Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My opinion of Pop Culture's most influential figure.

See post below to know what I am talking about if you don't already.

I thought of two figures I would nominate, one for 'software' and one for 'hardware'.

William Shakespeare- He is all pervasive in Western Culture. Not only are there innumerable versions of his plays on stage, screen and tv but there are tons of things that take their structure from a Shakespeare play. I think 10 Things I Hate About You was based on Taming of the Shrew. Last year's She's the Man was based on one of his plays.
There's also tons of references in everything from The Simpsons to Star Trek.

Thomas Edison- Almost everything that generates pop culture was invented by him including movie cameras and projectors and recorded sound. There is some disagreement though. There was a man in France who is supposed to have invented movie equipment first.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Next Week's movies.

This week was a pretty easy choice. The only two new movies available were Babel and Rocky Balboa. I decided to bring in Babel for the early show and bring back Borat for the late show since it did so well the first time. I didn't think Rocky would do much business here.

Casino Royale must be doing solid business since it's still not available.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Oscars

Once thing that surprises some people who know me is that despite my interest in and knowledge of movies I'm really bad at predicting Oscar winners.

So I'm not going to predict winners but I thought I'd mention some nominations I thought were surprising and who I think should win.

Nominations list here.
Best Picture-I haven't seen Letters From Iwo Jima so I can't say for sure but my choice of the others would be The Departed. I thought Little Miss Sunshine was a surprise nomination.

Best Actor - I was quite surprised to see Ryan Gosling get nominated. Half Nelson didn't make a big splash and it was out ages ago. I'm surprised voters remembered it. I haven't seen all the films so I can't say for sure but I would vote for Ryan.

Best Actress - one unusual thing is Penelope Cruz was nominated for a role in a non-english movie. I think Helen Mirren has a lock on it. She did a great job of making the viewer believe she was the Queen.

Best Supporting Actor. The big surprise here was Mark Wahlberg. His part in the movie wasn't even that big. I'd vote for Alan Arkin.

Best Supporting Actress- this is a tough one, I would vote for either Adriana Barraza or Abigail Breslin.

Best Director- Even without seeing it I think I'd vote for Clint Eastwood. Normally I'd vote for Scorsese but I really didn't think Departed was his best work. He should have got it for Goodfellas.

Best Screenplay, written for the screen- Pan's labyrinth is unusual here again since it's not in english. I would think it would be hard to evaluate a screenplay when it's translated. Of the ones I've seen I would go for Babel, it had a intricate and interesting story.

Best Screenplay adapted from another source- The big surprise here is Borat. Not only is it a comedy but it's hard to tell which parts were scripted and which were ambush bits. I'd vote for Children of Men.

Best Makeup - How the heck did Click get nominated???! There was some standard old age makeup and that's about it. From the stills I've seen Pan's labyrinth should win.

Best Special Effects- Poseidon sucked as a movie but did have amazing special effects so it's a bit of a surprise nomination. I'm a big fan of Superman Returns which I thought did a great job of creating a world and then destroying parts of it.

Best Animated feature. - I though Monster House was the most original but I think Cars will get it.

Best Foreign film.- Water is a nice choice since it's Canadian and a really good movie.

Best documentary- An Inconvenient Truth is the only one I've seen but it will probably win since it is the most widely known and has had a real effect on people.

Anyone who disagrees with me feel free to post.

Next Week's Movies

Sorry for the delay in doing this post. My new computer died rather spectacularly and I usually do the posts at home since I never seem to have time at work.

Next week was a bit of a hard choice.

Eragon (Fox -full shows) - no way.
Good Shepherd
Bring back Borat since it did so well.

I'm not sure about Apocalypto but decided to bring it in and keep Borat as an alternate.
I didn't know until I booked it that The Good Shepherd is almost 3 hours long! Apocalypto runs at 10:05, the latest we've ever run a regular movie. Most of the time I would have just played one show of Shepherd. There's only about one more week before the students start getting busy again so I wanted to play 2 movies.
The one thing that sucks is both movies are long. Apocalypto won't end until about 12:35. This really screws up the Friday Midnight movie Sin City, it won't be able to start until 12:45. I was expecting a good crowd for that one but now I don't know.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Anybody heard of FIRED! ?

The distributor for a movie called Fired! contacted me about playing the film at Western Film. I'd never heard of the film before I got his e-mail. The movie is a semi documentary from a woman who got fired by Woody Allen. Various people and celebrities talk about getting fired in the past. It also has a social commentary aspect addressing the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the US. Did you know the average CEO makes 435 times the wages of the average worker?!

The film looks funny from the trailer. The distributor said the woman from the movie had been on some TV shows and the movie had been reviewed in lots of papers. Has anyone seen any of these?

I have a couple dilemmas about whether to play it at Western Film.

In general if people haven't heard of a film they won't go see it. Western Film can only really tell people what we are playing, we can't make them want to see it. That's generally the job of the distributor and marketers.

The film isn't on film but only video. I have had a policy against ever playing anything but film since the quality difference is so vast between film and video in the theatre. For those of you that have been to Western Film the slideshow is played on the video projector. One reason I don't want to play video is in case anyone thinks that is what Western Film always plays.

However there are more and more interesting small films that aren't available on film so at some point I may have to relax the policy.

So I have a question, would you pay $4.24 to see an interesting movie on a video projector?

Next Week's Movies.

The decision this week wasn't too hard. There were only three new movies available.

Santa Clause 3- never in a million years
We are Marshall - kinda bombed.
Deja Vu - a solid action hit so I decided we'd play this one.

I also picked up The Prestige since we hadn't played it yet.

Since The Prestige is a better fit for the early show I decided to play it at 7pm. It's fairly long so the late show of Deja Vu is at 9:40.

My only dilemma was whether to keep Borat for another week. As of Monday it had already done more business than a lot of movies do all week. However I decided not to keep it. We are giving it both shows for a week at a prime time of the year for Western Film. It will also make a good back up if there's a empty spot in the next couple weeks. Since there isn't a lot of (good) new movies coming out the First Run Theatres tend to hold their films.

Casino Royale should come off soon. I was already told Apocalypco will be available Jan 26th. I haven't decided whether to play it, it will depend on what else is available.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

More Western Film Mini-reviews

I've seen a few movies lately so I thought I'd make another entry.

Night at The Museum- I can sum up this film in one phrase. Predictable but a lot of fun. It's from Fox and they will likely want both shows all week and generally considered a kid's pic so I'm not sure it will play at Western Film.

Driving Lessons - a British movie playing at the Hyland. Stars the kid who plays Harry Potter's friend and Julie Walters who I've always liked. It was the age old story of young man and old lady develop an unusual friendship but was still interesting to watch. Won't be coming to Western Film, not enough awareness.

Children of Men (minor spoiler) - I loved this movie. It was extremely interestingly done. I can see why Universal is having a hard time marketing it. It's not a normal movie. Some of the people I saw it with were a little WTF on the way out. They are marketing it as sci-fi but other than taking place in the future there's no sci-fi element to it. It seems to appeal most to the more film literate. One person I know has already seen it twice. Personally I think this movie could be like Bladerunner, unappreciated in it's time but eventually considered a masterpiece.

minor Spoiler---- One thing I hate in reviews is when a major plot point is given away. One reviewer at Cinematical gave away a major event in the film when he said...just kidding. I would never do that. There is one thing I found really fascinating that I can say but if you haven't seen it you may not want to read it until after. I was trying to figure out why they did one scene in a particular way. The main characters are running from a situation and stop to see what happens where they just left. I realized that as far as I can remember the entire film takes place within earshot or eyesight of the main character (Clive Owen). I can't think of a single scene that takes place away from him with other characters. It's shot sorta documentary/reality even down to some blood spots on the camera in one scene. Fascinating movie, I highly recommend. It will definintly be coming to Western Film.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pop Culture's Most Influential Figure?

I'm taking a Pop Culture course at Western which I find quite interesting. Most people think of Pop Culture as mostly Tv, Movies and Music. It includes other stuff such as fashion as well. However being the movie guy I am I tend to think of pop culture as mostly movies, music and TV.

I had a interesting little mental discussion the other night. I was trying to think of who would be the single most influential person on Pop Culture? I'm curious what your thoughts are. I'll post who I think it is in a few days. A couple qualifiers.

I'm thinking of all time not just current. If anyone says Britney Spears I'll have what they used to call a coniption fit.

It can be anyone, a writer, actor, tycoon, King, Queen, musician, street mime.

Just as an example, if you were doing the same exercise for psychiatry I would think the answer would be Freud.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2007 at Western Film

This should be an interesting year at Western Film. There are going to be renovations at the Wave, the restaurant right beside the theatre. As of this writing a permanent concession stand for Western Film is in the plans. I'm not sure what the final layout will be yet. I think the renovations are going to be done over the summer.

As far as attendance goes it should be a good year. There has been much talk about how good next year looks in terms of movies. There's several movies that are almost guaranteed to be huge hits.

Pirates 3
Shrek The Third
The next Harry Potter.
Spiderman 3.
Ratatouille (Pixar)

And some that will likely do well.

Fantatsic 4 Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Meet the Robinsons
Evan Almighty
Simpsons movie (I will so be there opening night)
Bourne Ultimatum
Rush Hour 3 (this one may suck)
National Treasure 2

plus the usual crop of smaller movies and art product.

There has been talk of 2007 being the biggest year ever at the Box office. When you have several movies that are almost guaranteed to make $200-$300 million I wouldn't be surprised.

Next Week's Movie.

I had already booked Borat for next week before Christmas so I didn't have to book anything today. Fox wouldn't let me split Borat so it's the only movie.

That's kinda a good thing since there nothing new available. There's still The Prestige waiting in the wings. It will likely play the week after Borat depending on what else is available.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mini Movie reviews.

Here's my opinion on some of the movies I have seen over the last little while. I don't want to give too much away but if anyone has any question you can e-mail me at

Apocalypto - An interesting movie, very, very violent and graphic. The advertising was a little misleading, it seemed to be about a larger story that it turns out to be. There's at least one major scene in the trailer that's not in the movie. Western Film will be playing it.

Babel - An interesting movie, several interconnected stories. Good acting, looks great, not as long as it felt. This was the point of the movie but a couple times I felt like yelling at the screen 'just explain the situation', especially with the Mexican story. One of the stories had a very tenuous connection with the others. I think Western Film will play this.

Blood Diamond - Great movie, I was surprised how good it was considering it didn't open well. Leonardo Dicaprio was good and I normally don't like him. Djimon Hounsou was great as usual except for a couple scenes where he overdid it a bit. Western Film will most likely play it

Deck the Halls - I probably should't admit to seeing this movie. I went to see it Christmas day because I had nothing else to do. It was sorta entertaining but generally deserved the horrible reviews it got. I'm really starting to hate Matthew Broderick and his wooden/stage acting. Whatever happened to the guy who played Ferrris Bueller? There is absolutely no chance this film will ever, ever play at Western Film.

Eragon- This movie really disappointed me. I was looking forward to a good old fashioned fantasy film with dragons. I got what I wanted but in a badly done manner. The acting was good for the most part, especially Jeremy Irons. The Dragon was absolutely amazing. On the other hand I think they spent all their effects money on the Dragon as some of the other effects were not well done. I lay the blame for this solely at the feet of the director. I could tell all the elements for a great movie were there it just wasn't put together right. It was another movie that was obviously designed to have a sequel as it kinda just stopped. Since it's from Fox it likely won't play at Western Film.

Keeping Mum- This is a small British comedy with Maggie Smith and Rowan Atkinson. I saw it at the Hyland. If you like British style comedy you'll enjoy it. Especially Maggie Smith, she's always great. It's not high profile enough to play at Western Film so catch it at The Hyland.

Snowcake - a nice little Canadian / British coproduction starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver. It was a drama with some comedy. Alan Rickman is always great. I wasn't sure Sigourney quite caught the character properly, too often it was obvious she was 'acting'. I saw it at the Hyland and it also won't be playing at Western Film.

I think that's it. I've held off on seeing Night at the Museum because I may be going to Toronto and I can see it in Imax there. Another reason I want to go to TO is to see Children of Men. I wanted to see it since I saw the trailer months ago. The critics have loved it, some are throwing around the word masterpiece and we all know how critics hate to admit they loved a movie. It's one of the silly things about this business, a movie with all this acclaim is playing in only one theatre in all of Canada?!

Can you tell I've been on vacation? I've seen even more movies than usual.

A new trend in movie trailers or a blip?

The Devil Wears Prada had an interesting trailer. Rather than the usual edit of scenes from the movie it was basically one long scene of the two main characters meeting. I'm not aware of any other trailer that was one scene until now.

The new trailer for Rise of the Silver Surfer AKA Fantastic Four 2 is basically one chase scene between The Silver Surfer and Johnny Storm. It's quite effective and surely made me want to see the movie.

I wonder if future trailers may follow this format. Hopefully we'll get away from trailers like these:

- Comedies with all the funny parts in the trailers. (Man of the Year)
- trailers that basically outline the plot of the movie including the ending (The Holiday)
- trailers that mislead what genre the movie belongs to. One example that's always bugged is a movie called Home Fries with Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson. The trailer made it look like a romantic comedy but when I saw it it turned out to be a somewhat vicious little black comedy. I normally like black comedy but I wasn't in the mood for it that night.

At least trailers have improved over time. Western Film used to have a 35 mm trailer for Bladerunner. It was about 4 minutes long and didn't make much sense. No wonder the movie bombed in it's original release.