Friday, June 20, 2008

Congratulations to Landmark Harbor East!

I had a feeling this day was coming, and it has finally arrived.

The Landmark Harbor East, as of today and through at least Thursday, June 26th, is offically showing ONLY Hollywood Mainstream films! Congrats, guys!

Some people would have a hard time seeing the "edginess" of films like Get Smart and You Don't Mess with the Zohan, but you guys can see that playing these films is possible while still staying true to your arthouse roots.

Sure, maybe a few Mister Lonelys have to get cut from the schedule, but that is the price you have to pay to stay focused on profit goals this quarter.

I see Savage Grace coming soon at the bottom there, but isn't that also the release date of Wanted? Well, I know you guys will do the right thing. Right?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Film Exhibiton in Baltimore- April/May 2008

Instead of beating a dead horse, I shall offer a new observation.

People in Baltimore are adjusting to the new heirarchy of film exhibtion in Baltimore, for good or for bad.

All you have to do is wait and you can see your movie where you would prefer to see it, perhaps at a place that is cheaper, where you can find parking. It is a gamble, but it seems to be an emerging trend.

The Band's Visit? Played at both the Charles and the Landmark.

Iron Man? Played at both the Senator and the Charles.

The Visitor has managed to play all three local theaters, and is still going strong, perhaps due in part to an article that commented upon how strong it is going.

I just hope that my opportunity to see films like Mister Lonely (reviewed in the City Paper under the mistaken impression it was opening Friday. June 6th at the Landmark Harbor East) on the big screen in Baltimore is not taken away. Will more screens lead to less films?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fims Viewed (April-May 2008)

The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Manufactured Landscapes
The Counterfeiters
Smart People
Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood
Rear Window
The Grand
The Trouble with Harry
Planet B-boy
The Perverts Guide to Cinema (part one)
The Charles
The Senator/ The Rotunda
The Landmark
Other (BMA, DVD, On Demand, Suburban Multiplex)
Total: 10 (7 in theaters)
Veronika Voss
Story of Women
Medicine for Melancholy
Chop Shop
89 Gator Mine
Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story
Iron Man
My Brother is an Only Child
The Last Sunset
Young at Heart
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
My Kid Could Paint That
The Charles
The Senator/The Rotunda
The Landmark
The Maryland Film Festival
Other (BMA, DVD, On Demand, Suburban Multiplex
Total: 12 features, 1 short (11 in theaters)

Notes: It is good to see both of the recent BMA free screenings coming up at the top of each month. I look forward to this Thursday's screening of Hal Ashby's The Landlord, the film he made before Harold and Maude. That's this Thursday, June 5th at 8PM for free at the BMA.

The most enjoyable few days of the past two months of my movie-going life is thanks to the 10th Annual Maryland Film Festival, which unspooled about a month ago. Although the dust is settled, many great films should be discussed, as they are still making the rounds and should be caught if possible.

Jon Waters has yet to disappoint me with his Friday night screening. I have been to eight of the last nine, and have enjoyed each. His choice of Story of Women was more proof of the length and breadth of quality films still waiting to be discovered out there, and I thank him for choosing it, as I doubt it would have crossed my path otherwise.

Films like Medicine for Melancholy are why I make time for the festival each year. Making an engaging polemic on the topic(s) of gentrification, racial identity, and modern post-everything relational malaise is not easy, and this film pulls it off. There are more stories to be told and new ways to tell these stories, and this film proves it, managing to nod to the past while keeping its sights set on the horizon. I hope that the film makes it out of the festival circuit with a means to be seen by the larger audience that it so richly deserves.

Chop Shop, another excellent film that I wrote about earlier, did get a "one week wonder" bow at the Charles. I had hopes it would make it further, but like Killer of Sheep before it, it did not stick around. I would say to consider it when it hits DVD.

Goliath, a film by the Zellner brothers, was preceded by a short film by Josh Slates, 89 Gator Mine. I have not had the opportunity to see the Zellner brothers other works, but this film made for an auspicious debut in feature filmmaking, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next. I was not as fired up about the film as others were, and I think I was a bit unhappy with some tonal inconsistencies that accumulated as the film progressed.

Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story was a fun and interesting look back at a lost era (my mother's favorite "scary movie" of all time is Castle's House on Haunted Hill). It did play like a "DVD extra" on steroids, but that was not necessarily displeasing. Perhaps the next generation of great documentarians will emerge from the "added bonus features" DVD salt mines.

It is also important to note that in the conversations following the festival, many people I talked to saw an entirely different group of films and were very happy with what they saw. This is a sign of the diversity and quality of films MFF brought to the festival this year. On to next year!

I "On Demanded" The Last Sunset after reading an article about it in Film Comment and can see the argument for adding it to the "Great Melodramas" cannon. I can also see why some of the key players disavowed the film so loudly.

Otherwise, the last two months have been filled with the first shots in the Summer film season, the new standard fare at the Charles, and one odious, terrible misfire. Please let me know if you would like more on any of the films listed. I should be writing on Film Distribution in General over the course of these two months shortly.