Oscar Poker #76

This morning Sasha Stone and I welcomed AICN contributor (and also former HE columnist) Moises Chiullan to discuss the revolutionary 48 frame-per-second process that was unveiled last week at Cinemacom. It actually debuted at last year’s Cinemacon, but this year a ten-minute reel of 48 fps footage from Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit was shown.

Here’s a stand-alone mp3 link.

Nothing To Say

The only thing going on is a 7 pm all-media screening of The Avengers on 42nd Street…that’s it. Which I’ll be late for if I don’t leave now.

How metrosexual do you have to be to even think about buying one of these jackets?


Cornish and The Girl

A restrained, decently crafted drama about growth and awakening, The Girl, which I saw Saturday at the Tribeca Film Festival, gives Abbie Cornish a chance to bite into a meaty part. She plays Ashley, a not-blazingly-bright San Antonio mom who’s lost custody of her son due to a drinking issue, with quiet intensity and, to a large extent, authority. This is Cornish’s best part since…what, Candy? She’s a solid actress trying to do the right career thing, and she’s definitely scored here.

And yet Ashley doesn’t act in a way that exactly elicits sympathy or identification. She’s always a beat or two behind the audience in figuring out her next move. She gradually wakes up and flies right, but a lot of stumbling happens along the way.


Una Noche in Manhattan

My second and final Tribeca Film Festival screening was Lucy Mulloy‘s Una Noche, which played last night at 9 pm. It’s a little raggedy at times, but always straight, fast, urgent and honed down. It’s not on the level of Fernando Meirelles‘ brilliant City of God but is a contender in that urban realm, for sure. It’s a fine first film, and Mulloy is definitely a director with passion, intelligence and promise. Approval also for her good-looking lead costar Dariel Arrechaga.

Una Noche director-writer Lucy Mulloy, star Dariel Arrechaga during q & a following Sunday night’s screening at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas.

The reason I saw it was largely because of a lady I met on the A train who told me she was going and that she’d heard it worked, etc. And she was right. I...

Flawed But Great

Olive Films’ forthcoming Bluray of the 315-minute cut of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 (called Novacento in Europe) is an absolute essential. It’s a sprawling big-canvas movie in spades, a Marxist-erotic epic with several colorful performances from a big international cast (Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Donald Sutherland, Burt Lancaster, Sterling Hayden), and abundant with painterly passion and political feeling. It’s a helluva grand-scale history pageant.

1900 is too pedantic and lecture-y at the...

48 Frame Staying Power + Jackson Turnaround

It’s a curious thing to have harbored mostly negative reactions to all things Peter Jackson for many years (aside from Heavenly Creatures and a fair-sized portion of The Lovely Bones), and then experience an abrupt turnaround within a four-month period due to (a) his funding, producing and promoting of Amy Berg‘s brilliant West of Memphis, and (b) his using 48 frames per second photography in The Hobbit and advocating for this new technology, which is altogether stunning.


“Yeah, Pretty Much”

Significantly, the audience laughed and clapped after Mel Gibson said the above words — an admission that he’d done a lot of screaming on that Joe Eszterhaus audio tape — during a chat with Jay Leno the night before last. People will forgive you for almost anything as long as you speak calmly in their presence and turn on the charm, etc.

Great Frame Rate Debate

Ignore Part One and start with Part Two of this six-part WGBH discussion (which isn’t a “debate” but a power-point lecture or class) of frame rates, which of course is very timely with the very recent unveiling of Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbitt at 48 frames per second. The participants were moderator Bruce Jacobs, the renowned frame-rate pioneer Douglas Trumbull (who got things going with Super 70, later known as Showscan, back in the late ’70s), Mark Schubin and Larry Thorpe.



18th Street facade of press headquarters for Tribeca Film Festival. Free sliders, wifi, computers, drinks, coffee and ice cream bars inside.


Tankful of Lobsters

“I have my own theory about President Lincoln‘s death. I think John Wilkes Booth was innocent. I don’t even think it was an assassination. I believe that Abraham Lincoln had a vision about what the Republican party would become in 150 years, and he shot himself.” — Jimmy Kimmel at tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.


Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel‘s The Five-Year Engagement is a tank…a dead manatee. Yesterday it earned a lousy $3.4 million in 2,936 situations, averaging $1158 per screen. That forecasts a $10 million weekend haul, or about 50% of what Universal, its distributor, was looking for.

So what happened? Was it the prospect of sitting through a relationship that never goes anywhere and just kind of flounders around? Was it the Jason-Segel-isn’t-a-star factor, or should I leave that one alone? Does this hurt Segel and costar Emily Blunt, or was it just the so-whatter concept or…?

Truman Show

This Sunset Strip footage, shot around 1948 or ’49, is mainly of the Sunset Plaza area. Commercially restrained, to say the least. None of the riff-raff atmosphere of 2012, or of ’92 or ’82 for that matter. The traffic isn’t anywhere near as congested as it is today. And those cars! And that young dark-haired girl (who’s either dead or in her 80s right now) crossing the street. 16mm footage is relatively smooth, probably shot with a tripod.

“She Has Followers…”

“It’s hard to say whether Sound of My Voice is a wholly bogus and pretentious indie enterprise or a weirdly compelling bit of low-budget storytelling,” writes Movieline‘s Stephanie Zacharek, an obviously bright critic and a fine writer whom I don’t trust any more. “Probably it’s a little of both — this is the kind of picture that may often make you snort audibly, even as you’re wondering how the heck it’s going to resolve itself.

“And ultimately, even if the payoff isn’t quite what it should be, the picture leaves a faint chill in its wake. You probably won’t feel totally shafted for sticking with...

Will Dial M Be Mauled By Fascists?

Part 2, carried over from previous post: Alfred Hitchcock‘s Dial M For Murder may well have been composed so that 1.85 projections would look presentable, but that doesn’t mean that a 1.78 or 1.85 version will look better than the basic and very pleasing boxy proportion that people have been watching for decades.

I’ve been examining Dial M for Murder all my life at 1.33 or 1.37. I saw it in 1.33 or 1.37 3D at the Eighth Street Playhouse in the West Village in the early ’80s. And the compositions and framings were & are entirely satisfactory and didn’t need to have their tops and buttons CHOPPED OFF WITH A MEAT CLEAVER.

If — I say “if” — a 1.78 or 1.85 a.r, is being favored on an upcoming Warner Home Video...

Tony, Margot, Mark & Inspector Hubbard

It’s been suggested (but not confirmed) by HE reader Pete Apruzzese that the 1.85 fascists may have their way with a possibly forthcoming Bluray of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Dial M For Murder. I’ve seen this talky 1953 drama, which was originally shot in 3D, countless times on broadcast TV, VHS, DVD and theatrically, and each and every time at 1.33 or 1.37. But Warner Home Video may — I say “may” — have chosen to present its forthcoming Bluray at 1.78 in order to conform to 16 x 9 screens.

Apruzzese has tirelessly and tediously pointed out that in 1953 the studios, terrified by the threat of television, decreed that all standard Academy ratio films shot in 1.33 would henceforth would be shot or framed so that they would look presentable at 1.85, and that 1.85 would henceforth be the going thing because it looks wider...

Poster Meets Street

I’m flying to Berlin next Thursday and hanging there nine or ten days before heading down to the Cannes Film Festival so I haven’t much time to see Dark Shadows. It has to be Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m currently pleading my case so we’ll see. If they refuse to budge I can see it at a commercial cinema in Belgium on 5.9 or in Berlin on 5.10, or a day before it opens in the States.