Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"You notice things if you pay attention."

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JA from MNPP here. Yesterday Nat finished his delightful run-down of his favorite films of the previous decade, and his write-up of his #6 film,Wong Kar-Wai's masterpiece In the Mood For Love, reminded me how desperate I've been to watch the film again now that I've upgraded to a bigger HD'ier TV.

So last night I did. I wrote up some extended thoughts on the film over at my blog, but here's something else the experience brought up in my head: the process of re-watching films in these new technological formats.

Ever since getting the new TV for Christmas I've scarcely watched any new films (keeping my Faves of '09 list at bay, unfortunately), instead preferring to barrel through old favorites that I've appreciated especially for their visual splendors. This is a good thing to be sure - my appetite for film is one of forward momentum, always trying to see as many new films as I can, so I don't look back nearly often enough. It's been a treat.

Living here in New York I get to see screenings sometimes of old films that I've only ever seen on a small screen before and you notice so many things you'd missed before. Seeing Rosemary's Baby, my favorite film of all time, in a proper theater was a revelation - I'd seen that movie a million times but there were so many small details suddenly vying for my attention (the one that pops to mind are the posters hanging in Rosemary and Guy's apartment for "Luther" and "Nobody Loves an Albatross," the two plays Guy had starred in that Rosemary name-checks a couple of times in the film).

And this new HD experience has felt akin to that. The image is so crisp, and so big! I don't think I'm ever going to leave my house again, is what I'm saying. This is where I close the door, turn my Netflix account up as far as it goes, and forget the world outdoors.

Anyone else been spending their days marveling at this wondrous point in home theater technology unto which we have arrived? This extends beyond great cinema - I spent half an hour hypnotized by a PBS special on hummingbirds the night before last - I thought the hummingbirds were gonna hit me in the face. It was awesome!
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5 comments:

Cristhian said...

Recently I've revisited 2046, which I haven't seen since its release. I'm surprised how this movie has been forgotten and excluded from all top of the decade's lists. The structure and imagery in it is outstanding, and simply a delight for anyone who loves strong female performances. Maggie Cheung, Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Faye Wong!!! all together in a movie with Tony Leung! Seeing this in an HD screen felt like seeing an old friend and being shocked(and kinda jealous) about how great that old friend looks.

Nigel said...

HD, best.

My indoor-healing process goes as follows


1.Rent Nancy Meyers' "The Holiday."
2. Make some hot chocolate.
3. Cry as hard as I can during the film's climax/final scene...which is rather cliche, but still tear-jerking.

NATHANIEL R said...

I am not sure if i love HD/Blu Ray. In fact sometimes the movies look "wrong" to me. I kind of miss grain.

I want movies to look like celluloid. I must be a traditionalist. I remember seeing Dark Knight in the store on a massive bluray and i just kept thinking: ewwww. i like to look at christian bale and heath ledger but i don't want to see their pores or a line where the makeup ends. it's disturbing to me.

plus TRUE BLOOD reveals that Anna Paquin has terrible skin and this I did not want to know!

JA said...

There are def. good and bad points to the technology - like that 30 Rock skit where Liz Lemon stepped in front of the HD camera and looked like a deformed monster - but I dunno, I think the good outweighs the bad. The first thing I ever saw on HD was only a few months ago, I watched Night of the Living Dead on Halloween at a friend's house, and it really was like I'd never seen the movie before. I wasn't paying attention to the shoddiness of the make-up or the sets, which even in the best quality DVD versions that I'd seen were always shoddy with that mo9vie having been made for 20 bucks. I was paying attention to how spectacularly Romero used that 20 bucks to play with light and shadow and frame. The film looked more gorgeous than it ever had, to me.

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