No tape, no screen: The Dobie's new digital projector and the Alamo's windblown mishap last week.
Dobie Does Digital Dept.: Let me apologize in advance for any typos there might be in this week's column, but I've just come from having my eyeballs blown through the back of my head. The joyous ocular mishap came as a result of the new digital projection system at Landmark's Dobie Theater, one of only eight in a national test roll-out by the arthouse chain. If all goes well and audiences react enthusiastically, Landmark will begin outfitting the rest of their theatres in the near future. The $70,000 DCS Cinema System comes as a result of Landmark's teaming with Microsoft and Los Angeles-based Digital Cinema Solutions and uses Microsoft's Windows platform to download films straight from the server. That bodes well for lovers of cinema because there's no film print to scratch or tear, and because the projected image is a perfect clone of the original. The demo reel that so impressed me was one of the new BMW short films that have already been seen online. I caught John Woo's "The Hostage," which, when you get right down to it, is little more than a flashy, expensive car advertisement. But what an advertisement it is! Crisp, clean, flawless digital filmmaking projected the way it was meant to be seen -- and it is also head and shoulders above anything the great Hong Kong filmmaker has done in years. That film has already left the Dobie, but fear not -- manager Keith Garcia says the equipment is here to stay, and Landmark is already making plans for another all-digital exhibition. (Robert Rodriguez, we're talking to you.)... R.I.P. Rolling Roadshow: The Alamo Drafthouse's Tim League sends word that the theatre's traveling, outdoor inflate-a-screen took a beating in high winds last week and had to be shipped back to Germany for repair. That resulted in the almost-but-not-quite cancellation of their Rock 'N' Roll Drive-In double feature last weekend, but League says things should be up and running when the next wave of outdoor screenings roll around come springtime.