Friday, December 5, 2008

Starting the Weekend Right

Today - I woke up, saw my girlfriend off, threw some bacon and french toast on the stove, listened to some Christmas music, and prepared to sit down and finally watch Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park and probably something else. I didn't have to leave the house 'til 3:30 or 4, and Park is only 85 minutes long. Some point into Harry Simeone Chrorale's "The Little Drummer Boy" (a beautiful song, and I'll stand by that), I felt a certain...calling. The Christmas spirit was calling, so I decided to start the day with the first hour-and-a-half of Fanny and Alexander. Television version, of course, which means...the Christmas party.

Just as I always hope to have a wedding like in The Deer Hunter (and to have nothing remotely similar to anything else in The Deer Hunter EVER happen to me), I want a Christmas party like the Ekdahl's. Warts and all.

I figured I'd check the mail first, so I walked down and what's at my feet - a package from Amazon not due 'til tomorrow, containing none other than the Godfather Trilogy - Coppola Restoration Blu-Ray. My only Black Friday indulgence, to my credit.

So I didn't get around to Van Sant's latest. What'll you do.

Of course, Fanny and Alexander is as wonderful as the first and, until today, last time I saw it eighteen months ago. It really is true, nobody's ever done it like Bergman, at least not as well.

But that Godfather Blu-Ray...oh my God. I'm still relatively new to Blu - saw No Country and Pirates 3 on it and parts of Wall-E, Speed Racer, Cuckoo's Nest, 2001...some others my roommate has around (it's his player, so he's loading up of course). But wow...I really just watched the first fifteen or twenty minutes from One (yeah, I watched The something), part of the Sicily stuff. Can't wait to watch...well, the baptism, certainly, but even though I watched the film fairly recently on DVD, and I'm really a Part II man myself, I could watch the whole thing through again and it would feel fresh. I know it's an overused phrase, that feeling of seeing it again for the very first time, but I can't think of any other way to put it. The dialogue sounded familiar, the characters seemed the same, but the film itself...brand frickin' new.

I was afraid based on some screencaps I saw that most of the image was just brightened overall; that we might get some more definition, but lose that great "Prince of Darkness" stuff, but man, those scenes in the Don's office are pitch black, even darker than I remember it being on DVD (the only way I've seen it to date). The red on his flower is captivating.

And good Lord am I glad they kept that grain in.

And this is just the first twenty or so minutes. Man am I mad I have finals right now...

But suffice to say, even though I grew up in the age of home video and have never know any other way, I am in a state of constant amazement that I can watch masterpieces like Fanny and Alexander (the five-hour version, to boot!) and The Godfather any time I want. That really is pretty amazing. Good way to start the weekend, too.

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