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.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Movie Review- Superbad

I did an earlier post about this film. The subject was how different the regular and R-rated trailers made the movie look. When I first saw the regular trailer I though the movie looked bad. Then I saw the R rated version on the Internet and the movie looked a lot funnier. Now I know why, because 95% of the funniness in the movie couldn't be shown in a regular trailer.

Superbad was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long while. If you thought Knocked Up was raunchy then you ain't seen nothing yet. Superbad was really raunchy, it probably wins or comes close to #1 in a contest to fit the most swear words in a movie.

It was similar to Knocked Up but a more juvenile sense of humour. It took me a while to get interested but the high school types around me seemed to love it. There were a few segments that were really, really funny. It was also one of those movies where you miss parts because people are still laughing at the previous stuff.

I will say I though some of the jokes went a little too far. I would imagine some of the women in the audience were uncomfortable with some of the jokes and I wasn't crazy about the gay jokes either.

This will be playing at Western Film in a month or so.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is it illegal to advertise birth control pills?

I'm asking this question because of some of the commercials I saw before Superbad tonight. A while ago there was Alesse which did a lot of advertising but never said what the product was. A shot of a package of pills was the only reference.

One of the commercials came on and it showed some women/girls frolicking and having fun with their friends. At the end a similar looking product was referenced. The audience thought it was funny even though I don't think it was supposed to be.
The next commercial was very similar and also showed a similar product. The products had names but not explicitly labelled as birth control.

I thought the tone of the ads was interesting. Girls having fun with each other, being free, dancing but not a man in sight. Presumably a man is needed to prevent what birth control pills are supposed to prevent.

I guess they are trying to create an association between being free and in control and the product without stating what they would be free of.

I wonder if these ads are a sneaky way of getting around some law that says you can't advertise these pills or are they trying to avoid getting accused of 'corrupting' young folk by encouraging them to have sex without having to worry about an unwanted pregnancy.

One other thing, I wonder if the two advertisers know their ads are played one after the other. The audience got quite a kick out of the fact there were 2 birth control ads in a row. Sort of undermines the effectiveness of both ad campaigns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Poster Collection - A Wedding.

I have no idea why I have this poster. It's a 1973 movie called A Wedding. I liked Lauren Hutton for a while so I may have bought it then. I may also have got it in a mass buy of posters I did for Western Film many moons ago and kept it since it did have a couple collectible names on it.

Next Week's Movies

Booking for next week was pretty easy. The only major movie available was Transformers. Since it was one of the biggest hits of the summer I figured I should probably play it. I debated doing a late show. Earlier in the summer I probably would have only run one show at 7pm, especially since it's so long. However I decided to run a late show for a few reasons.

-I've noticed students seem to be coming back already.

-It's the kind of movie pretty much everyone sees and some people watch more than once so I figure we'll be busy enough to warrant a late show.

-It's a late show kind of movie.

-My staff and I have a lot of stuff to do to get ready for Frosh Week so we'd be there anyway.

The next playweek after this goes into Labour Day and Frosh week so it's a very important week. We want to have good choices for the new students to see so they visit Western Film and know it's there. At this point I would play Knocked Up and Transformers but I'll see what comes off.

Fox probably won't let me split Die Hard 4 so it will be a couple weeks for that one.

One of my staff and I have a 25 cent bet. He thinks The Simpsons Movie will be available for Frosh Week. I'll be very very surprised if he wins. He wins if it's available even if I don't play it. Even if it was off the other theatres Fox would want per caps or wouldn't let me split it. I'm not playing only one movie during Frosh Week.
I'm giving away the Transformers stuff I received at ShowCanada next week. Each person can fill out a ballot when they buy their tickets. The prize pack is a Transformers gym bag and a Bee-otch car freshener as seen in the film.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Western Film's very own Diet Coke fountain of delight

We had a bit of a mess a couple days ago. Western Film uses canisters of pop under the counter. We can't use the syrup most restaurants use since we don't have a water supply. The canisters are full of pop and there is a bottle of CO2 hooked into the system. CO2 is what gives pop it's fizz. In this case the CO2 not only makes sure the pop is carbonated but is under pressure and pushes the pop out the tap.

Each canister has two nozzles on it, one for CO2 in and the other for pop out. Occasionally the canisters get over pressurized and come out really foamy. It's a weird kind of foam that doesn't settle fast so it really slows us down. Diet Coke is especially bad for this, especially when it's warm.

To solve the foam issue we depressurize the canister by letting some of the CO2 out. We push down on a little valve in the center of the nozzle that lets in the CO2 and let some out.

One of my staff went to do this and a quite spectacular event occurred. I'm sorta sad I wasn't around to witness it.

Diet Coke started spraying everywhere, it was all over the carts, the floor, our juice fridge and the ceiling! One of my staff who was trying to stop it got soaked in pop.

It took about an hour to clean it all up. I ended up on a ladder wiping off the ceiling. Luckily it didn't stain. There was one section that was a little higher than the rest and was right beside the atrium. I couldn't reach it without getting higher on the ladder than I wanted to. Me and heights don't get along. I ended up getting a paint roller and covering it with paper towels.

My initial assumption was the staff member had pushed on the pop out nozzle instead of CO2 in but it turned out it was the CO2 nozzle. Every so often a canister gets what I call 'super pressurized' and pop comes out the CO2 nozzle.

Normally if pop started coming out we would stop pushing on the valve obviously. I figure the nozzle must has stuck open as it does from time to time and hence created Western Film's very own fountain for a few seconds.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This movie looks cool.- Shoot 'Em Up

I'm a sucker for action films, especially over the top ones if done right. I first heard about Shoot 'em Up a few months ago and want to see it as soon as it comes out. The director readily admits his inspiration was Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes. You can see it in the trailer, even down to Clive Owen eating carrots.

The official site has a restricted trailer but the age verification part won't allow Canadian postal codes just US zip codes. Luckily someone posted it on youtube. Hopefully it stays there.

The reason this is called a red- band trailer is because it's more violent than most and contains some cuss words, probably NSFW.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

No more matinees

The matinees of Pirates this week did okay but not as good as had hoped. Part of the problem may have been the length of the film resulted in only being able to run one show each afternoon. The matinees paid for themselves but just barely.
The only movie left I had been planning to play matinees for was Rattatoile. Since I won't get it until after school has started if I play it at all I won't do matinees.

So for the summer, Shrek 3 did well, Evan Almighty lost money and Pirates 3 made a small profit.

At this point there likely won't be any matinees next summer either. Depends on what films are out.

New Seasoning by popular demand.

I got in a new seasoning today. Many people have asked about Ketchup flavour so I ordered some. Kinda works out for another reason. I currently have plain salt in one of the plastic shakers but the holes in the lid are so big it just pours out. The previous set of containers were metal and the holes were smaller. I replaced them because the seasonings were hard to sprinkle when it was humid, the stuff would stick together. The plastic shakers have bigger holes and even then still have problems.

Anyway, I'm going to pull out one of the metal shakers with small holes for the salt and fill the plastic container with large holes with the Ketchup seasoning.

Hopefully people like Ketchup flavoured popcorn.

Next Week's Movies

There weren't any new movies available this week. All of the big movies have opened so movies won't be pushed out of the other theatres as quick. Thankfully Fox finally said we could split Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer so I'm bringing in Waitress as the early show and Fan 4 at 9:05

No Reservations and Die Hard 4 should come off soon. Transformers as well.

It looks like we won't be playing Rattatoile. Because Disney puts 2 weeks between first and second run the earliest I could get it is Orientation week. I'm definitely not playing it that week. We want to have something more student oriented for the new students. It's mostly seen as a kid's movie though I would disagree with that. Unless I have a dead week I don't think it will work to play after the students have returned. The family crowd that comes during the summer tends not to come during the school year and Rataloile doesn't strike me as something the students want to see. If anyone disagrees with me let me know.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Movie Review - Stardust

I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. The trailers were iffy, it looked like it could be bad. The special effects looked iffy etc. However I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw it today. It was a lot of fun and quite funny which hadn't really come across in the trailers. Pretty straight forward action/fantasy with a story that was fairly easy to figure out. Michelle Pfeiffer did a great job as the wicked witch and Robert DeNiro was priceless in his performance. The effects were for the most part well done and there was a certain amount of spectacle. Overall I recommend seeing it. I'm pretty sure Western Film will play it. It'll depend on how it does first run and what other movies are available when it comes available.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Movie Review - Hot Rod

This review will be short. Hot Rod was over-the-top and ridiculous but really funny at times. I wasn't expecting much because I thought the trailers were a little weak and might contain all the funny stuff. However the film was quite funny in places. Some of the bits went on a little too long and some just plain didn't make sense. The filmmakers had their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks.

I don't think the film will play at Western Film. It's a 'small' film and isn't really aimed at the crowd we get.

Trivia Contest: I have a Hot Rod tank top I received at ShowCanada to give away. The first person who leaves a comment saying what movie gets an extended parody scene in Hot Rod wins it. I'll update the post in a few days with the answer if no one posts it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cineplex's new seasonings.

I noted in an earlier post that I had noticed the popcorn seasonings shakers seemed to be disappearing from Cineplex and Famous Players. Both theatre chains are owned by the same company. The replacement is the small packet you see in the pic. The CD is there for scale purposes. The packet is only about half full so it's not a huge amount of seasoning. You get one packet for free but they charge 50 cents for any extra packets.
I'm curious why they did this. The seasonings are expensive but not that bad. I think many people would use less to compensate for the ones who use a lot. I suppose they'll make more money if a lot of people buy the extra packet.
2 other things come to mind.
To me this would make for a dirtier theatre. With shakers in the lobby most of the seasoning mess is on the counter or the floor. With these packets people will be shaking the seasonings on in their seats, unavoidably leading to more getting spilled on the seats.
The packets have the standard nutrition info on them. I assume they had to put it on there since the product was now packaged. I had never seen nutritional info on seasoning, pretty freaky, that little package contains 61% of the sodium (salt) that a person is supposed to have in one day. By the time you add the salt on the popcorn I bet you are over 100%.

Next Week's Movies

There was basically only one new movie available for next week, Pirates 3, so I booked it in. It's too long (3 hrs) to do a late show so there's only a 7pm show. I decided to do matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. I considered doing 2 matinees each day but I figured the times would be too awkward. They would have to be at about noon and about 3. Both would go into a time generally reserved for a meal. It'll be interesting having all the matinee business going into one show a day. Could be really busy.

Fox still won't let me split Fantastic 4 2 so there's a chance we won't be playing it. They'll let me split Waitress but as long as there are bigger movies like Pirates coming off I won't be able to play it.

Both Die Hard 4 and Ratatouille look like they may come off soon so one of them might be the week after Pirates. Die Hard is also from Fox so I won't be able to split it but I think it will do well enough to play it by itself.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My poster collection #1 Rocky Horror B' Style

Generic part of post, will repeat with later posts- I thought I'd pull out some of my poster collection and post about them. These are from my collection of folded posters. I have way more rolled posters. All posters were folded until about the late 80's. They were easier and cheaper to ship. As a collectibles market developed and theatres started putting the posters in nicer back lit display cases the posters started coming rolled.

This is a uncommon B' Style poster for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Before ebay killed the collectibles market this poster was worth quite a bit of money. I paid $25 US for it about 1992 which was a good price at the time. It's in very good shape. There's one on ebay right now for $15.00 minimum bid.

New Policy on movie reviews.

I've decided I need to approach movie reviews differently if I'm going to do them. I'm in a bit of a conflict of interest since I run a movie theatre I don't want to write reviews that keep people from seeing the film.
This was brought to the fore with the review I wrote for Evan Almighty. It was pretty negative.

One thing about films is they are so subjective, a movie one person loves another hates. There is usually a general consensus though. There are exceptions though. I can think of a couple examples.

Waitress- I've heard people say this was their favorite movie and I think I've decided I hated it. As an example read the user reviews at tribute.ca for Waitress. Talk about differing opinions. I think the gap is along gender lines.

Little Miss Sunshine- I heard this was one of the best movies ever etc and I went to see it and thought it was alright but didn't understand the hoopla.

Grease 2- considered one of the worst movies ever made but one of my favorites. Please don't tell anyone.

So this is my new policy on movie reviews. Let me know if you disagree.

I'm only going to do reviews for movies I liked or at least didn't hate or films I know won't be coming to Western Film. If I don't review a movie I either didn't like it or didn't see it. There's few movies I don't see and few movies I don't like in at least some way so I'll probably still review most films.

Friday, August 03, 2007

They're remaking my youth?!

I've noticed a disturbing trend of announcements or rumours about remaking films that came out when I was a kid or teenager. I guess I've been around longer than it feels since they don't usually remake films until quite a bit after they first came out.

Here's some I've heard about.

Halloween - comes out in August-why not at Halloween?-probably to avoid going up against Saw 4.

Revenge of the Nerds- I heard this one got cancelled.

Footloose- supposed to be starring Zac Efron from Hairspray.

Witch Mountain movies. 2 movies from the 70's about kids who had special powers. I wanted to be one of those kids so bad so I could throw around the kids who picked on me. Never be a smart kid in a country school full of bumpkins.

Escape From New York - remake is supposed to star Gerard Butler from 300. This one could be cool.

The Thing- 1982 version by John Carpenter, sequel and remake are both rumoured. The Thing is itself a remake of a 1951 film called The Thing from Another World.

Terror Train - the original is a little known horror movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis and hunky Canadian Hart Bochner. This may get cancelled since the recent horror movie wave seems to have run it's course.

Logan's Run - supposed to be directed by Bryan Singer who did X-Men and Superman Returns. This one could be cool as well.

If anyone tries to remake these they are only asking for trouble. They could never be as good as the originals. I will also hunt them down personally.

Heathers - I've heard rumours of a sequel though.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Final Swag #14 Rush Hour 3 baseball hat.

This is the last item of swag from ShowCanada I have to list. It's a good quality baseball hat with Rush Hour 3 on it. Can't get much simpler than that. We'll give it away as a prize when we play the film.