Monday, December 23, 2013

Rush (2013)

WHO: Anthony Dod Mantle is the director of photography on this, and Ron Howard directed it.

WHAT: It wasn't a box office hit in this country but Rush has been satisfying most people who see it, other than highbrow critics and cinephiles who tend to wince at the sight of Ron Howard's director credit. Some of them, anyway; I consider myself in that latter group but I actually found this a pretty good flick; certainly Howard's best at least since my sentimental favorite Parenthood. I don't really attribute this film's success to Howard as much as to DP Anthony Dod Mantle, however. It's an unlikely combination. Who would have thought in, say, 1999, that the director of EDTV might end up hiring the digital-video wizard behind the images in anti-mainstream pictures like The Celebration and Julien Donkey-Boy? But his images here, which don't try to ape the look of photochemical film as much as they try to suggest an alternative, are what give what would otherwise be a very conventional true-life sports melodrama its distinction. Even negative reviews tend to single out Dod Mantle's camerawork for praise. Such as Robert Ham's:
The canniest choice that Howard made in this film was bringing former Dogme 95 acolyte Anthony Dod Mantle on board as cinematographer. Shooting digitally, the Brit helps bring to life the desaturated colors of the era with real flair. It often feels like flipping through a box of Kodak prints from 1976.
WHERE/WHEN: Today at 4:30, Wednesday at 6:20, and Thursday at 8:15 at the New Parkway in Oakland.

WHY: Yesterday the still-accurately-named New Parkway celebrated its first birthday. Not even old enough to attend any of its own movies except at its weekly "baby brigade" Monday showings, intended for moms and dads who want to catch a big-screen movie without having to spring for a sitter. (Warning to all: do not attend today's screening of Rush if you have an aversion to the sounds of little ones in a theatre. See another movie or go another day instead.) 

Last month I finally made a second trip to the venue, after the one I reported on last January. This time, I watched a movie that had been shot on film but was being projected on video, and though it perhaps felt more like watching a giant-sized HD television than going to a movie, perhaps this wasn't such an inappropriate way to see a movie that's based on an instant-cult-classic television series. The movie was Serenity, (I'd never seen it or any of the Firefly series before) and though it was enjoyable enough, what I most liked was the convivial atmosphere amidst a devoted group of fans (though I did not notice anyone actually wearing brown coats from my vantage point in the Theatre 1 balcony.) I did feel the theatre set-up was better than in Theatre 2, which I'd sampled almost a year ago, simply because there wasn't a doorway leading to a bright hallway on the same wall as the screen (I forgot to check if they'd installed a curtain or something to prevent light from distracting viewers whenever a server or someone else entered Theatre 2 during a screening). Unfortunately, the slight keystone issue I'd noticed at Holy Motors was evident at this showing as well; at least this time I told the staff about it and they seemed interested in trying to fix it for future showings.

Anyway, congratulations on your first year of operation, New Parkway, and I hope it doesn't take as long for me to make my third visit as it did for me to make my second.

HOW: Rush was shot on an array of digital cameras, and screens digitally as well.


  1. Consider that Ron Howard's daughter was in Lars von Trier's Manderlay, with cinematography by ADM.

  2. Excellent point, Peter! Happy holidays to you!