Five New Year's resolutions for Hollywood

Mark kindly saves Hollywood the trouble of making its New Year's resolutions by resolving some on its behalf...
As the streamers and confetti are swept away, and the last vestiges of 2011 are lost amidst a thumping hangover, we're now looking at the cold hard light of 2012. The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and Skyfall are coming within the next 12 months, but then so are American Reunion, Battleship, and Jack and Jill. And The Three Stooges. And The Expendables 2. Dammit, Hollywood!
The main business of celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next is in resolving to do things differently. However, any resolutions for Hollywood wouldn't really take effect until at least the end of the year or, more likely, 2013, because of the rate of production. But that's no reason why they should waste another year on stuff like Here Comes The Boom, an MMA comedy that's going to star Kevin bloody James.
With this in mind, here are our suggestions for resolutions that Hollywood could take up in 2012.

1. Coax more directors outside of their comfort zone

Think back to 2011, and some of the work that big-name directors put out there. The Coen brothers made a Western, Kevin Smith made a politically minded grindhouse horror movie, Steven Spielberg made his first animated movie, and Martin Scorsese made a 3D movie for children. All directors we know, doing something they had never tried before.
And if even half of Hollywood's output was as exciting as True Grit, Red State, Tintin and Hugo alone, there could be no reproach to the quality of modern mainstream cinema. While it's entirely possible to find a director is wrong for the material when they try something new, the projects are often more interesting than something similar to their previous work.
Of course, you sometimes get Paul W.S. Anderson's The Three Musketeers, but the opposite, best case scenario would be Guy Ritchie's reboot of , the sequel to which is still playing in cinemas for your enjoyment. Those two films have a style that is completely distinct to any other blockbuster franchise and, more importantly, it's a style that fits the material. If Ritchie can find his niche, who's to say that even less well-regarded directors won't do just as well?

2. Treat the female audience right

Between the series and the box office success enjoyed by Bridesmaids and The Help last year, there's no longer any excuse for underestimating the female contingent of film fandom. Then again, if we remember how Hollywood works, that's not to say that audiences of women won't be exploited now that they've made themselves noticed.
If you judge Twilight purely on how well it works for its audience, then it's a pretty much perfect series, because critical faculties aren't the first concern when it comes to the whooping sub-genre of young adult supernatural romance. In a market where everything is aimed at getting cash to fall out of teenage boys' pockets, Twilight aims to do the same with girls of the same age.
Another demographic still being short-changed are adults. Grown-up films, for either males, females, or both, are relatively rare compared to the movies which try to work for everybody, but end up just being serviceable enough to attract the teenage dollar.  was a good example of a film marketed principally at women that men enjoyed too, and the film went on to reap the rewards of treating the female audience right.
Going back to that financial point of view, Hollywood will undoubtedly try to mine this rediscovered reserve of box office revenue. To some, that makes Bridesmaids 2 an inevitable, if unnecessary move, but perhaps the failure of Sex and the City 2 suggests that female audiences aren’t always as sequel-happy as men. With the Twilight saga drawing to a close this November, we should hope for more films like The Help, to take its place as viable entertainment for an under-served audience.

3. No film really needs to be longer than 2001: A Space Odyssey

Mark Kermode made this his yardstick for film running times, and it's as good a measure as any. If Stanley Kubrick could chart the whole of human existence, from Neanderthals, all the way beyond the Infinite, to the birth of a whole new species, then your film need not be any longer than the 141 minutes he took.
There are exceptions, though it remains to be seen if certain films in 2012 which will almost definitely cross this line, actually merit an extended runtime. The Dark Knight Rises, for instance, has the mammoth task of concluding Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy in a practical amount of time. But for blockbuster filmmakers who are less disciplined than Nolan, there's a pronounced tendency towards over-long films. Look no further than last year's additions to the Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and Fast and Furious sagas.
This isn't even a problem limited exclusively to blockbuster movies. Bridesmaids was well within the 141 minute barrier, but it still rambled on a bit too much for my liking. Brevity is the soul of wit, and Bridesmaids, as much as I liked parts of it, wore me out like many films from the Judd Apatow school of part-work comedy filmmaking.
Yes, all films are different, and all have different requirements in terms of how long it takes to tell their story. But if The Hobbit is a 384-page book that apparently takes two films to tell, and Peter Jackson's first instalment, An Unexpected Journey, is even one minute over two hours long, he is officially taking the piss.

4. Introduce quality assurance for 3D

James Cameron, who is still undoubtedly Real-D's biggest proponent, recently raised the idea of introducing a board of classification, like Dolby, that would classify quality stereoscopy. This is his solution to the problems of crappy post-conversions, sub-par projection of 3D, and all of the other minor bugbears that are still holding the technology back from being taken seriously, even two years after Avatar made a big noise with it.
The bottom line is that Real-D 3D was initially taken up as a gimmick to bring audiences back to cinemas, and the inflated ticket prices saw to that much. Before 3D came around, only four films in history had ever crossed the billion dollar milestone at the worldwide box office, and three 3D films managed it last year alone.
But since then, 3D has become available in homes too, with electronics manufacturers trying to hype up the next generation of 3D tellies in the same way as cinema exhibitors are still hocking the plastic glasses. If something that might have brought you out to the cinema is now available at home, then the problem is reiterated, and standards in the cinema must improve.
No problem with 3D is insurmountable, but with the cost of having implemented this currently problematic technology making any ground-level improvements somewhat prohibitive, filmmakers and studios need to start taking 3D seriously if it is to become any kind of norm for audiences. We can't be expected to accept slap-dash post-conversions. On which note--

5. Filmgoers of the world- vote with your wallets

This one goes out to the audience, rather than the studios. If you didn't vote in the last general election, even though the right to vote is universal, you have given up any right to complain about the way that the coalition government is running things. Likewise, you will have no right to complain about Transformers 4 or  Part III, if you paid good money to see the latest instalments.
While the classification of “good” is always subjective, there's no accounting for how a good movie like Warrior, a terrific and underrated film with early awards buzz and broad appeal as a sports film and a family drama, somehow managed to flop upon its release in the US, except for the fact that it apparently wasn't well advertised. Have we now entered that phase of WALL-E, where everything has to be brought to us?
If you're sick of seeing bad movies in the cinema, then read around a movie beforehand. The internet is at your disposal, so you can find out what's playing at your local cinema, find out what films are about, watch trailers, and make an informed decision about whether or not you'll like it. The discovery of the new only happens by looking outside of what is established.
With audiences going to the cinema less frequently, the films that they tend to see are mass-marketed franchise films. If you pay to see those, disliking them afterwards won't do a thing, because you've already rewarded the studios for their troubles. Going to see something that you wouldn't normally see, something that you've gone and sought out yourself, is a pro-active move that you, as a filmgoer, can make. In the year that Battleship comes to the big screen, make sure you remember that.