Friday, May 30, 2008

Mary Thoma holding June workshops for kids, teens

Local actress Mary Thoma is hosting more acting workshops. Below are basic details. If you need more info, email her.

Acting Fundamentals for Young People I – Sat., June 7
Ages 6-10, 9 a.m. to noon, $50
Ages 11-17, 1 to 5 p.m., $60

Acting Fundamentals for Young People II – Sun., June 8
Ages 6-10, 9 a.m. to noon, $50
Ages 11-17, 1 to 5 p.m., $60

Scene Study Weekend - Sat., June 14 and Sun., June 15
Ages 12-17, $150
1 to 5 p.m. Sat. and 2 to 6 p.m. Sun.

WHERE: Shreveport Little Theatre, 812 Margaret Place.
TO REGISTER: (318) 424-4439 between noon and 4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Moviesauce gave me a special chair

Only one other patron at tonight's sold-out screening of "Monster Camp" was brought a seat. And I had the fun of buying the last ticket, which was apparently the second last ticket.

Good show tonight at the Moviesauce Film Fest. All 48 seats of the Robinson Film Center's small theater were taken. Will you arrive early tomorrow? "Free rubber duckies to the first 47," I heard from an unreliable fictional source.

Leftover sauce
WHAT: Moviesauce Film Festival.
WHEN: Saturday, May 31.
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St.
COST: $7, per program. Available at the door or online at

1 p.m.:
Program 3 (“The Outhouse,” “The Summer in Winter”).
4 p.m.: Program 4, all shorts (“The Lonely Lights, The Color of Lemons,” “Love Pills,” “20q,” “Vanished Acres”).
7 p.m.: Program 5 (“The Golden Samovar,” “Fix”).
10 p.m.: awards announcement.

Get you movie synopses here.

First-person floor photography. I apologize.

First-person chair photography. Thank you for understanding.

Val Kilmer to attend one-night screening of 'The Doors'; event is fundraiser for Robinson Film Center

Val Kilmer will attend a special screening of "The Doors" on June 8 at the Robinson Film Center. I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to host a post-screening Q&A with the star. We'll talk about his iconic performance and this engrossing Oliver Stone film. Totally dig it.

For me, this event is a cinephile's dream. Can't wait.

Kilmer's in town filming "Microwave Park," and the crew will attend the special screening beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Monday. $125 each. 118 available to the public. Proceeds will benefit the film center. Kilmer will also participate in a prescreening reception, beginning at 4 p.m. Get all of your details here.

The post-screening Q&A is part of the Scene Screened monthly dialogue series that The Times and the Robinson Film Center are cosponsoring.

What questions do you want answered at the Q&A? Post some of your ideas and let's get the conversation going.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Get 'Lost,' TV geeks

I write that with love. The Robinson Film Center is screening the two-hour season finale of "Lost" on Thursday (May 29) in its big theater. I've seen a couple digital shows there. HD projection is pretty sharp.

The screening is free and begins at 8 p.m. (theater opens at 7:45). If you're feeling guilty, buy concessions.

RFC staffers want you to come dressed as your favorite "Lost" character. Is Alf on "Lost?" Or Balki? Since I don't watch the show -- I just lost 200 cool points -- you'll have to fill me in on the details.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Old movie theater + me = 'Sorry, dear!'

My wife went to Chapel Hill this week, and all I got was this lousy cellphone picture.

Actually, to my eyes, the Varsity Theater looks pretty cool. If I could go to a movie house like this every weekend, we'd be in couples counseling.

If you got a pic of your favorite old movie theater -- I like 'em classic, now -- send it to me at

Friday, May 23, 2008

Robinson Film Center debuts new website

The downtown film center has debuted its new website, which includes their precious movie show times. Click here to see it. It's a looker. You like?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mr. Evan Sauce has your movie synopses right here

Mr. Evan Sauce — the angry guy on the right — was kind enough to provide these synopses for the upcoming Moviesauce schedule.

What's Moviesauce? While it goes well with a sandwich, its founders — Mr. Evan Sauce and Mr. Hunter Sauce, who cracked my camera lens with his anger — would like you to think of it as Shreveport's only sauce-friendly film festival. It runs May 30-31.

If you go
Moviesauce Film Festival.
WHEN: May 30-31.
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St.
COST: $7, per program. $30, festival pass. Available at the door or online at
INFO: or

May 30

7 p.m.: Program 1 (“American Deluxe,” “Monster Camp”).
9:30 p.m.: Program 2 (“Equal Opportunity,” “Commit”).

May 31
1 p.m.: Program 3 (“The Outhouse,” “The Summer in Winter”).
4 p.m.: Program 4, all shorts (“The Lonely Lights, The Color of Lemons,” “Love Pills,” “20q,” “Vanished Acres”).
7 p.m.: Program 5 (“The Golden Samovar,” “Fix”).
10 p.m.: awards announcement.

(Documentary, USA, 79 min.)

For 48 consecutive hours — there are no breaks, not even for sleep — immerse yourself in a world completely unlike our own. A world built upon fantasy, chivalry, and imagination; a place where you can dress how you want, wield almost any power imaginable, and live as you choose: as hero, healer, or villain. It’s a place that lets you transform yourself, perhaps into the person you wish you really were. Welcome to Monster Camp, the true story of NERO Seattle.

Monster Camp meticulously examines the lives of die-hard gamers at NERO Seattle. The devoted group congregates at a secluded state park where they act out battles complete with magic potions, evil spells, and legendary sword fights. On the outside, these people are software engineers, department store managers, and high school students, but for one weekend they seamlessly transform into dwarves, dragons, and green lizard people.

Director: Cullen Hoback
Screening: Program 1, Fri, 7:00 pm

(Narrative, USA, 91 min.)

Two strangers meet at a coffee shop for what seems like a blind date. But as the conversation progresses, it becomes clear that this couple, who have never seen each other face to face and who met on the Internet, have actually formed a suicide pact. Problems arise when the two realize that they may have finally found something worth living for. Comprised of three continuous takes — one take for each act — and shot over the course of two days, Commit is witty and disturbing, as well as an inspirational achievement in independent filmmaking.

Director: Mickey Blaine
Screening: Program 2, Fri, 9:30 pm

(Narrative, Italy, 70 min.)

Deep night. In a motel on the outskirts of Copenhagen, a young man has just finished having sex with an older prostitute. He holds her and asks her to stay one hour more, just to talk with him. As the dialogue proceeds, their demons and their regrets emerge. They find that they are each bound to a desperate story of abandon, and that they may have more in common than they think.

Director: Davide Sibaldi
Screening: Program 3, Sat, 1:00 pm

(Narrative, USA, 90 min.)

Racing across Los Angeles in one unwieldy day, documentary filmmakers Bella and Milo race from Beverly Hills to Watts and places in between to get Milo’s brother Leo from jail to rehab before 8pm, or Leo goes to prison for three years.

A story inspired by true events, the trio documents their trip from a suburban police station in Calabasas through mansions in Beverly Hills, East LA chop-shops, rural wastelands, and housing projects in Watts as they attempt to raise the $5,000 required to get Leo into the rehab clinic.

Along the way they encounter dozens of colorful characters, each with their own anomalous perspective on Leo’s larger than life personality and style, and each with their own excuse for why they cannot help out. In the end, it may take a drug deal to get the funds needed for the rehab clinic.

Director: Tao Ruspoli
Screening: Program 5, Sat, 7:00 pm

(Narrative, USA, 15 min.)

“The concept for this film stems from a mix of ideas that I had been gathering. I have always had this main character in the back of my head; the smarmy advertising executive that is at the top of his game and wants more from it. By placing this character in such obsequious surroundings — i.e. gorgeous home, job, car, wife — I was trying to paint this life of a commercial you would see in a glossy print mag or on television. Everything that’s being sold to you looks appealing; yet upon closer inspection, it’s just an empty shell. Now although the plot of ‘man-at-the-top-of-his-game-is-unsatisfied-and-wants-a-better-life’ has been done to death, I thought it would be funny if the solution to his problem were as easy and hollow as the problem itself: just walk away. And with an ironic sense of self-accomplishment, he does just that.”

Director: Aaron Brownlee
Screening: Program 1,Fri, 7:00 pm

(Narrative, USA, 7 min.)

Diverse co-workers share their true feelings about one another in the break room in this award-winning short recommended by The Toronto Star — "if you happen to be a racist misogynist with a mild form of Tourette’s." It recently premiered at the U.S. Comedy Arts Film Festival in Aspen and South by Southwest, and won ‘Best Film’ at the first annual NBC Comedy Shortcuts Film Festival along with a $25,000 grant and development deal. It also won ‘Best Comedy’ in the first annual Show off Your Shorts Festival, and received Honorable Mention for ‘Audience Choice Award’ at the World of Comedy Film Festival in Toronto.

Director: Howard Duy Vu
Screening: Program 2, Fri, 9:30 pm

(Documentary, USA, 5 min.)

The story of a 60-something woman and her backyard outhouse.

Director: Jack Truman
Screening: Program 3, Sat, 1:00 pm

(Narrative, USA, 16 min.)

A visual study of a young jogger who is shown a series of inkblot paintings that propel him into a collection of stories and memories centered on childhood, questions of sexuality, and an enigmatic girl. The film is structured around eight of these paintings, each paired with a single word. It is based on a similar structure around which filmmaker Su Friedrich built her film “Sink or Swim.” In this, she took words starting with the backwards alphabet — (Z)ygote, (Y)Chromosome, (X)Chromosome, (W)itness, etc. This led the film into a relationship with her father that after viewing was completely real and understandable, but indescribable. “The Lonely Lights...” is the study of a character that has no discernable arch or event which changes him dramatically, but rather a series of experiences that has created a person from nothing. The form of cinema is false, but this character is real. It works with the theme, ‘who we are is who we were.’

Director: Benjamin M Piety
Screening: Program 4, Sat, 4:00 pm

(Animation, USA, 3 min.)

There’s a goddess of love living on the clouds, and she looks down at the forest and drops her love pills to make the creatures fall in love with each other. She doesn’t care about matching them; all she wants are the pretty stars that she gets when they fall in love. One day, she is looking down at the forest, and sees a guy she likes. She decides to leave the clouds to go down and use her pills on him to make him love her.

Director: (April) Seojin Lee
Screening: Program 4, Sat, 4:00 pm

(Narrative/Mocumentary, USA, 35 min.)

The Twenty Questions Association of America is growing slowly, but to an odd group of devoted fans, the world is focused on little else. Set in the hills of Tennessee, this new mockumentary directed by Benjamin Keith follows Lolita Dorchuck (“Saturday Night Live” alum Victoria Jackson), a stressed out mother of three and aspiring Twenty Questioner, Fritzgerald McDermott Doubet (Ron Chastain), the leader of the local Twenty Questions chapter, Martin Miller (Jerry Bowman), the 2002 National Twenty Questions Champion, and the other members as they strive to win and advance to the national Twenty Questions competition.

Director: Benjamin Keith
Screening: Program 4, Sat, 4:00 pm
(Narrative, USA, 31 min.)

In this surreal tale, an old farmer discovers his deceased wife had an affair with his scarecrow, revealing a haunted past.

Director: Adam Bolt
Screening: Program 4, Sat, 4:00 pm

(Narrative/Musical, USA, 7 min.)

The three daughters of a Russian mapmaker venture off into a perilous forest where raging bears and magical cats are commonplace. They must rely on the wisdom of a choir of singing owls to guide them in this musical journey through the enchanted forests of Mother Russia.

Director: Phillip Chernyak
Screening: Program 5, Sat, 7:00 pm

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spoof movies are super speedy

This morning, shortly before getting my first dental crown – my dentist and I are cooking up a super-secret sci-fi comedy about a future world where patients drop off their detachable jaws at the front desk – I spoke with Jerry Jacobs, a producer on "Disaster Movie" (aka "Goodie Two Shoes").

For an upcoming story, we talked about affordability of Shreveport, the overlooked production expenses of shooting on location, viewing downtown Shreveport as a back lot, making foam asteroids, and crawfish. (Don't think the crawfish quote will make the final draft.)

While touring the set, Jacobs offered me some really cool insight into the process of making a spoof movie. "Disaster Movie" is being made by the directors that have also done "Epic Movie" and "Date Movie." These movies – more so than others – are assembled very, very quickly. The director's cut* will be finished just two weeks after production wraps. That's lightning fast. Ten weeks is DGA requirement, Jacobs said. (They'll spend the summer tweaking, doing sound, scoring and all that complicated post stuff.)

"Disaster Movie" is even spoofing yet-to-be-released blockbusters like "Indy 4" and "Hancock." I saw a set for the "Indy" scene, and it looks eerily like the one seen in Entertainment Weekly's summer movie preview double issue (April 25/May 2).

We know movies like "Disaster Movie" work to be current because we can read the cast lists at, but still: the pace must cause editors to lose a lot of sleep. Can any editors out there verify this?

"Disaster Movie" will be released Aug. 29.

Oh, and if I learn that any of you peddling a dental sci-fi comedy – I'm going to be rich! – I might have to "marathon man" your attorney.

* In the post-production world, there are basically three film-editing phases: 1) assembly cut, aka first cut, 2) director's cut and 3) final cut, aka studio cut.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Come talk animated shorts at the Robinson Film Center

Unless there is breaking news or a sale at Penney's, I'll be hanging out at the Robinson Film Center tomorrow night (May 21) to watch a program of the 2007 Oscar-nominated animated shorts.

It begins at 7 p.m., and I should arrive around 6 or so. Come hang out!

Why? There's this brilliant local documentary filmmaker who has been pushing me – he doesn't need to push hard – to continue to help grow a local cinephile scene. (It's been growing for years, thanks to the efforts of the Centenary Film Society, minicine? And RFC.)

Why should you go?

One, chances to see animated short films on the big screen are few and far between, especially outside of the arthouse and museum world. These promise to be good stuff, and it's really, really fun to see them with an audience.

Two, members of the Shreveport Cartoonists Society will be at the screening too, and they know a boatload more about animation than I do. Ask a question or two, and you're bound to get into one of those dizzying conversations about animation history, technique and hidden symbolism. (Like if you play "Steamboat Willie" backwards … .)

Three, I talk a lot. And when I'm talking to myself on the RFC balcony, it's a bit off-putting.

Just come hang out.

PHOTO: "Peter & the Wolf," a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Monday, May 19, 2008

NYT's The Bagger profiles The Shreve

David Carr was in Shreveport! OK, I know you're more excited to read that he has profiled Shreveport's movie industry in The New York Times. But really ... The Carpetbagger, the best movie reporter in moviedom, was checking out The Shreve! (He's the guy who videoblogs the run-up to the Oscars.)

Here are a couple of choice excerpts.

About competitiveness: "It is that economic infusion, the kind that pumps new blood and money into a post-industrial city, that has state and local governments all around the country constantly wooing the entertainment industry. New York, for example, recently announced new incentives, partly to make sure that American productions stay in its state, not Connecticut or Vancouver or, sometimes, Romania. With the dog fight among all the competing locales, there is a chance that it will turn into a zero-sum game."

From Oliver Stone, who is in town directing "W.": "'I’m used to making movies around here. ... I made four movies in Dallas. And where we are right now,' he said, gesturing toward the town and the plains beyond, 'is Bush country, so it feels right.'

"'You get something working with extras from here,' Mr. Stone added. 'Look, these people are gamblers and roughnecks. They know all about boom and bust. This is a second-chance town. I just read that there may be a huge reserve of gas right under the city that was not discovered until very recently."

Superb piece (mostly because Carr took the time to find Herby-K's). Over time, NYT's coverage going to draw a lot more press to this city. It only builds interest.

Again, read every word of it.

Micro-budget director shooting promo trailer May 31

An indie horror director is shooting the promotional trailer for his next project, "The Hurting Kind," on May 31.

"I'm making a local film using local talent and using local cast and crew," said Glen Grefe. The promotional trailer will be used to raise money for the production.

Grefe made his latest film, "Nutcracker," on a micro budget. It cost less than $10,000.

He hopes to raise more money this time around. "I want to escalate. I really want to branch out to a high quality audience this time around."

"Nutcracker" was distributed on DVD through Brain Damage Films, which serves a market for low- and micro-budget horror.

To be successful with "The Hurting Kind," Grefe will have to build a cult following through YouTube, etc., and serve the niche audience what it wants: presumably, something super freaky.

Grefe's a bit hush-hush on the details, but I know this. The heroine of "The Hurting Kind" feels no pain, so we can assume there will be "Saw-like" scenes of torture and torment.

"It's going to be very character driven," Grefe promised. "She uses her own weakness to get through the situation. Her weakness becomes a strength."

He promises that it won't be camp, either. "It's a fine line of emotion because you can easily stray into corniness," he said. "I like serious horror, and it's a challenge."

The shoot will take place at the Lee Hardware apartment building in downtown Shreveport. (Lots of artists live there.) He's going to need a crew of 12 to 20 and a cast of "one to four."

Rehearsal will take place May 30 between 7 and 9 p.m. The shoot will last all day May 31.

The promo shoot is strictly a volunteer affair: no pay, but you will be fed.

For a list of everything he needs, click here. If you want to contact Grefe, click here. If you want an idea of what Grefe makes, check out the trailer for "Nutcracker" below. (It's not for kids.)

And here's an early, early promo trailer for "The Hurting Kind."

Video story from Austin American-Statesman; wave tank footage

Austin American-Statesman surveys The Shreve

The Austin American-Statesman's Chris Garcia dropped in for a visit recently and reported on the Shreveport movie industry. The piece published Sunday. One thing that's interesting about the piece is the way Amber Havens describes the state film incentive game. Havens works at the Office of Entertainment Industry Development (state film office) in Baton Rouge.

"It's an arms race between states," Havens told the Statesman. "Each state is going to have to evaluate what is the return. These new states that come out with guns blazing tend to fall by the wayside."

It's important to read this in the context of the full article, which can be found by clicking here. (Check out an infrastructure/production history comparison sidebar here.)

Garcia also found a fresh perspective on the film industry's oft-promoted economic benefits. He spoke to Don Baylor of the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, who said: "There's much more prestige that comes with having the film industry in your state than there is true economic impact .... It's not really a sustainable effort. You're subsidizing things one project at a time, and the impact is fleeting."

The following excerpt on Shreveport's handling of the industry is interesting, too. About The Shreve, Garcia writes: "Comparatively light street traffic, easy access to all parts of the city in 10 to 15 minutes, and low-cost housing compound the appeal. (The median home price in Shreveport in early 2008 was $131,000, compared with $184,000 in Austin.) The city government bends over backwards to aid filmmakers and smooth the process, waiving permit fees for location shooting and offering free city water to productions for simulated rain and floods. The City of Austin discounts services but rarely offers them for free."

Again, read all of Garcia's reporting. It's worth your time.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Finding Hollywood in Mineola

My wife and I spent the weekend in Mineola, Texas, and the plan was to get away from our professional lives for 48 hours. That plan lasted about three hours. Just after we checked in and set out to find dinner, we stumbled upon the Select Theater. It's been in operation since 1920 -- the oldest in Texas -- and today shows movies on the weekends. We saw "Prince Caspian" there with a half-full house. Admission was $5 evening, $3 matinee.

Since these places live off of concessions, we went a bit Trump at the lobby counter. Bag of Whoppers. Bag of Reese's Pieces. Box of Junior Mints. Bottle of water. And a small Sprite. They stuck us with a -- wait for it -- $7.50 tab! Holy cheapskates, Batman. It was small-town movie theater heaven.

The Select is now being run as a nonprofit and also houses the Lake Country Playhouse.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Here are your local movie show times

Hey, cinephiles. I'm getting quite a few inquiries about finding show times for the local movie theaters, particularly the Robinson Film Center.

On, here are direct links to show times:
Cinemark Tinseltown USA - Shreveport
Regal Bossier Corners 9 - Bossier City
Regal Louisiana Boardwalk Stadium 14 - Bossier City
Robinson Film Center - Shreveport

FILE PHOTO: Six dollar tickets to "Star Wars?" True in 1999. (File/The Times)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

‘W.,’ ‘Goodie Two Shoes,’ ‘Microwave Park,’ ‘Billy the Exterminator’ shooting in The Shreve

Here's the most recent production update from the state:

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development. Here's what's happening for mid-May 2008:

The Lifetime Movie of the Week Living Proof starring Harry Connick Jr. is in preproduction in the New Orleans area with shooting scheduled for June 2 through June 27. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 731-7114.

The independent feature film Drones is in pre-production Baton Rouge with shooting scheduled for three weeks beginning May 28. Resumes for crew are currently being accepted by fax at (225) 610-1664.

The Seven Arts Pictures feature film M.A.D. is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from June 1 through July 8. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 582-5152 or by e-mail at

The Bullet Films feature film Judgment Day is shooting in Lafayette through June 7. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Nu Image/Millennium feature film Microwave Park is shooting in Shreveport with through the second week of June. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at

The Sci-Fi Channel television movie Lightning Strikes is shooting in Baton Rouge through the end of May. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (207) 433-2972.

The Disney television series Imagination Movers is shooting in Harahan through July 18. An intermediate camera crew is currently needed for three weeks. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 818-3840.

The Prescott Productions feature film W. starring Josh Brolin and directed by Oliver Stone is shooting in Shreveport through July 12. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 603-9556.

The Lionsgate feature film Goodie Two Shoes is shooting in Shreveport through June 6. Inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (318) 682-5644.

The independent feature film I Love You, Phillip Morris starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor is shooting in the New Orleans area through June 30. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 596-3221. For casting information, please visit

The A&E Network reality television series Billy the Exterminator is shooting in Shreveport through late June. Resumes and inquiries can be sent to

The Weinstein Company feature film Patriots starring Forest Whitaker and Lil' Wayne is shooting in Metairie through June 1. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Universal Pictures feature film Cirque du Freak starring Salma Hayek and John C. Reilly is shooting in New Orleans through June 1. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 571-2023.

The New Line Cinema feature film Final Destination 4 is shooting in Harahan through May 29. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 734-3403. For casting information please e-mail

The Screen Gems feature film Mardi Gras is shooting in LaPlace and New Orleans through July 11. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 566-8384. For casting information, please visit

The independent feature film Chess is shooting in New Orleans through May 16. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 821-7867. For casting information, please visit

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at

Monday, May 12, 2008

Innocence Lost: My first memory of 'First Blood'

WHAT: One night special screening of "First Blood."
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday (May 15).
WHERE: Louisiana Boardwalk 14 and Tinseltown USA.
COST: $10. For tickets, visit theatre box offices or order online at

One of my strongest early movie memories is "First Blood." Is it sad or a badge of pride? Allow me to transcribe the most memorable lines from memory:

Col. Trautman: "The mission is over, Rambo. Do you understand me? The mission is over! ..."
Rambo: "Nothing is over! Nothing! You don't just turn it off! It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! ..."

Ahh, the sweet recollections of a 7-year-old cinephile slouching in a dusty movie seat, his imagination swallowed whole by the dark recesses of a Mankato, Minn., campus theater.

As you might have guessed, my father was (fortunately) rather loose in his definition of the R rating. I think he read it as Recommended.

I saw absolutely everything he saw, and he just happened to have an affinity for the finest work of Sly, Arnold, Clint and, later, the inimitable Jean-Claude.

Yes, I saw "Commando" in theaters. And "Bloodsport." And "Tightrope." And I seem to remember Sly's cross-dressing scene in "Night Hawks." (I was 5 or 6 but assure you: I was very mature.)

My mother, on the other hand, had high cultural tastes. She took me to the opening night of "Amadeus" at the Cine 4. We laughed when Wolfy farted.

What's your strongest movie memory from childhood?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

'Forever' dialogue was a goodie

About 20 people showed tonight at the Robinson Film Center for the first edition of our monthly dialogue series. Pictured (from left to right in artful blur) are Scarlett Hendricks, Steve Roell and me. We chatted about "Forever," a documentary by Dutch filmmaker Heddy Honigmann, and their interests in cemeteries and roadside memorials. For me, it's simply great to be a part of a crowd that is passionate about understanding what they see. Thank you to everyone for coming out and extending a Sunday night.

"In Memoriam," an exhibition of the work of Hendricks and Roell, opens Thursday at artspace.

Hope to see you at the film center today

Photographers Scarlett Hendricks, Steve Roell and I will participate in a post-screening discussion of "Forever" today. It screens at 6 p.m. at the Robinson Film Center.

We'll try and map out connections between the documentary and their upcoming artspace exhibition, "In Memoriam." Read more about it here.

RFC's programmer Chris Jay and I are hoping that these Q&As offer local cinephiles an opportunity to do something that's becoming too rare: talk publicly about why art and film matters.

The discussion will last about 20 minutes. If it's going good, we'll head up to the RFC's bistro for more.

Come on down!

(For those who hate parking downtown, no worries. On weekday evenings and all day on weekends, there are 105 free spaces within 1.5 blocks of the film center.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

I'll be reviewing select movies, leading post-screening Q&As at RFC

We're bucking a small trend at the Shreveport Times. Today, I began reviewing select movies that will play at the Robinson Film Center. My first installment is "Honeydripper." I most certainly won't be reviewing all movies that play there, but I'm going to work to check out the best. My guess is that I will average about 2 to 3 per month.

I'll also continue to review movies that were shot in Shreveport.

Why are we bucking the trend? Newspaper movie critics -- like performing arts critics -- are disappearing pretty quickly. Just take a listen to a story by NPR's David Folkenflik. He cites increased interest in online trailers, shrinking newspaper profits, early online reviews, and the proliferation of web-only movie reviews as reasons why newspaper criticism is suffering. Sites that compile and rate reviews -- like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes -- are also providing movie consumers with new ways to choose what they see.

As is the case with my performing arts reviews, I hope my opinion provides a starting point for local conversation about independent film. I'm always open for a good conversation about movies and the arts. If you want to chat about what you see, please leave a comment or send me an email.


I'm also partnering with the Robinson Film Center to lead monthly post-screening discussions. Our first will be this Sunday after the 6 p.m. screening of "Forever." For about 20 minutes, I'll discuss the documentary with local photographers Scarlett Hendricks and Steve Roell. Both "Forever" and the photographers share an interest in the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris and memorials. Photographs of Hendricks and Roell form artspace's "In Memoriam" exhibition, which opens May 15.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

EW gets first look at 'dub-ya'

Have you seen the cover of Entertainment Weekly? They got a pretty stellar piece on "W.," the Oliver Stone bio pic of our current president. The flick begins shooting Monday in Shreveport.

Here's a link to the story. And below are some pretty choice excerpts. This movie could hit theaters when election season is at its peak.

"For the first time, he's turning his cameras not just on a living president but on one who'll still be knocking around the White House when the movie premieres late this year," writes EW's Benjamin Svetkey. "As if that weren't provocative enough, Stone could end up releasing the film as early as October, at the height of a presidential campaign in which one of the major issues will undoubtedly be the legacy of the guy on the screen."

Stone has promise a fair portrait of President Bush, but the director isn't shy about his take the president's legacy: "'Bush may turn out to be the worst president in history,'" Stone told EW. 'I think history is going to be very tough on him. But that doesn't mean he isn't a great story. It's almost Capra-esque, the story of a guy who had very limited talents in life, except for the ability to sell himself. The fact that he had to overcome the shadow of his father and the weight of his family name — you have to admire his tenacity. There's almost an Andy Griffith quality to him, from A Face in the Crowd. If Fitzgerald were alive today, he might be writing about him. He's sort of a reverse Gatsby.'"

Read ever inch of this story. It's a great read.

Shreveport's going to be on the political map in November after all. What do you think?

Thanks, V.S., for the tip.

Bounty of La. DVDs coming soon

I know it's summer blockbuster season but lots of La. movies are coming out on DVD very soon. I'm most interested in seeing "The Cleaner," which is a Nu Image/Millennium Films project starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris and Eva Mendes.

Which DVD will you buy?

"The Great Debaters" (Shreveport, DeSoto Parish): May 13

"Mad Money" (Shreveport): May 13

"The Cleaner" with Samuel Jackson (Shreveport): May 27

"Meet the Spartans" (shot in LaPlace and New Orleans): June 3

"Jumper" (Baton Rouge): June 10

"My Mom's New Boyfriend" (Shreveport): June 17

Thanks to Amber from the state office for providing most of this list.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

RFC's No. 1 fan

Vic Phares bought the Robinson Film Center's first-ever movie ticket on Monday for "Honeydripper." Who was Number 2? You guessed it: me. Just as the number on my RFC membership card suggests, I'm doomed to be The Shreve's Undisputed Runner-Up.

Congrats, Vic!

REMINDER: The monthly Louisiana Produces meetup gathers tonight at 7 at the film center. RFC's Clare France will give a tour and cover what's shooting in Shreveport.

Monday, May 05, 2008

'Honeydripper' opens at film center today

UPDATED: RFC's bistro will open Tuesday at 5 p.m., according the spokesman Chris Jay. They're experiencing some computer glitches. Movies, however, will screen today as planned.

They're still working out some Who's still sleeping off the aftereffects of Shreveport's downtown Saturday night? The city was on the verge of spontaneous combustion this weekend: Robinson Film Center's gala, plus the Shreveport Symphony at Riverview, Cinco de Mayo at Festival Plaza, "spaceart" opening at artspace, and the Pink Party at Municipal Auditorium. I was exhausted by attending just two events.

And oh yeah, by the way. The Robinson Film Center opens today. I'll be at the 5:15 p.m. screening of "Honeydripper" (if I survive an afternoon trip to the dental chair). I'll be hanging out in the bistro until they kick me out. If you come see a movie, say hi (to the guy still giggling from laughing gas).

Here's the schedule for the first two weeks. Scroll down for synopses.

Today, May 5
"Honeydripper," 5:15 p.m., 7:40 p.m.
"Forever," 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 6
"Honeydripper," 5:25 p.m., 7:50 p.m.
"Forever," 5:40 p.m., 7:40 p.m.

Wednesday, May 7
"Honeydripper," 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
"Forever," 5:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m.

Thursday, May 8
BPCC student film, 6-10 p.m.
"Forever," 5:30 p.m.
"Honeydripper," 7:35 p.m.

Friday, May 9
"In Bruges," 4:45 p.m., 9:15 p.m.
"Under the Same Moon," 7 p.m.
"Forever," 5:10 p.m., 9:40 p.m.
"Honeydripper," 7:15 p.m.

Saturday, May 10
"Under the Same Moon," 12:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 9:15 p.m.
"In Bruges," 2:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
"Forever," noon, 5 p.m.
"Honeydripper," 2:05 p.m., 7:15 p.m.

Sunday, May 11
"In Bruges," 11:50 a.m., 4:20 p.m., 9:05 p.m.
"Under the Same Moon," 2:05 p.m., 7 p.m.
"Forever," 12:15 p.m., 6 p.m. (with special guests)
"Honeydripper," 2:25 p.m.

Monday, May 12
"Under the Same Moon," 5:30 p.m.
"In Bruges," 7:40 p.m.
"Honeydripper," 5 p.m.
"Forever," 7:25 p.m.

Tuesday, May 13
"In Bruges," 5:25 p.m.
"Under the Same Moon," 7:35 p.m.
"Forever," 5 p.m.
"Honeydripper," 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, May 14
"Under the Same Moon," 5:15 p.m.
"In Bruges," 7:30 p.m.
"Honeydripper," 5:30 p.m.
"Forever," 7:55 p.m.

Thursday, May 15
"In Bruges," 5:15 p.m.
"Under the Same Moon," 7:25 p.m.
"Forever," 5:35 p.m.
"Honeydripper," 7:45 p.m.

Friday, May 16
"Counterfeiters," 7 p.m.
"The Band's Visit," 5:15 p.m., 9:20 p.m.
"Chop Shop," 7:15 p.m.
"Under the Same Moon," 4:45 p.m., 9:05 p.m.

Saturday, May 17
"Counterfeiters," 12:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 9:15 p.m.
"Chop Shop," 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
"Under the Same Moon," 2:25 p.m., 7 p.m.
"The Band's Visit," 2:40 p.m., 7:15 p.m.

Sunday, May 18
"The Band's Visit," 12:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
"Chop Shop," 2:20 p.m., 7:20 p.m.
"Under the Same Moon," 1:55 p.m., 7 p.m.
"Counterfeiters," 11:50 a.m., 4:15 p.m.

"Honeydripper" (2007): Set in 1950 rural Alabama, the fable about the birth of rock'n'roll takes place at the down-and-out Honeydripper Lounge. In a last-ditch effort to save the club, its proprietor (Danny Glover) hires Guitar Sam for a one-night-only show. When the headliner lands in jail, the Honeydripper bets its future on an unlikely savior. Written, directed and edited by John Sayles ("Lone Star").

"Forever" (2006): The documentary explores the enduring mystique of one the world's most famous cemeteries, Paris' Père-Lachaise. Oscar Wilde, Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust and Jim Morrison, among many other famous names, are buried there.

"In Bruges" (2008): Hiding in Bruges, Belgium, after a difficult job, two hit men clash on the meaning of life, death, tourists and local customs. The darkly comic crime picture stars Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson and was written and directed by award-winning playwright Mark McDonagh.

"Under the Same Moon" (2007): A young boy travels to the U.S. from Mexico to find his mother after his grandmother passes away. One of the most successful Spanish language films to be distributed in the U.S., the drama features "Ugly Betty's" America Ferrera in a supporting role.

"The Counterfeiters" (2007): Winner of 2007 Academy Award for best foreign language film, the Austrian film is based on the massive Nazi counterfeiting ring established in 1936. After being arrested and thrown into a concentration camp, a notorious counterfeiter is forced to put his skills to work making fake foreign currency.

"Chop Shop" (2007): A street smart Latino orphan named Alejandro works in an auto-body repair shop inside a junkyard on the outskirts of Queens, N.Y. Within a chaotic world of adults, young Alejandro yearns to make a better life for himself and his 16-year-old sister.

"The Band's Visit" (2007): A small Egyptian police band travels to Israel to play an initiation ceremony. Through no bureaucratic fault of their own, the band members are left stranded at the airport and soon find themselves in a small desert town. The Israeli/French film was an official selection of 2007 Cannes film festival and has won many festival awards.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Robinson Film Center's new digital projector ...

I'm jus' keeding! This relic sits on the front concession counter.

I got a little tour of the Robinson Film Center today. (If I ask to see it one more time, I bet I'll be arrested.)
They had one of the digital projectors (not pictured) fired up in the big theater. It's pretty sweet, and the glassed in projection room will give you a glimpse of how digital movie projection works. Not as romantic on traditional 35 mm (which the film center will also show) but the results are hard to argue with.

Its planners have spent six years fine-tuning, funding and building this $4.2 million movie theater and education center. It's now built and will soon be running. Now, the RFC's big question is, "We built it. Now will they come?" Time will tell.

Meanwhile, my questions for you:
  • Are you going to attend screenings at RFC on a regular basis?
  • Will you eat at its bistro?
  • Will your kids take advantage of its educational programs?
  • Will you drive downtown for entertainment?
  • Will you take your baby to cry-baby matinees?
  • Will you attend programs for senior citizens?
  • Will you buy coffee and muffins there in the morning?
  • Will you make it a regular stop on your leisure schedule?
  • Will you support it financially?
I'd like to learn how you plan to use RFC or why it doesn't fit into your life. Please let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email. This is an important discussion to have.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

TV show seeking personalities

The A&E reality series "Billy, the Exterminator," currently filming in northwest Louisiana, will hold a talent search on Saturday, May 3.

Show producers will hold open interviews for aspiring TV show personalities willing to work with insects and pests.

Auditions last from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Vexcon Pest and Animal Control, 1201 Linton Road, Benton. For information, call (318) 965-1912.

Calling all Ira Glass fans

"This American Life: Live": a live-from-New York HD broadcast with host Ira Glass.
When: 7 p.m. tonight (May 1).
Where: Cinemark Tinseltown, 8400 Millicent Way, Shreveport.
Cost: $20. Prebuy tickets here.

It's probably good I can't attend tonight's live broadcast of "This American Life," the public radio and television series. I'm a superfan of host Ira Glass, and I'd probably scream out my undying love of his storytelling savvy during the entire screening. "Nice metaphor, Ira!" "Poignant personal anecdote, Mr. Glass!" "Thematically rich narrative, Mr. Super Awesome Host!"

My absence shouldn't stop you from going, though. (It should actually encourage you.) If you don't know anything about This American Life, learn more here. According to a press release, here's what to expect at tonight's show: "Glass debuts never-before-seen extraordinary, funny and true stories from everyday life, shows outtakes, and answers audience questions. This exclusive theatre event will be broadcast LIVE from New York via satellite to select movie theatres nationwide."