"It's not so much that we're taking the issue of verisimilitude or truth to another level, it's that the historical base of motion pictures has shifted. They're closer to animation than documentary, with this change." - J. Hoberman, author of Film After Film: (Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema?)
In the last decade, film's capacity to provide an immersive experience has increased dramatically, from 3-D glasses to progressively uncanny CGI representations of humanoid creatures. While the 3-D box office boom and its subsequent falloff remain the subject of some debate, two of the three highest grossing films of all time were rendered using the relatively new technology. What might this mean, asks J. Hoberman, for the medium or film, and for the increasingly imbricated relationship between art and reality?
A new glowing review of J. Hoberman's recently published Film After Film at the AV Club grades the book an "A," praising Hoberman's analysis of the transformations undergone by cinema barely a decade into the new millennium:
Hoberman is tremendously insightful as he integrates his concerns with cinema’s political, historical, and aesthetic past and his visions of its future. For cinephiles of any stripe, it’s a rare book. He soundly articulates the ideological transformations, digital facelifts, and aesthetic insurrections that have tugged at cinema since the turn of the millennium—ones that have made the medium seem simultaneously stagnant and livelier than ever.
Visit the AV Club to read the review in full.
One of the points I make in the book is that, in some respects, even though digital technology has changed the whole ontology of motion pictures, by taking it out of photography, at least theoretically, it also has allowed motion pictures to be more themselves. I love old movies, and my preferred way to look at things is projected on a big screen. But I feel like a realist in terms of what's going on and I'm interested in how the technology develops in tandem with what artists decide to do.
In the days following the cataclysm, the Los Angeles Times reported entertainment industry concern that “the public appetite for plots involving disasters and terrorism has vanished.” Thus, Warner Bros. postponed Collateral Damage, and the screenwriters, David and Peter Griffiths, suffered another setback when Fox suspended their top-secret project, Deadline, a hijack drama written for James Cameron. Jerry Bruckheimer decided that the time might not be right for World War III, which called for nuclear attacks on Seattle and San Diego.