In honor of My Octopus Teacher winning an Oscar the other night, I bring you some Ray Troll:
Category Archives: film
I was invited to a screening of the new documentary film “Understory: A Journey Into the Tongass“, this past Earth Day.
The Tongass National Forest is one of the last remaining intact temperate rain forests in the world, and the U.S. Forest Service considers it their crown jewel. At 16.7 acres, it’s not difficult to see why.
The Tongass National Forest was created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, and today the Forest sees roughly 2 million visitors a year.
The documentary Understory follows three women as they circumnavigate Prince of Wales Island by boat, exploring the forest that is vital to the local salmon fishing industry, and embroiled in the current “roadless rule” debate.
The trailer for Understory is below:
A fresh look at the Northwest Passage:
I was invited earlier in the week to attend an online screening of the new documentary Frozen Obsession. For 18 days, a research crew ventured into the Northwest Passage on board the Swedish ice breaker, Oden.
The ramifications of the opening of the Northwest Passage for those of us in the Arctic are large. The documentary explores some of that, along with the drastic changes we are seeing, and some of the history of what truly has been an obsession at times, regarding the famed passage.
The expedition was clearly geared towards education, with 28 undergrad and graduate students on board the vessel, conducting research. It’s extremely rare to see undergrads involved in research at this level. This included two Inuits from Nunavut. The team also did 40 live Q&A sessions via satellite, to museums and education facilities back on the mainland, including institutions in Alaska.
One of the frightening takeaways was the amount of plastic that was found frozen in the sea ice. Researchers could not contain their surprise at the amount that was discovered in the core samples. In an area that is still considered pristine by many, plastics and micro-plastics have made their way to the far northern waters.
The documentary is an hour long, and well worth the time if it becomes available to your community or streaming service. The excitement of the young researchers alone is rewarding to see.
A rare movie review:
Director Peter Jackson has a new documentary out: “They Shall Not Grow Old”. In total, Jackson and his team restored over 100 hours of 100 year old archival footage from the Imperial War Museum. They narrowed that down into a colorized account of the British soldier on the Western Front. There is no narrator; recordings taken by oral historians from actual British soldiers who served in WWI take us through this journey of theirs. They tell us their own stories, in their own words. The result is a brilliant, visually impressive film, with more humor from the men than one would expect from those surrounded by war. Make no mistake, the film is also jarring, and brutal at times, as was the First World War. One person sitting near me, stood up and left during the artillery scene, and did not return until the shelling stopped.
I saw the film on Monday. There is a 3D version of the film being shown, but unfortunately, I was not able to see that. I originally went to the 3D showing, but this being Fairbanks, the version’s file was corrupted, so I had to come back for the 2D version.
After the end credits, Peter Jackson returns for a 35 minute discussion on how and why he made the documentary the way he did. It’s well worth staying for the behind the scenes look. Jackson is a man obsessed with detail, and that trait does him, and the film, great service. I’m not a fan of colorizing black & white films, but this is a little different. Black & White was used to film footage during WWI, because that is what was available at the time, color was not even an option. Cameras during that time period, were designed to advance the film by hand, so the various footage that Jackson & Company restored, were all at different frames per second, which certainly complicated the restoration. It really is an impressive undertaking, and I was caught up in the intense ride.
This is a documentary that is well worth seeing. In the U.S., “They Shall Not Grow Old” will be shown on the big screens, nation wide, one more time: December 27.
I visited Exit Glacier this past summer, and did a post on it at that time. This is short video of that glacier. It has some beautiful footage of the Seward area. The glacier was receding by 150 feet a year; it is now losing 10-15 feet a day.
Film credit: Raphael Rogers, Paul Rennick. Film editor: Kristin Gerhart
Kodak Brings Back Super 8:
How have I not heard about this until now?
As a part of what they are calling Analogue Renaissance, Kodak will introduce a new Super 8 camera by the end of 2016. Kodak first introduced a Super 8 camera in 1965, and they have not produced one in 30 years. With the updated version, one can buy the film and processing together. Once the film has been shot, just drop it in the mail, and Kodak will process the film, mail you back the developed film, as well as scan it for you. The scanned version will be available right away, accessible via a passcode from The Cloud.
I’m positively giddy.
“While any technology that allows for visual storytelling must be embraced, nothing beats film … The fact that Kodak is building a brand new Super 8 camera is a dream come true.”
Graphics Credit: Kodak!
By request, we bring you the trailer to “Sausage Party”, an upcoming animated adult adventure horror-comedy, R-rated film. A parody to the Disney & Pixar animated films, this is about as twisted as it gets. You’ll never look at a baby carrot the same way again.
Hitting theaters in August 2016.
Sam Spade and Kasper Gutman will be returning to 650 theaters across the nation later this month.
“The Maltese Falcon” will be re-released for it’s 75th Anniversary. As part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series, the film will be back on the big screen for two days only: February 21 and 24.
Cited as the first major film noir, the 1941 classic stars Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, and Mary Astor as Brigid O’Shaughnessy. Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond, and Elisha Cook Jr co-star. The film, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett, was directed by John Huston.
It’s Halloween Week
The best thing in the recent trailer for the new “Star Wars” flick. Long live Lord Vader.
“JAWS” was released on June 20, 1975 to 464 theaters in North America. The film had a budget of roughly $8 million and did $7 million at the box office opening weekend. It was the first film to gross over $100 million.
This weekend, “JAWS” returns to the big screen for its 40th Anniversary. It will appear in 500 theaters across the country, just in time for the Summer Solstice.