This writer has been seeing his share of movie campaigns since last November with statements that can be translated as “Please consider us for your movie award(s)!” The kind of features that hark this message tend to be of the “art” or “independent” type that holds an aspect of a cast of actors and actresses that may not necessarily be big names in terms of box office fodder, but are ones that do their performance on screen in a respected matter. The movie itself is also be more melodramatic in nature. That is, the movie has a linear plot line with human characters taking place in some society that exists in the present time or in a historic past. The special effects used are either very minimal or non-existent. Some special effects may be utilized, but are used to create an illusion that made the movie a bit easier to create i.e. people riding in a car that posts an artificially generated background image. Overall, the movie may resemble an episode of a TV program that looks and plays better on a small screen rather than on a giant viewing area found in traditional theaters.
These same titles also attract a more mature “adult” audience as well. Because these titles are bucking for awards for categories such as ones that are “below the line” (editing, music score, special effects, art direction, etc.) or “above the line” (acting, directing, etc.) they cater to those that are involved in voting these features for those said awards. And a good number of these voters are of a mature age, ranking over the age of fifty. These are the type of movie goers that were weened in seeing newer movies in theater houses rather than on any electronic device that sports a video screen.
In today’s landscape, many folks that do watch movies, new or otherwise, have the choice to viewing these films in any environment that is anything but a theater! Of course, there is the convenience level. One can take on a flick anytime they want through a traditional TV device, their laptop, their electronic pad, or their smartphone. Granted, they may not receive the “big screen” pleasure when it comes to viewing a feature on a hand held device, but at least one can take that viewing experience wherever they may rome, assuming that one can access to a wifi connection somewhere!
As to the movie houses themselves. They have been attempting to bring much of the comforts of homes to their theater spaces, such as serving gourmet meals, alcohol by the glass, and even offering seat side service where waitstaff will take your order only to serve it to you within minutes. The seats themselves may range from oversize plush chairs to downright “Lay-Z-Boy”-esque seats complete with reclining backrests and ottomans to prop up one’s legs and feet. In other words, one can have the comforts of home without being home!
However, if one wants to have these elements at their disposal, one would have to pay for the privilege! Movie houses that offer such premiums can charge as much as $20.00 per person–not counting any other surcharges as to seeing a 3-D version of the same movie or viewing the film on an extremly large image method (IMAX, etc.), assuming that the title exists as large screen and/or 3-D.
Regular movie houses that may not serve fancy meals at their concession stand can also be pricey for what’s offered. A local movie house operated by one of the larger movie chains charges $15.20 for regular admission. There are discounts for kids under a certain age, seniors, those in the military, and for matinee screenings, but paying $15.20 for a movie may be a bit too much for some. (Why this movie chain charges that 20 cent addition is not known to this writer, unless that 20 cents includes any sales tax added to its admission price.)
For those in the know, video streaming may be more of a practical choice. Although sources such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. pushes original content, there are movies to view. And since the charge is on a month-to-month basis, anyone can gain access to an active account and watch as much content as one can stand for as little as ten dollars per thirty days! That’s a lot of “chillin’” to do no matter where and when!
Of course, there are exceptions to this scenario. Many of the super-hero titles are best seen on a big screen. Ditto for any Star Wars related entry. But for the most part, any movie that looks and acts in the same way that one can view on a video screen would be better off on such a screen. It can be done for a lot less, too!
This writer can also get into other reasons why movies in theaters has lost its appeal to the public. It could fall under the range of encountering rude staff, ruder patrons, as well as the chore of sitting through twenty minutes of advertising (not counting trailers as those are of a different entity) before the film actually begins! But the notion of having the movie fan finally making their stand has taken the industry’s attention in more of a serious matter.
But movie theaters are not going away at all! Retail stores also still exist even though anyone can buy nearly anything online. People do enjoy the emotional appeal, as well as the fact that they can get out of the house for a while! So to state that it’s the end of the world as we know it may be a bit extreme. It’s just another case for us to “chill”, and enjoy the show!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Kentwood Players presents as their first production of the calendar year, Arthur Miller’s THE CRUCIBLE, a play that speaks about some supernatural events taking place among a Puritan settlement.
Set within the waining decade of the 17th century inside of the new world settlement of Salem, Massachusetts, the village minister, Reverend Samuel Parris (Daniel Jruger) recognizes that his daughter Betty (Brenna Piller) niece Abigail (Caitlin Barry) as well as other young girls from the community engaging in some strange dance rituals in the nearby forest with his domestic slave Tituba. (Blinda A. Skinner) Betty soon falls into some from of deep sleep from the dancing. Rumors come about that some form of mysterious application was conducted among these girls, leading into the theory of the practice of pagan witchcraft that’s fully against the strict following of the Puritan lifestyle as dictated within the written biblical scriptures the community follows. Before long, there has been some notions of fears and doubts that such witchcraft is affecting the citizens and the remaining sect toward the community’s faith. What occurs is a struggle between their belief of God, the holding upon their scriptural based ways of existence, and the Devil itself, where its understood that this conviction can destroy their community and the people that dwell within.
This play, perhaps one of the greatest plays written by a 20th century American author, has been analyzed in many different ways and in many different formats. Perhaps the most well known and possibly accepted theory speaks for the anti-”red” political movement that was going on at the time of this play’s creation. (1950’s). As viewed within a contemporary domestic landscape of the present, its focus is set upon the actual witch hunts that were occurring in the latter era of the 17th century. Although over 400 plus years has passed since these events took place (or not), the play still rings true to the notions of the fear of the unknown and the aftermath it brings.
In this Kentwood Players production, some twenty-two performers appear within the cast. Among some of the notables, Harold Dershimer appears as John Proctor, a farmer that once had a fling with the Reverend Parris’ niece. Brad Halvorsen appears as the Reverend John Hale, a noted investigator of the supernatural. Stuart James Galbraith plays Deputy Governor Danforth, arriving to Salem to preside over the witch trials., and Aaron Merken plays Judge John Harthorne.
Even though this production does boast a hearty cast, the play itself is very talky (enough to fulfill its dramatic quotient), and it’s very long. (A running time of three hours including its fifteen minute intermission!) George L. Rametta directs this stage piece into a stirring drama that never lets itself down from its momentum, right to its final few moments.
Four (count ‘em) set designers were used in this stage production. Featured are the stage talents of George L. Rametta, George Kondereck, Jim Crawford, and Doug Carlson.
THE CRUCIBLE is indeed a modern classic work that only gets better (and perhaps more timely) over the ages. And what better way to experience this said classic work is on the imitate stage setting as presented by the Kentwood Players.
THE CRUCIBLE, presented by the Kentwood Players, performs at the Westchester Playhouse, 8301 Hindry Avenue (at 83rd Street), Westchester, until February 17th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. A set of three talkback sessions with the cast and crew will take place following the Sunday matinee performances of January 28th, February 4th, and February 11th.
For tickets or for more information, call (310) 645-5156, or via online at http://www.KentwoodPlayers.org
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