Sunday, October 13, 2013

Disenchanted Movie Buff

The Fox Theatre in Madawaska is being put up for sale this fall and will be closed if they cannot raise the funds for a digital projector.  The only theatre left north of Caribou in Aroostook County.

I’ve always thought of myself as a movie buff.  There was a time when I fully believed that movies were far superior to television and that the only place to really appreciate a movie was at the theatre.  I’ve noticed that as of late, that there is some terrific television shows on these days that I have been going to the theatre less and less. 

I remember going to the theatre and the moment just before the previews started you could hear the projector cranking up and to me that sound was magical.  With digital projection taking over and hard drives being used over 35mm prints, that sound is obsolete. 

Not only that, but with the digital projection conversion many independent theatres and drive in’s all over the United States are being forced out of business for the cost of a digital projector is upwards of $80,000!  If they want to continue to show the main stream Hollywood movies they will need one. 

Maybe I’m a purist, but I like the scratchy film and cigarette burns that have always accompanied a movie when going to the theatre.

The digital conversion isn’t the deterrent that has kept me away from the theatre, there are a number of reasons.   The price of going is getting out of control.  In my area Regal Cinemas in Augusta is the closet theatre their prices started to climb when 3D became all the rage and they added a $3.50 per ticket up charge.  Then they pushed back what qualifies as a matinee screening from anything before 6pm to anything before 4pm. 

Currently ticket prices are:
Matinee – Adult $8.00 children/seniors $7.50
Night – Adult $10 children/seniors $7.50
Don’t forget to add $3.50 for a 3D screening and 50 cents for an adult ticket if it’s a Friday or Saturday. 

Flagship in Waterville is cheaper as is Railroad Square, but you have to drive to Waterville.  When Avatar came out I saw it and it was spectacular!  Then every studio started pushing out movies in 3D, either filmed that way or in post production conversion.  These movies didn’t look anywhere near as good as Avatar did, but movie industry liked that extra $3.50 per ticket boosting their sales.  I believe 3D was the catalyst that started my decline in going to the theatre. 

Another factor is there just isn’t much coming out of Hollywood that I want to watch.  In years past there was at least one movie monthly that I wanted to go and see, or at least wouldn’t mind checking out.  However, with prices they way they are it’s a lot easier to wait until home video.

Speaking of home video, there’s a medium that has gone to the wayside, with Netflix and Red Box and other streaming services, there simply are no video rental stores anymore.  I miss them, I worked at Movie Gallery for over a year and it remains my favorite job.   This has caused another problem in being a movie fan.

There are a lot of movies being made, with HD camera’s costing next to nothing compared to what they used to be, anyone can film a movie making it harder to find the gem among the trash when it comes to non-main stream flicks.  With video stores it required a distribution company to by the rights and spend the money on the cover boxes, duplicating the films and sending them to video stores. 

Now you can just basically post it online with minimal effort.  It gets tiring starting a movie that sounds good, but has no glitter cover box warning you to stay away, just to shut it off after 10 – 20 minutes when you discover, this is garbage!

Lately I’ve found myself watching foreign movies from Japan, Hong Kong, or Australia where green screen hasn’t completely taken over.  I think green screen is amazing and has revolutionized special effects in movies, but it’s starting to be used too much.  Action flicks and horror movies for example and not just for dangerous stunts but for the simplest effects.  Not to mention I’ve seen where entire city streets are faked instead of filming on an actual street.

I still love movies, just not as much as I used to, and that’s kind of frustrating.  I would have loved to own a small two screen theatre with a stage in one room for live productions or concerts.  I would show cults films at midnight screenings and show those screen classic’s during the holiday seasons.    If only.

 Later Readers   

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