Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Film Exhibition in Baltimore (July 2009)

(getting this in just under the wire... apologies)

Clearly, the auction of the Senator was the dominating event of the month. So many moments and pieces of information... the owner's startling admission that he may suffer from a form of objectophilia when it comes to the building in part one of the interview The Senator's Lover Bares All, the circus-like atmosphere of an auction that was clearly meant to be a formality, having a chance to personally say goodbye to the theater for a third time via a screening of a pristine restored print of Rashomon, watching mornful montages of vanished Baltimore theaters online... it really is quite a lot to take in. As of right now, the city refused the highest bidder (via the Ebay-style reserve not met option) and is now the official owner of the Senator. Within 60 to 90 days of the auction (Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009), the original owner will be sent packing and his screenings of The Yellow Submarine will cease. At the moment, Rashomon continues to play, and no new film has been announced for Friday. At least six months will pass before the city reviews requests to operate the theater and "awards" some entity the power to re-open the doors. Resolution and a second act still seems far away.

In other news, the Landmark continues to quietly dominate the city's exhibtion landscape from the dark heart of Harbor East, the Charles plugs along, having only been tossed the Bruno bone in recent months, the Rotunda occasionally gets around to changing its movies, and the summer blockbuster season marches headlong into the dumping grounds of August. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, anyone? I think I will prefer the original animated movie, when all is said and done...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Films Viewed (June 2009)

The Limits of Control
Moscow, Belgium
Angels and Demons
The Room
Captain Ahab
Black Cat, White Cat
Goodbye Solo
The Pornographers
Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream
Every Little Step
Escape from New York
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Away We Go

The Charles
The Senator
The Landmark Harbor East
The Rotunda
Other (The Enoch Pratt, Video Americain)
Total: 16 films (9 in theaters)

Notes: First, it should be noted that the Senator, after sneaking in a few more screenings of The Yellow Submarine, has scheduled Rashomon as its last attraction before the theater's auction. The 1950 Kurosawa film is an art house stand-by, but is will be worth seeing again due to a new high-quality digitally restored print. This will be yet another opportunity to say goodbye to the Senator, and one that does not involve Michael Jackson tributes.

The month was filled with highs and lows. Godard blanks have been getting filled in to accompany my reading of Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard. The book is very well written and exhaustively researched. However, in pulling back the curtain, it does take away something from his films, that magic of the small revival house and too much coffee and Breathless unspooling on the screen.

Films like Captain Ahab and a few others made a powerful impact, while others were more of a dutiful cultural observance, a way to make sure I can still make small talk in the fall with my charges. The Rotunda will prove indispensible for this exercise, although to see such scant attendance at the #1 Movie in the World does make one question how long the theater will stay open in its new incarnation.

As always, feel free to ask about any of the films viewed I did not mention. Up next, film exhibition in Baltimore in general.