Monday, May 2, 2016

Purple links

And just when we had gotten over the death of Bowie, this happens. I remember back in  junior high we'd occasionally debate who was better, Prince or Michael Jackson. It was probably an unfair comparison. As awesome as Michael was, he didn't play an instrument, whereas Prince - well, perhaps it'd be easier to list what he couldn't play.

The film career of the Purple One was perhaps a little less distinguished overall, but hey, criticizing him for not being a great actor is kinda like criticizing Mozart because he never wrote a novel. I think I might have seen Under the Cherry Moon at the old video store, but if I did, I certainly don't remember any of it. Anybody out there seen it and wanna defend it? (Or is that asking too much?)

If Purple Rain were the only movie Prince had made, it would've been more than enough. No, it's not perfect by any means, but the music makes it so watchable, and because there's so much of it, and because it's so good, the movie is never dull for long. I'm not sure what you could compare it to: maybe Jailhouse Rock in the sense that it's an acting/singing vehicle for its musician superstar at the peak of his popularity, only Rain is perhaps a bit more personal. I would not be surprised to discover it was an influence on subsequent movies like 8 Mile and maybe even Once.

Prince was an American original, a truly gifted musician who carved his niche upon the pop music landscape and carved it deep.

In happier news, the Alamo Drafthouse is coming to Brooklyn this summer! You have no idea how excited I am at this news. You've already heard me complain about the area surrounding the Yonkers location and the long commute. This will be much closer, and of course, because it's the Alamo, it'll have the same awesome features as the rest of the theaters. This is gonna be epic.

This might not be news to some of you, but I saw it and I thought it odd enough to mention it on Twitter and I thought I'd throw it out here as well. I was in a cafe in Astoria last month that had E.T. playing on a flat screen HD television. This is, as you know, a movie from 1982, and it was shot on 35mm film, long before the digital revolution. Yet, looking at it on this 21st-century ultra-modern television, I could not believe how clear and crisp looking the image was. It was so clear, in fact, that it didn't even look like celluloid. It looked a lot like it was shot on video.

Now the first time I noticed this, I was watching the first Hobbit movie, and at the time I thought, oh, this must be what Peter Jackson's 48-frames-per-second technology must be like. But then I saw that look on TV shows and other movies watched on HD screens as well, and I couldn't get over how odd it made older movies - say, from the early 90s and earlier - look. It makes them not look like film. Camera movements are noticeable that shouldn't be; the grainy texture of celluloid is almost completely lost - I actually thought at first I was watching a TV show parodying E.T. instead of the actual movie.

You'll recall when I wrote about Interstellar, I said I didn't recognize the look of 35mm film at first because I had become so used to seeing imagery from digital technology. This is almost the reverse - and I'm wondering whether or not this is a good thing. So much effort has been expended to save celluloid, to keep it around for the filmmakers who still want to use it, but what use is all that effort if these movies are seen on television screens that blunt the look of film? I dunno; it's just a thought that came to mind recently.

Remember the Cinemart, the local theater I told you about that went back to showing first-run movies after years of being a second-run place? I passed by there recently, and they were closed - but for renovations. Apparently they're doing well enough to install luxury recliner seats. The marquee says the new seats will be ready by the time X-Men: Apocalypse opens there, first-run, later this month. I'm really glad they're progressing. Ever since the Jackson Heights and Sunnyside theaters closed, neighborhood theaters have felt more and more like an endangered species, so it's nice to see this one not only continue to survive, but grow.

Still plenty of time to get in on the Athletes in Film Blogathon with me and Aurora coming up in June. The lineup is looking pretty good.

Your links for this month:

Once again, Ryan has just the right words to eulogize a dead rock star.

Sometimes, as Raquel recently discovered, the right movie comes along at just the right time.

Jacqueline examines classic film fandom in the television age.

Ivan takes a look at the Thin Man TV series.

Ruth sees A Streetcar Named Desire for the first time.

Pam has a story about a German actor raised as a Nazi, but resisted that life.

Here's a highlight from the Beyond the Cover Blogathon: a video review of the movie and book of The Color Purple.

The TCM Film Fest attracts plenty of young people (some of whom I know by reputation).


  1. Thanks a mil for the link and the kind words. I **swore** when I was finished with that post that it wasn't going to make sense to anyone but me...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.