Thursday 30 October 2014

I'm watching big screen movies on my little screen

Film critic Paul Whitington, on the films you should – and shouldn't – watch on your phone

If you're lucky, someone will be giving you a fancy new smart- phone or tablet for Christmas. And while traditionalists might use their iPhones and androids for making phone calls, there's so much more you can do with them than that.

These days, more and more of us are watching films on our phones and iPads on planes, trains and buses. Which is all to the good of course, as movies are a great way of passing the time, especially on long flights.

However, I was rather taken aback last year when I saw someone in front of me on a flight to London watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on their iPod Touch.

Now I'm no rabid fan of 2001 – I think Kubrick made several better films – but I would question the merits of watching it on a screen roughly 5x2.5in in diameter. Kubrick's film is told in big, bold strokes, and depends hugely on its vast space-scapes and groundbreaking special effects for impact.

Most of that would be entirely lost on a tiny screen, and even an iPad, which boasts a 10x7in screen, would hardly do it justice.

It made me think that there are some films which should never be watched on small, portable devices, and some that suit the format perfectly.

Generally speaking, comedies and script-heavy dramas are great, because they're easy to follow and don't depend so much on widescreen pyrotechnics.

Sci-fi and special effects are problematic, because they just don't work on the small formats. And high, wide and handsome epics like Ben-Hur are definitely out, and don't even look right on television.

Movies like that were made for massive movie screens, but here are some suggestions for films that work on portable players, as well as some that don't.

Five that work on iPads and iPods

Annie Hall

Woody Allen's 1977 comedy is less visually ambitious than the likes of Manhattan, but is consistently funny and perfect small-screen entertainment. Allen plays Alvy Singer, a stand-up comic who falls in and out of love with Diane Keaton while uttering such memorable witticisms as "don't knock masturbation – it's sex with someone I love".

Little Miss Sunshine

Though a little murky for the small screen in places, David Fincher's Oscar-winning movie is a gripping drama about Mark Zuckerberg and the origins of Facebook.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg, a technology-friendly character if ever there was one. It's brilliantly written by Aaron Sorkin, and can easily be dipped in and out of.

Jane Eyre

Irish Independent

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