Daily Call Sheet: Van Halen Unites, Colorization Is Evil, and the Next Christmas Classic

Spencer Tracy

Van Halen Reunites With David Lee Roth

Years ago I predicted the exact date this would happen: The second Tuesday after everyone stopped caring.

Whether you like their music or not, go back and watch Van Halen in their late ’70s-early ’80s prime. That was rock-n-roll — a guilt-free, turn-up-the-volume, dance-the-night-away pleasure. No anger, no guilt, no resentment — just a three-and-a-half minute prescription of Glad To Be Alive.

Hey you! Who said that?

Baby how you been?

Man, I miss the ’80s, and so does America.

They’re Still Colorizing ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

A reader sent this, a clip from the new HD colorization. He writes, “Every single frame looks like a Rockwell painting.”

It might, but that’s not the way the film was meant to be seen. Technicolor was invented in 1916 and came of age in the late twenties and thirties. If filmmakers wanted to make their films in color, they could have. Sure, sometimes the cost was prohibitive, but when a film was produced for black and white the lighting, shadows, clothes and make-up were crafted and created deliberately around that reality. Nothing about any black and white film is appropriate for color. Nothing.

Jimmy Stewart himself was so incensed by colorization (his look at what was done to “It’s a Wonderful Life” was likely the last straw) he personally testified before Congress against it in 1988.

For a time, when Ted Turner was really going to town, you couldn’t even buy black and white VHS copies of some of these classics. You had to turn the color off on your television.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine why such a thing would enhance anyone’s enjoyment of a film.

A LOOK BACK AT ‘REMEMBER THE NIGHT’ WITH BARBARA STANWYCK AND FRED MACMURRAY

I’m convinced this is the next Christmas classic just waiting to be re-discovered. Written by Preston Sturgess, this, the first of four films co-starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, is not only a lovely Christmas flick, but the contrivance that puts the two of them together is expertly handled, as is the resolution.

Sturgess was so unhappy (unjustifiably, in my opinion) with what director (Mitchell Leisen) did to his screenplay that he wouldn’t sell the studio his next script, “The Lady Eve,” unless he was allowed to direct it himself.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Arachnoquake’ Coming to Syfy

Tell me this doesn’t sound awesome:

Tracey Gold (Growing Pains) will star in the new Syfy Saturday Original Movie Arachnoquake, scheduled to premiere on Syfy in 2012.

Joining Gold will be Bug Hall (The Little Rascals), Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager) and Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgment Day).

In Arachnoquake, massive earthquakes unleash giant albino spiders. Freed from their ancient subterranean prison, the spiders go on a murderous rampage through New Orleans.

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LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING

Mildred Pierce (TV Mini-series 2011) — HBO’s five-part mini-series directed by Todd Haynes and starring Kate Winslet arrived on Blu-ray last week. I finished it last night and hope to publish a review today or tomorrow.

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SCOTTDS’ EPIC LINKTACULAR

NEW PHOTOS FROM ‘UNDERWORLD AWAKENING

TRAILER FOR BAD ASS, STARRING DANNY TREJO

JAMES BROLIN WAS ALMOST JAMES BOND

DIRECTOR WIM WENDERS WORKING ON A 3D FILM ABOUT ARCHITECTURE

WHAT PIXAR GOT WRONG WITH ‘CARS’

5 SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES THAT SHOULD BE ADAPTED NEXT

AMC RENEWS ‘HELL ON WHEELS’ FOR SEASON 2

SHAME VS. DRAGON TATTOO AND THE ARBITRARY NC-17 RATING

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMAX

9 FILM AND TV GUILTY PLEASURES OF 2011

THE ONLY 4 CHRISTMAS MOVIES EVER MADE (OVER AND OVER AGAIN)

25 FACTS ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES

THE EVOLUTION OF CLASSIC FILM TITLES

WISHING PIXAR WERE BRAVER ABOUT THEIR NEW FILM ‘BRAVE

11 REAL CHURCH SERMONS THAT USED SCI-FI TO PREACH SALVATION

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CLASSIC PICK FOR WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28

TCM:

3:00AM EST: Bad Day At Black Rock (1955) — A one-armed veteran uncovers small-town secrets when he tries to visit an Asian-American war hero’s family. Dir: John Sturges Cast: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis. C-82 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format.

A real tribute to the talent of director John Sturges. A story with very little action and all about explosive tension. Great acting, cinematography, and a tight screenplay help, but Sturges’ steady direction and Newell P. Kimlin’s editing are the real stars.

Look also for Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Walter Brennan, and Dean Jagger.

There’s just nothing better than a film that ties a knot in your stomach and tightens it the rest of the way through. When the credits finally roll, you can actually feel yourself start to breath again.

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