Handyfilm etc

Film reviews and other thoughts

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A higher definition of nostalgia

I love my new HDTV recorder box from my cable company....now I spend even more time in front of the television and even less reading, exercising, etc.

Luckily the regular season is now behind us, so no more Two Hour Season Finales to endure...I mean enjoy.

But my favorite thing about having the DVR is watching old movies in HD on channels like Universal HD [when they're not showing impossibly numerous episodes of Knight Rider and Quantum Leap...whose idea was that?], INHD and HDMovies.

Not nearly all the movies are any good....but there are a few gems, and some blasts from the past that stir up a bit of nostalgia. They all look gorgeous....better than DVD, better in fact than some theater showings. Some of the ones I've watched:

The Andromeda Strain - mostly terrible, actually, but it brought back memories of how I loved the novel as a teenager and rushed to see the movie version, inadequate as it is.

Easy Rider - also pretty bad as a whole, but with amazing cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs and of course Jack Nicholson's breakthrough performance. I gather the music has been remixed or redubbed....it often sounds spectacular. But the script! The silly editing flourishes! Ecch!

'Don't Look Now' - Not as weird and unconventional as I remembered it, and occasionally pretty heavy-handed. But good photography and a beautiful setting in Venice, and spooky moments. Donald Sutherland's hairdo is fairly scary as well.

Cry-Baby - John Waters's nearly forgotten follow-up to Hairspray, from the era when no one knew Johnny Depp would become a respected actor, much less a major movie star. Lots of fun, especially the music, which is plentiful.

My Own Private Idaho - Visually and emotionally, a masterpiece, even if the script runs out of gas after half an hour. Keanu's finest hour [this is not saying much I know] and River Phoenix's very best work [saying a great deal]. If Gus Van Sant had directed Brokeback Mountain, what a different movie it would have been!

The Silence of the Lambs - OK, so these 'nostalgia'-inducing films are mostly from the early 90s....and this one has never even been away. But it's a great movie, and it looks, yes, wonderful in HD.

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