And The Winner Is columnist Scott Feinberg reported yesterday that “over the past few days, several L.A.-based rabbis — either on their own initiative or at someone else’s urging — have written articles in which they describe Inglourious Basterds as a modern-day retelling of the story of Purim, the Jewish holiday which began Sunday and continues through today, and urging people to vote for it on their Oscar ballots (which are due on Tuesday — i.e., tomorrow).
Remember the excitement that accompanied Robert Harris and James Katz‘s 1991 restoration of Kirk Douglas and Stanley Kubrick‘s Spartacus? Called the “most extensive film restoration in history, painstakingly reconstructed from decades-old negative and color separation prints, at a cost of nearly $1 million,” etc.? The sumptuous detail of a large costume epic (set in Biblical times but not the least bit Biblical in story or theme) shot in Super Technirama 70 and all that?
It’s now nearly 20 years later and guess what? The 2001 Criterion DVD version of this restored epic, which I happened to buy at Barnes and Noble yesterday, doesn’t look very good when you play it on a Bluray player and watch it on a 42″ HDTV plasma (i.e., my own). It looks okay at times, and at other times vaguely shitty — weak, not sharp enough, second-tierish.
And yet the same disc looked fine when I played it on my old 36″ Sony flatscreen. The problem, I’m told, is the Bluray player, which tends to bring out weaknesses on standard DVDs that don’t show up when you play them on a regular DVD player. So basically I’ve pissed away the dough that I bought the Criterion DVD with, and I’m not happy.
And I’m not sure I’ll be all that happy either when the Spartacus Bluray from Universal Home Video comes out on 5.25. If it’s anything like their 1998 DVD, which looks pathetic — i.e., washed-out color and a 2.35 to 1 aspect ratio framing for a film intended to be shown at a 2.2 to 1 — it’ll obviously be a problem.
What needs to happen, of course, is for Criterion to produce its own Spartacus Bluray. But this can’t occur because Criterion doesn’t have the Spartacus home-video rights any more. Universal owns them, and they’re not about to let Criterion show them how the film should really look (corporate egos and all that) so forget it. Which means that all that incredibly difficult and super-costly work on the ’91 Spartacus restoration is basically a thing of memory. It would be nice if the full lustre of that restoration is revealed by the Universal Bluray, but it’s not very likely.
Who doesn’t despise President Obama‘s stated dreamscape belief in the notion of bipartisan support for health care reform, or more particularly the fantasy of Republicans having the slightest interest in allowing the less-well-offs to receive comprehensive health care at more affordable rates?
Apart from the general venality of Republican positions on this matter, there’s nothing quite as contemptible as the inability of Democrats to achieve what they claim they want to achieve by whatever means necessary. Everyone loathes ineffectualness and flaccidity.
A portion of last Wednesday’s chat with Girl With The Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev covered his not having directed the two sequels — The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. Both were directed by Daniel Alfredson.
As I mentioned during our chat, Oplev’s reason for declining to helm these films (or at least the one he shared) sounds similar to Catherine Hardwicke‘s reason for not wanting to direct New Moon. He basically felt that the second two books (or did he mean the second two scripts) had a rushed, slapdash quality — less emotionally grounded, more plotty-for-plot’s-sake, etc.
This is almost a Shutter Island-type shot — gothic vibe, moonlight, ominous clouds — and I took it without thinking the other night. I love this kind of accident.
The day I took this my little 12 megapixel Canon Digital Elph cracked open, leaving me no option but to return to Best Buy for a replacement. To my surprise they’d just gotten in a brand-new 14 megapixel model called the SD1400 IS. It takes noticably cleaner video than the other one, or so it seems. It’s still only 720p, of course. Two or three years hence these little guys will have 1080p, and then we’ll be cooking.