15 November 2008

Here Comes the Oscar Bait

The six screen arthouse theatre that I manage has just got our bookings for the rest of November and the tentative bookings for December and into January. Finally! Every other question we get in person and on the phone is about Milk, Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Australia, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Gran Torino, Che, Revolutionary Road and probably a few more that I can't think of right now. Basically, if it's been written up in Entertainment Weekly as having "Oscar Buzz", we're getting bugged with "when are you getting it questions".

Perfectly fine. Whatever gets folks to come out and support a locally owned arthouse theatre is fine with me, but what about Waltz with Bashir, The Class, Gomorrah, O'Horton or anything else that is maybe not in English. It's almost not worth programming anything but the Oscar Bait films from November to February because the audience just isn't there for these films, at least not in Cleveland. Once the Oscars are done, then we're back to business as usual and these foreign films will do just fine.

I hadn't ever noticed this trend until I started my current job. The brand of Oscar is quite powerful and 90% of the conversations heard in the lobby in between shows are comparison arguments about why there is no way Mickey Rourke will win Best Actor. I love that people are that into film and are having heated and intelligent conversations about the illogical ending of Doubt, I just wish that there was some cohesive element to films the rest of the year. Something that would keep these kinds of conversations going from March until October. But, at the same time, I really dislike the Employee of the Year (aka Oscars) awards.

07 October 2008

My New Theatre Experience

The son is now one year old and that means a lot of things have changed for me in the last 365 days. The only thing of relevance to The World of Cinema in this regard is that for the most part my film watching habits have become much, much more geekier. The moments that aren't too geeky are so far from geeky that the thought of them makes me smile.

Example: I work at a six screen art house theatre and since I work opposite shifts from my wife to avoid daycare costs and traumas, that means that I close the theatre during the week. This means that once we are closed I can either go home and sleep or I can stay at work and screen any of the films we are showing. Since I nap with the son during the day, I watch a lot of the geekiest stuff around. When the wife and I actually go out to see a film (twice in 2008-and one of those isn't until next week), we usually see crap since we tie a night of drinking on before we hit the multiplex.

So this means that in the same week that I watched Bigger Stronger Faster, I also got to see Baby Mama. When you "go out" to the movies as a parent, it becomes much more of an event (agreeing on a movie, getting the Grandparents to babysit, getting a weekend evening off of work,...). This is both interesting and frustrating.

I would prefer to see any and all films projected on a screen from 35mm film, but this rarely happens. That is frustrating. The rarity of the movie going experience has sharpened my senses to the packaging and marketing of movies coming out of Hollywood. That is interesting.

The conversations that now happen when two college educated individuals (My wife and myself) with vastly different tastes sit down and watch previews and look at posters and try to decide what looks like garbage and what looks intriguing usually leaves us either in stitches, in agreement (the upcoming W. is high on both our lists-only from a curiosity standpoint) or going to the video store with the son to get something to watch once he's asleep.

I currently trying to talk the wife into recording a show about this very topic, so I'll save some anecdotes for that show. If I can't get her to agree to do it, then I'll post some later. In the meantime, if you're planning to "go out" and see something, anything in the neat future, I encourage you to really think about what it is about the movie you are going to see that got you interested. The music in the trailer (that probably isn't in the film), the design of the poster, the subject matter, the actor (or any crew member), genre or whatever. The more you pay attention and can articulate what your tastes are, the few shitty movies you will sit through.

Although, I clearly can't walk that walk as the only movie I've "gone out" to see was Baby Mama.

19 September 2008

The Podcast

Welcome to the official blog for The World of Cinema podcast. This blog is more or less a journal of cinema (both films and selected topics) that we are watching, but not necessarily discussing on the show. Common topics will be underexposed cinematic gems (both good and bad), film criticism, history, authorship and marketing.

We started this show back in the winter of 2004 thru a public access channel and after several years of producing shows that no one watched, we decided to invest a little money and jump into the warm waters of podcasting. The production time for a single half hour show used to be around 11 days (full time work schedules and limited hours for editing at the public access station didn't help) and is now cut down to two or three.

The show format is pretty simple. We start each episode with another entry in The Never Ending Film Festival. Justin and Aaron both watch a film and refrain from discussing it until they sit down in front of the mics, discuss it and then pick the next film. Then the topic of the episode is delved into.