BIG SCREENS IN SUMMERTIME

Popcorn, ready for it's  close-up Yes, it's a blog about creativity, but the summer movie season jumped out early this year and we're thinking of calling off work until September.

Let me be clear: movie theaters are how movies should be seen. Yes, we have televisions and computers. Yes, we watch movies there, too. But if you really care about movies, a big screen with razor sharp focus and excellent sound can't be beat.

Movies aren't big television shows. The don't work the same way narratively or visually. Are they related? Sure. But the sense of immersion you get in a darkened room, singularly focused on stories writ onto gigantic screens transforms the sense of vitality and power and, in best cases, art.

Okay, okay, and the big explosions are much cooler on a big screen, too. (Boom!)

Iron Man 3 recouped its entire production budget BEFORE it opened in the United States. It's a smash hit only three days into its domestic run. Other big name pix are on deck, too. In the superhero department, the Zack Snyder Superman reboot has us geeked, and there's a lot of purely escapist potential in the mega-magic shenanigans of Now you See Me. There are also the smaller films that harken to a time only two decades ago when real-life dramas were huge box office draws, too. Big screens are not just for giant budgeted stories. The Kings of Summer is gaining big notices and introducing a fresh, welcome voice to the noisy, action-packed trend of recent years.

Based on a single movie almost ten years ago called Primer, Shane Carruth is back with a new movie, and it has completely captured my imagination. Made reportedly for less than $100,000, this is modern, bravura storytelling simply because it throws all caution to the wind and tries to say something with whatever resources it can muster, damn the torpedoes or rules of the game. The movie is called Upstream Color. It demands the respect of being seen on a big screen. I'm declaring this one a summer movie, even if it's actually a Spring release. It gets an asterisk simply for being made in the era of huge commercial vehicles, and I'm pulling for it to find a big audience, just on principle.

Clearly I'm not going to see all the summer movies I want to see at a theater. To quote a line from one the greatest of all summer movies, The Matrix, "Time is always against us". Yeah, yeah, who's got the time to spend three or four days a week at the movies! (Sigh…) Some are simply going to show on television screens, come what may. But whatever you do, remember that even the biggest, most intensely calculated corporate junk that makes it to the multiplex is the product of hundreds of creative people laboring for thousands of hours to make something that didn't exist before they put their hands on it. It's an amazing thing, that creative process. Even for all of the many potential outcomes, the work always demands human lives to bring things into being.

Ah, the movies: I could riff on movies all day long. Maybe in the 23rd century, lifetimes will be longer. Hey, there's something to think about before the lights go down. I absolutely have to see the new Star Trek film called Into Darkness in a big theater, dreaming of worlds beyond.

--MS

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