Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Counselor (2013)

WHO: Cormac McCarthy wrote this screenplay; it is the first film produced from a script by the eighty-year-old author (a number of his novels have been turned into films by other writers and directors, including No Country For Old Men and The Road.)

WHAT: Seemingly every critical position on this nihilistic, comic thriller has been staked out by now: it's been eviscerated as "the worst movie ever made" and hailed as a "masterpiece" and called just about  everything in between.  Even the reviews have spun into their own sub-cycle; negative ones criticized as giving too much heat to "just a bad movie" and positive ones parodied. Find more takes at Keyframe Daily if you'd like to survey the battlefield.

I'm sure I'm not claiming any new position in the trench by saying I'm glad I saw it once, was never bored, but also never enthralled with it as cinema, would probably never see it again, and find it a pretty ideal project for a generally bland director like Ridley Scott, whose Alien and Blade Runner have given me a good deal of pleasure over the years (the latter notably diminishingly so) but who seems curiously over-praised as an auteur as most of his films live and to serve their screenplays and not the personality of their director.

WHERE/WHEN: Screens 9:15 nightly through Wednesday, and 4:00 Sunday, November 30th at the Roxie, and multiple showtimes daily through Wednesday at the Metreon.

WHY: As opportunities to see 35mm prints of almost anything become scarce, fans of watching the flicker of projected film rather than the constancy of video should keep their eyes on the Film On Film Foundation's Bay Area Film Calendar to see when a movie that has been showing in theatres digitally-only for a while suddenly turn up on a film print. Last week the Roxie started putting a few showings of The Counselor on its weekly schedule, and this week the Opera Plaza is showing All Is Lost on 35mm. That both of these films were shot digitally might make certain format purists prefer to see them screened digitally, but I know I'm not the only 35mm fan who likes to support 35mm screenings wherever they may occur. Who knows how much longer we'll be seeing them in any commercial venues? Some have predicted that they'll be gone by the end of the year as studios strive to complete total transition from a projection medium they see as outdated to one they feel they can exert more direct control over (at least until that day when some intrepid hacker decrypts the DCP code, at any rate). I'm not so sure it'll come about quite that quickly, but I want to enjoy the film-on-film experience while it lasts, however long that may be.

HOW: 35mm print at the Roxie; DCP at the Metreon.

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