Tuesday, April 1, 2014

All-american links

Last month, I was quite saddened to see that one of the last neighborhood movie theaters from my youth, the Jackson Cinemas in Jackson Heights, was closed for business. The movies on the marquee were Thor: The Dark World, Catching Fire and Frozen, so based on that, I'd say it's probably been at least three months since they closed their doors.

I've written about this place many times in this blog, mostly positive but sometimes negative. As much of a beloved hot spot as it was for me growing up, those days seemed long past whenever I'd visit it in recent years, which is especially depressing now, since the neighborhood is really coming into its own. Jackson Heights is becoming known for its international variety of food. It contains an historic district, and the installment of a pedestrian plaza near a major transportation hub has slowly become a source of local pride. Despite all this renewed interest in the neighborhood, the theater couldn't keep up somehow.


The entrance to the Jackson, taken a couple of weeks ago
Still, all may not be completely lost. I know for a fact that there are those in the neighborhood who want to bring it back, such as filmmaker and renaissance woman Celeste Balducci, who's something of a big shot within the cultural life of the neighborhood. I know of no concrete plan to save the Jackson at this time, but if one forms, I, for one, plan on getting in on it.

Also, I wanna be among the many others to wish Turner Classic Movies a happy 20th anniversary. I haven't watched the network as long as some of my other movie blogger brethren, but I've found it to be a fantastic resource for revisiting many of my favorite old movies and discovering new ones, uncut and commercial free. The TCM Film Festival is this month, and I know several of my blogger friends are attending. I'd love to go there one day; I hope I will.

This month, my Spoiler Experiment will begin in earnest when I see Draft Day, the first of two test subject movies to determine whether or not knowing spoilers in advance of a movie helps or hinders the experience. Draft Day is my "blind" subject; so far, I've been successful in knowing nothing about it beyond the bare-bones premise, which I've mostly extrapolated from the poster. On my [#spoilerxpmt] Twitter feed, I've gathered a bunch of news items related to spoilers and made some idle commentary about them. When this experiment ends next month, after I see my "spoiler" movie, Million Dollar Arm, I'll attempt to gather all my thoughts together into one summation post. If anyone wants to share their ideas, feel free to post them in the comments here, or on Twitter under the [#spoilerxpmt] hashtag.

And oh yeah: next weekend is the Diamonds & Gold Blogathon! There's still time to join Paddy and me for this event; if you want in, leave a comment below.

Your links for this month:


John re-watched Magnolia and his attitude about it changed.


Danny talks about the third and final team-up of Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Blondell - on the small screen.

Raquel has the scoop on the re-releases of old books that were adapted into films many years ago.

Jennifer recently took the family to Hollywood.

Kellee writes a blog called Outspoken & Freckled; you might recall the name from a few blogathons. She's from Kansas, where they have a Silent Film Festival.

There's a young lady named Margaret Perry who writes a movie blog that's mostly devoted to Katharine Hepburn. As part of a Women's History Month series, she writes here about historical women who totally deserve biopics.

Cliff from a blog called Immortal Ephemera wonders (again) if there's anything to the old myth of movie stars dying in threes.

I found I related to this piece about trying to find a distinctive voice to write about film with.

The next AFFRM/ARRAY-distributed film is a doc about the BP oil spill, called Vanishing Pearls, due out this month.

Leonard Maltin reviews a novel inspired by a silent film legend.

I'm not entirely certain how much I agree with this piece about how the new black cinema should focus more on cultivating an audience and less on box office. Can a paradigm like this be financially sustainable for the filmmakers over the long term? I would imagine that not every filmmaker would be content with staying small - and at some point, some  of them will simply need more money to make their movie the way they want to. Plus, Hollywood needs to see quality black movies make money, period. Oscars are nice, but studios understand box office better.

6 comments:

  1. I read the one about finding a voic as a film critics. I write for many sites, and, even with the same "voice", I try to focus on sometyhing new in each one. In my blog I can write as if I'm talking to an expert public, but without being too technical. In another site, I try to focus on the legacy of old films. On another, I write about literary adaptations and I usually mention casting curiosities and awards the film won. On the last one, I try to convince people to watch some classics. I believe you can say all are written by the same person, but with a different idea for different readers.
    Greetings!

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    1. You're talking about custom-tuning your work depending on the audience. I understand that.

      For me, WSW is primarily a playground for me to experiment and stretch my legs and have some fun with writing, but at the same time, I wanna be able to stay sharp when it comes to deep, critical, essay-type work (my post on 'Noah' is one example), and that's where developing a voice comes in.

      One of the best parts about associating with other bloggers like you is seeing the professionalism so many of you take in your work and knowing what I have to shoot for when the time comes to write something of greater substance than usual.

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  2. Your spoiler experiment sounds interesting! I don't find that I enjoy movies any less for knowing a lot about them before I go, but I know other people who hate to have plot twists or ending revealed ahead of time. Thanks for the link shout-out. :)

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  3. I suspect you're probably the type that doesn't actively seek out a great deal of information about new movies beyond a review or two. There are fans who absolutely NEED to know stuff in advance, and it's having an impact on the way movies are made and marketed.

    That's the sort of thing I hope my experiment will make clearer for me: why advance knowledge should be necessary, for anyone.

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  4. Rich, I'm intrigued by your spoiler experiment! Also, in case I've neglected to mention/remind you and the gang, we of Team Bartilucci are already working on contributing to the Diamonds & Gold Blogathon with Witness For The Prosecution, one of our favorite movies ever! Looking forward to it! :-D

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  5. Well, DRAFT DAY opens this coming Friday, so part one of my experiment will be ready very soon. Hope you'll be here for my write-up on that.

    'Witness' is my favorite Dietrich film. I'm sure you'll have a lot to say about it.

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