Serious Popcorn: May 2009 Archives

Venus.jpgSeeing the reviews of the latest Dan Brown phantasmagoria, , I am moved to post my best effort regarding this author and the films that he spawns.  It was written about The DaVinci Code but will do perfectly wellas a comment on Angels and Demons.


The following is a transcription of the pitch session for Dan Brown's next novel, The Botticelli Botch.  Present are the author, his new agent Bizzy Boca, his new publisher Ernst Kluliss, and (getting in on the ground floor) the famous film producer Sam Schnellgeld ...

May 22, 2009 12:12 PM | | Comments (0)
How West Was Won.jpgIt's not historically accurate, we all know that now.  But How the West Was Won (1962) is nonetheless historic.  One of the very few feature films to utilize the short-lived Cinerama technology, it is now available on DVD.  And if you have access to the Blu-Ray version shown on a sizable flat screen, you will be in the historic position of watching Cinerama at home.

That is, you will experience something of the eye-popping illusion and eye-crossing headache experienced by the original audiences who flocked to Cinerama in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  The most salient aspect of this is a form of tri-ocular vision.

Instead of using one camera and one projector to create a single focused image on a screen roughly square in shape, Cinerama used three cameras and three projectors to create a panoramic image on a huge wide curved screen.  Audiences felt they were actually in the landscape, as opposed to looking at it.

A similar effect is now achieved by IMax by enlarging the image until it is
picked up by the viewer's peripheral vision.  But Cinerama was weirder than IMax, because it had three different lines of perspective leading to three different vanishing points.

In one famous scene, the characters are in front of a cabin with a road forking off on either side, and your eye tries in vain to follow each road separately while also focusing on the house.  Ouch.

Not only that, but the actors frequently look and talk past each other, because basically they are in separate films spliced together, and the splice is never quite good enough.

All of which makes How the West Was Won utterly fascinating.  And Jimmy Stewart is mighty fine, as always.

Best of all, the DVD contains an excellent documentary about the history of Cinerama, from its origins in World War II as a method to train air force gunners to its flowering during the Cold War as a weapon of mass distraction, and its decline during the 1960s, when powerful directors and actors began to bellyache about the weirdness.

May 8, 2009 7:28 PM | | Comments (0)


Me Elsewhere


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Serious Popcorn in May 2009.

Serious Popcorn: April 2009 is the previous archive.

Serious Popcorn: June 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.