Whine On You Crazy Diamond: The Cinema

This week’s WOYCD (or “What? I don’t get it. Who the fuck are Pink Floyd?”, as all the cool kids are calling it) is going to be shorter, more confused, and generally less-polished than normal due to the real-life trinity of work, illness, and family celebrations encroaching into my fantasy life as a widely-read opinion columnist.

Not only have I not had time to write about film, I’ve barely had time to watch one. It’s been months since I went a week without visiting the cinema, and it’s affected me so much I’ve accidentally joined a gym. Hopefully normal service resumes this week – I long for the popcorn-stickiness of a neglected carpet; the dull, disconcerting murmur of a patron patiently explaining a film’s intricacies to their partner; the patronising warnings about piracy killing films after I’ve chosen to give the best part of a tenner to the film industry.

I was even watching Orange Film adverts on YouTube last night.

Cinemas are just the perfect places to watch films. Not all cinemas mind, and on this week’s Failed Critics Review we discussed the pros and cons of the cinema chains we happen to frequent.

I’ve watched films on DVD and Blu-ray at home, streamed down the internet to my laptop, and even on my mobile phone this year. I’ve been drunk, half-asleep, keeping an eye on footballs scores, and wrestling with a toddler at various times, and more often than not I have paused a film to make a drink, go to the toilet, or answer the door and have to tell another chugger to LEAVE ME ALONE IN MY OWN HOUSE YOU BASTARDS. It’s really quite difficult to give your full attention to a film unless you take away all other potential distractions.

That’s why I love the cinema. I love the informal agreement between strangers that (in most cases) we will do our very best not to disturb each other. I love that I feel pressure not to get my phone out to check the time, or my Twitter timeline, or just have a quick go on Temple Run because this film’s just got a little boring.

Watching in a cinema forces you to pay attention to a film, and that can only be a good, nay, wonderful thing. I’m so desperate to get back to the cinema I nearly went to see Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. Nearly.

I know it’s not for everyone, and I can sympathise with the thousands of misanthropes out there who would rather grate their own knuckles than risk interacting with the ‘general public’. But if you really want to appreciate a film to its fullest extent, there is no substitute.

This week’s viewing:

DVD – New out this week is the reasonably entertaining Men in Black 3. Josh Brolin joins the cast as a younger version of Tommy Lee Jone’s ‘K’, and his impersonation is the highlight of the film. Some good ideas, executed with varying degrees of success. If you’re after a Blu-ray reissue of a classic, there are a number of options – the best probably being The Evil Dead in steelbook, or the 65th Anniversary Edition of Frank Capra’s peerless It’s a Wonderful Life.

TV – The Gunfighter (1950), Film4, Friday 9 November. I’m not going to apologise for what is a very personal choice. This western, starring Gregory Peck, is a wonderful example of the genre. Like the more highly-regarded High Noon, this is a film that tries to look behind the myths of the legends of the Old West.

Lovefilm Instant – God Bless America (2011). The latest film from Bobcat Goldthwait – known to most of you I’m sure as ‘the guy with the weird voice in Police Academy’. The film stars Joel Murray (Freddie Rumsen in TV’s Mad Men) as an office worker who snaps after being told he has terminal cancer and goes on the run with a schoolgirl – killing anyone who annoys them. Entertaining, but at times comes across as being written by a teenager who thinks they’re cooler than everyone else.

Netflix UK – Be Kind Rewind (2008). From the mind of Michel Gondry, Be Kind Rewind tells the story of Jerry (Jack Black) and Mike (Mos Def) who accidentally wipe the videotapes in the video store where Mike works. Instead of coming clean, they recreate the films at the local scrapyard, and the customers love the ‘reimagined’ versions. It’s far from perfect, but worth watching for the recreations alone. Gondry’s visual style has never been better.

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