Sunday, April 27, 2008

Funny line from review of 88 minutes.

Rarely do I laugh out loud at a sentence in a movie review. I did at this line in a Variety review of Al Pacino's 88 minutes. As you can probably tell from the line itself the review was pretty scathing. The movie sounded like an interesting idea but wasn't done properly.

Here's the line:

"To play the babes, the 19 producers have seen fit to hire actresses (including Alicia Witt but especially Leelee Sobieski) with the uniform capacity to tower over the leading man, something for which he was surely grateful. "

Let me know if you agree or if I just have a weird sense of humour.

Poster of the Week - Dark Knight Posters -

Frequent commenter Chris Weber pointed out this new Dark Poster which we both agree really rocks.

I also noticed something interesting at Toronto based They have between $84 and $183 on some Dark Knight posters. I have two different posters at work. I'll have to check to see if they are any of the expensive ones just out of curiosity. The Advance Why So Serious is the really expensive one.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Next Week's Movies

This was one of those weeks I was faced with a hard to make choice. These films were available.

The Ruins- horror movies don't work at Western Film.

The Other Boleyn Girl.- I have been planning to play this so I booked it in for the early show.

The Bank Job-


I had to choose between these last two for the late show. It was one of those no-way-to-know decisions. Stop-Loss was higher profile with some popular stars but was about Iraq and didn't do great first-run. The Bank Job was low profile but had Jason Statham. I finally decided on Bank Job because it had played for longer than I expected first-run in London so it must have done well. I also checked and Bank Job had grossed $30 million and Stop-Loss had only done $10 million. Grosses aren't always a good guide at Western Film but these movies were similar enough.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is already booked for the following week. It will be the early show. If nothing else is available Stop-Loss will be the late show.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yet another 3-D post.

Found this lengthy and very detailed article about James Cameron and his views and and use of 3-D. He's very gung-ho on it. A major part of the push toward Digital projection over film is 3-D including his film Avatar due next year. I was quite happy to read there's going to be 2-D prints of Avatar for stone age theatres like Western Film that still play film. As I mentioned in an earlier post I was nervous that film would only be in 3-D. Now I only have to worry about all the other 3-D films coming out?!

On the other hand there's this article about a speech by John Fithian who runs the non-deadly NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners). He's saying if the studios and exhibitors don't get things ironed out soon there won't be enough 3-D screens to play all the 3-D films due next year. The basic divide is over money. The theatres will get a relatively small advantage using Digital over Film. I'd say 90% of the time there wouldn't be any difference and 99% of the public isn't going to notice. The studios will save tens of millions by not having to make film prints and ship them around. So it makes sense the Studios should help the theatres with the enormous cost of conversion from film to digital.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Next Week's Movies.

This week was a little scary to book. There were few films available. I almost had to play 10,000 BC just to fill in a slot. Usually when I have an empty slot I pull something out of reserve but I don't have anything left but films I didn't plan to play. Often I'll replay something we did well with but everything we did well with recently has come out on DVD.

I asked about In Bruges and it was available but just barely. It's finishing at a theatre in Toronto Thursday night then they'll have to put it on the bus Friday morning and I'll have to put it together Friday before the show. Thankfully I shouldn't have to worry about blizzards closing the 401 any more.

I put in Fool's Gold for the late show.

I asked about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly about Wednesday last week. There weren't any prints available until May 2 so I booked it in for that week. I hope it does well, my gut says it won't and I'm usually right. However I have been wrong before.

I'm waiting on The Other Bolyen Girl and Be Kind Rewind, maybe Run FatBoy Run. If those aren't available for the following week I might have to get creative. 10,000 BC might work as a late show exam study break film but again my gut says it won't.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dubbing vs. Subtitling foreign lagnuage films.

I saw this rather interesting article on one of my favorite websites about the release of the french animated film Persepolis in the US having been dubbed. I especially like the bit about the woman who returned a dubbed film because she considered watching it 'work'. We played Perseoplis a couple months ago at Western Film subtitled and did quite well with it.

I've noticed over the last few years in Canada there's very few theatrical films being dubbed any more, most are subtitled. About the only exception I can think of are some of the Japanese Anime films.

I haven't had a complaint from a customer who didn't know a film was subtitled in a while.

I honestly don't get why people have problems with subtitles. Maybe it's just me but I don't even notice the subtitles any more. About the only time I notice them is when they are badly done such as white titles against a white scene.

I might be stretching here but I wonder if it has anything to do with the American's infamously inferior education system. Maybe many people either can't read or read too slow?

There are limits to both options. Subtitles have to be fairly short, especially in a scene with a lot of dialogue. Dubbing has to try to sync to the mouth actions or you get the unintentional comedy best personified by old martial arts flicks.

Both systems have translation issues as well. I once had a DVD of an Anime film somehow get both the subtitles and dubbing on at the same time. It was amazing how different they were.

I watched a Spanish film called The Orphanage at the Hyland a few days ago, until I thought about it I didn't even remember it was subtitled.

As you can probably tell I'm in the camp that prefers subtitles, I think it's important to be able to hear the original dialogue to understand emotions, inflections etc.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I must be the most depressed person on the planet?

A commenter recently said going to the movies alone was a depressing thing to do. That makes me really depressed then as I almost always go alone. I don't know anyone who goes to as many movies as I do so it would be hard to find people to go with me to every movie.

With my work schedule I work most of the evenings people usually go to movies.

I don't mind going alone, although it is nice to have someone to discuss the film with afterward, especially if it's a interesting film.

A while ago someone gave me a two for one pass for Cineplex that expired about 6 months later. I never got a chance to use it. Although in my defense that was largely because when movies first come out they usually put on the 'no passes' restriction.

I have noticed a lot of people come to Western Film alone, and they don't all look depressed, just some of them.

Harrsion Ford.

As pretty much every person in most of the world knows, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull comes out on May 22. This is the fourth Indiana Jones film, the last one was in 1989!

The film looks fantastic and will be a monster hit unless it really, really, really sucks, which isn't likely considering the talent involved.

What I would do if I was Harrison Ford? Retire after this film, go out on a high note. His last few films haven't been that good and didn't do well. If he stops with this film there won't be a gradual slide into obscurity as happens with so many actors. I wouldn't want a film like Firewall to be the last film I made.

Maybe do a few cameos or something but no more lead roles.

He's been in two of the most famous series in movie history (Indiana Jones and Stars Wars) and starred in one of the most influential films ever. (Blade Runner)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Gross things people leave behind in the theatre.

I think I did a post on this a while ago. The projectionists clean up all the popcorn bags etc. at the end of the night. We find some interesting stuff left behind by people either in the movies or by the classes earlier in the day. Just in the last couple days I've found under the seats.

- a sushi roll
-an apple core
- a used tea bag.
- we find lots of used napkins-some not just used to clean hands.
- lots of leaking coffee, pop and Ice cap containers.

The first four I left for the custodians to clean up. It's their job and they wear gloves, I'm not about to touch old sushi or used napkins.

Some times we find good things, I found a loonie tonight.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One of my favorite pieces of music is in so many trailers!

One thing I like about the internet is how easy it is to find things out as opposed to the stone ages before. Back in the stone age there was this piece of music I kept hearing in trailers and commercials etc that I really liked but never knew what it was called. I finally found out somehow. Nowadays if I want to know what the music in a trailer is I can find out in a few minutes.

The music I like is part of a longer selection by Greig called In the Hall of The Mountain King. I can think of at least two recent trailers that use it and some older ones. The 1993 Needful things trailer was really well done, I remember showing it in front of films and going out to watch it each time just to listen to the music. I think that was before I knew what it was so I couldn't get it on CD.

Below are two recent films that use the piece, if you don't recognize the music you don't watch a lot of trailers or commercials.

Chaos Theory is apparently supposed to come out on Friday, must be a limited release. BTW, don't read the About This Video section if you go back to youtube, it contains a spoiler.

Next Week's Movie(s)

The late show for next week was an easy call. Juno did better on the weekend that most movies do all week so I'm keeping it for the late show next week. The early show was a bit tougher, there wasn't anything new available. I had Definitely, Maybe and Fool's Gold available from previous weeks or I could bring in something more arty.

I decided to play Definitely, Maybe for the early show. At this point with exams just starting I don't think a lot of students will show up for a serious film.

My current plan for the week following would be The Diving Bell and the Butterfly or In Bruges followed by a late show of Fool's Gold.

Almost had a major problem with Juno.

I book films on Monday and they usually come in by courier on either Wednesday or Thursday. Occasionally I pick them up at other theatres in town if there aren't a lot of prints around.

A film comes in metal cans in small reels that are about 20 minutes each, I've included a pic. Most movies are 6 reels. We then splice the movie together and play it as one continuous film.

Juno came in on Thursday as usual. The projectionist took it into the booth and opened it. I was just about to leave for my class (my ever!) when he said he had bad news. Reel 3 was missing!

Obviously this could have been a major catastrophe as we can't really play a film with 20 minutes missing from the middle.

In previous cases I would call our Booker who would have a print shipped out on the bus on Friday. Juno didn't have a lot of prints so I didn't know if there would be an extra.

Luckily I thought to check with the theatres that had just finished playing it and Rainbow still had their print. I went and picked it up Friday afternoon, took reel 3 out of it and finally had a complete print of Juno.

Fox's asked me if the Fox seals were still on the metal cans, they still were so the missing reel didn't get stolen in transit as one would suspect. Fox isn't too happy with Deluxe in Toronto, the warehouse that ships their prints. The print was supposed to be checked before it left and obviously wasn't.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Damm drunk people

There was a Soph pub at the restaurant beside Western Film tonight which meant a couple hundred drunk students around. I don't mind drunk students but why do they have to be so disrespectful of others property? We have large metal signs outside the UCC to advertise the movies. They use large magnetic letters. I was walking out to the parking lot and happened to notice a couple sophs trying to get open the one nearest Western Road. I was on the other side of the road unfortunately and there was a fence between me and them. I crossed the road and walked up to the fence and yelled "get away from that f&*king sign". Can you tell I was pissed off? They fairly quickly took off. I walked around the fence and checked out the sign. They had bent the doors somewhat trying to get it open which they eventually managed to do just about the time I came along. I had to climb up on the sign, a rather precarious position, to get it to close again. The bent doors made it hard to line everything up.

The thing I can't help but wonder is exactly what they intended to do? Did they want to steal the letters or rearrange them to make something they thought was funny ? All that was on the sign was Juno 700 905, not many anagrams there.

The controversy about the Dutch film


"The Indonesian government has blocked access to YouTube after the video-sharing website refused to remove the anti-Koran film Fitna, produced by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. The film cites passages in the Koran that it says incites violence, anti-Semitism, and hate among followers. However, the British tech site The Inquirer reported today (Friday) that "the Indonesian government [doesn't] seem to have quite mastered the art of censorship just yet, as Indonesians subscribing to the country's largest telecom company ... were still able to access YouTube." Even as the action against YouTube was being announced, protesters gathered outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta, carrying placards calling for Wilders's death. Meanwhile, the Rotterdam Times reported today that the Dutch government is providing "the highest possible level of protection" for Ehsan Jami, founder of the Committee for Ex-Muslims, who last year made some of the same charges against the Koran that Wilders did in his movie."

Just my two cents, I've been hearing about this for a while and nobody seems to have stated what seems obvious to me. Dutch TV wouldn't show the film due to fears of violence, an American ISP refused to host it because of death threats against their employees. As it says above some want the director killed. Another Dutch filmmaker was already killed by a Muslim extremest.

Don't all these reactions and fear of reactions prove the point of film?

Alcohol in the movies.

The recent talk of raising the drinking age in Ontario to from 19 to 21 made me think of this post. I think the idea has already been kaboshed but it was a stupid idea. Young people can vote, join the military and kill people and make decisions that affect their whole lives before they are 21?! One of my staff would have been at the end of his third year before he could drink if the age had been raised?!

Anyway, in general I don't have any problems with drinking unless it's excessive. I go out once in a while but don't keep any at home. Coming from a family with a history of alcoholism I can't stand people who drink too much. I've been finding the use of alcohol in movies seems to bother me lately.

The next few movies you watch think about how much alcohol is consumed. Most times when someone visits they are offered a drink even if it's just a social call. The characters seem to use drinking both to celebrate and console themselves.

I sometimes wonder if the liqueur companies sponsor some of these films.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Change in attendance patterns over time.

As the title implies there have been some change over the last few years in the attendance pattern at Western Film. This post was prompted by a commenter who mentioned how full the theatre seemed on a recent Tuesday. The theatre was actually only about 1/3 full. (130 patrons). When I first started in 200o Western Film had the same patterns most theatres had. Busy weekends and Tuesday, quiet other nights. We actually used to sell out the theatre on a regular basis for Tuesday. A few times we turned away as many as 150 people.

We used to have no-shows (no customers) on a regular basis on Monday. At certain times of the year on Sunday and Monday we could use only two staff instead of the usual 3.

The patterns gradually changed for the reasons I will postulate below. Note, I'm talking patterns not total attendance.

Most theatres stopped having a discount Tuesday so the concept wasn't as familiar to everyone any more.
The Internet, DVD etc has widened people's entertainment options so they didn't just come on the weekends.

I think this is the big one- additional night classes. The number of night classes has been steadily increasing which moves people around. Someone who has a Tuesday night class has to go another night to see the 7:00 film. Conversely a lot of people are on campus for night classes go to a late show afterward. My staff is kind of a microcosm of this, I have been having steadily more nights being booked off for classes and literally have had to hire because I was short staffed certain nights. This term I can only schedule three people on Thursday instead of the usual four because so many have night classes.

So over time business has spread out. Tuesday is still the busiest night but seldom sells out. Friday and Saturday are still busy. Sunday and Monday are unpredictable but we need three staff and have only had a couple no-shows in the last couple years.

Wednesday and Thursday have become very busy nights, often busier than the weekend. In another example of a pattern changing. Wednesday used to be really busy relative to Thursday. I would usually put 4 staff on Wednesday and 3 on Thursday. A couple years ago the pattern changed and Thursdays became the busy night. Now they have evened out which I'm attributing to an increased number of Thursday night classes.

Overall we are getting about the same number of people but spread out over the whole week. I have to admit I don't miss sell-outs, there were not fun at all.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Next Week's Movie.

As I had hoped Juno was finally available so I booked it in. It's from Fox so they wanted full shows which I expected and was okay with for this film. They did decide to make things a little more interesting and charge a higher percentage than usual. I swear all these studios seem to be trying to drive all the smaller theatres out of business with their wacky business practices that don't bother the big chains but penalize smaller houses.

There were a couple other films available.

Never Back Down- interesting movie but too high school oriented for us.

Fool's Gold - I plan to play this at some point.

Right now the week after Juno would be Definitely maybe and Fool's Gold. It depends on how well Juno does, if it does anywhere near as well as I think it will I'll be holding it over for one of the shows the following week.