Remember the old days when Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit was seen as an historic double whammy? As the first of two Hobbit features plus an occasion for the first-ever projection of a mainstream film at 48 frames per second? Now The Hobbit is a three-parter (a shameful cash grab) and Warner Bros. seems committed to playing down the 48 fps aspect, or at least to keeping it at arm’s length. They’ve been running from this technology like scared rabbits since last April’s presentation of 48 fps Hobbit footage at Cinemacon.
A tech-savvy guy confides that “delicate bits of dirt” have been added to the 4K version of The Master — to the digital intermediate, I mean — in order to give the digital versions the look of film. Is that serious madman stuff or what? Paul Thomas Anderson didn’t want it to look too digitized so he gunked it up a wee little bit. This is from a knowledgable guy who knows knowledgable guys. I hope it turns out to be true.
One aspect of all that Argo love we’ve been hearing since Telluride has been a patriotic “yay team, good for us, we Americans did that!” sentiment. Because the movie, set in 1979 and ’80, says that the successful hoodwinking of the Islamic Iranian regime into thinking that six escaped American embassy workers were filmmakers was a CIA + Hollywood job. But now director-producer-star Ben Affleck has changed the postscript to say it was a Canadian job with CIA assistance.
Liza Foreman‘s 9.19 Wrap story says Affleck “has made the change to appease Ken Taylor, Canada’s former ambassador to Iran, who plays a key role in crisis depicted in the Affleck-directed movie, a Warner Bros. spokeswoman told TheWrap. The film was seen by associates of Taylor as falsely giving credit for the release of the hostages to a CIA agent and also suggesting that Canada and Taylor wrongly took credit.”
The new postscript reads as follows: “The involvement of the CIA complemented efforts of the Canadian embassy to free the six held in Tehran. To this day the story stands as an enduring model of international co-operation between governments.”
“I expressed my concern with certain details in the movie,” Taylor told the Toronto Star‘s Martin Knellman. “In reality, Canada was responsible for the six and the CIA was a junior partner. But I realize this is a movie and you have to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Ben was very gracious and we got along really well. There are a few points I want to address. Now Ben and I both feel free to talk about them.”
I was given freebies to see The Book of Mormon last night at the Pantages theatre. Other journalist freeloaders were there also. I haven’t seen a balls-out, world-class stage musical in years, and this was awfully good. The Pantages is too big — rear seating is just too far back. I was in the fifth row left. Two lady ushers told me I couldn’t snap photos of the magnificent interior design. I ignored them, of course. What was happening between me and the architecture was none of their damn business,
My concern is that Barack Obama, convinced as everyone else is by now that Mitt Romney is going to lose, is going to do his usual courtly, combat-averse, close-to-genuflecting routine when he debates Romney on 10.3, 10.16 and 10.22. He’s figuring Romney has already dug his own grave to why box a dead horse? Obama doesn’t like to scrap, much less take off the gloves. I’ve always seen that as a failing.
I also strongly disagree with Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet in his view of Anna Karenina. Joe Wright‘s film is a breath of fresh air in the historical-drama genre, and a knockout in terms of design, choreography, performances (especially Keira Knightley and Jude Law‘s) and general audacity. It’s a contact high. But in trashing one of the year’s finest Brevet at least uses moderate language, unlike N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis did the other day.
The best movies define their own realm. Most reflect or recreate “reality” as most of us know it, but not with absolute slavish adherence to every last detail. Like the speaking voices of the famous. Accuracy is welcome but sounding “right” is what counts. Listen to the real voice of George S. Patton. Imagine If Patton collaborators George C. Scott and director Franklin J. Schaffner had taken leave of their senses and decided to go the tonally correct route. No legendary reputation, no Best Actor Oscar, no home video sales…an anecdote.
The best way to see The Master in 70mm is on a fairly large and flat (or only slightly curved) screen. I saw it in 70mm at Toronto’s Bell Lightbox — perfect. The best way for New Yorkers was that 70mm special screening at the Zeigfeld eight days ago. I wouldn’t know how good it looks or sounds at the AMC Leows Lincoln Square, but I’ve had some bad experiences at that place.
In Los Angeles The Master playing in 70 mm in two theatres in the Arclight, and on a single screen in West L.A.’s Landmark. (A 35mm and digital version is also showing there.) The L.A. Weekly‘s Michael Nordine recently advised readers to “see it in the Dome.” No — don’t. The super-curved Dome screen distorts. The only way this venue would work would be if the Dome’s screen has been taken down (which happened when Alan Parker‘s Evita played there in ’96).
I intend to see it again on Friday or Saturday. My money is on the other Arclight screen or the Landmark.