Day Fifty-Two – Forced to Endure in the Dark

21 02 2010

Though my movie experience can sometimes be ruined by people around me, I love to watch movies at the theatre. I’ve made a habit of late to go see at least one movie every weekend during AMC’s AM-Cinema, which allows me to see these movies without burning a gaping hole through my trousers. Whether I go alone or with a friend, I’m usually refreshed and happy when I walk out of the theatre.

Had I not been trapped in the theatre, I never would have subjected myself to the first half of Shutter Island.

That overall feeling definitely has an influence on the movies I see, and my opinion of them, as well.

Take today, for instance, when I watched Shutter Island with some friends. At home, I never would have made it to the ending of the film. I’m glad I stuck around, but with all of the other things I could have been doing, I wouldn’t have been able to sit through the constant shifts in tone and over-done style. But in a theatre, I endure.

I’m glad I did for Shutter Island, specifically, because the ending is what makes the movie. It may depend on it a little too much, but let’s not get sidetracked with that.

The point is that being trapped in the theatre, forced to stare at what the film-maker wants you to stare at does nothing but give the film the best possible chance to win you over. My attention at home is split a million different ways. Whether it’s the way I’m sitting on the couch. The incessant “click-click” coming from the PC at the other end of the room. The flicker coming from the elderly projector bulb, struggling to make full colors in the twilight of its life. My attention isn’t on the film alone.

Not to mention, the novelty of just getting out of the house. You’re bound to enjoy anything a little more if you’re not having it in surroundings that are too familiar. I dropped my brother off at university today and on the way home I got a Big Gulp. This carbonated cup of wasted money was much better than the exact same thing in a can at home. It’s the novelty of having something different that automatically works for it.

This is why I think, and I hope, the movie theatre isn’t going to disappear any time soon. Not to mention, Shutter Island, and every other movie coming out nowadays, seems to be breaking records.


Day Fourty-Nine – Yay, The Carlton is Saved!

18 02 2010

It’s nice to start your day with some good news.

I’m usually the type that’s quite happy to see things changing and moving on. I don’t really feel any attachment to buildings. If you can tear something down and put something even better on top – I’ll hand you the shovel.

Still, there’s something to be said for a building like the Carlton. It’s stood the test of time, under different names and management, but it’s been a mainstay of Toronto.

Though it needed a renovation, the Carlton Cinemas was a great place to watch limited releases.

But, given the choice between a movie at the AMC an intersection up the street and the Carlton, I’ll take my stadium seating in the AMC. That’s why it’s good news that Rainbow Cinemas is taking the time to renovate the building and try to bring it up to par of todays theatres.

I’m not expecting stadium seating or 200 seat screenings, but digital projection and surround sound are a start.

What made the Carlton last as long as it did was its identity to see those hard to find films. Where else could you watch The Cove and Food Inc.? Even with it’s 24 screens, the AMC would rather play Transformers 2 on twelve of them than a limited release picture.

It may not be the best business model, but since it closed down, it opened a hole in the market.

This feels like good news overall for the movie industry. People care enough to get a limited release theatre up and running again. They’re willing to go out on a Friday night to watch a movie that no one else has heard of, rather than just waiting for the DVD.

It’s also good news for Toronto. Or, at least, movie-goers in the Toronto area. Once again, we won’t have to worry about being completely left out. When the nominees for Best Documentary were named, I tried to look them up in Toronto. They were nowhere to be found. In the back of my mind, I knew that the Carlton would have these, but being closed, that wouldn’t be so easy.

Still, all it will take to have the Carlton close again is poor ticket sales. Whether there aren’t too many good films in limited release or the AMC decides to start playing them, it makes it a dangerous venture.

Nonetheless, I wish it the best and I’m excited to go back this summer.