Has 3D jumped the shark?

Has 3D jumped the shark? (photo)

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Okay, first of all, I have no idea whether it’s “3D” or “3-D.” The article I’m going to quote in a minute from The New York Times uses “3-D,” but movie posters like this, this or this all say “3D.” I’m a man of the people, so I put the question to Twitter: 3-D or 3D? Two out of every three responses I got ignored the question completely and replied “2D!”

In other words: who cares, we hate it either way.

Not a good sign for the movie studios who have invested so much money in the format, which is the point of that Times piece by Brooks Barnes. Apparently “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” director Michael Bay is working overtime to encourage people to see his movie in 3(-)D rather than 2(-)D, despite the increasing public perception that the format is a ripoff. Bay notes that the film was shot in 3D by James Cameron’s “Avatar” crew, and that he adjusted his signature run-and-gun visual style to suit the technical demands of shooting in three dimensions. He told the Times “If this was having my name on it, I was determined to make it technically perfect… we’ve spent an enormous amount of time making sure the eye is transitioned from shot to shot.” According to the article, Paramount spent an extra $30 million shooting “Transformers” in 3D.

I like 3D in theory (yeah, I’m going without the dash, it’s just easier to type). As a single tool in a filmmaker’s toolkit, I think it has a lot of potential. But a lot of things work better in theory than in reality — time travel, supply-side economics, “Star Wars” prequels — and so far 3D is one of them. I’ve enjoyed some of the films shot in 3D, but like most of the people on my Twitter feed, I’ve been burned over and over by movies shot in 2D and then hastily converted to 3D in post production. Since I live in New York City, where a 3D ticket can set you back $18, I’ve been burned more than most.

From the start of the recent 3D craze, there’s been a debate over what a modern 3D movie should be. Should modern 3D have dimensional gimmicks, like the old paddleball in the lens gag? Or should it just present a more immersive experience? To me, if I’m paying extra for something, I want to feel the difference. Maybe the most interesting quote in today’s Times piece comes from Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore.

“The consumer has had a reaction to bad 3D and subtle 3D,” Moore says. “They’re tired of sitting in a theater thinking, ‘Wait, is this movie in 3-D or not?’ Well, with ‘Transformers’ people are going to leave saying, ‘You absolutely must see this in 3-D.'”

“Subtle 3D?” Who wants to pay five dollars for subtlety? By diminishing if not completely rejecting the very thing that made 3D special, the format may have jumped the shark.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was “Thor,” which I saw in such dimly projected 3D that I could barely make out what was going on throughout the extended opening action sequence and many of the night scenes. Subtle is one thing; invisible is another. When I saw “Green Lantern” last week to discuss it on The /Filmcast, I did something I had never done before: I actively sought out a 2D screening. I was glad I did; the movie looked clear and bright. I didn’t miss the 3D for a single second.

I’ve heard from some friends that the “Green Lantern” 3D was better than the average post-production conversion job. But I’ve also heard from others that it was just as bad as the rest. Which is part of the problem: there’s so little consistency from theater to theater with these 3D movies. Sometimes you pay extra and get an extra dimension; other times you pay extra for a movie projected blurry and a pair of glasses that bring it into focus. What we need is some sort of consumer guide website devoted to cataloguing the 3D experience at movie theaters, pointing out which ones are doing it correctly and which ones aren’t so that you know where to go to spend your money. For seventeen bucks, you deserve at least three dimensions.

If you’re going to see “Transformers” are you going in 2D or 3D? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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