Longform - Page 5

'The Simpsons' Marathon and Our Ongoing Pan-and-Scan Nightmare

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by Nick Schager August 26, 2014 @ 1:25 PM
Fox
'The Simpsons' marathon continues for its sixth straight day on FXX today amidst a growing chorus of complaints about the network’s decision to alter the format of every episode from the show’s first nineteen seasons. As detailed in Max O’Connell’s recent article on Indiewire, FXX has cropped and stretched pre-HD 'Simpsons' installments from their original 4:3 aspect ratio (the height and width of our old standard-definition TVs) to 16:9 (the dimensions of our new HD sets), apparently in order to make sure that no one suffers through old television episodes with black bars on the sides of the image.

'My So-Called Life' 20th Anniversary: Why It Still Gets You Like No One Else Does, 20 Years Later

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by Britt Hayes August 25, 2014 @ 2:35 PM
ABC
20 years ago, 'My So-Called Life' thrashed and pouted its way onto television screens -- an antidote for the deadly case of the warm and fuzzies we were collectively suffering from all those family sitcoms and all those pleasant lessons they taught us in 30-minute spurts each week.  It was a show for everyone: for the angst-ridden and misunderstood teens, for the tweens emerging into what we now call "all of the feels," and for the parents trying to reconcile their struggles with the struggles of their own children. It was the first series to portray teenage life with such brilliant, shaded honesty, that showed us that our youth wasn't disaffected, but deeply, terribly affected. 20 years later, 'My So-Called Life' still resonates; whether you're 28 or 15, you can see yourself painfully reflected in Angela Chase's insecurities and heartaches.

Dave The Triumphant: How Retirement Has Made Letterman Great Again

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by Mike Ryan August 25, 2014 @ 12:22 PM
CBS
Back in April, David Letterman announced that he was retiring as host of ‘The Late Show.’ Almost immediately, the Internet flooded with speculative lists on Letterman’s possible replacement -- which eventually turned out to be Stephen Colbert – and...

Reel Women: It's Time for 'Doctor Who' to Get More Diverse Companions Again

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by Britt Hayes August 22, 2014 @ 11:04 AM
BBC
It was recently announced that Jenna-Louise Coleman is leaving 'Doctor Who' later this year, following the annual Christmas Special. At that point, she'll have played the role of Clara Oswald (in some iteration) for 25 episodes, making her one of the longest-running companions of the eponymous Doctor. This position has traditionally been filled by a younger white woman, though the Doctor has occasionally taken on a male companion, but while the modern version of the series has seen some diversity, Clara's exit provides an opportunity for showrunner Steven Moffatt to once again pair the Doctor with a companion who subverts expectations.

'Love Is Strange,' the Most Unexpectedly Important Gay Film of the Year

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by Nick Romano August 22, 2014 @ 10:00 AM
Sony Pictures Classics
“I think it’s harder – as hard as it’s ever been – to get stories like this made,” said writer-director Ira Sachs of ‘Love Is Strange,’ his latest film starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as an elderly gay couple living in New York City. “If I...

A Night Alone at the Marvel Universe Live Stage Show

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by Mike Ryan August 14, 2014 @ 12:56 PM
Marvel Entertainment
For weeks, a friend of mine had been asking if I’d attend Marvel Universe Live with him. For weeks I had been saying “no,” because I had little interest in attending a two-hour production geared for kids that mainly consists of people running around in costumes on the floor of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The mistake I made was mentioning this to my editor, who then insisted it would be a good idea for me to attend.

It's OK That 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Made a Lot of Money

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by Mike Ryan August 11, 2014 @ 12:49 PM
Paramount
“You sit in New York and say, ‘That’s a piece of junk. Why do they make movies like that?’ Then you come out here, and you can begin to understand how they can make movies like that. The fact is, people pay money to see them.” I was reminded of this Brian De Palma quote from ‘The Devil’s Candy’ -- Julie Salamon’s 1991 expose on the making of the box office bomb, ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities – while reading some of the vitriol spewed toward ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ after it, kind of surprisingly, grossed $65 million this past weekend.

Reel Women: Can a Gender-Swapped 'Ghostbusters 3' Lead to More Female-Centric Geek Films?

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by Britt Hayes August 9, 2014 @ 7:00 AM
Sony
With a female-led 'Ghostbusters' reboot in the works and the recent announcement that Marvel has turned Thor into a woman, it seems that taking male characters and gender-swapping them could become the latest trend. While it's great to show audiences that it shouldn't matter if their heroes are male or female, it would also be great to see more women taking the lead in their own franchises or original properties. But maybe gender-swapping is the gateway drug; maybe this is the way to train audiences to accept women in leading cinematic roles.

'The Black Hole': The Worst Movie Ever Made?

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by Mike Ryan August 8, 2014 @ 2:00 PM
Disney
Earlier this year, for some odd reason, a TMZ cameraman was stalking the famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The first question that the TMZ cameraman asked Tyson was about which movie was the most scientifically inaccurate. It’s almost remarkable how quickly Tyson answered this question. It was almost as if all time and space merged at the particular moment, because Tyson’s answer seemed to come before the question was even finished – as if the sheer weight of Tyson’s answer was so heavy that even light itself couldn’t escape. Tyson’s answer, “The original Disney movie, ‘The Black Hole.’ It was embarrassing!.”