Tonight I had the great delight of attending a screening of Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow. This film brings back many great memories. I used the play the live album from this tour all the time as a teenager and drive my parents insane. I have seen Paul many times in person but I was only born the year the film was released so this was particularly special as it wasn’t possible for me to be at this tour. Its especially pleasing that Paul at his very peak can now be viewed in such a fantastic way. The film is great bar a few issues relating to the age of the source material. I also have to say what a band Wings were they were one of the best live acts of the 70’s and here it shows. There material is diverse and there performance as a band are very tight.
Here are my plusses and minuses about the remastered film from a critical point of view.
Paul vocals sounded damm incredible upfront strong bluesy and soulful . His piano was mixed rite up front so I got to admire his piano playing. This is often his overlooked skill , his playing here is sweet and funky where it needs to be.
His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing the different live versions of the material to what I know so well on Wings Over America. The stage patter and in between song stuff just great, it helped give you that intimacy of being there. its funny seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were Linda and Denny especially. Great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak. I felt like I was there in the arena , it was as if the cinema disappeared and He was playing to me.
A few minor quibbles though . The mix had the backing vocals to low in my opinion , you would cut to denny or linda and there was nothing no audible singing, this was especially prevalent during Maybe Im Amazed. The editing in places is a tad rough especially coming out of the Long and winding road , the cut is very hard and is noticeable . You could definitely tell which was 16mm footage and what was 35mm. The 35mm stuff was so pristine it could of been shot yesterday. Lastly I wanted more horns they were a bit soft in places. Lastly a few times I had the feeling we were listening to some overdubbed songs some felt to dry and not enough reverb from the stadium.
His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing different live versions to what I know so well on Wings Over America. In some places the differences were quite a lot in others not so. As this was the last gig of the tour the performances have a lot of energy. In my opinion a lot more than the live album.
The stage patter and in between song stuff just great. Funny moment seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were linda and denny especially. It was also great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak.
Now I look forward to the Bluray of Rockshow and the box set of Wings Over America. Lastly the bad news if you missed it at the cinema its not likely to return.
A big reminder to all those in Australia. Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow is screening for one night only this week at selected village, hoyts and independent cinemas . It is on thursday May the 16th and most sessions at at 6.30pm. Check local listings and dont miss it one last time on the big screen. The theatrical version screens with a 13 minute introduction from Paul McCartney himself that wont be on the upcoming dvd release.
After thursday Ill post a review of the screening.
2 epic Trailers Superman and the new Star Trek what a couple of months it will be. Both will be in 3d and large chunks of Star Trek were shot using Imax Cameras a bit like the 2nd and 3rd Batman films.
I have loved Superman since I was a kid, who doesnt want to fly. The disaster that was Superman returns looks to be forgotten by the new Man of Steele film. Its looks great judge for yourself.
These films are pure escapist stuff. For 2 hours forget your troubles and be taken into a great adventure.
I am a huge Paul McCartney Fan I have seen him play nearly 10 times. I have a large collection of McCartney memorabilia albums and rare stuff. I have been collecting his archive releases so with much excitement getting the news Rockshow was coming out in cinemas and Bluray was a welcome one. This 1976 concert film of Wings at the absolute height of the powers, is a real treat. It has been fully restored from its 35mm print and judging by its trailer they have done a magnificent job.
For screening times world wide goto rockshowonscreen.com
On May 28th see’s the release of the Live album from the wings over the world tour.
It will come in many configurations .
and deluxe boxset
The box set is a stunner containing 4 books a dvd with a documentary about the tour and different merchandise reproductions from that tour. At US$140 it isnt cheap also considering the last box set in the series ram was under $100. But being the fan I am I cant resist it.
Wings over america Boxset
Les Mis Blu ray
I recently acquired the Blu Ray of Les Miserables. I am not going to go into the film as such as that has been covered elsewhere but what I can say is the transfer is very pretty. It was shot on film but retains that warmth and grain film presents without being soft. The detail is wonderful you can see pours in the actors skin finite hairs in beards. The transfer has a wonderful three dimensional quality to it. I would definitely describe this as a near reference disk . The disc also comes with some great extra material not seen before. These are basically documentaries covering the history of the piece . Life of Victor Hugo and various behind the scenes short features.
Life of Pi blu ray
Life of Pi took out best director and best film at this years Academy awards. Its different ,its deep and highly spiritual. Described as one of the best uses of 3D I was let down when I saw it at the cinema. The picture was flat and lifeless . Fast forward to the Blu Ray and the story is a whole different kettle of fish “excuse the pun” set on ocean moving on. Start the disk and immediately you are struck with a gorgeous 3d menu and from there it only gets better. As the viewer you feel like your in the picture. Gimmickry is rarely used and the effect is wonderful. This film was shot digitally with plenty of CG work in the ocean scenes . I actually feel here that the 3d helps to sell the fact the kid is on a real ocean. Note the whole thing was shot in a tank. The effects have life and depth. I dont know what was going on when I saw it at the cinema . Maybe it was not set up properly. The Blu ray presents an absolute reference quality transfer. As it was shot digitally its absolutely pristine and crisp. Detail is plentiful and black levels are fantastic.
The Disk comes with a documentary which runs over an hour going into innate detail about how it was made the process of casting the boy and the process of preparing him for the role.
Incase anyone was wondering I loved this film. I thought it deserved best picture . I saw all the other nominees and just felt there was a bit of daring in the film which made it stand out. As much as I loved Les Mis life of pi really connected with me. Lincoln was a so so film with a great performance that fact was recognised on Oscars night.
Yesterday I had the pleasure at of being at a screening of Samsara, in 4k high definition at the Astor Theatre, in St Kilda Melbourne.
Before I write my feelings about the film I have a technical nit pick . The Astor is a lovely theatre but something was amiss with the projection. The film lacked sharpness and at times was very fuzzy. I feel that it possibly was not focussed properly. Its a shame as it didn’t show of the digital 70mm film print at its best. For that I will await the Blu Ray, which by all accounts is flawless.
Samsara is the followup film to Baraka a non verbal documentary which leaves the viewer to make what they will from the way the images are edited together and shot. I enjoyed Samsara a lot more than Baraka. There seemed to be a lot more variety and conceptually I felt it was more human.
The sequences had more synergy to them. For instance you would see a child getting christened then it would follow through to someones funeral. We see religion , consumerism the work place . The film really highlights that as people we are really grains of sand in a far bigger thing that is life. We are diverse and we are complicated.
The film has the amazing ability to almost put you in a hypnotic state and for your imagination to run wild as the images of death and creation flow by your eyes.
Some may say “why no commentary” the fact is , the film doesn’t need it. Its a piece of art that asks you to contemplate your existence and meaning on this earth.
The cinematography is incredible . All budding camera people should see it just for that element alone. The music is sublime . Watch the food factory workers go about there business to the rhythm of the music . Highly recommended go catch it on the big screen while you can.
Last week I had the fortune to see the Hobbit in the new high frame rate format.
All standard movies have been filmed in 24 frames per second for over a century.
Peter Jackson has decided to film this new trilogy with this format to provide a more immersive experience, but does it work? The answer is yes and no.
There are sequences where it just looks like junk. These sequences tend to be very heavy effects laden scenes. The effects look 2 dimensional and fake. When the HFR works it works brilliantly. These sequences tend to be in natural light or sweeping New Zealand vistas . They look beautiful almost like you would walk into the screen and be there.
When the film starts the videoness of the movies look can be quite startling to people who are used to a more filmic look. It grows on you, its this for everyone no of course not ,its like 3D it would have its chosen applications. This HFR format would be fantastic for nature documentaries or anything where a feeling of realism is important to telling the story at hand.
For those who would like to geek out on further technical information about the HFR format and its use in the Hobbit, I include a few links to some of my favourite articles on the matter.
So after all this talk about the technical aspects of the film the question remains ,is the movie any good?
At 3 hours I only felt it dragged at the beginning whilst Bilbo was still in his house. Once the journey got going it was a lot of fun. My problem with the film really is the fact there is not a lot of story. This comes from a book that isnt very thick ,and is a children’s book made simpler to appeal to younger people.
I do feel making it a trilogy is a way to drag out the income from this franchise. The story isnt as rich as the Lord of the rings trilogy. There is a lot of time standing around talking about story points that seem out of place. I did enjoy it I found it moved along at a good pace and kept me interested. The HFR didn’t work all the time for me and the story felt light and less meaty than Lord Of the Rings. In years to come I do feel from a technical stand point that this film may the a water shed in technology for the future of cinema.
Already James Cameron has signed up to shoot Avatar 2 in this same format. I believe with time and development, this technology could be incredible.
So you are going to a new 3D movie. Exciting hey?
What the cinemas never tell is how the 3D effect drops of the more off axis you are from the screen.
I recently went to see the Life Of PI as it was the first day of the film seating was limited.
We sat on the side aisle . So the film starts I could barely see any 3D depth.
Just consider for a second the theatres told you this was the case they would have to sell you the side tickets more cheaply.
I for one love 3D , but I am also a realist the technology is far from perfect. It doesn’t work for anyone with eye tracking problems.
It can hurt and even make you feel sick if your eyes are not rite. Yes you have to sit straight in front of it.
My 3D tv at home works in a very similar way the effect drops off when off axis. But when I am viewing from straight ahead its very strong.
My other tip is this. When deciding where to sit in a theatre for a 3d presentation , make sure that your field of view is covered by the screen.
Visual distractions can also ruin the 3D effects . Put simply sit back and not to far forward as being to far forward can induce motion sickness.
I love this time of year. Not for the reasons you might think.
I am not a christmas person and hey I dont even subscribe to new years.
What I enjoy and look forward to is movies lots of movies.
This time of year is the lead up to the oscars, all the contenders tend to come out in December through March. There tends to be so many films that come I have to list them and plan out my viewings.
So this week I went to my first couple of big contenders. The first was on new years eve Les Miserables.
The film was everything I had hoped for,grand powerful and sweeping. It enlarged on the world the stage show presented and changed elements that bought it closer to the story presented in the book. The opening sequence of Jean Valjean in the chain gang pulling in a french ship into dock was amazing, and so well done. The way it was directed was truly daring and different. There were no rapid cuts , the camera would sit on the actors faces . At times it would feel like you could see into there souls . Also I must mention that all the signing was recorded live on the set. This tended to give it a realism that has sorely lacked from other movie musicals. I remember seeing Phantom of the Opera which was completely mimed . You could hear the audio cut from the pre record back to the location sound. It didnt work.
The next day I went to see Life Of PI.
The story of an indian family ship wrecked at sea on there way to canada . The ship sinks and the son being the only surviver along with his tiger funnily named Richard Parker. He goes on a fantastical adventure on the seas where many wild and wonderful things occur. The film starts with the boy now a man recounting his story to someone who is writing a book about his adventure. The adventure on the sea and his relationship to the tiger is very well done. You feel for the pain of the boy who has lost his family. This film was shot in 3d but it wasnt the best example of the 3d I have seen. It was incredibly subtle maybe to subtle to make it worth while. The acting was superb and the lesson in this film is about holding onto ones faith when it is surely tested. Also note the twist at the end is a doozy .
I have had my 3d TV now for over a months. I thought I would ad some further reflections on what I like and what I dislike.
Firstly 3D looks just terrible in light rooms. For it to really take effect the room must be pitch black.
My favourite 3D bluray is Peter Gabriel new blood concert in 3D
The 3D element is fantastic. I was at this concert for the shoot. The depth the lighting really gives you the feeling of being in the theatre. The music is sublime the mix fantastic. It is a true demo disk. I really feel live concerts are really suited to 3d . Where the New Blood concert also works , it avoids rapid cutting. I find rapid editing within the 3D realm can induce headaches. But no it doesn’t happen here.
My next favourite is HUGO.
Hugo was shot digitally using the 3D process. The 3D here is used to create space and give you a feeling of being in the small spaces within the train station Hugo inhabits. I feel the 3D here enhances the story rather than distracts from it.
These two examples are great ones. But I have seen some horrible 3D to.
Anything that is converted to 3D avoid at all costs . It doesn’t look any good it tends to look like multiple layers of flat card board cutouts .