The way we watch movies and TV keeps changing. "Lawrence of Arabia" appears on our mobile phones. ESPN's 7 ½-hour O.J. docu-series premieres at the multiplex. Then there's that comedy webisode you catch between meetings on your office laptop. So what do we call these talkies on our screens? Movies? TV shows? Please, not "content." In The Blur, a Los Angeles Times special series, we examine why the medium is no longer the message.
The trigger? ESPN’s 7 ½-hour documentary “O.J.: Made in America.” It premieres Friday in theaters for filmgoers who want to experience all 464 minutes in one sitting. On June 11, the first of five episodes debuts on ABC. Is it a movie or TV? Will it win an Emmy? An Oscar? Both? To help sort out the viewing experiences, we asked TV critic MARY McNAMARA and film critic KENNETH TURAN to review “Made in America” from their different perspectives.
And with the once-clear lines between movies and TV getting ever-fuzzier, TURAN, McNAMARA, ROBERT LLOYD, STEVEN ZEITCHIK, JOSH ROTTENBERG and TODD MARTENS weigh in on The Blur.
The upcoming crime drama "The Night Of" would seem like a prototypical cable show — commissioned by HBO, airing for eight episodes, designed as summer appointment viewing.
Yet look beneath and a film beast stirs. "The Night Of" was co-written by Steven Zallian, an Oscar winner, and stars John Turturro; neither has ever been a key figure on a TV series. Every episode was directed by Zallian — highly atypical for a TV show. The scripts were also all finished before a single moment was shot — unlike much of television, in which writers often stay just an episode or two ahead of production.
If any doubts existed about the project's film nature, they were wiped away during a visit to "The Night Of’s" post-production facilities in New York. Zallian was about to celebrate his anniversary working on the piece, all before the public has even caught the first glimpse of what he was doing. That's creeping into auteur territory.
It’s far from the only project that dances across the film-television line. A documentary about O.J. Simpson, a nonfiction take on the celibate Laker A.C. Green from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, and Chloe Sevigny's more fictional story (one hopes) of a girl who turns into a cat -- all are examples of projects you couldn’t, for all the jewels in Blake Lively's closet, slap with a traditional definition.
The Sevigny piece would seem to be a film -- it's made by veteran movie producers and debuting at the Cannes Film Festival. But it's a short, almost like a mini-TV episode. And it will receive its commercial debut on the women’s news-and-lifestyle website Refinery29 -- a space not known for cinema