CineSavant Column

Wednesday June 3, 2020


Hello!  CineSavant is back from the ashes.

This what my piece of Los Angeles felt like waking up on Tuesday morning, even though our part of town had no arson fires (I think). This movement was everywhere, not just big cities… there’s even been trouble in Reno, Nevada. Moving on — I do have some Home Video-type news to report a bit below. Frankly, I kept myself distracted from the police sirens by finessing my Dr. Mabuse review.


How about that fabulous SpaceX  space launch on Saturday… the one that was buried under other current events. We seem to be retracing our steps right back to 1950’s Destination Moon, which proposed the ‘crazy’ idea that an aerospace mogul with a private company would be the first to send a manned atomic rocket into space. In some way things haven’t changed. The old movie’s Howard Hughes-like visionary scares millionaires into backing his rocket with the territorial imperative to secure the ‘high ground of space’ against those pesky Russians. The Destination Moon executive has other Elon Musk qualities: when a court order comes down to prevent his launch due to the risk of poisoning the planet with nuclear material, he just goes rogue and launches anyway, regulations be damned.

This launch feels much different than the old NASA missions. The cockpit interior and the space suits are simplified and designed for style — they look like something from a medium-budget space film. The suits don’t appear to be pressurized. If that’s true, then their function must just be for impact protection (?).

So amusing to see the astronauts driven to the launch in a Tesla sedan. SpaceX has the good taste not to slap logos and ads all over everything, even if the ‘entrepreneurial spirit conquers all’ message in their institutional media is more than a little strained. Last Saturday’s mildly hawkish TV spokesman for the new ‘Space Force’ even used the term ‘the high ground.’ I am a bit dismayed by the video montage with President Trump promising that we’ll plant an American flag on Mars. That aggressive stance sounds too much like our old nemesis Marvin the Martian, who was forever claiming new planets for his militant alien race.

Blu-ray versus Burn-ray:  On Facebook, correspondent Robert Cashill has pointed out what was to me a new wrinkle with Blu-ray discs: the new Paramount release of Funeral in Berlin does not carry the Blu-ray logo, but simply says ‘Blu-ray Disc’ on the spine. That signifies that it’s technically not a pressed disc but a burned BD-R. According to Robert, discs purchased from Amazon are burned BD-R’s, while some purchased from other vendors are pressed discs. Even if the result makes no difference in practice, that’s certainly an odd wrinkle.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson