Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

Tony Curtis died today aged 85. One of the most beloved classic Hollywood stars, he was an actor of limited range but who nevertheless gave some landmark performances. He was both a matinee idol and later on a gay culture icon, father of Jamie Lee Curtis and husband to Janet Leigh. My favorite Curtis moments include his turn in THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS:

And of course in Kubrick's SPARTACUS:

He tried to stretch his range by taking on the role of the killer in THE BOSTON STRANGLER (1968) and his only Academy Award nomination came from that quintessential liberal 1950s Stanley Kramer movie THE DEFIANT ONES. But his most remembered, quoted and loved role came from Billy Wilder's SOME LIKE IT HOT, where he parodied one of his early heroes, Cary Grant:

Monday, 27 September 2010

UK Box Office 24-26 Sep

Will Ferrell's comedy continues to run the box office two weeks in, while two new entries post decent but not breakout performances. THE TOWN could have legs though and if cinemas keep it on, I reckon it could build word of mouth. Joe Dante's THE HOLE will most likely acquire cult status.

1 - THE OTHER GUYS (£1,291,826) (2 weeks, Total £4,410,165)
2 - EAT PRAY LOVE (£1,158,976) (New)
3 - THE TOWN (£997,087) (New)
4 - THE HOLE (£900,460) (New)
5 - DEVIL (£528,396) (2 weeks, total £1,849,497)]
6 - TOY STORY 3 (£461,116)(10 weeks, total £70,681,495)
7 - GROWN UPS (£383,686) (5 weeks, total £6,911,411)
8 - RESIDENT EVIL 3 (£367,673) (3 weeks, £4,125,208)
9 - TAMARA DREWE (£253,471) (3 weeks, £2,111,787)
10 - MARAMADUKE (£244,285) (6 weeks, £4,800,307)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Next 100 Years

Today the Duke of York's Picturehouse turns 100. When I started the job in 2004, this anniversary seemed a million miles away, and it lingered in the back of my mind for about four years. Then in 2008 we started slowly planning our celebrations, and two years later, here we are.

The Duke of York's has been more than my workplace for the past six years - it's been the place that has allowed me to do everything else: pursue my MA, travel to festivals, write this blog, record our podcast, work with extraordinary people, with artists, performers, musicians, comedians and above all the core staff that has been with me since the beginning: Flick, Tora and Jimmy. And of course talking to our wonderful customers. For all of that I owe the Duke a lot.

So although today is all about looking backwards to our history, I want it also to be an opportunity to look to the future of our little cinema. For some time we have been pursuing the expansion of the Duke of York's into the Fire Station next door, and recently there have been some developments which give us hope. Our plans include building a few more screens, a bigger cafe/bar, even a restaurant, and perhaps a partnership with another cultural organisation in town which would significantly expand the amount of arts on offer in Brighton & Hove. As soon as we can, we'll announce more.

Until then, do pop by this week to wish us a happy birthday and leave your own memories of coming to the Dukes. If you're farther away, check out our history website and send us a message.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Uk Box Office 17-19 Sep

Will Ferrell comedy THE OTHER GUYS takes the top spot this weekend while across the pond Ben Affleck's THE TOWN takes number one. DEVIL opens in the second slot in what is a slow week for exhibitors. The only other release to even crack a significant screen average was arthouse film WINTER'S BONE which opened on 50 prints, an ambitious release for specialist distributor Artifical Eye.

1- THE OTHER GUYS (£1,971,275) (New)
2- DEVIL (£806,779) (New)
3- RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (£686,243) (2 weeks, total £3,150,061)
4- TOY STORY 3 (£570,649) (9 weeks, £71,806,688)
5- GROWN UPS (£511,616) (4 weeks, total £6,303,744)
6- TAMARA DREWE (£431,900) (2 weeks, total £1,547,744)
7- THE LAST EXORCISM (£320,315) (3 weeks, total £3,167,101)
8- MARMADUKE (£273,101) (5 weeks, total £4,523,266)
9- DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (£238,087) (4 weeks, total £2,053,198)
10- SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD (£232,355) (4 weeks, total £4,813,232)

Monday, 13 September 2010

Uk Box Office 10-12 Sep

This week 3D gorefest RESIDENT EVIL captures the top spot without much difficulty. Also, a success for British cinema: TAMARA DREWE opens strong (albeit very widely for a homegrown film) with around £2K screen average.

2- GROWN UPS (£734,960)
3- TOY STORY 3 (£733,695)
4- THE LAST EXORCISM (£721,960)
5- TAMARA DREWE (£601,678)
7- GOING THE DISTANCE (£431,792)
8- CYRUS (£424,911)
10- THE EXPENDABLES (£362,539)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Venice: Postscript

I returned from Venice yesterday after a fortnight on the island of San Servolo. I didn't get to enjoy the Mostra di Cinema as much as I would have liked to, but I did see three films: Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN, which me and Rob Beames agreed is a masterpiece, Catherine Breillat's SLEEPING BEAUTY, a monumental failure, and John Turturro's PASSIONE, a sweaty, funny, energetic and beautiful document of the Naples music scene.

At the CICAE training, it was my job to keep notes of all the English language sessions, and we had some interesting ones. Kelly Bagely, from Morris Hargreaves McIntyre in Manchester, had some radical ways of looking at venues from the audience perspectives. Based on extensive audience research, her company help organisations like TATE understand what audiences want from them. I found it fascinating!

Another interesting session was held by Patrice Vivancos, an expert for the European Commission, who talked about the need for more cinemas and why, making a convincing argument for higher screen density and its relationship to cinema admissions.

The most important element of all, of course, was meeting all the new trainees, 51 of them from 27 different countries, including Daryl Els from Johanesburg and Roy Dib from Beirut. Some of the interesting people (I couldn't possibly list them all) I spoke to included Meryl Moser from Switzerland, Martyna Lach from Warsaw, Dirk Van Der Straaten from Amsterdam and Ivea Bužinskaitė from Lithuania. They all had backgrounds and experiences that aroused my interest, and now I can count them as friends too. One year ago this led to many projects and ideas - who knows what will come out of this year's training.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Uk Box Office 3-5 Sep

Another week of box office figures from the school holidays end you see the rise in non-family films, which dominated the charts for so many weeks. It's also a shrunken market, with films that opened in July (INCEPTION, TOY STORY 3) still in the chart.

1- THE LAST EXORCISM (£1,066,324)
2- TOY STORY 3 (£920,998)
3- GROWN UPS (£860,533)
6- THE EXPENDABLES (£620,271)
7- SALT (£503,692)
8- THE SWITCH (£468,313)
9- PIRANHA 3D (£443,795)
10 - INCEPTION (£411,743)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Venice: All the Days

Training work has kept me too busy to blog, but there is a lot going on: I saw two movies in the Mostra, BLACK SWAN and SLEEPING BEAUTY, recorded a podcast with Rob Beames, and have been meeting the new trainees from the CICAE workshops. BLACK SWAN is, in my view, Darren Arronofsky's first masterpiece. He blends the techniques from REQUIEM FOR A DREAM with the narrative drive of THE WRESTLER to create a mind-blowing experience, a total cinematic event that will not leave my head. Superb from beginning to start, I really can't think of a flaw. A perfectly constructed and realised piece of work, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was a hit in the UK< and gathered some Oscar nominations (specially for Natalie Portman, who is at her career best).
Last night we saw Catherine Breillat's SLEEPING BEAUTY, which was an embarrassing mess of a movie (made worse by the director's presence in the Sala Darsena) which starts off as a funny, quirky take on the fairy tale and about 15 minutes in jumps the boat with so many ludicrous and poorly acted turns that we all were checking our clocks to see when the 82 minute disaster would finally and mercifully come to an end.

You can read all of Rob's coverage at the Picturehouse Blog, his own blog and at Obsessed With Film. You can also listen to our special Venice podcast on itunes her, and on the Picturehouse website here.