THE MOVIES ARE ‘A CHANGING-AGAIN!

For those that follow the moving picture business outside of watching Entertainment Tonight (currently in its 36th season), E! Entertainment, as well as the news on what movies made so-much box office grosses (a bit of information that at one time was only limited to pieces found in the “trades” rather than addressed to the general public), it’s been noted within recent times that movies, the staple of visual entertainment that’s been around for over one hundred years, has been going through its many growing pains ranging from content, the method of consumption, as well as those that work in movies on both sides of the camera.
Those changes tend to be from a form of various stock. As to content, as this message is written and possibly read, the industry in smack dab in the middle of awards season. Since the first of the year, many of the trade groups and other organizations have been fobbing off awards and other forms of self recognition for the art and creation of movies–that form of visual entertainment where people go to movie houses to take part of this kind of amusement. Many of the award programs are well known, such as the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Awards, and of course, the biggest one and most recognizable one of them all, the Academy Awards.
Those award programs are known because their general emphasis is to present kudos to actors and actresses. Those are the folks that appear in front of the camera where they speak, move around, wear outfits ranging from simple every day stock to lavish costuming first made popular during Hollywood’s so-called “golden” era, as well as donning makeup and hairstyles that also hark from an era when movies were movies, rather than another visual medium that can be seen on a big or little screen.
There are other awards as well for those behind the scenes. Most of these awards programs, if not all, receive little media coverage and really isn’t televised since those award ceremonies tend to cater to those either involved in that industry or have some kind of alliance to that group. Folks involved in sound engineering, hair and makeup styling, and editing film (or at least editing moving imagery), are a hard working bunch. However, they are not necessarily known to the public at large and thus, are not of “celebrity” stock. In other words, those that are up for an award that doesn’t involve acting and possibly directing, (including the groups that are eligible for an Oscar for sound mixing, costume design, etc.) are everyday “normal” folks that do their own grocery shopping and personal laundry duties! Entertainment Tonight or the news reports found on E! really don’t go out of their way to report who won for best set design for a dramatic feature film. They would rather gush over on who won for best movie comedy ensemble at the SAG Awards program.
But those involved in making movies are mostly found behind the scenes. These are the peoples that are known through what they have done in the past or those that are involved in their movie of the moment. Their names appear on the credits for those to read. And in recent times, there has been a lot of talk that those involved in the movie industry tend to come from one form of human stock. That demographic seems to fit those that are white and male. Others that are not white and male are attempting to move up within the ranks stating to those of some form of “power” that they too, can do the same form of service their white male counterparts can present. And the groups that are speaking out for themselves are those of “color” (formally known as “minorities”), and women in general of any race.
There are many trade groups that cater to the demographics that feel they are suppressed within their industry, and through these groups and organizations, many are making their mark. Some become rather successful within their own right, while others get their opportunities only to see them sputter through time to later fizzle out, or to move into another direction not necessarily intended–for the good or otherwise!
Not too long ago, a study formed through the University of Southern California’s Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative went through the listings of some 1000 top-grossing films from the past ten years to see the make up of movie directors in terms of age, gender, and race.
In general, the study found that some 80% of female directors worked on a film, only to nearly disappear from directing another title. This form of working has been called “one and done”, meaning they did one movie and that was it. A “woman of color” (i.e. not white), has it slightly worse standing at a little over 83%. To compare, almost 55% of men directed just a single feature during that time span with Asian and black male directors faring slightly worse, coming in at 60% and 62.5% respectively.
When it comes to age, it seems that those in their middle years (40’s) reign as their peak era. 22 female directors did a flick at their 40’s, while fortysomething men were on top at their game, coming in at 467! As to shelf life, men won that category. 257 titles were directed by men in their 30‘s. (For 30-ish women, that magic number was 7!) For those in their 50’s, men came in at 230. For the women? Only 8 titles were directed by women in their 50’s.
Granted, the study focused on top grossing features released within the last ten years. This doesn’t count upon any of the smaller so-called “independent” titles that tend to flood the market. Those features are more friendlier to those of that are not necessarily white and male, and at times, speak for the groups that are suppressed in terms of cast, crew, along with plot and storyline. However, a good number of these titles have limited distribution, if any at all! The only way to actually see these types of movies, let alone known of them, are to either attend a film festival of some kind, or to view them as a “video on demand” selection through one’s streaming service. And for the most part, these same titles are for its “niche” audience where that demographic will view and perhaps support that film and those involved in it. For the rest of the population that falls outside of the niceh’s scope, the interest is little or non existent! That population wants to see movies for general entertainment. Granted, it may be an action-adventure title (super hero or otherwise), an animated film that is amusing for both kids and adults (it has to be for both groups rather than for a single group), or a fantasy title that takes place in a location and/or era that doesn’t exist in reality. Heavy dramas or witty comedies are at their best when seen through a screen found on an electronic video device.
So as awards season plugs onward, the public at large will still support those in front of the camera that would be found in a “tentpole” picture that is highly amusing enough for those to plunk down the ten dollars and up to see the picture. In the meantime, more people of genders, ages, and races will be involved in the movie biz. How well they do is based on performance. As one of the oldest rules in the moving picture business dictates, you’re only as good as your last feature! So make a good movie–if you can!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Santa Monica Playhouse presents the world premier of Albert James Kallis’ A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR, a comic tale of a middle aged couple whose career and marriage is tested, with a third visible person invisibly standing in their way.
Gregg Berger and Rachel Galper are Oliver and Julia Foxx. They have been married for twenty five years. Oliver started a successful business, while Julia rediscovered her love and interest in becoming a writer, a passion she placed on hold while raising two kids. Now that the kids are grown and gone, she returned to her keyboard, spinning a tale that she was inspired to write based upon real events–her own! This writing became a rather obsession to Julia, as Oliver wants to live a good life with her. He’s planning to sell his business over reasons that he did something questionable. His selling the company under this slight distress and Julia’s big time novel is creating another havoc involving their sex life. That form of sexual bedlam has Oliver encounter another person while in bed. Enter Gina (Albina Katsman), a young and rather attractive woman that can nearly pass as his daughter! However, Gina is a character from Julia’s novel. But is Gina a real person, or is something from Oliver’s imagination? There’s a lot to ponder upon between this trio within their real or imagined ménage-à-trios.
This “bedroom comedy” by playwright Albert James Kallis is an amusing piece that deals with a couple and their relationship with one another, with the third person that becomes real to all for different reasons. Much of the humor extracted from this one act play comes from the situations expressed on hand, rather than from a string of one liners and sight gags. Although the mood is very comical in nature, it’s too funny to become a drama as much of the conflict can be serious in nature, but is far from playing out as a sobered affair. Gregg Berger as Oliver is the devoted man who does best for his spouse for a quarter of a century’s time. Rachel Galper as Julia is a character that is as devoted to her spouse, but did live a rather secret and wilder life. Gina, as performed by Albina Katsman is the free spirit that is young, perhaps too young, and ready for a romp! (Is she of legal age?) That notion adds to the mystery of her existence, and perhaps arranged in this way. Chris DeCarlo, co-artistic director of the Santa Monica Playhouse, directs this production into one tight and mirthful stage piece.
James Cooper designs a stage set that consists of the Foxx bedroom where all of its action takes place. This single setting makes this program a real bedroom comedy.
A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR blends humor and pathos with just a bit of raciness that’s depicted in a playful manner. It even can question if such a long term relationship can last through its many years. Just as long as that “third wheel” is there for the bedroom thrill or stand as a metaphoric plot point. It all depends on how one is hot and bothered over the issue!

A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR, presented by and performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica, until April 30th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:30 PM.
   For more information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or via online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com    
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On Sunday, February 27th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 89th Academy Awards presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2016 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Casey Affleck won Best Actor for the feature release Manchester By The Sea. Emma Stone won Best Actress for La La Land. Damien Chazelle won Best Director for La La Land, and Moonlight won as Best Picture.
For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at
http://www.Oscars.com.
The day before (February 26th), the Golden Raspberry Foundation presented the 37th Razzie Awards awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2016 calendar year via a presentation made available through streaming media.
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party cleaned out the award categories for Worst Actor (Dinesh D’Souza as Himself and Narrator), Worst Actress (The “Actress” who plays Hillary Clinton), Josh Dinesh D’Souza & Bruce Schooley for Worst Director(s), as well as for Worst Picture.
The third annual Razzie Redeemer Award, presented to a previous Razzie “winner” or nominee who have since been performing in better roles in better features, went to Mel Gibson for his Oscar®-nominated direction of the feature Hacksaw Ridge.
For a listing of all nominated films and people as well as its “winners’, visit the official Razzes web site at http://www.Razzies.com
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