by Julian Spivey
Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies offered up the chance of a lifetime for true classic film buffs when they brought “Casablanca,” named by the American Film Institute as the second greatest American film of all time, to theatres across the nation for one night only in celebration of the film’s 70th anniversary.
The 70th anniversary showing was shown locally at the Cinemark Towne Center in Conway, Ark. on Wednesday (March 21) at 7 p.m. and offered this film buff an opportunity that he thought he’d never get to cherish … seeing Michael Curtiz’s 1942 Oscar best picture-winning film, starring the legendary Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, on the big screen.
I had seen “Casablanca” before, as any true film buff should, twice in fact, but seeing in on the big screen in its original aspect ratio was like seeing it for the first time. Despite the film obviously not changing from the first to third viewings it was indeed better than the first two times I had seen it, which is really saying something as I already agreed with it being one of the greatest films ever made.
Why was it better? It’s one of those things that I just can’t put into words (probably because I’m in the middle of a small writer’s block), but I’m sure it had to do mostly with it being a big event shared with a theatre full (well, fuller than I expected) of fellow cinema lovers and a potential once in a lifetime opportunity.
It was such a once in a lifetime opportunity that dedicated fans came from over 100 miles away just to see the film on the big screen. My father, who is not nearly the classic film buff that I am, but is quite the Humphrey Bogart movie buff, came all the way down (along with my mother) from the Mountain Home, Ark. area, a good three hour drive away from Conway and paid for a hotel room to stay overnight just to see “Casablanca” in its natural glory. Conway was the closest showing of the film from where they lived, and one of only three showings in Arkansas.
That’s the type of film that “Casablanca” is … it’s can’t miss.
I’d love for the local theatre here in Conway to show other classic films on the big screen for us movie lovers to see. Imagine seeing Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” or Victor Fleming’s “Gone with the Wind” on the big screen. Imagine how breathtaking those would be, or “The Wizard of Oz” or “Singin’ in the Rain” or “The Searchers.” You could go on and on …
One classic that I’d love to see on the big screen is David Lean’s 1962 classic “Lawrence of Arabia” … the desert is so breathtakingly beautiful on the small screen just imagine its wide expanse on the gigantic screen. This is that film’s 50th anniversary, so what better time than now, right?
Seeing those films on the big screen would be to quote another Bogart film “The Maltese Falcon,” the stuff dreams are made of. But, for now those other films will have to remain just that, dreams. Thanks to Fathom Events and TCM, though, at least one dream did come true.
by Julian Spivey
It was very obvious just by watching the movie trailers last month during the Super Bowl that 2012 is going to be a busy year at the movies for Taylor Kitsch, which also means 2012 could potentially be a make or break year for the talented young actor.
Kitsch, who is perhaps known to many from his fantastic role as Texas high school football rebel Tim Riggins from the fabulous “Friday Night Lights” drama series that ran for five seasons on NBC, is starring in three feature films this year. All three of those films are potentially breakthrough roles for the 30-year old actor who has all of the makings of a big time movie star (looks, charisma, talent – you name it).
The three movies that Kitsch will be starring in this year are Andrew Stanton’s Disney science fiction blockbuster “John Carter” (released to theatres this Friday), Peter Berg’s summer blockbuster science fiction film “Battleship” (released May 18) and Oliver Stone’s newest flick “Savages” (released July 6).
“John Carter” is based off of Edgar Rice Burroughs ‘Barsoom’ novels that were first published 100 years ago about a Civil War Confederate captain who is mysteriously transported to Mars where he joins a fight between two warring nations on the planet. The film is the live-action debut of highly successful animated director Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E”).
Based on the trailer for the film I thought that “John Carter” frankly looked pretty horrible, but the majority of the film’s early reviews are actually pretty positive, which could mean that the film is a pleasant surprise. For Kitsch’s sake I hope it is a good film and a big success, because I don’t think there’s anything that can save his second film this year, “Battleship,” as far as quality.
“Battleship” is based on the Hasbro board game of the same name, I kid you not. The film has been referred to by many as “Transformers at Sea” and honestly from viewing the trailer that appears to be exactly what it is. In fact, it’s probably no coincidence that Transformers is also a Hasbro brand.
The plot of “Battleship” is that a naval fleet in the Pacific has to fight an alien species known as “The Regents,” that frankly look a lot more like Transformers than aliens (which is apparently a common trend now – see “Super 8”), hence the movies comparison to the ‘Transformers’ trilogy.
The ‘Transformers’ films are always critically panned, but box office gold and that’s exactly what I expect from “Battleship.” It’ll most likely be a horrible film, but the summer moviegoers should eat it up. Kitsch’s acting skills are probably too good to be making films like this.
Kitsch’s third film release of the year, “Savages,” could very well be his most acclaimed as its directed by multiple-Oscar winner Oliver Stone, who’s considered one of the best directors of the modern era, but really hasn’t had a hit in sometime. “Savages” is about two marijuana growers (Kitsch and Aaron Johnson) who confront a Mexican drug cartel when their shared girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped. The film has a fairly big supporting cast that includes John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman, Benicio del Toro, Emile Hirsch and recent Oscar nominee Demian Bichir.
Being a huge fan of “Friday Night Lights” I know well that Kitsch is an amazingly gifted actor who should easily become a huge movie star, but this first year of big time roles for the actor could determine his Hollywood future. 2012 could also dictate whether or not Kitsch becomes a bankable box office blockbuster/action star, which could be disappointing for me as a fan of his, because those movies are often low on quality, and I know Kitsch has the potential to star in truly great films.