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“I have some big news,” the Los Angeles Times lead film critic Kenneth Turan tweeted on Wednesday. “After close to 30 years in the most exciting and rewarding of jobs, I am stepping away from being a daily film critic for the Los Angeles Times. I will keep writing about film but at a different pace. To quote Ecclesiastes, ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.’ Looking forward to what’s to come.”
The outpouring of praise for Turan, who is 73, was intense and immediate. “The maestro takes a bow,” responded The New York Times lead film critic A.O. Scott on Twitter, who himself stepped down from full-time daily criticism on March 15 for one year, leaving that task to his fellow lead critic Manohla Dargis. In his case, taking the title of Critic at Large as he writes “bigger, cross-topic essays,” per The NYT, was long-planned.
Congratulations, my friend, and thank you for guiding movie lovers for all these years and helping make film culture better. I’m greatly looking forward to spending some time with you, face to face and outside a movie theater, when we’re no longer practicing social distancing. https://t.co/fwr1OaKHOR
— Manohla Darkness @ManohlaDargis March 25, 2020
But there was more to the response to Turan’s departure than one veteran hanging up his spurs. Before the pandemic, film critics were already struggling to survive in a fragile newspaper economy that whittled out hundreds of working critics. And since theaters closed down last week, critics are trying to figure out how to function in a post-theatrical world. Write essays about why movies matter? Recommend classic movies on TCM to watch at home? Review anniversary DVDs? Pivot to television and streaming?
Turan opted out as a daily critic after almost three decades on the film beat. After joining the paper in 1991, the Brooklyn-born former book editor became known for refusing to revel in screen violence, a humanistic approach to movies, a deep understanding of how movies are crafted, and most notoriously, for panning Oscar-winning blockbuster “Titanic,” driving James “King of the World” Cameron into attack mode. Turan kept his job for 22 more years, outlasting fellow critics Sheila Benson, Peter Rainer, Kevin Thomas and Michael Wilmington. His last review, on March 12, was of the German escape thriller “Balloon.”
The departing Turan promises to contribute film essays and think pieces, and leaves in place gifted critic Justin Chang, who moved over to the Times after paying his dues at Variety. How many other senior critics will...
Hot off its Best Picture win at the Academy Awards, Bong Joon-ho‘s incredible genre-bending social thriller Parasite was given a wide release into 2,000 theaters in the United States, essentially doubling its theatrical reach even though the film has been available on home video since the end of January. But now, the film can be seen in an even bigger and better way: in IMAX. According to a new report, Parasite will be available in select IMAX theaters for one week starting tomorrow.
The best film of the year is now the biggest film of the year.
For one week only, Bong Joon Ho’s digitally remastered PARASITE is playing on over 200 @IMAX screens across the country.
Opening 2.21, go to https://t.co/ZhkMFQM29u for details. pic.twitter.com/ouSazojbRC
— NEON @neonrated February 20, 2020
According to Variety, a digitally remastered version of Parasite is heading to select IMAX theaters for a Barenaked Lady. Everyone else uses that term to mean “one week,” right? That’s not just me? They don’t have a count of exactly how many IMAX theaters will be playing the movie, but I’ve reached out to IMAX to see if they can provide us with the exact figure. In the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing the movie on the biggest and best screen possible and why wouldn’t you be?, you can visit IMAX’s website, type in your location at the top of the page, and see if a theater nearby happens to be playing it. Best of luck.
Parasite‘s Best Picture win was the biggest surprise of this year’s Oscars, not only because it seemed as if 1917 might win, but because it was a rare example of the Academy actually “getting it right” with its top prize. Parasite was undeniably the movie of 2019, beginning an incredible run by unanimously winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and going on to rack up critical accolades including our own for months afterward. It ended up being /Film’s number one movie of last year on the site’s joint list, and it’s garnered enough positive attention that it’s even joining the rarified Criterion Collection. It not only won Best Picture, but also Best International Film, Best Screenplay, and the Best Director prize for Bong Joon-ho.
And the #Oscar goes to…#Parasite pic.twitter.com/t3iVG8nod4
— NEON @neonrated February 12, 2020
Parasite is currently sitting at number 5 on the all-time list of highest-grossing international films in North America, but this IMAX release could theoretically push it into the top 4. It has currently made $43.4 million, so it just needs a little extra push to overtake the Spanish language comedy Instructions Not Included, which made $44.5 million.
Just as local audiences flocked to this year’s Berlinale on its 70th anniversary, its European Film Market attracted more than 11,000 visitors, up 500 from last year — even after over 60 Chinese delegates withdrew. That said: Sales were down.
At perhaps the only Berlinale ever to take place after the Oscars, Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture-winner and global blockbuster “Parasite” was top of mind. However, buyers quickly decided that the accessible arthouse breakout will be hard to duplicate.
“‘Parasite’ was a good thing,” said EFM head Matthijs Wouter Knol. “People came to the market with high spirits about the chance for arthouse films to be discovered. Sadly, the arthouse film in reality these past days is struggling; it’s not the most easy part of cinema. That some people went home disappointed with their results doesn’t take away the fact that films like ‘Parasite’ do have a chance.”
Here are further gleanings from Berlin.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/REX/ShutterstockThe middle ground is shrinking.
“Things change market to market,” said one UK seller. “Everyone says ‘the AFM is over,’ ‘Cannes is slow.’ It depends what packages are available. Every territory is saying the same thing: They want huge, commercial projects that compete with studios —action-genre stuff at the right price — but then they want cool, hooky arthouse stuff to buy cheap and break out that is not risky.”
Several big titles sold at the EFM, notably “The Good Nurse,” Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm’s English-language debut, adapted by Krysty Wilson-Cairn “1917” from Charles Graeber’s non-fiction book about a notorious nurse Jessica Chastain who killed 400 patients via air embolism. After FilmNation and Lionsgate discussed a possible North American deal to pay for the film and sell territories worldwide, Netflix plunked down a reported $25 million to back the package co-starring Eddie Redmayne.
Other hot sales titles were the Gerard Butler actioner “Remote Control,” Mike Mills’ untitled road movie starring Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix as an artist in charge of his brainy nephew, and the Robert Pattinson-Margaret Qualley romance “The Stars at Noon,” which presold to A24. Also for sale from Endeavor Content was Maggie Gyllenhaal's directing debut “The Lost Daughter,” starring Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, and Dakota Johnson.
“The stuff in the middle, it’s such a risk for theatrical distributors,” continued the UK distributor. “Globally, people are not going to see that in cinemas. They wait to see...
NBC medical drama “New Amsterdam” has decided to postpone airing an upcoming episode that would've focused on a fictional deadly flu pandemic in New York City.
Deadline reported that the series, created by David Schulner, had already shot an episode titled “Pandemic,” later renamed “Our Doors Are Always Open”. Schulner supported the network's decision and provided a short essay to Deadline about the episode's postponement, where he stressed that the “world needs a lot less fiction right now, and a lot more facts.”
“During a bad year, influenza can kill up to 80,000 Americans,” Schulner said in his letter. “We wanted to get this message out. And the best way to do that was to scare you so bad you'd be washing your hands during the commercial breaks. We showed what happens when our hospital has to erect tents in the parking lot because every bed is taken. When the doctors and nurses and medical techs have been working back to back shifts because their replacements are sick. When panic sets in. When people are quarantined. When people die. Sometimes, what the mirror reflects back is too horrifying to look at.”
Schulner also noted that members of the series' cast and crew had become sick, including Daniel Dae Kim, who Schulner said tested positive for the coronavirus several days after production was shuttered. All four of the show's infected individuals are recovering, according to Schulner. He added that while many consumers have become more interested in pandemic-related films such as “Contagion” — whose medical consultant tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week — the episode's New York location mirrored the state's real-world coronavirus crisis too closely for comfort.
New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, with more than 17,000 cases and 200 deaths since March 1. Business Insider reported that 2,500 new cases were reported on Tuesday, with another 2,300 reported Wednesday morning. The city accounts for nearly a third of the nation's coronavirus cases.
“Our Doors Are Always Open” will air at a later date, though a specific date has not been determined. “New Amsterdam” has already been renewed for three additional seasons.
“New Amsterdam” is one of numerous television shows that has been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. IndieWire is keeping track of all of the entertainment industry's productions and events that have been impacted by the outbreak.
Schulner's full essay is available on Deadline.