Archives For No Country for Old Men

There have recently been a spate of articles and blog posts discussing whether certain movies require multiple viewings. It’s all spurred by Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a film that many critics and cinephiles have claimed requires multiple viewings in order to reveal its many layers and ultimate meanings. Dana Stevens wrote about watching the film three times, and how that made the experience of The Master a more complete one. Stephanie Zacharek wrote a piece at the AV Club questioning the notion that certain films require multiple viewings as well as the notion that certain film are more self-evidently deserving of such treatment. Today, Ryan McNeil wrote a post comparing re-watching movies to listening to a song over and over before finally falling in love with it.

I saw The Master twice. I’m biased immediately. In fact, I watch lots of movies twice, sometimes three times, sometimes even more, often seeing films multiple times in theatres. I also saw Looper twice. I saw The Dark Knight Rises five times, including three times in 15/70mm IMAX. I saw Paranorman twice, Brave twice, Prometheus twice, Moonrise Kingdom three times, The Avengers twice, Monsieur Lazhar twice, 21 Jump Street three times, The Cabin in the Woods twice, and that’s all re-watches in theatres and only this year so far. (To be fair, I work at a theatre, so most of these re-watches were free.) But why would I watch these movies so many times? What do I get out of re-watches? Click to read more.

If you’re going to see Brave this weekend (which you should be doing), and you happen to be in one of a few lucky cities, you could be one of the first to experience Dolby’s brand new theatrical surround sound system, Dolby Atmos. I got to check out the new system at a showing of Brave at the SilverCity Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto, and the results are quite impressive. First off, the system is loud. Very loud. But it’s also the first time outside of an IMAX theatre where I’ve heard a sound system be this loud without also losing fidelity. This has everything to do with the way Atmos is designed.

If you’re unfamiliar with how surround sound in theatres generally works, well, let me give you a primer. Theatres have operated with what’s called 5.1 surround for a few decades now, and recently have been upgrading to a 7.1 system. Those numbers are simply an indication of how many separate audio channels a system can support. 5.1 has one subwoofer channel and five regular speaker channels; one in the centre, two on either side and two more on the sides of the cinema. There are often multiple speakers on the sides as well as the back walls, but these all share the same two channels of sound. 7.1 is effectively the same, except that it adds two more channels specifically for the back. A sound mixer on a movie now has control of a more full environment of sound. Dolby Atmos takes that control to a whole new level. Atmos can support up to 128 channels of sound plugged into up to 64 speakers. You don’t need to be good at math to know that’s a huge difference. Click to read more.

In compiling my list of my 20 “Essential” films, I have really had to consider the meaning of the word. Some have criticized me for using the word at all, as it seems to imply an objectivity about the worth of the films I’ve chosen As though it is some kind of fact that South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is one of the select few films which are essential for every film fan to watch and love. Maybe it was a poor title choice. Maybe the implication really is there. But I think what’s important here is not that these films are “essential” so much as they are essential to me.

The films in this series are those which I consider an essential part of my make-up. This is true from the perspective of what I enjoy, but as a lover of film, it goes much deeper than that. By listing these films I hope to give an insight into what makes me the person I am. It’s about what I love, and what I enjoy, and what I think, and what I respond to. When I say that South Park is one of my essential films, I mean that it is essential to me, as a person. It speaks to my sense of humour, my sense of truth, and even my political sensibilities.

When you read this series, that’s what I hope you take away. Not a list of films I consider great, but a list of films I consider a part of myself. I hope I’m providing some insight into myself beyond the simplicity of taste. If I really want, I could give you a list of 100 films I think are great. I could even make it a ranked list. But without context, all you’d be able to say is, “Corey likes this, and likes that even more.” My aim for my “Essentials” is to transcend such simplicity and the easy dismissiveness that follows. To bring a complexity to your understanding of the films and my very personal relationship with them.

This entry is the last in my “Top 20”, but the series is not over yet. After these five films, I will begin my “category” entries. Each one will look at a specific genre, or sub-genre, or “type” of film, and the films within those categories that I consider essential. My hope is that aside from getting to hear about my favourite examples of a given genre, you’ll also get a glimpse into how I approach film in general.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, on with the list! Click to see the list!