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Roger Ebert, long a critic of digital projection and digital "filming" (what's the correct word?) seems to be changing his tune. This is from his review of "Once Upon A Time in Mexico" :


"Rodriguez is the one-man band of contemporary filmmakers, making his movies not quite by himself, but almost. His credits here say he "chopped, shot and scored" the movie, as well as writing and directing it, and he personally operated the new Sony 24-fps digital Hi-Def camera. As a skeptic about digital feature photography and a supporter of light through celluloid, I have to admit that this movie looks great. Maybe the camera has been improved, maybe the Boeing digital projectors are a step up from the underpowered Texas Instruments machines, but the picture is bright, crisp and detailed. Maybe it was a little too sharp-edged, since there is something to be said for the tactile softness of celluloid, but it was impressive, and an enormous improvement over what I've seen before, including Rodriguez's own "Spy Kids 2." ("Spy Kids 3-D" doesn't count because of the murkiness inherent in 3-D.)"


Has anyone seen this yet? Projected digitally?
 

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I saw it this afternoon (a 35mm print version). The image quality was great, both the colors, the crispness, and the lack of graininess. Perhaps it was just the contrast to having seen 'The Order' last week. 'The Order' must set a new standard as the poorest lit movie ever! I remember sitting through 'The Order' so bored I spent a lot of time thinking about how people complain about blacks on their home systems, but based on a movie like 'The Order' where everthing is dark with a narrow contrast range I really noticed that the deepest blackest in the theater aren't more than medium gray.


Whoops, sorry about drifting off into a discussion mostly about 'The Order', but its picture quality compared to 'Once ... Mexico' is what really struck me. 'Once ... Mexico' has lots of well-lit outdoor shots and a wide contrast range really helps the blacks, like Antonio's jacket, look black.


Even seeing it on a print copy, the image quality felt more like something shot with HD cameras on Discovery HD or HDnet than a film based movie on HBO-HD. I would like to see this on the big screen with a digital projector. Does anyone know of any theaters in DFW showing this movie with a digital projector?


Thanks,

Duane
 

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It's on the biggest scren in Marin at Corte Medera

We may have an office trip one night next week

Then I can't wait for the DVD

if Desperado is anything to go by.....

Rob


Just a thought

I caught the tail end of JVC deoing their new consumer HD video camera

anyone else seen the output?

I thought it was stunning!
 

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Spoiler Alert


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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) While the image quality is excellent, I would say the movie itself was not as much 'fun' as Desperado. The biggest problem seemed to be too many characters getting equal screen time and it lost the focus of Desperado where the movie stayed with Antonio's character. The other problem, which may be related to the excellent image quality, is that all of the explosions look FAKE. Like large flash-pots going off behind low walls that don't create any debris.



Duane
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DuaneAA
'Once ... Mexico' has lots of well-lit outdoor shots and a wide contrast range really helps the blacks, like Antonio's jacket, look black.

This is a very interesting observation,since the trailer from this film was half of the SXRD demo at CEDIA ! Did this film have an orange cast to it when you saw it at the commercial theater.


Art
 

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DuaneAA said

"Does anyone know of any theaters in DFW showing this movie with a digital projector?"


Why, yes, as a matter of fact, the Cinemark Legacy in Plano, TX is showing it on a DLP Cinema projector right now! (10:00 PM showing)
 

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Saw it in film format, the movie itself was fine, you wouldn't notice it wasn't shot on film originally, compared with current movies anyway. It was slightly out of focus in the upper center to right of the screen, which is the projectionist's fault, not the movie.


I liked how the credits said a "Robert Rodriguez Flick", since I guess he can't technically call it a film.


DuaneAA, I don't think your spoiler technically "spoiled" anything, but I appreciate your caution. Remember this movie wasn't shot on sets, but on location in Mexico, especially for those action shots during the climax. The explosion technique you speak of is utilized in instances where you don't want to/can't damage the set. Look at the explosion in the restaurant in the movie "Brazil" (a great movie) for another example of this technique. I did notice the lack of "debris", but Robert is a big budget cutter and I guarantee he felt it was an unnecessary expense/effort.


As for the content, remember that Desperado is really a sequel to "El Mariachi", which was what made Robert Rodriguez famous, and both movies centered around the Mariachi character. There wasn't even going to be a third movie, but Quentin Tarrantino told him this was dying to be a Mexican Trilogy with the last chapter being a great epic in tribute to Mexico.

To center on the Mariachi would just be making the same movie again, which is what most sequels do nowadays, but I think it makes for a waste of time to see the same movie again.


My problem with the movie was that it was too short (1hr45min). I felt there were a lot of relationships that could have been fleshed out or at least explored more. I won't go into those relationships because it definately could spoil some surprises.


Mike
 

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True. This movie is begging for an extended edition or director's cut, depending on how RR feels about this version of the film. Not your typical sequel at all.
 

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Sean,


Mexico is supposed to be the first part of a trilogy, and the last part of the Mariachi trilogy. According to RR in an interview I read it's supposed to be doing double duty as Mariachi III and Mexico I. There'll be more, it was shot in 7 weeks thanks to the HDCAM.


R-S
 

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I know the movie was shot in HD at 24 FPS but were some sequences also shot at 30 FPS or 60 FPS? I ask this because most of the movie looked very much like film in the way the actors and everything alse moved but there were some scene where it looked very video like, with that too smooth or fast look to them.


For example:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) The scene where Johny Depp is walking to shoot the Cook, the action looked to smooth and fast. not like fim at all
 

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Thanks for the heads up that it is playing over in Plano on a digital projector. I drove over there to see 'Attack of the Clones' about a month after seeing it on 'film' here in Fort Worth last year. I remember the colors seemed much more vivid than the film version. Since the colors already seem great in 'Once ... Mexico', it should be really impressive with a digital projector. If only Salma had a bigger part in the movie, I would be a lot more excited about driving over!


Perhaps an extended director's cut is what we need for the DVD. I just felt like the movie gave equal time to too many different characters and I think it would have been better to spend more time on character development for the main characters.


I guess I go to the movies to be sucked into the story and forget I am watching a movie. Little things like 'was the picture a little orange?' is generally below my threshold of notice unless it is very distracting or the movie is really bad. However, 'fake' looking explosions do bother me and at least for a few seconds I find myself thinking about that instead of enjoying the movie. Perhaps I have been spoiled by all of the excellent special effects in the past few years and my standards for believablity have become too high.


Duane
 

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I do see what you mean, I recognized it immediately as the "flammable gas" technique instead of an actual explosive special effect. I let it go though.


The budget for this movie was 29 million, according to IMDB. 29 million!! For an action movie with Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, and Mickey Rourke (you can get him cheap now, I bet). That's not counting all the supporting actors in the movie too. That's a tiny, tiny budget these days.


If you haven't guessed, I think Robert Rodriguez is a genius. And not just just on a technical level. His movies are entertaining, and they don't insult the intelligence.


Mike
 

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I just saw "Once upon a time in Mexico". I have to say that digital cameras are getting there. It's not quite film. I did feel there was a slight blueish veil over the whole movie. Close ups on faces revealed amazing detail but 35mm does a better job by far. Blacks were inky black but shadow detail was lacking.


Still, I'm blown away by the quality. This stuff will only get better.


That guy has to be the ballsiest film-maker ever. Script in 2 days, shot in 7 weeks.


R-S
 
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