 2005 had been widely recognized as a difficult year financially for the film industry, Gyllenhaal’s remarks amounted to a desperate attempt to lure audiences away from their home systems and back into...

  8. 4 DESKTOP PRODUCTIONS: Digital Distribution and Public Film Cultures
    (pp. 93-124)

    In 1998, just a few months before the release ofThe Blair Witch Project, Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler’sThe Last Broadcastappeared on the festival circuit. It was billed as the first “desktop feature film,” the first feature-length motion picture filmed, edited, and screened entirely with digital technologies.¹ LikeThe Blair Witch Project, The Last Broadcastis presented as a documentary of footage found after the producers of the film were killed. The filmmakers, a group of publicity-hungry young men with a cable-access show calledFact or Fiction, enter the woods in search of a local legend known as...

  9. 5 TOPPLING THE GATES: Blogging as Networked Film Criticism
    (pp. 125-148)

    In July 2006, theNew York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote an unusually candid column on the role of film critics in the age of blogs. Observing the gap between reviewers’ tastes and box office totals, Scott asked, “Are we out of touch with the audience? Why do we go sniffing after art where everyone else is looking for fun, and spoiling everybody’s fun when it doesn’t live up to our notion or art? What gives us the right to yell ‘bomb’ outside a crowded theater?”¹ Scott went on to note that tepid reviews ofThe Da Vinci CodeandPirates...

  10. 6 HOLLYWOOD REMIXED: Movie Trailer Mashups, Five-Second Movies, and Film Culture
    (pp. 149-173)

    While film blogs offered film audiences a significant way to connect with each other across geographical distances, the popularization of video sharing via YouTube, beginning in late 2005, offered a new means for film fans to connect with each other and to reflect on the practices associated with film culture. Like film blogs, video sharing allowed audiences to discuss and debate their favorite films and television series with the added benefit of being able to upload, edit, and share video with unprecedented ease. At the same time, web video also provided a means of reinforcing the cultures of anticipation associated...

    (pp. 174-180)

    The current moment of digital transition is introducing significant changes to the medium of film. In fact, it seems clear that the proliferation of portable media players and distribution streams have altered our relationship to film culture in ways that remain difficult to predict. Although Ira Deutchman has referred to the current phase as a “poststudio, pre-internet” moment, that label is somewhat misleading: studios still wield enormous power and influence over what we watch, where we watch it, and even how we watch. Nevertheless, his comments illustrate the felt sense that cinema is being reinvented by digital technologies. While a...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 181-198)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 199-210)
  14. Index
    (pp. 211-216)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 217-218)