Posted on Friday January 23, 2009, 17:05 by Colin Kennedy in Empire States
So, which Best Picture nominee are you going to see this weekend? 1970’s set fact-based political drama Frost/Nixon or 1970’s set fact-based political drama Milk? Ooh, choices, choices. Isn’t Oscar season exciting?
Is it fuck. Oscar season is a fucking liberty. And a fucking expensive one at that. This weekend sees the release of 7 new movies, making it 22 for the month of January so far. That’s practically one a day! So far, we’ve had to contend with genuine contenders (The Wrestler, Slumdog Millionaire), never had a chance drizzle (Defiance, Che), clever counter-programming (Role Models, Sex Drive) and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Hands up who thinks this is a good idea?
If your grubby fingers are pointed skywards you obviously work for the mysterious MPAA or its local lapdog BAFTA. Believe me - even the film companies don’t think the awards season release calendar is a good idea. Just ask 20th Century Fox who today are forced to position prestige pic Valkyrie as some sort of fun multiplex alternative. (Seriously what are Bryan and Tom doing coming out January 23rd – the last time Valkyrie had awards buzz was 2007!)
Even if some studio suits are content with the crowded awards calendar and the attendant lift in overall attendance (Pathe will no doubt be pleased by Slumdog’s showing) then I know for sure ordinary movie-goers would prefer a calendar that gave them some goddamn breathing room. A calendar that gave a crap about the fact they have lives to lead. A release pattern that wasn’t so shamelessly biting the hand that fucking feeds it.
I should know because these days I am an ordinary movie-goer. After nearly 12 years of free pre-release screenings this year I am forking out my own hard-earned week after week because the star-splattered posters I see on the tube tell me I must. (Cosmopolitan magazine says I simply can’t miss Bride Wars!) I can’t keep up – and I’m really trying.
As it happens I’ve seen Milk, so this weekend it’s an easy decision to see Frost/Nixon – apart from the fact that last weekend I lost the Reader/Wrestler fight with the wife and am yet to see Mickey’s big comeback. (Silly punctuation aside: is it accurate to call this weekend’s box office struggle Frost/Nixon/Milk?) And, to be honest, I love Bryan Singer and World War II so I might just sod ‘em and go and see Valkyrie despite Empire’s measly three stars.
Then again, the constant marketing hard sell – especially in the week of way-to-go-Kate Oscar nominations – is really starting to do my head in so I may just stay at home and watch The Godfather on Blu-ray instead. And I guess there’s no point seeing Revolutionary Road now cause that didn’t get a nod but I will obviously have to resurface for Benji Button and then there’s Doubt and Vicky Cristina Barcelona and so it goes... until the second half of February when of course – it gets a bit shit until early summer. (If you’re not watching the Watchmen in March, get out of the cinema!)
So as a relative newbie to this unwanted overhyped pick-pocketing phenomenon – I ask myself, is the 2009 awards calendar particularly slutty or has it always been like this? Better still, I ask you, my fellow movie-goers to ask yourselves. (Seriously: has it always been this bad? Did I really miss how truly ridiculous this release pattern was in all my time at Empire?) And if you do discover that you too don’t like the release schedule that has been imposed on you by the Academy (whoever they are!) then I further implore you to rise up and make a stand. Write to your local MPAA! Boycott the Baftas! Say fuck you to Oscar! Go see Underworld 3!
Login or register to comment.
Posted on Friday January 23, 2009, 18:00
I think this year has more decent movies coming out in January than most years, but I'm not complaining. I love fillms, and I'm pleased that there are so many high caliber films being released at the moment, I just wish that it wasn't going to dry up after the release of watchmen. I'd far rather have an excuse to go to the cinema every other day of the week than have a month where it's not worth going to the cinema (like last December).
Posted on Friday January 23, 2009, 19:24
Seeing the nominees BEFORE oscar night? Oh, to live in the city and have access to a multi-screen cinema...
But that's another topic entirely, one which prevents me from having an opinion on this topic. Hmm...why am I still writing?
Posted on Friday January 23, 2009, 23:03
It's this time of year that my Unlimited card really comes into its own...I can spend the entire weekend at the cinema seeing maybe three/four films on a Sunday and it doesn't cost me a bean. Hurrah!
January-March I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my local Cineworld. I have been sucked into the stupid awards schedule but I love it!
Posted on Saturday January 24, 2009, 02:42
I feel your pain. I really wanted to see Rachel Getting Married tonight, but would have to drive about SIXTY miles to do so.
Even more appaling than that, "Academy Award Nominated" Milk isn't on at any of my local cinemas either.
What's the point in having all these screens if all they show on them is Beverly Hills Chiwauwa and Underworld: Rise of the Fucking Terrible Threequles.
Posted on Saturday January 24, 2009, 15:01
Are you nuts? Your complaining because a lot of good movies have been released at the cinema lately??? I for one would have the January Oscar picks over any other month with their Adam Sandler comedies and Epic Movie shite that gets released on a regular basis.
Posted on Saturday January 24, 2009, 18:47
I was just thinking as the credits for Frost/Nixon rose and I rushed cross the hall to see Milk how when people look forward to summer, I can only think of Up and Angels and Demons as the big films this year, whereas January/February is my cinematic haven. Sure there's dreck, The Reader, Defiance, all appallingly desperate, but there's genuine brilliance too, Milk, The Wrestler, Slumdog.
These are my big blockbusters, whilst I adore summer's attempts, popcorn fluff never lasts as long as actual quality films, I say bring it on. Just a shame Rachel Getting Married is impossible to find anywhere.
Posted on Saturday January 24, 2009, 19:16
I wouldn't blame the academy or Oscar - sure there are many new releases, but if we lived stateside we'd find their releases stretched out over a semi-reasonable timeframe of say, one and a half months - maybe even two!
Its our backlog of films that causes the ridiculous squeeze. I particularly resent it when BAFTA nominate several films that haven't even been released in this country yet!!!
Posted on Sunday January 25, 2009, 17:24
Fool. I'm not watching Watchmen in March because it's a fucking bastardisation of the best fucking comic ever. Snyder's already confessed he's changed the (superb) ending, so I don't see why I should spend my money on going to see that shit at the cinema when I can stay home and read my comic of the graphic novel. Again.
Zack Snyder's no Alan Moore. Hell, he's not on a par with the Wachowskis and they made V for Vendetta a piece of shit...
Posted on Monday January 26, 2009, 08:46
So far I've managed the amazing number of 2 oscar contenders, and thats despite working in london. But when its 10.00 at an Odeon and 12.50 at a Curzon, watching these prestige titles is an expensive business! I have made the conscious effort to avoid all World War 2 films this year, saving them instead for DVD. I think next up will be Revolutionary Road, passed up at nomination time, but similar enough to Mad Men to keep me happy until Feb 20th
And Kovacs, whilst I share your pain, we've known about squidy (okay, fifth dimensional being) for a while. Yes it sucks but I think we have to enter a period of acceptance, as everything else looks pretty spot on. To quite AICN, I expect Watchmen to be f***king my eyeballs good and proper come the spring
Posted on Monday January 26, 2009, 13:08
Awards season would be much more tolerable all round if it weren't such self-serving, aren't-I-great-and-deep-and-doesn't-this-show-a-completely-different-side-to-my-talent drivel.
I really wish people would stop parading The Reader around like it's the best thing since sliced bloody bread. They wouldn't have the cash to make these award-whore movies if it weren't for the Beverley Hills Chihuahuas and Bride Wars dragging parents kicking and screaming to the box office. Slapping on some dodgy make-up/prosthetics and making a sad face for three and a half hours does not make you worthy, it makes you a teenager having an angst moment.
All that being said Frost/Nixon is a very good film.
Posted on Monday January 26, 2009, 14:40
I would like to know the purpose of these awards ceremonies and the value of an Oscar.
I have seen many brilliant films go unrewarded at the Oscars and some quite poor films win instead.
If someone could be so kind as to tell me what formula films are judged by in order to be Oscar-worthy then I would be very grateful as I have thought some films to be extremely important but have in the past escaped Oscar.
I have lost faith in Oscar, its as if the Academy is up for backslapping those who were once great but no longer deserve recognition, very rarely does the Academy seem to get it right these days.
I look forward to the Academy proving me wrong.
Posted on Monday January 26, 2009, 16:54
I can see both arguments, so far i have been 8 times to the cinema this month and still have to see the reader (going tonight) and frost/nixon and valkyrie (hopefully both on friday) and then on sunday il need to see rev road and ifiv time milk. ITs mental!!!
On the other hand iv enjoyed all the movies, some better than others, but its always been worth the visit. Saving a little for february would certainly have made things easier and less manic!!!!
Posted on Monday January 26, 2009, 16:58
At least we have the chance to see the movies before Oscar time now.
It seems weird that the one thing piracy and online sharing has forced the studios to do is dispense with the massive windows between American and wordlwide distribution. I got so fed up watching the Oscars show and thinking "I must watch some of these movies when they finally get released."
Posted on Tuesday January 27, 2009, 12:22
This year has been particularly ridiculous. I can't believe that a movie I was pretty excited about throughout its production - Valkyrie - I'll almost certainly have to miss due to the number of probably better films coming out alongside it.
Last week I saw Australia, last night I saw The Wrestler, and tonight I'm hoping to see The Reader, but that still leaves Slumdog and Frost/Nixon out right now, with Revolutionary Road and Milk literally round the corner. That's discounting other films I wouldn't mind seeing, such as Seven Pounds, and loads that I know I'm forgetting about. When's Rachel Getting Married coming out?
I benefit from having a Cineworld Unlimited card, although that does mean I'm tied to what my local Cineworld is showing. But I can't believe how barren November and December were, compared to how stupidly jam-packed January and February are. Surely awards season stretches till nearly March?! Can't we spread these things out a bit?! Jesus!
Posted on Wednesday January 28, 2009, 13:31
I totally agree. Even though I have an unlimited card, there just isn't the time to see everything that has suddenly come out in the last few weeks. At last count 9 films have come out in January that I want to go see and so far I have managed to see 2. Surely the studios value cash above oscars (how else could you explain half of the crap that gets made?). Dont they see that leaving a little lee-way between the bigger releases will draw in more punters? After all, its generally only peeps with the Unlimited cards that will happily go and see 2-3 films a week. Lord knows, if I was paying I couldn't afford to!!
Posted on Thursday January 29, 2009, 12:04
Really couldn't care less about the scheduling and it seems to me personally that it's only the inconvenience that's annoyed you. I honestly couldn't say it's affected me in the slightest. I would like if possible to have seen most new releases, but c'mon, are you seriously saying you're interested in ALL the new releases. I take my hat off to you sir if so, you're obviously more hardcore than I. But out of the huge line-up that's being released maybe a handful will be worth watching. And out of that handful, one or two worth seeing in the cinema. Liking the gratuitous use of 'fuck' in your blog though!
Maybe I feel this way because to cinema experience, to me, is dead. I can't really recall seeing a movie within the last few years that was actually worth seeing in a cinema. A few exceptions throughout the years, but the majority weren't. Add to that the most cinemas I seem to frequent are incredibly packed, loud and uncomfortable. I really can't be arsed paying up to £10 a ticket (premier seats at Odeon) to see what usually turns out to be a sub-par film, end up sitting next to someone who can't understand the plot and so talks instead, sitting in front of someone who constantly kicks your seat, and this is all if the cinema haven't fucked up your seating positions.
Posted on Thursday January 29, 2009, 12:46
I'm with Beetlejuice! and those advocating the Cineworld unlimited monthly movie ticket (only £11.99 so you won't feel so bad about being relegated back to the normal ticket buying public!), then it won't matter how many films are released in any given month - be they oscar punting wannabes or summer blockbusters!
Also suggest cutting back on the coffee... although if you're really planning on seeing every film out there over the coming weeks maybe you need it!?! ;OP
Posted on Thursday January 29, 2009, 16:03
January has been a frigging nightmare this year.
I have thus far just about managed to squeeze in Che Part 1, The Wrestler and Slumdog Millionaire.
I've had to confine the likes of Role Models, The Reader, Defiance and even Valkyrie to my lovefilm coming soon list to take the pressure off.
This week I have the Frost/Nixon/Milk connumdrum which Frost/Nixon is probably going to win however this means I'm probably going to miss out on Revolutionary Road and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist what with Bejamin Button and Vicky Christina Barcelona on the horizon.
Many of these films were released in America last year so why couldn't we have been thrown a couple of them in November/December when I barely visited the cinema.
Posted on Friday January 30, 2009, 02:38
What's with all the fucking swearing? Calm down mate.
Posted on Friday January 30, 2009, 09:47
Thats alot of F-Words. Gordon Ramsay would be proud.
But i totally agree.
The studios seem less inclined to do the whole re-release of a great film that opened in June and wait until January to release their "award pictures (and even this used to be in December . Have people's memories got that bad).
Still won't go and see Underworld three though.
Posted on Thursday March 5, 2009, 12:48
the trick is, at this busy time of year, as I did for The Wrestler and Slumdog, to pay for the first feature and then hang out in the toilets until a screen opens with slumdog on. free movies are so much more pleasurable