Sunday, August 24, 2014
Our local AMC movie theatre has gone in a new direction having reconstructed the whole building. They are now offering dinners, snacks, desserts, sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc. all given to a server who gets your order, delivers it to you and then you pay your bill. There are plusses and minuses about the whole setup but I do see it becoming a very expensive proposition for a family going to the movies or even a couple on a date.
It is no secret that movie theatres make their money from the concession stands and not from ticket sales as most of the latter go to the film makers, distributors and studios. In many cases a soda and popcorn cost more than a theatre ticket but with these new food prices it will even be higher. If you want to get an idea of the food prices go to www.amctheatres.com/food-and-drink but remember they vary from theatre to theatre.
I wanted to 'try' out the new AMC--I liked the $7 admission on a Friday but you never know what a movie costs unless you check out the movie and performance schedule on the web. Depending on whether it is a matinee or evening, a PG or R rated film, a regular or 3D film the prices range from $7 to $14. The seats are the most comfortable I have ever sat in in a movie house--the serving of food can be and is disturbing--also I would hate to see the line at the ticket window when busy--along with prices you have to select your seat before you get your ticket!!!
They have less auditoriums than they did previously, which means they are showing less movies and each auditorium has a lot less seats than they had so they are really depending on food sales to make the money. With the movie companies making less money because of the cut in the audience size I wonder if they have some deal regarding concession sales.
As I said I like the $7 ticket price on Friday for PG-13 films but since I don’t eat food in the theatre if the AMC is showing the same picture as the Gateway Theatre, and getting the lower price, I might go to the former BUT if they are getting a $9 price I will definitely go with the latter--which I will in most cases anyway as The Gateway Theatre is special to me.
Friday, August 22, 2014
The best thing about “Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”, AKA Sin City 2, was that I got in for free, plus got a free popcorn and a free soda, all courtesy of The Gateway Theatre Loyalty Card.
I had not seen the first “Sin City” so I was intrigued for about a half hour by the sparse use of standout color in what is basically a black and white film noir of the 1940s and 1950s shown as a combination of live, digital, comic book, pulp fiction and graphic novels. After the novelty of a slash of bright red across the lips of a black and while character wears off there was a little interest in the name of the actresses playing the female roles as most of the men are more ‘seasoned’ veterans, and recognizable, though even here one or two have face but not name recognition.
Anyone familiar with the old movies, or books, like those featuring Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer or Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade or casts with Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, Veronica Lake, Victor Mature, etc. will find their counterparts in Sin City 2. Every man is hard boiled and every woman a femme fatale. The main difference between this film and the old films are the amount of violence perpetrated not only by the men but more so by the women.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller I would love to know which one has the eyeball fetish! The production design by Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute is outstanding as are all the other production assets such as costumes, hair and make up.
With a cast including Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Powers Booth, Mickey Rourke (almost unrecognizable ), Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Stacy Keach, Jaime King, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ray Liotta, just to name a few, plus a cameo by Lady Gaga, keeping track of who is who and trying to remember their real names will keep your mind off of the screenplay that is not at all original in any aspect of film making.
There is almost as much nudity, frontal and rear, by both males and females, though there is a sense modestly, as there is violence. Killings are by guns, arrows, knives, hands, feet, cars, etc., all graphic and far from modest.
The best/only way to see this movie is with a free ticket, a free popcorn and a free soda.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
“Calvary” opens with a man in the confessional booth telling the priest that he had been abused for 5 years when a child by a priest and since he is dead he will kill the priest he is talking to now as killing a bad priest would not make as strong a statement as killing an innocent one. The confessor tells the priest that he will give him a week, until next Sunday, to get his house in order before he kills him.
As we meet each villager, and watch their reaction to and with the priest, we soon forget about the killing and who may have said the confession and issued the threat except for each day of the week appearing on the screen.
Father James, played by Brendan Gleeson, joined the priesthood after his wife died and his adult daughter Fiona , played by Kelly Reilly, feels he left her behind. As he makes his parish rounds we get to meet citizens of the town, some who could have been the confessor. There is the butcher, Chris O’Dowd, who’s wife, Oria O’Rourke. has encounters with the immigrant lover Isaach De Bankole. We enter the home of the police inspector, Gary Lydon, who is in the middle of having sex with a male prostitute, Owen Sharpe. We meet an Atheist doctor, Aidan Gillen, and an extremely wealthy man, Dylan Moran, who thinks nothing of urinating on a million dollar painting he has bought. Along with these citizens we also meet a younger priest, David Wilmot, the Bishop David McSavage, a French woman, Marie-Josee Croze, who just lost her husband and an American writer M. Emmet Walsh. Last, but certainly not least, there is a very moving scene between Gleeson and a cannibalistic murderer,played by his son Domhnall Gleeson.
There is a lot of humor in the exchanges between the priest and those who are challenging his convictions and those of the Catholic church, but as one tells him. “You are just too sharp for this parish,” which turns out to be the truth.
The screenplay by John Michael McDonagh, who also directed, goes into faith, forgiveness and the many weaknesses of man, and woman, without, obviously, picking sides. He has also filmed the picture in the county Sligo which shows off the lush greens of Ireland along with the cliffs and coasts surrounding it.
Each cast member gets a scene to stand out and they meet the challenge but it is Brendan Gleeson and Kelly Reilly, who intrigued me in the TV series “Black Box”, that command your attention during the whole film.
“Calvary” is getting 5 star reviews but I left thinking that maybe if I was Irish or Catholic or a priest, a murderer or a sinner I might have liked it better. Being a sinner I did appreciate much of the dialogue and as a movie lover I certainly admired the acting but the bottom line is that I can’t recommend the film.
By the way there are two very violent scenes and the last 2 minutes of the film, if I understood it correctly, was a stunner.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Hopefully the book “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, which the movie is based on, gives a lot more answers to what happened and what will happen then the screenplay by Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide lets you in on. The movie pulled me in and then left me hanging but not enough to want to read the book to see if the answers are there.
The film opens in a black and white world filled with people who are injected every day with medicine to not feel anything, to be alike and whose words are devoid of feelings. We meet Jonas, played by Brenton Thwaites, and his two friends Asher, played by Cameron Monaghan, and Fiona, played by Odeya Rush, who are graduating and will be given their appointed life roles. Asher will be a drone pilot, Fiona a nurturer of babies until they are sent to the families they will be raised by and Jonas is given the role of receiver, to be given all the memories of the world’s past including negative and positive feelings.
Jonas will be given all the knowledge that the Receiver of Memory, who is the title role played by Jeff Bridges, has of the past regarding feelings and the more memories he is given the more color enters Jonas’s world. In other major roles Meryl Streep as the community’s Chief Elder who, more or less, decides who will do what when, Alexander Skarsgard and Kate Holmes as Jonas’s parents and Emma Tremblay as his sister.
As a film dealing with feelings/emotions and what a loss life is without them the director Phillip Noyce doesn’t bring any feelings or human emotions to the film version of “The Giver”. He delivers with the Sci-fi but not the drama.
Friday, August 08, 2014
Like a French bouillabaisse or an Indian Keralite both are dishes that take time and they can be 5 star or comfort food. “The Hundred Foot Journey” is more of the latter than the former with a cast that would earn the Michelin top 3 stars while the story line by Steven Knight, based on a novel by Richard C. Morais, would probably not earn any.
Helen Mirren, as Madame Mallory, a widow, owns a top old school French restaurant, and is always a joy to watch whether being haughty, fighting dirty or breaking into a beautiful smile. Om Puri, as Papa, and the father of 5 children, who leaves India after the death of his wife in a fire and, because of circumstances, opens an Indian restaurant 100 feet across from the French restaurant. They declare war on each other and, with that, if you don’t know where their relationship is heading you are new to movies. Though Puri is more or less scowling at Mirren during the first half of the movie, and is sometimes hard to understand, when he smiles, whether it be at his children or, eventually at Madame Mallory, he holds his own in every scene with Mirren.
Madame Mallory’s sous chef, Marguerite, played by Charlotte Le Bon, starts a flirtation with Papa’s son Hasson Kadam, played by Manish Dayal, a yet to be discovered top chef, at one point is in competition with Marguerite and, once again, if you don’t know where this is leading it can only be because you haven’t been to too many movies. Le Bon is pretty with doe eyes and Dayal is handsome and they have just enough chemistry to make it believable that they could be a couple. The rest of the cast consisting mainly of Papa’s four other children, Madame Mallory’s kitchen staff, the mayor and his wife, fill their roles with only a couple adding ‘spice’ in scenes.
Talking about two restaurants, chefs and spice there is no way you can discuss “The Hundred Foot Journey” without discussing the dishes and, how they are made, concentrating from beginning to end on just a few. If all the scenes on/of food looked like the omelet Hasson makes, with help from Madame Mallory due to circumstances, you might have left the theatre hungry but not many are that good. By the way the Madame does something with pan and omelet that I had never seen before. Oh yes, you may want to try a sea urchin--see the movie!
Director Lasse Hallstrom, and the director of photography Linus Sandgren, show off the French village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in all its lush greenery.
Due to the fact that it takes too long--they could have cut the Paris segment--and that no way would the portions satisfy Americans as in France, and better restaurants, it is the presentation of the food and not the quantity, “The Hundred Foot Journey” is more comfort food than fine dining.
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