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Karie's Blog

September 2006

Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Sep. 17, 2006 | 1:44 PM
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The 3D Film Festival

I went to this event back in 2003 at the Egyptian and I am delighted that they brought it back!  The problem for me was narrowing down a list of the films I wanted to see.  Due to time and money, I was unable to get to everything.  I tried to see things that I missed in 2003 instead of repeating films I had already seen.  Here is the rundown on what I saw:

September 9th at 3:30pm

MAD MAGICIAN (1954)  Vincent Price stars as “Gallico”, a mild mannered magician who is driven to murder by his boss and a rival magician.  The plot of this film is very similiar to HOUSE OF WAX, but then again I’ve noticed that most Vincent Price movies tend to have the same plot.  You can almost chart the plot points:  1) His characters are usually mild mannered and gentle souls (usually artists)  2) They are mistreated, harmed or brutalized in some way 3) A transformation from gentle soul to extreme anger and rage-o-holic occurs 4) Murder and mayhem ensue 5) Murder is killed (usually in some very creative way)

Regardless of how predictible these films are, they are still fun in any case!  This film was set in Victorian England so it was fun to watch him function in that particular setting.  A very young Eva Gabor also co-stars in the film.  The print looked beautiful and it was a fun film to watch.

PARDON MY BACKFIRE (1953)  Believe it or not, I am a female AND a major 3 Stooges fan!  I was very excited to see this knowing it would be a 3D extravaganza!  The Stooges didn’t disappoint.  Obviously their antics and brand of comedy gets the most mileage possible out of the 3D medium.  The set up of the story is that the Stooges are running an auto repair shop.  They are trying to make enough money to get married.  Chaos ensues when 3 crooks and their mole hide from the law in their auto shop.
Eventually the Stooges capture the crooks and give them to the police.  In the process they throw things at the camera and seeing Moe poke Larry in the eyes in 3D was great!  The Stooges and 3D is a match made in heaven!!

September 12th at 9:45 PM

HOUSE OF WAX (1953)  Believe it or not, I had NEVER seen this film before!  It was such a joy to see it with a packed audience on the big screen in 3D of course!  Actor Paul Picerni who co-starred in the film was on hand to share his recollections.  He was very entertaining and had several great stories to tell about Vincent Price and director Andr? De Toth.  I had no idea that Paul Picerni had so many credits!  My gosh, this man has done a ton of stuff!  Check out his imdb credits!  His family was there and the more people clapped and asked him questions, the more animated he became.  It was obvious he was really having fun.  I think I enjoyed HOUSE OF WAX more than MAD MAGICIAN.  There is just something inherently very creepy to me about wax musuems.  Vincent Price was magnificent (of course) as was the rest of the cast.

BOO MOON (1953) Poor Casper the friendly ghost still has trouble making friends here on earth.  In this short, he goes to the moon where he is also feared until he saves the planet from the evil tree-men.  The 3d program said this is “The very best example of stereoscopic animation from the 1950’s.”  I agree!  This film looked so beautiful and so colorful!  It was perfect!

September 15th at 7:30pm

KISS ME KATE (1953)  Again, another film that suprisingly I had not seen!  Jeff Joseph (the brilliant mastermind behind the festival) said that we were about to watch the only surviving dye-transfer (“3-strip”) Technicolor print in the world! Apparently this was the first time it was presented in WIDE SCREEN with discrete STEREO since 1953!  We are SO fortunate to have things like this at our finger tips here in Los Angeles!  This was an MGM musical directed by George Sidney and featured the talents of the great Bob Fosse.  The 3D was beautiful and the performances were divine!  It was so enjoyable and colorful and fun!  I never wanted it to end.  They also had some extras before the film.  I love it when a festival has extras!  To me, that always adds so much to the program and the fun atmosphere of a festival.  They showed some rare footage of Ann Miller rehearsing and even much later in life she could still tap dance like nobody’s business!  They also screened footage of an interview with Bella Spewack, one of the writers of the Broadway play. 

THE FRENCH LINE (1953)  This was another film I had missed last time.  This was well worth the wait because Jane Russell appeared in person!  I loved her in THE OUTLAW and so many of the fun RKO films she made with Robert Mitchum.  The audience was very excited about her arrival.  There was a whole row of guys behind me in the theatre who were about to have an anxiety attack, they were so wound up.  She entered the Egyptian and received a long standing ovation.  She talked about working with Mitchum, Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe (who she apparently hated) and Gilbert Roland.  This film was produced by Howard Hughes and he was well known for being tasteless in his exploitation for Jane Russell and her figure.  The advertising at the time said, ““J.R. in 3-D! It’ll Knock BOTH your eyes out!”  While this film seems tame by 2006 standards, it was actually racy for the time.  A number called “Lookin’ For Trouble” was cut by censors, but we got to see it back in the film!  She does wear a VERY revealing costume in the film, so I can see why people in 1953 would have been a bit shocked.  The film itself was not great, but Jane Russell and Gilbert Roland gamely do what they can to bring up the level of the material.  The plot involves a wealthy Texas oil heiress who takes a cruise to France to find a man who will love her for who she is…and not for her vast fortune.  Misunderstandings, fighting and complications ensue, but it all leads up to a happy ending where the Texas lady finds love with her French man.

Jane Russell stayed for the film and really seemed to be having a great time.  There are so many movie stars from the golden age of Hollywood who never lived long enough to enjoy a second act or a re-discovery/revival of their work.  I’m glad that Jane Russell is still alive and able to see how many people there are who still love her.

September 17th at 1pm

As the name implies, everything they showed was extremely rare!  This was the highlight of the festival for me in 2003 and it was in 2006 as well.  Jeff Joseph and his team are so passionate and so dedicated in their pursuit of lost 3D material.  I salute their efforts and stand in awe of their findings! 

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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Sep. 13, 2006 | 11:50 PM
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Why the movie theatre will never die

I’m soooooooooooo sorry that I’ve been out of the blogging loop for so long.  I promise before a judge and jury that I will be much better about this going forward.  Not only that, but I’m going to try to do some catch up work and fill you in on all of the movies I’ve been seeing lately.

Speaking of seeing movies… you may have heard, today I appeared as a guest on “Attack of the Show.” The show aired on G4/Tech TV today, September 13th at 4pm West Coast Time and 7pm East Coast Time. It will also re-run at 6am tomorrow morning and possibly at other times as well.  You can check your local listings to confirm. 

I was in a segment called “The Loop” which is like CNN Crossfire. I went head to head with Chris Gore from and Brad Miska from Bloody We will discussed the death of the movie theatre.  While the segment wasn’t very long, I’d like to elaborate more on my thoughts…..

First off, there is something very special about going to the movies.  I have always felt that way.  Nothing beats sitting in a crowded theatre and sharing a common experience.  That is just something you can’t get at home regardless of how fancy your home entertainment system is.  Now don’t get me wrong, I totally understand what Chris Gore was saying about rude cell phone users, expensive ticket prices, pre-film commericals…BUT I’m convinced that there are ways around this.

Here are my suggestions to better your movie-going experience:

-Carefully choose your theatre.  The Arclight has a great over 21 screening series available and certain theatres tend to have more civilized patrons than others.  Personally I gravitate toward seeing films in historic theatres any chance I can get.  I love the Vista in Silverlake, the Westwood Crest in Westwood, the Chinese in Hollywood, etc.  Finding a theatre that you like and enjoy visually can always make for a better movie going experience.

-See movies at “off” times.  Now this one can’t always be helped BUT as a rule, I try not to see things opening night.  It has been my experience that audiences can be very rowdy and behave badly the night a film opens.  I have no idea why this is.  Granted I have never had this problem at the Laemmle and Landmark theatres, but it is pretty common in other places.  Last year a friend and I decided to see all of the Best Picture nominees together on the big screen.  In order to concentrate on these films without the unruly crowds, we decided that seeing a 9:30pm show on a Monday night was ideal.  There were no crying children.  There were no teenagers on their cell phones.  There were no hooligans out to disrupt our experience.  I saw SYRIANA at the Grove on a Monday night and the theatre was packed, but it was an incredibly well behaved audience of adults. 

-People also complain that parking and ticket prices are too high.  I’ll be the first to admit this is true.  I combat the parking issue anyway by carpooling with friends.  That way we can split the parking and that at least cuts back on that expense.

-There is also the problem of theatres running commericals before the films.  Believe me, I HATE this practice.  When APOCALYPSE NOW: REDUX opened here in Los Angeles a few years ago, they showed a Sprite commerical before the film started.  The audience boooo’d and one person even threw a cup at the screen….NO it wasn’t me but I can’t say I blame the person who did it.  That having been said, I understand that theatre owners have to put food on the table like we all do and if showing commericals before the film helps them accomplish this, then while I don’t like it, I understand the reasons why.  What I’ve done to avoid this is to not attend theatres that show commericals OR I will call ahead and ask if they show commercials.  If they do, then I try to find out the time the trailers start and show up accordingly. 

I seriously think that theatre owners need to do their part to give the patrons a QUALITY film going experience.  They need to make it clear that cell phones are to be turned off and the same goes for Blackberry and Sidekicks too.  I have seen so many people recently sending text messages during films.  This is just as offensive.  First off, the devices cast a green light that is distracting and secondly—-if you are too damned busy texting people to sit through a 2 hour movie, then you don’t need to be there in the first place.  The theatre owners need to police this behavior and to keep the movie going experience free of these rude distractions. 

Personally I LOVE seeing movies at the Academy in Beverly Hills.  First off parking is free and the movies are only $5.  They also have a ton of ushers there to make sure that everyone stays in line.  Last month a lady started using her Blackberry during the film and one of the ushers was there immediately and told her to shut it off or leave.  They also strictly enfore the whole “no talking” rule during films there as well.  The Academy seems to take great pride in keeping the movie going experience as pure and undiluted as possible.  I love that. 

Right now I’m in the midst of attending the 3-D festival at the Egyptian.  People have been flying in from all over the place to attend.  There is an excitement and passion in the air at the festival.  People are just SO excited about these movies.  To me, that communal experience…that reaction….that setting….those feelings….to me is what movie going is all about.

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