Thursday, December 13, 2007

Next Week's Movie

Next week was an interesting one to book for. It's the last week before we shut down for the holidays and typically one of the quietest weeks of the year. There were no new movies available which was kinda good since I didn't want to 'waste' one. So it was either bring something back or bring in something I had turned down or look at something a little different. I asked about Love in the Time of Cholera. It was available so I booked it in as one show at 7pm. No late show.

I decided to play the film for a couple reasons: It has more of an adult/art appeal and that crowd is still around when the students are gone. It's also a bit of an experiment to see how we are with the lesser known art films and whether they could do okay.

We'll see how it works.

The first 4 days back after the holidays will probably be American Gangster.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I hope these movies are as funny as they look, Be Kind Rewind and St. Trinians.

The trailers for both these movies are really funny. I've never been a huge fan of Jack Black but he looks well cast in Be Kind Rewind. It opens Jan 25th.

I don't know much about St Trinians. It's a British remake of an old movie. This trailer made me laugh harder than most I've seen recently. Colin Firth is always good and Rupert Everett in drag will probably be priceless. This movie has come out in Britain but I haven't seen a Canadian release date.

Next Week's Movies.

Next week was a little bit hard to decide on. I had already booked in Gone Baby Gone. The only new movie available was Lions for Lambs. I wasn't sure about playing it since it generally didn't do well and the reviews were mixed. However the only options were to bring back movies we had already played like Across the Universe or iffy movies I had passed on like Rendition. I decided to take a chance on Lions. It does have Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in it. It didn't do well in the US because they aren't into movies about Iraq but that doesn't necessarily translate to Canada. One thing in the trailer I thought was interesting. Meryl Streep's character observes that the Iraq war has taken longer than WWII. It was basically a toss up as to what order to play them in. I decided to play Lions first because it has more adult interest.

One week left before we close for Holidays. Not sure what will play. I think I might have to get creative.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Goes to show how important Volume is.

My review of Across the Universe wasn't that favourable but for a reason I suspected and mentioned in the review. The volume was too low. I watched it again the first night Western Film played it and was able to put the volume up to where it should have been. The songs gained so much with the higher volume. I ended up really liking the movie.
It's not completely the other theatre's fault, movies are all supposed to be mixed to play at the same volume level however there's usually some variation. When we play a film in DTS digital sound the volume level is usually set at 6.5 -7. For Across The Universe I had to turn it up to 7.6. Most movies at that volume would be blowing people ears out.

Next Week's (this) movies.

I'm a trifle behind as these movies have already started. Monday was an interesting day to book. I had already booked Into the Wild and Gone Baby Gone in because I knew they were available and there wouldn't be anything new coming off. However Across the Universe did more it's first weekend than most movies do all week so it wouldn't have made much sense to drop it. I also wanted to keep it since this is the last week before exams start. I decided to push Gone Baby Gone back a week and play Into the Wild for the first show and keep Across the Universe for the late show. Into the Wild is quite long so Across the Universe doesn't start until 9:55, pretty late for us.

I'm not sure what I'm going to fill the next two weeks with, American Gangster is the only 'big' movie that might come off. Usually in the exam period I try to play comedies or other good exam break movies. I may bring in Shoot 'Em Up for this reason. Or movies that appeal to the adult market that will show up while the students are busy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My Poster Collection - Zardoz.

This poster is from a bad 70's movie starring Sean Connery. I can't remember exactly what this is but I think it's an Australian poster. It's almost as tall as a regular one sheet but about half the width and folds in three.
I remember buying this poster but I'm not sure why. I guess I figured it might be worth money at some point.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Next Week's Movies

Across the Universe was finally available. I decided to put it in for both shows. This is the last playweek before classes end and the students will start to study for finals. I haven't had this many questions about whether a film was coming since Borat so I expect it to be really busy.

Into The Wild and Gone, Baby Gone were also available. There is basically nothing else to come off so I've booked them in for the following playweek.

I didn't really plan to play Into The Wild but Rainbow did quite well with it and kept it for 4 weeks. We'll see what happens here.

After the next couple weeks I'm not sure what will happen, American Gangster may get pushed off by new films, other than that most films playing now will continue through Christmas.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Movie Review - Beowulf

I've been wanting to see this and finally got to see it plus a bonus. The second trailer for a movie called Cloverfield I've been wanting to see. The first trailer played in front of Transformers. It's some sort of monster movie. The 2nd trailer made it look cool, but predictably still doesn't give a lot of concrete info.

Beowulf was done in an interesting style. It was shot with motion capture technology then animated over. The same technique was used in Polar Express. It still has some of the same problems with the characters looking waxlike. Personally I think they should stick to unfamiliar faces. I didn't recognize the actor that played Beowulf so I didn't have a problem with him but the characters played by Robin Wright and the others I recognized looked weird except for Angelina Jolie, maybe she already looks like a cartoon.

The story was quite interesting. Some people are upset it differs from the original source but I don't know how the story goes so that wasn't a problem for me.

Overall it was a good fantasy film with some epic action scenes. It's showing in some places in 3-D which was obvious sometimes when things were flying at the camera. It was gorier than I thought it would be. It will be playing at Western Film, probably sometime in January. We are only open for 4 more weeks then we shut down for the holidays.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Some interesting films coming out.

I receive the release schedules each distributor puts out. They often go 2 to three years ahead but are usually only accurate for the next few months. Today I got the one for Alliance Films, a Canadian company that distributes for some American distribs as well as Canadian product.

There's some interesting looking stuff coming out. Of course these lists are very subject to change and sometimes aren't right on purpose. Paramount's mystery monster movie that had a short trailer run in front of Transformers doesn't show up on it's release schedule.

No Country For Old Men the newest film from the Coen Brothers which is getting rave reviews and doing huge business in the few theatres it's playing in goes wide on Nov 23rd which means it will probably play in London. I'll be there.

They are distributing a film called Mad Money about three women ( Keaton, Queen Latifah,Katie Holmes, ) who plot to steal the money being taken out of circulation at a bank. It looks funny and open Jan 18th.

Be Kind Rewind- this comedy with Jack Black and Mos Def looks really funny and opens Jan 25.

Some movie called Superhero! starring Leslie Neilsen opens on March 28th. I'm assuming it's one of those parody movies. Let's hope it more like Naked Gun than Scary Movie 4.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay- the title says it all. I'll be there Apr 25th.

Sex and The City opens may 30th.

Sometimes you get the generic titles:

Untitled Ice Cube Family Comedy opens Jul 25th. Do you think he's getting typecast?

A film called Scanners is being released on Oct 17th 2008. Given that it's being directed by the guy who did the Blade films and is coming out around Halloween the odds are good it's a horror film and may be a remake of the Canadian film from 1981 directed by David Cronenberg.

The guy who did Supersize Me, the documentary about eating only McDonalds for a month is releasing a documentary called "Where is Osama" sometime in 2008. That could get interesting.

Something called El Superbeasto is being released at a date TBD. It's called an 'adult animation' and being directed by Rob Zombie who did the recent remake of Halloween. It sounds like another film I'll have to turn people away at the theatre who automatically assume animation = kids.

Looks there are some things for movie buffs and theatre runners like me to look forward to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blade Runner the Final Cut might be coming to Western Film.

There is a 5 disc DVD set for Blade Runner coming out in December. It includes all the versions of the film including the newest and final version. It includes some digital cleanup of wires and stuff and some scenes were re shot. Most notably the scene where Joanna CassidyAKA the Snake Lady is running away from Deckard. Joanna came back to reshoot some scenes that in the original film it was pretty obvious was a stunt double.

Blade Runner is one of the seminal films of all time. In my film classes it was discussed all the time. I've seen it about 8 times.

To promote the new release the film was released in two theatres in the US, one in LA, one in NY. That was all that was planned initially. The business was astronomical. I heard these showings were digital prints only not 35mm.

Based on how well it did a further roll out was decided on. If you look at the official site there's bookings up until February which is interesting since the DVD comes out Dec 18th.

There is one reason for this. Blade Runner is one of those films that just has to seen on the big screen, the amount of detail and spectacle is astounding.

Initially there were no plans to release it theatrically in Canada but there was enough interest they have brought in 2 prints.

Warner specifically asked if we would be interested in playing it. I honestly don't know how well it would do but I'm willing to take the risk. Maybe I can get the film department to help push it.

I told Warner we would play it in November or early December. After that the students will be busy studying for exams or leaving. Since there's only two prints they may want to play through the bigger cities first.

The interesting question is whether to play it after Christmas and the film has come out on DVD. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Next Week's Movies

The choice for next week wasn't too difficult. There were some new films available.

30 days of Night- a cool film which was of interest to a lot of the students but strikes me as one that most everybody who wanted to see it has already seen it. That's part of the reason we don't play Horror films any more.

Martian Child- apparently quite a good movie but died a quite horrible death with no promotion.

We Own the Night- I booked this in as the early show. People have been asking about it and I figure it will do quite well.

There wasn't anything obvious to play for the late show. I decided to bring Superbad back for a third week. It did better the second week than the first which is really rare and I heard a lot of students say they wanted to see it but didn't have time. Even if it does half the business it did the second week it would still be worth playing.

Across the Universe was almost available this week so the odds are good it will be available next week.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's nice to be right.

The playweek that just ended was Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the second week of Superbad. Some people questioned my logic in bringing in Elizabeth since it didn't do that well first run and was generally not that high profile. My experience told me it would do well at Western Film. Mid -range serious films are one of the types of film that do well here. Some also wondered about bringing Superbad back. It did well the first weekend but not enough to keep normally. I book on Monday for the next week so I only have the weekend numbers to judge how I think the film is going to do overall. I decided to keep Superbad because students tend to go more during the week. I knew from my staff and what I had heard other students say that last week was a peak busy time so many wouldn't have time to go to the movie.

So was I right?
Elizabeth did better than most films played at Western Film, even better than the higher end of the range I expected it to fall in.
Superbad did better the second week than the first. Good enough that I may play it again if I there isn't anything good available.

There are always the times I am almost wrong. Like when I almost didn't play Moulin Rouge because I didn't know much about and it turned out to be one of the highest grossing films of that year for Western Film.

My memory is probably being selective but I honestly can't remember ever being really really wrong. There have been many movies that didn't do as well as I expected but not disastrously.

I suppose it'll happen sooner or later.

Roger Ebert

I'm really glad film critic Roger Ebert got over his health problems and is back to writing reviews. Other than scanning headlines the only reviews I read before seeing a film are his. Generally I don't even read his unless I'm not sure if I want to see a film. We almost always agree on how good the film is. His reviews are written in such a way that not too much is given away. One reason I don't read reviews in general is I find they alter my perception of the film. Elements of the film the critic didn't like stand out more than they would have. I prefer to form my own opinion and then read reviews. For some reason Ebert's don't seem to have this affect on me.

Monday, November 05, 2007

An example of the unpredictability of the movie business.

There are general patterns within the movie business and particular to each theatre. Western Film has some general patterns. Movies that cater to adults sell less food, movies that cater to students tend not to do well late show Saturday night etc.

One normal pattern is that the late show on Sunday is pretty dead. Especially if the film hasn't been really busy. Last night my staff figured the late show of Superbad would be quiet so they didn't even bother to make any more popcorn. This is a decision I would have agreed with. Friday and Saturday it did about 30-40 each show. Not bad for the second week of a film. Based on that I would have predicted about 10-15 people for Sunday's show.

Needless to say they were surprised when 77 people showed up.

Movie Review - Michael Clayton

I booked this movie for next week so I thought I'd post my review. I heard a lot of good things about this film. I heard George Clooney did an Oscar caliber performance. It was a really good movie, quite intriguing. I think Tilda Swinton is a great actress so her part was well done. There wasn't anything really exceptional about the film but it was well done and worth watching. The last shot is quite interesting.

My Poster Collection - Pretty Baby

Another poster I got somewhere and probably tried to sell at some point. This film was pretty controversial when it was released as Brooke Shields played a child prostitute. There were also some pics of her in a bathtub and stuff naked but wearing heavy makeup. There was an issue of French Photo magazine that had the pictures inside and on the cover that was worth quite a bit of money pre-internet. There's tons of these on ebay for about $10.00 each.

Next Week's Movies

Next week was a pretty easy choice. There were only 2 new films to choose from.

Rendition- a good film but I'm not sure it would draw any people. I'm keeping it in my reserve.

Michael Clayton - I booked this in for the early show next week. It's one of those serious films that gets a lot of press but not a lot of people go to see first run. It is however one of the kinds of films that Western Film does best with.

I booked The Kingdom in for the late show. It was available last week but I choose to keep Superbad. The Kingdom is more of a late show kind of movie. I'm not sure how it will do.

Still waiting on Across the Universe.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Next Week's Movies

There were three new movies available for next week.

The Heartbreak Kid- bad movie, bombed, got bad word of mouth, better things to play so won't be coming to Western Film.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age- I booked this in for the 7pm show. It didn't do too great first run but it's the kind of film that will play well at the University, or at least, I hope.

The Kingdom - This one I'm holding in reserve for the week after next. It would make a good late show and I decided to keep Superbad as the late show next week.

I decided to keep Superbad for a couple reasons.

-It's been quite busy, busy enough that I probably would have kept it even without the second reason. In 4 days it's done almost as much business as most movies make all week.

- the students are incredibly busy and this week seems to be the peak from what I've heard. I would imagine there are many who want to see the film but don't have time. We actually had people asking if we are going to keep the film another week which is a rare request. It's moving to 9:20.

I figure Across The Universe will come off soon, probably Michael Clayton and Rendition as well. Both are good movies but not doing great commercially.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This one has my vote for weirdest looking movie coming soon.

I happened across this trailer the other day. At first I thought it was a fake trailer put together by a fan but it appears to be a real movie. Sarah Brightman is in it which is cool, she's a opera singer who's best known for being in the stage version of Phantom Of The Opera. She's also released some albums with a mix of opera and pop songs. Apparently Paris Hilton is in it as well. I like the weird ones so I'll be seeing this one if it plays around here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Movie Review - Rendition

I wasn't sure I wanted to see this movie on the night I went. I wasn't really in the mood for a serious film but I'd seen all the lighter stuff that wasn't complete crap. Fortunately Rendition was a great film that held my interest well without being too depressing. Jake Gyllenhall did a good job as usual. I don't much like Reese Witherspoon but she did okay. Meryl Streep didn't have many scenes but as usual nailed the character. T%he story was interesting if nothing too original, it seemed 'inspired' by the Mahar Arar story. There was one plot point that was really interesting. It was kind of funny since I had thought of it earlier in the film but it didn't seem like the kind of film that would use it. The film isn't doing too well despite it's quality, Roger Ebert gave it 4 stars. People, don't seem to want to see movies serious movies about Iraq, Terrorism etc. In the Valley of Elah suffered a similar fate. Rendition will probably play at Western Film. It's a fairly high profile film with some well known stars.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fun stuff- The Wilhelm Scream.

You've all heard it but maybe didn't realize how often. Below is Roger Ebert's explanation and a link to a wonderful video on youtube. Someone went through 175 films and condensed all the Wilhelm screams into one video. It gets a bit much after a couple minutes but it's neat nonetheless. There's yet another one below it.


Q. I came across a mention of "The Wilhelm Scream" on Movie City News. Had never heard of it before, but apparently I've heard it -- lots.Laura Hunt, Chicago

A. So have we all. According to, in Raoul Walsh's "Distant Drums" (1951), screams were recorded for a scene where a man is dragged under by an alligator. The scream was re-used in many other Warner Bros. films, including "Them!" and "PT-109."Sound effects man Ben Burtt noticed that the scream kept turning up, the site says, and "a few years later, when Burtt was hired to create sound effects for "Star Wars" (1977), he had an opportunity to do research at the sound departments of several movie studios. While at Warner Bros. looking for sound elements to use in the space adventure, he found the original "Distant Drums" scream, which he called "Wilhelm" after the character who let out the scream in "Charge at Feather River." Ben adopted the scream as a kind of personal sound signature, and included it in all the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" films, and many of the other films he has worked on including "More American Graffiti" (1979) and "Willow" (1988).Not surprisingly, it has appeared in two Tarantino films, "Batman" films and "Lord of the Rings "films. Wilhelm Scream fans think it's likely the original was screamed by actor Sheb Wooley.

My Poster Collection - E.T.

This is an original folded one-sheet for what was for a while the highest grossing film of all time. I never liked the movie much, not sure why I have the poster. has a rolled one for $300. If it's real it's pretty rare to find a rolled poster from that period. They have one about the same shape as mine for $80.00

Movie Review - The Heartbreak Kid

This film looked so promising. It reunited the team that brought us There's Something about Mary which I would consider a minor comedy classic. The premise looked interesting. However overall the movie wasn't very good. It was only sporadically funny and some of the jokes were really forced. Ben Stiller was Ben Stiller as usual but started to get on my nerves more than usual. Until I saw it (and read the reviews) there was no question whether this film would play at Western Film but now I don't think it will. It's a well-known movie with a fairly big star but it's got that bad movie vibe so I don't think it would do well at Western Film. I'd maybe play it if there's nothing else available that week.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Movie Review - Eastern Promises

This is the new film from director David Cronenberg starring Viggo Mortensen who was was also in Cronenberg's last film A History of Violence. The film is a bit slow but has really well developed characters. Viggo does great job of making his character truly scary. There was one plot twist that I saw coming. It's also extremely violent in a very realistic way that some people won't like. One of it's best known parts is a several minute fight seen in a sauna with Viggo totally naked. It was an interesting choice. They avoided the movie cliche of him wearing a towel which miraculously never falls off. There's also an extra dimension showing the vulnerability of the naked body. It was edited in such a way that Viggo's 'bits' as the British call them were not shown much. I booked it for next week so it's going to play at Western Film.

Next Week's Movies

Next week wasn't too hard to book. There were 4 new movies available.

-Resident Evil 3- a fun movie but not the kind of film that does well at Western Film.

Sydney White - aimed at young girls, too young to be students.

Superbad - finally, I booked it in, if it doesn't do really well I'll be truly shocked. The only thing that may reduce the numbers is how busy the students are with mid-terms etc.

Eastern Promises - I booked this in as the late show. It sorta should have been an early show because of it's serious nature and cinephile appeal because it's directed by David Cronenberg. However it's really violent so the art crowd may not come anyway. Violent movies usually make for good late shows.

The next movie I expect to do well is Across the Universe. Not sure what else will be played soon, most of the films coming out recently, especially serious ones, haven't been doing too well.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Movie Review - Elizabeth The Golden Age.

I'm way behind on my movie reviews so I'm going to do a bunch of short ones to catch up.

Elizabeth I was really looking forward to, I remember the first one being really good, I'm pretty sure it was the first time most people had heard of Cate Blanchett. The new one was not as good as I expected but was still good. Cate was really good, I see possible Oscar nomination. The sets and wardrobes were the most spectacular part of the film. I found it similar to the first film in having a hard time following the story. I also got the impression I was supposed to know things and recognize people I didn't, possibly from the first movie. Still worth watching. it will be playing at Western Film.

Next Week's Movies

I'm a little behind on this post since these movies started earlier today. On Monday there were some new movies available.

3:10 To Yuma,- good film, not a lot of press but good word of mouth. Surprisingly has the highest gross of any movie released in the fall. (after Labour Day)

Good Luck Chuck- Wasn't a bad movie but people heard it was bad so it wouldn't have done well. In general these 'stupid' comedies don't do well at Western Film any more.

Mr Bean. - Not enough interest.

I decided to play Yuma for the 7:00 show but was a bit unsure about the late show. I checked on a couple films that I thought would make good late shows. Eastern Promises was holding at the Silver City. The Hyland was keeping Shake Hands with the Devil.

I ended up booking one of my reserve films, The Nanny Diaries. I figured it could do well since it didn't do too bad first run and while it didn't get a lot of good buzz it didn't get a lot of bad buzz either. Plus as I've said before, films aimed at women are very popular at Western Film. It could be a bomb though. Probably has a better chance of doing well than Good Luck Chuck which actually grossed more first run.

Superbad may be coming sooner than I expected. Sony usually put 2 weeks between first and second run but our Booker said they have been moving it straight over in many markets. So there is a possibility it might come next week.

PS. I'm writing this post Late Friday night after the first showings of these films and I'm glad to report that it looks like Nanny was a good gamble, it did quite well. Yuma did better than I expected which was nice. We'll see how the week plays out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Next Week's Movies

There were a couple good choices this week. The Bourne Ultimatum and The Brave One. Mr. Woodcock was also available but we aren't going to play that one. I think there was something else but it was so off the radar I can't even remember. The only minor decision was which one to play first. Being a more serious movie I would normally have put The Brave One at 7pm. Also Jodie Foster is popular among older women who tend not to go to the late show. Bourne really needed to be the early show because it was so much more popular though. I'm hoping enough people will want to see The Brave One to go to the late show.

About the only big movie I'm waiting on is Superbad. There's better movies opening in the next little while so things should start to come off. This weekend alone has Michael Clayton, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and We Own the Night.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Poster of the Week - There will Be Blood.

This poster is for an upcoming movie that looks really good and has already got a lot of press. It's called There Will be Blood and it stars Daniel Day-Lewis and was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. I've never understood the appeal of Day-Lewis, everyone seems to think he's this great actor, on the other hand I've never been much impressed by Marlon Brando who is supposed to the greatest actor ever.

I do like Paul Thomas Anderson though. He did Boogie Nights and the magnificently twisted Magnolia.

The story is about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century Texas prospector (Daniel Day-Lewis) in the early days of the business. It sounds fascinating. It's scheduled for release Dec 26th.

My Poster Collection - Condorman

Yet another poster for a silly movie no one has ever heard of. I think I got this poster out of a selection of 500 random posters Western Film bought from a dealer back when we bought posters to sell. The only significant thing about the poster/movie is that Michael Crawford starred in it. About the time I got the poster he was pretty big because he was playing The Phantom of The Opera in either Toronto or London England.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Movie Review - Across the Universe

When I first saw the the trailer for Across the Universe I had two thoughts. I want to see this movie and it's going to be one of those movies where some people will really like it and others won't 'get' it. I was right on the second point and I pretty much didn't get it. However other people have really liked it so this is one movie where a person really has to make up their own mind. I heard some of the other people in the audience as we left saying how much they liked it.

If I had to sum up the film in one sentence it would be Rent with Beatles songs.

I liked the movie but not as much as I thought I would, the story was interesting and I thought it was creative the way they intertwined the names, characters and story lines of various Beatles's songs. Part of the reason I didn't like it as much is my personal preferences as far as music goes. I tend to like faster music with a beat and music that reaches a crescendo or some sort of energy level. The songs in the film seemed to be slowed down and never got above a certain energy level that I wanted. Honestly it could just have been the volume was too low though. The visual sequences were quite wild and personally, I think the movie may have been designed to be watched while stoned.

As an example of the music issue I have embedded the trailer below. I like the part where it reaches a crescendo just after Hey Jude starts. The original song does something similar. However the movie doesn't.

This film will most likely be playing at Western Film. I think there will be enough people who want to see it and it's the kind of movie some people will want to see more than once.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Next Week's Movies

The decision for next week was pretty easy. There wasn't anything new available. I still had Stardust waiting and Fox finally let me split Die Hard so I booked those two in. However I don't expect either to be really busy with Thanksgiving weekend.

Bourne Ultimatum should come off soon. Then there's the more iffy ones like Mr. Bean and Nanny Diaries.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A really interesting movie poster discovery.

We have been selling off old movie posters from a huge stock we have. As posters have sold out of our displays I have been refilling the displays with posters rolled up in a cabinet. We had over 650 titles with multiple copies of most so that's a lot of posters.

I was looking through the posters to fill a display and noticed a smaller than usual rolled poster that I had always thought was Escape from LA. It turned out to be an original advance for Escape from New York! It's in really good shape with only a couple pinholes. I checked on ebay and there was one on there for $455?! It was in better shape than mine but not a lot better. I was surprised at the price because ebay has generally lowered prices for most collectibles. That poster must be truly rare. I figure I'll throw mine on ebay later and see what happens.

My Poster Collection - The Last of Sheila

Another mystery poster, I think I got this poster when I collected on Raquel Welch for a while. She's the bottom one of the little heads in the question mark. I doubt this poster is worth more than few dollars.

Things don't always work out / Weirdsville

I was contacted by a distributor named Equinoxe about playing a Canadian film called Weirdsville. Apparently it is aimed at the student type market. It stars a couple somewhat well-known guys, Wes Bentley who was in American Beauty and Scott Speedman who was in the Underworld movies and Felicity. The trailer made it look like a quirky black comedy, I was looking forward to seeing it. It's about a couple of stoners who try to hide the body of a woman who overdosed, involves Satan worshippers as well.

I was going to play it as it looked interesting and I try to support Canadian films when I can.

However playing it would have been a bit of a risk. The release date is Oct 5th so I would have had to commit to the movie for that week without knowing what else might have been available. There hasn't been a lot of promotion and when they contacted me there wasn't a lot of time left before it was supposed to come out. Playing a movie that hasn't been promoted enough is a guarantee of an empty theatre. They did send me a trailer which a few of you may have seen, it played in front of a couple shows of Hairspray. They also sent me some posters. The posters were a clue I might not want to play the film. They were smaller than the standard movie poster size. It may not seem like a big deal but it signals a low promotion budget to me.

The sticking point was the admission price. This would have been a first run showing which normally carries a higher admission price. However I tried charging $7.50 for a first run movie called Paper Clips once and it didn't work very well. Even through I tried to make it clear as possible the price was different for Paper Clips only. I still had people thinking we had raised our prices for all movies. I also had people showing up expecting to pay $4.25. As a result I don't want to try that again so I told Equinoxe I would only charge our usual $4.24.

Equinoxe decided they couldn't open the film at $4.24 so we won't be playing it. I pulled the trailer and posters.

I think they probably shot themselves in the foot. Unless the film does well in the larger cities or the Hyland picks it up it probably won't play in theaters anywhere in London now.

Who knows maybe we'll end up playing it later if it does get some press, but I doubt it.

Special Presentations Hatchet / Thing-Fest.

There's a couple special films coming to Western Film in October.

On Oct 19 and 20th at midnight we are playing a horror movie called Hatchet. Apparently it's a homage to the slasher flicks of the 80's and is funny as well as gory. Some of the actors who played various movie bad guys in the 80's make appearances. Robert Englund who played Freddy Kruger, Kane Hodder who played Jason in the Friday the 13th films and Tony Todd who played The Candyman.
It's a first run exclusive showing. The distributor contacted me about doing the showing a couple weeks ago. It's basically a promo for the DVD release of the film which I'm not really keen on but that's the way things are going. The distributor sent me a whole bunch of posters so I'm going to go around to the various comic book store and see if they will help promote the show.

The following weekend there will be a showing at Midnight on Saturday Oct 27th of John Carpenter's classic The Thing as part of Thing-Fest . This is the 7th year of the fest. These guys are serious fans. They went out to B.C. and found the original shooting locations where there were still some remnants of the sets. I've been surprised at the lengths people have gone to to see the movie, literally. There was a guy from Ireland one year, a few who had come from the US and I got an e-mail a few days ago from a guy who's coming from New York this year. He was worried we would sell out on him. The theatre seats 375 so I don't think it will be an issue.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Next Week's Movies

I actually knew in the middle of last week what would be playing starting Friday. I was told The Simpsons Movie would be available but Fox wouldn't let me split it, not even with another Fox title, Die Hard.

I figured Simpsons was one of the few Fox movies I could play both shows each night so I was willing to play it and not wait for Fox to let me split it as I'm doing with Die Hard.

However there were two movies I would have bumped Simpsons for, Bourne Ultimatum and Superbad. I checked and both were still doing really well and the odds of them coming available were low, really low.

So I booked in The Simpson's Movie for 7:00 and 9:00 shows. I'm looking forward to seeing it again myself.

It turned out there were a bunch of films available but nothing I would rather play than the Simpsons.

Death Sentence - Fox so no splits plus bombed.

Halloween- we don't play horror, no one comes.

Balls of Fury - small, only somewhat funny, movies don't do well here.

Brothers Solomon - apparently one of the worst movies ever made so not likely.

Sunshine - anyone who reads this blog knows my opinion on this film and I would have loved to play it but it's from Fox and unfortunately it just doesn't have enough awareness for enough people to show up even though it's a great movie.

The Nanny Diaries- This is what is commonly known as a 'chick flick' and not a bad one I hear. Western Film does really well with movies aimed at women so I do plan to play it.

For the following week unless Bourne is available I might play Nanny Diaries and either Stardust or Die Hard if Fox will let me split it. Nanny Diaries and Stardust in the same week might overload the chick flick market though.

Sony has this really annoying policy of putting two weeks between when a film comes off first run and is available to second run so Superbad will be at least two weeks away, probably more like four.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Brief History of Western Film.

For those of you joining the program already in progress I thought I'd give a bit of a back story to Western Film.

Western Film stated as student club called the Western Film Society sometime in the early 80's. I have some paperwork and schedules from 1982.

At some point the name was changed to Western Film Community. At this point WFC was still a student club. Members worked 'shifts' in the theatre.

WFC ran 16 mm films on the weekend in Middlesex College rm 110. Usually 3 or 4 different movies a weekend, a mix of new stuff and old stuff. This was before home video was as popular as it is now. We brought back things like Bill and Ted's Excellent Journey, Scarface, Die Hard. Heavy Metal was really popular because at the time it wasn't available on video at all, just film.

I joined around 88/89. I became a VP and then President.

Around 1993 it was getting harder and harder to operate as a 16 mm theatre. The distributor we had to use was ordering fewer 16 mm prints. So we faced a choice between going to video or going to 35mm film which is what most theatres used. With video projection at that time even an expensive projector looked like crap. So we decided to go 35mm.

At the time a license was needed to run 35mm equipment in Ontario. Luckily I was working in a magazine/variety store downtown at the time and knew a projectionist who agreed to train me and fib a bit on how many hours I had apprenticed. It was supposed to be 800 hrs. I did about 50 but that was enough. The licence was largely a holdover from when the film was flammable. However one was still supposed to do the apprenticeship and do a written and practical exam to get the licence.

The USC bought 35 mm film equipment and installed it in Middlesex 110. We had to get the University to expand the existing projection booth. Even still it was pretty tight. I had to crawl under each projector to get to the other. We were running 20 minute reels with switchovers so I often had to do it in the dark and in a hurry.

About a year later the UCC was renovated and we moved into the McKellar room. Before the renovation it was just a big square one story room. During the renovations they added the second story and the balcony.

There were a few things that sucked. Because the room is oriented on the diagonal we had to settle for a fairly small motorized screen in the back corner of the stage. I think it was 20 feet wide. The floor was flat with these silly little chairs that hooked together. The only door into the booth was on the far side away from the entrance.

Basically it was the old multipurpose room that ends up good for nothing, the acoustics were good for live stuff but bad for movies.

I trained and we licensed a couple of other members to do the projection.

It was about this time I left to work full time as a projectionist at Famous and Cineplex which at the time paid really well (mostly because the union controlled all the licences). I was also running my home business selling collectible magazines.

Right around 1999 the projectionist thing was coming to an end. The government had, to many
people's surprise, eliminated the apprenticeship part of the licence. Cineplex and Famous immediately began 'training' their managers and getting them licensed by writing the test.

In the time I was gone WFC had become Western Film, had gotten actual theatre seats put in, put a door on the other end of the booth, started running 7 days a week with paid staff and a full time manager. This was mostly done by my friend Mark Maclellan who was president of WFC after me for a couple years then ended up working there full time. He was promoted to the manager of Entertainment Productions of which Western Film was a part. Someone else ran Western Film for about a year then quit.

At this point I saw the end coming with projection at Cineplex, I figured it was only a matter of time before they eliminated the licences entirely. The wages had already started to come down since the union had lost a lot of it's bargaining power. Luckily the job at Western Film opened up and I applied for and got it. I had a 35mm licence which was still needed at the time, was familiar with the organization and loved movie theatres.

This was in November 2000. The next summer we put in the current, larger, screen and a better theatre sound system. That was the last really big project we had until this summer when we finally got our permanent concession stand instead of pushing it all out on carts every night.

So we come to the current Western Film. At some point we are going to put in a Dolby Digital sound system. We have DTS digital sound but it has a big weakness in that the CD-Roms have to come with the print which doesn't always happen. With Dolby the digital sound is on the film.

The next big thing will be the replacement of the 35mm equipment with a Digital Projector. I figure about 2010 it's going to start getting hard to get 35 mm prints in a similar fashion as happened before with 16mm.

These is one other possibility: the USC is taking over the gyms when Campus Rec moves out. I've always thought they would make a nice little three or four plex. Not likely to happen but I can dream can't I?

Friday, September 21, 2007

This looks like my kinda film.

This is the new trailer for a film called Southland Tales which looks pretty cool. It's look weird, violent and over the top, just my kinda film. It's from the director who did Donnie Darko so that says a lot. It seems to have a ton of actors in it. I think I even saw Christoper Lambert in it at the very end. It apparently comes out on November 9th. Something tells me it probably won't open in London. Maybe it will do well enough as a cult film for Western Film to play.

My Poster Collection - Space Hunter in 3-D!

This is the advance poster for a very bad sci-fi film from 1983. The standard post-apocalyptic sci-fi of the time complete with bad special effects and bad acting. It was Molly Ringwald's second movie, somehow she managed to survive the stigma and ended up in the John Hughes movies that made her an icon.
The regular poster showed the actors so it's more popular. On ebay this poster seems to go for about $15.00.
The movie was in 3-D but I don't think I saw it in 3-D. It had all the usual bad 3-D moves, people throwing things at the camera, pointing, ships flying over etc.
It's on DVD if you want to catch a laugh.

Movie Review - Mr. Woodcock

This was one of those films that it was hard to tell from the trailers whether it was good or crap. There was some good stuff in the trailer that suggested it could be good but maybe all the good stuff was in the trailer? I like Seann William Scott as a comedic actor and Billy Bob Thornton plays a good slimeball. The final product was somewhere in the middle. I enjoyed it but it wasn't the funniest movie I'd seen recently. The ending was kind of week. Still worth watching. I don't think it will be playing at Western Film. Comedies that don't get good buzz generally don't do well. The closest comparison is the similar School For Scoundrels from last year. I played that at Western Film and it didn't do very well.
The poster sucks. Not interesting and very obvious photoshopping.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Movie Review - Shoot 'em Up.

I've been looking forward to this film since I saw the trailer. It looked like a lot of fun. It's basically a live action Bugs Bunny cartoon including carrots and 'What's Up Doc?'. It's sheer over the top, campy fun. The level of suspension of disbelief required has rarely been higher than in this film. I've talked to a few people who've seen it and some loved it, others thought it was too over the top. It shares many of the aspects of cartoons, logic problems such as how the bad guys keep knowing where Mr. Smith is and a certain amount of bending the laws of physics and time/space.

I quite enjoyed the film. It did lack something that I can't quite define, something that would have made it even better. I think it may have had something to do with the direction.

Western Film may play it. We don't normally play smaller action films but I think this one is sufficiently different that it would do well here. It'll depend on what else is available.

Next Week's Movies

There were 2 films available for next week.

Harry Potter- Naturally I booked this one in. It's good that we got it before the students get too far into mid-terms etc.

Stardust- I do plan to play this but it wouldn't work well as a late show after Potter because it's not a late show kind of film and Potter is long so the late show next week starts quite late.

Hairspray has been doing really well, by Sunday it had already done more than some movies do all week. I decided it would make a good late show after Potter so it's playing at 9:45.

Fox still won't let me split Die Hard, too bad, it would have made a good late show after Potter.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Poster Collection - Risky Business

This is an original one sheet for Risky Business in mint shape. This would have been worth a lot of money a while ago. Still, one place is Toronto wants $138 for one with tape marks. There's an ebay store that wants about $250 for one.

I'd love to get this poster framed. It's one of my farvorite movies and posters. However framing a poster this big costs about $150.00

Hollywood has been cured of it sequalitis temporarily.

The past summer broke records as the highest grossing summer ever. It was largely due to the preponderance of sequels. it was called the summer of threequels.

Pirates 3
Rush Hour 3
Spider-Man Three
Shrek Three
Bourne 3.
Ocean's Thirteen

there were sequels- Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Die Hard 4, Harry Potter,
There were also semi-sequels, Mr. Bean's Vacation, Daddy Daycare, Evan Almighty.

The interesting thing is the relative lack of sequels coming up, this Christmas there are practically none. In fact a staff member and I were discussing the other day how neither of us could think of more than couple movies coming out at Christmas. I am Legend and Bee movie were most prominent.

There are a couple sequels coming up. Elizabeth: the Golden Age I would call a semi-sequel. Saw 4 is coming at Halloween. Alien Vs Predator 2. National Treasure 2. That's it for Christmas. There are remakes, I am Legend is a not obvious remake of The Omega Man.

Looking at next summer it's almost all original titles with only a few sequels. The big one being Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The only other ones listed are The Dark Night (Batman), Hellboy 2, Chronicles of Narnia 2. The Mummy 3, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 whatever that is.
.There's also James Bond 22 next Christmas. One site says the next Harry Potter film is next Christmas, not sure if that's right.

It will be interesting to see if the 'original' stuff can do as well as the massively hyped sequels with built in fan bases and awareness.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Harry Potter now top grossing series.

Warner Bros has announced the Harry Potter movies are now the highest grossing series of movies beating out James Bond and Star Wars. These numbers are somewhat subject to interpretation. If you include inflation the Bond movies are higher, and probably Star Wars as well. However in straight dollars Potter will be champ for a while. There's still 2 Potter movies to come out and unless someone screws up pretty bad that should add about another billion in worldwide gross. There (supposedly) won't be any more Star Wars movies. The James Bond series will keep going but they don't make anywhere near what one Harry Potter movie does.

More info here.

Simpons meet Star Wars

Another example of the creativity unleashed by the internet and youtube. There's a whole series of these.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Jim Emerson's advice to Hollywood.

Jim Emerson is a film critic who I find most interesting after Roger Ebert. He filed a lot of reviews for Roger Ebert while Ebert was off sick. He recently posted this article which I found quite interesting. It's his advice to Hollywood including such items as:

Quit relying on sequels.
Allow talent to develop. One film should not make or break a career.
Don't sully a good film or series of films by making bad sequels.
More nudity, less violence: this would be fine in most of the world but the prudes in the US would freak.
Embrace new technology instead of fighting it.

If you are interested in a more serious discussion about films then I would recommend you check out his blog Scanners.

Movie Review - Balls Of Fury

This will be a short one. The trailers made this film look like a stupid film with some funny bits. That's pretty much what it delivered. I'm willing to bet the script was bet for Jack Black. The lead actor was basically doing a Jack Black impersonation. Christoper Walken was funny. He was in it more than I expected.

Personally I think the only reason this film didn't go straight to video is Christoper Walken. This won't be playing at Western Film.

My Poster Collection - Tequila Sunrise

This is a kinda cool poster starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pffeifer and Kurt Russell back when they were bigger stars and Mel wasn't crazy. I was a big fan of Mel for a while. I don't remember much about the movie itself. The poster is a little faded. You can tell the movie was from a while ago since the poster has been folded. It has been a while since posters were sent folded.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Next Week's Movies

Next week was easy to book. There were only two movies available, both of which I had planned to play.

Hairspray- I expect this to do well, some people seemed to love it, other didn't, one of those weird films.

Rush Hour 3- I'm curious about this one as it was highly anticipated but didn't do as well as hoped.

Stardust wasn't available yet which I find surprising, especially since it opened before Rush Hour. I wasn't sure whether to play it but I think I probably will. It's got legs as they say in the biz.

My booker was also checking on Harry Potter so it should come soon.

I'm also waiting for Fox to let me split Die Hard 4.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Next Week's Movies

There were initially no new movies available. I decided to bring in Chuck and Larry which I could have had this week but didn't want yet. I also decided to bring in No Reservations which had come available sometime in the last couple weeks. We usually do well with films aimed at women.

After I had booked and done some advertising I was told Rush Hour 3 was available after all. It'll probably play the week after.

I'm waiting for Fox to let me split Die Hard 4 before I play it.

Hairspray should come off soon. I was kinda surprised it wasn't available for next week.

Sorry for not posting - Frosh Week.

Sorry I haven't posted for a few days. This week is Frosh/ Orientation week at UWO so I've been working about 12 hours a day. My staff and I have been handing out popcorn samples and running a draw where the students pick up their bus passes as well as running the theatre at night. This is typically one of the busiest weeks of the year.
Next week I'll be back to posting pretty much every day.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Unrelated post but so cute and funny.

I found this video on Youtube. It's so cute and funny at the same time. I love the way it's edited to the music. Youtube has unleashed such a torrent of creativity. Hollywood would be wise to learn from it.

Movie Review - War

This is a smaller action movie a lot of people probably haven't heard of, it didn't get a lot of press. I didn't see much on it until about a week before it came out. I was really looking forward to it as it stars Jason Statham, one of my favorite actors. Jet Li is the villain and he's usually good too.
It was a serviceable movie, not horrible but not really good either. There was nothing out of the ordinary about it. Some good action and things blow up real good.
It was one of those movies with hyper kinetic editing that makes it hard to see what's going on.

The thing that pissed me off was how they used the two stars. Jet Li is a star because of his martial arts skills not his acting skills. Jason is a better actor but also has a martial arts background. He did all his own stunts in the Transporter films. There's only short scene with the two of the fighting.

For most of the film, and especially that scene, the film is edited the same way a film would be edited to make a non-skilled fighter look like a master. Short shots of body parts hitting things, shots that could be stuntmen etc. Both these guys are skilled fighters so why not let them show it off?!
Plus Jason never takes his shirt off.
Even if it was good this film wouldn't play at Western Film. These small action films never do well at Western Film.

I'm so embarassed.

There's this song I've heard quite a few times on the radio etc that I really liked but didn't know who sang it. It's quite poppy and sung by a young sounding woman so I figured it was Lindsay Lohan or Kelly Clarkson or someone like that.

On the advice of one of my staff I typed a few of the lyrics into google and found out who the singer is: Paris Hilton.

I'm so embarrassed, but I still like the song.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I want my long shot and steadicam back!

There's been some talk about a couple trends showing up in films-

A long shot is basically a shot taken from a distance where the whole scene can be seen. Movies like Transformers have more or less eliminated them. The action seems to be quick shots of only parts of the action. I know I found it hard to watch, even the second time I had trouble figuring out what was happening half the time. I can only remember one shot of the final battle where the characters are seen from a distance.

The Bourne Ultimatum has sparked quite a controversy over it's almost constantly moving and shaking image. It's so bad it has made some people nauseous. I found it annoying but tolerable. There's quite a post on it on one of my favorite movie blogs Scanners. Some people say it's a way of increasing excitement, others say it's a way of disguising bad acting or direction. A steadicam is a mechanism that ... steadies a camera, and I wish they had used one for more of this film.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Next Week's Movie(s)

Next week is an important week since a lot of the new students go to Western Film during that week. I pick movies for that week carefully.

There were quite a few new movies available.

Die Hard 4- Fox so couldn't split, will wait until I can.

Chuck and Larry- normally would have played it but decided to wait a week. Wanted a better movie for Frosh Week, something a bit more adult than the low-brow and somewhat homophobic humour in Chuck and Larry.

The Invasion - huge bomb, not going to play here.

Daddy Day Camp - don't get me started on this one.

Underdog - big bomb and too kiddy for Western Film.

I decided to keep Transformers another week since it has been doing well and is a good Frosh Week entertaining film. Frosh week is not a week one wants to play a serious film. I decided to bring back Knocked Up for the early show as it is funny, popular and appeals to pretty much everyone.

Hairspray should be coming off soon so the week after might be Chuck and Larry and Hairspray.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hi-Def DVD wars.

There's a war going on between two formats of High Definition DVD's. One is called Blu-ray and is backed by Sony, the other is HD-DVD and is backed by Toshiba and others.

The big story this week was Paramount/Dreamworks decision to release films only in HD-DVD after releasing films in both formats before. It was suspected and quickly confirmed that Paramount had basically been bribed into doing so for $150 million over the next 18 months.

HD-DVD took this step because it's losing the war, Blu-Ray is outselling it by 3 to 1 and many stores have started to carry only Blu-Ray.

The problem is this is just going to prolong the war because sooner or later the marketplace will decide which one will stay. With two competing and incompatible systems most consumers are confused and don't want to commit to one system. If you buy a bunch of HD-DVDs and it loses you have the equivalent of a laserdisc, cool at the time but pretty much useless now.

There's a lot of comparisons between Hi-Def and the VHS/BETA wars of the ealy 80's. The general consensus is that Beta was better technically but VHS was better marketed. Beta also suffered from a shorter recording time. I read somewhere the other day that war lasted 10 years. If that is true the hi-def war will last even longer.

There's one big difference between the two wars.

With the VHS/Beta war there was no other way to watch or record tv or films. Consumers were more or less forced to make a decision. Now there are still DVDs and PVR and Video on Demand so hi-def is not an necessity, just an improvement.

I know I'm going to be one of those who wait until the war is over before I buy a hi-def player, plus I can't afford one.

My Poster Collection - Back to the Beach.

This one of my guilty pleasures from 1987. For some reason I really liked this film even though I wasn't familiar with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. The movie is fun and has some good musical numbers. I went to see it twice at the theatre but I don't think I've seen it since.