National Film Registry picks another 25

Every year, the Library of Congress' The National Film Registry creates a list of 25 films worthy of preservation. And then, more importantly, the organization preserves them. The films are chosen for "their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance." In other words, they're not all masterpieces, but they're all important. This year's selection includes popular classics, … Continue reading National Film Registry picks another 25

MVFF: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Lark

Wednesday night I finally got to a 2014 Mill Valley Film Festival event--a screening at the Lark of one of my favorite westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Believe it or not, this was my first visit to the Lark. Yes, I've been covering it at Bayflicks for years, but this was the … Continue reading MVFF: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Lark

TCM Classic Film Festival coming to Hollywood (and I wish I could be there)

I generally only write about Bay Area film festivals. In fact, all too often, I don't have time to cover them properly. And yet here I am, writing about a festival that's four hundred miles away. And there's simply no practical way for me to attend. It is, of course, Turner Classic Movies' TCM Classic … Continue reading TCM Classic Film Festival coming to Hollywood (and I wish I could be there)

One Downside of Digital Projection

Regular readers know that I'm a fan of digital projection--not only for today's movies but classics, as well. But I'm not a fundamentalist. Digital has its downsides. And one of those downsides is the number of great motion pictures now unavailable in any decent theatrical format--digital or otherwise. More and more classics are becoming available … Continue reading One Downside of Digital Projection

SF Silent Film Festival, Day 3

The Irrepressible Felix the CatThis may have been the first theatrical, 35mm presentation of multiple Felix the Cat cartoons ever. The shorts were wild, crazy, bizarre, surreal, and hilarious. The accompaniment added much to the festivities. Donald Soosan and a drummer who's name I didn't get accompanied some of the shorts. Toychestra--a sextet playing toy … Continue reading SF Silent Film Festival, Day 3

SF Silent Film Festival, Day 2

Amazing Tales From the Vault This year's technical talk concentrated on digital restorations and distribution by major studios, with experts from Paramount and Sony (Columbia). I didn't take notes, so I'll just give you a quick overview: Wings was projected off a DCP Friday night. Paramount has made a 35mm negative and prints of the … Continue reading SF Silent Film Festival, Day 2

SF Silent Film Festival Report 1: Wings

I always felt that realistic sound effects weren't appropriate for silent films. I was wrong. Or perhaps this was just an exception. Realistic sound effects are fantastic if they're performed live by an ensemble directed by sound effects wizard Ben Burtt. Using bicycles, drums, a typewriter (I think) and devices that I couldn't possibly name … Continue reading SF Silent Film Festival Report 1: Wings