Jason DaSilva in his video-shot documentary When I Walk
  • Jason DaSilva in his video-shot documentary When I Walk

It’s increasingly common for distributors to make movies previewable on password-protected webpages, and for exhibitors to send critics passwords rather than discs, as they’ve done in the past. Truth be told, this is how I watched several movies I reviewed in the last month. There are obvious practical benefits to this arrangement: distributors save money on DVDs, and exhibitors don’t have to worry about discs getting lost in the mail. From the reviewer’s standpoint, though, there are deleterious effects on the movie-watching process. The most obvious is that the movie must be viewed on a screen that’s, in most instances, smaller than a television. On top of this, a computer is also an avenue for competing sources of information like e-mail and news updates. I imagine this worries filmmakers even more than critics. How stressful it must be, knowing that the first people to evaluate your art must contend with so many distractions when they do it.