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NEWS ARTICLE

This Week's Best Online Film Writing: 'Breaking Bad' and 'Blockbuster Syndrome'

A round-up of this week's insightful commentary, debates, Twitter feuds and nice weekend long reads on the subject of film, the industry, and storytelling.

Vince Gilligan, every week until his show's end, made a strong argument that television is stealing film's thunder as the greatest medium for storytellers. Our own Zachary Wigon argues that Breaking Bad achieved a level of narrative tension that no Hollywood film has yet been able to achieve.

As Breaking Bad exited stage right, there was a lot of debate about how it will change the way filmmakers tells stories. Slate's Willa Paskin offered a fan's dissenting view of the end of Breaking Bad, saying, essentially, that the redemption of Walter White was "not quite so satisfying."

A little dissent notwithstanding, the general consensus of Breaking Bad's finale was positive. Similarly, Gravity has been getting rave reviews. Jocelyn Novek of the AP found Gravity to be "90 minutes of terrifying beauty" (if seen in 3D). "And please," she writes, "no matter how many months or years pass, don't watch this film on your little smartphone." @ChaseWhale, who is "not an advocate for 3D," agrees, tweeting, "Also, see GRAVITY in IMAX. Wait if it's sold out - don't settle for a smaller screen. This is one movie experience you will never forget."

The Riveter marshals some damning statistics about the number of women directing the top grossing films (5% of the top 250 grossing films in the US in 2011) as well as the number of women reviewing films.

Australian screenwriter Allen Palmer in Cracking Yarns tells us why Joseph Campbell changed his life, the way we tell stories and the history of cinema forever.

Does Prisoners go too easy on the subject of torture? Asawin Suebsaeng in Mother Jones argues that Prisoners, at 153 minutes, makes the strongest case against torture in years. 

Gary Susman, in Rolling Stone, takes a look at what Hollywood is risking by leaning on overseas box office. China, particularly, wields a disturbing amount of power over how films get presented there. It is, of course, all about money. Only 34 foreign films are allowed into the lucrative Chinese market each year. In exchange for taking on Chinese story elements, investors and producers, American studios can claim 43 percent of Chinese ticket sales instead of the standard 25 percent.

Bob Lefsetz takes a rather pessimistic turn in assessing the Blockbuster mentality now prevalent in music, video games and film. "People only want the best music, the stuff that everyone's talking about," he writes. "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer," is the Lefsetz takeaway. The argument ends with a look at the Blockbuster mentality in Hollywood, of weekend movie grosses and the state of studio arthouse divisions.

Slashfilm has exclusive images and quotes from Joss Whedon's new book about the making of Much Ado About Nothing. And Film School Rejects has Six tips from Ron Howard .

"On October 3rd, 1993 at 11am, we screened CLERKS for the first time at the Angelika Film Center as part of the IFFM, writes Kevin Smith on Facebook. "...There was nobody in the audience but folks who'd worked on CLERKS... and one guy named Bob Hawk who would change my life forever by recommending the film a bunch and urging us to submit the flick to Sundance. Many thanks, Bob, for making time at 11am on 10/3/93, twenty years ago today."

As it is now October, the seasonal question is: should you make a horror film? Sheri Candler at the Collaborative writes about the budgeting and distribution issues that go into making a film in the horror genre. And -- plug, plug -- I wrote about the thriving DIY horror scene.

Finally, Amanda Lin Costa at Mediashift writes about the interactive documentary Hollow and the pros and cons of online storytelling.

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