by Rob Boylan
The slow demise of the film camera gets top billing this week. As it turns out, ARRI and Panavision stopped producing new film cameras quite a while ago in order to focus on digital. I feel like I've had my head in the sand about this, thinking it would never happen despite all available evidence. (Which apparently makes me quite dumb, according to The Daily Beast.)
You may or may not have heard a question about whether the ARRI Alexa will be the death of film or not? A lot of television programs are beginning to use it this season, including House and Pan Am, as well as feature length films likeDrive and Melancholia. It's a question of cinematographers and post production techniques, I suppose. I thought Drive looked fine, I thought Melancholia looked awful. (Scorsese's Hugo, which premiered at the New York Film Festival this week was also shot with the Alexa, but I reserve judgement until seeing it in a theater.)
So, is film dying? All of those previously produced film cameras and lenses are still out there, so I think it will be fine. Like vinyl LPs, cloth-bound hardcover novels and vintage clothing, it will always have a niche. I've softened my stance over the years, I think since I saw Soderbergh's Che and thought it looked like an actual movie (it was shot with the digital game-changer, the RedONE). Television and indie film will probably be full digital from now on, which is fine, but there will always be scrappy idealist filmmakers out there who romanticize the idea of shooting on film, and I'll always go to see their movies.
But let's worry about the present for now...
-Martin Scorsese's Hugo was the secret film unveiled at the NYFF as you all know by now. Here are a couple of pieces on it: Deadline. IFC. IndiWire. The Hollywood Reporter. Cinema Blend. Hollywood.com. /Film. EW.
-10 years ago, at the 2001 New York Film Festival, The Royal Tenenbaums made its debut. Wes Anderson, Bill Murray, Angelica Huston and Goop Girl got together last night to talk about it and make fun of Gene Hackman. (Here is the video, in six parts.)
-3D conversion comes to South Korea as the country's box office king, Bong Joon-ho's The Host, is re-released with an extra dimension. Interestingly, the 10-million-won-per-minute conversion was not overseen by Bong himself. The film only made a little over $2m in America, so holding your breath is not advisable.
-The NYT has a profile of Elizabeth Olsen, whose Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene opens at the Enzian on November 11th.
-Here are the 63 films in contention for nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars next year. Attenberg, the Greek entry which plays the NYFF next Saturday, is the one I'm most excited for.
-Norah Ephron is remaking the British miniseries, Lost in Austen, which is some sort of time travel movie about a modern girl being sent back into Jane Austen's time. Netflix keeps telling me I'll like this, even though I've never read Pride and Prejudice. (Writing that last sentence made me start reading it however.)
-Michael Winterbottom making a film about the end of The Beatles? Yes, I'd pay a dollar to see that.
-Is the theater going experience really a core component of the movie experience? The press screening for Pixar's Up at the AMC Empire 25 in New York was amazing, realizing that there were over 1,000 other people crying at the opening montage too. But seeing Moneyball just last week, I sat behind a group of guys who made a game of figuring out who all of the players were. Loudly, so all seven of them could hear each other, especially the one who had his nose in his blackberry the whole time.
-Several filmmakers, Scorsese and Speilberg included, give thanks to film as a medium (as opposed to digital). If someone can transcribe Godard's message into English that would be great.
-American Reunion. Because no one in the original cast made any money in the last 10 years. It breaks many of the rules set forth in the six things actors should never do list.