Digital Projection

ritz thomaston

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, we highlight one theater that is in desperate need of saving. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. Ritz Theatre Location: 114 S. Church Street, Thomaston, GA Opened: March 13, 1927 No. of screens: 1 Current first-run titles: Monsters University (The Lone Ranger replaces it on Wednesday) Somehow this column has become focused more and more on cinemas in need or already going out of business. It’s not that surprising, as independent movie theaters have long been struggling and now Hollywood’s abandonment of film prints is the last straw for a lot of movie houses. Fortunately there are crowdfunding sites to bring awareness to and donations from local communities that don’t want their historic venues to close. This week I’m showcasing a small town operation that I’ve personally never been to called the Ritz Theatre and Cafe. Located in Thomaston, GA, the place needs a full digital conversion costing $75,000.

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“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, we highlight six businesses in need of financial assistance. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. What do the six movie theaters listed in the headline have in common? Besides being six places I’ve never personally been to, they’re all businesses currently campaigning on Kickstarter to raise money for digital projectors. With Hollywood’s plan to completely cease film print distribution this year, many independent movie houses are trying not to become extinct as well. But most can’t afford the transition to digital and must crowd-fund for the costs (read a nice L.A. Times story on this nationwide issue here). So, here’s a little highlight of each cinema, what’s apparently so great about it and the status of its fundraising goal.

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Simon has already weighed in on Moonrise Kingdom – his first Cannes film of 2012 – but we check in with him to see what 6 films he’s looking forward to the most. Plus, Movies.com’s Peter Hall faces off against Landon Palmer in the Movies News Pop Quiz, and we end up asking important questions about repertory screenings. Will the films of the future digitally last forever? Download Episode #134

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This is the fight of the generation. The proliferation of technology, the cost and the spread of “democratic filmmaking” have propelled digital to the forefront, threatening to end 35mm as a platform. As more theaters convert wholly to digital projection and “projectionists” only understand how to press a button to make the movie work, the 100-year-old medium of preference is losing out. Which is why Christopher Nolan gathered the most prominent filmmakers together to watch 6 minutes of The Dark Knight Rises. As Gendy Alimurung writes in an absolute must-see article in LA Weekly evocatively titled, “Movie Studios Are Forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film. But the Consequences of Going Digital are Vast, and Troubling,” Edgar Wright, Michael Bay, Bryan Singer and a host of other notable names were brought in for the “ulterior motive” of Nolan’s plea to save 35mm. Now, he’s fighting with ink. In the latest edition of the DGA Quarterly, the master filmmaker has some lofty words for 35mm and a strong dismissal of change for change’s sake.

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Culture Warrior

Way back in the summer of 2004, on the heels of the great success of I Love the 80s and (later) I Love the 70s, VH1 tested the bounds and justifications of the nostalgia market by releasing the initial ten-part I Love the 90s. Instead of simply reflecting upon the most memorable and oft-canonized popular culture products and national news events of the 1970s and 1980s (two decades whose iconography had become ever more apparent, stylized, and parodied during its reappropriation in late 90s/early 00s pop culture), VH1 instead attempted (perhaps unsuccessfully) to create a trend rather than merely follow the typical, perhaps “natural” cycle of nostalgia. Because I Love the 90s aired only a few years after the actual 90s ended, VH1 situated the early 21st century – a time that ostensibly marked a major temporal shift but (save for 9/11) had yet to be self-defined – as a time that uniquely necessitated an immediate reflection on how to understand the 20th century, even the years of that century that were not so long ago. The experiment was both engaging and bizarre. By 2004, the early 90s had come into stark, VH1-friendly self-definition. Yes, we could all collectively make fun of Joey Lawrence, Pogs, oversize flannel, and Kevin Costner’s accent in Robin Hood, and share in the memories and irony-light criticisms therein with Michael Ian Black and Wendy the Snapple Lady. However, by the time the show reached 1997-99, I Love the 90s seemed less like a program banking […]

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One balmy afternoon last year in September, Neil Miller, Luke Mullen and I set out to enjoy the cinematic experience of Gamer and rushed headlong into one of the problems with the technological takeover of the projection career field. The path is an easy one to follow. More theaters have increased digital capability and diminished testing standards for projectionists, which means when a film print comes in, the push-button projectionist swaps reel 2 and reel 5, leading to an even more convoluted version of Gamer. Oddly enough, when we explained the problem to the management, they said they’d played the movie all weekend with no complaints. That’s Neveldine/Taylor clarity for you. More so than the petty complaints of three filmgoers, the profession itself is on the brink of extinction.

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Steven Spielberg goes old school with Indy 4. And we don’t mean that in a good way.

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