30 Mar 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 5. Wednesday BL-"ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday BL- “ARGH!” – “Win Win Q & A in Seattle”

(SPOILER ALERT!  Key story and character elements are discussed throughout this recording. Press PLAY above to listen to the entire WIN WIN Q & A session with screenwriter/director Tom McCarthy and actor Alex Shaffer. Seattle International Film Festival Creative Director Carl Spence moderated the event following the film’s screening on March 21, 2011.)

Despite my misgivings about WIN WIN as a whole, it is one of the better films I’ve seen so far in 2011.  Let’s face it: for anyone who hasn’t been lobotomized, it’s been a dismal year for film.  (For my Movie Review Cartoon™ of WIN WIN, please go HERE.)

Battle:LA (read my Movie Review Review HERE)?  Mars Needs Moms?  Unknown (read my Review HERE)?  Red Riding Hood?  Drive Angry 3-D (read my Movie Review Cartoon HERE)?  The movie that’s earned the “Making Battle:LA Seem Subtle” prize, however, is Sucker Punch (don’t miss my Movie Review Cartoon this Friday!)

I’m certain many more films will join the Mediocre Film Class of 2011.

If you want to avoid 2011’s full-frontal badness, many options await at your local RedBox, video store, or Netflix account.  As a point of reference, you don’t have to reach further than the creative forces behind WIN WIN.

Here are some highlights:

Paul Giamatti:

He is a consistent workhorse in everything I have seen him in.  Whether it’s a supporting role (as Bob Zmuda to Jim Carrey’s Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon) or a lead performance (his exploration of depressed comic book icon Harvey Pekar in American Splendor cannot be missed!), he earns your attention.  I even respect his Cleveland Heep in M. Night Shyamalan’s WTF?! cinematic catastrophe Lady In The Water; he fully committed himself and did his damnedest to sell some incredibly preposterous dialogue.  Of course, he is unforgettable in Sideways as the middle-aged disaster known as Miles.

Jeffrey Tambor:

His take as the insecure Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show is hilarious.  I enjoyed his take on bureaucratic sourpuss Tom Manning in both Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.  But, for me, the role that best served his sardonic sensibilities was George Bluth Sr. in Arrested Development, the show that didn’t stand a chance of surviving TV because it was too darn smart (R.I.P.).

Tom McCarthy:

See his  The Station Agent and The Visitor and let me know what you think. (Richard Jenkins‘ performance in the latter…wow!)

Amy Ryan:

Check out her performance as Officer Beatrice “Beadie” Russell in the HBO series The Wire.  (Ryan also worked with McCarthy as Scott Templeton in the last year of the series.)

After reading this and especially after Friday’s Movie Review Cartoon™ of Sucker Punch, there are alternatives to self-torture.  The performances mentioned above are gifts you can give yourself.

– Paul Sundstrom

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16 Mar 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 5. Wednesday BL-"ARGH!", 3 Comments Tagged , , , ,

Wednesday BL-”ARGH!” – “Theaters: Where The Heart’s Not At”

Leaving BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (yes, a movie review cartoon will arrive this Friday on that one) this pictured theater “lobby” display captured my attention.  Not because it’s remarkable.  But the cardboard display and its “hole in the head” reminded about the temporary aesthetic of most modern movie theaters.

The lobby used to be a movie theater’s heart, the epicenter of activity for moviegoers.  Where movie debates raged.  Where lovers held hands as they awaited their popcorn and sodas.  Where young kids stood eyeballing the window for parents to pull the car along the outside curb.

And let’s be honest…these places most of us see films at now: they’re not movie theaters.  They’re multiplexes, glorified TV screens that project blurred images at low-wattage in order to save on the monthly power bill.  Some of these theaters used to have larger screens but they gutted the interior spaces to squeeze in additional, smaller screens in order to remain financially viable.

These modern theater lobbies, to me, feel designed specifically to shuffle you away into the corridors that branch even further into theater pods, or they hurriedly push you out into the parking lot.  It’s like going to the airport.

These words may be considered as the whining of an early-40s guy who pines for these childhood moments.  That’s a valid criticism.  But I can’t ignore how I felt the other day as I watched teenagers squeeze their heads through this cardboard display.

As a kid, I saw a number of films at the Elma Theater in Elma, WA and the 7th Street Theater in Hoquiam, WA. They weren’t Radio City Music Hall, but they were the closest I was ever going to experience that fantasy, living in farm country.  The lobby space was important too.  And so were the inner screening spaces.

The ornate curtains would open for the Coming Attractions and then close.  When a cartoon would sometimes be shown before the main feature, the curtains would open and close.  The curtains weren’t operated by some automated, electronic gizmo.  The theater managers pulled the curtains with their hands.  To me, it was an act of respect and magic.

Sure, the theater managers would also patrol the aisles with flashlights, discouraging patrons from dangling their legs over the seats.  And yes, I did on occasion toss candy at others, then scrunch down in my seat to avoid detection.  I didn’t spit off the balcony though.

I’ll never forget when my mom took my sister and me to see Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein at the Elma Theater.  We laughed a lot.  My ongoing love affair with movies began with the fusion of theater spaces and the movies.  American Graffiti, Orca the Killer Whale, Coma, Saturday Night Fever, Herbie Rides Again, Jaws 2, Damnation Alley, The Deep, The Bad News Bears, Benji, Corvette Summer, What’s Up Doc?, Every Which Way But Lose…so many more and they weren’t all gems.  It nonetheless was a treat going to the movies.

I saw The Empire Strikes Back and 2001: A Space Odyssey in re-release at the 7th Street Theater, two of the more remarkable movie theater experiences of my childhood.

And when I take my boys to the movies, I feel a little sad for them.  The theater space means nothing to them.  And why should it?

- Paul Sundstrom

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16 Mar 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 2. Weekday "ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , ,

Wednesday BL-”ARGH!” – “Theaters: Where The Heart’s Not At”

Leaving BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (yes, a movie review cartoon will arrive this Friday on that one) this pictured theater “lobby” display captured my attention.  Not because it’s remarkable.  But the cardboard display and its “hole in the head” reminded about the temporary aesthetic of most modern movie theaters.


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15 Mar 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 7. Mini-"ARGH's!" (Previews & Peeks), 0 Comments Tagged , , , ,

mini-”ARGH!” – Wednesday BL-”ARGH!” – “Theaters: Where The Heart’s Not At” – PREVIEW

This guy/theater lobby display isn’t the cause of all society’s ills.

But it triggered something.

Come back tomorrow to find out what in Wednesday’s BL-”ARGH!” post!

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02 Mar 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 2. Weekday "ARGH!", 0 Comments Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday BL-”ARGH!” – “The Silent Skirmish”

During Sunday’s Academy Award ceremony, Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award winner Francis Ford Coppola and Honorary Oscar® recipients Kevin Brownlow and Eli Wallach walked together onto Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre’s stage to rousing applause.

Few viewers at home (or in the theatre audience … and seemingly the entire Hollywood press for that matter) would have known that the relationship between Coppola and Brownlow has been a long, complicated, and contentious one.

“ARGH!” Central’s guest contributor Jonas Erickson explains how a classic silent film is at the center of their storm.

Click – HERE – for the complete Wednesday BL-”ARGH!”!

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