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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘State of Play,’ piles of screeners

Another slow movie week for me, as I try to catch up on an ever-increasing pile of screeners, both new DVD releases and small indies. (I actually got to hardly any of them last week, when I thought I’d be able to.) I’m trying to shift gears just a little here with the site, trying to refine some areas of coverage to anticipate where it looks like entertainment may be going in the Great Recession, and it’s more like trying to steer a whale than you might imagine for a smallish site run by only one person. Because it’s more about reorganizing myself than it is anything else — I don’t think you’ll all notice much of a difference round here except, hopefully, more. One thing that’s become obvious is that, if there was money to pay someone, I really could use an administrative assistant to get me organized and keep me organized. It’s the first time in the almost 12 years I’ve been at this that I’ve felt that way, and I’ve decided to see that a marker that I’m moving in the right direction.

So this week, as far as heading out to screenings goes, all I’ve got on the slate is State of Play (opens in the U.S. on April 17, and in the U.K. on April 24). I’m almost done with my second go-through of the British miniseries this is based on, and I’ll have something to say about that this week (I hope). But it makes me worry a bit for the movie, because the mini is so perfect. One of the things that struck me in particular with this viewing is that somehow Paul Abbott managed to write the whole six hours of Play himself, yet it required a slew of screenwriters to boil it down to feature length. An article in Sunday’s Guardian about how many cooks had a finger in this pot is disheartening, particularly in how it highlights just how much power movie stars have over the direction a movie can take… and how little power writers have.



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