Sunday, July 06, 2008

70mm at the Castro

The Castro Theatre is in the midst of mini-festival of 70mm films. On Friday night I saw Little Shop of Horrors, the musical version. I remember seeing it when it first came out & being totally impressed by it, even though musicals are not generally my thing. The movie is now over 20 years old, & I think it completely holds up. I had a great time seeing it again. The tunes are still catchy, the performances brilliant, & even the puppet plant doesn't look hokey yet. Despite the happy ending mandated by the box office, it's still a cruel critique of the post-war consumer society. It was a pleasure to encounter something I hadn't seen in a long time & to discover that it's still good.

There was definitely a crowd at the 9:00pm show, so I'm wondering if this movie has become a cult classic. The lively Castro Theatre audience applauded the musical numbers & the star cameos. Some patrons thought it was a sing-along as well. Unfortunately there was a young lady in the row behind me who was a just a bit too lively. I got to listen to her running commentary throughout the entire show. Well, at least I wasn't going home with her afterwards.

I was back the next afternoon to see Tron. I'm a techie guy, but for some reason I had never seen this movie before. There was an even bigger turn-out for this showing. Unfortunately Tron is a pretty bad movie. I suppose it's a clever conceit to have the action take place inside a computer, & there are definitely foreshadows of The Matrix, but there are way too many lame moments.

I couldn't help noticing that in Tron world, bad guys are red & good guys are blue. When the world is freed from the evil Master Control Program, blue beams of light replace red ones. One can only hope.

The movie shows how quickly the aesthetic of CGI evolved. The look of Tron is based on early video arcade games, & the computer-generated imagery is meant to depict an artificial world. Nowadays, the computer-generated worlds look more real than the real world.

At both shows, the sound system was cranked way up. I sat through Tron with my in-ear headphones on just to cushion my ears.

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