Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Moving pictures and a Bolt from the Blue-Ray

I have seen a lot of movies in my time, I think the first one was sound of music which my brother and I and two friends snuck into to watch at the Rex Cinema in a small fading Victorian coastal resort on the Isle of Wight, we watched it one and a half times before we were discovered and turned out but it was worth every minute of crouching in the dark. At school the nuns would dig out some old black and white film for the end of term, sitting in serried ranks cross legged on the polished parquet floors in our navy blue knickers. One year I remember watching something which I think was called The Red shoes; I can remember nothing of the plot except that it involved her pride and greed to possess the ruddy footwear and that the poor 1950’s beauty in the starring role seemed to be stuck into her ballet shoes and danced herself to death. Very sobering for a small child with limited experience, and I am sure cured all of us of any desire to have red shoes or do ballet for that matter. I can not imagine what the sisters were thinking of!

Cinema trips with my Father were of a much more grown up, the cinema a very plush Gaumont with gold baroque architraves and red velvet curtains on the boxes and an entire flotilla of cherubim and seraphim cavorting about the ceiling. The nuns would not have approved I fear. I always wanted to sit in a box, still haven’t done it yet and now I suspect most cinemas are multiplexes in England so if I ever go back I have lost my chance to watch a re-run of War and Peace in regal splendour. Our local cinema here is very twee, A tiny thing and awfully friendly. Tickets are 3 Euros in the school holidays, no need to sneak in without paying at that price, and everyone knows everyone and the entire audience sits in a clump in the middle leaving the rest of the small auditorium free for tourists and “Johnny no friends”, so that it looks as if they have been dropped from a great height into their seats or swept there by the cleaners .

These days most of my cinematic experience is home based. I suspect we may have one of the largest DVD collections in Brittany and it growing ungainly, I shall have to perform some judicious pruning before we are swamped even further with each new enticing release from Pixar or Disney. If I ever give up buying movies I suspect the entire industry might fall into recession. It is a great responsibility to carry on ones shoulders.

Sad to say many of the DVD’s we have did not lived up to their trailers or our expectations. At least that makes it easier to humanely cull some of them, but it is disappointing when something you see on a trailer turns out to be such a let down. Recently we have seen several movies which promised high flying comedy of a family kind only to reveal itself, once seen in total, as excruciatingly dull bar the scenes selected for the trailers themselves. I hate that when it happens. It is like biting into a cake only to find the cream is in fact artificial not fresh and the icing not chocolate by only coloured to look that way. I wonder is there a law one might invoke to save the consumer from such travesties or is it merely buyer beware and on my own head be it?
One film that has not fallen short of expectations is the new Walt Disney animation “Bolt”. I was all set for a mildly dire evening watching yet another disappointing kids DVD, albeit in glorious Blue-Ray( no, I don’t know what it is either but there you are it tells me on the box it gives me a pristine picture and theatre quality sound) starring Disney’s newest hero and was amazed to find it was really very good indeed. All of us loved it, even our resident theatre critic. I won’t spoil the plot, oh yes it has one honestly, but here is a trailer
so you can see for yourself. It is I think one of the rare family movies we will be watching again and again. So if you are looking for a little light relief for the school holidays do seek out this one it actually delivers more than it promises which is a pleasant change!


Fennie said...

My first memories of films were black and white 16mm ones cranked by a noisy projector on a tiny screen with a single speaker the size of a small suitcase somewhere behind it.

But I have always wanted to sit in a box too and never managed it either in cinema or theatre.

On choosing films Yves Montand delivers a wonderful line in the Lelouch film 'Le Bon Année'.

He says (when asked how he chooses films without reading reviews): I choose films like I choose women; on prend des risques!

Frances said...

Bon jour Un Peu,

Your memories have got me trying to recall which was the first movie I saw. I actually am not sure whether it was Disney's Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland. It was a long, long time ago!

I love going To The Movies, and have never bought a DVD. However, I confess that many of the wonderful small New York cinemas that once specialized in foreign films have now been demolished.

There are still a few around and one good one is within walking distance. I could almost make this sound like a tiny theatre in a small village, rather than a small basement-level theatre (housing four tiny auditoriums) just across the street from Lincoln Center.

It's been a while since I've been to a movie. You've restored my appetite.

Merci! xo

ChrisH said...

So, THERE you are, parked in front of a pile of DVDs. Good to see you again.

Elizabethd said...

When I was a child we had parties that ended with very old Charlie Chaplin films run on a hired projector.
The first film I saw in the cinema was Bambi!

lampworkbeader said...

Ah Ha. i saw the same "Red Shoes" a scarring film if ever there was one. There is a cinema in Brighton that still has boxes, though I guess that is a bit far for you to travel.

gaelikaa said...

Your post put me in mind, for some reason, of some of the lovely theatres which I visited in Dublin during my youth, with balconies and ornate artistry et al. I shall look out for that movie. I'm always looking for films which the kids and grownups can watch together, whether we end up viewing in the local multiplex or by DVD. Incidentally, there was a great Bollywood animated movie last year called 'Roadside Romeo', dialogues all in Hindi, with great music. My kids & husband enjoyed it in the cinema and ended up buying the vcd version. I can usually manage to understand Hindi dialogues after seeing the movie two or three times and having the kids explain the stuff I don't understand. Great to see your new post....