Monday, September 21, 2009

Film Exhibition in Baltimore (September 2009)

It is a little hard to expend more words on the Senator. Even the City Paper has deemed it "Best Local Issue We're Sick Of" in their recent Best of Baltimore issue. At this moment, the City of Baltimore can presumably accept request-for-proposals for the property. There are excited whispers among those who are hoping for the best from this situation, the best presumably being a non-profit dedicated to showing films taking over at the location. The Baltimore Development Corporation is now officially in the mix. At the moment, the new Tyler Perry film is playing, and the next scheduled event is Jokes and Jazz. Things, as usual, seem far from resolved.

The Landmark Harbor East, having run out of summer blockbuster wares to hawk, is switching tracks, heading for more rom-com/odds and ends territory, dutifully changing with the seasons, grabbing anything with instant legs or big stars or perceived heat. In my attendance of matinees at this leather-seated movie palace, I am often by myself. I imagine the opposite is true on a Friday evening. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to try to find parking down there.

The Charles has adopted a "throw it to the wall" theory, seeing if mixed-review indies or odd docs or sci-fi movies or foreign fare or second run will stick. Doesn't stick? End it Thursday! This week, almost everything is ending to make way for the next great hope(s). Having seen Bright Star in previews and having thorougly enjoyed it, I would say to check it out (after it opens Friday) if you really liked the recent Pride and Prejudice or if you were an English Major in college. Before then, try to catch Tetro is you are interested in seeing an old master return to form.

The Rotunda seems to be getting the hang of things, switching up their offerings on a more regular basis. I have always enjoyed the echoing emptiness of the Rotunda Mall, and never have a problem visiting thanks to its ample parking and roomy theater chairs. I hope that it continues to be a viable option. I will forgive its' missteps for the time being.

Up next, what is looking to be a scant September of Films Viewed. The back to school time of the year has a tendency to do that to me...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Films Viewed (August 2009)

Bigger than Life
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets
1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo
Eloge De L'Amour (In Praise of Love)
Bicycle Thieves
GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Nollywood Babylon
Daytime Drinking
Paper Heart
Children of Paradise
The Cove
Funny People
Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!
Inglourious Basterds
A Place in the Sun
In the Loop
District 9
Summer with Monika

The Charles
The Senator
Toronto-area Theaters
The Landmark Harbor East
The Rotunda
Other (DVD, DC E Street Landmark, On Demand)
Total: 21 films (19 in theaters)

Notes: As is often the case, August was a month spent avoiding the heat by taking in as many films as possible. My count was boosted by my trip up north, which I covered in my last post.

Looking back over the list, I am pleased by the diversity of high and low, the hard to see and the widely available. Two films that were direct hits on my sensibilities were District 9 and In the Loop, the former of which hearkened back to my early love of Robocop dystopias and grimy gritty special effects. the latter of which spoke to my love of British people insulting each other and Dr. Strangelove-style political black comedy.

Sadly, I have not gotten on board with the Basterds. In discussion, it seems as if I am the only one of my friends who did not enjoy it thoroughly. The best analogy that I can come up with would be that Tarantino's films were revelvatory, magical experiences during my initiation into film culture. Now, for some reason, the magic is gone. Perhaps it is because I have changed, more films viewed, my pallette tweaked. All I know is all that lengthy dialogue leading up to a brief violent payoff isn't doing it for me, even when said dialogue is delivered brilliantly by Christoph Waltz.

Otherwise, it was early Bergman, teen wizards, uneven mis-fires, and excellent enviro-docs that deserved more local screentime. Up next, film exhibition in Baltimore in general.