Archive for August, 2010

1.21 ‘JigaWatts’!!! A Film Trip Back In Time.

When it comes to movie theaters, I would say I’m something of an old soul. When most are clamoring to catch a glimpse of the latest 3D technology, digital projection or plush, reclining chairs that can hold a tub of Cherry Coke, I would leave that all behind for a one-hundred seat, single-screen cinema with sticky floors and a bit of character.

On a recent trip to Rochester, New York, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House. Built in 1951, the theatre is used by the museum for a plethora of events, showing everything from contemporary movies to foreign to classics and hosting a film festival every spring. George Eastman was the founder of Kodak and today, the museum holds one of the world’s largest collections of photography and film.

The experience at the Dryden was a memorable one. Outside, you’re greeted by a stately-looking structure that reminded me of the building at the center of that night’s movie; the clock tower from “Back to the Future.”

Yep, we were about to go back in time. And, upon entering the theatre it actually felt like we had gone in reverse a few decades. The walls were adorned with a variety of movie posters, showcasing films they had previously shown and some that were coming soon. You could smell the popcorn bursting forth from the vintage popper and excitement in the air. “Back to the Future” came out 25 years ago, but to these moviegoers it was like a brand new film. The line, featuring more than one person sporting a Delorean shirt, was literally out the door and my father had to ask a worker if seats were still available. Thankfully, they were.

The inside of theatre was more than I expected. It wasn’t overly ornate, but it had maybe fifty to sixty seats on the first tier in front of the screen. Most viewers, like myself and my Marty McFly-loving crew, were sitting in the balcony area. The seats themselves were old school. The upholstery was blue and comfortable, although the backs were a bit stiff; not anything that bugged me certainly. As the anticipation for the time-traveling adventure built, I took in the scenery. There was plenty of people watching with eclectic film buffs everywhere and I even took this snapshot of the curtain covering the screen. As the movie started it was raised into the rafters. A nice little topping on this “throwback sundae.”

But before Doc Brown got shot for stealing plutonium from Libyan terrorists, there was a special treat for fans of the film. A speaker dressed as Marty McFly, complete with his reddish orange “life vest” and jean shirt, gave a brief history of the production.

Many of the details, I already knew, but they are still noteworthy. Mainly, that writer Bob Gale came up with the idea after looking at his father’s High School yearbook and wondering what it would have been like to be friends with his dad as a young man. The other: the studio initially wanted Michael J. Fox for the part, but his scheduling conflicts with “Family Ties” prevented him from taking it. So, they cast Eric Stoltz instead. However, director Robert Zemeckis did not think Stoltz provided enough humor in the role. He was dropped after six weeks of filming and Zemeckis was able to convince Fox to work a grueling day-night schedule between the movie and his TV sitcom. I thought this history lesson presentation was a nice touch by the Dryden theatre. It serves as both educational and entertaining and gives moviegoers something more than they would find at an overpriced multiplex.

And then it was “Back to the Future.” Except for me, it was back to the past. The film was not just some dvd that was threw in and projected at 35mm. This was the real film celluloid, complete with “cigarette burns” or cue marks at the top right hand corner. The audience was ready for a great movie and they got it. They laughed at parts that were funny (Doc Brown screaming in horror at the thought of producing 1.21 “Jigawatts” of energy) and cheered when George slugged Biff to win Lorraine at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.

It was a great night, for the movie-going experience and the great company who saw it with me. It was a trip back in time, one that I wish I could take more often.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in 80's Fun and have No Comments

‘Black Swan’ Trailer

So, when all the headlines about the making of “Black Swan” were about Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis kissing, I was like come on Aronofsky, it’s been done. But this trailer fills me with some hope. Looks pretty interesting.

Natalie Portman stars as a neurotic ballet dancer who finally gets the lead role and then some unforeseen competition comes along in the form of Mila Kunis.  After that, it starts getting trippy, which I like. Portman has a crazy mother in Barbara Hershey, Kunis seems to be mirroring her ala “Single White Female” and what about those scars on your shoulder blade…oh, you’re actually becoming a black swan. Darren Aronofsky has been behind the camera of some interesting but bizarre films “Requiem for a Dream”, “The Wrestler” and one of my personal favorites “The Fountain.” Check out the trailer below.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in uncategorized and have No Comments

Update On the Lost ‘Jedi’ Clip & is 3D Already Dead?

Yesterday, I speculated that the deleted scene shown by Lucasfilm to tease its upcoming blu-ray release may not be as advertised. See my comments below.

And for the “seemingly” part. It looks legit and probably is, but there is part of me that thinks that clip was not filmed in 1982. One, all of the Darth Vader lines are virtually ripped from “Empire” and two, you never really see Mark Hamill’s face, just his chin. Like I said, I always thought this scene was never actually shot. Could this just be a ploy to get fans excited about the blu-ray discs and spend more money? I doubt it, but it makes for a great conspiracy theory.

Now, there is further evidence that, at the very least…it’s not what it appears to be. The clip below reveals that Mark Hamill never filmed that scene. So, the actor under the cloak is not him. Take a look.

I realize many shots in movies are body doubles, not the real actors. But, most of that is for scenes involving stunts, shots from behind or close ups. It seems this type of important establishing shot of Luke that was supposed to be at the beginning of the movie would be the real actor. I know I’m obsessing over this a little, but it would be a huge cheat if this were not filmed in the eighties.


And now to my disdain for 3D!

If television news is correct and they are never wrong! 3D is already losing steam and credibility with moviegoers. Many studio big wigs will tell you different, but that’s because they’ve invested millions in this gimmick that didn’t work in the 50’s or 80’s.

Check out the CBS story below.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in 3D,Star Wars and have No Comments

‘Star Wars’ Trilogy On Blu Ray 2011 & A Legendary ROTJ Deleted Scene

Lucasfilm has announced the original trilogy will finally be released on blu-ray next year. It will be a six movie box set featuring deleted scenes.

And that’s where it really gets interesting. Yes, deleted scenes may not seem like a big deal, but for these films they kind of are. Some have popped up on YouTube, but many have been kept under lock and key and rarely seen. There’s one I did not think even really exist. It’s a scene where Luke Skywalker is constructing his lightsaber at the beginning of “Return of the Jedi.” I was always under the impression that it had been conceptualized, but never actually filmed. Now, there’s proof that was not the case….seemingly….

Okay, not anything that’s going to change your life (except maybe for that guy who screams like a 10-year-old girl during the clip) but kind of cool.

And for the “seemingly” part. It looks legit and probably is, but there is part of me that thinks that clip was not filmed in 1982. One, all of the Darth Vader lines are virtually ripped from “Empire” and two, you never really see Mark Hamill’s face, just his chin. Like I said, I always thought this scene was never actually shot. Could this just be a ploy to get fans excited about the blu-ray discs and spend more money? I doubt it, but it makes for a great conspiracy theory.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Star Wars and have No Comments

‘Empire’ Producer Calls Out Lucas…

I am not a giant hater of the Ewoks. I guess I wasn’t as jaded in my youth and have never really thought of them as the downfall of the last film of the original Star Wars. However, many can’t stand them and think the ending to “Jedi” is a big stretch. Small bears beating up on soldiers…probably not. But you never know.

Anyway, for the first time, the producer of the first and second Star Wars films is speaking out about his relationship with creator George Lucas and why it soured. Apparently, Gary Kurtz wanted to make “Jedi” more like “Empire.” Specifically, he wanted Han Solo to die leaving Leia and Luke to end the battle on their own. He also was not a fan of the Ewok battle and thought Luke should walk off on his own instead of celebrating with the rest of the rebels. Kurtz did not even like the idea of a second death star! So, he essentially hated the whole movie!

And what could be the most damning admission, he stated Lucas only kept everyone alive because he wanted to sell more toys. This does not come as a shock, but to hear someone so close to the Lucasfilm empire finally admit that Lucas is a business man first and a moviemaker second is refreshing.

You can read the entire story in the LA Times here.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in uncategorized and have No Comments

‘Star Wars’, “Hurley” and ‘Simpsons’ Nostalgia

As any guy my age and George Lucas’ wallet can attest, Star Wars has become ingrained in our culture. For a look at just how much we have morphed into parts from the series check out this article from the Christian Science Monitor.


And speaking of Star Wars, 30,000 fans are expected to attend a four-day convention called “Celebration V” in Orlando this weekend.

Some of the highlights include appearances by Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and the main man himself George Lucas. He’s actually scheduled to be interviewed by Jon Stewart as part of the Daily Show. You can check out the details on all the fandom here.


Yesterday, Weezer announced the cover to its next album would be a picture of Hurley from “Lost” aka actor Jorge Garcia. And the album will even be called “Hurley.” Too bad Weezer makes dull pop music now otherwise that would make it that much cooler. Anyway, the Washington Post had a funny look at what would happen if other singers/bands adopted “Lost” characters.


For whatever reason, nostalgia probably, I had a yearning to watch old episodes of the Simpsons this week…back when it was funny. There are a ton of hilarious clips from seasons three through eight. Here are just a few I could find on youtube.


“You stupid monkey.”

“Oh, not in Utica. It’s an Albany expression.”

“Um…you probably should ignore that.”

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Lost,Star Wars,The Simpsons and have No Comments

Songs I Can’t Stop Listening To…

Sometimes tunes just get into your head and you have to hear them again and again. That hasn’t happened in a while. These tracks are worth checking out. May not be for everyone, but I’ve been digging them.





And finally blow out the speakers in your car with these Sleigh Bells tracks.




posted by Seth Szilagyi in Great Tunes and have No Comments