In celebration of its September 6 Blu-ray debut, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and NCM Fathom will present a special screening of Scarface at more than 475 movie theaters nationwide, for one night only, on Wednesday, August 31, at 7:30 p.m. local time. Audiences will get the opportunity to experience one of the most influential gangster films ever made like never before — with all-new restored high-definition picture and enhanced audio — and also get an exclusive peek at one of the Blu-ray’s bonus features: a 20-minute featurette that showcases interviews with popular filmmakers and talent expressing how this sprawling, bloody epic redefined the gangster genre and left an enduring influence on cinema. For more information on this event and ticketing, click here.
Born of a partnership between Ridley and Tony Scott’s production company, Scott Free, and YouTube, Life In a Day is a unique, user-generated documentary given formal shape by director Kevin Macdonald, editor Joe Walker and a small army of cataloging research assistants. The idea: to enlist the global community to capture and upload fragments of their lives on a single day, July 24, 2010, and then sift through the material to try to provide a fleeting snapshot of modern life, in all its dazzling arrays of form.
Culled from over 80,000 submissions, representing 4,500 hours of footage, Life In a Day ping-pongs from bustling metropolitan centers to some of the furthest and most remote corners of the Earth. What’s perhaps most impressive, in its own fragmented-shard way, is the clarity and quality of some of the shots, which indicate set-ups with specific ideas of composition. It’s interesting to ponder (if one is so inclined) the manner in which consumed film and television has in turn framed and influenced the way we witness and experience our own lives, and thus record it in our own photos and videos.
Small parts of Life In a Day dazzle, no doubt. It’s most interesting to see how incredible montages of seemingly pedestrian meaning can be winnowed from material from such a wide variety of sources. A “breakfast montage,” for instance, incorporates quick cuts and dozens of short shots, yet speaks volumes about the simultaneous worldwide similarities and differences in this most basic and shared of human acts, eating. A couple births are shown (a giraffe, a bird, and a human baby, the latter of which brings about the fainting of the video-recording father), and a marriage proposal is engagingly juxtaposed with romantic rejection.
There are moments, too, that are both nervy (a gay youngster calling his grandmother to break news of his homosexuality) and touching (a father lighting incense and goading his young son into ringing a bell to give greetings and respect to their obviously deceased wife/mother; an awkward and pimply Toronto teenager shaving for the first time, under the guidance of his father). Life In a Day also takes some time to get to know some characters, too, returning a couple times to a Korean man who has already traversed 190 countries as part of his mission to ride his bicycle across the world.
Still, Life In a Day is a movie that succeeds more in theory than practice. It’s a fabulous concept, but overall less than the sum of its parts, largely because the film slips back and forth, in kind of jarring fashion, between different modes of storytelling. It’s a perhaps impossibly difficult task, finding an order in this sort of disorder. And that’s emblematic of real life, one supposes. But there are more engaging examples of that paradox than Life In a Day, even for fans of reflected reality in cinema. (National Geographic Entertainment/Scott Free/YouTube, PG-13, 95 minutes)