Monday, March 02, 2009

The last dinosaurs

Excitement on the web that Terrence Malick's upcoming film, The Tree of Life, will feature 45 minutes of IMAX-shot dinosaur footage--if you can call anything related to Malick "exciting." My bet is that they'll be the slowest, most ponderous dinosaurs imaginable, who, in the manner of The Thin Red Line, will have their parts reduced to cameos by the time editing is completed. (I appreciate Malick, but am by no means a devoted, Kool Aid-drinking Malickian.) Brad Pitt and Sean Penn are featured in a contemporary storyline, and apparently it all's about the interconnectedness of life or something. Sounds like a more literal-minded take on Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth to me, though apparently our spirit guide through the picture is some sort of...minotaur. Well, Malick taking on mythic creatures, thunder lizards, and Brad Pitt should at least be...odder...than the usual end-of-year fare.

Speaking of extinct species, the two boxes of VHS tapes I still have in our cubbyhole may be the end of the line, for pictures that have yet to make it onto DVD or other digital platforms. I don't think I have any Golden Age rarities on tape, just films I may never get to see in a current platform. I've had Fast Walking (1982), with James Woods, on tape since 1986, one that amazingly still works. I'd like to replace my letterboxed, taped-off-movie-channels copies of Robert Aldrich's Sodom and Gomorrah and Dark of the Sun, but I'm not holding my breath. The tapes are stuck in the hole, my 200-odd laserdiscs sit in boxes in my parents' house, and everything is static in a film culture that values the tried-and-saleable over the invaluable "fossil" record. Maybe a surge in rentals over sales will encourage the studios to open the gates a bit wider than just another reissue of To Catch a Thief.

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