WIDESCREEN WEEKEND SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED (BRADFORD – 15th – 18th OCTOBER)

September 3, 2015

wide-screen-logo2015As promised, here is the running order for next month’s Widescreen Weekend which is being held at the Pictureville Cinema, attached to the National Media Museum in Bradford, England.

SCHEDULE

15th ~ 18th October 2015

THURSDAY 15th

11:00 – A INTRODUCTION TO CINERAMA & WIDESCREEN CINEMA (PICTUREVILLE)

18:00 – WIDESCREEN WEEKEND RECEPTION (TBA)

19:00 – OPENING NIGHT FILM: OKLAHOMA! (PICTUREVILLE)

FRIDAY 16th

2819009:45 – INTERSTELLAR: VISUAL EFFECTS OF 70mm MOVIE MAKING + INTERSTELLAR (2014) (PICTUREVILLE)

14:45 – BKSTS WIDESCREEN STUDENT FILM OF THE YEAR (PICTUREVILLE)

17:00 – HOLIDAY IN SPAIN (aka SCENT OF MYSTERY) (PICTUREVILLE)

19:45 – FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (PICTUREVILLE)

SATURDAY 17th

09:50 – AT BRIDGE TOO FAR (PICTUREVILLE)

14:30 – SCREEN TALK: LESLIE CARON + GIGI (PICTUREVILLE)

19:30 – HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1962) (PICTUREVILLE)

SUNDAY 18th

2001Style_B09:30 – THE BEST OF CINERAMA (PICTUREVILLE)

12:50 – WIDESCREEN AESTHETICS AND NEW WAVE CINEMA (PICTUREVILLE)

14:15 – CINERAMACANA & TODD-AO (PICTUREVILLE)

17:45 – KEYNOTE SPEECH: DOUGLAS TRUMBULL – THE STATE OF CINEMA (PICTUREVILLE)

20:00 – 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) (PICTUREVILLE)

20:00 – THE MAKING OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN WITH BRIAN HANNAN + THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (CUBBY BROCCOLI)

BOOKING

http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/widescreen-weekend/tickets

And for more info… http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/widescreen-weekend


MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

September 2, 2015

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CANDLES 8

DIRECTOR: Christopher Mcquarrie

May contain spoilers!

By number 5, the Mission: Impossible franchise seems to be finding its feet. Tom Cruise’s ego, whilst still on top form, is now conceding more to a weary audience that he is not the centre of attention, at least not all the time. In this case, the master Geek, Simon Pegg is standing almost toe to toe with Cruise throughout and the ensemble established over the past two moves, beginning with J.J. Abram’s shake up, M:i III (2006), is making this an expanding, action packed and never dull world.

The opening hit’s the ground running, quite literally and with the exception of the ubiquitous slower paced second acted espionage sequence, the first-rate Opera Assassination is pitch perfect, pardon the pun; the action is relentless throughout, with a motorcycle chase scene which even put’s John Woo’s M:I 2 (2000) to shame. And that was good too!

It is all about the feel, the tone and the comfort zone with this one. Now we have an established cast, their relationships are allowed to grow as with the original TV series, with a solid cast gelling well together and allowing Cruise his moments to shine without him dominating the movie. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and relative newcomer Rebecca Ferguson as the duplicitous femme fetal are all good, as is the reliable Alex Baldwin as the obstinate C.I.A. Director.

Overall, the action is exciting, the tone is fun and the plot is interesting without being too convoluted. And us Brits are kind of the villains… I like it!

If they continue down this road then the next instalment should be a must see!


FILM OF THE MONTH ~ AUGUST 2015

August 31, 2015

The Film Of this Month is Pixar’s latest hit, Inside Out (3D).

inside_out

CANDLES 9


LAST VAGAS

August 28, 2015

last_vegas_ver2_xlg2013

DIRECTOR: Jon Turteltaub

May Contain Spoilers!

Contains mild language

This really pissed me off! On one hand this is nothing more than a cringe-worthy vehicle for ageing movie stars to garner cheap laughs at the expense of of their age and the ludicrous notion that this group of four childhood friends would have remained so for over 58 years!

It is mishmash of ideas including a The Hangover and it sort of The Expendables for has been heartthrob brigade, or at least the respected actor’s union. But this works in its favour and whilst I wanted to switch it off, literally after five minutes as I felt so embarrassed for the top notch cast as they simply collected their pay checks, I did find myself laughing along on way more than one occasion.

But I felt bad for it. It was like laughing someone falling over, again and again. You know you shouldn’t but you just can’t help yourself. The plot is infantile and completely hollow, leaving plenty of room for the ageing cast to simply be cheerful on their weekend away in Vegas.

This was terrible, but not unwatchable. I would not recommend this but I will concede that if you find yourself watching it and you CAN resist the urge to switch over then it may entertain. This is the geriatric version of what The Expendables is to the action genre and This Is The End (2013) is to bad films.


SPEED

August 26, 2015

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s15CANDLES 9

DIRECTOR: Jan De Bont

May contain spoilers!

Noted action DOP (Director Of Photography) Jan De Bont’s directorial breakthrough, Speed sounded ridiculous at the time of its release and let’s face it, the concept of a bus maintain a speed of over 50mph or it will explode, still does!

But somehow, there is more to it than that, a lot more. There is a plausible plot, fun characters, great action augmented with kinetic pacing and a lot of heart to boot. Following on from Keanu Reeves’ cheesy turn in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), a couple of years earlier, he was back into his Point Break (1991) knuckle-head surfer cop persona, that again, seems to imply some semblance of intelligence is lying beneath his chiselled features.

But there is little point in dwelling on Reeves’ acting skills and he is a somewhat charismatic persona more than anything else and it is that which works here. His chemistry with Sandra Bullock, who outclasses him as the impromptu bus driver tasked with keeping the bus running, is undeniable.

It is the action which propels this plot however, as the bus with a speed activated bomb on board must traverse the busy streets of L.A., unfinished free-ways and airports runways before a tube station finale which unfortunately, looks a little too much like Batman Begin’s (2005) train crash ending for my liking. Shame on you Nolan.

Overall, even after 20 years have passed, Speed has still got it. It is a 90’s movie through and through but in a similar way to that of Casablanca (1942) being indicative of the 40’s, Speed is a classic with simple themes and a high concept, one which has been much parodied in the decades since, as well as a real sense of pace.

Jan De Bont may not have proven to be great director, with Twister sealing his fate in 1997, but Speed is great film and defiantly his best.


ALEXANDER’S DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS…

August 24, 2015

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…well, four but is that is enough in less than 10 years…, right?

Alexander. Oliver Stone’s epic biopic of the legendary conquer was troubled from day one. The master film-maker who had brought us Platoon (1986), Born On The Fourth Of July (1989) and JFK (1991), was now tacking something outside his comfort zone and it showed.

Having a score by Vangelis was not the best choice, nor was Colin Farrell’s wig, but this film was far from rubbish. It was epic, grandiose and visually stunning, with some stand out performances to contrast the equally hammy ones, wooden speeches and confused narrative.

But the idea of a horse facing of against an elephant and battle scenes which in scale stand not only the test of time but most also stand as some of the cinemas best, whilst suffering from the same problem as the film as a whole. Poor pacing. The first major battle has Alexander (Colin Farrell) riding his horse, on and on and on…

3352bfd479884ec95424450d8c5d5147So, can we blame Stone for re-cutting the 175 minute movie down to a more palatable 167 minutes Director’s Cut, one of the few examples of shortening am film, in response to film’s poor reviews and performance? No entirely, but this was not good enough either, probably because it was released on the same day as the Theatrical Cut of the film, rather confusing the audience and pointing out that nobody has any faith in the project.

Alexander_RevisitedIt is at this point that you should cut your losses but no… role on 2007 and the FINAL CUT, Alexander Revisited, a 214 minute epic version ans well as the longest and to be honest, if you are going to produce a Director’s Cut, the longer the better in my opinion, as the audience is getting more for their money.

Alexander-But then in 2014, the cynicism continued as the yet ANOTHER cut was release on Blu-ray, The Ultimate Cut, negating the so-called FINAL CUT’s claim, this having a 207 minute running time.

So, what’s the score?

Well, I’ll tell you. Alexander is a good film. Not a great film, not a masterpiece but many of its constituent elements are masterful, with Stone’s visual style and emotional volatility and vulnerability coursing throughout in a way which is rarely seen in a mainstream epic. Alexander himself is portrayed as a believable, emotionally weak man, whose charisma and charm only serves him so much.

And what about the love story between Farrell and Jared Letto, a homosexual sub-plot which played out with no fanfare what-so-ever back in 2004, two years before Ang Lee would be winning Oscars and other awards for Brokeback Mountain (2006). The problem is that if they had just left the 175 minute Theatrical Cut alone in the first place then people would have had a chance to take on the movie for what it was as possibly recognise that it was underrated in the first place.

But by announcing from the day of the initial DVD release that they had no faith in it themselves, they doomed their own work, forcing Stone and his producers to continually re-invent the film in order to sell it again and again.

In conclusion, it is my feeling that the audience was robbed of the right to embrace this film over time and have been given version after version in order to tidy it up but the Theatrical Cut wasn’t that bad! It was baggy, yes, but it was not incomprehensible or unwatchable, it was a slightly long-winded epic which needed some more time in the editing suit and quite frankly, a different director but since it had Oliver Stone, Stone managed to litter the film with some stunning visuals and mould it around a strong emotional core.

Give this film a chance but pick a version and stick to it, the same advice which I would the producers. LET IT GO!

This is not a review of the film as such and I have not written one to date but to tide you over, my rating is… CANDLES 7


WIDESCREEN WEEKEND BACK AT BRADFORD

August 22, 2015

widescreenslider

After some concern over the future of the festival, the Widescreen Weekend, a celebration of classic widescreen films including those made in the Cinerama format, is set to return in October.

The very future of the Media Museum itself was in jeopardy back in 2013 too...

But they were ultimately saved.

The festival begins on Thursday 15th October and concludes on Sunday the 18th. The full schedule has yet to be released but the details so far suggest that we can expect Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Oklahoma! (1955) and the final Cinerama travelogue, The Best Of Cinerama (1963) which is exactly what it sounds like, a compilation of the previous five movies, so nothing new there but like all compilations, it may well be a more concise version of the epic but dated 1950’s travelogues.

00290065-0000-0000-0000-000000000000_f947180f-0c52-49d9-bd7c-649a2d83586a_20120925204630_thisIsCineramaThe full schedule is due on the 3rd September so stay tuned for updates but since the venue, the Pictureville Cinema which is attached to the National Media Museum in Bradford, England, houses the last remaining Cinerama screen in the country, my hopes are to finally see the one-strip Cinerama classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey as not many people have, certainly not in the past 30 odd-years, on the 146 degree deeply curved screen. The nearest we have gotten to this is a clip contained in the documentary, Cinerama Adventure (2002), charting the rise and fall of the process in which a clip was included to show the potential of remastering such films in the Smilebox format.

cinerama_logo_2 After the demise of the process, Cinerama Inc. still made films, including 2001, but other films where also shot in 70mm widescreen, such as The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) and Ben~Hur (1959), all of which were shown on the curved screen in some venues which still had them, though it was not always the best idea as it would distort the image.

The all but lost Cinerama feature, one of only two shot in the 3-panel format, the other being How The West Was Won (1962), The Wonderful World Of The Brother’s Grimm (1962) has been shown in some way at Bradford over the years and would hope to see it this year as it is one which teetering of the edge of being lost, but no word so far.

The schedule will be posted HERE on 3rd September sop check back for more details.


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