Thoughts from darkened rooms

Some minor housekeeping before today’s effort. Things may be a bit wonky about. Still getting used to WordPress.

And taking up a challenge, I shall be sharing a new post every weekday this month. And maybe, if you’re good little readers, a few classic reblogs on the weekends. So without further delays, on to Monday’s post!

Been to the movies lately?

In my own defense, no where near as often as I used to. If I am very lucky, maybe once every couple of months or so. And I cannot offer any defense as to why not. Just other things going on like work and life that seem to get in the way.

Still, I have managed to see a few lately that offer hope for the future of film as we know it. Specifically, “The Artist” and “Hugo”. But also “John Carter”.

The first two are wonderful celebrations of cinema past. If nothing else, they show audiences something of what makes movies special. With “The Artist”, it was the chance to observe and see all of the elements come to play on the screen. No lens flare, no shaky cameras, no CGI monsters or explosions. Certainly an homage to the style of the period in which it was set. Refreshing in all of the glorious black and white. (Don’t mind me. I have been a fan of black and white photography for a long time. The play between light and dark just fascinates.)

“Hugo” was fun because it reminded us of a time when movies and audiences who watched them still were innocent. They were not jaded by just another evening of flying debris and watching who can put more money on screen than anyone else. Melies and others of those days took their viewers to places they had never dreamed of or seen before. The illusion of the projected image being magical captured imaginations and placed moments in the hearts of all who saw them. If only more of today’s films could make such claims.

“John Carter” has been largely written off as a failure by critics. And as the result, audiences have stayed away from it. The tale is one which so many story tellers have drawn upon for inspiration, so to finally see it on screen may be anti-climatic. But it still rings true as it has with the many readers of the books. Personally, I enjoyed it. Unlike those following the fashion, I found it not to be a bad film. Just a story that has been used too often before. “Star Wars” for one. Much of the fantasy of those films owes moments with audiences to the tales spun by Burroughs.

That may be why the folks at Disney did not promote the film well enough with audiences. After all, if they have already seen the story, why should they invest in it again? This fan created trailer shows the kind of thinking that the promotional folks should have used to gain audience interest.

Looking ahead, I always get a laugh checking out Apple’s theatrical movie trailers. So many films that I’ll never watch in theaters. So many films that duplicate each other. And in way too many trailers, we’re shown the best bits of the movie in the hope that we will plunk down our cash to see the rest of it.

At least the Paramount is showing more films this spring. If only it was more than once a month. April brings “Tootsie” to the big screen.

What am I looking forward to this year? Well, at least the first part of “The Hobbit”. Peter Jackson and company did a good job with the Lord of the Rings trio. And I hope that they do well by this, too.

Guilty pleasures? “Dark Shadows” with Johnny Depp will likely fall into that category. I don’t mind the concept of humor that some fans have expressed doubts of. A film that played the Gothic for all that the daytime drama had just would never fly with audiences today. And yes, I am glad to see that Barnabas does not sparkle.

Overall, if the summer crop of films brings folks out to theaters and gets them to plunk down their cash, that is a good thing. That keeps the suits happy. It also keeps future film projects coming. Even with all of the turkeys and flops along the way, sometimes we get a good one. And we all know, we want more good movies.

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