Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Casting News and one Unbelievable one.

I received a press release from Warner Brothers that Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway are going to be in a movie version of Get Smart! to be released next year. That could be really good.

On the seems unlikely front the new version of The Incredible Hulk has supposedly cast Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. Doesn't sound like something he would do and I'm not sure he would be right for the part anyway. BTW. This isn't a sequel to the version starring Eric Bana, they are being released by different companies so the new one is a 'revisioning'.

Interesting news from England.

Someone did some research in England about how people talk about movies. Some name drop movies they haven't seen to impress. Others don't like to admit they've seen some movies. Others judge people by what kind of movies they like. I'm glad I'm not the only one that does that.

Top films to lie about seeing:
• Schindler's List
• The Da Vinci Code
• The Godfather
• Apocalypse Now

Top five film 'drops':
Shawshank Redemption - I guess this helps explain why the poster for this film is one of the most requested at Western Film. It was also suggested for the midnight series.
• Green Mile
• Lord Of The Rings
• The Godfather
• Casino Royale - I'm not sure if this refers to the original or the recent remake.

Top five films people like but dislike admitting to:
• The Sound Of Music
• Ghost
• Dirty Dancing
• Love Actually
• Harry Potter

Which films would you prefer not to admit you liked? For older films it would be Grease 2, for newer ones it would be The Covenant.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Western Film Mini-reviews.

I haven't done this for a while so I may miss a few. These are my opinions of films I have seen over the last few weeks.

PATHFINDER- I saw this tonight and all I can say is bad, bad, bad. Bad acting, truly awful special effects, the story didn't make sense. There was one part the continuity was so bad I thought the projectionist had put the reels in the wrong order. This movie has been pushed back from previous release dates which is usually a bad sign. The copyright at the end of the film was 2006. This won't be playing at Western Film even if it was good since it's from Fox and a type of film Western Film doesn't do well with anyway.

DISTURBIA- Wasn't sure what to expect and was very happy to see a solid thriller. Good suspense and some good scary moments, especially for the girls behind me that kept screaming. The lead actor Shia Labeouf was good and is getting noticed in Hollywood. The National Association of Theatre Owners voted him Male Star of Tomorrow this year. Western Film may play this, the target market is a little younger than we usually get (high school).

FACTORY GIRL - Saw this at the Hyland, interesting biography about the Andy Warhol factory girl Edie Sedgewick. Nothing spectacular but was interesting. This won't be playing at Western Film, not enough awareness.

THE LIVES OF OTHERS- Until I saw it I couldn't understand why this beat Pan's Labyrinth for Best Foreign Picture at the Oscars. It was a really good suspense thriller. Good acting even if I did have to read the dialogue. I expect an American version won't be long in coming. I don't think this will play at Western Film for awareness issues even though it won an Oscar.

SHARKWATER- A really good and somewhat scary documentary about the importance of sharks in the eco-system and what we are doing to them and hence us. Basically the shark is the top predator in the oceans, if we kill them all for friggin soup the populations below in the food chain will explode and this could cause a chain reaction going all the way down to the plankton which generate 70% of our oxygen. The only thing I didn't like was the ego-centric role of the director along the vein of Michael Moore but with too much attitude. I planned to play this at Western Film but I won't be able to get it until after the students have left which kinda sucks.

THE LOOKOUT - a good thriller, good acting, interesting premise. Won't be playing at Western Film because no one but me has ever heard of it. It reminded me of HARSH TIMES as when they throw a good movie out to theatres without enough publicity and it just disappears.

MEET THE ROBINSONS- yes I went to see a kid's flick. I went to a late show the first week it came out and was one of 4 people in the theater. I did this on purpose because I usually can usually only make late shows and I could avoid the noisy kids. The next week it went down to matinees and early show only, the usual for a kid's show. It was a fun movie with great animation but nothing exceptional. Won't be playing at Western Film.

THE NUMBER 23 - Western Film could have had this a couple weeks ago but I decided not to play it since it generally had a bad rep and was a kind of film we don't do well with. I went to see it one night since it was the only movie I hadn't seen I could get to that night. It was better than I had heard, Jim Carrey did a pretty good job, the script was a bit confusing though. The stuff about 23 was interesting. Sep 11 2001= 9th month,11th day + 2 +00+ 1= 23.

THE REAPING - a fairly standard horror/thriller with some bad special effects. Hilary Swank was good but I couldn't help but wonder why she did a film like this. I don't think this will play at Western Film.

SHOOTER - A solid action movie, Mark Wahlberg was good, good action, good effects, story made sense. Marky Mark took off his shirt for the first time in a while. This one will probably play at Western Film as a late show depending on what is available. The straight out action film is a genre that is pretty hit or miss at Western Film.

Next Week's Movies

Next week was a bit of a decision. There were only 2 new films available.

The Hills have Eyes 2- never in a million years, especially since Fox wanted both shows every night.

Premonition.- I have been planning to play this when it came available so I booked it.

The decision was what, if anything, to play with it. I decided to check with Fox and see if they would let us split Night at the Museum now. We could have had it about a month ago but I wouldn't play it because they wanted both shows every night. They said we could split it (one show per night) now.

I decided to show Night at the Museum as the early show. It's kind of an experiment. I'm hoping the students will see it as a study break since it's a fun, no-brainer comedy. It's kind of seen as a kid's show but I quite enjoyed it.

The booker was checking on 300 but it didn't come off. She was also checking on Grindhouse which didn't come off.

I wish 300 had come off, next week is the last full week of exams. The week after that exams are done and a good portion of the students will be gone.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Finally saw Grindhouse.

I finally got to see Grindhouse on Sunday night. It was pretty cool. The first movie, Planet Terror, directed by Robert Rodriguez, was a fun, gory, way over the top B-movie. It was pretty much non-stop action. The fake trailers between the two movies were really funny and one was scarier than the movies. The directors had fun 'damaging' the film as described in an earlier post. I'm glad I've seen it so I'll know what to expect when it plays here.
The second film, Death Proof, directed by Quentin Tarantino, was quite different. It was more dialogue driven which some people didn't like since it came across as slow to them. The dialogue was very Tarantino with swear words and lots of the word Michael Richards regrets saying. The action sequences were amazing. I don't know how they did them, there must have been a lot of CGI erasing of safety harnesses or something.

There was some press because the movie didn't do as well as expected on it's opening weekend. There were several potential reasons given,
-people didn't 'get' the movie, especially in 'middle America'.
-it was too long for people to sit through.
-people didn't understand the concept- apparently some people left after the first movie not knowing there was a second.
-the running time reduced the number of shows a theatre could show per day. You could do 2 shows of many movies in the time it took to do one of Grindhouse.

I think it was a combination with emphasis on the last one, the show I saw was almost full.

So, if you want over 3 hours of fun I highly recommend Grindhouse, just make sure you don't have to go to the bathroom.

Next Week's Movie

The only new movies for next week were:
The Last Mimzy- it looked kinda cute but we don't play kid's movies.
The Lookout- this movie was pretty good but it didn't get enough publicity so I'd get the 'never heard of it' line a lot.

I decided to bring in Letters from Iwo Jima which I had been holding until I had a good spot. There ended up being only a 7pm show this week. Letters is pretty long but I could have played a late show. However there wasn't anything new available I thought would do well. I briefly considered bring back Pan's Labyrinth but while it did well the first week it wasn't huge. At another time of the year I might have tried it but the students are too busy with exams right now.
I also considered bringing in Smokin' Aces but while a cool movie it's the kind of movie that's hit and miss around here. I could have played it about a month ago but have been holding off. It reminded me of Lucky Number Slevin last year which did well but not huge. The final kicker was it comes out on video on Tuesday.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I'm not looking forward to projecting Grindhouse.

The title of the movie Grindhouse refers to old theatres that used to run exploitation movies all day long (grinding). The prints of these films tended to be really damaged due to being played on poor equipment by bad projectionists. The end result was badly scratched prints with a lot of splices and missing frames. The bad projectionists resulted in things like missing switch overs, playing the reels out of order or film jams. A film jam is visible to the audience by the film burning through. As soon as the film stops moving the light burns right through it. (See Image)

Have you ever noticed new films represent old films by simulated scratches?

As is apparent from the trailer and what I've read in various articles the directors of Grindhouse have had a field day making Grindhouse representative of what the audience would see in one of these theatres by artificially adding damage. I even read it's going to be missing reels.

The first time Western Film plays a film, usually Friday night the projectionist either watches it or keeps an eye on it while doing other things. He/She is watching for any mistakes we may have made in putting the film together or problems with the film as it came in.

So the first time through whomever is watching it will have to figure out whether any of the 'damage' is real. For example if the film goes out of frame we'll have to figure out whether we put it together wrong or they did it intentionally and will fix itself.

I can't decide if I should watch it or get one of my projectionists to do it. I would be better at deciding what is real and what is faked but after years or working as a projectionist I tend to almost instinctively react to problems. I think I'd be completely stressed out the entire film.

If you haven't seen it yet watch the trailer below and you'll see some of the 'damage' just in the first few seconds.

BTW There's also some simulated damage in Fight Club.

Next Week's Movies

The decision this week was fairly easy. There were 2 new movies available.

Ghost Rider - I decided to play it, I'm not sure how it will do, might be one of films everyone who wants to see it has already seen.

Number 23 - Decided not to play it, has a general reputation as being 'bad' and isn't the kind of movie Western Film does well with anyway.

So Ghost Rider is the early show and I decided to put in Zodiac which I bumped from last week as the late show.

Normally I would have put Zodiac as the early show since it has more adult appeal as well as students and is more 'serious'. Movies like Ghost Rider are often better as late shows since they appeal basically only to the students. Students tend to be more likely to come to late shows, sometimes after class.

However I decided to play Zodiac as the late show for a couple reasons.
-It's almost 3 hours long so it would have make Ghost Rider a really late late show.
- Much to my dismay it didn't do great at the Box Office so it may tank here. Ghost Rider had a lot more publicity so has a better chance of drawing a crowd.