Bob McPhail 6:31 a.m., May 19
Far be it from me to pass on watching a movie, but in this case I had no choice but to resist. It's bad enough that advance screenings off DVD-mailers, not 35mm or digital prints, are arriving with greater frequency, I cannot bring myself to watch, let alone review a film on a 16-inch computer monitor.
You can count the number of films I've watched on a computer on one finger: Joseph Losey's remake of Fritz Lang's M, a film I had been waiting an eternity to see that had heretofore been made unavailable. It was a fuzzy dupe, riddled with artifacts, but I knew what fate had in store before pressing play.
The Theatre Bizarre arrives with no advance word or expectation, hence the lack of euphoria on my part. I watched the first 20 minutes, and might have made it all the way through if the print wasn't so fuzzy and the words "Property of W2 Media -- Duplication Prohibited" weren't stamped across the bottom of the image throughout the entire feature.
When are they going to realize that film critics aren't pirating DVDs, it's the telecine operators or other schmucks on the inside responsible for the bootleg copies of new releases currently made available by Tijuana street-vendors.
It would have helped if they at least had the common courtesy to offer up a HD copy, but given all the letterbox-masking that takes up a giant portion of the frame, I'm lucky to see a 7-inch image. I'd be better off watching it on an iPhone!
I understand the expense independent distributors must swallow in order to set up theatrical screenings -- in this case the film is only playing once at midnight -- but Geez Louise, how much does it cost to hand-press and mail a DVD?
You have one chance to see The Theatre Bizarre, a horror anthology featuring Udo Kier, when it screens tonight as part of The Ken Cinema's Midnight Madness series. I think I'll sleep this one out.