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Monday, January 24, 2011

Briefly... on the Red State situation

Film Flam Flummox

As with many, my initial reaction to Kevin Smith's decision to self-distribute his long-gestating horror film Red State was surprise--but not in the same way most (rather exaggeratedly outraged) observers have expressed. No, my surprise comes in that just about no one ever had the faintest suspicion Smith would follow such a route, especially within the context of his long history of challenging, breaking, and/or redefining traditional boundaries--whether embracing filmmaker/fan interaction long before the advent of social networking over at his official site; or running his own film and entertainment news outlet for a few years; or building a public speaking side career so successful so as to spawn a DVD franchise and, in recent years, a veritable network of podcasts that has grown to invite live audiences. Taking all that into consideration, theatrical self-distribution--piggybacked on his established drawing power as a live speaker--seems not so much insanity than an organic brand extension, albeit his boldest and riskiest. Whatever the outcome, undoubtedly it'll certainly be fascinating and instructive (from all angles, positively and negatively) to watch the situation play out in the coming months.



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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Disney goes Telugu

Film Flam Flummox

While Hollywood studios dabbling in Indian film production has become a far from unusual thing in recent years, leave it to Disney to go the extra mile. While most studios have been pursuing the more widely seen "Bollywood" (read: Hindi language) dollar, starting with Sony Pictures' Saawariya in 2007 and subsequently followed by Disney themselves (2008's Roadside Romeo), then Warner Bros. (2009's Chandni Chowk to China), and then most successfully last year with Fox's My Name Is Khan, leave it to Mouse to leave no stone unturned and no potential market untapped by having a hand in a regional Indian production in the southern language of Telugu: the fantasy adventure Anaganaga O Dheerudu (Once Upon a Warrior), opening worldwide (including in North America) this Friday. I was told by the friendly folks at L.A. Telugu that this weekend's initial release in the States will not be English subtitled (those prints apparently will be released next weekend), but if the lavish trailer (that is subtitled) below is any indication, it looks to be a visual extravaganza of Hollywood-level polish that speaks a universal tongue of cinematic sensory splendor that transcends spoken language.


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