January 8th, 2015 — Behind/Ahead

Theater Thursdays

Hello again, my fellow geeks!

Wow! It is already 2015. In late November I put my head down and went to war and when I lifted it, a new year had begun. No, I didn’t go to actual war, I’m speaking primarily about a very busy and very hectic working life at the theater.  After a pretty sluggish year at the Box-Office, we had a late year rally and this past holiday season was pretty busy.

We’ve had a few serious hit films. THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES which was the final (maybe) film in the Middle Earth saga.  Disney’s hide the fact that it’s a musical till the last possible minute Musical, INTO THE WOODS, which has been really packing in the family audiences but I swear, every time I walk in and watch a few minutes, the songs just make me want to sob at their lack of hooks. But in fairness, I must admit that I hate musicals. We’ve also had UNBROKEN, the second feature film directed by Angelina Jolie. It doesn’t star her anywhere but behind the camera and the critics have been so-so on the film, but audiences have loved it almost to a person. On Christmas day alone, we had 11 sell outs of that film.

That about does it for the hits. Mark Wahlberg’s attempt to lose weight and win an Oscar film, THE GAMBLER was a swing and a miss with audiences and critics alike. It has NOT sold out 11 shows. probably not in total, across the entire Country has there been 11 sold out shows of this film.

Ben Stiller’s 3rd go around as the night guard, Larry Daley in NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB was not a charm. It has done okay but has performed well under expectations. It’s kind of sad that this film features what I think is Robin Williams last film role. At least he looks happy in the film and that’s the way I want to remember him.

The one film that didn’t get released on Christmas Day was THE INTERVIEW with Seth Rogan and James Franco. As I’m sure you know, North Korea threatened to blow up any theater playing the film. Now considering the fact that they can’t even feed their own people doesn’t fill me with confidence that they could follow through with such a dastardly plot, it sent shock waves of terror through the halls of hollywood and the film studios and the film was pulled three days before it was to open.

I don’t know your thoughts on that, I certainly have my thoughts but just in terms of box-office returns, the film has become something like a touchstone for people. They feel like it’s a patriotic duty to see the film and the movie, released in a handful of independent theaters and on VOD as well as Itunes and even YouTube made 15 million dollars in the first weekend.  Even though that’s maybe less than half what it would have made had it been released as planned, it was a major victory for….well, I’m not sure really, but it’s still an impressive number.

The only out-and-out loser of the season has been Tim Burton’s BIG EYES, which stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in a true story about a husband who took credit for his wifes paintings and what happened when she decided she had had enough. It’s not Burton’s normal type of film but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of it. If you like true stories, you might enjoy this one. 

This coming weekend we have two major releases, TAKEN3, starring Liam Neeson, who is becoming this generations Charles Bronson in the third and final film about one guys total lack of good luck. This weekend also see’s the Civil Right’s film, SELMA which is a sorta/kinda biography of Martin Luther King.

This film and several more that are coming out over the next few weeks are Oscar Hopefuls looking to get a wider release after playing the last Month in super limited release, often just in New York City and Los Angeles. There will actually be a pretty decent mix of Oscar hopefuls and regular popcorn flicks coming in the next couple of Months, which is a breath of fresh air and sort of unusual. This time of year has always been something of a dumping ground where films that didn’t live up to their potential go to die.

Next Month brings us full-fledged female porn in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY on Valentines Day. It also brings us the long-delayed JUPITER ASCENDING by Lana and Andy Wachowski. This film was supposed to come out last summer but was delayed to give the filmmakers more time to finish the complicated effects. Most of the time when a film is delayed from summer to the following winter, I worry that it could have massive problems and be a disaster.

That could very well be the case here as well, but…and this is a very big BUT….I absolutely love the trailers for this film. It reminds me of old-fashioned pulpy science fiction from the 40’s and 50’s.  It has a look to it that just screams fun to me. Couple that with the fact that these are the siblings who brought us THE MATRIX. I realize that was 16 years ago but still…..that movie CHANGED the way science fiction films were made. They also co-directed CLOUD ATLAS which is a stone cold MASTERPIECE. I will fight you if you argue this with me. (not really).

So, yeah, the next couple of months are looking pretty good, movie wise. Of course there are bigger films coming as the year goes on. Old Friends like Tony Stark and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. New friends like Ant Man. And people we never thought we would see again, like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa.

I’ll be here with you, sharing my deep and not so deep thoughts and musings on what’s going on in the world of cinema. Thanks for reading my articles and playing along at home.

Until next time, Keep the Projector threaded.