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  Cinema
 
Quality in Digital Cinema

In the first of this series of articles, I defined cinema as the art of presenting motion pictures. The term digital cinema simply means we are applying digital technology to the art. Cinematographers and studios demand a high quality level of their art when released to the cinema. However, the cinema is gradually becoming a place where more than motion pictures are shown. New forms of content termed alternative content, or specialized content, or electronic advertising are finding their way into the cinema. These new forms of cinema content are not always as demanding of quality as motion pictures. The...

Is A Digital Cinema Rollout Eminent?

Every so often, and certainly more often than is reported in the press, one hears that a new group or entity is planning to roll out digital cinema. Sometimes these announcements are timed for trade shows, where the proponents can make a big splash. Sometimes these announcements are timed for the release of a movie. The release of Star Wars: Episode II in April of 2002 got a lot of attention in the US press in the producer's quest to show the movie on digital cinema screens. Those who have seen a movie digitally, or heard of cinemas buying digital...

Projection Technology in Digital Cinema

Technology has clearly advanced to the point to where electronically projected images can replace the venerable 35mm film projector. However, 'can' is not necessarily an indication that it 'will' replace film anytime soon. As has been pointed out in this series of articles, the number of obstacles that stand in the way of a world-wide rollout of digital cinema are not few. Certainly, the high cost of the projector is among these, providing a pillar of encouragement for those with potentially low cost projection technology. The projector of choice today for digital cinema trial systems is based on the Texas...

Digital Rights In Digital Cinema

We've heard about Napster and the growing need to protect music copyrights in the Internet age. Of course, no one interested in preserving the primacy of theatrical release wants to see a movie pop up on the Internet while that movie is still playing in cinemas. Obviously, there is a very real need to secure movie content, particularly in digital form. Digital movies, in a twist that is both ironic and fortunate, are easier to secure than their celluloid counterparts. However, if not checked, the same systems that provide security could also negatively impact the operation of the exhibition business....

The Cheerleaders Collection

For nearly a century, the cheerleader has represented a distinct and eye-catching slice of Americana. Stereotypically portrayed as equal parts sensuality and youthful innocence, the image of the high school cheerleader has long-exemplified America's ambivalence toward sex and sexuality -- living examples of both Puritan morality ("the innocent girl next door") and uninhibited sexual prowess ("cleavage, buns and poms"). But it wasn't until the 1970s that film directors realized they could cash in on audiences' fascination with America's sideline sweethearts....

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is about 70% style and 30% substance. It has a plot and characters, but those are almost beside the point. They are devices that function as hooks upon which first-time director Kerry Conran can hang his amazing visuals. Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of style-over-substance movies, but this one is so gorgeous that it's possible to become literally lost in the richness of the images. In many ways, that's not a...

Red Lights

15 years ago, this is the kind of chilling, gripping thriller that a hungry distributor like Miramax would have snapped up. Now, it's up to a small company like Wellspring to find these gems in the rough and bring them to our attention. Red Lights is one of the best thrillers I have seen this year: tight, taut, and unpredictable. A great screenplay (based on a novel by French crime writer Georges Simenon, the creator of Inspector Maigret) and top-notch...

Shark Tale

The first salvo in the battle of the would-be autumn family blockbusters has been fired by Dreamworks. Beating The Incredibles to the screen by more than a month, Shark Tale represents the fourth digitally animated feature to come from the studio (following Antz, Shrek, and Shrek 2). Over the past few years, animation companies (Dreamworks and Pixar, in particular) have worked to refine a formula for digital animation. It's a lot like Disney's defunct conventional one: make the story simple...

Friday Night Lights

If you go to this movie based solely on how it is being portrayed in the trailers and advertisements, you will probably be expecting a feel-good romp through familiar territory - a football version of Hoosiers. Like nearly all sports movies, Friday Night Lights is about redemption; however, instead of wallowing in clichés, Peter Berg's film uses them sparingly. This movie is less about what happens on the field than in the hearts of the players. And, while it is...

Silver City

John Sayles has always made political films; they are his bread-and-butter. Yet none, not even Matewan or City of Hope, has been more openly partisan than Silver City, which rips into the anti-environmental policies of the current administration, shows the pointlessness of fighting the co-op of big business and bigger government, and presents a scathing caricature of our current president in the person of Dickie Pilager (Chris Cooper), the man who would be governor of Colorado. Pilager is all smiles...

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