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An Insightful AND Entertaining Documentary About The Future Of Movies,
This review is from: Side by Side (DVD)
I'm crazy about the movies and could talk about different aspects of the film world for hours upon hours. So any serious contemplation about the art of filmmaking has an inherent interest for me. But beyond that, "Side by Side" assembles some of the biggest names imaginable to discuss the digital revolution currently underway. Producer and host Keanu Reeves interviews such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, David Lynch, David Fincher, and James Cameron for this piece. And while these are some of the biggest names (those featured prominently on the DVD/Blu-ray cover), there are plenty of other familiar faces willing to weigh in as well. With lessons in film history and film technology, the documentary is also a stunning retrospective of movies that will have you yearning to revisit many of your favorites (often with a new eye). Seriously, you should get a film school credit for watching this presentation! This is no dry lecture, however, but more like a lively and informal debate.
Celluloid has been the exclusive medium for movies for over a hundred years. Recently, though, advances in digital technology have changed the game. "Side by Side" charts the evolution of the technology using lots of examples and film clips to highlight the historical stages of digital filmmaking. Once the province of low budget student films or experimental works, it now accounts for a large portion of the entertainment shown in modern movie theaters. Does this trend mean the end of film as we know it? This is the big question at the heart of "Side by Side." Some proclaim the texture of film can not be rivaled, others embrace the new possibilities of digital, and many fall into the middle of the debate. One thing seems fairly certain, though, there is no escaping this brave new world.
Chris Kenneally packs a lot of information into "Side by Side" and Reeves is a genial host (bonus points for charting the different stages of his facial hair throughout). What makes the movie so enjoyable is that those who contribute to the discussion obviously love what they are doing. It's almost infectious. Anyone who loves the movies should not miss this one! Rarely do you get a chance to sit down with so much talent and have them wax on about the history of film. And again, the presentation is so loaded with movie clips that my brain went into overdrive compiling a list of classics that I needed to watch again. In the end, "Side by Side" adequately addresses its central theme. But unexpectedly, it's about much broader topics as well and has a real universal appeal. Informative and entertaining, this is an essential piece about modern movie making! KGHarris, 2/13.