Tag Archives: Hollywood

Golden Globes Turn 75: And My Predictions

Golden Globe

Ever since the Golden Globes were introduced in 1944, they’ve become one of the most prestigious awards on the entertainment circuit. Only the Oscar or the Emmy are more coveted.

Today will be the awarding of the Golden Globes. This year isn’t just any Golden Globes, but the 75th to take place.

A Very Brief History

Some of you may wonder how did the Golden Globes come to be? Firstly, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was founded in 1943 by Los Angeles-based journalists to give a more organized process of distributing cinema news to markets outside the U.S. The following year, they formed their own film awards, the Golden Globes, to give their opinions of who are the best of the year. While the AMPAS Academy consists primarily of professionals in their respective film field, the Golden Globes would be the decisions of these journalists.

The very first Golden Globes held back in 1944 consisted of six categories: Best Picture, Best Director and the four acting categories. Their decisions for the winners would be three for six with the Oscar winners. The Song Of Bernadette was chosen as the Best Picture winner while the Oscars went for Casablanca. Same thing with Best Director; Globes chose Bernadette director Henry King while the Academy favored Casablanca director Michael Curtiz. The acting categories almost completely matched each other as Globe-winners Paul Lukas, Jennifer Jones and Katina Paxinou would also win the Oscars later. Only Supporting Actor winner Akim Tamiroff from For Whom The Bell Tolls wouldn’t win an Oscar, despite being nominated.

Over the years, the Golden Globes would grow in popularity as their matches would be very close to that of the Oscars. They would also include cinematography categories temporarily and even a Best New Star category, which would be retired after the 1983 awards. The eighth Golden Globes would see the Awards giving separate awards for Best Picture and lead acting in both drama and comedy or musical. Something that still continues today. The Golden Globes would start to include awards to television starting in 1955: six years after the Emmy awards were created.

The Golden Globes would eventually become the second-most coveted film or television awards with only the Oscars or the Emmies being more coveted. It’s not to say it hasn’t been without its controversies, and not just because of hosting done by the likes of Rickyy Gervais et al. The make up of the Hollywood Foreign Press is often under question for their qualifications. Also their tendency to favor glitz and glamor at times have made people wonder at their choices. Even how in cases where one actress who did an interview for the HFP would later receive an award would get some people wondering. There was even suspicion at the 1981 Awards when Pia Zadora won Best New Star for her performance in Butterfly. Some claim that Meshulem Riklis, her millionaire husband at the time, paid the HFP to have her win. However nothing has been proven. Also it goes to show that there’s no such thing as an impartial judging body for any awards show. The Oscars and the Golden Globes are no exceptions to that. Nevertheless they still remain the most coveted.

And My Predictions For This Year

This year’s Golden Globes will be hosted by Seth Meyers. Some are saying he can be as controversial as Ricky Gervais tonight. This year’s Globes have fourteen categories for film and eleven categories for television. To start things off, here are my predictions for both the winners and their respective most likely upsetters in the film categories:

FILM:

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Winner: 
Dunkirk
Most Likely Upsetter: Call Me By Your Name

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Winner:
 Lady Bird
Most Likely Upsetter: Get Out

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Winner:
 Gary Oldman, The Darkest Hour
Most Likely Upsetter: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Winner:
 James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Most Likely Upsetter: Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Winner:
 Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Most Likely Upsetter: Sally Hawkins, The Shape Of Water

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Winner:
 Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Most Likely Upsetter: Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Winner:
 Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Most Likely Upsetter: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Winner: 
Alison Janney, I, Tonya
Most Likely Upsetter: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Best Director
Winner: 
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape Of Water
Most Likely Upsetter: Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Winner:
 Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Most Likely Upsetter: Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, The Shape Of Water

Best Foreign-Language Film
Winner:
 The Square (Sweden)
Most Likely Upsetter: Loveless (Russia)

Best Animated Feature Film
Winner:
 Coco
Most Likely Upsetter: Loving Vincent

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
Winner:
 “Remember Me”, Coco
Most Likely Upsetter: “Mighty River”, Mudbound

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Winner:
 Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
Most Likely Upsetter: John Williams, The Post

Those who know me well enough know I will predict the winners for the television categories but not predict the most likely upsetters. So my predictions for the winners:

TELEVISION:

Best TV Movie or Miniseries: Big Little Lies

Best TV Series, Drama: The Handmaid’s Tale

Best TV Series, Comedy: Black-ish

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy: Aziz Ansari, Master Of None

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy: Pamela Adlon, Better Things

Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Robert De Niro, The Wizard Of Lies

Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie: Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie: Laura Dern,  Big Little Lies

And there you go. Those are my predictions for tonight’s Golden Globe awards. Winners to be revealed starting 8pm EST.

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My 2015 Golden Globe Predictions

Cinema

Hi all. With the Golden Globes coming this Sunday night, it is the time where I make my predictions for the winners. For this, I not only predict the Winner but also the Most Likely Upsetter who could pull the biggest surprise. So without further ado:

FILM:

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Winner:
Spotlight
Most Likely Upsetter: The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Winner:
 The Martian
Most Likely Upsetter: The Big Short

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Winner:
 Leonardo diCaprio, The Revenant
Most Likely Upsetter: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Winner:
 Matt Damon, The Martian
Most Likely Upsetter: Christian Bale, The Big Short

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Winner:
 Cate Blanchett, Carol
Most Likely Upsetter: Brie Larson, Room

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Winner:
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Most Likely Upsetter: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Winner:
 Mark Rylance, Bridge Of Spies
Most Likely Upsetter: Idris Elba, Beasts Of No Nation

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Winner:
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Most Likely Upsetter: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Best Director
Winner:
Thomas McCarthy, Spotlight
Most Likely Upsetter: Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Winner:
 Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
Most Likely Upsetter: Adam McKay, The Big Short

Best Foreign-Language Film
Winner:
 Son Of Saul (Hungary)
Most Likely Upsetter: The Brand New Testament (Belgium)

Best Animated Feature Film
Winner:
 Inside Out
Most Likely Upsetter: Anomalisa

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
Winner:
“See You Again”, Furious 7
Most Likely Upsetter: “One Kind Of Love”, Love & Mercy

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Winner:
 Carter Burwell, Carol
Most Likely Upsetter: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight

Okay, so I decided not to give a Most Likely Upsetter prediction for the television categories. Hey what can I say? I’m better at predicting the movie awards. Plus with a lot of categories appearing radically different from last year, it makes it all the much harder. So here are my TV predictions for the winners:

TELEVISION:

Best TV Movie or Miniseries: American Horror Story Hotel

Best TV Series, Drama: Game of Thrones

Best TV Series, Comedy: Veep

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Best Actor, TV Series Comedy: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder

Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy: Gina Rodriguez, Jane The Virgin

Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Queen Latifah, Bessie

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie: Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie: Regina King, American Crime

And there you go. Those are my predictions for Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards. I don’t think I’ll completely be in sync with the Hollywood Foreign Press but anyways tune in to see the winners and the show.

2014 Box Office: Bumpy Summer, Bumpy Year

Movie (640x306)

You may have seen my blog about the VIFF already. One thing some people may not have noticed about my blogging is that I haven’t been doing tracking of the year’s box office pace. Normally I do. Maybe one or two of you have noticed. Anyways this is my first look at 2014 at the box office and it doesn’t look too pleasant right now.

Decent Winter

The first quarter of 2014 didn’t make as much as the first quarter of 2013. Nevertheless it did provide for an excellent January and February. Neither January or February set a box office record for that month but both outgrossed their respective month from 2013. January 2014 was almost $60 million higher than January 2013 thanks to hits like Frozen, Lone Survivor, Ride Along, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Nut Job. February 2014 was almost $175 million higher than February 2013 thanks to the phenomenal success of The LEGO Movie and other hits like The Monuments Men, About Last Night, Three Days To Kill, Non-Stop and Son Of God. However all that extra wouldn’t be enough to outgross the winter of 2013 thanks to March 2014 grossing almost a quarter-billion less than March 2013. Strong openings for the 300 sequel, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Divergent and Noah didn’t carry far enough in the end and the winter of 2014 just missed by that much.

Spring Falls Slightly Short

Don’t get me wrong. Spring was loaded with movies to get people to the cinema but it didn’t outgross last year’s spring. Once again no month set an all-time high but April was more than a quarter-billion higher than April 2013 thanks to Captain America 2, Rio 2, Heaven Is For Real and The Other Woman. May 2014 was more than $225 million shy of May 2013. Some could say there was no real big bang like Iron Man 3 from last year. Others could say too many competitors like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Neighbors, Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past opening at once.

However don’t get me started on June. June was the month that sent the message that 2014 was going to have a tough summer at the box office. First off June had the only weekend where a movie released in 2014 grossed more than $100 million on its opening weekend: Transformers: Age of Extinction with a paltry $100,038,390. That’s only 27th on the all-time list. Secondly were the ho-hum openings of movies like Maleficient, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, How To Train Your Dragon 2, and Think Like A Man Too. At the end of it all, June only grossed $995.4 million: $230 million less than June 2013 and the first June since 2003 to gross below $1 billion!

Summer’s Bumpy Road

You shouldn’t rely completely on the totals over at Box Office Mojo because the list of July totals shows July 2014 telling one story and the Weekly chart of 2014 and doing quick math in adding the July weeks telling another. One thing is certain is that this July didn’t outgross July 2013 despite continuing success of Transformers 4 and openings for Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and Lucy.

The bright light not just of the summer but of the movie year so far has to be August. This is the one month that set an all-time record this year: $983 million. Definitely the success of the Guardians Of The Galaxy has a lot to do with it. There were other box office pumpers that month too like the Ninja Turtles, Into The Storm and Let’s Be Cops.

I decided to pass up reviewing September even though it hasn’t grossed as much as last year. Nevertheless the next three months will be a challenge. I don’t think 2014 will set an all-time box-office record but it will draw huge crowds with Fury, Nightcrawler, Horns, the latest Hunger Games movie Mockingjay Part. 1 and sequels for Night At The Museum and Madagascar. I’m confident 2014 will end past $10 billion but that’s something only time will tell.

WORKS CITED:

“Yearly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2013. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/

“Monthly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2013. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/monthly/

“Weekend Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2013. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/

2013 Box Office: Summer More Sizzle Than Slump

Movie (640x306)

The news involving the Hollywood box office for the most part has been pretty negative especially in terms of the annual total gross or all the action movie flops this summer. One thing that has been overlooked is the overall success of the summer. It actually did better than most people noticed. Or most journalists took note of.

Continuing from where I last kept track, July was actually a bigger month than most people noticed. Yes, the big news of the action flops of that month like The Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim, Red 2 and R.I.P.D. What shouldn’t be overlooked were the big successes of the month like the minion power of Despicable Me 2, the goofball comedy of Grown Ups 2, suspense of The Conjuring and even the successful action-packed delivery of The Wolverine. Overlooked by most, 2013 produced the highest-grossing July ever with $1.291 billion: $20 million more than the previous July record set in 2008 and almost $220 million more than July 2012. Funny how the flops made bigger news than the successes.

August also continued the run of success for the summer of 2013. It opened with the success of 2 Guns, continued with the temporary success of Elysium, received surprise successes from We’re The Millers and Lee Daniels’ The Butler and ended on a bright note with the opening of One Direction: This Is Us. At the buzzer, August 2013 grossed $755.4 million: $16.4 million more than August 2012. 2013 is not the highest-grossing August ever as it’s been outgrossed by the Augusts of 2001 and 2007.

So if you want to give a rough estimate of comparing summers, by simply adding up the grosses from May to August of both 2013 and 2012, the summer months of 2013 grossed slightly more than $425 million more than the summer months of 2012. This is a welcome relief after the slumping of the first four months of the year. It doesn’t completely make up the deficit it had over the monthly pace of 2012’s total gross but it does help gain a lot back and reassure us that people still like to go to the movies despite how many forms of entertainment people have.

One thing is the successes and failures of 2013 can teach Hollywood a lot about shelling out movies for the public. I will admit that the news about the constant flopping of the big budget action movies did deserve to be made note of. In fact it continued with Elysium despite how good quality it was. One thing that should have also been taken note of was the low-budget successes that happened. Some of which had quite minimal expectations put on them. First example is the horror drama The Conjuring which made $136 million total all on a budget of $20 million. In fact it debuted at #1 in its opening weekend with a gross more than double its budget. Another example is the oddball comedy We’re The Millers. It never was #1 at the box office but it opened with a healthy opening weekend of $26.4 million and went onto a gross that currently stands at $132 million. This movie had to be the movie that had legs this summer. The most current example is Lee Daniels’ The Butler. That’s not your typical summer fare but it held the #1 spot during the last three weekends of the summer and just hit $100 million this weekend. Hollywood, take note.

It’s not to say that action moves were a complete dud this summer. It actually opened strong with Iron Man 3 and continued with Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z. However the first sign that the crowd was about to tire of this genre was when Man Of Steel didn’t gross as much as hoped. Sure, $291 million is still impressive and has it as the 3rd-highest grossing movie of 2013, but more was expected. I believe that was the first sign that it would be all downhill from here for this summer’s action flicks.

What should be noted is that the biggest winners at the box office were not necessarily the action movies but the animated family movies. Iron Man 3 may have been the highest grossing movie of 2013 so far but Despicable Me 2 is the second-highest. Its Minion Power took it to a total gross of just over $359 million. Monsters University holds as the fourth-highest of 2013 with $265 million. A third animated movie, Epic, also received an impressive total gross of $107 million.

So that sums up the summer of 2013. Action-packed, animatedly-charming and surprises out of left field. For every box office dud, there were hits. The bad news of the summer action flick would lead to good news of this summer’s total gross. Hollywood should learn from this summer and prepare not simply for a better summer but a smarter-planned summer for 2014.

2013 Box Office And The Big Budget Flops

Movie (640x306)

Last week I wrote about the current situation at the box office in terms of the monthly totals. This time around I’ll be talking about another box office issue of this year, especially this summer. Big budget movies going up in smoke.

The box office has had big movies for years with special effects, dazzling action scenes, directed by reputed directors and starring A-list stars and they’ve paid off well more often than not. The summer is normally the best time to have such big movies loaded out in release.  This year it seems like the big budget movies are having their weakest year in a long time and it look like the hype of the summer movie season hasn’t done much to help boost it. How bad have they been doing? Here’s a list of the most notable big budget movies to fare poorly:

  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation – Stars: The Rock, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis – Production Budget: $130 million – Box Office Total: $122.5 million
  • Oblivion – Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman – Director: Joseph Kosinski – Budget: $120 million – Box Office Total: $89.1 million
  • After Earth – Stars: Will Smith, Jaden Smith – Director: M. Night Shyamalan – Budget: $130 million – Box Office Total: $59.7 million
  • White House Down – Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx – Director: Roland Emmerich – Budget: $150 million – Current Box Office Total: $68.4 million
  • The Lone Ranger – Stars: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter – Director: Gore Verbinski – Budget: $215 million – Current Box Office Total: $81.3 million
  • Pacific Rim – Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi – Director: Guillermo Del Toro – Budget: $190 million – Box Office Total: $68.3 million

Now that’s just for the big budget movies that are now out of the Top 10. This weekend was unique because of two big budget movies with dismal opening weekends:

  •  R.I.P.D. – Stars: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon -Director: Robert Schwentke – Budget: $130 million – Opening Weekend Total: $12.7 million
  • Red 2 – Stars: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich – Director: Dean Parisot – Budget: $84 million – Opening Weekend Total: $18.1 million

To think last year they were cracking all those John Carter jokes. Looks like John Carter‘s got some company this year. This also puts into question a lot of other big budget movies still to be released this summer. Yet to be released is The Wolverine, 2 Guns, Elysium, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, Paranoia and Getaway. The production budgets for those movies has not yet been released by Box Office Mojo but you can bet they will all face the pressure of making it all back, if not #1, at the box office.

It’s not to say all big budget movies have done poorly. Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man Of Steel, The Fast and The Furious 6 and Man Of Steel have fared very well. Even animated movies with big budgets like The Croods, Epic, Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 have been successes if not box office-toppers. Even Turbo opening this weekend at $31 million shows strong signs it will make its $135 million back before its run is over.

I guess it’s not exactly about shelling out bloated overhyped movies during the summer but just a job about doing the right moves. I know that every year faces the pressure of outgrossing the year before and 2013 faces that same expectation the record-breaking big shoes of 2012 to fill. I guess it’s just another study Hollywood has to undertake in preparation for both the summers of 2014 and 2015.  Also Hollywood should be reminded that you don’t always need a big movie to top the box office In fact this weekend’s #1 movie was The Conjuring with $41.8 million: more than double its budget. Pay attention, Hollywood.

WORK CITED:

BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2013. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. <http://www.boxofficemojo.com>

2012 Box Office: May and June Make For A Good End To First-Half

The first half of 2012 has passed already. A lot of movies have been released. A lot of hits and a lot of flops have been decided. But the success of the first six months of the movie year has also been decided. There was a lot of yo-yoing but its success has been determined and has allowed for studios to set goals to make 2012 a record-breaking year for them and for the movie year as a whole.

As some of you may know, the box office of 2012 is an interest of mine ever since the box office slump of 2011. 2009 still remains the highest-grossing box office year ever. Since I’ve been writing and paying attention, January and February showed big signs of improvement while March and April had a bit of a yo-yo.

May is usually seen as a month of excitement as it’s the month when the summer movie season opens. This May opened full of excitement as The Avengers broke box office opening records left, right and center and continues to draw audiences to this day. It reigned supreme over the first three weekends of May only to be dethroned in the last weekend by Men In Black 3. Even strong debuts from movies that didn’t open at #1 like Dark Shadows, Battleship and The Dictator as well as continued success of The Hunger Games helped May 2012 in ending with a strong total of  $1.141 billion. It wasn’t has high as last May but didn’t go under by that much: only $52 million. This year’s May is actually the sixth-highest grossing May ever. 2003 is the highest grossing ever with $1.4 billion.

June opened well in its first weekend with Snow White And The Huntsman debuting on top along with continued strong showings with MIB 3 and The Avengers. The following weekend was also strong with the debuts of Madagascar 3 and Prometheus both grossing over $50 million that weekend. Its successes in the Top 2 continued the following weekend with the debuts of Rock Of Ages and That’s My Boy lacking muscle. The following weekend saw Disney/Pixar’s latest picture Brave opening strong with $66 million. Nevertheless it was the final weekend of June leading into July 1st that saw strong debuts for Ted and Magic Mike. They don’t call the summer movie season a tight competition for nothing. June 2012 ended with a total gross of $1.169 billion: $27 million more than June 2011 and the third highest-grossing June ever. Only two other Junes have had higher total grosses: 2004 with $1.376 billion and 2010 with $1.41 billion.

Now that the months have all been looked at, it’s now time to look at the first half as a whole. And upon looking at the first half of the year, it appears that 2012 is on a record-setting pace. The first six months of 2012 have grossed a total of $5.184 billion. This makes it the first time the first six months have grossed a total more than $5 billon. Its total is $320 million more than the first six months of last year and $255 million more than the first six months of 2009, the year that holds the total-gross record.

So for those who are also keeping track of this year’s box office stats, remember that 2012 has $5.41 billion dollars to go in order to break 2009’s record. July opened well with continued success of Ted and an impressive debut for The Amazing Spider-Man. A strong chart-topping debut of Ice Age: Continental Drift also continued the success the following weekend.

However it was this weekend that has been hit hard. The Dark Knight Rises was expected to open phenomenally this weekend. Instead it opened with tragedy in Aurora, Colorado on Thursday as a crazed gunman named James Holmes opened fire in a theatre killing 12 people and injuring more than 50 of others. This incident has sent shockwaves in the US, around the world and in the entertainment industry. Warner Brothers was saddened by the shootings and cancelled premieres in Paris, Mexico and Japan, suspended marketing in Finland and won’t release box-office figures until Monday the 23rd. Director Christopher Nolan spoke on behalf of the film’s cast and crew and called the incident ‘devastating’. Many moviegoers remained undeterred by the incident and continued to show up. I myself plan on seeing this knowing that the shooting is a one-in-a trillion incident. The last time I ever heard of a shooting in a theatre was when Boyz ‘N Tha Hood opened back in 1991.

The second half of 2012 opened on an exciting note however currently stands on a tragic and nervous note. Will there be any changes in terms of cinema admittance in the future? Will the showings of movie trailers be changed or altered? Will this year’s box office be affected in the long run? Only time will tell.

WORKS CITED:

 “Monthly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2012. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/monthly/

“Quarterly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2012. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/quarterly/

WIKIPEDIA: 2012 Aurora Shooting. Wikipedia.com. 2012. Wikimedia Foundation Inc.  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Aurora_shooting&gt;

From Summer Movie Sizzle To September Slump

We’ve already seen the latest summer movie season come and go. The excitement, the hits, the blockbusters, the special effects, the stars, the flops, the sleeper surprises. It all shaped the summer movie season of 2011, which I will elaborate on in a future article. The Labor Day always opens the movie month of September up on a bright note.

What happens in the next three or four weeks should be known as the September Slump. Now that all the big movies had the summer to reap in the money, it’s now quieter fare during September. That usually makes for a low box office month. In fact September has the lowest box office gross of any month of the year. For the record, the highest grossing September was back in 2007 with $554.7 million. Also for the record, the highest opening weekend for a September release is Sweet Home Alabama way back in 2002 with $35.6 million. Pretty paltry compared to other months, eh?

So you think that the month of September should have some drab fare, right? Wrong. There are lots of reasons to go see a movie in September even though you’re no longer on vacation and back at work or back to school. Look what the month has:

THIS WEEKEND:

Contagion: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law. Medical drama about trying to stop an airborne virus from spreading into an epidemic.

Warrior: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton. Could this be the first hit movie about Mixed Martial Arts?

Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star: Nick Swardson, Don Johnson, Christina Ricci. An over-the-top comedy with an over-the-top scenario.

The Black Power Mixtape 1968-1975 Excellent for those who are into documentaries.

Main Street (limited): Colin Firth, Ellen Burstyn, Patricia Clarkson. Colin Firth plays an American! A Southern one!

September 16:

Drive: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston. A Hollywood stuntman who moonlights with the underworld is on the run.

I Don’t Know How She Does It: Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Kelsey Grammer. A businesswoman who can juggle her career, family and marriage until she meets her business associate.

Straw Dogs: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth. When an L.A. Screenwriter relocates to his wife’s Southern hometown, it leads to some Southern discomfort.

Restless (limited): Mia Wasikowska stars in a dark ropmantic drama directed by Gus Van Sant.

September 23:

Moneyball: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill. Can a computer design a winning baseball team on a budget? You be the judge.

Abduction: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina. Can Taylor Lautner be bankable with something other than Jacob? And with his shirt still on? Stay tuned.

Machine Gun Preacher: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon. A true story of a reformed bad boy becoming a crusader for Sudanese children.

Killer Elite: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert de Niro. A kidnapping drama that will capture the action movie crowd.

Puncture (limited): A legal drama starring Chris Evans.

Dolphin Tale: A family movie starring Morgan Freeman.

You may have noticed I left out September 30, right? And for good reason. That weekend has more days in October than September. So there you go. Some good movie choices for the month of September. Even movies already out like The Help and The Debt make for good choices about this time. I’m sure even in your hectic schedule or workload, overtime, or homework or family business, you can find time for a movie.

SOURCES CITED:

Box Office Mojo

IMDB

The Hollywood Theatre: Gone But Beloved By Many

On the evening of May 29, 2011, I was at the Hollywood Theatre for their last double-bill showing. It was a bittersweet night with a huge attendance. The night not only marked the end of a Vancouver landmark as we know it but a family business too.

The Hollywood Theatre was opened in the West Broadway area of Vancouver back on Thanksgiving weekend of October 24, 1935. Reginald Fairleigh, a Vancouver cinema mogul, and his wife Margaret had the theatre built in the Great Depression so that her children could have jobs. At the time, there were already 26 other movie theatres in Vancouver. The theatre opened with the double-bill of Will Rogers in Life Begins At 40 and Thelma Todd in Lightning Strikes Twice. Tickets for the double-bills were a dime or 15 cents for a balcony seat. Men had to wear a tie and women had to wear a dress. A man tempted to make out with his lady was given a small sheet of paper saying, “Treat your date as if she were your mother.” Over time, many famous faces and many great movies graced the screen. Its tagline which existed until its last days was: “Pick O’ The Best Plays.”

Styles of movies changed and the theatre would face rivalries from television, pay-pre-view and VCR but the Hollywood continued success. Also in place even in present day were many things done back when it first started, like double-bills, taking straight cash at the ticket booth, and most importantly the Fairleigh family owning and operating the theatre. The closest thing to a big change was the start of the ‘odd double-bill’ back in 1990. This phenomenon started when My Left Foot and Rambo were aired one weekend. Some first thought it was a bad mix. It actually was a success because they attracted two completely different movie crowds that were both big in size. The ‘odd double-bill’ was kept up in many different versions in the years since.

Over the years, I’ve taken a liking to the Hollywood Theatre.  Just a fact about myself: when I first moved to Vancouver from Winnipeg in February 2000, I was just a casual moviegoer with a general interest in movies for someone at my age. Nothing big. But after I saw American Beauty just days after I arrived in Vancouver, that movie and that year’s Oscar race to go with it changed my life. 

Okay, going back to the Hollywood Theatre, I first saw a movie at the Theatre in 2001, shortly after moving to Vancouver from Winnipeg for the second time, and this time for good. I saw them as a second run movie theatre that played not just any movies for a second run but good ones too. I am unsure exactly what the first movie I saw there was. I’ve been asking myself ever since I learned of the closure what the first movie I saw there was; I believe it was Almost Famous. A few weeks later, I saw Gladiator. I came to like the theatre for its double-bills and for the best price of movie popcorn in town. Another thing I liked was their photocopied program of scheduled movies over a six-week period. I’d frequently pass by to pick one up. One noteworthy thing about the program is that in its brief review of the movie, they always had the director’s name and in bold. I consider that something.  A couple of years ago, I came across the newspaper article hanging in a frame. I saw it was from 1935 and talked of the opening of the theatre.  When I saw that I thought “Wow, 1935! This is definitely a piece of Vancouver history!”

Here’s some other excellent movies I saw over there: Mulholland Drive, City Of God, Downfall, Vera Drake, Lemony Snicket, Transamerica,  American Gangster, Changeling, Tropic Thunder, Another Year, it’s just too hard to remember them all . Yeah, I saw a couple of bad ones and the odd guilty pleasure now and then too, but the Hollywood never let me down. The most unique ‘odd double-bill’ I went to had to be the pairing of Bridget Jones: The Age of Reason and Vera Drake. Two movies with a British female lead character: two completely different films of quality. The Hollywood was really convenient when it would show certain popcorn movies and ‘Oscar buzzers’ I always wanted to see but missed during its main theatre run. I’d always check the newspaper to see what the Hollywood was showing. I also remember leaving my second job, which ends at 9pm, to rush out and take buses to the Hollywood. Even if the movie ended before midnight or past midnight, I didn’t mind bussing back home that late.

Hollywood also consists of a few movie-going milestones of mine which I’m quite proud of. The first is seeing City Of God in the spring of 2003 before most would later discover this gem on DVD. The second is A Serious Man the night before the 2009 Oscar nominations were announced. It’s an Oscar-time tradition of mine to see all five, or now ten, Best Picture nominees and seeing A Serious Man the night before the nominations were announced completed it for me right there and then!

On Monday May 23rd, which is Victoria Day, I went to the Hollywood with my cousin to see Another Year. It had been months since I had been there. As much as I like the Hollywood, I like going when there’s a movie I like or a movie I want to see but haven’t. Such was the case that day. Before I entered the theatre, I learned from the ticket taker that they would be closing and that there would be a farewell party over the weekend. That was a shock to me as well as to her.

One of the reasons for the demise is because of the current difficulties of the single-screen neighborhood theatre. Nowadays if a movie theatre is to do well, it either has to be a multiscreen cinemaplex or connected to a shopping mall. In the past ten years, Vancouver has seen a lot of single screen theatres go and end up crushed for developers to construct something new. There’s the Varsity Theatre near the University of British Columbia that ended years ago and is now developed into condo land. There was recently the Van East which ended in January and has had its inside worked in for new development. Even triple theatres like the New West Theatre and multiplexes Langley’s Willowbrook cinema closed and were developed into something new. Some multiplexes like the Granville 7 constantly face threats of closure. Currently there are only six single screen theatres in Vancouver; the independently owned Rio Theatre and Dunbar Cinema; the Festival Cinemas-owned Ridge and Park Theatres; and the organization-oriented Pacific Cinematheque and Vancity Theatre.

Another reason for its demise over the years is now of the many ways one could see film and its current ability to be accessed at no cost on the internet. I don’t want to get into a tirade about how Napster and Netflix get people with a selfish sense they have a ‘right’ to free entertainment, but I will say that movie websites like Netflix has made it so easy and affordable for one to have all the online movies they want at a monthly rate, it’s not only hit theatres hard but video stores hard too. Plus so many ways to watch movies, especially those that happened in the last 10 years like Youtube, in your airline seat, on your smartphone and even on your wristwatch. Makes the original ‘other’ ways like television, pay TV and VCR seem old and tame.

In the days before its closing weekend, I contemplated when to go to the farewell weekend. I was first thinking of Sunday only, then both Friday and Sunday. Also I was confused of what exactly was happening. What I heard at first, I interpreted that there would be a party going on in the theatre and that there would be a piano playing with all the movies silent. My mind does play tricks on me. When I returned on Thursday to take some pictures of the outside, I talked with the ticket-taker: Vince Fairleigh, the fourth generation Fairleigh to work at the Hollywood wo had been taking my tckets all these years. I told him I would miss it. Also in terms of the weekend festivities, I was left thinking of the same ‘party’ that I heard about on Monday.

Alice giving tickets one last time.

Friday the 27th came and I was to go with my friend to that ‘party’. The ticket taker at the door was an elderly lady: grandmother Alice Fairleigh well into her nineties! By the time I got in, I saw the ending of Cinema Paradiso. It wasn’t exactly a party but a showing of movies with speeches. After Cinema Paradiso ended, there were some speeches from professional actor and family friend Mackenzie Gray and from David Fairleigh Jr., the last Fairleigh to run the Hollywood. He gave some words about what the theatre was like in the past, including the ‘treat your date’ etiquette. He also talked of the experience of watching the movie in a theatre and how the new modern ways like cellphone and wristwatch can’t compare. Then began the final feature of the ‘closing double-bill’ which I will refer to later in this article. As it began, I left to check out the balcony. As I was taking some pictures, I noticed the door to the projectionist room was open and with a guest. I went into the room as well. I met David Jr. and we talked more. I learned a lot about the theatre and of the projector they had. He said “I’m going to miss the place,” not looking for sympathy. Then I returned to my friend in the theatre, after being away for almost half an hour. When the movie ended, the curtain closed. I thought I’d probably see in close on Sunday for the last time. As I was leaving, I saw Alice in the ticket booth and took some photos of her. I left wondering how Sunday will be like.

Sunday May 29th was a night of goodbyes but no one was going to shed a tear. All the family was here: grandmother Alice, David Jr. and wife, and all the Fairleigh sons with their families. The theatre was near-packed for this night, the final night. The night began with some applause to individuals. Then there was something unique that hasn’t happened in many decades but happened all weekend: a silent movie accompanied by a pianist. The pianist was Johnathan Benny, award winning director and cinematographer and good friend of Vince’s. The silent movie was The Goat which Buster Keaton directed and starred in. Many would forget that’s what the Hollywood did back when it first started. Even though it opened while ‘talkies’ were just starting, there were silent movies showed then too. It was fun to see the old film again and hear the piano played at the time in the way it was done: playing accompanying the many humorous, bizarre, dramatic and romantic moments of the film.

After The Goat ended, there were some speeches from family members like Alice, Vince and David Jr. David’s was notable because again he made the mention of the experience of watching a movie on a theatre. Despite that day being a bittersweet day, he sang the Charlie Chaplin song ‘Smile’. Then began the first of the final weekend’s double-bill Cinema Paradiso: a 1989 Italian film about Salvatore, a successful director, reminiscing about growing up in a smalltown’s theatre and learning projection running and filmmaking from the projectionist who just died. He returns to his hometown for the funeral and witnesses the Cinema Paradiso blown up. Vince picked the movie because the movie practically is what his life was all about: growing up in a movie theatre. The scene of when the grown Salvatore enters the dead Cinema Paradiso before it was blown up seemed almost synonymous with the Hollywood that weekend. At the end, the audience gave a huge applause. Mackenzie gave more thank yous but asked us to return to see the final movie of the night: Faster.

I left for a break in the lobby, taking more pictures and talking to people, especially many of the Fairleigh family including Vince’s brothers. Then I returned to the theatre to see what would be the last movie shown at the Hollywood: Faster– an action movie about a revenge mission starring The Rock. It seems odd for the Hollywood Theatre to show Faster after Cinema Paradiso but the mix of two was ironically appropriate for the closing weekend because it was part of the ‘odd double-bill’ tradition. And a double-bill of Cinema Paradiso and Faster doesn’t get any odder than that. I didn’t care too much about Faster. In fact I found it like your typical action movie with heavy emphasis on the shootings and car chases and featuring wooden overdramatic acting. Nevertheless I wanted to be there for the Hollywood’s last minutes. As The Rock left the screen, he had the honor of being the last face to grace the Hollywood’s screen. After the credits finished rolling, the curtains didn’t close. Instead some people walked around the screen area and checked some of the rooms around the screen. I then went upstairs to the balcony and said goodbye to the Fairleighs and wished them the best of luck in the future and best of luck for the theatre.

On the evening of Monday the 29th, the day after, I returned to the Hollywood. To my surprise, the neon lights were on. I saw the inside from the windows. Empty concessions, tables and chairs from the night, mop left out. Closings are never pretty. The future of the Theatre is a big question mark. I’ve been hearing a lot of tales about what will happen. Some say the developers want to either crush it or change it into something. I heard from others that Vince has partial ownership and that it will stay a theatre for at least five years. Despite all the talk of the possibilities for the Theatre, nothing was certain and closing weekend had to be treated like it was a goodbye.  Since nothing’s really definite despite the fact I’m hoping for it to reopen, I took the closing weekend as that goodbye and I’ll let time decide what happens. I plan on bussing by at least once a week to see if there will be any changes and exactly what. I hope whatever they do, if the Theatre runs again, they keep the inside exactly as is. Many people on review websites have said that entering the theatre is like stepping back in time. How many present movie theatres do you know of that do that?

I do hope for the best for the Fairleighs. I do hope for the best for the Hollywood Theatre. I do hope the new owners take good care of the Theatre. I do hope the younger generation learns to appreciate watching movies in a theatre. In fact I’m glad they aired Cinema Paradiso for the final weekend because it’s considered by many to be a ‘love letter’ to movies and movie lovers. Until then, thank you Hollywood Theatre for the memories and the experience.

Hollywood Theatre: 1935-2011

Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011

I’ll start by asking a series of questions. When you think of the term movie star, who comes to mind? Or what comes to mind? Is it their captivating looks? is it their ability to epitomize fame and fortune? Is it their ability to win crowds to the big screen time after time? Is it a presence that captivates the audience in their seats? Or is it their ability to do great acting time and time again? Do the standards of those that deserve the term movie star change over time? Or are the standards of a movie star timeless? When you think of the term movie star, how many from the past deserve that title? How many current actors deserve to have such a title bestowed upon them?

On Wednesday morning, we lost one who deserved to fit the term movie star in any or possibly every definition of the term. Her name was Elizabeth Taylor. She’s possibly one of the last of a breed that fit the term movie star as we know it to a tee. She had the looks, she lived large in more ways than one, she was able to attract crowds to the theatres and grab hold of their attention, and she knew how to give wonderful acting performances time after time.

Her acting career started early. She was discovered and signed on by both MGM and Universal at the age of ten. She had a great career as a child actor in gems like Lassie Come Home and Jane Eyre but it was her performance in 1944’s National Velvet that was her signature turn as a child actor. She was also successful in making a transition to adult actor almost immediately when she starred in 1950’s Father Of The Bride. Her career as an adult actress would accelerate starting with her role in 1956’s Giant opposite Rock Husdon and James Dean. She would then be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress four years in a row starting with 1957’s Raintree County opposite Montgomery Clift, 1958’s Cat On A Hot Tin Roof opposite Paul Newman, 1959’s Suddenly, Last Summer opposite Montgomery Clift and finally a Winner for 1960’s Butterfield 8 which she acted opposite then-husband Eddie Fisher. In 1960, she became the highest paid actress in Hollywood and more starring roles continued, including for 1963’s Cleopatra, 1967’s The Taming Of The Shrew and her second Best Actress Oscar winning role in 1966’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Soon after, the movies she starred were flopping and her bankability faded. It wouldn’t stop her from acting in movies, television and stage. Her last movie role was in 1994’s live-action version of The Flintstones. Immediately after, she announced her retirement from films.

She also had one-of-a-kind winning looks. Her looks were definitely that of a movie star. Even at a young age, you knew she had a face for the screen. The smooth face and glowing violet eyes. You could tell in her earlier moviesthat she had the looks. Even in adolescence, she matured with grace and beauty and would have the looks perfect for Hollywood’s Golden Age. She also knew how to live the glamorous life. She was always seen with the most glamorous dresses and was renowned for her huge collection of jewelry including huge diamond rings and diamond necklaces. She even launched two fragrances in the 1990’s.

She also had the ability to be the subject of much publicity, both while active in her acting career and after. She was known for her eight marriages to seven husbands: starting with hotel mogul Conrad Hilton and ending with Larry Fortensky. Her relationship and eventual marriage to Eddie Fisher made headlines because it interfered with his marriage to Eddie Fisher. She married Richard Burton twice over a period of twelve years. Only her marriage to Michael Todd lasted until his death. She was known for her weight gain battles, frequently lampooned in Joan Rivers’ standup comedy material. She had well-publicized substance abuse battles that included a stay at the Betty Ford Clinic where she met her final husband Larry Fortensky. Her friendship with Michael Jackson also made tabloid headlines. Fact: she is the godmother of Michael’s two oldest children. She also battled constant health problems and they would always make for good tabloid copy. She broke her back five times and had two hip replacements. She also battled life-threatening illnesses like a brain tumor, two bouts of pneumonia and numerous heart problems. 

Despite her life of luxury and her questionable relationships, she was also one who knew how to use her celebrity to attract a cause. She supported AIDS causes starting in 1984 when they were not popular but became more active after her friend actor Rock Hudson died of the disease in 1985. She founded or co-founded two major AIDS charities and promoted major AIDS fundraising events. He also devoted herself to many causes relating to Israel and Zionism. She herself converted to Judaism in 1959. She would use her celebrity for many fundraising events and for awareness for the causes she believed in. In turn, she has been awarded humanitarian awards during her life. She was even named a Dame in 2000.

When she died on Wednesday, many believe we lost the last great movie star of Hollywood’s Golden Era. Although that’s disputable, we did lose a one-of-a-kind. She had the picture perfect looks for Hollywood but she delivered solid acting every time. What mistakes she made in her personal life, she made up for in her charm and grace. She lived every inch of the definition ‘fame and fortune’ but was still in touch with what was happening in the world. Many leading ladies came before her and many have come since but she will never be equaled. Elizabeth, we’ll miss you.