Saturday, September 29, 2007
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
Monday, September 24, 2007
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
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
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
Rush Hour 3
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
More info here.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
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.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Next week I'll be back to posting pretty much every day.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
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.
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.