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By September 16, 20082 Comments

This is the column I sub­mit­ted to the Capital Times last week. After a little dis­cus­sion, Editor Aaron and I decided that it would serve no good pur­pose in run­ning it in the paper, but it might be of interest here.

First up, I’d like to thank every­one who voted for this column in the Readers’ Poll – very grat­i­fy­ing. It was very nice to con­firm that one is read and appreciated.

But I’m not actu­ally review­ing films this week, for a couple of reas­ons which will give you an idea about how this thing gets put togeth­er. For the (almost) two years that I have been drop­ping this column on you I have attemp­ted, space per­mit­ting, to cov­er every film that gets released in as timely a fash­ion as we can man­age. Not because I des­per­ately need to see the new Nancy Drew film or Curse of the Golden Flower or Meet Dave, but so that you, dear read­er, when decid­ing what to do this week­end, will at least know that a film exists, what it might be about, and that “that clown Slevin hated it” so it’s prob­ably worth a look. It’s a ser­vice and nobody else provides it.

This means watch­ing upwards of half a dozen films a week on top of a full-time job and part-time study, mak­ing each week­end a mil­it­ary exer­cise in effi­cient time man­age­ment; check­ing sched­ules for every cinema along with bus timetables, work rosters, fam­ily birth­days, you name it.

This year, the Capital Times was­n’t offered a media pass for Reading Cinemas which meant screen­ing options were reduced some­what. If a Readings film is play­ing any­where else in town, I’ll hap­pily watch it at that loc­a­tion (except Hoyts as Capital Times does­n’t have a pass for there, either) but on the rare occa­sion they have an exclus­ive I rely on radio sta­tion pre­views, the occa­sion­al dis­trib­ut­or pass or the gen­er­os­ity of the Dom-Post’s Graeme Tuckett (as his date). With cre­ativ­ity, we get by.

This week, of the four films open­ing that haven’t already been covered, three are Readings/Hoyts exclus­ives which, as you can guess, is an almighty pain in the a$$.

On Saturday I dis­covered that I am no longer on the Penthouse Cinema’s accred­ited review­ers list, I’m guess­ing due to some­thing I wrote in this column a few weeks ago cri­ti­cising the tech­nic­al present­a­tion in two of their four cinemas. It was noth­ing that I had­n’t men­tioned to staff at the time (who respon­ded with a shrug) and in the very same column I praised the new cinema 3 which is a lovely room, beau­ti­fully pro­por­tioned, very com­fort­able and tech­nic­ally excellent.

I’ve always believed that, because of the intensely loc­al nature of the Capital Times, I should review the exper­i­ence as well as the indi­vidu­al film and if the cinema is cold (Rialto), the aspect ratio is wrong (Rialto again), the purple soundtrack is clearly vis­ible on the side of the screen (yes, Rialto again – an easy tar­get as they don’t exist any­more): if it effects the exper­i­ence I’ll men­tion it. Or not. For example, I did­n’t men­tion that at my last (final?) vis­it to the Penthouse I tripped over an empty wine bottle left behind from the even­ing before, had to close the door to the cinema myself once the film had star­ted and, half way through the screen­ing find an attend­ant and tell them that the house lights had come on.

Of course, the Penthouse is under no oblig­a­tion to give free tick­ets to any­one, par­tic­u­larly if they feel they’ve been maligned, but I could have done with find­ing this out before I schlepped my way up the Brooklyn Hill in the rain and wasted my Saturday after­noon. Son of Rambow is the fourth film of the week, and hav­ing been turned away from it, frankly, I’m in no mood to bust my balls try­ing to see the the others.

I really don’t want to sound all “poor me” about this busi­ness, as I say it’s neither here nor there wheth­er I see rub­bish like Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution or not, but it’s Capital Times read­ers that miss out and that both­ers me. Normal ser­vice will be resumed next week, minus any Penthouse exclus­ive product until fur­ther notice, but I’d be inter­ested to know what read­ers think. Do you care about stand­ards, or just the films?