Globe film critic talks future of film Reply

Ty Burr, a film critic for The Boston Globe, spoke with Lasell students about the future of film in a presentation at de Witt Hall.
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By Casey O’Brien — News Editor

Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr spoke about the future of the film industry in mid-April at de Witt Hall. The presentation, called “The Future of Movies,” was co-sponsored by the Donahue Institute for Values and Public Life and the Communication Department.

Burr has been a critic at the Globe since 2002, and previously worked at Entertainment Weekly for 11 years. He is also currently an adjunct professor at Boston University, teaching several classes in film.

“Everything has to be in 3D, even if it doesn’t have to be,” he said. Many films are now released with the 3D option, and some old movies are being re-released in 3D, most notably Titanic, and Disney classics like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Burr explained how the digital effects revolution has changed movies, as the film industry is creating more movies with “flash rather than substance,” where all elements have to be bigger and better than the one before.

Burr said the digital effects can make up for a lackluster story when they can “take you to places you couldn’t imagine.” If viewers want more human drama with a well-told story, it would be better to look to television, to such shows as AMC’s “Mad Men” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Burr commented on the number of dying locally-run theaters, which are being chased out of business by national chains. To go to a movie, the options are mainly the AMC in the Boston Common and the Regal at Fenway. It is becoming too expensive to run a theater today, according to Burr.

Many movie studios will soon only be sending out digital copies of films, which can only be played on digital projectors.

Most small theaters do not have this equipment and will not be able to afford even one projector. Netflix, Redbox, and online pirating sites are also competitors for small theaters, as many would prefer to stay home and watch a movie rather than go to the theater.

Burr ended his presentation with dis¬cussing how almost anyone can become a filmmaker, referencing the “Charlie Bit My Finger” and “David After Dentist” videos on YouTube. At one time, only big studios or an independent filmmaker with good financial backing could make a film. Now, anyone can take out their iPhone to film and put the product online, according to Burr.

“Movies come out and then they stick around. They don’t go away,” said Burr. He said to be aware of misinformation as studios want to “make a buck,” and will sell what they believe the public wants to see.

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