ENJOY THE MOVIES
A lot of people like to dismiss Ben Stiller's classic comedy Zoolander, but I think it's one of the actor's funniest movies. It's certainly the most reminiscent of his early 90's sketch comedy show. And it's definitely got the greatest scene filmed at a gas station ever (and there've been a lot of great gas station scenes throughout cinema). So me and about three other fans are looking forward to Zoolander 2, which Stiller has been teasing us with for many, many years (the original came out in 2001). Finally, in an interview with ScreenRush, he revealed some (un)likely plot details on the sequel, which still sounds a long way off.
It's been more than 30 years since Abby Mann's Emmy-winning miniseries King, so it's about time someone made a feature biopic about Martin Luther King Jr., right? That someone just so happens to be Steven Spielberg, who will produce such a film for DreamWorks, along with Oscar-winning screenwriter Suzanne de Passe (Lady Sings the Blues) and her Humpty Dumpty co-producer Madison Jones. Though MLK has appeared as a character in many films since his assassination in 1968, this is apparently the first to be approved by King's estate, meaning it will have access to all of the civil rights leader's intellectual property.
Are you aware that your local multiplex likely doesn't feature the very best in digital projection? That's right, most cinemas in this country are using 2K resolution projectors, which don't quite measure up to the look of film. But fortunately, Regal Entertainment Group is about to advance to the next level in digital cinema by equipping about 550 of its movie theaters with Sony's high end 4K resolution projectors, which obviously look twice as good as the 2K variety. According to the Hollywood Reporter, these projectors will be installed into a minimum of around 5,000 screens over the next three to five years in Regal theaters.
Remember the news that Disney is turning their theme park area Tomorrowland into yet another Disneyland-based movie? Well, Collider has gotten the scoop on the plot, and it sounds pretty familiar. It also sounds, not surprisingly, like a total cash-in. During a junket for The Hangover, writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore described their script for the Tomorrowland project as "Pirates of the Caribbean in space." That's what Disney wants it to be known as, anyway. Obviously they don't want us to think of it as Country Bears in space or Haunted Mansion in space, because both of those movies didn't do so well.
Film preservation and restoration used to involve, for the most part, actual film. Despite the fact that we still use the word "film," digital technology is being used more and more to preserve, restore, archive and distribute movies. Even Martin Scorsese, who is just as well-regarded as a film preservationist and historian as he is a master filmmaker, announced on Friday in Cannes (via Variety) that the World Cinema Foundation, which is devoted to restoring endangered cinematic works, has partnered with B-Side Entertainment, the Criterion Collection and The Auteurs to distribute WCF-restored titles online.
Even if Terry Gilliam wasn't my all-time favorite filmmaker, Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's Lost in La Mancha, which focuses on Gilliam's doomed, never-completed film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, would still be one of the saddest documentaries I've ever seen. Fortunately, though, their story now has a happy ending, at least off screen, because Gilliam is officially on track for another go at helming the infamous project, as reported by Variety. Back in January, we learned that the director had finally regained the rights and that he and original screenwriter Tony Grisoni were working on a new version of the script.
If you saw Star Trek in IMAX over the weekend, you helped the franchise reboot break the record for best opening in IMAX history. But if you saw the movie in IMAX at a Regal or AMC theater, you may have also been part of an "alleged scam," at least according to actor/comedian Aziz Ansari (seen in I Love You, Man and on NBC's Parks and Recreation). Ansari has posted a rant against these chains and their deceptive "IMAX" branding on his own blog, and he's calling for a boycott of all Regal and AMC cinemas, as well as all other IMAX locations. This is serious, and there is an internet-wide debate about it, so read on for more.
For most people, projection snafus are annoying. If the film breaks, if the sound system fails, or if the projector fails to start up at all at its scheduled time, audiences become irritated with the delay of their entertainment and, most of all, worried that the problem will not be remedied quickly, or at all. But for me, these occasional glitches and projectionist mistakes can be almost as enjoyable as the movie itself. Maybe it's just me, because I've been a projectionist, in addition to the many positions I've held at movie theaters, but I think it has more to do with my appreciation for how strangely people act in times of incongruity.
It's outdoor movie season! Well, it is for those of us in the north, where we actually experience seasonal changes, and where we have just finally brushed off one of the coldest winters in years. Over the weekend we greeted our first hot temperatures in New York City, just a couple days after the Tribeca Film Festival kicked off the outdoor moviegoing season with a free showing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That same night, Rooftop Films, a non-profit organization that presents tons of great indie film screenings on the tops of buildings throughout the summer, held a comedy show featuring live stand-up and short films.
I've been learning terrible things about some of my favorite movie theaters over the last couple months, so this week's column shall be a combination of mourning and business advice, the latter of which consists of an unlikely dream of mine that cinemas will one day learn from the very companies and distribution streams that are threatening to put the movie theater industry out of business forever.
First, a shout out to the Cerrito Speakeasy Theater (where that marquee photo above comes from), a favorite independent cinema of mine in El Cerrito, California, which somewhat resembles, in format
Nevermind that Sony's upcoming animated film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (watch the trailer if you haven't yet) bears little resemblance to its beloved source material - Judi Barrett's children's book. Considering my attitude towards the redundancy of adapted films like Frank Miller's Sin City and Zack Snyder's Watchmen, I can't rightly complain that the plot of this adaptation is not exactly as Judi Barrett wrote it nor that it doesn't look anything like Ron Barrett's illustrations. What I can rightly complain about, however, is that the movie will not be presented appropriately in Smell-O-Vision like it should be.
A couple weeks ago, I declared in my last column that the most necessary improvement that needs to be made at movie theaters is customer service. So, occasionally with this column, when I'm not wavering in my feelings about digital 3D or sharing a positive experience with a specific cinema or movie, I'll be using this space to spotlight one of the many issues I have with the movie theater business as a customer service-based industry. This week's topic: pre-bagged popcorn. If this doesn't exactly seem like an important enough topic, let me elaborate, as there are a few reasons why this really is quite important.