Saturday, March 31, 2007

Drunk people do the silliest things.

There is a bar called The Wave right beside Western Film that's also owned by the USC. We keep a couple things including our juice fridge in their coat check when we aren't set up. Tonight there was a pub so they were using the coat check. In these cases we leave the juice fridge out and I put it away after the midnight movie is done.

One of the things we sell is called a Trough, it's a large aluminum steam pan filled with popcorn. Holds as much as three large bags. No one else sells anything like it so it's a great attention getter. We keep a display Trough with some popcorn in it on top of the juice fridge. In the pic that's two of my staff holding a trough.

Tonight I came out to put the juice fridge away and the display Trough was missing. I assume some of the people at the pub took it.

I actually saw them on the bottom floor and tried to get their attention before they left the building. It's not that I was upset they had taken the trough, it's that it's a display item. The popcorn in it could have been at least a couple months old?!

An answer to one of my questions about GRINDHOUSE

Grindhouse is a movie coming out in April that is a homage to the drive-in and cheap 'grindhouses' of the 70's that played schlocky B movies. It's composed of two movies and some fake trailers. One of the movies is directed by Quentin Tarantino and the other by Robert Rodriguez. It promises to be one rocking time. I laughed harder at the sheer outrageousness of the trailer than I have at many complete movies.

The trailer says it has 2 full length movies but some of the industry stuff I saw said it was two 60 minute movies so I wasn't sure. However I got an e-mail from the studio that the film's running time is 191 minutes, over three hours. So I guess it has two full length films plus the fake trailers.

I'm so looking forward to this movie.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One of my least favorite parts of my job.

Today I did one thing I really hate doing. I changed the lamp in the projector. The lamps are highly explosive and can do serious damage (to me and the equipment). The old lamp was showing signs of failing, igniting more than once, not coming up to full brightness right away. Eventually it would have just not come on at all or possibly exploded.

New lamps are about $800 each but we get over a year out of each one.

The bulb I put is was a 2000 watt xenon bulb made in Germany by Osram.

A quick overview of the process.
Make sure the power is off. (obviously)
I open the lamphouse and take the old lamp out which requires loosening some nuts and a set screw.
Then the scary part, I take the old lamp out and put it back in it's protective case. I can relax once the case is closed.
At this point I clean the mirror that concentrates the light from the lamp onto the film.
Then I put the new lamp in with the reverse of the above. I have to be very careful so I don't drop it, nudge it too hard etc. I also have to be careful I don't touch the glass part of the lamp. The oil left over from my fingers can melt into the glass and create a weak spot which makes it more likely to explode.

Once the new lamp is installed and I close the lamphouse up I have to turn it on for the first time. I've been told the first time a lamp is turned on is the time it is most likely to explode so I made sure there was solid metal between me and the lamp when I hit the switch.

It actually ignited beautifully. The last part of the process is to adjust the lamp. There are controls on the back to adjust the up/down back/ forth of the lamp within the mirror. Using these controls I adjusted the lamp to get the best image. The light is uniform over the screen without dark corners or a too bright 'hot spot' in the center.

I may be biased but I think I can safely say the picture focuses even more perfectly than it did before. It looked amazing tonight.

The first clip gives you an idea why I dislike changing the lamp. In all fairness, in 15 years I've never seen a lamp blow. A friend of mine did have one go but after he had it in it's protective case. He said the air was full of tiny specs of floating glass.

The guys in the second clip are crazy!

Next Week's Movies.

There were two new movies available this week.

Zodiac - great movie created by a great director David Fincher, didn't get the press or marketing it should have. I'm planning to play it but not this week.

Dead Silence - a fun little horror movie but Western Film doesn't play horror.

I decided to bring in Notes on a Scandal which I've been holding in reserve for a couple weeks. I bumped Music and Lyrics last week so I decided to play it for the late show next week.

My current plan is to play Zodiac as the late show the following week but I don't know what the early show will be.

Ghostrider should be available soon. There's lots of new movies coming out so older product is being pushed out and becomes available to us. There's even a possibility we'll get 300 before exams end. It's the second most requested movie this year after Borat.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hollywood does wierd things.

Fox has done something weird. There is a really cool looking sci-fi film coming out called Sunshine. The director Danny Boyle also did Trainspotting and 28 Days Later and is known for doing solid work. The film was supposed to come out in March but for some reason Fox pushed the US release back to Sept 14th. The odd thing is they are still releasing the film in most other countries in March!?

The general reason why films get pushed back, especially that far, is they aren't done yet or suck and they want to rework them. Neither applies here since it's still coming out elsewhere.

There seems to be two trains of thought on why they moved it.
-To avoid the summer movies- this doesn't make a lot of sense since March is outside the summer as well, maybe they think in September it will be able to stand out better since few good movies come out in September.
-So it has a better chance of getting oscar noms- except for technical awards the Academy dislikes sci-fi only a little less than comedy.

Sci-Fi fans are one of the groups most likely to want a movie bad enough to get a pirate copy. By September a lot of the American and Canadian fans will have already seen it.

I just watched the new trailer. I'm so pissed at Fox for making me wait until September, this movie looks great!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poster of the Week

We got in this poster for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer a couple days ago. I think it's a really cool poster but then I'm big on comic book movies. I'm curious about this movie as I thought Silver Surfer was a good guy in the comics but in the movie he seems to be the bad guy. I'm also curious if the Surfer is entirely computer generated or will some scenes be an actor with CGI effects to make him look like the Surfer.

No kids for Pan's Labyrinth please.

I just hope no one brings any kids to Pan's Labyrinth. Despite it looking like a fairytale it is definitely not for kids. I think it's based on a real fairytale?

I'm going to tell my staff to tell anyone who brings kids that it is not for children. However, we can't stop the parents from taking the kids if they want. It's rated 14A which means anyone under 14 can go as long as they have someone over 18 with them.

We've had this problem with a few movies in the past and told parents the movie playing wasn't for kids. Sometimes they got pissed off. They were of the attitude the decision is up to them what to bring their kids to. I'd rather they get pissed off at us for telling them the movie isn't for kids than coming out all pissed because we didn't tell them and their kids are scarred for life.

Pan's is quite violent is both the real and fairy worlds. There's one scene that I know would have really disturbed me as a child.

Next Week's Movies.

Next week was mildly interesting to book. At first there were a couple new movies to choose from.

Music and Lyrics - I figure this will do well as a late show since it's more youth/student oriented. This a good thing since so many of the movies coming up are ones that would only work as the early show.

Because I said So- I'm not sure about this one, it did only okay business and got mixed reviews. I thought it looked good though. I'll play it if I get an open spot. In general we do well with movies aimed at women.

Fox said they would let us split The Last King of Scotland which was cool.

So originally I had booked King of Scotland for the early show and Music and Lyrics for the late show.

I was then told we could play Pan's Labyrinth which I definitely wanted since I think we will do really well with, I've had a lot of requests.

So I decided to put Music and Lyrics off to next week, move King of Scotland to the late show and put Pan's in for the early show. Being the late show might hurt King of Scotland some but I figured since it's so violent it should be the late show.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Friggin' trained monkeys

When I was a projectionist at Famous and Cineplex we needed a licence to run 35mm film. To get a licence you had to do an apprenticeship and write a test. The licenses weren't really necessary anymore, they were a holdover from when films were on Nitrate film which was highly flammable. However at least there were trained projectionists in the theatres.

Since the government removed the licences the exhibitors have 'trained' their managers and some of the staff to run the projectors. These are what I call trained monkeys. In multiplexes each theatre is automated so all the staff person has to do is thread up and push start. The machinery dims the lights, turns on the sound etc. Literally a actual trained monkey could do this. The problems happen when problems happen. Most of the time the staff don't know what to do if anything goes wrong.

I'm ranting about this because of an experience I had last Friday. I went to see Zodiac at a theatre which shall remain nameless. I've been looking forward to this movie for ages. However the film was shaking side to side enough to drive me crazy. It wasn't noticeable when the camera was moving but when the camera was stationary it was really bad. I knew I couldn't take watching it for 2 1/2 hours. I didn't want to miss any of the movie to let them know and figured the odds were good they didn't know how to fix it anyway so I left and got my money back. I did tell them about the problem on the way out.

I worked on the same projectors when it was a Cineplex and if the problem was what I think it was it would have taken me about 1 second to fix it. There's a small pad on one side of the film that is supposed to keep it from moving side to side. If not cleaned regularly it can get stuck open. A real projectionist would know all you have to do is give the pad a little push and it will loosen but would a trained monkey?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Next Week's Movies

No surprises this week. Blood Diamond was already booked in. I had pencilled in Pursuit of Happyness but wanted to wait in case something more interesting came available. There were basically no new movies available. There's only one first run movie opening this weekend (300) so nothing got dropped. So I booked Pursuit for the early show.

Did get some good news, Fox is going to let us split Notes on a Scandal so it's pencilled in for Mar 16th. If they hadn't let us split it we couldn't have played it. Hopefully they'll do the same thing for Last King of Scotland.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Zodiac / David Fincher - me annoyed

One of the movies opening today is Zodiac directed by David Fincher. I'm so annoyed at Paramount for not promoting this more. I never saw a trailer in a theatre and only a few commercials on TV. Fincher is the director behind some modern classics like Se7en and Fight Club. This is his movie in years and it's not getting near the push it should. It stars a few high profile actors as well. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas, Chloe Sevigny.
I hope it does well it's opening weekend anyway and hangs around for a while. Unless it turns out the movie completely sucks it will be coming to Western Film.

Next Week's/ This Week's movies.

I got a little behind on the blogging, it's been a crazy couple weeks. I'll give a quick rundown of what's been happening with the bookings.

I had booked Half Nelson in for Feb 23 - Mar 1. I figured it would appeal to more than just the students which would be good since most of the students won't be here this week. I added Volver for a similar reason. It seemed to work, attendance was almost what I would have expected for these movies on another week.

We have gotten behind on movies available so the next couple weeks were somewhat planned in advance.

Mar 2 -8 is Casino Royale and Children of Men. Both of these could have been played the previous week but I didn't want to play them while there were few students here. I expect to be very busy this week.

Mar 9 -16 Blood Diamond is already booked in for the late show. Unless something changes the early show that week will be Pursuit of Happyness. Again we could have had these earlier but I choose to hold off.

Some of the other movies that were available.
Alpha Dog- not enough interest.
Smoking Aces - I'll play this if a spot opens but it's not my first choice. It's a cool movie (I saw it twice) but it's one those movies where most of the people who want to see it will have seen it.
Happy Feet - too kiddy.
Epic Movie - Fox wanted all shows so this wouldn't have played even if it wasn't a horrible, horrible movie.

Night at the Museum is available for Mar 9th but again Fox wants all shows. We have too many other movies that I would prefer to play right now. It's seen more or less as a kid's movie. if Fox let's me split it I might play it later.

I expect Little Children, Pan's Labyrinth, Letters from Iwo Jima, to come soon. Dreamgirls and Ghost Rider should come before too long.

I don't know if we will be able to play Notes on a Scandal or The Last King of Scotland since they are from Fox Searchlight which sometimes has the same annoying rules as Fox.