Film & TV News - Criticism: April 2008 Archives

My apologies for underrepresenting the Lone Star State of late, Flyover friends. (Everything's bigger in Texas ... except arts coverage, wink.) The combination of late-onset NEA Institute exhaustion, health troubles, copious antihistamines, and the formidable "Best Of" of issue (love-hated by altweekly staffers everywhere) on the horizon have prevented me from accomplishing much more than washing my hair every (other) day. I've even developed an immunity to coffee, believe it or not. (Why do I get the feeling that when I tell my friends I'm just drinking it for the flavor, they look as if I'd just told them I read Playboy for the articles. Sigh.)

But things are happening hereabouts. The Marfa Film Fest is near (May 1-5), and I for one cannot wait to watch There Will Be Blood on the Alamo Drafthouse's giant inflatable screen in the film's still-standing set. Definitely wasn't my favorite P.T. Anderson film; in fact, the more distance I get the more reservations I have (or the more I'm able to put my finger on them). But I'll watch anything Robert Elswit shoots.

SA film/makers should be in abundance, too, and apparently Dennis Hopper's coming also. (How long will I be able to I refrain from "Pop quiz, hotshot" jokes? Your guess is as good as mine.) 

Now, closer to home, something's has been on my mind since I reviewed San Pedro Playhouse's production of Crowns (Regina Taylor's musical adaptation of Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry's coffee-table book, Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats; not fantastically written, but extremely well performed here).

Anyway, if my snarky ass was in charge of the San Antonio theater scene, programming would be a lot different. All together now: Duh! But I've gotta say, though I may not love San Pedro Playhouse's every show (I lean edgier), I honor its decision to regularly produce plays that showcase local African-American talent. (According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 6.8% of San Antonians identified as black or African American.) Aida, Dreamgirls, and now, Crowns, have all graced the stage of San Antonio's oldest public theater recently.

I haven't attended all of the Playhouse's shows, so I can't say with any certainty how multi-racially cast its other productions are. It's one of my dearest hopes that people don't feel boxed into casting "the canon" with Caucasians all the time, that performers of color aren't ghettoized into plays written specifically about the African-American or Latino experience; the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  revival would suggest we're moving in that direction, anyway.

That's something I'll be keeping my eyes open for here, friends, and I'll be sure to report back. Happy Weekend. 

April 18, 2008 3:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Charleston, S.C. -- It's time again in cinematic history to call for the imminent death of the movie theater.


When TV emerged in the 1950s, the death knell was tolling.

When VHS ascended in the '70s, Gabriel was calling.

When DVDs triumphed in the '90s, theaters were knocking on heaven's door.

But death? Not yet.

This time, though, things are different. Movie theaters are facing a perfect storm of cultural, economic, and technological change that's been brewing for the past half decade.

International piracy (bootlegs popping up on the Shanghai black market), advancements in home entertainment systems (56-inch high-definition TV, DVRs), and improvements in broadband and the Internet (cable on demand, streaming video from Hulu and Netflix) -- these have conspired to undermine the value of going to the movies.

But movies aren't going away. You could even say it's a great time to own a theater, says Mike Furlinger of the Terrace Theatre in Charleston, S.C.

The same technological advancements that have come to threaten theater venues are the very advancements that will make them more relevant and profitable, he says.

Along with mainstream movies, theaters everywhere are trying to make themselves unique by subscribing to live broadcasts of special timely events, like sports and opera, as well as films made for niche-market demographics, such as fashion-obsessed teenage girls, pro-wrestling freaks, NASCAR fans, or Japanimation aficionados. 


After the jump, read more about movie theaters taking steps to use high-tech to attract viewers, plus other companies enticing audiences with fashionable amenities and plain old-fashioned aggressive business tactics in order to break into the Charleston market.

April 16, 2008 5:32 AM | | Comments (0)

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This page is a archive of entries in the Film & TV News - Criticism category from April 2008.

Film & TV News - Criticism: April 2007 is the previous archive.

Film & TV News - Criticism: May 2008 is the next archive.

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