Tuesday, December 3, 2013
WHAT: Mick LaSalle's generally dismissive review of this "old man and the sea" tale updated for the age of the adventure-seeking (and law-breaking) solo yachtsman has some genuine insight into why Redford is so effective in this role. But as is too often the case, LaSalle's disinterest in the inherent properties of cinema (the language of shots, cuts, and the relationship between sound an image) makes him oblivious to some of the film's merits. For me, it was as thrilling to see just how writer-director J.C. Chandor was going to tell this story of survival despite his self-imposed limitations: an almost complete lack of dialogue, no solid ground on the horizon, no attempts at backstory or getting into Redford's head by means other than his facial expressions and actions. It's among my favorite American films of 2013.
WHERE/WHEN: Multiple showtimes today through Thursday at the Opera Plaza and the Century 9 in San Francisco, and the Aquarius in Palo Alto. It also screens at the Elmwood in Berkeley at least through Thursday, December 12th.
WHY: Today the New York Film Critics Circle announced its 2013 awards, the first awards of the year I pay more than a minute's attention to. Year-end awards have their limitations as diviners of true quality pictures, but they do serve as effective promotion for films worth seeing in theatres. The New York Critics this year gave awards to three films not yet arrived in Frisco Bay cinemas (American Hustle, The Wind Rises and Inside Llewyn Davis) and two no longer on local screens (Fruitvale Station and Stories We Tell) but the majority of other awarded films are still viewable in nearby theatres. A 35mm print of Blue Jasmine with the NYFCC Best Actress pick Cate Blanchett is still hanging on at the Opera Plaza. Foreign Film awardee Blue Is The Warmest Color continues at the Clay and other local cinemas. Dallas Buyers Club (which contains Supporting Actor Jared Leto's awarded performance) and 12 Years a Slave (which earned Steve McQueen a Best Director NYFCC award) continue at multiple theatres. But All Is Lost is not only my favorite of the five films I've seen that won awards today, it's also the only one that I'm not sure will still be playing on a San Francisco screen by the end of the week.
HOW: Shot digitally, All is Lost is projected via DCP at all aforementioned venues except for the Opera Plaza, which has a 35mm print.