Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No digital release for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?

It's no secret that Christopher Nolan is a die-hard film-guy. Few directors have spoken out as strongly and as consistently as Nolan on the subject.

His love for celluloid extends into post production as well, where he forgoes the industry-standard digital intermediate/digital color grading for the classical photochemical grading. In fact, if you saw The Dark Knight Rises in certain IMAX theaters (LA and New York, I believe), you were seeing prints struck directly from the the IMAX camera negative.

Christopher Nolan's newest film, Interstellar, will be no different. But could Nolan be drawing a line with distribution, as well? From Interstellar's press release:

HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 13, 2013) – Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., and Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that principal photography on “INTERSTELLAR” is officially underway in Alberta, Canada. The film will be released in IMAX® and 35mm theaters on November 7, 2014.

Perhaps this is reading into things, but it sounds like Interstellar could be a film-only release, showing in IMAX and 35mm, but not digitally.

If that's the case, it could mean a sort of backwards George Lucas/Star Wars affair - where Lucas required theaters meet certain sound and picture specs in order to show the Star Wars films. This brings up questions; namely, how many theaters will there be left projecting 35mm in 2014? Would a studio even allow a film-only release? Aren't most IMAX theaters projecting digitally, anyway? Time will tell if this is just an oddly-worded press release or if there's more to it.

I can't help but think of an interview with director Rian Johnson in regard to his film, Looper. He talked about the process where the colorist plays the finished film in different formats for the director's approval. First, they projected the film digitally, then they projected a first-generation film print. Johnson's reaction to the film print was "Oh wow, that looks like a movie". Then they played a film print one more generation removed; his reaction was, "This looks like a living, breathing thing up on the screen. This is like what I grew up watching and this is my favorite version of it, actually". Maybe there is something special about film projection.

Paramount's Press Release
Interview with Rian Johnson

Thursday, January 31, 2013

7 Thoughts on Star Wars: Episode VII

7 Thoughts on J.J. Abrams and Star Wars: Episode VII

The J.J. Abrams-Star Wars connection was foretold as early as 1977

1. One thing is for sure now, whether Episode VII is a good Star Wars film or not, it'll be an entertaining movie. We won't have to leave the theater making believe we had fun.

2. A side note: Abrams has already made a Star movie with R2D2 in it.
R2D2 in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek

3. J.J. Abrams isn't all-powerful on this project. Star Wars is Kathleen Kennedy's baby now, and we shouldn't forget that. Everything needs to be viewed through that lens. You can pretty well assume that J.J. Abrams won't have final cut on this film. Abrams knew full well the kind of partnership he was getting into with this deal; he's working under the auspices of Kathleen Kennedy.

4. It's a different writer than J.J. Abrams has ever worked with. It's not Kurtzman and Orci and it's not Abrams, it's Michael Arndt. And FWIW,  Arndt was probably working on the screenplay a while before Abrams was ever involved. While Arndt and Abrams will surely collaborate, Arndt works for Kathleen Kennedy, not Abrams.

By the way, these are good things - collaboration and oversight. This was probably George Lucas' greatest sin - becoming so successful that he didn't have to listen to anyone else.

5. Abrams is hugely nostalgic about the original Star Wars trilogy, I mean, big time. Think about it, he was 10, 13, and 16-years-old when the original three Star Wars films were released. He's probably more nostalgic about the Star Wars films than George Lucas is and arguably has more respect for the original trilogy than Lucas does.

6. I don't think Star Wars: Episode VII will be full of lens flares. Abrams knows what film he's making.

7. It's likely that Episode VII will be shot on film. Abrams has never shot a film digitally and I doubt Star Wars will be his first. And, with Abrams' use of IMAX film on Star Trek Into Darkness, it's possible we'll see the same for Episode VII. How cool would that be?