Dine-In Movies an Introduction and Review

My view of the adjacent row at the AMC 24 in Orland, FL

While I was in Orlando I wanted to try and take advantage of as many things as I possibly could. Seeing as this trip was very Disney-centric and I hadn’t been in eons (there were only two parks when I went) I wanted to try and take advantage of everything that park had to offer.

One thing I wanted to find out more about was Downtown Disney, which seemed on my knowledge to be Disney’s answer to CityWalk at the Universal Parks. To a large extent I was right and I discovered that there at Downtown Disney there was an AMC 24, which I was likely to attend regardless, however, what was surprising and unique about this one is that four screens were siphoned off to a separate section of the theater and offer a dine-in experience.

Eating and the movies have been linked since the very beginning but never had I heard of such a literal take. I was so intrigued I had to try it. To be honest I was surprised once I was introduced to the notion why it isn’t more prevalent as concessions are where exhibitors make most of their money. Yes, I was are of places like the Alamo Drafthouse but it’s not set-up like this.

Sadly, we were getting informed very late and deciding on the fly so it was a rushed arrival and film choice was limited at that time of night but it needed trying.

Essentially you book your seat (much like in a restaurant or in a theatre where they have reserved seating) and there is a bar-table across your row. There’s salt and pepper already there, ketchup, cutlery and a napkin. The seat is incredibly comfortable like the finest stadium seating has to offer. An added bonus is that there’s a footrest underneath to improve the reclining experience.

What I had was a fruit salad, which was rather fresh and big (it’s easy to do but doesn’t often happen with fruit salad), an order of French fries (generous portions and above average in quality) and cake lollipops for dessert (a first so I have no frame of reference but the cake was incredibly moist and the coating delectable). The soda sizes, since it’s a movie theatre whose large is a tub-o-soda, are also plentiful and I believe refills are free. The wine list is rather good considering the kind of joint it is, however, what must be taken into account are pricing (it’ll add to your per-head total) and do you want to drink during said film, usually my answer to that is no.

I might suggest you do two courses if you’re watching your spending, as it was a vacation it wasn’t as much of a concern. I have a tendency to love the first row, which had my party nicely isolated from the crowd but it did make viewing/eating more challenging. You are accustomed to a box and a soda in an armrest when you factor in utensils and plates there are more machinations that divert your eyes. However, it was a very pleasurable experience overall, regardless. It’s one I’d recommend anyone try once and that I’d like to try anew.

For information such as menu and locations please visit AMC’s site.

61 Days of Halloween- Halloween (1978)

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Halloween (1978)

At times it can be almost more difficult to write about a great movie than it can be to write a mediocre or terrible one. That, however, is not the case when it comes to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

So much in this film works to absolute perfection. It starts right off the bat with the theme. It is not only one of the best themes in the horror genre but in cinema and furthermore there are variations on it such that the entire score is fantastic.

The film starts, of course, with the brilliant prologue which shows Michael’s genesis. There is tremendous use of POV in this scene and also silently the character is being built. Many a horror villain are too chatty. What separates Myers and Voorhees is their silence which amplifies the fear factor. What sets Myers apart is that he never has anyone acting on his behalf he is always “evil incarnate” as Dr. Loomis calls him. Which helps make the prologue more shocking and why it lands high on this list (don’t follow the link if you haven’t seen the film).

The prologue ends in a near cinematic tableau as we are allowed to absorb the awe of what we just witnessed. The story recommences 15 years later. Loomis is introduced and immediately another brilliantly staged and crafted scene breaks out where you see Michael in his present state.

Following this is where Haddonfield and its characters are introduced. The first two sections are played in darkness but then Loomis chasing Michael, Loomis talking to authorities, Laurie Strode’s day and Michael’s following are played in daylight. Night falls for good in the 35th minute of the film and from thereon in horror film history is made.

It can not be overstated that what makes the most effective horror films nine times out of ten is building character and concept. Loomis both in trying to get people to understand what they’re dealing with reveals some of what his experience has been and how he’s become not so much jaded as aware.

What should not be overlooked is all the talk about the boogeyman. It may be too easy to slough this aside as childish nonsense, however, the film makes it perfectly clear by the end that it’s as good a description as you’re likely to get.

Part of what makes Michael Myers such an iconic figure is that he really does get under your skin. He watches you when you don’t realize it, when you think you caught him he vanishes and he comes out of nowhere with some of the best entrances you can ask for in cinema. It truly is spine-tingling stuff. Furthermore these entrances while accompanied by SFX and music don’t crank the volume up so loud that that’s what scares you. That’s what I call a false scare. In this film music and effects underscore what is scaring you which is Myers.

It’s hard to think of a third act in a horror film which has more memorable, shocking and iconic moments. There is Judith Myer’s tombstone, the double-scare corpses and the shadow lurking. Yet it doesn’t stop there. Right at the end there are four extraordinarily memorable moments which to not give too much away I will similarly label: He is the Boogeyman, The Unscored Moment (where the silence makes the visual even more frightening), Vanish and The Breathing Montage.

It’s about as well-crafted as a film, regardless of genre, can be. It spawned a slew of imitators and it attacks primal fears on so many levels. There’s not much like Halloween and even with the ups and downs of the franchise it is likely the best horror series ever.


Why “Never Say Never” Makes Sense

This is a re-post from when Never Say Never was first announced. It makes sense to post it again on the verge of the film’s release.

Never Say Never (Paramount)

So recently both on his Twitter feed and on several media sources it was reported that Justin Bieber was to be the subject of an upcoming film release. The film would follow his world tour, intercut live performances be part doc, part biopic and be in 3D. Academy-award winning director Davis Guggenheim was attached to direct it, that has changed but those were the facts.
I find it a little humorous some of the reactions this announcement has been met with. Surprise should not be among the reactions though, derision though not necessarily deserved, was expected.
Taking some of these facts into consideration: Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus (as if they’re really two different people), The Jonas Brothers and even Celine Dion, of all people, recently had concert films so announcement this should be no surprise at all. Not to mention the record-breaking Michael Jackson doc This is It.
Not only is he talented but he’s out-earning all those acts at this point so of course a studio is going to want to put out a film. Being one who is familiar with him from his days of being pre-viral on YouTube it shocks even me that his rise to near pop immortality has been so meteoric and persistent.
And in 3D? Of course. Even though 3D fatigue is setting in, regardless of what scoffing studio execs say, there will still be those projects that will do it, and succeed, especially since a little more than a year has passed since Avatar smashed box office records just because it was shot in 3D. The overcharge, I mean surcharge, made it its money.
However, with him being a lightning rod anything Bieber-related is immediately fodder for conversation both positive and negative. It would seem this film is being overly-characterized as as a biopic, in the traditional sense of the word, much the way the photo book of his tour was being referred to as a memoir, where it is truly more of a chronicle, even if you don’t buy his assertion of it being a photo book.
Even more recently it was reported that Davis Guggenheim was dropping out. He is citing commitment issues as he will be plugging Waiting for Superman, his latest documentary about public education in the US, obviously there is speculation that he dropped it because his name was being dragged through the mud and the money wasn’t worth it.
I won’t comment on a personal/business decision but it most definitely would’ve been very time consuming. However, I don’t view this film as littering the cinematic landscape as it’s not a narrative film. It’s disposable (if you want it to be) entertainment that you can use once and destroy if you so wish and has no bearing on the overall aesthetic landscape of cinema as a whole.
This film will come and go and cinema will go on, so jokes or actual fears about the end times are greatly exaggerated.