An L.A. Times story by Ryan Faughnder reported this morning that Cinepolis, a Mexico-based theatre chain, is hoping to attract an increased family trade “with a new in-theater playground concept, Cinepolis Junior, which [will make] its U.S. debut at two Southern California locations next week.
The idea, Faughnder writes, is that “the kid–oriented theaters, which charge up to $3 more than a regular ticket, will better compete with Netflix and other at-home options by enticing more parents and children to go to the theater. Designed for ages 3 to 12, the two children’s auditoriums will open on 3.16 with showings of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake.”
Four days ago I apologized for being a little too kind to Peter Jackson’s King Kong way back in December of ’05. I didn’t care for the first 70 minutes, I said back then, but the rest of it more or less worked. But wait — I’ve just discovered a 12.21.05 piece (“Kong Badness“) in which I took the film to task for a multitude of sins. My 2017 mea culpa wouldn’t be complete without reposting it:
I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot here. I’m a fan of Peter Jackson‘s King Kong…after the 70-minute mark. A modified fan, I should say, because I’m not over-the-moon about it. I liked the rousing CG stuff and the emotional stirrings during the scenes between Kong (i.e., Andy Serkis) and Naomi Watts…but let’s not get carried away.
The point is that this 187-minute movie is full of bits that drive me up the wall, and I have to admit it feels more comfortable and natural being in a bash mode. How do I vaguely detest thee, Kong? Going from the top…
The once-celebrated, now-being-scrutinized Bronto run sequence in Peter Jackson’s King Kong
* Jackson should have included an overture of Max Steiner’s music as a soundtrack-only supplement on the front of the film, to be heard in semi-darkness before the Universal logo and the credits come on, etc. This happened when I first saw Kong at the Academy theatre on the evening of Sunday, 12.4, and Steiner played like gangbusters.
* Captain Englehorn is an Idiot, Part 1: The German-born skipper (Thomas Kretschmann) presumably knows Jack Black‘s Carl Denham desperately needs a fetching actress to come along on the voyage and presumably wants Denham to succeed so he’ll get fully paid, and yet the first thing he says when he meets Naomi Watt’s Ann Darrow is to express surprise that she “would take such a risk.”
* The ship is pulling out of the harbor and Adrien Brody‘s Jack Driscoll is so keen on getting paid that he doesn’t feel the engines rumbling and the ship moving? He doesn’t say anything to the check-writing Denham as the ship is obviously leaving the wharf?
* Captain Englehorn is an Idiot, Part 2: Since he tells Denham that the first check bounced, it can be assumed that he hasn’t been paid a dime. And yet he’s taking his ship and crew on a long and very expensive sea voyage, trusting that a guy he obviously doesn’t trust will cough up later on.
I’ve been told that Kong: Skull Island (which I’m seeing tonight at the Arclight) isn’t tracking as strongly as it could or should. Word around the campfire is that it’s “kind of sandwiched in between Logan and Beauty and the Beast,” as one guy put it this morning, and that this might lead to an underwhelming performance on some level.
Instead of matching or even challenging Logan‘s $88-million first-weekend haul, Kong might be turn out to be more of a mid 50s thing by Sunday night. Which doesn’t sound bad until you consider the rumored $190 million budget, not to mention the p & a tab.
“What I heard a week or two ago was $40 to $45 million, which struck me as low,” a friend says. “I bet it opens to $55 or $60 million. That may not be enough for a movie rumored to cost $190 and change, but but it looks great and the money is right up there on the screen
From a 3.2 HE comment thread, written by yours truly: “If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that a significant portion of moviegoers don’t necessarily flock to a really clever, well made, high pizazz film. Some will this weekend, of course, but not all. The slow boats tend to hold off and wait UNLESS it’s a completely safe piece of shit like Jurassic World. Quality scares them on some level. They like brand comfort.
The TV was on while I was writing the column in our miserable Palm Springs hotel room last weekend. I wasn’t paying much attention to the shows but they weren’t from my usual white-noise feed (i.e., MSNBC, CNN, BBC, CSPAN, National Geographic or TCM). They were the usual lower-depths pollution feed of ugly reality series (Kardashian lap-of-luxury lifestyle stuff), Access Hollywood-type crap, glamour kiss-ass shows, sports crap, home-shopping crap, beauty consultation, weight-loss, fashion discussion, kiddie fantasy, more ugly reality, etc.
At some point something snapped in my mind. I literally flinched and shook my head when I suddenly realized a kind of poison had been streaming into my system for hours and that I had to turn it off if I didn’t want to get sick or go crazy.
General-access cable and broadcast is aimed at the American mouth-breathing mongrel class, and you can see how it inspires people to lead lives that are devoid of spiritual content…lives that are almost certainly dulled-down, compromised and shortened as a result. The only civilized way to watch anything these days is via apps (Amazon, Netflix, Vudu) and elite cable. What a cultural cesspool regular-ass TV has become. It attains such levels of toxicity that it seems natural and inevitable that regular watchers would turn into slow boats and cretins. The influence of mongrel TV is almost certainly one reason why Trump caught on.
Imagine being a relatively talented director, screenwriter, dp or craftsperson, ready and eager to work, create and possibly make history, and the only work you can find is in the horror genre. And after a few tries at expanding your realm you gradually realize you’re stuck there and will never get out — a clock-puncher in the horror factory for the rest of your life. Yes, horror carries a higher prestige factor than porn because there’s at least a slim chance that a mainstream breakout could happen, but it’s also a level or two below fantasy-superhero CG crap, which is a dungeon in itself.
Imagine waking up every day, looking in the bathroom mirror and realizing, “God, I’m still chained to this godawful racket…a lowly horror-film worker, a prisoner of gore…trying to be or at least work with the new Guillermo del Toro, Tom Holland, Wes Craven, Tom Savini, Sam Raimi, George Romero or John Carpenter but knowing deep down that the odds are heavily against me…hate myself, hate my life, hate the horror-fan conventions I’m forced to attend to so I can earn pocket money by handing out autographs and posing for photos.” Can you imagine?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah, R): “Americans have choices…they’ve gotta make a choice. Rather than getting that new iPhone that they love and they wanna spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care.” Translation: “Poor shiftless Americans, many if not most of whom are non-white supporters of Democratic causes, have a long history of living louche, indulgent lifestyles that are fiscally irresponsible. 47 years ago Guy Drake, a great American, pointed this out when he wrote and recorded a popular folk song called ‘Welfare Cadillac‘, the lyrics of which still resonate today. Cadillacs, iPhones…the poor have to learn to show a little discipline and do without the luxuries.”