Thursday, August 22, 2013

Side By Side on PBS Film vs Digital

PBS is airing Side By Side: The Science, Art, And Impact of Digital Cinema Friday August 30 at 9 pm ( see your local listing). It's fascinating to see so many great film makers discuss the evolution of digital and and their feelings about film and digital.

It's an age old dilema, embrace the new or stay with what you know, as is always the case there are things to be gained and lost in either decision. According to producer Keanu Reeves, to some extent in the 2-3 years since he made this film, the struggle is over and digital has won. Though film is still being used digital seems to be dominating. In the film George Lucas makes a great point that film has reached it's apex and digital is in it's infancy with so much growth in it's future. His point being let's keep moving ahead.

Here's a video clip from the film Side By Side

The entire debate reminds me of Charlie Chaplin clinging to silent film when talkies had long since taken over. Even in his 1957 film A King In New York where he has incorporated sound he can't help taking a moment to make a comment about how ridiculous he finds modern film story telling and the ludicrously large screens of the era. The argument was the same for him then as it is now, how to best tell the story.

Chaplin's A King in New York clip

Personally, I have no dog in this fight. I love the grain of film and the depth that brings. But digital is like landing in Oz and having your black and white world become color. Still, watching a scratchy old print has a nostalgic quality, I would miss. I could go back and forth all day.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sunset Strip Documentary on Showtime

Friday August 16th at 8pm Showtime is premiering the documentary Sunset Strip by Hans Fjellstad. A feature length film, it tells the 100 year history of THE Sunset Strip from trade route to Rock and Roll.

I was too young for the 70s on The Strip but I did do a year or two there in the mid to late 80s. It was a wild place, full of music and everything that goes with it. I'm looking forward to seeing how this film covers it, and seeing all the history that went before, and finally what happens on the street that looks so quiet to me now. Probably because I'm in bed at 10 on weekends now days.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

TCM To Launch Classic Film Tour In New York

I just got this press release from TCM. Wish I could be in NY for it.

The network has partnered with On Location Tours, one of the world's largest TV and movie tour companies, to create the "TCM Classic Film Tour" in New York City. Featuring stops at some of the most famous movie locations throughout the city, this sightseeing bus tour is one of several initiatives TCM is launching as it prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary in April 2014.

The "TCM Classic Film Tour" features an experienced and knowledgeable tour guide, extensive trivia about each location and a special video introduction by TCM host Robert Osborne, a longtime resident of New York. "As a kid growing up in a small town in Washington State," Osborne says in his introduction, "my only exposure to New York City was through the movies. The town with its towering skyscrapers, fascinating people and teeming energy absolutely captivated me. Seeing New York in the movies is what made me want to live in Manhattan one day. I eventually got my wish, and the city has never disappointed me.”

Set to launch on Thursday, Aug. 22, the "TCM Classic Film Tour" will run Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The three-hoursightseeing bus tour will take movie fans to some of the city's greatest filming locations, including the Empire State Building (King Kong); Zabar's market (Manhattan, You've Got Mail); Holly Golightly's brownstone (Breakfast at Tiffany's); the famed subway grate that blew Marilyn Monroe's skirt (The Seven-Year Itch); Grand Central Terminal (North by Northwest, Superman); and, of course, Central Park.

In addition to seeing the real locations, visitors will get to see clips of the sites from the movies. "It's a great way to see how much – and how little – the city has changed over the years," Osborne says, "and how the history of New York and the history of the movies are so intertwined."

Fans can book reservations for the "TCM Classic Film Tour" online at, or by calling 212-913-9780.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Chinese Theatre is Dead, Long Live the Chinese Theatre

TCL (Grauman's) Chinese Theatre made an announcement today that it will reopen September 15th with a week long engagement of Wizard of Oz in 3D and IMAX. Sigh

When the announcement was made that The Chinese would close this summer for renovations and to "upgrade" to IMAX, I was among the group of people extremely concerned about it's historic status. We've been assured by both TCL and the LA Historic Theatre Foundation, that all the remaining historical features of The Chinese were being protected. Which seems to be the case.

I have to acknowledge that this IMAX renovation may be the thing that ultimately saves The Chinese. Anyone who lives in LA and loves old theatres knows how few are still operating as theatres; churches, jewelry stores and even storage for electronic stores yes, but not theatres. While The Chinese was not in immediate danger, as the theatrical release film industry is in decline, it is important that it remains current with trends.

It is sad to see the change but it is worth it, if it allows the theatre to continue for future generations. Change is hard, period. This new incarnation will bring in new audiences, which in turn will fund the theatre going forward. So like the title says The Chinese Theatre is dead, long live the Chinese Theatre.

UPDATE: Once open The Chinese Theatre will only show IMAX films, though it will maintain the ability to show other formats for premieres and film festivals. Which means TCM Classic Film Festival will still be able to hold it's film fest there. Hooray!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters Opens Aug 7th

My family was invited to a screening of Percy Jackson last week and we loved it. We had really enjoyed the first one when it came out and rewatched it to get a refresher before we saw the new one. These films are a great introduction for kids to Greek mythology. Even if the stories are a bit altered the children get an idea of names, gods powers and fables. .

Both my husband and I thought the special effects and story were great. You know when a movie feels like it ran a half hour you enjoyed it. Stanley Tucci has a small part in the film and I just love him. He is always witty and endearing. If I had any complaint about the movie it would be, there could have been more Stanley.

We brought our 9 year old daughter and almost 12 year old nephew. Both kids thought it was great, even better than the first one. They loved how scary it was. Both of them thought the creatures in the film were "really cool". They were really excited about the fact that there are books that have yet to be made into films and want to read them.

My only warning about this film is that it is a bit scary. There was a little boy about 6 years old who left. My daughter probably would have been ok at age 6, but she has a pretty high tolerance, so use your judgentment. If your child gets spooked this may not be the one for them.

Percy Jackson  Sea Of Monsters opens Wednesday August 7th

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Who is The New Doctor Who

It was very exciting to watch BBC announced the new Doctor Who today (drum roll) and the winner is Peter Capaldi! You may recognize him from another great BBC show The Hour.

I don't know if it's just a coincidence but Capaldi played the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) Doctor in World War Z this summer. It's a pretty elaborate clue if it was done on purpose.

I'll be looking forward to Matt Smith's regeneration into Peter Capaldi on the Christmas special.

Doctor Who returns to BBC America in November

Friday, August 2, 2013

PlayStation VidZone #PSFamily

If you have a PlayStation, I highly recommend you check out VidZone. It's an amazing music video streaming app. If you like Pandora you'll love Vidzone. It has all the latest videos and a lot of old ones too.
They have 55,000 videos now and they are always adding more. Oh and did I mention you can create your own playlists. After Plant Vs. Zombies it may be my favorite thing to do with my Playstation...

You can download the app for free from the PlayStation store.

Here's a video walk through

You're welcome!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Smurfs 2 in Theatres Now

Last week my family was invited to a fun party to celebrate the release of Smurfs 2 at Sony Studios. We were treated like blue kings and queens and got to see an advanced screening of the film. We even got to play the new Smurfs 2 video game on PlayStation!

This film's action centers on Smurfette and her issues with being an adopted smurf. If you aren't familiar with the back story, Smurfette was created by Gargamel (Hank Azaria AKA the bad guy) to infiltrate the Smurfs but once there Papa Smurf made a formula to change her into a real smurf and, of course, make her blue.
Now Gargamel has taken her back and with the help of his two other faux smurfs he's trying to convince her to come back to "the dark side", for his own evil gain. Lots of interesting questions for kids about choosing your identity, rather than just being who your parents are, are raised.

But my daughter just thought it was fun. As did the 4 boys we watched the film with ranging in age from 6 to 10. There were also much younger children in the audience who seemed to enjoy it. I'd say this film is pretty safe for all age ranges.