“What About Bob?” (Touchstone, 1991). Bob (played by Bill Murray), an ultra-needy psych patient with a tradition of burning out his doctors, finds renewed hope with his new shrink Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss)–so much so that he follows him along with his family on their month-long vacation to New Hampshire. A terrific comedy with a great script and hilarious performances by Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray. “I’m sailing!” Written by Alvin Sargent. Directed by Frank Oz. “There are two types of people in this world–those who like Neil Diamond and those who don’t.”
I saw the new Pixar Animation Studios’ film “Brave” last week in a theater equipped with the new Dolby® Atmos™ sound system. Only 14 theaters in the U.S. are currently equipped with the Dolby Atmos system. “Brave” is the first feature film to use the new sound format.
Dolby states that its new Atmos system is “a revolutionary approach to sound.” According to the Dolby website:
“The most significant development in audio since the arrival of surround sound is here. Dolby® Atmos™ delivers audiences a more natural and realistic soundfield, transporting them into the story with a lifelike sensory experience. Developed with input from professionals throughout the movie industry, Dolby Atmos represents a dynamic shift in audio, reinventing the traditional surround sound methodology and offering a complete platform for sound now and well into the future.”
The first thing I noticed when I arrived in the theater was the increased number of speakers in the room, including two long bays of speakers installed across the entire length of the theater ceiling. The Dolby Atmos trailer gave us a preview of the sonic treat that awaited for us. Instead of being just loud and overpowering, watching “Brave” with the Dolby Atmos sound mix made the all the sounds, voices and music in the film incredibly clear, refined and targeted. I was really impressed with the subtlety and clarity of the sound as well as the sheer power and depth that it provided the movie-going experience.
It will be interesting to see where this new technology goes in the future and how widely adapted it will be over time. I personally will jump at the chance to see a film in Dolby Atmos again. I hope you get to experience it and enjoy it soon, too.
“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World” (MGM, 1963). A crazy chase through California as a group of greedy people try to find a buried treasure of $350,000 in cash. It’s a fun, if not long-winded, comedy with some great live action scenes. The film stars countless actors and comedians of the day, including Spencer Tracy, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Mickey Rooney, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett and Ethel Merman as the world’s most awful mother-in-law. Written by William and Tania Rose. Directed by Stanley Kramer. “And that is, every man, including the old bag, for himself!”
“Born Yesterday” (Columbia, 1950). A crooked, hot-tempered businessman hires a brainiac to help teach his beautiful, uneducated girlfriend how to behave and converse better in polite society. In turn, the girlfriend figures out the power of thinking for herself. It’s an acclaimed, tour de force performance from the great Judy Holliday–she played the role on the Broadway stage in 1946 and won the Academy Award® for Best Actress in a Leading Role for this film in 1950. Also stars William Holden as the tutor and Broderick Crawford as the rich and crappy boyfriend. Definitely worth watching and thinking about. (And definitely not to be confused with the dreadful 1993 remake.) Based on the stage play by Garson Kanin. Written by Albert Mannheimer. Directed by George Cukor. “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
“Ball of Fire” (Samuel Goldwyn, 1941). Eight professors who are ensconced in a New York City mansion writing an enclycopedia get caught up with the girlfriend of a local mobster and hilarity (truly) ensues. Get ready to learn some slang from the 1930s-1940s, too. A classic screwball comedy with a sweet love story to boot. Led by the great Gary Cooper and Barbara Syanwyck, the cast delivers on the delightful script written by Charles Bracett and Billy Wilder. Directed by Howard Hawks. “Before you go, would you, uh…would you yum me just once more?!”