Assorted movie news

Started by Jeremy Blackman, March 08, 2016, 03:51:00 PM

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Jeremy Blackman

This might be a good place to post news or articles that don't need their own thread. I'll start with this:

Can IMDb's Ranking System Be Trusted?

Its undemocratic voting system puts 'The Shawshank Redemption' at number one

The Internet Movie Database — or IMDb — is one of the most-visited websites in the world, (no. 50 overall, says Alexa). Hollywood relies on it for record-keeping; industry professionals use it to check on production details or to message various film and TV workers. For that, it's truly useful. But IMDb isn't merely industry-facing: movie and TV-watchers use it, too. There's even a 10-star rating system that tells IMDb what your favorites are — data they use to generate their list The IMDb Top 250 Movies. With IMDb's 65 million registered users and industry elite crawling its pages daily, this list would seem to be an important representation of their taste.

But it's not. Dig deeper and you'll discover that The IMDb Top 250 is completely and irrevocably rigged.

Both IMDb and The IMDb Top 250 have roots in early-internet USENET groups — initially called rec.arts.movies, beginning in the late '80s as a series of lists of actors, filmmakers and trivia that would be passed around by film nerds. The first post, made by a British film enthusiast named Col Needham, was called "Those eyes" and was about actresses with beautiful eyes. Within these groups, the Top 250 list emerged — and its first best movie was crowned: Star Wars: A New Hope. Over the past 25 years, the list has evolved in real time to reflect its users' overall aggregate change in taste.

As of writing, here are the top 15 and their respective ratings:

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) — 9.2
2. The Godfather (1972) — 9.2
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974) — 9.0
4. The Dark Knight (2008) — 8.9
5. Pulp Fiction (1994) — 8.9
6. Schindler's List (1993) — 8.9
7. 12 Angry Men (1957) — 8.9
8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) — 8.9
9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) — 8.9
10. Fight Club (1999) — 8.8
11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) — 8.8
12. Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980) — 8.7
13. Forrest Gump (1994) — 8.7
14. Inception (2010) — 8.7
15. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) — 8.7

If you're wondering why the top 15 of the IMDb Top 250 is missing oft-lauded classics like Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove, Citizen Kane, Psycho, Vertigo and 2001: A Space Odyssey — we only have IMDb to blame.

Their overall goal is to wring as much engagement as possible from each user, from time spent on the site to visits per day, to boost ad revenue. Thus, the secret IMDb algorithm is rigged to keep its most loyal users rewarded: your votes only count if you vote a lot. Meaning, you only get to rank a film once (on a scale of one to 10, though you can change your grade of a film at any time), and if you vote on enough movies, your grades are factored into the Top 250.

But they don't disclose how many votes you need in order to qualify as a "regular" voter. (In the FAQ, they write: "To maintain the effectiveness of the Top 250 Rated Charts, we deliberately do not and will not disclose the criteria used for a person to be counted as a regular voter.") In some ways, this maintains some integrity in The Top 250, as it's much harder to create duplicate dummy accounts and get away with ballot-stuffing. But, it also means the votes of casual fans or people who are too busy to engage as much (including the busy industry professionals who have better things to do) are not included in the rankings, even if they make a few of them.

Like many other websites' algorithms (anyone remember the failed Netflix algorithm challenge?) the company doesn't want to let you know how the sausage gets made (and declined to comment for this article), creating mystery and mystique around the list and the brand. Thus, there are plenty of online threads dedicated to debating how the list works on a technical level.

What do we know about the inner mechanics of The IMDb 250? They call their algorithm "a true Bayesian estimate," which is a complicated system that increases the importance of the average rating the more votes are cast. IMDb is, essentially, trying to keep new movies from having artificially high ratings.

That doesn't mean they're succeeding, which might explain why Deadpool currently has a higher ranking than Citizen Kane — no joke.

Read more


The big issue I find with the IMDb rating system is that, despite it being a ten-star system, so many people treat it as a binary pass/fail rating. A movie they think is great gets a ten, any movie that doesn't deserve a ten gets a one. This results in the ratings being less an accurate reflection of how WELL people like a movie and more one of simply how MANY people like a movie. And of course, as the article states, this is compounded by the site's algorithms rewarding "power users," who tend to be the most hyperbolic and axiomatically-inclined of the lot.
My house, my rules, my coffee


Michael Jackson Chimp 'Bubbles' Gets Stop Motion Animated Movie With 'Anomalisa's Dan Harmon
via Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: The Black List-topping Isaac Adamson script Bubbles, about Michael Jackson's famed Chimpanzee companion, has been acquired to be turned into a stop-motion animated feature in the spirit of Anomalisa. The acquisition was made by Andrew Kortschak and End Cue, and Dan Harmon and his Starburns Industries production company will produce the film. Harmon exec produced Anomalisa, which was nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar after it created a stir at the last Toronto Film Festival and got acquired by Paramount.

Harmon is also the veteran TV writer and the creator of the NBC sitcom Community. Bubbles tells the story of Michael Jackson's life and history from the perspective of the pet Chimp which got a close-up view after being adopted by Jackson from an Austin, Texas research facility and given residence at the Neverland Ranch in 1983. He became Jackson's constant companion until he became overaggressive and was moved to a monkey sanctuary in Florida. The script has been considered a very inventive way to tell an unauthorized story of Jackson without needing permission. Adamson and Lee Stobby will be exec producers, and Harmon and Kortschak will produce. CAA will represent the distribution rights for the film. This comes just as CAA signed Harmon and Starburns Industries in all areas. Adamson is represented by CAA and manager Lee Stobby.​


FX Options Don DeLillo Novel 'Zero K' For Scott Rudin Productions
via Deadline

Author Don DeLillo's latest novel, Zero K, is to be published in the U.S. next month by Scribner, and by Picador in the UK. FX has optioned the futuristic tome for Scott Rudin Productions as part of Rudin's deal with Fox Network Group. In her review this week, The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani called the book DeLillo's "most persuasive since his astonishing 1997 masterpiece, Underworld."

Zero K follows billionaire Ross Lockhart whose younger wife, Artis Martineau, has a terminal illness. Lockhart is a significant investor in a secretive, remote compound where death is controlled and bodies are preserved until medical advances can restore individuals to improved lives. He hopes Artis can benefit from this pioneering science. Told from the perspective of son Jeffrey Lockhart, Zero K weighs the devastations of our time against "the mingled astonishments of our lives, here, on Earth." The Times says it acts as a kind of bookend to 1985's White Noise, "somber and coolly futuristic, where that earlier book was satirical and darkly comic."

DeLillo has written 15 novels including Cosmopolis which was adapted as a feature by David Cronenberg and premiered at Cannes in 2012 starring Robert Pattinson. He also wrote the screenplay for 2005's sports comedy Game 6 which starred Michael Keaton.

He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with Mao II in 1992 and Underworld in 1998. Last year, he was awarded the National Book Foundation's 2015 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Amy Schiffman's Intellectual Property Group negotiated the deal with FX on behalf of Don DeLillo and the Wallace Literary Agency, Inc.


Frontières to include TV shows for first time
via ScreenDaily

Frontières International Co-Production Market will include TV shows for the first time at its upcoming edition.

Following its third European edition at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF), Frontières returns to Fantasia International Film Festival for its sixth edition, running July 21-24 in Montreal.

The first wave of projects announced include two TV series: House Of Psychotic Women and Untold Horror.

House Of Psychotic Women is based on the book by Canadian author Kier-La Janisse, who will also produce alongside Rook Films' Andy Starke (Sightseers, The Duke Of Burgundy). Sean Hogan has written the pilot episode.

Untold Horror from Rue Morgue magazine editor-in-chief Dave Alexander will be an eight-part documentary series about the greatest horror movies never made. Directed by Bob Barrett, the series is written by Alexander and Mark Pollesol.


Channing Tatum & A24 Team For Fake 80s Romanian Buddy Cop TV Series 'Iron Fisting'
via The Playlist

Channing Tatum's production company, Free Association, is teaming with A24 to produce a Romanian buddy cop spoof TV series called "Iron Fisting," according to Entertainment Weekly.

Inspired by 80's cop shows like "Miami Vice," "Iron Fisting" follows the misadventures of two mismatched buddy cops as they protect their Communist society from the dreaded Capitalism. The series will be dubbed in English. There are no casting announcements yet, but the series is the brainchild of "Animal Practice" creators Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka, while directing the show will be Rhys Thomas who is an alum of "Saturday Night Live" and a co-creator of the series "Documentary Now!"

The series will film a full season in Eastern Europe beginning in the fall, and is being fully financed by A24.


So the trailer for the movie about Matt Damon saving China from dragons or whatever came out the other day, and Constance Wu, who is awesome and I want to be best friends with, had some thoughts.
My house, my rules, my coffee


I found it hard to believe Damon would sign up for this, then I saw that it's directed by Zhang Yimou, kinda tough to pass up if you're into action as much as he's been lately. In a post 'Last Samurai' world, how could you have a movie like this on your conscience? The formula seems pretty simple, that China will eat it up no matter what and his white face is just there to get Americans into seats. Then there's this whole other issue in why we need white people injected into different cultures stories for them to be more palatable? I would actually want to see this if his presence in it didn't seem so absurd. It's like they're saying "Here, look at this monumental and glorious achievement of the Chinese people (whispers) but don't worry, you don't have to actually relate to them. In the end, a white guy saves the day ( pat on the head )"

at any rate, it's a good sign that the public has enough desire for Dragons for this to be made on such a large scale. It can only serve to help the reception of 'Pete's' next month. Man, Game of Thrones has seeped so much into our consciousness it's like we NEED these things in our lives, these days. Why do you think that is? Maybe in this age of drones we feel like they're the only thing that can protect us.


this has been installed on Hollywood Blvd and now you know


That's for the Baywatch reboot, right?


where they hid a good reason to see that movie


Wonder Woman beat The Mummy and in fact played on more screens, on that topic^

this post is about this:

Tarantino's theater. he played Interstellar opening week btw. he's a big genuine fan, as others are, but no one i know has brought up comparisons between these movies


the most depressing movie event since Ant-Man


So fucked up. It reminds me of a story I just read about the new Lorde album, how she and Jack Antonoff played a demo of "Green Light" for Max Martin, songwriter and producer of pretty much every extraordinarily successful pop song that sounds exactly the same over the past 15 years, and he told them it was "incorrect songwriting" because of the key change between the verse and pre-chorus. Fortunately they ignored him, but that seems to be such a pervasive mindset, the more that entertainment becomes the product of conglomerates only, that uniqueness and artistic identity aren't virtues, but defects. Formulas are the real entertainers, and artists are just there to fill in the blanks, like some 200 million dollar game of Mad Libs.

It's so fucking depressing. The movie is going to make a billion dollars anyway, regardless of how good, bad, or in between it is, so why the fuck does it matter if a test screening survey implies that it has 0.37 too many jokes per minute or whatever? The problem is that everyone is trying to make movies that everybody can be mildly content with, but nobody is trying to make somebody's favorite movie anymore. They're placating everyone and exciting no one. We're in a gray paste era of popular cinema.

p.s. Even for The Playlist, that might be the worst copy-edited article I've ever read. Nigerian email scams are more coherent.
My house, my rules, my coffee


'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins Sets Next Movie

QuoteBarry Jenkins is set to direct an adaptation of "If Beale Street Could Talk" for Annapurna Pictures,

QuoteBased on the novel by James Baldwin, "If Beale Street Could Talk," the story follows Tish, a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover's innocence while carrying their first born child.

his innocence in a rape accusation, btw. it's basically a highly difficult subject to tackle and only made easier by its literary pedigree


QuoteJenkins will also write and direct an hourlong drama series about the Underground Railroad currently in development at Amazon, based on Colson Whitehead's best-selling book "The Underground Railroad."

literature and cinema