Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Criterion Collection steps it up...again

We thought it noteworthy that our friends at the Criterion Collection have not only overhauled their website, but made it much more interactive. Not only is there a lot of exploring to be done, but the coolest feature is probably the fact that they are making films available for $5 rental online. Not only are they good quality, but that $5 can be used toward the purchase of the hard copy itself. Film school in a box, that Criterion Collection.

Check out the 4 minute video and take it from there...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Considering the perils...

With the challenges inherent in screening often-aged 35mm prints, we're no strangers of screenings gone awry. Today, we pause again to consider the often-foretold evidently-impeding advent of digital cinema. Any time now, we're told. Being an organization bringing a mix of new and classic film, we, by nature, are/have been struggling to reconcile film's future with its past. So, it is with great interest that reports of recent high-profile digital screenings have notably gone awry with some of the major proponents of d-cinema in attendance, and press to cover it. Just Thursday, Paramount's VIP screening of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON was cancelled when it became apparent that there would be no red. Additionally, a recent industry screening of CHE was botched when it became apparent that there would be no subtitles (oddly enough, they showed up later on a seperate screening of DOUBT, an English language film).

For an organization like the Belcourt, the ramifications of digital cinema are pretty big and would a huge investment in materials that could be subject to expensive upgrades as the tweaks are worked out. We have witnessed at world-class film festivals such exhibitions of world-class digital gear to nary a fault, but the difference in depth, atmosphere and similar intangibles don't quite live up to the glow of 35mm film. This is the world where the history of cinema lives. However, and this could be the subject of an entirely different post, one must consider The Way We Live Now.

--Toby Leonard

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kubrick Addendum #2: 2012 teaser trailer (?)

In honor of next week's Thanksgiving screenings of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, feel free to file this under WTF:

Starring John Cusack and directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow) comes a stretch of the apocalyptic order. But really now: Is it a second sequel to 2001 or a first sequel for THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW? You be the judge. Comes free with theme music stolen from THE SHINING.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gone, but not forgotten: Miriam Makeba (1932-2008)

In celebration of the South African songstress, who has passed away following a collapse onstage in Italy....

We'll be seeing her onscreen again soon with the coming release of SOUL POWER. Currently making the festival rounds, the film follows the organization and implementation of the music festival that was to accompany the "Rumble in the Jungle" Ali vs Foreman fight of 1974 in then-Zaire. The fight itself was delayed, but the music played on: a cross-cultural matching of James Brown, Bill Withers, Spinners etc with their African superstar counterparts of the time represented by Afrisa, Franco and Miriam Makeba.

Gone, but not forgotten...here's "Qongqothwane" or rather, "The Click Song"...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trailer du jour: CHE

Can't help passing this one along. There's a bit of interest about this here CHE flick, as well as a small bit of diverging opinion around the campfire among those of us who've seen it. At any rate, the film will do its "Academy Run" in NY/LA before the end of the year followed by a platform release in January (a Nashville date would likely be in February).

At any rate, here's the recently release international trailer for Steven Soderbergh's two-part, four-hour-plus CHE. Dig:

Kubrick Addendum #1: Post-Election fodder

Now that the election's over, what are you gonna do? Well, you might take note of a solid piece of online viewing courtesy of Jon Ronson. Invited to the Kubrick estate to go through thousands of boxes containing a lifetime of the director's packrat possessions, the resulting documentary is one high-quality piece of work. It's essential viewing for those of you planning on taking in any amount of our current Kubrick retrospective.

Here's Part 1/5 of STANLEY KUBRICK'S BOXES. The rest can be found by double-clicking the video below: