“You can get technical. You can talk about grain. You can talk about the depths of color registration. You can talk about the ‘sensuousness’ of film as compared to digital. But here’s the big mystery for me. There are films I’ve seen a dozen times that have always affected me emotionally, have devastated me, [but] just do not have the same effect on me when I see them projected digitally. I can’t explain that. It’s the same movie, the same story. But there’s something different. I am really struck by this. We react to these formats differently on an emotional level.” — Toronto Bell Lightbox senior programmer James Quandt talking to National Post‘s Calum Marsh.
Posted on 1.30.15: “Not so long ago I would have swooned at the idea of savoring a parade of black-and-white widescreen classics in their original celluloid splendor. Nobody is a bigger fool for this format than myself. Why, then, would I be ducking BAMcinematek‘s “Black & White ’Scope: American Cinema” (2.27 through 3.19), a 21-film series of widescreen monochrome masterpieces, if I was living in New York? Because 15 of the 21 are being shown in 35mm, and we all know what that means — dirt, scratches, pops, possibly too-dark illumination or murky images, occasionally weak sound, reel-change marks, etc. There’s just no romance left in film projection. That was then, this is now. Digital exactitude or nothing.”
Yesterday I drove down to the LAX Muslim immigration demonstration around 3 pm. A real alpha-fraternity thing — raucous, wonderful, beautiful, loud, adamant, open, spirited. They do manifs in Paris all the time, but this one (part of a nationwide response to Trump-Bannon’s anti-Muslim immigration executive order) felt like something else. This was the second event of this type that I joined within the past 8 days, the first being the Park City Women’s March, and once again I felt imbued with a feeling of hope and even euphoria. I must have waved, hello’ed and arm-patted 50 or 60 strangers. We were all there together, all as one.
What did it boil down to? Reassuring theatre + a reminder that hundreds of thousands of others around the country were marching and chanting against the Beast.
Conclusion of a 1.29 Medium.com piece by Yonatan Zunger: “The Trump administration is testing the extent to which the Department of Home Security (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored. Yesterday was the trial balloon for a coup d’état against the United States. It gave them useful information.”
I’ve recently developed this thing for underwhelming Rolling Stones B-side tracks from the ’60s, particularly “Sad Day” and “I Don’t Know Why.” I love that almost-but-not-quite quality. Very few Stones’ songs are about loser attitudes and self-pity, but these two qualify in spades. The great Richie Unterberger of allmusic.com has tapped out some excellent notes on both [after the jump].
If there was even a semblance of moral order and just desserts in the universe, the people behind this “meet the happy Trump family!” Us cover piece — editor-in-chief Michael Steele, for one — would be arrested, tried, convicted and pilloried. What could be lower at this stage of the game than to normalize a brutish authoritarian regime that has almost immediately (within the last ten days) thrown the U.S. and its institutions into chaos? And things are only just beginning. This cover will be a yoke around Steele’s neck for the rest of his life; ditto Wenner Media.
Me: Not to take anything away from the great Denzel Washington, but why didn’t Casey Affleck win the Best Actor SAG award last night? He’s been blitzkreiging that category for weeks, picking up 30something Best Actor trophies thus far. And all of a sudden Denzel surges ahead. Denzel was and is flat-out brilliant in Fences, but be honest — were you thinking the same thing I was thinking?
Friend: I don’t think that’s why. Denzel had never won a SAG award. That said, Manchester overall seems to have lost some steam.
Me: SAG stuck right to the predicted script with everything else, including the Hidden Figures surge, and yet they decide to ignore the longstanding Affleck inevitability and go for Denzel because they were exceptionally mindful about Denzel having been empty-handed and wanted to be…what, magnanimous?
Hooray for the Hidden Figures team! La La Land still wins the Best Picture Oscar, of course, but cheers to Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Theodore P, Merlfi, Kevin Costner (who wasn’t there), etc.
Ryan Gosling‘s reactions as Emma Stone stumbled and stammered her way through her acceptance speech [after the jump] are priceless.
The decision by Ocean’s 8 director and co-writer Gary Ross (and co-writer Olivia Milch) to name Sandra Bullock‘s lead character “Debbie” Ocean is an indication of where they and this stupid-ass, cash-grab franchise spinoff is coming from. Seriously….Debbie Ocean? What, she’s the sister of George Clooney‘s Danny Ocean who’s been waiting her turn? Debbie is a name for harried stay-at-home moms and lightweight girls who text and shop and read popular fiction between flights. Debbie means compliance, keeping your head down, servitude, going along. Debbie Dingbat, Debbie Does Dallas…that line of country. Women of substance with the D name call themselves Deborah. If Ross and Milch had any kind of coolness current they would recognize the absurdity of giving the head of a team of women thieves a Barbie Doll name and go instead with Millicent, Maxie, Hortense, Sassafras or Alicia…anything but fucking Debbie. Ocean’s 8 will open 17 months from now, on 6.8.18.
The Ocean’s 8 team (l. to r.): Lou (Cate Blanchett), Nine Ball (Rihanna), Amita (Mindy Kaling), Constance (Awkwafina), Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), and Tammy (Sarah Paulson).