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I had not heard too much about the upcoming mega-movie AI (Kubricks last project, now taken over by Spielberg) until a few days ago. Now the hype machine is being severely cranked up, and it appears to be one of the more delicate, involved, and downright clever hype machines in movie history. This is making the Blair Witch stuff look positively old school.
Apparently, if you download the movie trailer, and watch it way too close, you might "notice the second frame of credits is 'Sentient Machine Therapist-Jeanine Salla'. Searching for this on google.com leads to a plethora of pages seemingly outlining some fictional murder mystery having to do with robots." Except all of these pages are part of the promo machine. Some seem like real corporate pages, some seem like very personal sites, some seem like, well... see for yourself (click on that google search and start digging.) It's a whole world. Very very nice.
For the very lazy, just go here, where Ain't It Cool News wrecks the fun by pointing you to the highlights.
Yesterday I killed 2 rats with one hawk: I saw the re-released Japanese animation classic Akira and my first DLP (digital widescreen) movie. Akira is playing at the AMC 25 on 42nd Street, which is a spectacle in itself if you haven't been. It's a five-story, high-tech, high-kitsch multiplex with stadium seating, perfect sound, and NO CUSTOMERS! It's like the home entertainment system from heaven--GO, before AMC declares bankruptcy and lets the whole thing get run down.
Anyway, about DLP: Everything is in sharp focus, the colors are bright and true, there are no hairs or specks, but there is a faint, evenly-distributed grain that runs through the entire image. After a half-hour or so you don't really notice it. No eye-strain, no headaches; like CDs, in some ways it's superior to analog and in some ways not. I'll have to see a non-animated movie before I completely judge the process.
And about the re-released Akira: WOW! I've seen it several times on murky VHS and wasn't prepared for the Blade Runner-like depth and complexity of the widescreen version. The movie's been cleaned up and digitally remastered and everything's bright and sharp. The scenes of Neo-Tokyo are incredibly densely-layered, and when Tetsuo turns into a giant, mutating, HP Lovecraft Mecha-blob at the end, you can see all the horrible, sublime stuff you only thought you were seeing on the video. The little snots at Time Out call the movie "incoherent," but I prefer the Voice's "hermetic." One goes to anime for gorgeous drawing, surreal imagination, and lightning-fast action, not Raymond Chandler-like plotting. Animes are always delphic, weaving together post-WWII nuclear terror, cyborg speculation, and weird meditations on childhood trauma. One thing I'd forgotten about Akira: the characters are naturalistic (i.e., Japanese-looking)--no Bambi-like, swimming-pool eyes. Don't get me wrong, I love the eyes and exaggerated coiffure, but it's interesting that Akira broke the mold back in '88 and '90s productions didn't follow suit.
The Harry Smith Archives site has a message board in case you want to ask him somthing.