My Week in Staring at Screens: 7/15/12

July 15, 2012 — 4 Comments

A bit of a weird week for me. I didn’t blog as much as I should have, and some weird and stupid things happened. I did manage to watch some movies, though, and I’ve been getting excited about a certain movie. As the date approaches, I’m becoming slightly obsessed with The Dark Knight Rises. I can’t help myself. I love Nolan. I love his two Batman films. I can’t wait for that midnight IMAX screening.

This is also a rare week where almost all the movies I saw, I saw with other people. I will often watch something at home on my own, or by myself at the cinema, but this week I only watched one movie in solitude. I’ve got to say, watching movies with friends and family was kind of nice. I should probably try to do it more often. Anyway, enough of my babbling, here’s what I watched this week:

The Man With the Golden Arm (Cinema) – I got to see this Preminger classic at the Lightbox in 35mm. It was really cool, but the film was also fantastic. It’s the story of a man fighting his addiction to heroin and trying not to fall into his old life of criminality. Frank Sinatra is fantastic in the lead, making the most of what was an Oscar-nominated role, and Kim Novak is the best I’ve ever seen her in anything. A great film, well worth checking out.

Coraline (Blu-ray 3D) – I finally got Coraline on Blu-ray, and I’m so glad I waited. I now have a 3D TV, and I picked up the 3D Blu-ray for $10 on Amazon.ca. An incredible deal. The film is beautiful and whimsical and I love it more every time I see it. The 3D, even on a TV, was stellar. After all these years, Coraline still features the best use of 3D I’ve ever seen in a narrative film. In the commentary for the film, director Henry Selick talks about why he shot it in 3D. Instead of it being a studio decision, the 3D was pure art. Selick wanted to capture the depth of the miniature sets that the animators get to see but the audience has only ever seen as flat. He also wanted to have a sort of Wizard of Oz distinction between the “real world” and the “other world”, pushing the 3D more in the more fantastical land. This is an amazing example of 3D being used as a conscious aesthetic choice as well as a stylistic choice that serves the narrative. It’s really quite incredible, and I’m so glad the experience is preserved for Blu-ray.

Batman Begins/The Dark Knight (Cinema/Blu-ray) – I wanted to do a double-feature of Nolan’s first two Batman films, and lucky for me a couple good friends were having one. Well, having one isn’t exactly putting it right. See, these people live at Festival Tower, which is the condominium atop the TIFF Bell Lightbox. One of their many amazing amenities is a practically full scale movie theatre. Like, it’s a good size. Stadium seats, a screen as big or bigger than the smallest Lightbox screen. It’s pretty amazing. Some people at the condo were hosting a Batman double-feature, playing the Blu-rays in that wonderful space. It was awesome. I hadn’t seen Batman Begins in a long time, but boy does that film hold up. Such a clear vision. It’s a film that takes itself totally seriously, with a lot of character depth and thematic weight, but it’s also not afraid to have some fun. I’ve seen The Dark Knight tons of times and I adore it every time I see it. Pretty much a perfect big-budget action film. I’m now even more excited for The Dark Knight Rises.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (Cinema) – I really need to think about this film more. It’s not perfect. And by that I mean there are actually elements of it I outright don’t like. For example, the way the story plays out, particularly with its “noble savages” strain, rubbed me the wrong way. Then again, the emotional impact throughout was very strong, and it built to a beautiful climax. Tears were shed. I’ll say this, though. The film is very much worth seeing on the big screen. The camera-work is sometimes a too shaky, but the images themselves are often stunning. More importantly, though, the sound mix of the film is breathtaking, and the score is one of the most beautiful I’ve heard in a while.

Summer Hours (Netflix) – Sat down to watch this with my mom. I’d heard it was good, but the premise always sounded a little too boring. Three siblings trying to decide what to do with their dead mother’s art collection? Well, all the good word I’d heard was right. It’s a small film, but never boring, often tender, and quite emotional. A great work, and pretty amazing that it came from the same guy who made Carlos.

So that’s what I watched this week, what have you all been watching?

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4 responses to My Week in Staring at Screens: 7/15/12

  1. 

    Totally agree about Coraline. I am generally annoyed by 3D, but that blew me away when I saw it in theaters.

  2. 

    My memory of Coraline has become so fuzzy. I know that I didn’t get to see it in 3D and was pissed. It was just before my theatre converted to 3D projectors (in time for Avatar). I do remember going with a friend and it being a great experience, but somehow the narrative “goodness” is fading, maybe I should revisit.

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