Episode 20: Cataclysms and Catechisms*
About This Episode
Russell Crowe is back in theaters, and apparently destroying music in Les Miserables wasn’t enough for him, because now he’s trampling on the story of Noah and the rest of the Bible too—or at least that’s what some of your Facebook friends think. We’ll get there, but first we’ve got a lightning round to shock you with.
Hollywood is Dying; Long Live the Indie Scene
The recent SXSW show may have struck a huge blow for a topic dear to the Screeners’ hearts: the democratization of filmmaking. A distribution company called VHX marked the end of their private beta, declaring open season on their platform for indie content creators everywhere. A marketplace like this could be the difference between an audience of 10 and one of 10,000 or more...so when will we see Chris’s first Michael Bay fan fiction hit our computer screens?
From something all the Screeners seem to care about, we move to something pretty much no one does—the cast for the new Fantastic Four movie. The only reason we’re talking about it is because the studio’s made an interesting choice in picking Michael B. Jordan to play Johnny to Kate Mara’s Susan Storm. Is the decision based on having the best person for the job, or is this very conversation and dozens other like it the reason for the casting?
Next up, just because the Screeners like to open up old wounds from time to time, they can’t resist mentioning a brand new way to pirate movies that made its way onto the scene not too long ago. Popcorn Time is Netflix for people who don’t care whether their entertainment is legal; can you guess what the Screeners think about it? No? Neither can we—this should be enlightening…
And now, for something completely different: The Screeners have landed their first sponsor, indiebox. Started by gamers who found themselves disappointed that the Internet has slowly sucked all the anticipation they used to get from buying an actual game that came in an actual box from an actual store, indiebox is aiming to bring back some of that thrill. Their subscription service delivers an lovingly crafted indie game to you every month as a customized “cartridge” packaged in—you guessed it—an old-school cardboard box that’s full of other game-related swag. The Screeners have a few questions for indiebox’s president, James Morgan, but the main one seems to be, “When can we try it?” (May. The answer’s May.)
Events Don’t Get Much More Main than This
OK, we promised controversy, and controversy you will get. Noah is out in theaters; it’s being hailed as the first blockbuster of the season and all sorts of other generic praise you see on trailers, but it’s also been pretty divisive, and you can probably guess why. Make art based on thousands of years of religious tradition, and chances are you’re not going to please everyone. Aronofsky’s never been satisfied with aiming his films at the lowest common denominator, though, and his movies often explore complicated topics in a unique way.
The question for a work like this might not be so much the relationship of the source material to the final product, but rather the effect of that final product itself. While he’s trying to avoid slavishly reproducing the original, can Aronofsky make something capable of standing on its own?
Also, which Screener can yell the loudest?… go!
* For those who didn't find the last episode's title pretentious enough...