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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in DVD (46)

Sunday
Apr132014

TCM Fest: Restorationists as Rock Stars

Film restorationists don’t feel like rockstars. But with this crowd…”

the TCM Festival is happening at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood

Mike Pogorzelski, director of the Academy Film Archive, chuckles as another round of cheers breaks out from the audience. Pogorzelski is introducing a 35mm print of The Lion in Winter that he restored from camera negative, and so far the audience has cheered for the words “35mm,” “restoration,” “Academy,” and “Peter O’Toole.” Typically, only one of those gets applause, but then TCM Film Festival isn’t your typical Hollywood film festival.

Every single film that plays at the TCM Film Festival is old. The newest film is Mr Holland's Opus, which celebrates is nineteen years old. This means that every single film, from the 35mm print of Stagecoach to the world premiere DCP of OKLAHOMA! (previously discussed), has arrived through the efforts of archivists and restorationists who preserve and revive these classics. Film restoration is usually an unsung part of the film industry, but the TCM Film Festival, with its concentration on celebrating old classics and announcing new restorations, might be the best publicity film restoration gets.

Saturday, a world premiere digital restoration of A Hard Day’s Night screened at the TCL Chinese Theater. Richard Lester’s 1964 classic was originally shot in 35mm with a mono soundtrack, which isn’t well suited to a gigantic IMAX theater like the Chinese. However, the film has been remastered to crystal-clear 4K definition and--important for a rock n’ roll film--upmixed to 5.1 surround sound, bringing the Beatles 50 years through history. Those purists who would balk at the idea of changing a classic need not fear though, this digital restoration is (great) publicity for the Criterion’s Blu-Ray release of the film later this year, which will also have the original mono option available. A Hard Day's Night isn't the only world premiere with an accompanying DVD release: Blazing Saddles, OKLAHOMA!, and others will also soon be available. In fact, with so many DVD release advertisements being made at the festival, it can feel like the commercials TCM doesn't play on its station are happening here instead.

DVD release announcements are not the only purpose of the TCM Film Festival, however. Thelma Schoonmaker was there to discuss not only her multi-Oscar-winning career, but also the career of her late husband, Michael Powell at a screening of his Technicolor masterpiece A Matter Of Life And Death. I got the brief opportunity to meet her, and I promise to write about it as soon as I stop shaking.

In addition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rolled out some of the hidden gems in its archive. One of its many growing collections is Hollywood Home Movies. Randy Haverkamp (Academy Programming Director) & Lynne Kirste (Special Collections Curator at the Academy Film Archive) talked a rapt audience through several scenes, including backstage footage from OKLAHOMA! and Gone With the Wind, and some scenes of Alfred Hitchcock goofing off with his daughter in 16mm. These are the glamorous home movies, but Haverkamp and Kirste were quick to encourage any possible collectors in the audience to see the value of even the bits of 16mm and 8mm that don’t have famous directors in them.Their presentation underlined the unspoken theme of the festival: film is our visual and cultural history, and before it disappears we need to save and spread as much as possible, or risk forgetting ourselves. Thanks to the TCM Film Festival for making that job seem a little more glamorous.

Thursday
Apr032014

DVD Review: The Great Beauty

Tim here. The recent release of Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty on a DVD/Blu-Ray combo from the Criterion Collection means that most of us in North American finally have our first decent chance to see the most recent winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. And by “decent chance”, I mean two things: one is that if you live outside of any of the usual big urban centers that get little foreign releases, The Great Beauty hasn’t been remotely near your home before now. The other is that even if you live in one of those places, The Great Beauty isn’t likely to have played in any of the best & shiniest multiplexes, but in the dogged little art theaters that don’t have the money to do much besides show movies in a more or less tolerable environment. Where I live in Chicago, for example, the film played in the biggest art house that’s long on well-preserved atmosphere from the golden age of movie theaters, and which boasts just about the crappiest projection and tinniest speakers of any commercial venue.

That’s no way at all to see a movie as heavily invested in surface-level appeal as The Great Beauty, so that’s one cause for celebration all by itself. Now we have a chance to see Luca Bigazzi’s cinematography in crisp, retina-searing high definition, allowing all the rich, lurid colors of the production design and costume to glow right off the screen.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar162014

Recommended Instant Watch: "Pit Stop" 

Just a heads up that one of last year's best festival titles is playing on Netflix Instant Watch. Yen Tan's Pit Stop unfortunately never saw theatrical release but it won a few festival prizes along its way including from my jury at the Nashville Film Festival (Best Screenplay) and we've mentioned it a couple of times her via Glenn at New Fest and my interview with Yen Tan at Towleroad.

The romantic drama follows two lonely gay men in rural Texas named Gabe and Ernesto (Bill Heck and Marcus DeAnda) who are both struggling to move on with their lives after painful breakups. Their paths occasionally cross but they aren't aware of each other -- it's not exactly a visible or social gay community -- until the final act of the movie.  

If you've ever seen Yen Tan's Ciao (2008), which has a much different plot but a similar romantic trajectory, you know that he favors slow simmers to boiling drama. Those types of films are always easier sits in movie theaters when you're less distracted by other screens but I'm hoping people give it a shot for home viewing because by the end its generated strong and cumulative emotions. And bonus points, most of the actors are very good (indie darling Amy Seimetz is typically fine as Gabe's ex-wife). All that and it contains one of the hottest yet modest and emotionally moving sex scenes in recent years.

Plus this cut from Ernesto to Gabe, both cuddling with their pets, made my heart melt.

The cut is actually in reverse but I had to lead with the cat. 

 

Saturday
Feb222014

Best Pictures for Home Viewing

all links in this article go to my favorite post about the movie in question

For those of you who live too far from major markets  to see everything before the Oscars, or who love watching a movie over and over and over again, you won't have to wait too long to fulfill every viewing impulse you have for this year's batch of Oscar nominees. Almost every single Oscar nominee will be on DVD and BluRay by the end of March except of course for the handful that don't have to follow the normal rules of release like foreign film and animation: Omar, Ernest & Celestine, The Wind RisesThe Missing Picture which have just started their theatrical runs or are coming soon. There's no word yet on late arrival The Invisible Woman, nominated for costume design. The only Best Picture that hasn't announced a BluRay release date is Spike Jonze's Her which is slightly surprising since its competitors, which are mostly still going stronger at the box office, have. 

Coming Tuesday!
Best Picture nominees Gravity & Nebraska hit stores the day Oscar voting ends. So they won't be able to tout any of their potential wins on their jackets

Already Available. Will you have seen them all by March 2nd?
Best Picture nominees: Captain Phillips & Dallas Buyer's ClubScreenplay nominees: Blue Jasmine & Before MidnightAnimated Features, Visual Effects and Craft nominees are often available before the other shortlists since they're less reliant on Christmas releases to win gold. So you can already get: The Great Gatsby, All is LostStar Trek Into Darkness,  Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger, The CroodsPlus: the grim thriller Prisoners, about child abduction nominated for Best Cinematography, and Denmark's Foreign Film nominee The Hunt starring Mads Mikkelsen as a man accused, and thus presumed guilty, of child abuse which is suddenly and uncomfortably extra topical. 

Coming in March

March 4th
Best Picture nominees 12 Years a Slave &  Philomena plus costume & cinematography eye candy kung fu in Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster 

March 11th
Two musically-focused nominees: Inside Llewyn Davis, nominated for Sound Mixing, and The Broken Circle Breakdown Belgium's Best Foreign Language Film nominee is a cancer drama but it's also one of the best performance musicals of recent years; moving bluegrass family drama. I don't plan on buying either movie but my god the music. Gimme the soundtracks!

March 18th

Best Picture nominee American Hustle plus two Best Original Song features Mandela and Frozen. I find the Disney behemoth's home video date surprising. It's still in the box office top five. You can make money on home video forever but theatricla revenue comes just once (until the next technological breakthrough for which you can retrofit it and rerelease) so why cut off that money? 

All the Best Pictures will be on blue ray by March 25th (except Her)

March 25th
A cushion-your-ass double feature. Got a free five & half hours? Best Picture The Wolf of Wall Street (180 minutes) and Best Foreign Film The Great Beauty (142 minutes) arrive on the same day. 

April 7th
That's the day you get the three fire breathers: Smaug from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Violet and Barbara Weston (Meryl & Julia) in August: Osage County.

CHECK OUT THE OSCAR CHARTS 
And make sure to vote for your favorite Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor and the like.

Monday
Dec022013

Blue Days... To Come

1 Day until... Today Blue Caprice competes for two Gotham Film Awards 
1 Day until... NYFCC, the oldest film critics organization (not to be confused with NYFCO, a much newer upstart) kicks off critics prize season and we get our first clue as to whether Cate Blanchett's Blue Jasmine is a steamroller (Dec 3rd)
2 Days until... NBR announces kicking off the not-critics-but-we-also-give-prizes prize season (Dec 4th)
5 Days until... Blue is the Warmest Color wins (?) the European Film Awards (Dec 7th)
6 Days until... Adele Exarchopoulus wins Best Actress at LAFCA for Blue is the Warmest Color. What? They always go foreign at LAFCA in that category (Dec 8th)
10 Days until... The Golden Globes make like Blue Balls... but how Blue? Nominations for Blue Jasmine are a given but Warmest Color could win nods, too. (Dec 12th)

All of this  might make our Oscar Chart Updates - currently in progress look instantly out of date

41 Days until... Cate wins the Golden Globe (Jan 12th)
45 Days until... until Blue Jasmine is nominated for [HOW MANY?] Oscars and Cate wins the Best Actress "Critics Choice" Awards (Jan 16th) 
47 Days until... Cate Blanchett wins SAG (Jan 18th) 
50 Days until... until Blue Jasmine hits DVD/Blu-Ray (Jan 21st)
60 Days until... Blue is the Warmest Color wins [HOW MANY?] César nominations in Paris (Jan 31st) 
89 Days until... all three Blue titles compete for Spirit Awards in Santa Monica (March 1st)
90 Days until... Cate Blanchett wins her second Oscar (March 2nd)