Joe Dante on DVD/Blu-ray

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Chuck Pennington, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Hey guys!


    I recently attended a screening of MATINEE in 35mm and a Q&A session with the director, Joe Dante, after the movie. I didn't get to ask my question, but I was able to contact him through a website he mentioned - trailersfromhell.com. I thought you guys might enjoy the question and his candid response.


    Me:


    I enjoyed seeing MATINEE and attending the discussion afterwards. I was
    very close to asking a question when the time was up, but I did wonder
    about your opinion on the home video industry and how films are sold in
    that medium.


    I remember back in the day when only special films would get deleted
    scenes or commentary tracks (I had THE HOWLING Laserdisc with your
    commentary, one of the first group ones I remember hearing), and now EVERY
    movie has several commentary tracks, deleted scenes, etc. Many times I
    feel the "bonus features" and HD and 7.1 channels of sound overshadow the
    films themselves! In this age of style over substance, and in revisiting
    older films on video (remixing/de-graining - creating fluffy bonus
    features), what are some of the challenges you've faced with participating
    in these reissues of your films, and how do you feel about how so many
    films are altered for reissue?


    Joe Dante:


    I've been pretty fortunate with the video releases of my pictures (I do
    wish I'd been able to convince them to add some bonus features to the
    recent Matinee DVD, though). Some of them, like Innerspace and The Burbs,
    didn't really become popular until they came out on video. And generally
    they've looked pretty good--the new Piranha disc looks better than the
    original movie did! I don't do much alteration to the transfers, as I
    think that way can lie madness. Witness the incredibly screwed up
    re-coloring of The French Connection --by the original director no less!
    This new mania for removing all the grain is likewise a trap. Some of
    these movies end up looking like they were shot on videotape!
    But as a former 16mm collector I have to admit that most movies have been
    spruced up quite nicely for homevideo, and the materials used are far
    closer to original than the often fuzzy preprint materials 16mm prints
    were made from.
     
  2. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    "This new mania for removing all the grain is likewise a trap. Some of these movies end up looking like they were shot on videotape"


    Only recently Susan Sarandon echoed something similar when she said, "I hate hi-def. It makes movies look like video games".


    I'll go kicking and screaming into the hi-def only when I have no choice. But as of yet, I do so I'm not. Although my preference is for classic cinema, I go to movies all the time and when I see them later on blu-ray (my best friend is into hi-def/blu-ray), they don't resemble the film I saw in the theatres. I was quite fond of Jackson's KING KONG re-imagining when I saw it in the theatre but I was aghast when I saw it on my friend's hi def system. Visually, it didn't look anything like I saw in the theatre (and this was at the state of the art Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Samuel Goldwyn theatre on Wilshire Blvd), it just looked digitized beyond recognition.


    Grain is good, long live grain!
     
  3. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Did you see THE WIZARD OF OZ on Blu? Beautifully film-like. It depends on the transfer and mastering.
     
  4. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    What were the settings on your friends system? A lot of HD sets have that 120Hz crap that makes everything look like video switched on right out of the box. HD can look very nice and faithful to the source material, but you got to tweak it!
     
  5. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    My friends HDTV had some kind of weird noise reduction turned on, and it was surprisingly difficult to navigate through the system menus to turn off! Even then, the 47" set make things look weird. It was an off-brand set, maybe that had something to do with it. Not all HDTV sets are equal, to be sure, just like not all HD video is equal.
     
  6. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Fantastic, Chuck. Thank you for sharing this. Where was this showing of Matinee?


    I treasure Matinee, not only for the fine film and William Castle tribute that Dante so beautifully created, but for the precise period and place captured. We had just moved to Fort Lauderdale during those years when I was roughly the age of those kids. With my memories of the Cold War duck-and-cover years in general and the Cuban missile crisis in particular, along with my growing awareness of and excitement of discovery of the horror/sci-fi and Castle films of that period, and given the overall setting ... this film resonates with me like no other. I'm actually careful not to over-watch it, but rather to take it out only now and then to properly savor.
     
  7. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    It was in Columbus, OH, where I live.
     

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