January 28, 2007

I saw "The Queen."

I start recording a vlog, just as a way to psyche myself up to do a podcast, and though I mean to talk about blogposts, in my podcast style, I get exasperated with that effort and end up talking about going to the movies today.



Podcast to follow... presumably....

29 comments:

Palladian said...

Presumably?

NO!

Absolutely!

Ann Althouse said...

Within the hour. Almost done...

Palladian said...

I totally saw your room.

Anonymous said...

This I'll believe when I see.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey: believe!

vbspurs said...

Drat, no! I have to go out to watch a movie, ironically enough, just when I'm dying to hear/see what Ann had to say about "The Queen".

(I wanted to see Peter O'Toole in Venus, but I dithered too long. The last showing was at 7:20 tonight...)

This is what I said about The Queen (and Marie Antoinette) waaaay back in October. Why is Ann always late to the movie party??

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

Can you add vlogging to your simulblogging of "American Idol"? [That would take it to the next level, Dawg.] I think there's some value added in seeing the facial expressions on your reviews.

Ann Althouse said...

Victoria: I just don't like going to the movies very much. I finally went to this... I don't know... Oscar nominations or something... that and a little free time.

Ann Althouse said...

Ruth Anne: Good idea. I like this vlogging myself watching TV idea.

Christopher Althouse said...

The screens are curved because of FOCUS. If they aren't curved (I think, this is mostly from observation) with a large screen in a relatively small theatre, either the edges of the screen or the center of the screen will be out of focus, because one part of the screen will be noticeably farther away from the projector than the other. I realized just the other day that one of the theatres in Austin--Arbor, the small multiplex that shows all the art movies--is perpetually out of focus in the center of the image, while the edges are in focus! The curved screen is a good thing, and it's a necessity. Though I think if the theatre is big enough, so the projector is far enough back, you don't really need a curved screen.

Christopher Althouse said...

Also, you ask what kind of art would be a flat, curved shape. Isn't your actual vision curved? You see the front and a little bit of the sides as well, in real life. If you think part of the purpose of film is to show reality, consider that a curved shape might be a property of perceptual reality.

Christopher Althouse said...

One last thing (oh, I can't watch the whole clip because of YouTube problems, but it's probably working for everyone else. Apparently, if you stop watching in the middle of a clip while it's still downloading and then try to go back to it, YouTube will just decide that that was the end of the clip instead of downloading the rest of it. This happens to me all the time over there.) Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think you made the wrong choice of movie. I had the same feeling you did about The Queen, and don't understand the hype about it. Pretty much all the other movies you mentioned are better. I just saw Volver and thought it was great, one of the two best movies I've seen this year (the other being Little Children). So if Volver is playing at that theatre, you should definitely see it while it's there. And Volver is visually interesting, in my opinion, though you might not think so.

vbspurs said...

Ann: I know, I know. You've told us before, so I should've remembered -- you're not that MUCH into movies (certainly not like me, the cinephile).

Christopher:

I had the same feeling you did about The Queen, and don't understand the hype about it.

On the face of it, The Queen is a minor film, which conceivably COULD have ended up on HBO, as Ann mentioned in the vlog.

But look again. Or at least, let it settle inside you, then go back, and re-evaluate it.

Here's an exercise to help you out, if you think The Queen could have been a made-for-TV movie.

Have you ever seen all the Diana and Charles mini-series? Maybe you saw the one with Catherine Oxenberg, back in the 80s?

Do you remember a single performance, A SINGLE one mind you, that approached the brilliance and depth that Helen Mirren or Michael Sheen had in their respective roles?

The Queen is not a GREAT film. But as I have said continuously this past year, it has GREAT acting, in a year of TERRIFIC acting in films.

If that's the only thing that The Queen gives up, it's enough.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

P.S.:

Ann, doing what you do, that is, going inside this or that theatre, and getting glimpses of film -- whilst not horrifying (I have done it in the past too), save maybe to the box office receipts, is AN AWFUL THING TO DO TO A FILM.

I know the film won't mind. You won't hurt it's feelings.

And yeah, I know you probably do that, since you rarely go to the pictures, and you think, hey why not, I'm here, I might as well take advantage of getting a sneak peek.

But it's a horrendous habit, which promotes a kind of artistic laziness -- something I never thought to associate with you.

A film is not like a book, or a song, which can be picked up anywhere, at any time.

It yields its artistry on its own terms.

What you did to Pan's Labyrinth is literally unforgiveable -- it's perhaps the best film of 2006, and you totally got the wrong impression, which once gotten, cannot ever be undone!

Cheetos, indeed.

Cheers,
Victoria

Palladian said...

You just need to think of the screen as a curved painting

Anonymous said...

"The Queen" was a wonderful movie IMHO. Yes, it was worshipful of Blair but I can deal with that. Many reviewers spoke about how it humanized the royals. I kinda agree with that in that it humanized the Queen at least. Everyone else,though, was put into one dimensional caricature boxes.

Also, Ann, as somewhat of a video guy I would recommend you come up with a way to have your camera level with -- or slightly higher than -- your face. It is the standard that people are used to seeing and it's much more flattering as well. Few people look their best from that perspective.

Christopher, I recommend using Firefox and getting the VideoDownloader extension. You just go to the page and click the little button. It gives you the url and you copy/paste it into your download manager. If you don't have a good one you can get the DownloadThemAll extension for Firefox as well. I constantly have the same problems at Youtube so I have just gotten the habit of always downloading.

Christopher Althouse said...

GeraldHibbs: You successfully convinced me to switch to Firefox. It definitely looks better. There's less crap all over the place.

Anonymous said...

Christopher:

I can't imagine you'll be sorry. Don't forget to check out the various themes. I promise you'll find at least one you really like.

Also, once you have your theme picked out you can right click on the tool bar and customize it by adding/removing buttons (as well as using options in "View.")

Another useful extension: TabMixPlus -- gives a variety of nice features including "restore session" should your browser crash.

Last bit of advice: Look for an extension called FasterFox. It optimizes things and helps pages load a bit faster.

These are what I consider the basic extensions to get the most out of Firefox. And the good news is that FF will let you know when you need to update them and download/install them for you. Good surfing!

Ann Althouse said...

Chris: Thanks. Even if the eyeball and vision are really curved, we have learned somehow to see straight lines. We are constantly framing things in rectangles. Movie shots are supposedly framed. It drives me nuts that the frame isn't square. It's an admission that composition doesn't matter. If it's a physical necessity for focus -- and I'm not convinced it is -- it proves TV is better.

Victoria: I don't see why dropping in at a random spot in a movie is any more a violation of the art form than opening a book at any spot, which I do all the time. Occasionally, there's a movie I decide to see solely because of this. For example, I would not have seen "Fight Club," based on what I knew about it, but watching a scene at random, I wanted to see it. It's one of my favorite movies. It usually works in reverse, mostly because I dislike the look and sound and acting styles of nearly all the movies out there. Which, by the way, doesn't mean I'm not a cinephile. I just have high standards, and my standards exclude nearly everything, including much of the physical experience of sitting in the theater.

Palladian: Good reference point, but then I suppose I shouldn't object if they projected the movie on the ceiling.

Gerald: I know you're right about the camera angle. I was just being lazy.

Simon said...

Chris - I get that problem occasionally, and clearing the cache fixes it in Firefox or IE.

Anonymous said...

I really like those two small paintings in the background.

vbspurs said...

I don't see why dropping in at a random spot in a movie is any more a violation of the art form than opening a book at any spot, which I do all the time.

If that were the case, film watching would be as popular, and as universal, as listening to music, or reading.

And it's not.

Most people realise that; that it's not a quick, easy, accessible art form which you can truncate and then appreciate.

A film is not just a story, or a verse, or a tune standing on its own.

It's the entirety, baby, or bust.

Occasionally, there's a movie I decide to see solely because of this. For example, I would not have seen "Fight Club," based on what I knew about it, but watching a scene at random, I wanted to see it. It's one of my favorite movies. It usually works in reverse, mostly because I dislike the look and sound and acting styles of nearly all the movies out there.

You qualify your film viewing based on your likes and dislikes, Ann. A cinephile does not.

Which, by the way, doesn't mean I'm not a cinephile. I just have high standards, and my standards exclude nearly everything, including much of the physical experience of sitting in the theater.

I rest my case, Yer Honour.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

Well, I'm not going to argue about the definition of the word other than to say that by your definition, no film critic is a cinephile. I think the vast majority of movies are bad and bad movies are driving out good. It's a disaster. Things have been going downhill badly since 1999, which was a year that made me believe things were going to be good. If you don't care whether things are good or not... well, I watch some bad TV, but that's not how I feel about movies.

Anyway, I don't understand your argument about not being able to judge the whole by the part. Even if movies are "the entirety," that should mean the script, the faces, the photography, the music, etc., all at once. You do get that by watching one scene.

If you're not allowed to judge until you've seen the whole thing, then it would never be fair to walk out on a movie, and how can you watch the trailers?

Your objection to my method has to be that I'm getting a random look, rather than the clip the producers want me to see. My argument is that my approach is more accurate. I think I'm right.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that films are going downhill necessarily. I think part of the problem is that as you get older (this isn't a shot, it's the same for me) your options narrow. It has long been a topic that movies are centered around 13 year old boys because that is where the money is.

Are you really interested in watching a movie about horny teenagers? Once you have seen "Psycho" do you really want to sit through a remake? And even if it isn't a remake it is a rehash and why should you care about that?

So, it may not be the movies necessarily going downhill but your evolving tastes. Meanwhile I think television is just getting better and better. There is some truly fascinating stuff out these days that beats out 99% of movies as far as I'm concerned.

That being said there is some astounding talent out there in movie land. One example: If you haven't watched Charlie Kaufman's stuff -- "Being John Malkovich" "Adaptation" "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" -- give him a try. He truly is an original. For you I'd probably suggest "Adaptation" first unless you are a big Malkovich fan then go with the first one.

vbspurs said...

Well, I'm not going to argue about the definition of the word other than to say that by your definition, no film critic is a cinephile.

No, it's that I have a more French sensibility about the word, cinephile, I think, Ann.

A cinephile is someone who lives and breathes film, not just as an art expression, but in and of itself.

It's the entirety of the medium -- those who cannot imagine going one week, sometimes even a day, without reading, discussing, or watching films.

They're the ones who hang around Cinematreasures.org, and discuss old movie theatres with the same gusto someone would describe a love affair.

Liking films is not enough to make one a cinephile.

That's just a movie-goer.

I think the vast majority of movies are bad and bad movies are driving out good. It's a disaster. Things have been going downhill badly since 1999, which was a year that made me believe things were going to be good.

Popular films have been going downhill since the late 1980s, but INDEPENDENT films have burgeoned into something very special -- we're living through the Golden Age of indies...and thank God for that.


Anyway, I don't understand your argument about not being able to judge the whole by the part. Even if movies are "the entirety," that should mean the script, the faces, the photography, the music, etc., all at once. You do get that by watching one scene.


I just disagree, Ann.

It's not even like eavesdropping on a conversation. It's like walking in on your parents naked in bed. You're missing the before, middle, and end of how they got there -- and just getting the whoopsie.

If you're not allowed to judge until you've seen the whole thing, then it would never be fair to walk out on a movie, and how can you watch the trailers?

Ann, in some countries (like say, in East Europe) people stay until the end credits finish...can you imagine your average American doing that?

What I'm arguing for is respect for the presentation.

What you seem to want is a film-going experience on your own terms -- picking it up or leaving it as your impulse dictates.

At least be cognisant of your character playing a role in how you watch films (and therefore, your judgement of them, good or bad).

Your objection to my method has to be that I'm getting a random look, rather than the clip the producers want me to see. My argument is that my approach is more accurate. I think I'm right.

Frankly, I think neither is accurate.

Trailers? Sneaks? Meh.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

thisone tome seemed like an attempt to get a date, i.e., i'm kooky,i'm smart, i know how to operate a rice cooker.

Anonymous said...

this vlog seemed to me like an attempt to get a date - 'i'm smart, i'm kooky, i can operate a rice cooker'. never listened to the podcast - i felt that probably in comparison it would have seemed staid and chaste. interesting anyway that formless candor was more engaging than the thought of something prose-governed: too much of the vlogoblogothang is like too much other stuff in that regard. 'let it hang out (to some extent)' has always been my mottow

Anonymous said...

i have some atomised cookie under my keyboard, hence the premature posting / odd spelling. must press harder...

dmc_in_washington said...

Ann, I think you've parsed Billy Bob Thornton's line more logically than the scriptwriters expected:

"If I were building WMDs, you wouldn't be able to find them anyway."

True, the clause does allow for the weapons' existence. But I immediately took it as a gentle needling of the Bush administration's casus belli: Purported WMD's never materialized, ergo war is unjustified. Funny that our interpretations are so different.