Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Many Partings

Fact: Film producer James Jacks has passed away at the age of 66. Although not a household name, Jacks had a part in many box office successes. He was an early supporter of The Coen Bros. and produced their 1987 hit RAISING ARIZONA. Jacks went on to produce many crowd-pleasing favorites such as TOMBSTONE, DAZED AND CONFUSED, MALLRATS, MICHAEL, JACKAL, A SIMPLE PLAN, THE MUMMY, THE GIFT, THE MUMMY RETURNS, and THE SCORPION KING. He served as vice-president of production at Universal Studios from the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s.
Opinion: There are many different moving pieces and parts in making a film, and the role of a producer is often a hidden and thankless one. No one really dreams about having the job of securing financing, locations, staffing, and food vendors…but they are tasks which need to be done to make the magic happen on the silver screen. James Jacks performed these duties for many popular films, and the result is there for us all to see long after his passing.

Fact: Also passing away is the role of actual film in the movie theatres. Paramount Pictures has officially become the first major studio to stop releasing movies on film in the United States. The 35mm film format, which has been the format of choice for theatres for over a hundred years, costs in the range of $2000 to produce and deliver per print. The move to digital not only drastically cuts those costs, but also eliminates the common defects that physical film was susceptible to, such as scratches, dirt, mechanical breakage and film damage.
Opinion: Having once worked in a projection booth for many years, this Blogger will always have a great amount of nostalgia for film. However, the end result here overcomes that by a long shot. Digital projection gives us a perfect presentation each time; a pristine picture with zero defects. That is how all movies need to be viewed, and it is difficult if not impossible to maintain film nostalgia and high quality at the same time. Paramount’s move was just a matter of time, and the rest of the major studios will likely be following soon.

Fact: Director/writer Quentin Tarantino has put his planned Old West film THE HATEFUL EIGHT on indefinite hold following a script leak. The script, which was in its first draft, was sent to select actors and it is believed one of their agency reps passed it around before it finally landed on the internet. Tarantino has said that he will shelve THE HATEFUL EIGHT and move on to another project.
Opinion: Raise your hand if you actively patrol the internet looking for the screenplay to a movie which hasn’t come out yet, and raise it again if you read these pirated scripts so you know exactly what is going to happen in the film. Pirated scripts has been an issue in filmmaking since the internet was born, but the number of people who like to spoil the movie for themselves has got to be small compared to the hordes of people who go to see Quentin Tarantino’s films. It does feel like Tarantino is taking his toys and going home, but he has a right to do so, just as he has a right to trust someone with his work. THE HATEFUL EIGHT just may go down in history as something great which never saw the light of day, which years from now may just be more fascinating than the film itself.

What say you?


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