BY ROBIN E. SIMMONS
Gone are the summer’s blockbuster tent-pole, popcorn movies.
Fall is the traditional time for the release of the more overtly artistic, thoughtful and serious film fare.
Now that we’re back from vacation or returned to school and with a new year looming ahead of us, perhaps we are more receptive to cinema that explores facets of the human condition with insight and rare artistry. Consider then these two very different up-coming fall titles that have already garnered eager anticipation.
For some months, clips from this eye-popping film have circulated widely on the internet. Literally an “art film” — but on oh so many levels — this fabulous piece of animation is made up of 65,000 frames of images made from oil paintings on canvas! Read that again.
This first fully-painted animated film is a haunting exploration of artist Vincent Van Gogh’s mysterious life and death in 1890. The film is scheduled to open September 22. Request this movie at your favorite local theater.
BLADE RUNNER 2049
(Wide release October 6.)
In real time we have almost reached the fictional time of Ridley Scott’s 1982 noir sci-fi masterpiece adapted from Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, so it’s only fitting, and perhaps than a bit bit unsettling that the sequel is set about 30 years in the future, both ours and the film’s. In the original, hard-boiled LA cop Rick Deckerd hunts down rogue androids while possibly considering much larger, even moral and philosophical issues, like: What does it mean to be human?
Director Denis Villeneuve imbues the sequel with the spirit of Scott’s classic. This time around, a young LAPD blade runner (Ryan Gosling) stumbles across a secret that puts him on a quest to find Deckerd (Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role).
You will believe the immersive and cautionary future on display here actually evolved from Scott’s astonishingly detailed visuals, thanks to the incredible production design of Dennis Glassner, Syd Mead’s concept art and Roger Deakins’ extraordinary cinematography.
NEW BLU FOR THE HOME THEATER:
THE LOST WORLD (1925)
This new edition, completed last year, combines portions of eleven film elements. Now you can enjoy Arthur Conan Doyle’s “stupendous story of adventure and romance” in the most complete reconstruction (110 minutes) believed possible!
Wallace Beery is a perfect Professor Challenger hunting dinosaurs in forgotten South American worlds that may harbor primeval creatures. Clearly, Challenger’s intrepid explorer character was inspired by the real British archaeologist/explorer Percy Fawcett who generated huge publicity when he disappeared in the Amazon during thee the time this film was in production. David Grann’s best-seller “The Lost City of Z” and hit movie made from it recounts Fawcett’s amazing life.
No question the biggest draw for audiences on its initial released was Willis O’Brien’s groundbreaking stop-motion animation skills that brought to life Doyle’s vivid animation and provocative themes.
Flicker Alley’ Blu-ray edition is one for any cinema buff’s video library. Cool extras include a fascinating commentary by film historian Nicolas Ciccone, deleted scenes and three short films directed by Willis O’Brien.
Had it not been for “The Lost World,” there’d be no “King Kong” or “Jurassic Park.”