Don’t be afraid to buy the medium bag of popcorn

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dinner and a movie.

It’s become the typical and cliche date for young high schoolers in love. It can also be a great night out with friends. But what about going to the movies alone?

A lot of people shy away from that one empty seat between The Chick Who’s Obviously Going to Talk the Whole Time and The Man Who is Clearly Too Large for This Chair. That hesitation is understandable. No one actually wants their right ear to fall off while their left shoulder is being swallowed whole by a blob monster. But there’s probably also a row that’s fairly empty, and there’s no reason you can’t lay claim to it.

Maybe you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe all your friends are busy. Maybe you don’t have very many friends. Who cares? There are so many amazing films out, and you shouldn’t let a lack of moviegoing companions keep you from seeing them.

The key is to act you like own the whole damn movie theater. Walk up to that box office with your head held high and your fist ready to punch those annoying little teenyboppers in the face . . . okay maybe don’t do that second thing.

Anyway, moving on. Flirt with the guy who rips your ticket stub or the girl who sells you that soda and medium bag of popcorn. Yeah, that’s right, order the medium. You’re already there by yourself, so you might as well go all out.

(Don’t forget to go to the bathroom at some point before the movie though. If you need to pee in the middle of it you won’t have anyone to explain the epic plot twist you just missed.)

So now you’ve braved the public bathroom, got your snack and left your number with the guy at the ticket counter. It’s time to find your seat.

When you enter the theater, don’t be afraid to take a minute look at where the best seats are. You do this anyway with friends. Now, some people like to sit completely alone. Others like to sit near other people for possible interaction before or during the movie. Either of these scenarios is okay. Just do what feels comfortable.

Once you’ve found your seat the worst is over. The movie will start, it will be amazing and you’ll forget whatever reservations you might have had when you were forced to park your car 5 miles from the actual entrance because you left a little bit late and all the good spots were taken.

As humans, we like doing things with other people; it’s in our nature. But doing things on our own can be just as fulfilling. So next time you really want to see that new action flick that none of your girl friends like, or that chick flick that makes all your guy friends want to vomit, don’t stress about not having someone to go with. Go on your own. Be shameless about it. Buy the medium bag of popcorn.


Reboots, remakes and returns to old franchises

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

There are a lot of great films in theaters right now, from The Dark Knight Rises to Magic Mike. The box office is booming. In the middle of it all, though, are some movies that seem rather familiar.

The Amazing Spider-Man opened on July 3, a mere five years after the third installment of director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise. The new film, starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, was directed by the appropriately-named Marc Webb.

Fans and critics alike are fairly evenly divided when it comes to the new film. Many find its darker tone refreshing. Others frown at how angst-driven it is. The main factor for many viewers, though, is whether or not they can get past how prematurely the franchise was rebooted and watch The Amazing Spider-Man as a new film in its own right.

Meanwhile, this Friday marks the upcoming release of the remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Total Recall. Colin Farrell takes up the main role in the film, playing it in a slightly less-muscular fashion than Schwarzenegger. Fans of the original are excited, and anxious, to see what else will be different in the new movie.

And on August 10, just one week after Total Recall opens, The Bourne Legacy will open in theaters nationwide. Viewers of the Bourne franchise thought that the story ended with Matt Damon’s cunning evasion of the CIA. Now, however, Jeremy Renner will star as everyone’s favorite genetically-altered secret agent. And fans seem pretty excited.

Is Hollywood running out of ideas? With wonderfully original films like Savages and Moonrise Kingdom also currently in theaters, it’s hard to give a straight answer to that question.

Regardless of how new or original today’s films are, however, they’re definitely bringing in viewers. Some want to see how the new holds up against the original. Others have never seen the original, so the new is truly new.

In either case, The Amazing Spider-ManTotal Recall, and The Bourne Legacy are three of the films that everyone is talking about right now. Whether or not they will ignite a discussion akin to the Star Wars originals vs. prequels argument, though, is yet to be seen.

2D, or not 2D, that is the question

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Recently, it seems like there’s always at least one movie in theaters being shown in 3D. Some are animated films, others are live action. Many are a little of both.

3D certainly gives films something extra, but is it really necessary? When did seeing films in the tried-and-true two-dimensial fashion cease to be enough?

I’ll admit that there are certain films I enjoy seeing in 3D. Animated films like those made by Pixar are more fun to watch when they pop out at you a bit, and superheroes seem a little bit bigger in 3D. For the most part, however, I prefer watching movies in 2D.

First off, watching films in 2D is simply more comfortable. 3D glasses are large and cumbersome, and sometimes take away from the experience of a movie. Also, 3D puts a strain on your eyes that can often make you just want to close them.

The good thing is that most theaters give moviegoers the option to watch in either 3D or 2D. That way, everyone’s happy.

Some films benefit from 3D. Others are best seen in 2D. Determining which is better depends on who you ask. Either way, though, 3D isn’t going away any time soon.

Silver screen vs. TV screen

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

While some prefer to watch movies at home, others prefer the magic of a theater. Regal Gainesville Cinema Stadium 14 is just one of the theaters that Gainesville, Fla., has to offer.

Over the years, it has become increasingly easier to watch movies at home instead of at the cinema. From buying and renting DVDs to streaming movies directly from internet sites like Netflix and Hulu, movies are more accessible than ever. Does your computer or television screen give you the same experience as tiered seats and a bag of popcorn, though?

There are a lot of people who will say that watching a movie at home is no different than watching it in a theater, so why should they spend the money to do so? Don’t get me wrong, I love Netflix (maybe a little too much, even). I think it provides a great way to watch older movies, or movies that I didn’t get a chance to see in a theater. However, for me, there’s no substitute for film running through a projector.

I’ve watched many movies both in a theater and on Netflix, and there’s no comparison. Watching a movie in a digital format is a completely different experience than watching it on film. The grainy quality of film projected onto a big screen is part of the magic, as is feeling the soundtrack or the score shake your seat during big moments.

The audience is another thing you miss out on when you watch a movie at home. When you watch with a whole theater full of other people, however, it becomes a shared experience. Jokes are funnier, tears are sadder, kisses are more heartwarming and monsters are scarier.

The proliferation of digital media is not just limited to how audiences watch movies. It extends to how filmmakers create movies as well. Many directors are now shooting with a combination of film and digital cameras. Some are even shooting solely on digital cameras. There are benefits to both, and most audiences can’t tell the difference. I enjoy movies shot on both mediums, but regardless of how they’re filmed, I prefer to watch them on the big screen.

Technology is a wonderful thing, and I love that it has made it easier than ever to watch an endless amount of movies at home. Even so, I try to see as many movies as I can in a theater. There’s something about that moment when the lights dim and all you hear is the sound of the projector clicking away. You just can’t get that moment in your living room.

Flippin’ pinpoint calibrations

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

As soon as I saw the Sundance laurels on the poster for Safety Not Guranteed, I knew that I needed to see this film. Now that I have, I’m telling anyone and everyone who will listen to see it as well. Safety Not Guaranteed is about a journalist and two interns who set out to write a story about a man looking for a time-traveling partner. They want to figure out who this guy is and if he’s serious, crazy or both. They also discover a few things about themselves along the way.

Safety Not Guaranteed is a low-budget, independent film of the purest kind. It’s a wonderfully original and intelligently written film that perfectly straddles the romance, comedy and science-fiction genres. It’s a story about time-travel, but at it’s foundation it’s a story about people. This film is about growing up, moving on, falling in love and living life to the fullest. It’s about a group of people who are trying to find themselves.

After being screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Safety Not Guaranteed won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Having seen the film, I’m not surprised. The script is simple, heartfelt and full of appropriately-placed one-liners and pop culture references. On a low-budget film like this the script does a lot of the heavy lifting, and I found myself laughing, crying and cheering at all the right places.

One thing I really enjoyed about this film is that the science behind Kenneth’s (the character who placed the classified ad) time-travel is purposefully vague and ambiguous. The method doesn’t matter. What matters is that Kenneth believes it will work and that Darius (one of the interns) believes in Kenneth. The mystery is what brings the characters together.

I went into the theater  with the expectation that this film could go in several different directions, and I was pleased with where it ended up. The final scene was a bit predictable, but it was done subtly enough that it was enjoyable and heartfelt. I felt closure as the credits rolled, and I left the theater grinning like a fool.

This film isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Director Colin Trevorrow beautifully executes Derek Connolly’s award-winning script, and every actor gives a stunning performance. Safety Not Guaranteed is one of the best films of the year, and no one should miss it.

Objectification of men at it’s finest

July 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

Films targeted at women are almost exclusively classified as chick flicks. These films are romantic, sappy, lovey-dovey and any number of other gooey adjectives. The Full Monty was one of the first films aimed at women that stepped outside of that box, and now we have another. Now we have Magic Mike.

No one is going to see Magic Mike for the plot (which was actually surprisingly well-developed). We’re seeing it for the strippers. Normally when I watch films I take everything in, from the acting to the directing to the soundtrack and more. Friday morning at midnight, however, I threw all of that out the window and became just one of many sighing, giggling women in a thankfully dark theater.

Magic Mike gives women a release and adrenaline rush that we don’t get from most films. Don’t get me wrong, I love explosions and murders just as much as the next person, but strippers are on a whole different level. Finally, a film has been made that women can enjoy on the basest of levels. While it’s an awesome film for us, it’s not so great for boyfriends or husbands. They should expect to feel a bit inferior for a while . . . unless they look like Matthew McConaughey.

That being said, a pretty decent storyline compliments the film’s mostly nude scenes. Rotten Tomatoes even gives the movie a certified fresh rating of 79%. We get to see an aging stripper train a young kid in the ways of partying and picking up women, all while making a few easy bucks. It’s a coming of age tale with a little bit of actual romance thrown in, and it’s all wrapped up in a pair of breakaway pants.

In this day and age, a lot of movies that come out are remakes or adaptations. While I love a lot of those films, they’re not new, and that makes them slightly less enjoyable than when I don’t know the story. Magic Mike, however, is something that no one’s seen before. It’s not groundbreaking in the way that a film like Inception was, but it’s different, and that makes it fantastic.

Traditional gender roles are changing and evolving. Men no longer have a monopoly on objectifying another human being solely in terms of sex. Women are no longer afraid to admit how much we love staring at naked men. Magic Mike is shamelessly and unapologetically made for the animalistic tendencies in women everywhere, and we love it.