Tag Archives: movie theatre

All in the family

Turns out you can’t judge a musical by its poster.

Fun-Home-1

The only thing I knew about the Broadway show Fun Home before I saw it last night was a) the critics loved it and b) the Tony voters did, too.

It scored 12 nominations earlier this week.

I didn’t know the soundtrack or the book upon which it was based. I walked in the theatre about as clueless as a person could get.

So imagine my surprise when the show wasn’t the singing, dancing Partridge Family parody that I had cooked up in my head.

If you too are in the dark (and wish to remain so), stop reading now.

Have they left?  Okay.  So the rest of you know why my mind is a bit blown right now.

The musical’s narrator is a lesbian cartoonist. (Yeah, this show’s no Cinderella.) With the help of her very young self and college-aged self — two incredible young performers — she tells her life story.  With captions.

(‘Cause she’s a cartoonist.)

Fun-Home-2How her father was a part-time teacher and part-time funeral director — FUN HOME was the family nickname for the funeral home — and a closeted gay man who slept with lots of boys and committed suicide while she was away at college.

Yeah.

But that’s not to say there weren’t moments of humor and laughter.  Her first girl-on-girl experience in college inspired “Changing My Major to Joan,” one of my favorite songs in the show. And the kids did do a little Partridge Family at one point, so the graphic designer gets to keep his job.

The cast is all-around amazing. I do wish I had seen the show off-Broadway before they were plopped down into this in-the-round venue. It has led to a lot of ‘singing to the audience’ staging that seems amateurish for a story of such complexity.

It is quite a ride.

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ImPressed

Back in June, I discussed Eric Devine’s young adult novel Press Play, which has since been published in October.

press playIt tells the story of a high school student who accidentally captures footage of the violent hazing practices of the lacrosse team while filming his documentary film project.

I was impressed by Devine’s idea to create a book trailer — like a movie trailer, but for his book — and display it at the local movie theatre in his home town of Waterford, New York.

A film features prominently in the book, and Devine is using the movies to promote it.

Devine’s book trailer was played multiple times before the films, inviting viewers to purchase Press Play at the mall bookstore where the cinema is located.

I think this is inspired.

Even better — Devine saw my blog post about his book trailer and was nice enough to share a link so we could all take a look:

Thanks Eric — and congrats again on the book and your brilliant marketing campaign!  Can’t wait to read it.

 

 

Coming soon

I began the third class of my publishing certificate at NYU tonight.

The instructor, a literary agent at a boutique firm here in New York City, was describing some of the ways authors have promoted their books above-and-beyond their publisher’s efforts.

press playEric Devine gets my vote for most creative.

His young adult novel Press Play is being published in October.  It tells the story of a high school student who accidentally captures footage of the violent hazing practices of the lacrosse team while filming his documentary film project.

Devine had the idea to create a book trailer — like a movie trailer, but for his book — and display it at the local movie theatre in his home town of Waterford, New York

On an agreed-upon evening, Devine’s book trailer will air multiple times before the movies, inviting viewers to purchase Press Play at the mall bookstore where the cinema is located.

I think this is inspired.

A film features prominently in the book, and Devine is using the movies to promote it.  He’ll probably get local publicity for this unique angle, too.

I wish I could go watch!

 

Take your hands off my lobby boy!

Reason #873 I love New York City:

The 10:00 am showing of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was two-thirds full.

budapest lobby

Perhaps because we have all been watching the trailer for this beautiful, whimsical, fanciful film in theatres for almost a year.  And every time I’d think, “This looks so much better than the movie I’m getting ready to see!”

(Many of those times people in the theatre would clap, so I think they agreed, too.)

The best news? The film lives up to the trailer.  In fact, Budapest is, in my opinion, Anderson’s best movie to date.  The world he creates has the exquisite detail you expect and an amazing array of characters both real and remarkable.

But Budapest is a bigger yarn than Anderson typically tells.  While his Europe is a fictional one, some familiar dark elements surface that give its message more import.

And I want to go on record now — the film’s title song deserves an Oscar nomination. So does Ralph Fiennes, for a pitch perfect comedic performance.

Or should I say…on the nose, Lord Voldemort?

Heavy

I rushed to the theatre to see the movie Gravity for two reasons:

  1. the terrifying space collision that we get a tantalizing glimpse of in the movie trailer; and
  2. Sandra Bullock’s performance, which has received rave reviews and early Oscar buzz.

The views of space are breathtaking, and the accident that drives the plot drains whatever air remains in your lungs.  I saw the movie in 3D, and its use is at once seamless and highly effective.

gravity posterGeorge Clooney is his usual playful self in his scenes with Bullock, but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say she appears alone onscreen for a majority of the movie.

Tom Hanks goes solo on an island in Castaway, and Robert Redford on a crippled yacht in the upcoming All is Lost, so it’s about time an actress — especially one of Bullock’s caliber — gives it a try.

But while Bullock’s Dr. Stone is well-acted — and I was on the edge of my seat time and time again — I left the movie feeling very little emotional connection to her character.  I just expected…more.

Let me know what you think.

View from the cush seats

Center of the row. Center of the auditorium.

That’s where I like to sit at the movies.

So I watch with furrowed brow when folks purposefully choose the aisle seat. Or sit in the first row when there are so many other options still available. I’ve always imagined the ‘aislers’ want to stretch out their legs…or take frequent bathroom breaks.

Or like their world view off-center.

Today I went to the matinee at the newly renovated 84th Street AMC here in my neighborhood in Manhattan.

amc renovationIt has cushy recliner seating and large aisles between rows, so legroom is never an issue. You even get to reserve your seat online or at the box office when you buy your ticket.

So, here’s the test: with all those improvements, where were people sitting?

On the front row. And on the aisle. Plus a few folks clustered around the center.

It takes all kinds to make an audience.

We hope you enjoy the show

After I returned home from the theatre last night, I shared my move review for The Way Way Back.

But I wasn’t quite ready to talk about the pre-show.

amc070713 While I was standing in line for a Diet Coke — and composing a Facebook status about how crazy crowded the theatre was for a Sunday evening — a man and his small child ran by me.  They were soon followed by a great crush of people. I heard words like ‘bomb’ and ‘fire.’

And then insanity broke out.

Everyone rushed for the exits.  AMC employees stood by, wide-eyed and searching.  Someone pulled the fire alarm.

I remember hesitating for an instance thinking, “Is this real?” and then not waiting to find out.

We all stood on the sidewalk — across from the theatre at the instruction of AMC employees who now had their orders.  Within seconds five fire trucks — five — surrounded the building.

And within minutes, it was over…and we were walking back inside.

Turns out two men got into an argument in one of the cinemas, and one pulled out pepper spray.   Someone standing close by panicked at the sight and smell of it.  And that’s all it took.

Because today, we are a nervous, twitchy society —

With movie trailers that are so long, I didn’t miss a single frame of the film.