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|Written by April Yorke|
|Wednesday, 01 February 2012 15:31|
Each month, (Cult)ure movie nerd April Yorke chats with Mayfair co-owner and geek-in-chief Josh Stafford about what's playing at Ottawa's home of stuff you won't see anywhere else. For January, we get our backs up about faddish 3D, invent awards show board games, and separate the artist from the art.
(Cult)ure: Let's talk about Sleeping Beauty. It looks amazing.
Josh Stafford: It seems to be quite the anticipated indie darling with Mayfair patrons at the moment.
(C): But you're not digital, are you?
JS: For some stuff, yes, but Sleeping Beauty is 35mm. We do 35mm as much as possible.
(C): Why do you say that?
JS: We like 35mm better. It's better quality. We're going down swinging, though. I think we're one of two theatres left in Ottawa with film.
(C): Okay, but . . . is it like the pops and scratches for vinyl freaks?
JS: I just know the times I've seen digital stuff I haven't been impressed, but it's a losing battle. Companies keep threatening that - fill in the blank - will be the last ever movie on film.
(C): Do you think it anesthetizes the film going experience?
JS: I think it dumbs it down a bit. It's pressing play on a machine. No concern for focus or picture quality, etc., in ones I've seen. And don't get me started on 3D!
(C): 3D is the WORST! It is the biggest waste of money.
JS: I keep hoping that it's a fad like colourization. I brought my mum to see Thor in 3D for Mother's Day (her choice. That's right!). It was for free, so it doesn't count as cheating on Mayfair, and there was nothing that made me go, "Yay 3D!"
(C): I remember asking my viewing partner if anything WAS in 3D. There was more 3D in My Bloody Valentine than in movies I have seen since.
JS: We've shown some 3D released in 2D, like How to Train Your Dragon and Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs. Didn't affect anything.
(C): Of course not! How to Train Your Dragon is going to be charming in any dimension.
JS: Did you read that article where JJ pretty much says he was strong armed into making next Star Trek in 3D?
(C): I don't want that.
JS: He made part of the deal be that it's released in regular D as well.
(C): Thank goodness!
JS: And supposedly Chris Nolan had to fight hard to avoid 3D on his stuff.
(C): Fight, Nolan! FIGHT.
JS: I'm in 3D all the time. I don't need overpriced poorly produced 3D movies annoying my eyes.
(C): So . . . Sleeping Beauty. Not digital or 3D. But still sumptuous?
JS: Seems potential to be quite controversial, too. Hopefully it will serve as a nice career fix for Emily Browning after Sucker Punch.
(C): I like the way it is paired with the equally controversial subject of Tabloid.
JS: Roger Ebert has high praise for Tabloid. It's one of those doc's that easily fall under the truth is stranger than fiction category. Morris is one of those universally praised filmmakers who makes movies that no one sees. Just the tagline alone: a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary. Madness!!
(C): It seems like kind of an odd subject for him to tackle.
JS: Yes, a little different from Fog of War or Brief History of Time.
(C): I feel like one of his pet subjects involves authority and what people do with it, so I'm intrigued to see how that angle might come into play in the story of a felonious beauty queen.
JS: Same theme, different storyline. When I first heard about it I thought it might be a more blanket covering of tabloid journalism. I think it sounds like good basis for a movie script, too.
(C): Wasn't there one already? Or maybe she's just trying to get her story optioned. Stupid SOPA and wiki black out day! I need my info now!
JS: It is out to destroy you.
(C): SOPA? It's out to destroy us all.
JS: I knew it! I don't know if it's always been like this, but docs seem better than non-docs nowadays.
(C): What, like you could sooner find 10 great docs from 2011 than you could find 10 great fiction movies?
JS: Likely. Resurrect Dead totally might be my favourite movie of 2011.
(C): High praise. Why do you think that is?
JS: I think maybe that the world keeps on being interesting, and Hollywood isn't. There are still lots a great movies, but I think about 3% are original. I bet Tabloid is more interesting than a ton of stuff that Hollywood would be able to come up with in the same genre.
(C): The same genre? The beauty queens kidnap Mormons genre?
JS: If you would say that it is under the genre of a thriller or crime.
(C): I suppose that's true. I have a hard time using genres to classify stuff anyway.
(C): I'm pretty sure I could just call everything I really like "mystery."
JS: That's why I hate the Golden Globes. Or, one of the reasons.
(C): Doesn't everyone just hate awards at this point? Like, all of them?
JS: Pretty much. I always point out stuff like the fact that The Muppets didn't get a Best Picture nomination doesn't mean I hate The Muppets all of a sudden.
(C): Nor should it mean that. For me, one of the biggest burns was Children of Men not getting nominated.
JS: Yes, it is hypocritical of me 'cause I hate awards and yet am proud of Bret and Muppets gang for getting a nomination.
(C): Maybe it is really an honour just to be nominated? I think you end up feeling validated despite yourself, like "At least someone else noticed how great that was." But you have an Oscars telecast . . .
JS: Oscars get a good crowd at the Mayfair. It's a fun thing, better than watching at home.
(C): Is it licensed?
(C): WHA?! Wait, for gambling, too, or just alcohol?
JS: There's kinda gambling.
(C): How so? Bingo? Please say bingo.
JS: Whoever gets most nominations correct wins stuff.
(C): Okay, but have you considered making a bingo card?
JS: Well, they have to hand in cards pre-show, so there's no cheating.
(C): Exactly. But bingo would be played DURING the telecast and would involve people jumping up and yelling.
(C): One of the squares would of course be, "Cut to Cloons looking handsome." Boom, easy one.
JS: I hope Muppets perform on stage.
(C): Me, too! Remember that terrible time they made poor Amy Adams perform by herself with imaginary cartoon animals? Harsh.
JS: It's too bad the other Muppet songs didn't get nominated. Singing with Muppets is much better.
(C): It's guaranteed to be more fun. As much as I enjoyed "Man or Muppet," where's "Me Party"? Where's "Life's a Happy Song"?
JS: "Life's a Happy Song" I thought would have been the one to get it. I am curious if it will be Bret at a piano or Jason Segal with Walter the Muppet.
(C): And a surprise guest appearance of Jim Parsons!
JS: I was curious about that, too.
(C): That's a tough nut to crack. Should it be Bret since it would be his award? Or do you have to have Walter because what else would be the point? Walter. I'm leaning toward Walter.
JS: Tough call.
(C): Since we don't yet know the answer to that conundrum, let's focus on one of the better Valentine's Day weekend (blech) choices I've ever seen: Harold and Maude.
JS: Yeah, we wanted to show something with romance that wasn't a Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy, and I love the thought of showing something a little off kilter like Harold and Maude. Then Annie Hall and Amélie on the actual day.
(C): I'm still liking Harold and Maude that little bit more.
JS: Supposedly it's one of Wes Anderson's favorites. You can see that.
(C): It is decidedly so, although I was sadly not all that thrilled by the trailer for his latest.
JS: But it has Bill Murray!
(C): Bill Murray is a shoo-in is the point.
JS: Speaking of: Groundhog Day!
(C): Can I tell you that Groundhog Day's critical reimagining of the last five or so years is one of my favourite things?
JS: I love it. I also love that if the movie would have skewed just a little darker, it would have been a depressing Twilight Zone episode or a horror movie.
(C): Horror movie for sure. Because it is, a little bit. That's the great thing about it: even as you are laughing, there are about 80 other layers to the movie.
JS: Repeated suicide! Hilarious!
(C): Repeated suicide attempts. Attempts. It's not like it takes. Wait, did you choose some of these movies to coincide with Eddie Murphy hosting the Oscars?
JS: It has been a long time that we've want to do an Eddie mini-fest, and it would have been an Oscar tie-in, yeah. Instead it packages in with Black History Month.
JS: Beverly Hills Cop II is historical!
(C): First of all, I will not allow slights against Beverly Hills Cop.
JS: I love both I and II.
(C): As well you should. Well, at least you don't have any of his fat suit movies.
JS: Mayfair rolls more along the lines of Dolemite, The Big Score, and Across 110th Street. I think that they're a part of black history of cinema just as much as Spike Lee or John Singleton. Not to disparage or make light in screening of 'Blaxploitation,' but I've seen endless interviews with actors and filmmakers talking of their importance.
(C): Plus, John Singleton made Four Brothers, so no one's perfect.
JS: And Spike Lee made Miracle at Saint Anna.
(C): Exactly. So, really, you've made the right choice.
JS: I think so.
(C): Funny how it always comes back to that. New tagline line: "Mayfair: the right choice since 1932."
JS: "In 2D."
(C): I just realized that The Princess Bride is playing on Family Day.
JS: For free! AND free popcorn and Coke!
(C): Get out of town!
JS: If you don't attend, I think it means you hate families.
(C): Without a doubt. Meanwhile, I need to ask you a very important question.
JS: Do it!
(C): Is it a sing-along screening of Team America?
JS: Well, I don't think anyone would stop you from singing along.
(C): See, that's where you're wrong.
JS: But there won't be subtitles and a bouncy ball.
(C): I suppose not. But what I'm saying is, some people would be like, "How dare you disrupt the purity of these proceedings?" But I bet there's Mayfans who can't stop themselves from noting, out loud, that freedom isn't free.
JS: I like that you're more concerned with that than you are with the idea that we are doing a memorial screening for a madman.
(C): A touching and sincere one, obviously.
JS: I like Matt Damon. His treatment in the movie hurts my feelings a bit. Just 'cause it's so random. What did Matt Damon do so wrong?
(C): Matt Damon went down in stock there for a while, so I don't really blame them.
JS: He's the Bourne Identity!
(C): Right, that was sort of his comeback moment. Let's talk Corman's World.
JS: Roger Corman is one of the most important filmmakers in the history of cinema. He did drive-in classics back in the day of . . . well . . . drive-ins. Back when bad movies were still awesome. He's directed/ produced some 300 movies and gave big breaks to Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, etc. So, even if you are not a "bad movie" fan, Corman's World is a must for any fan of cinema.
(C): Declarative statements!
JS: I stand by them. Plus the doc has William Shatner and Quentin Tarantino in it. Combined in one movie! Plus we're showing a Corman movie, Cannonball, free for members!
(C): I gotta tell ya, February seems like an especially generous month on the Mayfair's part.
JS: We give and give and give.
(C): To the Gods of Carnage (oh, look what I just did)?
JS: Why, that makes me think of another movie that we are screening!
(C): A cleansing burst of synchronicity!
JS: I'm curious about Carnage 'cause it seems very short and simple. Seventy-nine minutes, four actors, think it's all in one location.
(C): Yup, it's a bottle episode. I'm excited about what Christoph Waltz is getting to do because I feel like he's been a bit type cast after Inglourious Basterds.
JS: Yes. Super villain.
(C): But sort of goofy about it, yes. But this looks more like the kind of thing where the most obvious villain will almost assuredly not be the true villain of the piece.
JS: The four actors that Polanski got here are pretty top notch.
(C): Yes. I also like that Jodie Foster looks both loose and engaged because I feel like we don't get that a lot from her anymore.
JS: I know Polanski has been controversial for, oh . . . four decades or so, but he sure does make good movies.
(C): Yeah . . . I think it's okay to separate the art from the artist.
JS: I watched that Woody Allen PBS doc and loved it. Then I made mistake of reading a "how dare you be positive about him, PBS" posting on their website. But, whatever Woody Allen did or didn't do, doesn't make me dislike his movies. Like if I hear that Brett Ratner or Michael Bay is a saint, I'm still going to hate their movies.
(C): They could build orphanages, but that still wouldn't make The Island a good movie.
JS: Even though it's techy awards, I hate that Transformers 3 is Oscar nominated.
(C): I hate that it even exists. It is a waste of my time, and I didn't even see it.
JS: 'Tis. And Michael Bay and his pile of money will continue to laugh maniacally.
(C): And they can. I begrudge them not. I begrudge every single person who went to see it but not the people who made it.
JS: Yup, and who went, "It's not so bad."
(C): Covering one's ears and singing, "Lalalalalala" is the correct response to such a statement because they must have done that in the theatre.
JS: I give you my word that a Transformers movie will never be on our screen . . . unless my dreams come true, and someone awesome reboots it down the line.
(C): Barring that (although, really, that's all Hollywood is good for these days), but barring that . . . that leaves us with . . . ?
JS: The Divide! Michael Biehn vs. the end of the world!
(C): Kyle Reese rides again!
JS: He's one of those actors who has hung in there and makes a living, but I think he deserves a better career.
(C): Me, too! I thought he was really good as Kyle Reese.
JS: And as Corporal Hicks.
(C): Oh, man, he was in an Afterschool Special!
JS: Fancy! And he survived working with Charlie Sheen in Navy Seals.
(C): All things considered, he's doing pretty well.
JS: I just realized I stopped liking James Cameron when he stopped working with Michael.
JS: James Cameron's career has really gone downhill, too, with that Titanic and Avatar.
(C): Oh, yeah, poor guy can barely catch a break.
JS: That's what he gets for dropping Michael Biehn. The Divide looks really great though. Real character driven end of the world intensity.
(C): This one looks phenomenal. Even with Milo Ventimiglia.
JS: The awesomeness of the overall movie will distract from him.
(C): Hopefully, though he does seem pretty crucial.
Josh Stafford also programs the annual festivals 'Killer 63' and 'Fake Trailers, Reel Festival.' Life highlights include: having a letter read on-air by David Letterman, shaking hands with Bruce Campbell, going to the mall where Dawn of the Dead was shot, going to the graveyard where Night of the Living Dead was shot, and being killed by Jango Fett in a Star Wars comic. Josh watches a lot of movies, reads a lot of comics, and loves roller derby.
April Yorke prefers quoting TV shows to nearly any other form of communication, thinks roller derby is the only excuse for not going to the movies more often, and finds that buying more shelves is the best way to deal with her book-buying habit. You can reach her at april[at]culturemagazine[dot]ca.
Tags: accursed 3d, cinema, eddie murphy is the first name you think of when you want to celebrate black history month in film, george clooney loves a good game of bingo, james cameron can go screw, kyle reese is too hot for the 80s, mayfair, ottawa, out on the town, repression, roger corman is the king of the drive in, sucker punch is still the worst, the beauty queens kidnap mormons genre, what kind of haters dont want to see the princess bride for free