Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Next Week's Movies

There was only one new movie available this week.

Get Smart: I decided to put this off a week.

Kung Fu Panda and Indiana Jones were available for the current week. I booked Indiana Jones in with the intention of playing Kung Fu Panda the following week which is now Next week. (does that make sense?)

Anyway, I booked Panda in for 7:00 and matinees. Indiana Jones has been really busy so I decided to keep it for the late show next week. The late show this week has been surprisingly quiet compared to the early show but I think keeping it for a late show will work. It's the only showing and it's at 9:00 as opposed to the relatively late 9:40 it's playing at currently.

I decided to run Panda matinees on Monday as well as Saturday and Sunday since it's a holiday. We've never done this before so we'll see if it works. I'm only trying it since it's a civic holiday not a Stat holiday. If it was a Stat holiday the staff would get time and a half and it would be too expensive to risk it.

The current plan is for Get Smart to play the following week with Hulk as the late show. There won't be any matinees that weekend unless Panda happens to be busy enough to keep for another week for matinees. Not likely but possible.

In case anyone asks, I'll be surprised if we get Dark Knight before September. It would make a great Frosh week movie so hopefully it will be available then.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Poster: Righteous Kill

I thought it might be interesting to post about new movie posters as they come into Western Film. If not let me know, it was surprisingly time consuming to photograph all the recent posters that had come in.

The poster for Righteous Kill is really interesting. It's on heavy, kind of rough paper, similar to the paper in many hardcover books. It's just the names of the actors and the title. No release date or anything. The really surprising thing is the lack of any credits. There's not even a studio listed. I've never seen that before.

Unpredictable Matinees

I've been experimenting with matinees a little this summer. I normally only run matinees for kid's films but I noticed at the first two we did this summer there were a lot of adults coming. That's why I decided to try running matinees of Sex and The City last week. It worked pretty well, attendance was good. I did just one show at 2pm.
So based on this and the earlier matinees I didn't hesitate to book Indiana Jones in for matinees.

Naturally this business had to prove it's unpredictability again. The Friday and Saturday night shows were the busiest we've been since school let out. It's already done more in two days than some movies do all week. However the matinees were shockingly quiet in comparison. I went in to drop off some supplies after the first matinee started Saturday and when my staff said there were only a few people in the theatre I thought they were joking.

I wonder if the start times might be an issue, the 1:15 was too early and the 4:00 too close to dinner.
Thankfully attendance picked up some, Sunday is usually busier than Saturday. Overall the matinees for Indiana broke even staff costs wise but only because I worked Sunday.

The matinees for Kung-Fu Panda should do well and it's shorter so the start times may be more convenient.

The next issue will be what to do when I play a mid-range film like Get Smart, do I run matinees or not?

Next (This ) weeks movie.

I missed a few days of posting. I was away for part of the week at a place that had Internet access so slow it could barely check e-mail let alone run a web-based application like blogger.

So let's set the way back machine to last Tuesday or so when I would normally have posted this.

There were two movies available for next week.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull: I booked this in for both evening shows and matinees. I decided to play it for both shows each night since I think it's the last big movie for a while that I'll be able to do that with. I could have played The Hulk or something but I decided to keep that to play as a late show with Get Smart or something.

Kung-Fu Panda: I couldn't play both this and Indiana at the same time as both needed the early shows and matinees so I decided to delay Panda for a week.

Depending on what's available Monday the following week will be Kung-Fu Panda for 7 pm and matinees and Hulk for late shows. That still leaves Happening and Zohan as backups to put in at some point.

I imagine Wanted and Get Smart should come off soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Teaser trailer for Terminator Salvation!

This is one of my most anticipated films of 2009. The Terminator series has been great except maybe for the third one. It was good but nothing special. The first two are what I would call classics. I was a little nervous when I heard they were making a Fourth film until I heard Christian Bale had signed on to play John Connor. I figure he has enough pull and prestige to make sure it gets done right, I hope. There's a new teaser out that flashes images at you fast enough to induce seizures but still looks cool. I wonder if Arnie will make a cameo?

Neil Patrick Harris Sings!?

Joss Whedon (creator of TV's Buffy and Angel ) put together an Internet only film called Dr. Horribles Sing-Along Blog. It's showing in 3 parts for free over the next few days. After Jul 20th it will be available on itunes and eventually on DVD.

I just watched the first episode. It's really funny.

Joss Whedon reminds me of Glen A. Larson who created the original Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers and Knightrider among others. Both worked in the same genres and both have written music for their shows.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Next Week's Movie

There were 2 new movies available this week.

Sex and the City: I've been waiting for this one so I booked it in. We've had a lot of people ask about it so I expect it to do quite well.

The Incredible Hulk: I decided to hold off on this one for now. I think it will make a good late show with Get Smart or a similar movie at some point.

I decided to run Sex and the City as a late show as well as an early show. It's a surprisingly long film so it puts the late show at 9:45. Iron Man did okay for the late shows and this strikes me as the kind of film that should do well as a late show.

I did one thing that's pretty experimental. I'm running matinees for a non-kid's film. I noticed over the last couple matinees (Iron Man, Narnia 2) that there were a lot of adults coming and really not that many kids.

Matinees give people who can't come in the evening another option. Hopefully we aren't just cannibalizing the evening shows. It's just one show at 2 pm so I'm just scheduling a projectionist and I'll come in to help set up and run the Box Office. The projectionist will run the concession stand then start the trailers. Once the actual movie starts I won't be needed any more so I can leave. I'll only need to be there about 45 minutes. This way we only need about 30 people total for it to at least pay for itself. If any of those 30 buy snacks then we make a profit. I figure the odds of that are pretty good.

Indiana Jones, Get Smart and Kung Fu Panda should be available soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This is why we watch the films first time through.

The first time a film plays at Western Film the projectionist or I always sit and watch it or at least stay in the booth and keep an eye on it. Last night was the first showing of Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. It was fairly busy. As is the subset of Murphy's Law that applies to movie theatres we had problems tonight, not a quiet night like Street Kings.

First in reel 4 it went out of frame twice. In one case the top half of the screen was suddenly on the bottom! That's easy to fix while the movie is running by turning a knob. It happened in the middle of the reel so it had come in that way from another theatre. There was a reel change just after the second bad splice. I'd seen the film before so when people were suddenly returning injured and dead from a battle they had not yet fought I knew something was up. Reels 5 and 6 and been put in the wrong order so the battle occurred later in the film. A reel is about 15 minutes long.

I stopped the film and went up to the front and let the audience know what had happened. I said they could get their money back if they wished to leave now or watch the rest of the film and we would give them a free pass. Only a few left.

It was interesting that when I finished telling them they sort of clapped. I think it's because someone told them was had happened instead of just shutting the film off and sending them away as most theatres would have done. In most theatres no one watches the film so who knows how long it would have been before someone realized something was wrong. The rest of the film was fine after the two reels that played out of order.

I had planned to go home after the early show started but I had to wait around until the end of the night to fix Narnia. Unfortunately the late show, Iron Man, is long so it wasn't over until midnight.

I had put the small plastic cores trailers come on in the rolls of film to mark the places where there were problems. I then had to take the last few reels off to switch reels 5 and 6. This took a while since the film was no longer round with the cores in it. After I had the last few reels off I had to go into reel 4 and fix the bad splices. Whomever had last played it must have only played it once, they had obviously had it break on them a couple times and fixed it without making sure it was in frame. Both splices had been made badly. There really isn't a good excuse to make a bad splice in a CinemaScope film. The image fills the full frame so it's easy to tell where to cut. I fixed them.

After that was all done I put the film back on the platter, in the right order, and was finished. Altogether it took me 2 hours.

I'm writing this from the projection booth while keeping an eye on the Saturday afternoon showing of Narnia to make sure I fixed everything properly. So Far So Good.

This is the first time in since I started here in 2000 we've had reels out of order. The projectionist who last played it had mixed up the reels, my projectionist should have caught it but didn't. In his/her defense the images at the beginning of both reels were very similar so it would haven't have been hard to make the mistake.

Hopefully this doesn't happen again anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Next Week's Films.

There were a few choices this week. I was told last week that Narnia: Prince Caspian was available. Today I was told You Don't Mess with the Zohan and The Love Guru were available. Love Guru lasted an amazingly short time so must have done no business at all. It won't be playing at Western Film.

I decided to play Narnia next week including matinees. I didn't think Zohan would do well as a late show only. I decided to bring Iron Man back for late shows. It did pretty good for late shows the first week and I'm pretty sure the holiday weekend messed up attendance.

I'll keep Zohan in reserve. My gut says it won't do well so I won't be upset if I don't get a chance to play it.

One interesting thing happened. Sex and the City was the lowest grosser at the Silver City last weekend but they decided to keep it. This weekend it jumped to #6. I thought about it a minute and I think I know why. The only movie that opened this weekend was Hancock, a guy type movie. So many females who wanted to see a film went to see Sex instead.

The booker was also checking on Kung Fu Panda, and The Hulk so they should come off soon. I just noticed The Happening is not playing any more so Fox will set a date, probably the next Friday. I won't be able to split it so it may have to wait a week or two or maybe not play at all if other choices are available.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pixar's First Short from 1984!

This was created by animators at Lucasfilm in 1984. It's pretty amazing for 1984. If you contrast this with the cool but cruder animation from TRON only 2 years earlier. I wonder how long this took to make? I think I read around the time Toy Story came out it took the computer 30 hours to draw one frame and there's 24 frames a second. Toy Story was obviously way more visually complicated.

The short was directed by John Lasseter who became one of the main creative forces behind Pixar. Apparently George Lucas sold off a Lucasfilm department which eventually became Pixar. I wonder if he regrets it?

Amusing montage of someone's 100 top films.

Found this interesting clip on youtube. I can identify almost all of the films without cheating by using the pause. Can you?

Trailer for The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Trailer for the remake of the classic 50's film starring Keanu Reeves. I'm curious to see how much they changed it. The original is very interesting but fairly slow. The title event is only a couple minutes of the film. The trailer for the new version shows they have obviously amped up the action a lot. Keanu should be good in this, it's the kind of role he seems to be able to do.

Yet another interesting trailer: Knowing

As anyone who reads this blog can tell, my favorite genre is Sci-fi. There's a new trailer for a movie called Knowing starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Alex Proyas who did Dark City and The Crow. This looks interesting. Hopefully it's better than the similar Nicolas Cage film Next, that sucked.

Interesting promo for Stanley Kubrick retrospective in England.

This interesting little commercial is shot from the point of view of Stanley Kubrick. If you haven't seen his films it won't make sense.
Kubrick is one of the best directors ever. His films covered a wide range of topics and almost all are considered classics. Full Metal Jacket is one of my favorite films. When Western Film ran our midnight series two of the most attended films were from Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. It's too bad his final film was Eyes Wide Shut.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Original Metroplis Found!

A copy of the original cut of Fritz Lang's Masterpiece Metropolis has been found in a museum in Argentina. The original cut from 1927 was about 3 hours long. At some point a shortened version was made and was the only version available since. The extra footage was thought lost but recently turned up. I've seen the short version several times in film class. The longer version apparently answers many of the questions people have had of the first one.

It's amazing what Lang was able to accomplish on screen in 1927, it probably helped that it was the most expensive film made at the time.

Apparently the found print is badly scratched. Presumably someone will digitally fix it up and release it at some point.

I hope no one ever tries to remake it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A film I saw in England that hasn't come out here.

As soon as I got to London I went to check out Leicester Square as everyone told me it was the place to go for cinemas. It turned out to have 4 big old movie palaces that had been plexed to varying degrees, the Empire, Vue and 2 Odeons, one of them the big one.

The first movie I went to was at the Vue. It looked like a cool theatre from the outside yet turned out to suck a bit on the inside. It had been very plexed up.

There was a film on the program I had never heard of called Flashbacks of a Fool. It turned out to be a British film with Daniel Craig AKA James Bond. He plays a older actor who has led an hedonistic lifestyle and pretty much alienated everyone. Most of the middle section of the film is exploring the character as a teenager then Craig is back for the final section of the film. It was a really interesting film. There's an old Roxy Music song (heard in the trailer and on the official site) that I was not familiar with in the film. The scene it was in I found really mesmerizing. It's now one of my favorite songs.

I haven't seen anything indicating when there might be a North American release. The official site seems to be UK specific. I have a feeling it'll end up going straight to DVD here even though it doesn't deserve it.

A mystery about a movie I saw in England and why they almost didn't let me in.

I was looking through the movie listings one day when I was in London and noticed a place called the Barbican was holding an animation festival. There was an interesting looking film called Dragon Hunters playing. It was CGI but with a very stylized look to the characters. It looked like a kid's film but I don't mind watching kid's film's if they look interesting.

The Barbican turned out to be a cultural center or museum with various galleries, theaters etc.

When I went to buy my ticket the guy said I couldn't go. It turned out the animation festival was for kid's and I could only go if I had a kid with me?! I'm not sure I understand the logic of that. There's plenty of film fans who would like to see an animated film of this quality even if it's for kids. I was a bit pissed as it hadn't said anything about this on the website and it had taken me about an hour to get to the place.

The guy called his boss who said it was okay to let me in. It was assigned seating so I had to choose where I wanted to sit. I told him I'd "hide in the back so no one thought I was a pedophile"

Anyway I saw the film and it was really good, very adventurous and wonderfully animated. It had created an eerily beautiful world where everything was floating and randomly crashing into each other. The quality of the animation was equal to anything Hollywood generates, better in most cases.

The mystery is this: I can find hardly anything about the film on the Internet about a US release. It's a French film but the version I saw was dubbed into English with the main character's being voiced by Forest Whittaker. However if you look on under the title it only brings up the French version and it's not listed under Forest Whittaker. I even had a hard time finding an official site. Check out the teaser trailer below or the high quality full trailer at the official site.

If this film ever comes out here I'd recommend seeing it to anyone, even if they aren't a child. I enjoyed it a lot more than most of the Hollywood animated fare I've seen.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Trailer for new Bond film!!

The trailer for Quantum of Solace is finally out. A film version will apparently play before The Dark Knight. This film looks good. I was quite pleased with the reboot they did of the series. I just hope they can stop them for getting too outrageous like the Brosnan films or too silly like the Roger Moore films. Try watching A View to a Kill and not laughing at how bad it is.

The trailer is embedded below or there's a much higher quality version at the BBC.

The Financial Wisdom of Fight Club.

I found this interesting article which involves one of my favorite movies, Fight Club. I've always said it's one of the most subversive 'Hollywood' films I've ever seen. The speech the writer quotes is something that's stuck in my mind. Note: if you haven't seen the movie don't read the comments. The article is fairly spoiler free but the comments aren't.

Next Week's Film - What Happens in Vegas

Next week was pretty much a no-brainer. The only new film available was The Strangers which is a horror film so I wouldn't have played it. I put in What Happens In Vegas since I knew it was already available. There's just one show at 7pm. Iron Man has done well so I would have considered keeping it as a late show but Vegas is from Fox so I can't split it.

Depending on how Iron Man does the rest of the week I may consider playing it as a late show the following week. The matinees for Iron Man did okay as well, I'll be doing more for other kid-friendly movies.

Narnia is available for the following week so I'll put that in unless Sex and the City is available. I'd run matinees of Narnia.