One of the big differences between Frock Flicks and other publications that review movies and TV shows is we do not focus on productions that are currently in theaters or on air. If you read The A.V. Club, Slate’s Movies, NPR Movie Reviews, or many other places, you’ve noticed they can publish a movie or TV review the day that show is first released (sometimes earlier). We can’t.
Now, of course, we never claim to want to review every possible costume drama that’s created — we review what interests us! — but here’s why we rarely review movies that are in theaters right now.
Frock Flicks Doesn’t Get Screeners
The number one reason why those other places can publish reviews of current flicks is that they have advance copies (aka screeners) of the movies/TV shows that they can watch before the movie/TV shows are released to the general public. That’s how the reviewers can write about it and publish the review immediately.
It used to be common for writers to get invited to advance showings of a movie, and that still happens. But it’s cheaper and easier for companies to send out digital screeners for writers to watch. These are sent to publications on the movie/TV studio’s PR list, and unfortunately, Frock Flicks is flying under most of their radar.
We have received screeners a couple times, and we’ve even managed to find out about the occasional advance showing. I’ve reached out to production companies and studios many, many times, and only in rare instances have they responded. Mostly, I get crickets.
But if you have a solid inside connection, hook me up!
Opening Weekends Are a Hassle
Since we don’t get an advance look with any frequency, I guess we could hit up the movie theaters on opening weekend or try to catch every new TV show the minute it drops. But geez, people, that’s asking a lot!
First, movies may premiere at different times in different places. We track things in our Upcoming Movies page, but we don’t know if that supposed general release will actually be playing at a theater near where we live (even though we’re in a major U.S. metropolitan area). Just one example is The Warrior Queen of Jhansi (2019) — we were excited to see that movie late last year, but it was only playing at a theater about 40 minutes away from any of us live. We debated but took too long, and then the movie left the theater.
Second, big movies with wide releases may be crowded and just plain annoying to see during opening weekend. Little Women (2019) opened on Christmas last year, and about 5 seconds later, many of you were clamoring for our review. While we’re flattered that you want to hear our take, we’d shut down the blog that week for a winter break (I was traveling, among other things). Getting out to see a movie with hundreds of other people isn’t always easy when this is just your hobby.
New TV shows can be a little easier, but we do have to put in the time to watch all or at least enough episodes to review. If the entire series drops on Netflix or Amazon at once, maybe we can binge it in a weekend, if we have time. But if the show is airing weekly on PBS or HBO, we have to wait to watch it just like you do (see: no screeners, above).
We Need Screencaps to Review Costumes
Because we’re reviewing for historical costumes, we need images to refer to in our posts. Sure, we started out as a podcast, but our track record was never very consistent. The vast majority of our content is blog posts with pictures that show what we did and did not like about the historical costumes in movies and TV. To do that, we need photos and/or screencaps.
If a movie is still in theaters, all we can get are the few photos from whatever press release has been issued and random behind-the-scenes shots that are floating around the internet. Some currently airing TV shows are also hard to get photos from because they’re not on streaming on digital channels.
But if a movie or TV show is available for streaming, we can make screencaps (or someone else online has!). Then we can zoom in on those metal grommets or back-lacing. Otherwise, it’s just us describing costumes in words, and that’s not half as interesting.
Oh and a note about the few times we have gotten digital screeners — they always have big ol’ watermarks on ’em! Studios aren’t stupid, that’s how they protect their work from getting duplicated before it has premiered in theaters. While we’d just want a little screencap to show a costume detail, we couldn’t do that without getting in trouble.
So take pity on us when it comes to that newly premiered film! If it’s something we’re interested in and want to review, we’ll get to it eventually, just not immediately.
Hardly matters. I never get to see new releases since I stopped getting paid for it a loooong time ago. Besides, a little dust adds texture.
I only watched one movie in a theatre in all of my life(Frozen 2,didn’t love it)but I personally feel that movies in theatres are certainly not as bright as hd tv screen.It can become a pain for the eyes to simultaneously watch a movie and peer at the costume details,without a rewind button to help you
You gals just keep doing what you do; you do it better than anyone else. Don’t ever change.
Funny you should bring this up. I heard a positive review of the latest Emma yesterday and found myself wondering about the costumes and your eventual review of THEM. I’m happy to wait for your snark.
I went to see Emma earlier this week and really enjoyed the costumes.
The dresses have proper sleeves and necklines and decorative detail and they get to wear more than just white and pale coloured dresses. I wasn’t keeping track so I could be wrong but I think all the ladies had their hair pinned up properly.
I’m not as knowledgable about historian costumes as the frock flicks folks and I’ve no doubt there will be stuff to snark about but I actually thought to myself when leaving the theatre the frock flicks lot might approve of this movie. I don’t have any expectation of seeing an article about it anytime soon though as it’s only just out in cinemas like you I’m happy to wait for it
Thank you for your informative post. I wouldn’t want you to change a fucking (see previous post on the f word), snarky thing.
Unless it’s something like Wonder Woman, Black Panther or Portrait of a Lady on Fire, I prefer to watch the DVD or streaming service as movie theaters have gotten so NOISY lately.
Again merci mille Beaucoup.
Honestly, I would prefer waiting until we can have screencaps to accompany the review. I’m a visual person, and pure descriptions aren’t going to be the same. So take your time! There’s like a million costume dramas at any given time so it’s not like you’re going to run out of stuff to review lol!
I only rarely pick a movie based on the costumes (although egregious or excellent ones can make a difference) and there’s no way that three working women can get to everything immediately. I am happy to wait (although I do really look forward to your LW review, because I was very disappointed in the costumes, despite loving the film).
Also, I’ve been to a couple screeners this year where they’re just trying to create buzz so it’s within a week or so of the actual release and free—the company is called Gofobo and in NYC you have to register fast and arrive early, but it may be worth signing up for their emails. I went to 3 last year.
Y’all just keep on doing your thing; you’re AMAZING and I love you just the way you are. ::changes sweater and sneaker, sings::
Keep on your own schedule. Feeling pressured is the quickest way to lose creativity.
I stopped going to movies years ago, (like 25-30 years)–Too noisy, rude patrons and 1/2 hour of ads put me off for good.
I’m always behind on movies– I only watch movies if they are part of a subscription (like Netflix). I use your reviews to decide what to watch, so thanks.
I will admit to being guilty of reading Kendra’s Laura Dern’s bangs post IN the theatre AS I was watching Little Women because Jo’s beachywaves made me that thirsty for snark content. (I was in a section alone with my sister and had my screen light all the way down – no one was disturbed)
I get it! and I do not clamor for day zero reports. Even if sometimes I want to read and let out some steam. HA!
I am glad that some producers DO think of you and DO send you screener material. I do not know why but it made me feel proud. And now I am way curious about which these are. HA!