Sunday, August 7


70mm Road Show

I did see The Road Warrior (a.k.a. Mad Max 2) last night after all. Unfortunately the print was somewhat faded and scratched, problems 70mm prints are certainly not immune to. I'm told that at least it looked better than Friday night's print of the orginal version of Apocalypse Now did. Actually, the fading felt almost appropriate, given the film's theme of civilization's decay and its dusty, desert setting. It was still nice to see in the theatre with a cheering audience. Ghostbusters screened today in a gorgeous, crisply detailed print that almost made me feel as if I was seeing the film for the first time (probably more like the 10th, though the first in several years.)

Print damage is always a concern for repertory theatres, and the Castro has actually cancelled this Thursday night's Hello, Dolly because of it. They've replaced the musical with screenings of the ultimate Frisco movie: Vertigo, and for good measure have added Hitchcock's masterpiece as a matinee tomorrow and Tuesday. In my opinion, if you've never seen Vertigo at the Castro you've never really seen it properly.

Apparantly the Castro was just picked #3 by Entertainment Weekly on a list of the best movie-friendly theatres in the country. Nice coup. Even better, though, is the fact that they're bringing a series of 3-D films including Andre De Toth's House of Wax for a week in October.

So what is the Road Warrior 24 years after it was made? Still an impressive action achievement. The helicopter shots still impress (perhaps more than ever) because we know all the motion we see is real and choreographed, not tweaked in post-production like science fiction films of today. It's got to be one of the first big, violent blow-em-ups to really invite the audience to laugh along with the bloody mayhem wreaked by its clownish villains, a trend upheld disturbingly consistently in subsequent films of the genre. And why doesn't anybody wear sunglasses? At least some of the baddies get goggles, but they're also stuck with the hot, black leather costumes which can't be fun in that climate. Try it at Burning Man, you'll see.

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