What We Learned This Week: March 26-April 1

LESSON #1: BRETT RATNER IS FULL OF SUGAR-HONEY-ICED-TEA— Formerly prolific film director Brett Ratner, who’s been cleaning it up as a producer of Ratpac Entertainment, stepped out late last week to pontificate to Entertainment Weekly that “the worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes” and added “I think it’s the destruction…

What We Learned This Week: March 12-18

This week, it’s time to collectively put a firehose of truth and pragmatism to the flaming mountains of fake outrage that has been brewing for weeks on several fronts.  The targets today are remakes, reboots, and reimaginings.  A whole lot of fuss was made this week by the arrival of Disney’s reimagining of “Beauty and…

What We Learned This Week: March 5-11

LESSON #1: THE SUCCESS RATE OF INDIE DIRECTORS STEPPING TO BLOCKBUSTERS IS IMPROVING— Other than Marc Webb stepping up from “(500) Days of Summer” to the ill-fated “Amazing Spider-Man” double bill and “Moon” director Duncan Jones bombing on “Warcraft,” the recent push of larger studios’ farming of indie directors to helm blockbusters have gone pretty successfully….

What We Learned This Week: February 26-March 4

LESSON #1: INDEPENDENT FILM IS ALIVE AND WELL: PART 1— In upset fashion at the 89th Academy Awards, “Moonlight” and its $1.5 million budget just became the most inexpensive Best Picture Academy Award winner in modern history (and likely all-time if you adjust for inflation).  Not only is the film a hopeful door opener for…

What We Learned This Week: February 19-25

LESSON #1: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GOING TO NETFLIX— I don’t know where the stigma came that Netflix is where losers go to get work.  It’s probably because of the current career chapter of Adam Sandler being housed there.  Many auteur feathers were ruffled by the news that Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited reunion film “The…

What We Learned This Week: February 11-18

LESSON #1: BATMAN IS THE BEST CHARACTER CREATION TO COME OUT OF THE WORLD OF COMIC BOOKS— When done with gusto, what makes Batman unique and special is that he works in any tone.  No one else can match his range of iconic interpretation.  Not Superman and not a soul over at Marvel Comics. He is, unequivocally,…

What We Learned This Week: February 4-10

LESSON #1: 2016 WAS A BANNER YEAR FOR FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES— If you haven’t sought out the five Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Feature, do you yourself a favor and remedy that.  The multi-hour/multi-part “O.J.: Made in America” is going to win the Oscar and is available on Netflix.  The streaming powerhouse also offers Ava DuVernay’s…

What We Learned this Week: January 21-27

LESSON #1: FAITHLESS HOLLYWOOD FORGIVES BAD PEOPLE— How’s this for irony?  The frighteningly devout and conservative Catholic who was ostracized from liberal Hollywood for anti-Semitic hate got himself and his gaudy, violent, and cheesy war film nominated over the most respected legend in the game who completed a passion project expressing, get this, frighteningly devout Christian…

What We Learned this Week: January 14-20

LESSON #1: BLACK GIRLS RULE— Want to get a slice of minority history to reach a general audience and make a few bucks?  Cast it, package it, write it, and market it smartly as a PG-rated family film capable of netting the widest audience possible.  “Hidden Figures” isn’t breaking any new ground with filmmaking, but it’s playing…