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Blade Runners: The 1982 Version Revisited

I have seen Ridley Scott’s Blade Runnerin a theater of some kind either on 70mm, 35mm, or digitally projected twenty times altogether over the past twenty-seven years, starting with its first release in 1982.

This is NOT because I am a fanatic about the film, or any film really. In fact it is rare for me to see any movie that many times. I know part of the reason is, as for most viewers, Blade Runner’suniqueness as a movie on almost every level. But also I feel that for me it is the fact that this film, perhaps like no other, has undergone revisions by its director that impact the picture’s tone and focus and yet leave its original creative core untouched.  

While the phenomenon of a popular film, or in the case of Blade Runneralso a cult film, finding an afterlife in theaters is not at all unusual, especially in the last twenty years or so when so many films from the recent and distant past have been “restored” and “preserved," what makes Blade Runner unique is that it has been re…
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Brutality and Myth in Clint Eastwood’s "Unforgiven"

Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film Unforgiven is a very unique, nontraditional western. On its very surface it purports to be an action-revenge tale, where self-aggrandizing gunfighters attempt to collect a bounty on two men who have attacked a young girl, in a small Wyoming town in the late nineteenth century.

But in the first five minutes of the film, Eastwood quickly whisks us deep beneath those conventions and gives us not an illustration of how good triumphs over evil but instead a demonstration of degrees of brutality and how they play against each other.
Throughout the film, three of its five lead characters--William Munny, Little Bill Daggett, and English Bob--are presented to us, the viewer, as practicing violence for the sake of violence, they like the thrill of killing and brutality--it seems to be in their nature.
We see the film’s main character, William Munny, ostensibly having some past experience as a very successful gunfighter, at the film’s outset, a pig farmer and single par…

Film: The Unspoken Contract

I recently went to see a 70mm screening of Spartacus--for two reasons--I’d never seen it shown in a theater--in any film format--and since it was also photographed in 70mm, I couldn’t pass up the chance.
The version they showed was in fact a 1991 print--the Robert Harris restoration. At this point, I could tell you that seeing this movie projected filmically vs. digitally made all the difference, made it the best experience I could have had.
I would be lying, though. The fact is that I would have had no problem seeing Spartacus in a digital venue--in fact, I only just missed a chance to see a Fathom Events presentation of it at a chain cinema, a month earlier. So seeing Spartacus on film as opposed to off of a hard drive and through a Sony 4K DLP system was more a matter of convenience than choice.
I have no problem with digital projection. Mainly because, as most spectators, whether they grew up with film, as I did, or not, would probably agree, digital cinema is perfect--no scratches,…

The Walking Dead : A Western

We live an age of genre labels. Every TV series, book, video game, and movie is forced by critics and promotional campaigns to fit into certain slots—as a result I think deeper meanings and alternative readings can sometimes get lost. Recently, I did a blogging on the Showtime series Dexter, writing that while ostensibly that show's main character, Dexter Morgan, is a serial killer, I also likened him to a real world superhero and cited some of the traits for that genre and how they were present.

Now, I'd like to take another very popular show, AMC's series The Walking Dead, just finishing its third season on the air, and offer an alternative view.
While the post-apocalyptic horror premise and accompanying elements are obvious in the show and reinforced with a very effective use of rural locations and a bare bones visual style, as well as state-of-the-art prosthetic and CGI effects —I would find TWD little more than a pedestrian effort if I didn't also see it as …