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Friday, May 30, 2014


The Motion Picture Association of American ban the movie poster for the new 'Sin City' sequel - 'A Dame To Kill For'.  The poster (see insert) of Eva Green was ban by the MPAA as being "in a state of relative undress". The poster, as you can see, shows Green in a sheer gown which the MPAA censor board stated showed "nudity - curve of under breast and nipple area visible through the gown"
Poster Ban by the MPAA

Sin City is based upon a comic book and the first film became noted for its ultra-violence, and gloomy, dark scenes.  The new sequel, to be released in August, picks up where the first film left off and follows the four vignettes that make up the plot.  The title story features Eva Green in a dangerous live triangle.

The sequel is shot and will be released in 3D. Robert Rodriguez, who also directed the first 'Sin City', stated, "There's something about the way 'Sin City' works that I thought would lend itself very well to 3D because the images are so stripped down and abstract ... you almost can see it better in 3D. It'll be really cool." 

As was the first 'Sin City', this is noir crime fiction and over-the-top cinematic visuals at there best. A black and white film flecked with splashes of color and pronounced violence overlaid with sexual content. I really liked the first 'Sin City' - it was a visual trip with down-and-dirty, street-level narrative that figured perfectly with the imagery. Where can I get this one-sheet?


Laser beams, rocket-ships, robots, space travel all got their start in movies and comics.  Movies have always been forward thinking when it comes to science and have been a very good prognosticator of future events and technologies.  Well, another movie inspired technology - the concept of suspended animation - is now a reality.

From '2001-A Space Odyssey' to 'Aliens', to 'Stars Wars' the notion of suspending human life in a coma like state and then reviving it at a later time to normal function has been a staple in sci-fi films for decades.  This month, that fantasy, will become a reality at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. when 10 patients will be placed in suspended animation - not for space travel but to save their lives.

The suspended animation process will be used on patients where their wounds would otherwise be lethal in an attempt to buy surgeons time.  The process works just like in the movies - by cooling the body. But in this case not externally by internally.  All of the patient's blood is removed and replaced by a cold saline solution.  This cools the body, slowing its functions to virtual halt and reducing the need for oxygen - referred to as 'hypothermic hibernation'

"We are suspending life, but we don't like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction", says Dr. Samuel Tisherman, the surgeon who will lead the experiment, "so we call it 'emergency' preservation and resuscitation."

Only to be used in emergency situations where an individual has suffered cardiac arrest after a severe injury, the process is not at the sci-fi level yet - as a human body can only be safely placed 'under' for a few hours max.  But even this is a huge step forward. Hooray for Hollywood!


Thursday, May 29, 2014


Movie Studios and Exhibitors See Their Stocks Rise

On the box office results of recent movies and the upcoming slate of films for the summer, Wall Street investors have pushed up the stock prices of the Hollywood studios and the large movie circuits. 'X-Men: Days of Future Past', 'Captain America', and 'Godzilla' all did a bang-up job at the box office and point to an impressive run for the summer releases to come.  In addition, to these blockbusters, films like 'Neighbors' and 'Heaven Is For Real' also grossed exceeding well.

This performance has not gone unnoticed by Wall Street as stock in Disney, Time-Warner, Viacom, and Fox have outperformed the market. While AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, and Regal Entertainment have all seen good stock price increases for 2014. "We have become increasingly optimistic on the outlook for the movie stocks given the better than expected start to the summer," Eric Wold, a stock analyst for B. Riley & Co. told CMG.  Wold, as well as other analysts,  has put a "buy" rating on the shares of the large cinema circuits.

It seems there is also a renewed interest is 3D .  After the huge success of the 3D version of 'Gravity' where 70% of the U.S. box office came from the 3D admissions, Hollywood has been taking a second look at releasing 3D films that are a cut-above.  The demand for 3D is still there but the movies must be up to the high standard that format demands.  For example, about half of 'Godzilla's' $93 million opening came from 3D ticket sales.
 Studio and Exhibitor Stocks On the Rise

Also pushing investors is the sequel-packed roster of films scheduled for 2015, including: 'Avengers:Age of Ultron', 'Hunger Games' final installment, 'Mission Impossible 5', 'Fast and Furious 7' and 'Jurassic World'.  The movie line-up for 2015 is impressive so investors look at this year's performance as a forerunner of things to come and it all looks pretty rosy for movie distributors and exhibitors alike.

Cinemas, need to be on their best game and moviegoers will reward them. Good box office producers are here and more are coming - it's up to cinemas to bring patrons in with excellent presentations, great service, and exceptional concessions.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Netflix On A Roll

Netflix, the film and TV content streaming company, is producing a $170 million epic series on Queen Elizabeth's six decade reign of the British Empire.  Entitled, 'The Crown', the 20 part drama will have three separate actors portraying the Queen.

Following its huge success of the political drama series 'House of Cards' (which will return in 2016) and the 'Orange is the New Black' series, Netflix is flexing its monetary muscle in producing content to rival the best that Hollywood can produce.  'The Crown' production is being led by Left Bank Pictures, which is a subsidiary of Sony Pictures and the word is that the series will be as much about the history of the time and not just about the Queen.

Netflix has a rapidly expanding roster of excellent quality content which also includes the horror series 'Hemlock Grove' and the very popular sitcom 'Arrested Development'.  Netflix has over 46 million paying monthly subscribers of which 25% are outside the U.S. and this year plans to launch itself into six more European countries.  Not counting extra pay-per-view specials Netflix is grossing over $400 million per month in subscription fees alone.

This is relentless competition for the cinema so all exhibitors must be on their best game now and certainly into the future.

'FROZEN' Breaks Box Office Records

An unlikely movie to bust the box office, 'Frozen', Disney's animated tale of a young girl's quest to save her world from perpetual winter, is now the 5th highest grossing film of all time!  Released in 2013, 'Frozen' is still playing in movie theaters around the globe.  In Japan, 'Frozen', released with the title  'Anna to Yuki no Jou' or 'Anna The Snow Queen', has become the fourth biggest box office grosser in Japanese cinema history and may turn out to be number three following only 'Titanic' and the animated feature 'Spirited Away'.

'Frozen' won an Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and the Best Original Song for 'Let It Go' in 2013. In addition to its box office triumphs 'Frozen' as set records for DVD sales and video games sales and is the highest grossing animated feature of all time.

Friday, May 23, 2014


In this world of sooo many choices - branding is everything.  If you build a brand based upon a well-conceived business model - be it a cinema or high-tech company - success is assured.

Each year a listing of the 100 most valuable global brands is compiled and a value is determined for each of those brands.  Only one entertainment related company, Disney Studios at #23, made the cut; however, the tech giants, who are now entering the entertainment arena, dominated the listings.

The list is compiled by AdAge, BrandZ, Bloomberg Research, and Kantor Assoc.  The accompanying chart details the top 25 global brands, for the remaining 75 search: 2014 BrandZ Top 100.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

WHY Fi ?

Cinemas Need To Be Social - having your cinema equipped with WiFi is really a must! Why? Because it provides an excellent service for the moviegoer and sales and marketing opportunities for exhibitors.

Linger Longer

With access to the internet and a place to relax, moviegoers will linger in the cinema after the movie and it provides the exhibitor an added opportunity to sell concession items.

Access to In-cinema Admission & Concession Promotions and Specials

Encourage patrons to access the cinema's website or blog for information on special concession deals and promotions you are having that day or week.  Also discuss upcoming movies and movie schedules. People often forget about doing this before attending the cinema so having in-cinema internet access to your sites is a big plus and keeps your cinema 'social'.

Provides a 'Hot Spot' for non-Smartphone Users

This includes me. Yes, I have a pay-as-you-go phone with no full-time internet access, same goes for my iPad.  My cellphone cost runs about $10/month but I can access the web if there is WiFi available. Now I know some of you may think I am out-of-touch but believe me there are many who think and behave as I do. So, having a 'hot spot' in the cinema is great for us cellular deficient types.

Non-moviegoers' Destination

If your cinema is set up with a, lets call it, cafe or a place where people can sit and enjoy a cup of joe or other libation than there is no reason why your cinema can't be used as the 'third spot'.  The third spot concept was devised by Starbucks and it represents the 'place' between work and home. Free WiFi access and decent concession offerings will bring customers into the cinema who are not moviegoers, but want a nice spot to sit and browse the net, text, and relax.

Going forward more and more information will be given and received via WiFi - from content streaming and video gaming to point-of-sale payments and wireless music.  Having your cinema WiFi equipped is a must for your customers, as well as, your employees.  Use it and take advantage of it.



'50s style Godzilla
'Godzilla' gobbled up the box office on its release last week.  Grossing a huge global opening of over $196 million, it crushed all comers and competition.  The Japanese kaiju epic monster tale (which hasn't opened in China as yet) placed Warner Bros. firmly in the top spot as this year box office leader - a sequel is already in the works.

Godzilla first emerged from the ocean depths in 1954 and went on to 'star' in numerous Toho Studio films which included Godzilla rivals Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah.  There was even a baby Godzilla, Minilla.  An amphibious reptilian creature, Godzilla is a metaphor of the nuclear age's destructive  consequences and has an 'atomic breath' - a radioactive heat ray that spews from its mouth.

Could Godzilla Really Exist
Baby Godzilla

In this month's issue of Popular Mechanics, an article deals with just that - whether or not a real Godzilla could exist.  Here are the findings:

At 350 feet high (over 30 stories) Godzilla would weigh in at over 164,000 tons.  Have a heart that would weigh 100 tons pumping 530,000 gallons of blood through its humongous body.  Needless to say, Godzilla would have to have very large and very strong bones.  At 20 times greater than the force on T-Rex's bones, Godzilla's leg bones would need to be twice as strong as some titanium alloys.

No actual animal could take the pressure of being so massive, but this is Godzilla - who has radioactive breath and destroys entire cities.  He/she, Godzilla is gender neutral, even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cannes or Can't Do

"When you wake up in the morning and you turn around and your ass falls off", retorted Sly Stallone on his view of retirement, but it is also an appropriate analogy to the Cannes Film Fest - as its ass has fallen off.

Statham, Ford, Stallone, & Gibson yuck it up in Cannes
Touted as the world's biggest and best film festival, France's renown gala is showing signs of losing its, once, unchallenged hold on contemporary cinema.  Critics scrounge the ranks of the entrants for, this the 67th festival, in the hopes of finding quality selections to judge. The digital age has not been kind to Cannes, nor has the shift in the public's desire for films they now gravitate to - as the high-impact, special effects driven films that are now the blockbuster bruisers of today's cinema do not gel with the demure sophistication that Cannes tries to portray.

This year's festival may be pivotal, as attending cinema aficionados and industry hoi polloi streamed into the Cote d'Azur and got an even heavier dose of turmoil that has become the norm at Cannes. Food and accommodation prices so sky-high that even well-heeled celebs give a second glance a bills - with comments about gouging, poor service, and inferior libations commonplace.  This year's headaches were compounded by worker strikes at French airports and taxis services. "There's always something, some protest or strike, during Cannes, but this year it's really extreme. It's affecting everyone", stated Claire Stewart, Director of the London Film Festival.

All abroad in Cannes on a Soviet Tank
Cannes is burdened with chaotic logistics that need addressing but, more importantly, its focus is out of sync with moviegoers worldwide. Selections are made by the festival's current director, Thierry Fremaux, who has been roundly criticized for his lack of creativity and in protecting certain directors at the exclusion of others, namely younger and female film makers. For example, of the 19 directors in contention for the grand Palme d'Ore prize, 13 have already been nominated at least once before. Critics contend that the competition has become a 'cozy club' where the chosen few are never rejected. So, like Cannes itself, the selections foster a tarnishing reputation that needs a re-work.

Cannes, like all film festivals, should be about promoting and pushing the art of film-making, not about awarding old story-lined films we have all seen before ad nauseam.  It's called a 'festival' because its purpose is to celebrate, appreciate, and award new films that push the envelope not re-seal it.

The Expendables' geezers took Cannes by storm and were the hit of the gala

The Croisette is the main drag in Cannes and as two tanks rolled in all traffic came to a complete halt.  Atop the tanks were the stars of the film 'The Expendables 3' which was being promoted during the festival and kind of poked a stick in the eye of the festival itself.  The tank stunt contributed to the estimated $2 million for the film's promotion at the festival, which featured all of the big name leads, in addition to Stallone - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, as well as, new cast members: Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammar and Antonio Banderas.  "We are the children of arthritis," said Stallone, "We are young forever."

'The Expendables 3' opens worldwide in August.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Last week, as you've probably seen, Miley Cyrus went all out at the iconic G.A.Y. club in London, and during her performance mounted a giant, blow-up penis and pelted-out her hit song 'Wrecking Ball'.
This is 'shock' entertainment and Miley is a master at it.

If you want a ton of media buzz and promo hype, Miley's your girl, as she routinely looks in her rear-view mirror at the likes of Gaga, Perry, Beyonce, and Rhyanna.  Miley says, "it's all in fun" and it sure looks like she's having the time of her life, but so are her fans.  Which begs the question: 'Is the cinema keeping up with what society expects in entertainment or is it stuck in a world of fantasy superheros and special effects which is becoming kiddish and tiresome?  Is 'shock' entertainment the new mantra or is Miley just an anomaly.

Yes, we all know that Hanna Montana is dead - Miley shed her skin long ago - but the urge and the demand for 'shock' appears to be getting greater as audiences lust for more. Miley, is just reflecting society's push to the racier and more provocative, as our attention spans get shorter and shorter to a point where only the abnormal gets our notice - what was outrage is now the norm.

Miley playing with a penis, Gaga and Perry puking up paint - is this just a jab in the eye or is it feeding our need for excess and does the cinema follow down this path? It use to be that celebs got publicity by getting busted for drug possession, shop-lifting, DUI, and then going to court and rehab (or not). Now its all about calculated 'shock' performances. What's worse? Ride the penis, puke on-stage but staying sober - I'm Ok with it.


Monday, May 12, 2014


At CMG we love polls, especially movie polls.  Valid or not they arouse because you want to know
how 'others' view the same or differ from your take. I came across two recent polls about movies that I thought would be fun to share.

The first is a poll on what people thought were the top 26 (one for each letter of the alphabet) cult-films of all time.  Now we all have our favorite cults but see how they match up to what others think.

A Clockwork Orange - 1971
Blue Velvet - 1986
Caligula - 1979
Dirty Dancing - 1987
El Topo - 1970
Friday the 13th - 1980
Godzilla - 1954
Harold and Maude - 1971
Indecent Proposal - 1993
Jacob's Ladder - 1990
Koyaanisqatsi - 1982
Life of Brian - 1979
Mad Max - 1979
Night of the Living Dead - 1968
One Million Years B.C. - 1966
Pee-wee;s Big Adventure - 1985
Quadrophenia - 1979
Raising Arizona - 1987
Scarface - 1983
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - 1975
Universal Soldier - 1992
Valley of the Dolls - 1967
Withnail & I - 1987
Xanadu - 1980
Yellow Submarine - 1968
Zero Effect - 1998

Some of these I've never heard of, others I wouldn't have guessed made 'cult status', like 'Universal Soldier'.  Many others, I feel were left out. For example, I would have chosen 'Blade Runner' over 'Blue Velvet', or 'Caddyshack' over 'Caligula'.

The next poll was compiled by the American Film Institute and it lists the 100 greatest movie "quotes". I will only list the top 25 here:

1. Stars Wars - 1977  "May the Force be with you."
2. Gone With the Wind - 1939 "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
3. Forrest Gump - 1984 "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get next."
4. The Shining - 1980 "Here's Johnny."
5. Apocalypse Now - 1979 "I love the smell of napalm in the morning."
6. Terminator 2 - 1991 "Hasta la vista, baby."
7. Dr. Strangelove - 1964 "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the war room!."
8. The Sixth Sense - 1999 "I see dead people."
9. Jerry Maquire - 1996 "There's the Money?"
'stinking badges'
10. Sunset Blvd. - 1950 "I am big. It's the picture that got small."
11. Casablanca - 1942 "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
12. Some Like It Hot - 1959 " Well, nobody's perfect."
13. Casablanca - 1942 "Play it Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."
14. Titanic - 1997 "I'm the king of the world."
15. Caddyshack - 1980 "Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now about to become the Masters Champion. It looks like a mirac... It's in the hole. It's in the hole. It's in the hole."
16. Rocky - 1976 "Yo, Adrian."
17. King Kong - 1933 "Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast."
18. Casablanca - 1942 "Round up the usual suspects."
19. Sons of the Desert - 1933 "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"
20. Psycho - 1960 "A boy's best friend is his mother."
21. In the Heat of the Night - 1967 "They call me, Mr. Tibbs!"
22. Moonstruck - 1987 "Snap out of it."
23. Mommie Dearest - 1981 "No wire hangers, ever."
24. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - 1948 "Badges. We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges."
25. On Golden Pond - 1981 "Listen to me, mister. You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it. You're going to get back on that horse, and I'm going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we're gonna..."


Sunday, May 11, 2014


Breaking the $3 billion mark would set a new box office record and the next Star Wars installment may be the movie to do it.

Currently, Avatar holds the record at $2.8 billion and to eclipse that number will require a huge blockbuster bruiser.  Stars Wars: Episode VII is now in the works. The cast has been set (with the original three: Hamill, Ford, and Fisher confirmed, as well as, Chewbacca, R2D2 and C3PO, and even an appearance by the late Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi - through the miracle of digital restructuring) and filming locations, for the most part, have been determined.  So, will a mix of the old and new be the magic that grosses a $3 billion gate for Disney?

With the growth of the cinema in China, Russia, and other countries the once unattainable may now be a possibility and a $3 billion gate may be reached. Besides being a great movie, it must be coupled with massive hype - which Disney has already started. VII will have record promotion and media hype that will build to a crescendo as it nears its release date. But to reach $3 billion will take more than a great global opening, it will take 'staying power', the movie will have to play in cinemas for weeks with fans going back for second and third viewings - it has to be that good!

Not only the actors (old and new cast members) but the visual effects must be spectacular and the sound immersive.  It must also set the stage and trail-blaze for installments VIII and IX which are already on the drawing board.

I think $3 billion is very attainable for Star Wars-VII and don't forget that an Avatar Two, which is also in the works, could easily break the record as well.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Some Exhibitors Just Don't Get It

Taking one or more of their largest existing auditoriums and giving it a name, such as 'CinePlus' or 'X-treme Cinema', and than up-charging for a ticket to that auditorium is nothing more than a scam - and the moviegoer knows it!
Disdain for admission gouging is viral on the web   

This, the latest ploy by some movie exhibitors to extract more admission dollars from their patrons, is a very dangerous and long-term admission killer. I can't tell you how many emails CMG has gotten over the last year or so regarding moviegoers disdain and utter disgust regarding this scheme on the part of exhibitors.

To me, this admission scam (lets call it what it is) is a perfect example of the very thing movie exhibitors should not be doing, particularly when people have so many other options for entertainment and, perhaps more importantly, as we enter the realm of d-and-d movie distribution via the internet and on-demand viewing.  Screening a film on a large screen with large sound is exactly how exhibitors are going to retain their patrons as we move forward - it's not by gouging them at the box office.
A scam and consumers know it !

Consumers aren't stupid. They want value for their entertainment dollar when they go to the cinema - or-else they will view that content in another format, most likely in their living rooms.  Unfortunately, it seems, many exhibitors just don't get it!

Caught With Your Pants Down

First film to go d-and-d / in cinemas and via on-demand
Cinemas will have to cope with global day-and-date movie distribution - it's inevitable. Day-and-date release of first-run movies on a global basis is getting closer to reality.  Being pushed hard for by Netflix and other content streamers, who are now producing their own high-quality content. From Microsoft to the Hollywood studios the cinema industry is poised to make billions on what day-and-date distribution will bring to say nothing of the added benefit of being a piracy-killer.

How cinemas will cope with the loss of their current window of distribution exclusivity of first-run films is arguable. Those cinemas that embrace the change with expanded content alternatives, with new marketing and promotion, with outreach to local community, and in their presentation capabilities (which can not be replicated in consumers' living rooms) will prosper.  This assumes that cinemas have prepared and are able to present movies with the best on-screen image and sound possible.  In addition to being clean, patron-friendly, and have innovative, quality and priced-right concessions.

In a recent speech, Kevin Spacey - no stranger to the d-and-d concept - discussed his view on the subject, saying that "the simultaneous release of films at cinemas and on-demand would benefit both distribution formats and greatly assist in the battle against piracy."  The way movie distribution will evolve is that release will be at cinemas, on DVD, and on-demand via content streamers to TVs, Smartphones, and tablets. "People say, if you open a movie online at the same time as in cinemas, no one is going to go to the cinemas.  That's just not true. People love to go out and have a shared experience, they always will."

CMG  has always believed, and stated so in this blog, that movie distribution across all media formats at the same time and worldwide will happen.  That the amounts of money involved are just too great for the studios to ignore, that internet based companies would be producing content to do just that, and the desire to suppress piracy, would all join in to effect this change.  It is coming. Cinemas - don't be left with your pants down, start preparing NOW!

Please read the next CMG post which gives a perfect example of how movie exhibitors are harming themselves and others in the industry.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Price-cutting Admissions
Dealflicks, an LA-based company, is trying to build a discount ticketing service for cinemas.  Called the Priceline of movie ticketing, Dealflicks' scheme is to partner with cinemas to offer discounts of up to 60% off regular movie admissions and concessions during those times when cinemas are mostly empty (like weekday afternoons).

Now, it's no surprise to anyone in the industry, that the utilization rate at cinemas is low.  In fact, a utilization rate of 20% (meaning a seat is filled 20% of the time) would be considered pretty good for the average cinema.  What Dealflicks is trying to accomplish is to raise a given cinema's utilization.

Similar to hotels and airlines, cinemas have low attendance during off-peak (non-weekend) times. What Dealflicks is pitching is that they will market those 'empty seats' to patrons at a discount from the regular admission price and take a percentage of sold tickets.  Dealflicks lets the cinema owner select which movie showtimes they wish to discount, at what price, and when.  There is no negotiation involved. Customers buy the tickets through Dealflicks' website or iPhone app and collects a 10%-20% fee for each ticket they sell.

Since its launch in 2012, Dealflicks has contracted about 2,000 screens - not a stellar success; however, they keep trying.  They added concession purchases to the shop list but I would think most cinemas would be hard-pressed to give away 20% of their concession sales.  And that's my problem with the Dealflicks' business model.

- Most moviegoers want to go to the cinema when it's convenient for them (movie-going is very discretionary).  Normally those times are evenings and weekends (Thursday night to Sunday night).  A discount on admission, even if up to 60% (representing say $5-6) isn't that much of an incentive.

- Most cinemas, particularly multiplexes, experience low utilization because they have so many seats.  Yes, they need those seats for the first weekend release of blockbusters but alas most of the time those seats are empty.

- Another reason a cinema has so many seats is because they receive, what is known is the industry, as 'house money'.  House money is essentially a kick-back of admission dollars by the studios to assist a cinema in covering it's overhead, if the gross for a movie reaches a specific benchmark.  And guess what house-money is based upon - ah, number of seats.  That is why you see cinema seats 5 feet from the screen, the exhibitor wants to cram as many seats as possible into each auditorium so as to maximized house-money contributions.

- Cinemas can do what Dealflicks is offering by themselves - and most already do.  Many, if not most, cinemas have discounted matinees and off-hour admission discounts.  They could raise these if they chose.

- No cinema, under no circumstance, should ever give away concession profits - this makes no sense.

CMG's take on Dealflicks: It's a non-starter for any cinema with even a modicum of  showmanship or marketing skill.  And if they don't have these skills they should attend a training seminar from Cinema Training Central - www.cinema-training.com .


Monday, May 05, 2014

Solo Moviegoing - A Selfie Win/Win

Going to the movies alone is a wonderful thing - think about it:

I can choose any movie I want and no one can judge my choice.
I get both armrests.
I can walk out if the movie sucks and not give a f***.
I can order the concession, I like, the way I like it.
I can sit where I want - really up close.
I can laugh or cry when and how I please - no shame.
I don't have to share my junk food.
I can watch the trailers and movie in peace, without external commentary or partner annoyance.
I can choose the showtime and film and sometimes have the auditorium to myself - a private screening.

I love going to the movies alone - it's solo entertainment at its best! Hey, even the ticket says 'Admit One'

Oh, and while we're at it, how can you tell if a movie is going to suck?  It's all about exploding helicopters.  That's right, according to a tried and true theory, the more exploding helicopters in the movie's trailer the higher the level of suckiness.  See the chart - charts are always right!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

How Top Film Directors Got There Start

Last month I wrote that Akira Kurosawa was the best film-maker/director the movie industry has ever had.  When researching for that post I came across an article by Christy Khosahaba of the LA Times that spoke to the 'best living' film directors and which of their movies "propelled them to prominence".
I felt it might be of interest for you as well.

Steven Spielberg - although 'The Sugarland Express' (1974) did get Hollywood's attention, it was 'Jaws', a year later, that put Spielberg into the real limelight. 'Jaws' was the first film to break the $100 million box office and grossed over $470 million globally - a huge sum in 1976.  Plagued by production problems and delays the film was dubbed 'Flaws' by crew members - but the final cut was an unmatched suspense thriller.

James Cameron - his third film was the charm - 'The Terminator' (1984). Once an assistant to B-movie King, Roger Corman, 'The Terminator' catapulted Cameron into becoming the maker of two of the highest grossing film ever, 'Titanic' (1997) with a $2.1 billion global gross, and 'Avatar' (2004) with a total gate of $2.6 billion.

Martin Scorsese - was always a great movie lover.  After attending film school in NYC he, like Cameron, worked for Roger Corman where he directed the Corman produced "Boxcar Bertha' - now a cult-classic.  Scorsese was to develop the gritty, character strong style of movie-making that we have come to love and which has been copied by many in the film industry.  His breakout film was 'Mean Streets' (1973), followed by 'Raging Bull' (1980), 'Good Fellas' (1990), and 'Gangs of New York' (2002).

Quentin Tarantino - when asked if he attend film school, Tarantino's response was "I went to films instead".  Tarantino prefers to write and direct his films.  His fame came with the Sundance Festival winner 'Reservior Dogs' (1992).  Two years later he came back with 'Pulp Fiction' (1994) which cemented his reputation and won him Best Picture and Best Screenplay Oscars.

Kathryn Bigelow - artist turned film-maker. Bigelow (noted for her high-impact films like 'Blue Steel' (1990) and 'Point Break' (1991) she made her real mark with the award-winning 'Hurt Locker' (2009) followed by Oscar winner 'Zero Dark Thirity' (2012).

Peter Jackson - his first film, 'Bad Taste' (1987) a comedy about flesh-eating aliens, took over four years to make. On a whim, it was entered into the Cannes Festival, and surprise - it won several awards. His breakout film however came seven years later. 'Heavenly Creatures' (1994) was a semi-docu based upon a famous New Zealand matricide case. This film grabbed Hollywood's attention and gave Jackson a green light to direct the mega-trilogy 'Lord of the Rings'.

Christopher Nolan - credited with turning the art house flick to the multiplex blockbuster, Nolan's first feature, 'Following' (1998) was a small budget noir thriller but it was enough to elevate his status as an up and coming director. His next film was the breakout feature for Nolan, the 2001 film 'Momento' which gave him two Oscar nominations.

Eastwood in 'Unforgiven'
Clint Eastwood - from spaghetti western cowboy to Oscar winner, Eastwood has had a long and very successful film career.  His first film, as director, was the 1988 biopic on jazz musician Charlie 'The Bird' Parker, who was played in the film by a young Forest Whitaker.  This film gained Eastwood respect as a director. He followed up with the great western 'Unforgiven' (1992) which won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. Other, highly regarded Eastwood films include 'Bridges of Madison County' (1995) and 'Million Dollar Baby' (2004) to name several.

Francis Ford Coppola - after winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay for 'Patton' (1970), Coppola got the nod to helm the making of the Mario Puzo novel 'The Godfather' - the rest is cinematic history. Considered by many as the best film of all time, the Godfather trilogy of  films simply has no equivalent.

Woody Allen - starting out in stand-up and television joke writing, Allen's breakout came with the romantic comedy 'Annie Hall' (1977) which he wrote, directed, and starred in.  This film won four Oscars which Allen never showed up to receive.

To my mind, a couple of other directors that should be on the list are: George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Mel Gibson, and Oliver Stone.