Friday, March 31, 2006

Dowloading Movies, Spam and Telemarketers.

A few things I have been wondering about for a while.

As you can probably guess I'm against downloading movies. Despite what anyone says it is stealing someone else's work either in the form of the people who made the movie or those who legally show or sell the movie (such as little ol' me).

Anyway, my question is: If the public can download movies off the internet for free, who's pirating the movies and why? They aren't making any money off free downloads and they are taking the risk of getting caught.

Why do we get Spam? Everybody hates it but it keeps getting worse. I can only assume there must be some people who actually buy the products or get caught in the scams. If no one responded then there would be no reason to send the spam. Would you buy a drug from a company that has to misspell it just to get their letter to reach you? Would you believe that someone in Nigeria is willing to give you millions of dollars?

The same goes for telemarketers. If no one bought the products they are selling they wouldn't have any reason to call.

Anyway, just musing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mini Movie reviews.

Just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in about a few movies I have seen recently.

INSIDE MAN- great movie, kept my attention. The acting and writing were well done. As far as Spike Lee directing, I think any reasonably competent director could have done this. It was the writing and acting that made it. Lee pulled a couple of camera tricks that I thought were misplaced, didn't fit with the rest of the movie and drew my attention out.

ULTRAVIOLET - I like Milla Jovovich and I love sci-fi and action movies but this was truly one of the worst films I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot of movies). She was good but the movie made absolutly no sense. It looked cool and the fight scenes were interesting but that was about it.

WHY WE FIGHT - An interesting documentary about the military-industrial complex in the US, it also touched on oil and American Imperialism. Didn't say much really new (at least to me). It did mention a faked attack on some US warships that helped start the Vietnam war. I hadn't never heard that before. Sounds similar to a recent occurence doesn't it? It wasn't really a documentary in the true sense. It was definitley trying to make a particular point.

TRANSAMERICA - I can see why Felicity Huffman got an Oscar nomination, she did a really good job. It wsn't as funny as the trailer suggests but overall it was interesting to watch.

UNDERWORLD 2 - I'd seen it before and watched it again this week at Western Film. I like this kind of movie and found it quite entertaining. Not high art but fun to watch. I bet there'll be another sequel.

V For VENDETTA- Great movie, very entertaining. It was less of an action movie than I expected, had more of a political subtext. Some people don't like the ending and I can understand why. Also having a terrorist as a hero no doubt creates some conflicting opinions. Hugo Weaving did a good job of creating a character with only his voice and body movements. Natalie Portman is beautiful but is not a good actress.

16 BLOCKS- This movie didn't get a lot of press or promotion which is surprising for a movie with Bruce Willis. It wasn't Die Hard but was quite entertaining. I do agree with almost everyone else that the voice Mos Def uses for some reason is very annoying. Western Film could have played this next week but we decided to play Fun with Dick and Jane since we hadn't played it yet. I may play 16 Blocks next week with Brokeback Mountain.

DATE MOVIE - had it's moments but was pretty bad, nowhere near as good as similar movies such as Scary Movie. Alyson Hannigan was ok but I prefer her as Willow. I doubt Western Film will play it. The distributor Fox is one of the hardest to deal with. As a result we usually only play their big hits. They usually demand we play their movies for both shows each night. We can't justify that for most of their movies.

FIREWALL - It's playing at Western Film this week so I guess that's a disclaimer. It's a good solid thriller. Harrison Ford is good as always. Paul Bettany makes a good bad guy. It's worth $4.25 (and I'm not just saying that because it's playing here).

Sunday, March 26, 2006

An example of Bad Timing.

The last post reminded me of a time we lost a show at the Galleria when it was a Cineplex. It wasn't a Tuesday though. I think it was a weekend matinee. We were playing Saving Private Ryan.
(spoiler alert)

About 10 minutes from the end of the movie, just when Tom Hanks character is dying the bulb goes. Everything else keeps going so the audience can still hear the movie but there's no picture?!
The manager asks me to stop the show and fix the problem.
I had to tell him I couldn't fix the problem in time to finish the show. The xenon lamps in movie projectors are under very high pressure and can explode if not handled properly. They are especially likely to explode if they are hot. It's recommended to wait at least 20 minutes for a dead bulb to cool down before changing it.
What made it even worse was the bulb in this projector was a big old 5000 watt. Most projectors use about 2000. It would not have been pleasant if that sucker had exploded.
It was too bad for the people in that show, sitting for almost 3 hours and not being able to watch the last 10 minutes of the movie. I'm glad the manager was the one they would have yelled at, not me.
Of course now at Western Film it would be me they would be yelling at?!

BTW I just changed the bulb at Western Film, the old one was starting to have problems igniting which is the first indication it needs to be replaced.

BTW You may wonder why theatres don't just change the bulbs every month or something. The 200o watt bulbs Western Film uses cost $850.00 each.

A subset of Murphy's Law

I used to work as a projectionist at Famous Players and Cineplex when they still had cheap tuesdays. It got to the point I hated working Tuesdays, things always went wrong on Tuesday night. The weird thing is from a projection point of view it doesn't really matter if there are 2 or 300 people in the theatre. In most theatres the projection booth is high up and you can't even see all the seats.
It always seemed odd to me that things would go wrong on Tuesdays when there are the maximum number of customers to piss off, Murphy must have had a special subset for movie theatres. I should point out what most of you are probably thinking, it was usually equipment failure or film jams that were not caused by the projectionist.
Occasionally the problems were caused by the projectionist. I have one really memorable screw-up. I was working at the Wellington 8 and I had to thread up what we call a yo-yo. Bascially there is one print of the film, it plays in one theatre, runs along the wall on some rollers then plays in another theatre. One time I somehow flipped the film over and put the soundtrack on the wrong side on one of the projectors. Stopping one projector after it has started is enough fun but when you need to stop two about 50 feet apart it gets to be a lot of fun. Naturally it was Tuesday night and both shows were packed. I managed to stop the projectors without anything breaking, flipped over the film, rethreaded, and restarted the show.
I think the subset was directly poking me that night, one of the first things a projectionist learns is which side the soundtrack is on and to make sure it's threaded up properly.
We almost never have problems at Western Film but I still get this nagging feeling when I work Tuesdays.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wonder Woman and a scary image.

It has been reported that Lindsay Lohan is interested in playing Wonder Woman?! Joss Whedon who created the tv series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel is planning to make a film version of Wonder Woman. There has been much speculation over who would get the role.
Personally I don't think Lindsay Lohan is anywhere near a good fit for the role. For one she can't act, two she doesn't physically fit the role. Wonder Woman needs to be someone who is more physical.
According to the some of the actresses being considered are Charisma Carpenter, Kim Basinger, Lucy Lawless, Salma Hayek, Michelle Rodriguez, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sandra Bullock, Nadia Bjorlin, Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, Jennifer Connelly, Katie Holmes and Jennifer Lopez.

I would pick Michelle Rodriguez, Salma Hayek or my #1 choice would be Eliza Dushku who played Faith the Slayer gone bad on Buffy and Angel.

Let's hope they don't pick Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez or Lindsay Lohan or the project will get negative reviews before it's even made.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tom Cruise at it again.

There were reports that Tom Cruise threatened Paramount he wouldn't do promotion for Mission Impossible 3 if Comedy Central in the US replayed a South Park episode on Sciencetology (not sure how it's spelled). Viacom owns both Paramount and Comedy Central. To me this raises several questions.

Does he have the right to use his clout to get a South Park episode pulled?

What would he have done if Comedy Central was not owned by Viacom?

What is he thinking? I don't think this guy needs any more bad press. After all the ridicule he's received over the last year or so he probably needs a hit a bad as Paramount does. There were reports around the time he jumped on Oprah's couch that Paramount was considering cancelling MI:3 because of his erratic behaviour.

Any Thoughts?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

How long is your average 2 hour movie? (Trick Question)

This is a trick question because I was referring to the physical length of the film not how long it takes to watch it.

Your average film is about 12,000 feet of film and weighs about 60 pounds. 24 frames per second adds up quick. Each film is shipped on usually 6 small reels of about 2000 feet. Our projectionists then splice them together to make the film all in one. (see picture). Once we are done playing the film we break it down onto the smaller reels and send it back to the warehouse.

We had an interesting incident a few months ago. One of our projectionsts had a little bit of a mishap and we ended up with 6000 feet of film on the floor! When this happens it gets all twisted and tangled. Picture 6000 feet of tangled up Christmas tree lights or rope. Luckily the film had finished it's run, I had to cut it into about 100 pieces and put it back together like a jigsaw puzzle. Took me until 6 am to fix it.

Spiderman 3 Pic!

Sony recently released some poster artwork from the upcoming Spiderman 3. Some of you may have already seen it. It has the internet quite a buzz since his costume is Black and White, not Red and Blue. It's not a black and white pic apparently. The question is why? I guess we'll found out in May 2007.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bad movies we love.

I think everyone has a bad movie they love but may be embarassed to admit it.

The most famous example of this would be The Rocky Horror Picture Show. On it's own the movie is pretty bad but combined with the audience participation it becomes a great time.

I will admit my bad movie is Grease 2. It's really corny but I find it entertaining for some reason. It's also a movie Michelle Pfieffer will never live down.

A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless for fear of shame) loves the movie Megaforce. Ttruly one of the worst movies ever made.

Anyone else care to admit a Bad movie they love?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Comments, Suggestions

This is a generic posting if anyone wants to place a comment not directly related to any of the postings. I welcome your comments and suggestions on Western Film. I also welcome complaints. Well, maybe welcome isn't the right word but I do want to hear them. Some problems can be fixed or dealt with only if someone brings it to our attention.


Trivia about movie posters

Did you know the posters you commonly see at theatres are called 1-sheets? They are a standard size and usually double sided to go in backlit display cases. A bus shelter size ad is called a 3-sheet. A Billboard is usually a 24 sheet.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Interesting Fact.

Did you ever wonder why the previews for upcoming movies are often called Trailers? In the past when a trip to the movies was comprised of a double feature, a cartoon and a newsreel the previews were played at the end. Hence they trailed everything else.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

First Post.

It occured to me that no one will probably ever read this post. Until I let people know about the blog there won't be anyone to look at it.
Anyway, if you are reading this post thanks for going back in the postings.
I'll save the really interesting things for future posts I guess.

The big news the last couple days was Crash winning Best Picture rather than Brokeback Mountain. Some were going so far as to say it was anti-gay. Personally I think Crash is a better movie than Brokeback. Crash was so well done and had some of the best moments I've seen in films. I will admit it loses some in multiple viewings if you already know what happens in some scenes. I've seen a lot of movies and I would call Crash one of the best I've ever seen.