A special edition DVD of Alfred Hitchcock‘s To Catch a Thief came out today — special because it was mastered, for the first time, from the original VistaVision elements, which means more visual detail and fullness of color. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Paramount Home Video put out an okay-looking Thief DVD about six or seven years that provided the matted 1.85 to 1 aspect ratio of VistaVision, but without the visual splendor. Thief cinematographer Robert Burks won an Oscar for his efforts. Some of the film — okay, a fair amount of it — is engrossing as far as it goes, but among Hitch’s glorious 1950s films, it’s easily his least substantial. That’s not a problem, but it’s mainly pleasurable for a kind of elegant-lull quality — the look, the framing, Cary Grant‘s mild-mannered performance, the easy-does-it vibe, the occasionally awesome editing. Not the “all” of it as much as the way it all kind of goes down like a swallow of champagne on a warm summer’s night on the Riviera. The way it mostly breezes along without any noticable sense of urgency.
20 minutes to go until the cyber cafe closes. Why can’t they stay open until midnight? 19 minutes now. It’s an Australian place — it’s called Tuck Shop — and it doesn’t feel spirtually or geographically in character for a down-under establishment to close early. I’ve never known an Australian guy to not stay at a party until the wee hours or not close a bar down. I’ve just wasted another five minutes — 14 minutes to go.
When I get my computer back tomorrow and everything’s technologically jake (I hope, I pray), I’ll bang out some kind of longer tribute piece about 28 Weeks Later (Fox Atomic, 5.11), which I saw this evening. (I’d write it now but the cyber cafe I’m sitting in on West 49th Street closes at 11 pm, and they’re charging $11 bucks an hour. Hey, why not $15?)
28 Weeks Later is a “wow” second-act piece — more of a continuation of 28 Days Later than a sequel. It doesn’t thematically build upon or add intriguing new layers to Danny Boyle‘s original raging-zombies flick. It’s not The Godfather, Part II, in other words — it’s The Empire Strikes Back, complete with a semi-cliffhanger finish that doesn’t end the story it’s been telling as much as bring to an abrupt close.
Which I was totally fine with. It’s a wildly inventive, envelope-pushing, high-end jolt movie all the way. I was staring at it open-mouthed, amazed and thrilled and even half-stunned at times. (Honestly.) Anyone who liked the first will certainly feel satisfied (i.e., enjoyably throttled) by it. But it’ll be up to whomever directs the third chapter — the completion of the trilogy — to really bring home the bacon. That isn’t to say that 28 Weeks Later doesn’t rousingly do what it sets out to do. You just have to process it as a “more of” thing rather than “heavier or stronger than.” Which, for me, filled the bill and then some.
Computer trauma update: It’s 3:35 pm on a beautiful blue-sky day, and after almost 24 hours of high anxiety I’m almost out of the woods. I came to my senses last night and realized that buying a brand new computer simply because the hard drive had crapped out was ridiculous. (Thanks to those who stated this in the reader replies.) I obviously wasn’t thinking clearly yesterday. All I was saying to everyone was, “I have to fix this problem fast.”
I found a Brooklyn-based computer repair guy named Marcel (his company is called Big Island Interactive) on Craig’s List around 8 ayem this morning. He told me to just bring over the old unit plus a new hard drive (in case he couldn’t repair the malfunctioning one) and a fresh copy of Windows XP (in case the old Windows data is irrevocably screwed up) to his brownstone apartment on Park Place in the Park Slope area.
So I went back to the Best Buy store on B’way and Houston around 10:30, returned the new computer (Windows Vista is a little twitchy…I played around with it last night), picked up the old one, went uptown to buy a new hard drive and a fresh Windows XP disc, hopped on the Q train and delivered everything to Marcel around 2 pm. A hour later he called and said he might be able to repair the old hard drive — he’ll know more by this evening.
I’m now sitting in a combination post-office and internet cafe near the corner of Flatbush Ave. and Park Place. God willing, the troubles will be over by midday tomorrow.
There’s not much time to file before I have to get back on the Q train and catch a screening of 28 Weeks Later at 6 pm. I recorded an interview with the film’s director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo yesterday afternoon, just before that Spider-Man 3 screening at Leows’ Lincoln Plaza that I didn’t attend because of those wonderful tekkies at Gateway. Maybe I can post this if I can find another decent internet cafe after the screening.
There’s a Friedrich_Nietzsche line that Nick Nolte‘s character says in Karl Reicz‘s Who’ll Stop The Rain?: “When in danger, always move forward.”