[Editor’s Note: This interview was originally posted on The Digital Bits on 9/17/02, coinciding with the Columbia TriStar Home Video DVD release of Enough and Enigma. We would like to dedicate it to the memory of Michael Apted.]
There are some directors who find a genre they’re particularly comfortable with or adept at and make an entire career out of it. Think Wes Craven with horror movies or the Farrelly brothers in comedy. Michael Apted is not one of these directors. Apted is a jumper, having tackled everything from courtroom dramas to comedy to rock and roll. When you look at his filmography, the phrase you are most likely to repeat over and over is, “He directed that, too?”
Apted began his career as a researcher and director for British television. In the 1970’s, he crossed over to theatrical films with movies like Stardust, a terrific, criminally underrated movie that traces the rise and fall of a rock group (note to the studios: Stardust needs to be released on DVD and the sooner the better). His major American breakthrough came in 1980 with Coal Miner’s Daughter, for which Sissy Spacek won the Oscar as Best Actress. Since that time, Apted has worked with some of the best actors in recent memory, including Sigourney Weaver (also Oscar nominated for her work in Apted’s Gorillas in the Mist), Jodie Foster (Nell), Val Kilmer (Thunderheart), and Gene Hackman (Class Action and Extreme Measures). Oh yeah, he also helmed one of the most recent adventures of some guy named James Bond (The World is Not Enough). [Read on here...]
[Editor’s Note: This interview was originally posted on The Digital Bits on 5/4/01. It refers to the original and much-maligned Kubrick DVD collection release and also the better and properly remastered 2001 DVDs. It hints at future HD releases, but this was five years prior to the debut of Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD was still well over the horizon. Read it as an artifact of the period. But our admiration of Vitali has only been enhanced by the recent and terrific documentary about his life, Filmworker, not to mention his fine work on the new 4K release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so we thought it would be fun to share this vintage interview we did with him. It’s clear just how protective he was then – and remains now – of Stanley Kubrick’s body of work. We salute him for it. All Kubrick fans owe him a great debt.]
One thing you can say for sure about Leon Vitali, is that he knew Stanley Kubrick. Vitali first came into contact with Kubrick when he was cast to play the role of Lord Bullingdon in Barry Lyndon. The two quickly struck up a friendship, and Vitali soon found himself working side-by-side with the director as his assistant and a permanent part of Kubrick’s staff. Over an association of more than 25 years, Vitali personally worked on nearly every facet of Kubrick’s films, from scripting to casting, production, laboratory supervision and advertising. He even worked on the translations of Kubrick’s films into other languages for international markets. [Read on here...]
Sony's Grover Crisp understands the science and art of film restoration as well as anyone working in Hollywood today. As the Senior VP for Asset Management, Film Restoration and Digital Mastering for Sony Pictures Entertainment, he's personally supervised scores of great film restoration efforts for the studio - both physical and digital - including such classics as The Bridge on the River Kwai and Jason and the Argonauts.
When Lionsgate recently announced their new 3-disc Full Disclosure Blu-ray Edition of Francis Ford Coppola's legendary Vietnam War film, Apocalypse Now, the news seemed almost too good to be true for longtime fans. The set, which streets on 10/19, is due to include both versions of the film, many hours of bonus features and, at long last, the infamous Hearts of Darkness documentary – the first time the film and documentary have ever been presented together on disc. It also includes – for the first time in ANY home format – both versions of the film in their original 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Given the film's complex history, and the equally complicated history of its past home video editions, fans of Apocalypse Now immediately began to have questions about the Blu-ray release, and quickly began to speculate about the release online. How would the new transfer compare to the 2001 release? How involved were Coppola and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro in preparing the new transfer? What surprises might the new edition bring?
It's no exaggeration to say that Richard Donner is one of the most influential filmmakers of the past thirty years. For all intents and purposes, he single-handedly invented the modern superhero movie with 1978's Superman. In 1987, he reinvigorated the buddy movie formula with Lethal Weapon, spawning three sequels and countless imitators. But like any filmmaker, there have been some disappointments along the way, both critical and commercial. Perhaps the biggest was the failure of Inside Moves, a low-key character study, to find an audience upon its release in 1980. The film garnered critical praise and an Academy Award nomination for Diana Scarwid in the Best Supporting Actress category. But an ineptly managed theatrical release all but insured that no one would ever see it. After its release on VHS in the early 80s, Inside Moves promptly vanished into obscurity.