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more often than not (especially as i get older) my criteria for going to an actual movie theater to see a movie is: “is it something i must see on the big screen?”

trumbo” the movie opened this past weekend. i saw the play several times, starting from workshop performances. kirk’s former boss at the westside is the director. and yet we’ve debated whether to go see it in a theater or wait for it to come out on dvd, because it’s a “netflix” movie.

on the other hand, i went to see “speed racer” in the theater. even paid extra to see it in imax. why? it’s something that you want to see writ large, on an enormous screen. the visuals are an attraction to me, and are often the defining factor.

the problem with that, as i forget each time i see a movie on that basis, is that the buzz only lasts so long; with some the buzz lasts longer than with others, but it always wanes. speed racer was stunning for the first fifteen minutes or so, and then i was completely inured to its visual charms. even the monkey couldn’t save the movie for me.

and i love monkeys. oh do i love monkeys.

which brings me to wall-e, which i saw last night. definitely a movie to see on a big screen.

but, for probably the first time ever, the buzz lasted for the whole movie. wall-e is an all-time classic movie if there ever was one. in retrospect, i think i now know what people felt at the turn of the last century, when they saw their first movie. it’s that arresting, that engaging, that challenging, and that different.

because there’s no dialogue for the first 1/3 of the movie or so, and large stretches of movie after that without dialogue as well, the filmmakers had to rely on the visuals to propel the story forward. wall-e the robot is buster keaton, directed by preston sturges. wall-e is gene kelly, directed by vincente minnelli. wall-e is marlon brando, directed by orson welles.

it’s easily in the top ten of movies i have seen thus far in my life. it’s that good. little did i know when i linked to the movie’s viral website months ago that i’d like it so much.

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