PLEASE, STUDIOS... This is getting very old!

Dick

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Some incredibly overused and especially annoying theatrical devices of the past few years:

1. Movie trailers that are a series of quick fade-outs and fade-ins, with tiny snippets of the movie inbetween. This is headache-inducing, like a strobe light, and it seems all of you are fully committed to using this. Sitting through five or six of these is insufferable. And dump the damn electronic "whoosh" 's that accompany each excerpt.

2. Wall-to-wall music scores. Have any of you actually watched movies from the halcyon days of your studios? Music was used sparingly and way-y-y more effectively, accentuating a mood when needed but rarely drawing undue attention to itself. Why is it suddenly necessary to saturate every moment of film with underscore (frequently bad underscore). C'mon, people, make your movies good enough so that the dialog and mood sell the movie, not a lot of noise disguised as music when it isn't necessary or even appropriate..

3. You are all guilty of this, especially in today's horror movies: Every friggin' time something appears suddenly onscreen, you can't just let allow the visuals to grip us. No, you have to hurl a deafening dts screetch at us. Yes, it startles us. But it doesn't scare us. Hitchcock and all great directors knew that it is suspense, not a series of brief shocks (exception : PSYCHO), that keeps audiences on the edge. Atmosphere and great dialog and acting create the lasting dread in audiences. Look at THE HAUNTING, or THE INNOCENCE, or THE UNINVITED (1944), or THE CHANGELING, etc. Spreaking of things appearing suddenly onscreen in horror films, can we not put to rest the clumsy device of having a cat or a bird suddenly jump or fly into the frame (with, of course, the requisite single note of "scare" music)?

4. MAKE GOOD 3-D MOVIES if you want to keep soaking us for extra bucks!! 3-D and "intelligence" need not be an oximoron. You are strangling the still-promising format with dumb fantasy and action flicks, and the novelty has worn off. Now, take Ang Lee's lead and use the extra dimension to immerse the audience in fine adult movies and better kid movies that are involving first on a story level, then on a visual level. Use 3-D with restraint, and give it the chance to sink in, rather than using staccato editing and hurling things every which way...which is bad enough in 2-D, but with 3-D, it really does induce headaches. Give our tired brains time to sort out where and how far away the objects and actors are supposed to seem through those glasses before moving on to the next shot.

5. Train theater personnel how to remove 3-D filters from in front of (especially) the Sony projectors when a non-3-D is showing. Then insist that they perform this task, so that we can enjoy 2-D films at more than 60% luminance and without those horrible hot spots. Well, you wouldn't listen to Roger Ebert, why would you klisten to me?

6. You are doing well. Your box office grosses are pretty healthy overall. Cut the rental fees to theaters owners (if I am not mistaken, it is costing you infinitely less to provide a digital download than it is to send out 35mm prints, and you didn't even foot the bill for the projectors!), but where are your savings showing up as lower ticket prices for us? I still think it would help everyone if you were all to put a cap on actor salaries to accomplish this, but I know I'm dreaming. There is no solidarity in Hollywood anymore than there is in Congress. If you could find a way to charge theaters lower rental fees, perhaps they could in turn afford to lower their concession fees, ticket fees, and eliminate the fifteen minutes of infuriating commercials we get before the movies. We're paying to see them, after all -- this is not network television.

This is a small list of major peeves I have, and I would welcome contributions from others.
 

Malcolm R

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Dick said:
6. You are doing well. Your box office grosses are pretty healthy overall.
Since the bottom line is the bottom line, and after all your peeves you admit that the business is doing well, I'd imagine their attitude is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." They seem to be giving audiences what they want.

Though I'm sure they'd prefer not to have technical issues with presentation at the theater. I've never had issues with the 3D to 2D problem you note above. But I am frustrated with the inconsistency of the presentation and atmosphere.

Sometimes the sound is so low you can barely hear it; other times it's so high you can feel vibrations in your chest. Sometimes it's so cold in the theater you're shivering; other times it's so hot you drip sweat. I don't understand why standardized volume settings and functioning thermostats set to a reasonable temperature seem to be so hard to achieve.
 

Michael Elliott

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With your #6, the theaters around here don't play commercials before the movie anymore. There's some sort of program that plays before the start time, which gives us previews of TV shows, movies and other products but thankfully this stops once the ticketed start time happens. I can't remember what this program is called (AMC or something???).

Movies aren't made for film buffs anymore. They're made for people who have nothing to do and want to get out or for the teenagers who make up the majority of the box office. I don't think these people care about the prices or if they do it hasn't stopped them from going. I've seen over 50 movies at the theater this year alone and I think the ticket prices aren't bad. Rave Cinemas have $5 shows all day on Wednesday and anytime before noon. I think AMC is around $6 before noon and the local arthouse has a $6 Tuesday. The food/drink issue is something else but I might get a popcorn once out of every six movies. It does amaze me that people can drop $30 on tickets and then another $50 at the c. stand but we could take this topic to concerts, baseball games and other sorts of entertainment. People pay the fees so I don't see why the higher ups are even going to consider bringing down the prices.
 

Vic Pardo

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1. Movie trailers that are a series of quick fade-outs and fade-ins, with tiny snippets of the movie inbetween. This is headache-inducing, like a strobe light, and it seems all of you are fully committed to using this. Sitting through five or six of these is insufferable. And dump the damn electronic "whoosh" 's that accompany each excerpt.
Esp. ditto on this one.

The trailers today usually completely destroy whatever mood of anticipation I had for whatever movie I'm seeing and leave me highly annoyed and unreceptive.

I don't go to the movies anywhere near as much as I used to. Fewer movies I want to make the effort to see. Fewer theaters to go to. And fewer single screen theaters where you can just walk in off the street after buying your ticket and--boom!--you're inside the theater. These days you have to wait on a long line at a multiplex, even on a slow night, because they only have one cashier selling tickets to ten-to-25 theaters, and then you have to take an elevator or a series of escalators to get to your theater and then sit in stadium seating where the seats bend way too far back, which causes me severe back pain. It's a lot of work to go to the movies these days. As opposed to when theaters were everywhere. (At least in New York.) I once had something like 13 theaters within walking distance of my home.

I'm tired of special effects extravaganzas. I remember when effects sequences in movies were few and far between and the film had to build up to them and you had to wait for them. Think of any Harryhausen movie. I mean, even a phaser blast or a beam-down sequence in "Star Trek" (TOS) was a big deal. Now, when the whole movie is wall-to-wall effects, it just doesn't have the thrill or the meaning these things used to.
 

Chuck Anstey

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#1 I agree with 1000% and have commented myself on it

#4 I want good 3D movies but different from you. You want good movies in 3D. I want good 3D in movies that are enhanced by good 3D. Good 3D to me means using the full range from far in front to way back of the screen and for a purpose. Most 3D movies show restraint and becomes pointless 3D.
Michael Elliott said:
Movies aren't made for film buffs anymore. They're made for people who have nothing to do and want to get out or for the teenagers who make up the majority of the box office.
I'm pretty sure that was always true. There were very few movies made in the past that would be considered for "movie buffs" compared to the total number of movies made. It's just that those run of the mill movies are no longer available so we only see the best of the best of the past. I have always been of the opinion that people go to the movies to "go to the movies" and then pick what they want to see except for the occassional event film / summer tent pole where they actively seek it out.
 

Michael Elliott

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I think people pick whatever they've heard about or whatever isn't going to make them think. Back in the day there was certainly a lot of trash or films that are forgotten about but studios could also make "quality" pictures and they make money at the box office. It seems like today you might get one or two "great" movies to make money but the rest play in a handful of theaters and then are gone. There's a great thread at another forum about the various releases in NYC and there are usually 5-10 "new" movies getting released there but no where else. Taking a look at Boxofficemojo, it's rather incredible how many films hits one or two theaters, getting under $1000 total.

UPSIDE DOWN, STOKER, THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, TRANCE, DISCONNECT and MUD are all some of the best movies I've seen this year but not many went to see them. The exception of course is MUD, which has made a little money but it's still sad that Witherspoon and McCon. make more money with some of the trash they've released in the past.

I always argue that there are just as many great or good movies as there was anytime in history. As you said, it's just that the bad, boring or fair movies of 1939 aren't talked about and instead people just look at the 12-15 that were great. Today, I just think most people want 2+ hours of entertainment that they can turn their brains off to. Not that there's anything wrong with this but....
 

Everett S.

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Malcolm R said:
Since the bottom line is the bottom line, and after all your peeves you admit that the business is doing well, I'd imagine their attitude is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." They seem to be giving audiences what they want.

Though I'm sure they'd prefer not to have technical issues with presentation at the theater. I've never had issues with the 3D to 2D problem you note above. But I am frustrated with the inconsistency of the presentation and atmosphere.

Sometimes the sound is so low you can barely hear it; other times it's so high you can feel vibrations in your chest. Sometimes it's so cold in the theater you're shivering; other times it's so hot you drip sweat. I don't understand why standardized volume settings and functioning thermostats set to a reasonable temperature seem to be so hard to achieve.
Well there are no more Projectionists!. They need a mgr. that cares. On a recent visit to the movies the masking stayed shut, covering about 4ft. on each side of the screen!. Also there were no Ushers to check on phone users,temp. & sound level, & focus!!!
 

Dick

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Mikael Soderholm said:
Although I understand what you mean, I LOLed at this ;)
Touche. I laughed, too, now that I think of it that way!
 

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