Matt's Blog

Blog

Regent Cinema To Go Out With A Classic Bang

  

It’s another long weekend in Brisbane which is great so let’s get right to it.

 

I Love You Too: A Red Carpet Experience

 

Last Friday night, I had a chance to attend the Brisbane premiere of I Love You Too.  In attendance were stars Brendan Cowell, Yvonne Strahovski and Peter Helliar.

 

You can view some photos from the night by clicking here

 

I had a chance to speak to the stars for a few minutes on the red carpet and you can hear the interviews by downloading here.

 

It’s tricky doing red carpet stuff.  I hate to ask the same questions that everyone else will ask but at the same time, there’s only so many different types of questions you can ask (if that makes sense).  Ah well.  I bumbled my way through it and thankfully, the stars came up with some nice answers.  Peter Helliar’s response to my film critic question left me a little unconvinced.  I’d love to put the question to some other stars down the track.

 

The Tribal Theatre Experience: Follow Up

 

In last week’s blog (see here) I wrote about an interesting experience I had at the reopened Tribal Theatre on George Street in the city.

 

Over the weekend, I received a response from a representative of the Tribal Theatre regarding my comments.  She agreed with my comments on cinema etiquette but noted “Last Friday night was a busy night for us, and certainly not one we are used to at the cinema, so I hope that you choose not to use this as your one example of an independent cinema struggling to find its feet within Brisbane.

 

She also noted that it’s probably likely that future classic horror screenings are likely to attract an audience that finds it funny in inappropriate places.  However, there are still plenty of regular “quiet screenings”.

 

Yes, she’s right.  I don’t think I’ll be seeing any more classic horror movies at the Tribal but I’m more than happy to see other films there.  This week’s movies include Amelie and Crazy Heart which are both worth seeing if you haven’t already.

 

Professor Matt Toomey

 

Last Tuesday, I had the chance to give a lecture to some journalism students at QUT on film criticism.  I have to admit being a little bit nervous.  I didn’t know how easy it would be to speak in front of a large group for 50 minutes straight.

 

It turned out to be a blast.  I’d prepared a few notes but things seemed to roll along perfectly.  I had a great audience who asked plenty of questions and it was loads of fun.

 

I’m doing the same thing this Friday at UQ (a little closer to home) with some post graduate students.  It’ll be interesting to see if the questions differ given that they’re further advanced with their studies.

 

Regent Cinemas To Go Out With A Classic Bang

 

As you’d probably now be aware, the Regent Cinema will close its doors in early June.  As if that’s not bad enough, I’ll be away in London for its final week and won’t get to participate in the farewell activities.

 

It’s been announced during the week that the cinema will finish with a bunch of classic screenings between May 29 and June 5.  They’re showing one great film for each decade that the cinema has been opened.  They are…

 

1930s – A Night At The Opera – Sat, May 29

1940s – Casablanca – Sun, May 30

1950s – The African Queen – Mon, May 31

1960s – West Side Story – Tue, Jun 1

1970s – Manhattan – Wed, Jun 2

1980s – ET – Thu, Jun 3

1990s – Titanic – Fri, Jun 4

2000s – The Return Of The King – Sat, Jun 5

 

Now let me just say that if I was in Brisbane, I would be at every one of those screenings.  What an AMAZING list of films.  I urge as many Film Pie fans to check these out.

 

You can book online at www.eventcinemas.com.au or from the box-office itself.  

 

I’ll be doing my own tribute piece on the Regent in three weeks.

The Tribal Theatre: Death Of Cinema Etiquette?

  

2010 Audi Festival Of German Films

 

The German Film Festival kicks off at the Palace Centro Cinema on Wednesday and runs for a week.  There are 20 films on offer and judging from my own experiences with German cinema, there should be plenty of great stuff on offer.

 

Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon is sure to be popular given that it won the Palm D’or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and earned an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film.  It’s released nation-wide on May 6 so more discerning filmgoers might give it a miss and see it in general release.

 

I’ve been very busy over the last week and haven’t spent too much time going through the program.  You can view it by clicking here.  Tickets are $16 for most sessions and I’m hoping to get along to at least a couple of films.

 

The Tribal Theatre: Death Of Cinema Etiquette?

 

Last Friday night, I went along to The Tribal Theatre on George Street to check out a screening of the 1968 horror classic, Night Of The Living Dead.  I never ever thought I’d set foot in that cinema again.  Not because I didn’t like it but because it closed its doors in November 2008.  It was formerly known as the Dendy and I did a tribute piece which you can read here.

 

It was recently reopened and is screening a mix of both current and classic releases.

 

The session I attend was fairly full with a pretty young audience.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a poor display of cinema etiquette.  The audience laughed throughout much of the film.  Three different patrons took it upon themselves to yell out silly jokes throughout (which even my dad would find lame).

 

There was one scene in the film where an hysterical woman is slapped by another man.  This scene received a very loud round of applause including many cries of “yeah” and “wooooooo”.

 

I was tempted to walk out because it certainly ruined the film-going experience.  I go to the movies to see a movie.  Not to listen to the commentary of someone who’s specialty subject is the bleeding obvious.  Not to put up with loud, unruly people.

 

If this is the sort of demographic that the reopened Tribal is going to attract, then I know I won’t be seeing too many more movies there.  I’d rather go to Myer Centre (and that’s saying something).

 

I debated this (heatedly) with two friends after the screening and here are some of the things we discussed…

 

Were people laughing because times have changed and we’re now desensitised to this kind of horror?  Perhaps.  The film was given an R rating back in 1968 and I assure you that it wouldn’t be given the same rating today.  It’s much tamer (in terms of blood and gore) compared with horror films I’ve seen in recent years.

 

That said, it’s disappointing that the audience were so disrespectful.  I thought it was an excellent movie.  It’s hard to believe that a film released over 40 years ago had the guts to (1) feature an African American as the hero, (2) include a twist ending that might leave audiences unsatisfied.  It’s not as violent as one of today’s horror films but I found it just as suspenseful.  The fact that it’s in black and white makes it even scarier.

 

Maybe people go to these sorts of films to have a laugh?  The audience was young and many would not have an appreciation for this classic.  I can only assume that’s why they were going.  Why else would you pay money to see a horror film which you think is laughable?  Why didn’t they all walk out?  Did they see this as some sort of funny Ed Wood type experience (not that they’d know who Ed Wood was)?

 

I have to say that as much as I hated the audience, it was an “experience”.  It has fired me up enough to warrant this blog.  It’s given me much food for thought regarding cinema etiquette.

 

It’s true that cinemas in Brisbane have their own demographics.  I much prefer going to the Palace or Dendy cinemas rather than the Event cinemas.  Sure they’re cheaper but you usually attract a quieter, more respectful audience.  I hope I don’t sound “snooty” but I’m just voicing my opinion.  You’re less likely to find someone (1) speaking loudly to the friend sitting next to them, (2) texting on their phone which has a blaring bright display panel, and (3) kicking their feet into the back of my seat.

 

The bottom line is that I’m taking a “to each their own” stance on this.  If the Tribal keeps playing to sold out sessions on a Friday night, good on them.  There must be an audience for the films and experience they offer and it’s always nice to see a cinema in Brisbane doing well.  You won’t find me there though.

Box-Office Trivia Challenge: Movie Star Edition

  

The American summer blockbuster season is upon us and Iron Man 2 will kick things off on April 29.  Over the next few months, we can also expect to see Robin Hood, Prince Of Persia, Sex & The City 2, The A-Team, Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, Twilight: Eclipse, Knight & Day and Inception.  That’s just a taste of what will be on offer.

 

On that note, it’s inspired me to do another box-office trivia game for those after some brain activity.

 

I’ve done two before which you can try yourself by clicking here (for the one from 2007) and here (for the one from 2005).

 

There are 10 questions in all and you can check your answers by scrolling to the very bottom.  This year’s questions have a link to famous actors.  All the facts and figures are for the United States only by the way.  Have fun!

 

1. Which Australian actor appeared in 5 films between 2001 and 2009 which grossed more than $300m at the box-office?

(a) Cate Blanchett

(b) Russell Crowe

(c) Hugo Weaving

(d) Hugh Jackman

 

2. Tom Hanks has won 2 Oscars but what is his highest grossing movie?

(a) Forrest Gump

(b) Toy Story 2

(c) Saving Private Ryan

(d) The Da Vinci Code

 

3. Will Smith is one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors.  Since 2002, he has made 9 movies.  All but one grossed more than $100m.  Which one did not?

(a) The Pursuit Of Happyness

(b) I, Robot

(c) Seven Pounds

(d) Men In Black 2

 

4. Will Ferrell has been churning out comedies for more than 10 years (some good, some bad).  Which of the following made the most at the box-office?

(a) Blades Of Glory

(b) Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgandy

(c) Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

(d) Elf

 

5. Which star of Charlie’s Angels (I speak of the 2000 remake) has appeared in the most hit films (grossing more than $100m each)?

(a) Drew Barrymore

(b) Lucy Liu

(c) Cameron Diaz

(d) Bill Murray

 

6. What is the highest grossing Tom Cruise movie?

(a) Top Gun

(b) War Of The Worlds

(c) Mission: Impossible 2

(d) Rain Man

 

7. Which Kate has starred in the most films that have grossed over $100m?

(a) Kate Bosworth

(b) Kate Winslet

(c) Kate Hudson

(d) Kate Beckinsale

 

8. Meryl Streep has a million times for every major film award but what is her highest grossing movie?

(a) Mamma Mia!

(b) The Devil Wears Prada

(c) Death Becomes Her

(d) Out Of Africa

 

9. Which one of these Ocean’s 11 stars has produced the total cumulative box-office from his films?

(a) George Clooney

(b) Brad Pitt

(c) Matt Damon

(d) Andy Garcia

 

10. Titanic made $600m at the box-office in 1997.  Which of its supporting stars didn’t capitalise on its success and hasn’t featured in a movie since that has grossed more than $3m?

(a) Billy Zane

(b) Bill Paxton

(c) Gloria Stuart

(d) Frances Fisher

 

Answers down below…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers…

 

1. (c) – Always the underrated villain, Weaving provided voices in the two Transformers movies and featured in the three Lord Of The Rings movies.

2. (a) – Forrest Gump made $329m back in 1994.  Impressive even by today’s standards.

3. (c) – Because it was rubbish, Seven Pounds made just $69m.

4. (d) – Elf took in $173m which was must more than it deserved.

5. (c) – Ms Diaz has 9 in total. The three Shrek movies, the two Charlie’s Angels movies, Vanilla Sky, There’s Something About Mary, My Best Friend’s Wedding and The Mask.

6. (b) – War Of The Worlds made $234m in 2005.

7. (d) – I can’t believe it either. Beckinsale was in Click, Van Helsing, The Aviator and Pearl Harbor.

8. (a) – Mamma Mia! was a huge hit in the United States with $144m and did even better overseas.

9. (c) – Matt Damon is the youngest but leads with $2.24 billion. Brad Pitt next best with $1.94 billion.

10. (a) – Poor Billy. His best effort was BloodRayne in 2006 which made $2.4m.

 

 

10 Best Tear-Jerkers: Movies Which Made Me Cry

  

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but have finally gotten around to it with this week’s blog.

 

It takes a lot to get me to cry in a movie.  There’s a small part in the back of my brain that says “it’s only a movie” and it prevents the waterworks from flowing.

 

There are exceptions though.  I sat down over the weekend and went through my database to see if I could remember any films where I’d shed a tear.  The curious thing was that I seemed to come up with exactly one film for each year of release here in Australia.

 

I haven’t gone back beyond 1999 and so popular tear-jerkers such as Terms Of Endearment, Beaches, Steel Magnolias and Rudy (a personal favourite of mine) have not been included.

 

Now before I continue, I should point out that these films made me cry (or at least moistened my eyes) in a good way.  It’s not like The Bounty Hunter – which made me cry for the future of the human race.

 

So if you don’t mind sitting in front of the television with a box of tissues by your side, here’s are some titles which you should soon be acquiring.

 

I haven’t gone into a lot of detail regarding which scenes in the film made me cry in particular.  In most cases it revolves around the end and I don’t want to give too much away.

 

Here then is the list...

 

October Sky (1999)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.”

 

Why I Cried: The scene where Homer launches his rocket into the sky (backed by Mark Isham’s score) is a thing of beauty.

 

The Cider House Rules (2000)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “A compassionate young man, raised in an orphanage and trained to be a doctor there, decides to leave to see the world.”

 

Why I Cried: The ending involving the fate of Tobey Maguire and Michael Caine (in his Oscar winning role).

 

Cast Away (2001)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “A FedEx executive must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island.”

 

Why I Cried: I can’t believe I’m saying this but I felt sad for the demise of an inanimate object (as opposed to a living human being).

 

Last Orders (2002)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “Jack Dodd was a London butcher who enjoyed a pint with his mates for over 50 years. When he died, he died as he lived, with a smile on his face watching a horse race on which he had bet, with borrowed money.”

 

Why I Cried: There are plenty of sad moments in this film but it really hits home in the final half-hour.

 

Seabiscuit (2003)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “True story of the undersized Depression-era racehorse whose victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation.”

 

Why I Cried: I had a heads up here in that I’d read the book and it made me cry too. When Seabiscuit wins his last race (against all odds), it was simply incredible.

 

The Notebook (2004)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “A poor and passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman and gives her a sense of freedom. They soon are separated by their social differences.”

 

Why I Cried: For the same reasons that most people did.  This film shows up in almost every list of tear-jerkers posted by others on the interweb.

 

Million Dollar Baby (2005)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “A hardened trainer/manager works with a determined woman in her attempt to establish herself as a boxer.”

 

Why I Cried: I wouldn’t have picked it half-way through but this film goes off on an unexpected tangent in the final moments and I felt the full emotional impact.

 

Brokeback Mountain (2006)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “Based on the 'E. Annie Proulx' story about a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys and their lives over the years.”

 

Why I Cried: I had friends who refused to see this film but it’s their loss. The final scenes involving Heath Ledger are very sad indeed.

 

Bridge To Terabithia (2007)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “A preteen's life is changed after befriending the new girl at school.”

 

Why I Cried: I didn’t think I’d be crying in a family film but this did catch me off guard. It prompted much discussion about whether people should be warned about the ending before they took kids to see it.

 

The Diving Bell & The Butterfly (2008)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.”

 

Why I Cried: This whole story is both tragic and uplifting.  Jean-Dominique and his relationship with his father perhaps the saddest of all.

 

My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

 

IMDB Plot Description: “Anna Fitzgerald looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents who until now have relied on their youngest child to help their leukemia-stricken daughter Kate remain alive.”

 

Why I Cried: When I saw this in the cinema, the lady next to me (who I didn’t know) apologised to me for her blubbering as the credits started to roll.  Says it all.