Sunday, August 21, 2011

Preview: 70mm Week

It's the most wonderful time of the yeeeear...
No, not Christmas. To me, this is even better.

Movie palaces like The Paramount beat the pants off any generic multiplex for seeing movies. Over the past year, I've seen classic films, sneak previews, exhibitions, film festival entries, and even traveling cinema shows there. Trust me, it's always treat to see things in 35mm up on the historic screen. It's a top notch experience.


Sometimes, even the elite have special presentations. And this week, the films shown are presented in 70mm format. It's a larger film format from the past and is a bit of a rarity among films. Possessing a larger size and increased resolution, you could call it a "high-def" format before terms like "HD" became marketing buzz words. So what does it mean? It means that these films, filmed fo a larger format to reflect their epic scale, will look absolutely incredible up on the big screen.

This selection of mind-blowing beautiful presentations include:

I enjoyed Vertigo immensely last year when I saw it last summer in its full glory. Alas, I now feel somewhat spoiled by the screening. When I tried to se it again at home on my bedroom TV earlier this year, I nearly wept at how inadequate the presentation was that time. Now is the time to take advantage of the 70mm format, and see Hitchcock's tale of obsession and mystery as it was meant to be seen.

I realize that many of you my not be familiar with Baraka, but it is a remarkably gorgeous example of filmmaking. Like a Louis Armstrong song, it shows us what a wonderful world this is. It's a free-form documentary with no narrative to speak of, but is a series of moving images about our planet and the things that inhabit it. The film is widely regarded as a must see experience on the big screen, and in 70mm I imagine it can show us that a world that exists beyond anything words could possibly express.

Long shots of red-faced monkeys aside, this is another screening I'm losing sleep over. No worries regarding insomnia, though. I also can't wait to see what dreams may come from watching this beautiful view at our planet.

People have called Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey many things, but few would use the term "accessible." It's ambiguity is actually one of its greatest assets, in my opinion, but I've heard so my call it difficult or dull. Now, it may be described several ways, but "boring" is a word that should never be applied to this masterpiece about a space mission gone bad (and a computer gone mad). Above all else, the film should be described as "impressive." It's bold in ambition, and the visuals are so breathtaking that it still stands as a convincing example of special effects over 40 years later. This is one I'm dying to see in its original 70mm scope, so that it the images can stand like a monolith before me.

Finally, we have Lawrence of Arabia. David Lean's masterpiece about T.E. Lawrence and his complicated adventures in the desert during wartime. I also saw this last year in 70mm, and it was nearly a religious experience. Everything felt so vibrant and alive, and even the desert itself was like another player in the story. It's another film that I simply can't wait to drink up once again.

I'm giddy at the thought of seeing this quartet over the next week. The films, the scale and the venue will combine to create an experience I won't soon forget. Throughout the week, I'll be perched up in the mezzanine taking in the majestic scope of the 70mm features with mouth agape in amazement. In fact, I'm very likely to look just like Dave Bowman from 2001 when he sees the cosmos: awe-struck and speechless. I'm ready to have my mind blown.

Showtimes for the films:

Monday, Aug 22nd
Tuesday, Aug 23th

Wednesday, Aug 24th
Thursday, Aug 25th

2001: A Space Odyssey
Wednesday, Aug 24th
Thursday, Aug 25th

Lawrence of Arabia
Friday, Aug 26th
Saturday, Aug 27th

Final Notes about the screening

Double Features:
"When two movies are grouped together under the same thematic heading, one ticket is good for both features when viewed back-to-back on the same day." (cha-ching!)

"Hassle-free downtown parking available for $6 at the One American Center for all summer films! Since you’re also supporting the theatre when you buy parking, they're giving you a free small soda each time you park there for a film. Buy online with your film tix and print out your confirmation e-mail or buy directly from the garage attendant (cash only). Attendant will have your soda ticket as well."

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