Overall, I think Cinema is better then it ever was.

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Shawn_McD, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. Shawn_McD

    Shawn_McD Stunt Coordinator

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    Bigger budgets, more engrossing dynamic stories, doing better remakes of the originals.

    I'm glad I've lived to this era, imagine dying in the 60's and never seeing great masterpieces such as Godfather, Lord of the Rings, Troy, Gladiator, the Blade and Matrix trilogies...a travesty.

    What are you favorite era's in cinema? Mine is now.
     
  2. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    We are living in a Second Golden Age, only we can't see because we are kneck deep in it. The innovation we're seeing in films like Eternal Sunshine, the freedom we're seeing in independent films like 21 Grams, the overall level of craft in our "mainstream" mass-market films, the new technologies married to old-school storytelling values at places like Pixar and Peter Jackson's WETA...it's just amazing. I grew up in the 80's, and we are being downright spoiled today by the bounty of riches available to movie fans.
     
  3. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Personally I like films from the 40s and 30s, and some indies today.

    Most of the studio stuff today is superficial eye-candy, and star vehicles for the $20 million/pic actors/-tresses. Plots are thin and contrived, acting is weak, scripts are gawdawful. But hey, they do have spiffo special effects.
     
  4. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Honestly, I think every era is relatively the same. You've always had star power and eye candy being the main focus. If you want to see the good stuff... you really have to look for it.

    Sometimes it's easy to find, other times it isn't.

    I had a friend tell me she thought they didn't make good movies anymore.

    I can think of tons that are amazing achievements in just the past 5 years.
     
  5. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Mid 60s thru early 80s is where most of my favorites are from, but the 90s was also a amazing decade for films.
     
  6. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Every era has produced great films.

    The worst aspect of modern films is that many of them are poorly photographed - thin, underlit negatives that make for murky theatrical prints.
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Now those are excellent examples.
     
  8. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Compared to the 1930s and 40s, one basic factor that's often forgotten is that there are simply a lot fewer films being made these days. The studios were cranking them out at a much higher rate back then. So there was more of everything: more great movies, more good movies, more mediocre movies, more crappy movies, more hidden gems, more high-profile flops, more small lousy movies that almost nobody saw or wants to remember, etc. The first thing I usually think of when I hear someone saying something like, "there were so many more great movies made back in the day" is "yes, and there were a lot more movies made back then, period, including a lot more crap that nobody remembered after 1 year, let alone 60 or 70 years."
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I'm confident that Peter Apruzzese knows what he's talking about. I believe he's a projectionist by trade.

    M.
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Haggai, I'm not sure that's actually true. There are a lot more studios now and there was no such thing as Independent Film in those days either. Each individual studio may have cranked out more movies, but I doubt the total number was higher than today. Of course, I have nothing to back it up. It is absolutely true that time has washed away the loads of garbage that were made, so comparing everything made today to the cream of the crop for 60 years ago isn't fair.
     
  11. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    There is no doubting that there are great films made today, but in general I'll take any film from the 40's or 50's at random over anything at today's multiplex at random. In general, I would say there are less than 20 films worth seeing each year. I've just seen my 10th and have about 5 to go before the year is up.

    My biggest complaint with films today are two-fold
    #1 - Piss Poor writing - There are some good writers today, but nothing even close to Hollywood's golden age IMHO. I hate censorship, but in many ways the lack of censorship has made writers lazy because they can say and show anything that they want to.

    #2 - Too much reliance on SFX (Related to #1) - I like the LOTR Trilogy, but I wouldn't list any of the trilogy as one of my yearly favorites, primarily for this reason, and I won't even mention SW Ep II.



    Two of my favorite films of the last 1-1/2 years and ESOTSM is my #1 for this year with only "The Aviator" & "Billion Dollar Baby" remaining that could possibly unseat it.

    By the way, I'm no old fogey yearning for the past. I'm 32. [​IMG] (Of course maybe some people think that's old)
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Good to know, but I still stand by my point. Does being a projectionist make him an expert on photography? It could make him an expert in projection, which would make him particularly concerned with the duplicating process. I'm glad you brought it up, because I am a commercial photographer. I have 2 degrees from one of the top photography schools in the world and I know photography. I can assure you, the level of skill employed by cinematographers these days is startingly good. On the other hand, I have long suspected the duplicating process was wanting, but that is not my area of expertise.

    I look forward to Mr. Apruzzese's feedback on the issue.
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Two good points, Eric.

    Look at the two movies you lauded. 21 Grams happens to be my favorite from 2003 and Eternal Sunshine is my favorite (so far) from 2004. I'll add my fave from 2002, 25th Hour and if you look closely, you will notice one common thread. None of them were written by the director. OK, the story for ESOTSM was co-written by the director, but that can just mean he had some input on the basic idea. Movies are often making the same mistake that popular music is. The performers and directors insist on writing their own stuff. I say leave the writing to writers and the directing to directors. There are exceptions, but in general, I think that is the best way to do it.

    As far as SFX goes, if it is a crutch, it is a crutch. It is not bad in itself, only when it is used as a reason to make a movie. Once again, don't throw out everything because too many movies rely on SFX.
     
  14. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    I don't have much either, but also remember that there weren't just 5 or 6 major studios back then, there were also others that eventually went under or were subsumed by other studios (RKO being one example). Movie distribution was very different back then as well, in that major releases didn't go nationwide all at once upon release (this persisted to one degree or another almost all the way through the 1970s, I believe). So it's hard to do any direct comparisons, since it even depends on how we define major/nationwide releases.

    But, I'm reasonably sure that more theatrical releases of almost every kind were seen on movie screens back in the '30s or '40s as compared to today, for the simple reasons that they were (relatively speaking) cheaper to make back then, and didn't take as long to make either (not unrelated to the point about cost). Like with some genres, there were like 10 kajillion quickie Westerns being cranked out every single year in the classic era we're talking about.
     
  15. GeorgePaul

    GeorgePaul Second Unit

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    And this is a concern I have about the future of American filmmaking. Sure, there will probably be as many excellent films made this year as in any other year.

    But those films don't have the chance to be seen today as ALL films of the '40s and '50s did...the big studios, which have allowed their insecurity over financial risk to completely chill script creativity in mainstream releases, have a stranglehold over most screens at your local multiplex. If you want to go see the films worth seeing, usually you have to make a concerted effort to go to independent film houses or art cinemas--both rare in many average urban areas in this country.

    It's FAR too easy for the American public to perceive so much of the American film landscape as crappier than ever when so many millions are only exposed to money-driven Hollywood product at the AMC/United Artists/Mann et. al. googolplex down the street.

    That being said, I'll take American cinema of 1971-83 over any other era. I don't think there has ever been a time of greater, more entertaining diversity and freedom in Hollywood.
     
  16. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Ok, the guy who prefers silent films from the 20s needs to chime in, then we'll have all the decades covered

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Not a projectionist by trade any longer (although I do operate the machines for all of my special programs and Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre, it's the best way for me to guarantee the quality of the image on the screen for the audience; handling rare archive prints is part of it).

    What I mean is that the classic studio lighting system employed in the films from the 20s to the late 60s usually resulted in a film that had a look that could sparkle when required, or be dark and mysterious. This is a generalization, but I feel that a lot of today's films are more concerned with using filters and special photographic technique rather than telling a story. The current overuse of unattractive blue and yellow filtering on loads of new films (especially "edgy" and independent films) is frustrating to me as a viewer, because it makes the actors look so unattractive. And the directors are constantly placing things into deep shadows - a fine technique when used properly, see "Citizen Kane" for how it's done - but they are also underexposing the shots so that these shadows get swamped with grain. This is exacerbated by poor release prints - Kodak's new Vision print stock is terrific, however, so there's a chance that it could look better. It's the closest that release prints have looked like classic dye-transfer Technicolor in years.

    So, John, what we may have here is a disagreement over style rather than technical skill. I ran From Here to Eternity in a new print last weekend - photographically, it out-classes a lot of the films on screen right now. Lawrence of Arabia (and Spartacus, El Cid, Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis, etc.) was a far better film photographically than Gladiator or Alexander or Troy.

    Of course, I'm making a lot of generalizations about today's films - I don't see as many as I used to, maybe 25-50 or so a year, versus at least a hundred classics - there are probably a lot that are good-looking that I've missed. Terence Malick's films are the perfect modern marriage of new camera technique and classic cinema lighting, I'm looking forward to "The New World".
     
  18. Shawn_McD

    Shawn_McD Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm glad is embarked a great discussion, I also like to point out there is more "Foreign" films, per se...just that inthe fact the world economy and standard living of life have allowed lots of "primitive" countries put forth some good flicks.
     
  19. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    My biggest concern with modern movies is the almost manic pacing of everything. This was struck home the most in the "Earthsea" thread over in TV; the thing barely stopped long enough to get any of it's story out and it was decried as being slow and plodding. Give me more slow and plodding then, I guess. It was also my chief complaint of the lastest Harry Potter film over the previous films; there's never room to breathe any more.
     
  20. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "#1 - Piss Poor writing - There are some good writers today, but nothing even close to Hollywood's golden age IMHO."

    What about the pisspoor acting.

    I prefer the realism of the more serious efforts of the 70s - present than the "classics" which are mostly,IMHO just plain corny.
     

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