Opening in Chicago, 12/14


And so … the backlash for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (trailer) has sure been fierce and hard, hasn’t it? To some extent, this plays into my general feeling that Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy has not improved with time, and as someone who didn’t really like those films, I feel vindicated to some extent. After all, some of the big complaints I had with the trilogy are the very same things that people are complaining about with this new film.

That aside, though, it will be interesting to see how the whole HFR thing plays out. Reaction thus far has been overwhelmingly negative, and from what I’ve personally seen (I watched about 10 minutes of the movie the other night), whatever process Jackson used to capture 48fps is an unmitigated disaster. It looks like he’s applied the amped-up motion enhancement settings that you see with new HDTVs, making motion look smoother but also highly artificial. Frankly, even though all reports are that Jackson shot the film in 48fps, it looks like it was shot 24fps and then upconverted. There’s no inherent reason that I know of for why 48fps should look like that, so either Jackson “enhanced” the image in post or the technology isn’t there yet. Given the reliance on CGI, I’m going to guess a little bit of column A, and a little bit of column B. Whether this will be acceptable to audiences or not, I have no idea, but unlike 3D, I was actually looking forward to the arrival of 48fps, so it’s not like I’m just being a Luddite here.

The other major Chicago opening this week is Hyde Park on Hudson (trailer), which opened in limited release last weekend to generally poor reviews and middling box office. I’m as big of a Bill Murray fan as there is, but I was disappointed when the trailer was released to see the film being sold as some kind of weird FDR rom-com, and now that the movie’s been released it turns out that’s what it pretty much is. A shame, really, because I bet a really good movie could be made out of the subject matter.

The rest:

Back to 1942 (trailer) – Chinese film about a crippling famine during WWII
Beauty Is Embarrassing (trailer) – doc about artist Wayne White
Citadel (trailer) – Irish urban horror film
The Matchmaker – Israeli coming-of-age tale set in 1968
Yogawoman – doc about … well, women and yoga


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