Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Movies & TV’ Category

AlphaGo: The movie

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The full documentary:

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 10:02 am

Posted in Games, Go, Movies & TV

Transitional spellings

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I’ve been watching “Dalziel & Pascoe” on Britbox, a murder mystery series, and in the name “Dalziel,” a, the first l, z, and i are silent, so it’s pronounced “DEE-ell.” That seemed odd, until I read this.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 6:53 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Christopher Walken profile — worth reading

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We Could Use a Little More Christopher Walken,” by

Written by LeisureGuy

6 March 2020 at 11:36 am

Posted in Movies & TV

“The End of History” — a brief time-travel movie

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Written by LeisureGuy

28 February 2020 at 4:59 pm

Real Film Strikes Back

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David Munro has a very interesting article (at least for film buffs) in Craftsmanship Quarterly. It begins:

Section 1. The Nuts and Bolts of Cinema
Section 2. Film Vs. Digital: A Primer
Section 3. A Moving Image, Literally
Section 4. Splendid Imperfection
Section 5. The Rise of Digital Video
Section 6. The Power of Ones and Zeroes
Section 7. Digital Imaging Grows Up
Section 8. Mining Film’s “Intangibles”
Section 9. “It’s About The Basics”
Section 10. Celluloid’s Next Act

Film was declared dead on November 2, 2011. On that day, the late, great Roger Ebert penned a blog post-cum-eulogy titled, “The Sudden Death of Film.” “The victory of video was quick and merciless,” he wrote. “I insisted, like many other critics, that I always knew when I was not being shown a true celluloid print. The day came when I didn’t.”

The “print” that Ebert was referring to would be a foreign concept to many of today’s filmmakers. He was talking about emulsion-coated, silver halide-and-color dye embedded, dripping-wet-from-the-developer strips of image-laden celluloid. That film. Real film. Film film.

Around the time of Ebert’s epitaph, signs of film’s demise were everywhere, and you didn’t have to be a movie critic to notice. Kodak was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Film processing labs were shuttering seemingly by the hour. And theater chains were transitioning to digital exhibition formats at a madcap pace. Just like that, the repository of a century’s dreams and nightmares—Marilyn, moon landings, Hitchcock, The Hindenburg—became a thing that once was, and could no longer be.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the coroner’s table. Film produced a pulse. In the Spring of 2014, two years after Ebert’s eulogy, the heads of six major studios were approached by a group of iconic, A-list directors. Like the cavalry in a John Ford Western, the directors rode in and strong-armed a deal whereby the major studios would buy enough film each year to ensure Kodak’s survival. “The studios listened,” says Linda Brown, head of USC’s cinematography department, “because the directors were named Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, and Steven Spielberg.” In the following years, including this year in particular, these and other top directors kept winning Academy Awards for movies shot on celluloid.

Among today’s movie productions, ninety-nine percent of them are now one-hundred percent digital. So why would a posse of Oscar-winning directors go to the mat for a dying medium with a reputation for being costly, cumbersome, and commercially non-viable? As I explored this question, I discovered not just film diehards, but digital pioneers who continue to use celluloid as the source of their inspiration. What is it about film that evokes so much devotion that it’s now being summoned back to life?

THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF CINEMA

My introduction to filmmaking happened in 1989 at the University of Southern California. A disillusioned young ad man, I’d been bitten by the movie bug and decided to attend the school’s Summer filmmaking “boot camp” to see if my big screen infatuation was more than a temporary fling. It was the best six weeks of my life.

Hands-on and fully analog, I immersed myself in the artistic and technical aspects of a craft that had not changed much since its invention nearly a century before. Like the internal combustion engine, refinements were many, but the basic mechanics were the same. In film’s materiality, I found the world. Subjects I’d spent most of my life avoiding – chemistry, physics, engineering, math—were suddenly captivating and essential.

USC’s sound stages and cutting rooms were playgrounds of hefty, manually operated, industrial age machinery. Although analog video formats (primarily VHS) had overtaken the home entertainment market, film remained the undisputed medium of origin for industry pros and independents alike. I learned to edit on a Moviola (Pat. 1924), to shoot on an Arriflex-S camera (1952), to record sound on a Nagra tape recorder (1951), and to load a camera using Kodak 7278 Tri-X reversal film stock (1955). By every qualitative metric—resolution, dynamic range, color reproduction—film’s aesthetic bona fides were demonstrably superior to video, and it wasn’t even close. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more, as you can tell from the TOC.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 February 2020 at 3:37 pm

No water, no shave

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I overslept and the water’s off in the building now until 3:00 (an apartment — not mine — is being renovated and today apparently is new-plumbing day), so no shave this morning. That works out, in a way, since I can shave a two-day stubble on Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

In the meantime, this looks like an interesting movie:

Written by LeisureGuy

13 February 2020 at 9:58 am

Posted in Movies & TV, Shaving

One of my favorite comedies: “Movie Movie”

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A movie movie is a movie about movies (cf. “Singin’ in the Rain”), and “Movie Movie” is that (a wry comedy about the old studio production-line system of making movies — grinding them out fast, reusing actors, sets, introductory shots, and so on), and is also a double feature (remember those), thus: movie, movie.

It’s totally wonderful, but watch with an alert eye and listen with a keen ear: there are many little touches of action, sets, and dialogue to be enjoyed. One example: the set that’s a nightclub in the first movie is the star’s backstage dressing room (!) in the second. And I love how the coming attraction (a WWI aviation drama) talks about the brave “boys” (played by actors in their 60s).

You can stream it for free, but with a couple of commercials. I found I could skip the commercials by clicking the progress bar toward the end.

It has quite a cast: George C. Scott, Harry Hamlin, Red Buttons, Elia Kazan, Ann Reinking, and others.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 February 2020 at 11:24 am

Posted in Movies & TV

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