Well 2017 is officially a very impressive movie year! Last month I said it would be if anything managed to top the brilliant Baby Driver, and, (while I hesitate to compare them so directly since they're such completely different pieces of filmmaking) I think Dunkirk has done just that. I saw it regular, and then again in 70mm, and since I wrote my review before seeing the 70mm version, I'd like to talk a bit about the 70mm experience. Just skip down if this is completely uninteresting to you:
Firstly, yes, digital 70mm is a thing. Being a novice about being picky about movie screens it confused me for a while that my theater claimed to be showing a movie in film format digitally, but yes, everything looked and sounded as it should. I don't know if this is a super common question to have, but I would have liked a nice straightforward answer like this when I was wondering, so I'm putting it out there.
Next, what to expect with 70mm: If you're a film connoisseur or already know you love Dunkirk I'd absolutely recommend seeing it in 70mm. If you're a casual moviegoer, you might find it odd, because while the 70mm is being presented to us as the movie enhanced, it's enhanced in style rather than in quality. It is sharper, yes, and there more contrast to the picture, but those are minute details, and some of the more major differences in a lot of ways actually detract from the movie's quality. (Such as we've come to think of movie quality of course.) The 70mm's whites are much brighter and appear to vibrate on the screen -- the sort of thing you'd call a flaw if you saw it in a Transformer movie. The blacks are also much darker (at one point in the movie the lights go out, and it's as if the film itself goes out) and colors seemed more true. Some scenes had different tints from others. And you can see tiny imperfections in the film.
The biggest change though, and one I didn't expect, was the sound. There was much more bass overall (so as Spitfires fly overhead in the film, you feel their noise move through you as you would in real life) and the dialogue had some difficult to describe qualities to it -- to me it sounded vaguely like dialogue from on old 30's or 40's movie, which is appropriate, but it had a lowness to it, like higher frequencies in the voices were cut out. It also sounded grainy (if things can sound grainy) and almost muted, yet I found it easier to understand the lines. That seems counter-intuitive, but my dad said the same thing, and he's the one in the family who usually doesn't understand dialogue, so I swear, it's not just me being weird. Honestly the sound was my favorite difference, and absolutely enhanced the movie, which had already blown me away, to an even higher level.
Some of those things could easily be called flaws in a normal movie situation, except, here, that is how Christopher Nolan meant the film to be. What was made obsolete by improving technology has now become an artistic style choice, and Nolan used it to great advantage. Regular movie projection now shows us the film as less than it's meant to be -- and I find that very neat. (Then of course there's IMAX to consider but I won't go there.) It goes along with how the characters were done; Nolan stripped away the common and the unnecessary from the film, making his vision all the more focused. In short, after seeing Dunkirk in 70mm, I feel that my experience experiencing this experience of a film is only now truly complete. And the ticket price was not a cent more expensive!
(Click here to read my review of the film itself!)
I also saw Spider-Man: Homecoming in July, but after Dunkirk, poor Spidey is a bit overshadowed right now! I liked the movie, and loved Tom Holland as the kid hero, and even saw it twice! (Review here!) I still want to see Valerian someday, but probably won't waste ticket money on it, and since War for the Planet of the Apes got such a good response from fans, I'll watch that eventually too; to either solidify my low opinion, or change my mind (unlikely, but possible I suppose.)
August has no must-sees (unless new information develops) but a good spread of pretty interesting movies! A nice number of indies! I like indies. Anyway, on to my list. How was your movie-July? And how is you movie-August shaping up? Let me know in the comments!
The Dark Tower
Aug 4th; PG-13
Based on the novel series by Steven King, and the trailer looks cool, but I don't really have a dog in this race. I never got around to reading the book, though I usually do whenever an interesting movie based on a book is coming up. Maybe I could still squeeze it in, but I'm not sure I want to. I heard rumors that there were changes made, and the book fans aren't terribly happy? Of course based solely on the trailer, it being based on a King story is a definite plus. Idris Elba is always effortlessly cool and hardcore, and Matthew McConaughey playing the baddie is nice for once. I'm not holding out much hope that it'll be much more than a fun mid-summer action flick with some neat sci-fi elements, but if it does that, and does it well, that'll be all it needs to be anyway -- for me that is. For the fans I hope it's a satisfying adaptation. If there are good reviews it's likely that I'll go see this one.
Aug 4th; R
I still haven't seen Sicario or Hell or High Water, but every time this Taylor Sheridan writes a movie it looks very interesting. This one is a murder mystery starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. I've always liked the niche dynamic they have in the Avengers movies, so I'd like to see this one someday on that point alone. I think the trailer gives too much away though, so maybe think twice before watching it.
Aug 4th(limited); NR
Thomas Mann is great. I'll watch him in any kind of romance/dramedy. He seems to like the quirky ones, and this one's about as quirky as they come! It's an indie so who knows when it'll pop up somewhere, but I'll be on the lookout.
The Only Living Boy in New York
Aug 11th(limited); R
Whether I want to see this depends largely on how it ends, and what the take-away is, but in order to know that, you have to see it. So I'll keep an eye open. It's got a great cast. Listening to Jeff Bridges explain existential things is one of the finer things in life.
Aug 11th(limited); NR
Me watching this trailer: "Ooo, Peter Parker and Punisher medieval team up, that's sounds cool." "Woah, it's a quest movie -- very Lord of the Rings." "Oh my gosh, Ritchard Armitage! It is Middle Earth!" And then finally: "Yikes." This actually looks quite a bit more interesting than a mere Spidey/Punisher team-up. Will be on the lookout.
The Hitman's Bodyguard
Aug 18th; R
So, like, the comedy version of Safe House? Sounds neat. Honestly I expected I wouldn't even have to bother with this one since it's so blatantly R-rated, but apparently there will be only language and violence so not as bad as I was expecting. R-rated comedies can work for me, but it has to be genuinely a good movie for me to brave the waters. This is a case of "wait-and-see." The trailer I saw in theaters a while back made it look pretty dumb, but this one has more promise. Samuel L. Jackson is for sure, but Ryan Reynolds is hit or miss. Hopefully it's a hit, but I won't be missing anything if it isn't.
Aug 18th; PG-13
Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig getting as far away from Bond as he possibly can poor guy, Sebastian Stan, Katie Holmes, Katherine Watterson, Hilary Swank -- it's definitely got the cast of a good movie! It's got oddball comedy, a memorable quirky plot, weirdo characters, and a heist. Sounds like a pretty great movie actually. It's also got an early perfect score on RT. It hasn't reached must-see status for me yet, but I will be paying close attention as it comes around the bend.
Aug 18th on Netflix
Daredevil season 1 was fantastic. Season 2 was barely passable only because of Punisher. I never watched Jessica Jones or Luke Cage, and probably never will. And Iron Fist was laughably bad and a sad letdown. Yet, here I am, garnering up excitement for the team-up. My optimistic mind is considering that Iron Fist was only terrible because it was rushed, and since Defenders is Netflix-Marvel's big event effort will be put into it. My rational mind watches this trailer, and sees nothing worth getting hopes up for. I won't be surprised if the 18th rolls around and I find myself sitting down to watch this -- the surprise will come if it's actually as great as it should be.