Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on November 4, 2012
Going to the movies has long been considered a mostly passive experience where you quietly sit in darkness to be carried off by a visual experience. A growing number of small exhibitors, however, are changing their tune. Instead of telling their customers to stay quiet during the film, they have been actively encouraging everyone at specific shows to sing-along, quote-along, and even share their texted heckles to hecklable-ready films via HECKLEVISION. There will, of course, always be new ways to have fun at the expense of poorly made films, but I’m more interested in the first two categories because of their celebratory nature. To sing a song from a film with other devotees, or to quote its lines in chorus, these add a rather touching and joyous element that one can easily imagine would warm the hearts of those who worked hard to make the film in question. Having missed my chance to attend a recent Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along, I’m looking forward to a pending screening in my area, made possible by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, of a Labyrinth Sing-Along. I recently had the opportunity to ask Greg MacLennan, the Director of Interactive Programming at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, some questions about some of the other films that are currently enjoying revivals thanks to different forms of crowd participation.
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on January 1, 2012
After the movie, the lights come on. I’m sitting in a very comfortable chair stuffed with memory foam. On the walls are murals by Thomas Hart Benton (1889 – 1975). During the film you can’t see the murals on either side because curtains automatically cover them during the show, so as to not distract viewers with any peripheral glare. The side speakers are also out of sight – they’re hidden within the elegant and long chandelier lights that hang like Japanese lanterns next to the walls of this very spacious and recently renovated theater. I walk up the carpeted hall and meet Manny Knowles, the Assistant Director for Cinema Systems/Operations. We walk into the lobby and from there we take an elevator up a couple floors and the doors open directly into the projection booth, one outfitted with what I would guess to be about two million dollars worth of equipment. 4K, 2K, 3D, 35mm, 16mm, projectors for all these formats are comfortably spaced out in an immaculately clean booth where you can see white gloves hanging from the rewind bench. I am presented with the hard-drive that contained that night’s movie (Melancholia). A small square you could hide in a purse. Next to me are 35mm canisters for Night Train to Terror. It was obtained thanks to the kind permission of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, which I think is fascinating because I didn’t even know they had a film archive, much less one that contained such fun titles as Night Train to Terror (or Café Flesh, or The Stewardesses, which also screened here). [...MORE]
Posted by David Kalat on September 17, 2011
A few weeks ago, my post about Judex and comic book movies prompted an astute reply by Suzi about the extent to which contemporary film has been distorted by an emphasis on attracting an audience of teenagers. Her comment got buried by an ensuing debate about the proper role of women characters in comic book movies, and I was about to insert myself into the comments thread to pick that thought back up, but then I figured there was enough there to justify an entire post, not just a comment.
I let it wait, because the appeal of posting something about King Kong on the World Trade Center on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary was too strong to resist, but the time has come to dig into this whole teenage audience thing.
Posted by David Kalat on September 3, 2011
Last week in my griping about superhero origin stories, I promised to offer up my own origin story, the explanation of how I came to be the way I am today. Every story has a beginning. Mine, naturally enough, starts in childhood–
No. That’s wrong. Mine starts even earlier than that. I began collecting movies before I was born.
I came by my passion honestly. My mother, growing up in the 1950s, saved her allowance up to buy this Bell and Howell 8mm movie projector:
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on June 19, 2011
Last Mother’s Day I wrote a piece titled Modern Movie-Going Punishments. It got a big response. Clearly, a lot of people have had to deal with negative experiences when going out to see movies on the big screen. Readers also added to the list of rude behaviors, two of which we felt obliged to add to the illustrations on that past post to make ‘em official (these being the sick person who doesn’t think twice about spreading germs, and people who yawn loudly throughout the film). Many who chimed in said that the list was a reminder of why they no longer go to movie theaters. It now seems fitting to use Father’s Day for the long overdue counter-point offering you a long list of why you should still go to movie theaters. As with last time, my heart-felt thanks to my good friend John Adams for providing all the illustrations that accompany the list below. [...MORE]
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on May 8, 2011
Today is the second Sunday in May. Mother’s Day. As I’ve had the Sunday shift for several years now I’ve already been able to write on the ways my mom contributed to my passion for cinema during my early years. (For further Mother’s Day homages look no further than R.H. Smith’s recent post.) Mother’s Day is also an important date for gardeners in my midwest region because it marks the official start of when you can finally plant various seeds without having to worry too much about a vicious cold snap freezing the seedlings dead. With that in mind, I’ve decided to plant a few seeds of my own that chronicle the Modern Movie-Going Punishments of our day. I do this with the hope that it might help nip bad behavior in the bud, allow more pleasant movie-going experiences to flourish and, in general, make a trip to the movies less punishing. (Tip of the hat to my friend John Adams for providing the accompanying illustrations.)
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on January 16, 2011
In my last post I explained the reasoning behind my programming choices for the first half of my Spring arthouse film calendar, today I finish the job. I accept the fact that anyone looking at my program will inevitably point to one (or more, perhaps even many) titles here and, in essence, ask the following question: “What the heck is THAT doing there?!” What follows below will hopefully dispel all head-scratching.
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on January 2, 2011
I celebrated the new year by proofing a final mock-up of my Spring arthouse calendar film series program. It will screen about 50 films. Some new. Some old. The selection usually nets an equal amount of praise and criticism. I put out a sneak preview of coming attractions on my FaceBook page the other day and within a few minutes received one enthusiastic remark from a reader looking forward to the latest Steven Soderbergh documentary about Spalding Gray (that one called And Everything Is Going Fine) while simultaneously getting one smack-down from a reader wanting to know why I won’t be screening González Iñárritu’s Biutiful, or Charles’ Ferguson’s excellent documentary regarding the details of our recent financial collapse, Inside Job, or even something so obviously winning as L’illusionist, which displays the latest animation of Sylvain Chomet of The Triplets of Belleville fame – especially as it is working from an unpublished screenplay by Jacques Tati. What could be more perfect for an arthouse theater? For those curious how this particular film curator made his final choices, here are my answers. [...MORE]
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on September 26, 2010
I’m visiting Portland for the weekend and was originally planning on interviewing the TCM V.P. of New Media about his erotic fantasies involving Joe Eszterhas, but he decided to stay in Atlanta instead. (Something about a wife, a birth, and a child – but I bet what he’s really doing is hiding out in his man-cave playing Halo 3 instead.) To be fair to him, it’s not so much Eszterhas as Showgirls which gets him excited. In his words, Showgirls is “a brilliant political commentary on the moral bankruptcy and depravity of American culture. It’s film negative should dipped in gold and displayed next to the Constitution on Capital Hill with a permanent 24hr angel choir stationed nearby.” His words, not mine. Me? I’m in Portland enjoying the offerings of a vibrant film community that honors both the past and the present – no angel choirs needed, just some good beers to accentuate the good cheer. [...MORE]
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on June 14, 2009
Last week I was privy to an unexpected ghost story involving a shattered romantic who died behind the screen. That’s right, this is not an on-screen drama to view from the customer’s perspective in the theater chair, but rather a story that unfolds behind the scenes and reaches its mortal conclusion on the darker-side of the projected image. [...MORE]
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