Monday, April 20, 2009

Film Exhibition in Baltimore (April 2009)

Well, needless to say, the Senator's dramatic finale continues to unfold. Unlike a Hollywood drama, no one following this story is going to walk out of the theater with any kind of satisfying resolution. The most recent development is that the auction has been canceled, as Baltimore city works on plans to acquire the theater. In the meantime, the owner continues to show classic films and do what he does best these days. Eventually, it seems that the Senator will be added to Baltimore city's vast collection of vacant properties. Let's hope they do something with this one.

But perhaps to be concerned with such matters is old-fashioned of me. I have spent some time exploring what may be the future for lovers of film recently. One way looks forward and another way looks to the past.

Apparently, there are people on this here Interweb that collect and trade ultra-rare films. In doing so, they allow those who are let into their circles see some of the most sought-after and obscure films out there. Via a friend of a friend, I have been lent such a film, and look forward to viewing it on some bleak afternoon soon. It is both illicit and firmly in the gray area of copyright control, two things I enjoy a great deal. As the vaults get emptied out during DVD's long, languorous swandive, these anonymous traders fill in the blanks. Let's hope they don't keep company with the Pirate Bay gang.

In another development, I stumbled upon a private video library that is trading films on an honor system to those that which to see them. This bodes well for the future. As the video stores slowly die, it is clear that Netflix cannot satisfy all comers. It is a reality that films go in and out of print, some never making it to digital realm at all. As we move into the post-object culture, it is nice to see something analog happening that harkens back to the beginning of the entire concept of the library. Ben Franklin would approve, I think.

And, finally, the entire roster for the 2009 Maryland Film Festival should be up and running. It looks like another great year for the fest, and I look forward to partaking in what the festival has to offer. See you there!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Films Viewed (March 2009)

The International
Another State of Mind
Heavy Traffic
The Big Lebowski
The Class
Brewster McCloud
I Love You, Man
Waltz with Bashir
Rumble Fish
Two Lovers
The Secret of the Grain
42nd Street Forever, Volume Three
The Long Goodbye
The Charles
The Senator/The Rotunda
The Landmark Harbor East
Other (The Zodiac, Some Dude's Personal Library, Video Americain)
Total: 15 features, 1 collection of trailers (12 in theaters/spaces)

Notes: In local news, the Senator's impending 4/20 auction seems more and more like a reality. Despite claims that he would declare bankruptcy and forestall the auction, the owner of the Senator, in his most recent public remarks, appears to have given up the ghost. The Senator is showing a slate of seemingly random classic movies until the auction and selling every conceivable scrap and tittle in a very depressing yard sale/auction taking place in the lobby. Check it out if you want to say goodbye.

In suburban multiplex news, the Muvico Egyptian 24 became the Cinemark Egyptian 24 seemingly overnight. I am doing some reasearch into what this means, if anything. I believe I was mistaken on some things in an earlier draft of this post. My apologies. I did discover this, which does not seem like a promising sign. More later, after some more research.

But isn't the above all fodder for my Film Exhibition in Baltimore posts? True. I did see some movies recently.

The Altman retrospective has rolled on at the Charles, allowing me to see several of his highly-recommended films for the first time. I also had the opportunity to enjoy some highly touted festival films during their brief runs at the Charles. I engaged in a private film lending library for the first time, and am still sitting on a rare film I borrowed from a friend that was downloaded from the Internet. I will write more about these new frontiers in my next post.

It was fun to attend a screening of a fondly-remembered comedy from my childhood at the Zodiac. I hope the practice continues and that the opportunities to see film in Baltimore continue to diversify, despite the economic cold front coming at us from all sides.