Day Seventy-One – Disappointing Movies of Late

12 03 2010

Here are two movies that I’ve seen recently in theatres and one that I felt I needed to see, after being forced to hear people much older than me quote from it as they would Monty Python and such.

Here we go:

Slap Shot

Every time I would go to a Leaf game, there were always a couple things I could count on. The Leafs would lose and there would be ‘Slap Shot’ trivia. Given this mindset, I was led to believe that ‘Slap Shot’ was the film that got hockey right, not like the ‘Mighty Ducks’ I grew up on. Now I know where ‘Ducks’ got it from. The comedy isn’t my bag. Things are set up with a smirk and the funny gets sucked out of it. ‘Slap Shot’ could have been about a failing pub and that wouldn’t effect the plot.

Rating: 50 (2.5 Stars)

Alice in Wonderland

‘Alice in Wonderland’, directed by Tim Burton, was like one of those super-fights that promises to be legendary, but ends up being a total waste of time and hype. ‘Alice’ and Burton’s styles meshed together so well that anything less than brilliant would be an upset. ‘Alice’ barely decent, let alone brilliant. It’s hard to care what happens to these characters or Wonderland. From the moment you meet, they foresee a big fight at the end. When it finally comes, you’re more relieved than satisfied.

Rating: 15 (1/2 a Star)

Green Zone

I get it. The war in Iraq was a bad idea. ‘Green Zone’ adds itself to the list of too-soon postmortems on the Iraq War, but masks itself as ‘Bourne 4’. Bourne it ain’t. Miller has only one motivation – finding WMDs. When he sees that there are none, he starts asking questions. Apparently, he’s one of only three people to do so. Everyone else is an evil liar or is busy relaxing poolside with the bikini-clad women. It’s hard to be thrilled when you’re being taught a bad lesson in current events.

Rating: 25 (1 Star)

That’s about it for now. Tomorrow, I have 3 new releases on the docket. None of which blew my socks off, but two of them weren’t too bad.





Day Fifty-Six – Guaranteed to Lose

25 02 2010

Update: I guess this can fall under yesterday’s post about timing, but Odeon has a great sense of it. They will not be boycotting any longer. You can probably expect AMC to quit the threats as well.

Still, the post works in a hypothetical sense. Read on…

I completely understand why AMC and Odeon, in the UK, are upset. The shortened window for Alice in Wonderland not only takes their most profitable section of the theatrical run away, but also puts matters on a slippery slope towards even shorter release windows.

Let’s forget the fact that the “slippery slope” theory basically prevents anyone from ever doing anything of substance. Using that theory, making dinner is just one more step on the slippery slope to obesity. Driving your car to work is getting on the slippery slope towards green house gases burning the skin off our bodies. Making one more poorly conceived analogy about slippery slopes is on a slippery slope to never getting to the point.

The actual AMC, located at Yonge & Dundas in Toronto, I will likely see 'Alice in Wonderland' in if they don't boycott the film.

Odeon and, potentially, AMC’s answer to this is to boycott Alice in Wonderland all together.

I’m not sure what point this makes. If their problem was having to show Disney movies at all, I could see how this might be reasonable. I realize the goal is to make it completely clear to Disney that they are not fans of shortened windows, but by not showing the movies in their theaters, it does nothing to cut off the supply to the public. Sure, I won’t be able to collect my MovieWatcher points if I were to see Alice in Wonderland, but that doesn’t stop Disney from making money from me. It would just be going through Cineplex or Empire.

If they wanted to show their displeasure, they could have done something superficial that wouldn’t prevent them from making the money that the film is sure to make anyway. Maybe pulling the posters and cardboard stand-ups out of the lobby. Maybe putting it at the back of the theatre, rather than giving it the prime retail space.

Maybe not bringing more attention to the film, and the fact that it’ll be available sooner than later on Blu-ray and DVD, by proposing a boycott in the first place.

Sometimes the idea that any publicity is good publicity is true. Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and the cast of Jersey Shore make a career from being clowns. Alice in Wonderland is being talked about and gaining interest, but AMC and Odeon are just coming off as the villains in this story. The average movie fan doesn’t like the window between the theatrical release and the DVD. The shorter, the better. AMC and Odeon are sounding like the music industry right about now. Instead of rolling with it, they’re trying to set things in stone.

I love the movie theater. The AMC, in particular, offers a great experience, but instead of worrying about the 200+ other movies that’ll be coming out this year, their name is out there for one they may not even be screening.





Day Fourty-Two – Bring on the Blu

11 02 2010

As the world continues to crumble around us, so does the land of myth and movies.

Studios are worried about the new direction the movie business is heading into. With former audiences’ time being shared between so many new mediums, the film business is beginning to lose the stranglehold it once had over your wallet.

Expect to see Disney DVDs and Blu-ray on store shelves sooner than usual.

Though Avatar has seen record-shattering success and the box-office as a whole has seen increase in gross revenue, somehow the business is in trouble. Apparently, ticket sales are down, and Disney’s latest announcement is making theatre-owners shake in their sticky, soda-lathered boots.

Disney wants to close the gap between the theatre and the DVD. Starting with Alice in Wonderland, you’ll see the DVD on store shelves within 12 weeks, rather than the customary 16 weeks.

Is this really going to stop anyone from going to the theatre?

I think it might. I can tell you from my experience, I was going to see The Blind Side this weekend in theatres, but now that I’ve discovered it’ll be released on DVD on February 23rd, I’ve decided to wait for it.

I’m still going to the theatre though, so that isn’t a problem for the AMC I frequent.

People don’t go to the movie theatre just because the movie isn’t readily available on DVD. People go to the movies because it’s a night out. It’s something to do to get yourself out of the house. A DVD is counter-productive in that respect.

Theatres need to focus on the main reason people stray away from the theatre, and that’s the experience. Older crowds don’t want to be in a screening packed with teenagers who are too distracted by their cell-phones to actually sit through a movie. At the same time, younger crowds want to be able to continue their social experience within the screening, regardless of who is trying to watch the movie.

Some theatres have VIP screening rooms, but they are at a premium. When a single viewing of a film costs as much as a Blu-ray would, I’ll usually end up waiting.

The tightening of the DVD window may be a problem for the few that would rather watch it at home. Theatres should worry more about making the case for watching a film on the big screen, rather than whining about Disney trying to take advantage of any hype it’ll generate in theatres.

I prefer a theatre, but if I get priced out of my seat, at least I know the Blu-ray will follow close behind.





Day Twenty-Seven – Movies I’m Looking Forward To Seeing

27 01 2010

If there’s one good thing about the January lull in the movie theatre, it’s that it gives me time to catch up on Oscar-bait such as Up in the Air and Precious. Though we are far from the summer when there’s a new movie for everyone every weekend, there are a handful of pictures coming up that have caught my eye. Some embarrassing, some just look good, but I’ll probably end up seeing them all.

February has one movie I’m excited to see and it’s probably not the one most film buffs are looking forward to most. Read on.

February 5, 2010

Dear John

I didn’t like The Notebook. I thought the story between the young Ryan Gosling and Rachael McAdams was great, but there was way too much of a disconnect when they returned to their old versions of themselves. For whatever reason, I’m sold on Dear John. It might be that I like Amanda Seyfried or it might be that I’m a softy. Either way, I’ll probably end up watching this flick, with or without the girlfriend.

February 19, 2010

Shutter Island

I’m not one of those film students who obsesses over Marty Scorsese. He’s a good director, great even, but he doesn’t get a free pass with me. There are movies of his that I’m not always interested in. That said, I really enjoyed the trailer for Shutter Island. It looks like an interesting psychological thriller that probably could have got some Oscar buzz if it came out when it was originally scheduled.

February 26, 2010

Cop Out

This is the movie I’m most looking forward to this February. I’m a big fan of Kevin Smith and it’s great to see him get a studio picture with Bruce Willis. Tracy Morgan is one of the best parts of 30 Rock and with Smith’s words in his mouth, it should be a good fit. Though Smith didn’t write this movie, I’d be shocked if he didn’t influence the dialogue. I’m hoping the trailer doesn’t do it justice. I’m assuming Warner Brothers isn’t sure how to market Kevin Smith to a mass audience, but I’ll be there nonetheless.

March looks a little more dense. The spring will bring packed with films, and the end of March looks like the ramp up towards it. It begins with the what will surely take the highest opening of the year so far, that is until the summer blockbusters roll out.

March 5, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I’ve never loved Tim Burton. His style rubs me the wrong way. So many unnecessary swirls and overall creepiness. Yet, if there was ever a story that Burton was most suited for, it would be Alice in Wonderland. For once, his style will make sense within the narrative, rather than detracting from it like it did in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

March 12, 2010

Green Zone

Green Zone looks like the unofficial Bourne 4. I’m completely okay with that. I don’t need to see another Bourne. Let the series remain as it is, but I’m happy to see Matt Damon in a familiar situation. I’m really looking forward to this movie.

March 26, 2010

Chloe

Chalk it up to my aforementioned kind eye for Amanda Seyfried or the buzz that Chloe got at the Toronto International Film Festival, but I’ll be watching this film. It seems like it belongs in the award season line-up, but instead it comes out in between action flicks and a 3D childrens movie. One of many3D movies. This will be one of the last smart, challenging pictures I see before the summer popcorn movies begin to sprout up.

How to Train Your Dragon

This movie reminds me a lot of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as far as my interest in seeing it goes. I’m always up for a good animated movie, but if I don’t make it to the theaters to see How to Train Your Dragon, I won’t be too upset. It looks good enough, but not something I’d put at the top of my list. It’ll be a good exercise in shutting my brain off to get ready for the onslaught of summer blockbusters.

The spring and summer will definitely be a lot more busy with new releases. There are still a handful of potential Oscar contenders I have to get out to see. By the end of the winter, I’ll probably have seen about 10 or so new releases.

I’ll have my MovieWatcher card handy.