Thursday, January 27, 2022

Film Tips

"Compartment No. 6" is a fantastic Finnish/Russian film, currently showing. It won tons of festival awards, but critic/audience ratings here are mixed, because it doesn't fully comport with the political doctrine of the sort of Americans who go to indie films. This is in no way a political movie, but many of us view everything through that filter. So even critics who loved the film have been careful/tepid in their praise, terrified of attracting mob ire.

I won't discuss the film, because it's a gentle, subtle story best experienced freshly. It's not streaming anywhere, still in theaters (e.g. Angelika's two theaters in Manhattan). I'll add that sitting in a movie theater watching a not-super-popular movie not-on-a-Friday/Saturday-night is about the greatest degree of social isolation you can experience outside your living room.

In other movie news...

I bought the 3-D blu-ray for my favorite movie of the century, Bi Gan's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (nothing to do with the O'Neill play), but I don't have a 3-D TV to play it on, and it really needs the effect (it's subtle - no shtick - but still necesary to conjure the movie's magnificently singular vibe). I was considering buying a used Sony Playstation with VR headset as my route to playing 3-D blu-ray, but these days digital projectors are the way to go.

I haven't bought yet, but have done extensive research, and this one and this one are the cheapest ones that do a movie justice. You can sit them on a table 5-10 feet away from a screen (there are cheap screen options) and get a good-sized image. All you need are glasses.

Yes, it's a lot of money to pay to view one movie - even a favorite one you want to play for everyone you know (Cate Blanchett apparently agrees) - but 1. they sometimes go on sale, and 2. you can buy used on eBay (be careful to use vendors with 100% feedback and long ebay histories), and 3. there are other cool 3-D disks to play on the thing, even if you're not super stoked about 3-D generally.

I'm not stoked about 3-D generally, and haven't seen any of the following (at least not in 3-D). I'm just sharing the list (and a few notes) I've compiled from around the Internet. All said to be good movies with really good (i.e. not dark and headachy and shticky) 3-D effect.

Yeah, I know. Jim Leff's Slog once again sits on the cutting edge. "3-D home theater's gonna be HUGE, man!" Anyway...

"Doctor Strange"
"Terminator 2"
The triple box set of Attenborough docs ("Galapagos", "Insects", "Plants")
"Life of Pi"
"The Last Emperor"
"Jurassic Park"
"TRON: Legacy 3D"
"3-D Rarities, Volume II"
"Dial M For Murder"
"Tangled" ("the lanterns scene is wonderful")
"Hubble 3D "
Imax docs like "Ultimate Wave", "Grand Canyon", and "Under the Sea"
Enchanted Kingdom
"Step Up" 3D's dance off scenes ("have some of the best 3D reference material to date").
"Sammy's Adventure: The Secret Passage" ("absolutely stunning. Import from hong kong")
And, obviously, Avatar, if you don't hate its writing as viciously as I did.

Free 3-D stuff to download


MDC said...

Good list! As a 3D aficionado, I would add one more: the 3D version of "The Wizard of Oz", which was lovingly converted to 3D for its 75th anniversary rerelease in 2014. Was it necessary to do this? No, of course not: It was already a masterpiece in 2D. But there really has been no finer example of a post-release 3D conversion than this one.

The studio took over a year to do it (most movies converted to 3D are done in a few months), working from the highest-resolution scan of the original negative ever made. And the results are transcendent.

Details emerge that nobody, even watching a brand-new original print back in 1939, could have seen. You can perceive the texture of the burlap on the Scarecrow's face. The painted backdrops of the Oz sets really seem to recede into hazy distance. The 3D just adds to the magic of a magical film. It's what 3D was supposed to be (and so often hasn't been).

James Leff said...

Geez, it’s almost as outrageous as Turners colorization boondoggle. But cool is cool. Will check it out. Thanks!

MDC said...

I forgot one more 3D fave: "Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse". I'm not big on Marvel movies, or animated films, but this animated film starring a Marvel character is in a class of its own. It feels like a comic book actually brought to life. The animation style is unique and absolutely brilliant, and as the filmmakers have said, it was very much designed for 3D. Plus it's actually a great story -- clever, funny, and with real heart. The 3D Blu Ray is exceedingly hard to find, unfortunately. One of the curses of being a 3D film fan is how difficult studios make it to actually buy their films after the very limited 3D theatrical release.

James Leff said...

James Leff said...

“ One of the curses of being a 3D film fan is how difficult studios make it to actually buy their films after the very limited 3D theatrical release.”

That’s what eBay is for!

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