All Movie Talk, Special #5

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

Show contents:

  • Trivia Question: Mel Brooks and David Lynch
  • Industry Trend: Film Presentation and Restoration
  • Film Spotlight: Avatar
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of the Next Episode

The link to the video compression examples mentioned in the film presentation segment is http://nfggames.com/games/ntsc/visual.shtm.

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  1. wintermute (157) said,

    March 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I’m not convinced that widescreen TVs have improved the situation with aspect ratios; it used to be a simple matter of looking for the DVDs that were clearly labelled as “widescreen” rather than “full screen”. But now I find myself wondering if they mean “TV-widescreen” or “OAR-widescreen”. And as the actual aspect ratio is rarely listed on the box, and even if it is, figuring out if that was the ratio it was filmed in isn’t exactly easy to do in the video store…

    I may well be worrying over nothing, but it bugs me nonetheless.

    Oh, and my other big annoyance these days is HD TV channels that take TV shows filmed in 4:3 and stretch them out to 16:9. Which is the same problem, but in the opposite direction, as with cropping movies for TV.

    Also, you reminded me how much I miss British TV, where they don’t try and force everything into arbitrary multiples of 30 minutes…

  2. joem18b (231) said,

    March 4, 2010 at 3:24 am

    I’ve just downloaded your latest show and have been listening to the part about watching movies in their proper order. Your thoughts caught my ear because I’ve written a couple of reviews lately after watching the second half of the film first. I figured that for most movies, the first half is better than the second half, so why not save the best till last? District 9 would be an example. Also, some movies resist my efforts to watch them, for whatever reason. La règle du jeu would be an example. So I jumped into La règle at the halfway point and voilà! I was already half done with it! (And, too, the first half was a lot better than the second half.)

    Just now I’m reviewing Yi Yi, Edward Yang’s classic. I divided it into 18 ten-minute segments, randomized their order, and watched it that way. I have no idea why. One thing’s for sure, though. Doing it that way did not help de-scrute the inscrutable East.

  3. amthomas (5) said,

    March 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Just wanted to weigh in on the Avatar controversy. I know a lot of people say it is like Dances with Wolves in space, which is true. But, I think it copies one movie even more so. That movie is Ferngully (1992). Ferngully is a cartoon the premise is almost exactly the same. Except trade Avatars for little bugs.

  4. Sam (405) said,

    March 6, 2010 at 9:45 am

    As I predicted, I forgot to post the link to a page that shows what it looks like when you try compressing the red, green, or blue components of a video image. It’s a fascinating phenomenon, and the page is a pretty easy read for this sort of thing. The link is http://nfggames.com/games/ntsc/visual.shtm — I’ve edited the post to include this as well.

  5. Jaguar (22) said,

    March 8, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I wanted to say something about backlash again popular movies… I hated Crash. I hated it without knowing much of anything about it before hand. But the reason I watched it at all was because it was supposed to be good. And the reason I hated it was not because it how it was done (because it seemed to be done well) but because I hated every character! They were well-done characters, without a doubt. But they were well-done, 3-dimensional characters I didn’t like.

    Similarly, I didn’t like Million Dollar Baby. Only this time, I liked the characters (for the most part), but I didn’t like the ending… I won’t give it away, but if you’ve seen it you can probably guess why.

    I guess my point is, some of the backlash against popular movies, or movies that have won an oscar is not because people wake up and realize that they have a following and therefore they should backlash. In my case, I never would have seen the movies in the first place if they hadn’t done so well. Then I watched them, realized I didn’t like them, and all of a sudden, I’m part of a backlash.

    Just note that I’m in no way saying the movies weren’t well done. In fact, if the goal of a movie is (as it is in literature) to provide the viewer with a powerful, emotional experience, then these movies were stupendous. The problem is that they produced a powerful, negative, emotional experience.

    (Same with the short Sam posted a few weeks ago: Spider: http://www.allmovietalk.com/?p=391)

  6. Sam (405) said,

    March 9, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Jaguar: That’s a good theory, and probably this accounts for some of it. But I’m trying to reason out the details, and it’s not really making sense in my head.

    For every movie, say there’s a Group A that would like it and a Group B that would not. For your theory to work, the movie is mostly seen by Group A at first. Group A’s enthusiasm entices Group B to see it. They dislike it and start voicing that opinion. But why would primarily Group A see it first? Why not some of Group B as well? And why would the enthusiasm of Group A particularly lure in Group B instead of more Group A people?

    An obvious answer to my question is that the movie is seen at first by people who are naturally more intrigued by the movie’s premise and therefore more likely to like it in the first place. Afterwards, Group B, initially uninterested by the movie, start saying, “Huh? That movie’s good? Well, okay, I guess I’ll check it out after all.” Again, I think this accounts for part of it. But I still have a problem with that, because what makes a movie good is not its premise but how it handles its premise. This is true even if all you like are summer blockbusters. The box office take of a first-run movie is notoriously out of sync with not just critical opinion but popular opinion as well.

    With Million Dollar Baby, the opposite phenomenon should have held, and likely did. The ending blindsided most people — but more so at first and less so later. As word got out about what kind of an ending it was (with spoilers or without), a higher percentage of the people who went to see it would have been okay with that kind of ending, since those who wouldn’t would know better than the initial viewers to avoid it.

    Also important is that the backlash phenomenon is relatively recent. I can’t think of a single movie before the late 90s that had a tangible backlash wave. I mean, there were always naysayers to every popular hit, and lots of movies that were popular releases have failed to stand the test of time. But never a substantial shift in the consensus that could be measured in months and predicted, no less, simply by the existence of an initial popularity.

    It’s a complicated question, and don’t get me wrong: I’m sure your theory is a part of the story. But I can’t really quite figure out why. One thing I’m sure of, and that’s that the Internet has got to have something to do with it. A movie that people generally don’t like will disappear from view and not be talked about much. A movie that is popular, however, will continue to be talked about, and the existence of that conversation will give those who don’t like it cause and opportunity to get louder. But even this conviction puzzles me. I mean, it’s not like people never talked about movies before the Internet came along. People talked about them a LOT. Star Wars became the biggest movie of all time (at the time) by word of mouth alone. And there were people who didn’t like it — yet no backlash movement. So what’s going on? Beats me.

  7. wintermute (157) said,

    March 9, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Re: colour compression:

    The reason that discarding blue data is that we’re just not equipped to see it very well. Two-thirds of the colour receptors in your eyes are sensitive to green, one third to red, and only 2% are sensitive to blue, and the brain then ramps up the amount of blue in post-processing to make up the difference - but it doesn’t have the detail that it has for red and green.

  8. Sam (405) said,

    March 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

    wim: Are some of the color receptors sensitive to more than one color, or did you get a total of 102% because “two thirds” and “one third” were approximations? Not nitpicking, just asking.

  9. wintermute (157) said,

    March 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Approximations. Having looked it up, it’s 64% green, 32% red and 2% blue.

    This is pretty technical, but has some fascinating information about the physical process of seeing colour:

  10. wintermute (157) said,

    March 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    And that only makes 98%, so I’m not sure if that’s a typo, or more approximations…

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