247 Slacker

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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dwk
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Re: 247 Slacker

#26 Post by dwk » Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:16 pm

Is there a chance that "The Roadmap" script was dropped because they didn't have the rights to use it on a Blu-ray?

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 247 Slacker

#27 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:54 am

peerpee wrote:Strange that it's not just the SD version of the photo gallery that they bring through to Blu then. But I suppose even reprogramming the existing SD photos for Blu-ray would be arduous. A strong case for the reduction of this type of extra on any future discs.
You'd know more about this than me, but I have a few Blu-rays (JAWS is a recent example) where the photo/storyboard galleries are just the SD versions ported over from a previous DVD issue. Sitting next to the HD content, the quality of this material is very underwhelming. If given a proper context (THE GODFATHER Blu-ray box set relegates all the SD material to the clearly labeled "2001 DVD Archive"), the inclusion of SD content is less jarring. Criterion is fine with upconverting SD video as bonus content, but have they included any SD photo or storyboard galleries on their Blu-rays? I was pleased that the recent BRAZIL Blu-ray featured HD versions of all the storyboards, costume sketches, etc.

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colinr0380
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Re: 247 Slacker

#28 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:40 pm

I haven't got it yet but how did Criterion go about updating the text supplements on In The Mood For Love, or did they just drop those too?

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cdnchris
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Re: 247 Slacker

#29 Post by cdnchris » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:11 pm

With Brazil (which had mostly text notes on the DVD) and In the Mood for Love they, in some cases, replaced the material with visual essays or some other video supplement. They haven't done this with all text supplements, though.

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PfR73
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Re: 247 Slacker

#30 Post by PfR73 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:15 pm

One thing that has always bothered me about the DVD release is that at approximately 00:25:30, a boom mic dips into the frame. Since the DVD is presented at 1.33:1 instead of a more likely theatrical ratio, 1.66:1 or 1.85:1, I've always wondered whether this was noticed & left in intentionally during the director/DOP approval of the transfer or an oversight introduced by the open-matting. I was waiting to see if the Blu-Ray would be in the same ratio. Since it is, I've sent an email to Mulvaney to inquire about whether this was approved; or if it just wasn't caught, whether they would talk to Linklater/Daniel about it.

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Gregory
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Re: 247 Slacker

#31 Post by Gregory » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:26 pm

The OAR is 1.33:1. In widescreen, it would look ridiculous with a lot of heads cut off, including in the scene you mention. A brief appearance of a boom mic, or a shadow of same, is not unheard of, especially in very low budget indie productions like this one.

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Re: 247 Slacker

#32 Post by Brianruns10 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:10 am

There are a few revealing goofs in the film, along with the boom mike...crew shadows in several scenes, and at one point you can spot all the wedges from the dolly track they laid and then opted not to use.

It's part of the charm of a film made in earnest, on a small budget and with very humble means. These imperfections make the film more precious and human, and I would gladly keep them, as opposed to the slickly perfect sheen of a more modern, digitally produced film.

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manicsounds
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Re: 247 Slacker

#33 Post by manicsounds » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:15 am

For people who've worked in film or tv and had to look for continuity problems or other mistakes while making productions, you have to decide between

A: The boom mic is showing but it's the best performance by the actor
B: There are no mistakes, but the actor's performance is not that good
C: Reset, Reshoot, Reschedule everyone again for that one scene.

I just rewatched the extras on "Benjamin Button" the other day, and considering the budget of that film, pretty much everything could be corrected in post production with digital technology including little things like facial expressions, a reflection on glass, or continuity problems. Sure these things could be corrected now for "Slacker" if it was given the budget, but aesthetically it just doesn't feel right to correct these mistakes.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 247 Slacker

#34 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:19 am

Plus, Slacker is a better movie than Benjamin Button, so obviously technical perfection ain't everything

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Gregory
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Re: 247 Slacker

#35 Post by Gregory » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:22 am

manicsounds wrote:...pretty much everything could be corrected in post production with digital technology including little things like facial expressions...
That's disgusting.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 247 Slacker

#36 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:02 am

The FIGHT CLUB Blu-ray digitally "corrected" the cover of the wall thermostat in the manager's office so it wouldn't change color from shot-to-shot (an error left in the original film and initial DVD release). The alteration becomes something of an in-joke given that it took ten years to occur...and given that the commentary track (from 1999) was left intact, so you can still hear Fincher bemoan a continuity slip that no longer exists!

Fincher has gone on record discussing how he has digitally composited separate takes into one seamless take to present what he considers to be the best performances from each actor in the frame. I doubt that Linklater would ever be so fussy regarding his own work.

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Re: 247 Slacker

#37 Post by Zot! » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:19 am

I think somebody might have had it as their avatar, but the "hair stuck in the gate" gag in Tex Avery's Musical Maestro is a brilliant middle finger to perfectionism.

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manicsounds
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Re: 247 Slacker

#38 Post by manicsounds » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:43 am

Zot! wrote:I think somebody might have had it as their avatar, but the "hair stuck in the gate" gag in Tex Avery's Musical Maestro is a brilliant middle finger to perfectionism.
Or as Simon Pegg once said, "There's a pube in the gate"

Brianruns10
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Re: 247 Slacker

#39 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:28 pm

manicsounds wrote:For people who've worked in film or tv and had to look for continuity problems or other mistakes while making productions, you have to decide between

A: The boom mic is showing but it's the best performance by the actor
B: There are no mistakes, but the actor's performance is not that good
C: Reset, Reshoot, Reschedule everyone again for that one scene.

I just rewatched the extras on "Benjamin Button" the other day, and considering the budget of that film, pretty much everything could be corrected in post production with digital technology including little things like facial expressions, a reflection on glass, or continuity problems. Sure these things could be corrected now for "Slacker" if it was given the budget, but aesthetically it just doesn't feel right to correct these mistakes.

Great points! I'll give another example. There is a TERRIFIC shot, my favorite in fact, in "Lawrence of Arabia." It's just after Lawrence and his guide share a meal, Lawrence giving him his revolver as a gift, and then the guide offering him some food. Fade to a magnificent shot of the pair on camelback approaching the crest of a dune, with the wind lifting sand in the air like it was snow, and the scene is UTTERLY magical and yet you KNOW it's real because this is all before the age when such things could be inserted digitally.

Yet, if you look closely, you can see the remains of their camel tracks from the previous take. They've been hastily and not-altogether-successfully covered up.

It's a flaw, a mistake, but what a courageous and absolutely right editorial choice to make. Lesser directors would've rejected the shot because of the obvious goof. It took a master like Lean, and a brilliant editor in Ann V. Coates, to look past their innate perfectionism, to realize that no one in the audience would CARE about some visible hoofprints. They'd be taken in by this magical shot, captured on the spot; a moment of pure serendipity, supplied by nature to create something that will never be matched by all the VFX artists and all the multicore processors in the world.

It's imperfection just makes it that much better, because it reminds us that this film was the product of people laboring in extremely difficult conditions to create something marvelous.

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Re: 247 Slacker

#40 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:32 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:The FIGHT CLUB Blu-ray digitally "corrected" the cover of the wall thermostat in the manager's office so it wouldn't change color from shot-to-shot (an error left in the original film and initial DVD release). The alteration becomes something of an in-joke given that it took ten years to occur...and given that the commentary track (from 1999) was left intact, so you can still hear Fincher bemoan a continuity slip that no longer exists!

Fincher has gone on record discussing how he has digitally composited separate takes into one seamless take to present what he considers to be the best performances from each actor in the frame. I doubt that Linklater would ever be so fussy regarding his own work.
This is precisely why I'm not a fan of Fincher. He's too cold, too clinical. I think often times he can actually suck the life out of the performances by doing so many takes and then frankenstein-ing them together. And what he produces is so...perfect that it feels almost alienating, almost inhuman.

Of course, Fincher isn't the first. Kubrick is arguably the most studied and perfectionist filmmaker, and Bresson subjected his actors to as many takes...but these fellows made their choices for very specific artistic and philosophical reasons. I question sometimes whether Fincher approaches his own work with the same degree of introspection and care. Or is he just a control freak in the enviable position to have his fetish indulged?

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AlexHansen
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Re: 247 Slacker

#41 Post by AlexHansen » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:18 am

Brianruns10 wrote:Or is he just a control freak in the enviable position to have his fetish indulged?
To remain off-topic: Welcome to the wonderful world of digital. Does Fincher actually seam together the visual footage, or just the audio from different takes? I thought it was just the sound.

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knives
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Re: 247 Slacker

#42 Post by knives » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:51 am

Nope, the visual is composites. Though this is no different from what Welles did in Citizen Kane. It just has the benefit of digital technology to make it easier to accomplish seamlessly.

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Moe Dickstein
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Re: 247 Slacker

#43 Post by Moe Dickstein » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:45 am

And more than that, morphing between different takes within the same shot.

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PfR73
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Re: 247 Slacker

#44 Post by PfR73 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:00 am

Let me ask, because maybe I started this whole thing from a misunderstanding. I'm not trying to open another OAR can of worms & I wasn't trying to suggest they change the ratio of the release. Whatever ratio Linklater wants is fine with me. But what aspect ratio was Slacker projected at in 1991? I've only seen the film on the Criterion DVD. I know Slacker was shot on 16mm, but I was under the impression that any new film in general release at that time is going to be in widescreen since so few theaters can project 1.33:1 material. Maybe I'm wrong.

My thought was that if the film was shown in widescreen, then the boom mic is most likely something that was not present in the theatrical release, and was introduced by the different framing for home video. I've never seen previous home video versions of Slacker, is the boom mic present? It seems that often, as video transfers are redone over the years & improve, more & more of the frame gets exposed. And so possibly, even if 1.33:1 is correct, perhaps a little too much frame was transferred in that shot. Maybe Linklater & Daniel didn't notice the boom mic when approving the transfer. Maybe they did.

I might have worded my post badly. What I was curious from Criterion is whether Linklater & Daniel are aware of the boom mic in that shot, if they approved leaving it in. If they aren't they should be asked about it. They might say to leave it there, which would be fine. Or maybe they would want the shot adjusted. I'm not advocating any crazy digital fix. Maybe the framing just needs to be zoomed slightly.

I know almost all films have flaws & goofs in them; this one just seems surprisingly egregious to me. It's not something I had to go looking for or really analyze the frame. The first time I watched the film, it was just right there. It was a low budget film, but Linklater's no amateur, even at this early point in his career. But the whole thing is moot if it was there in the theatrical release or if Linklater approved leaving it in, and that is what I would like to know.

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Gregory
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Re: 247 Slacker

#45 Post by Gregory » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:11 pm

PfR73 wrote:I was under the impression that any new film in general release at that time is going to be in widescreen since so few theaters can project 1.33:1 material. Maybe I'm wrong.
I've read that statement frequently in aspect ratio discussions, and I wonder where this notion comes from. Academy never totally went away. Even the regular, non-arthouse theaters were showing things like the rereleases of the old Disney films every seven to ten years. People go and see things like Meek's Cutoff and Wuthering Heights and typically think nothing of the Academy ratio. Any theater that can't adjust the screen and project films like these correctly has serious problems.

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Re: 247 Slacker

#46 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:33 pm

Gregory wrote:Any theater that can't adjust the screen and project films like these correctly has serious problems.
In that case, most cinemas have serious problems. Presumably it's pretty straightforward showing 1.37:1 films in the digital era, since you'd just pillarbox it in the centre of a 16:9 image, but the vast majority of cinemas over the last few decades couldn't show 35mm Academy. I still remember with horror a 1.85:1 screening of Casablanca in a big West End cinema in London - of course I complained, and got a refund, but it was obvious even during the screening that the projectionist was well aware of the issue, as there were occasional glimpses of "live" reframing to ensure that crucial details remained on screen.

Also, when Disney reissued Fantasia in the early 1990s, they were so conscious of this issue that they actually reprinted the film so that the correctly-framed image appeared in the middle of a 1.85:1 frame - why would they have gone to this trouble (not least because it involved a loss in resolution) if only a small handful of cinemas were affected?

But that's the 1990s: it's almost certainly true to say that a very very substantial number of cinemas could still handle Academy in the late 1950s into the 1960s, and I doubt very much that eyebrows would have been raised at a 1.37:1 feature in 1959. Especially not one that was more likely to play at arthouses, which would be far more likely to be Academy-friendly anyway.

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Re: 247 Slacker

#47 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:51 pm

Night of the Living Dead, The Evil Dead and Basket Case are all 1.37:1 films yet would have been shown wide on their original runs for the reasons Michael details above. I suppose when you put 16mm cameras (which presumably do not have frame lines as standard) in the hands of new and inexperienced directors, you end up with a film that is going to have to be shown in a way the director did not intend. Frank Henenlotter affirms this on the Basket Case Blu-ray, saying that he was young and inexperienced, saw a square shape through his camera and so shot Basket Case 4:3. Despite being 30 years into the widescreen change, he had no idea the film was going to end up cropped when it played in cinemas.

I imagine something similar happened with Slacker, and that the boom mike was a genuine mistake.

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Brian C
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Re: 247 Slacker

#48 Post by Brian C » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:11 pm

MichaelB wrote:Also, when Disney reissued Fantasia in the early 1990s, they were so conscious of this issue that they actually reprinted the film so that the correctly-framed image appeared in the middle of a 1.85:1 frame - why would they have gone to this trouble (not least because it involved a loss in resolution) if only a small handful of cinemas were affected?
This was pretty common at the time - other examples that I know of first-hand are reissues for Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. I don't know about the Disney reissues but I imagine it was the same thing. Either that or cinemas just cropped it to flat.

The number of multiplexes - in the US, anyway - who could mask to Academy in the 1990s were approximately zero. In a substantial number of cases, theatres didn't even bother changing the masking between scope and flat - they'd just use the same screen (approximately 2:1) for everything they showed. I actually worked at a place like this for a summer in Port Richey, FL.

Even with an arthouse chain like Angelika, I was subjected to flat presentations of Citizen Kane and Killer of Sheep (at their Houston and Dallas locations, respectively). It wasn't until I moved to Chicago that I could expect an Academy film to be shown in its proper ratio.

Things seem different now with digital projection. I imagine it helps that consumers are now used to various letter- and pillarboxing formats on their TVs at home.

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PfR73
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Re: 247 Slacker

#49 Post by PfR73 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:27 pm

Gregory wrote:People go and see things like Meek's Cutoff and Wuthering Heights and typically think nothing of the Academy ratio.
I know about those examples, but they're more recent films that were generally projected digitally pillarboxed inside a 1.85:1 frame. But here we're talking about 35mm prints in 1991.

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Re: 247 Slacker

#50 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:31 pm

PfR73 wrote:I know about those examples, but they're more recent films that were generally projected digitally pillarboxed inside a 1.85:1 frame. But here we're talking about 35mm prints in 1991.
Yes, absolutely - that's why I made the distinction in my post.

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