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By Asides, Family and meta

I got back a couple of hours ago from a family holiday, three generations of Slevins having a very relaxed time of things in sunny Hawkes Bay. I managed to go almost cold turkey on the the Internet apart from one breof period where I updated the Academy Cinemas web site for the new week. By Saturday however I found myself trying to read the tiny type on the Nokia 6120 web browser. It’s instructive that the two sites I chose to look at were Public Address and Daring Fireball. Perhaps I should purge everything else from my RSS feeds and spend more time in the sun in 2009?

Anyway, apologies for not having the Summer Film Review posted yet — it went to print in the Capital Times last Wednesday — nor have I updated the capsule reviews to the right. This is obviously sub-optimal performance and will be remedied over the next few days.

Way behind

By Asides and meta

Just a quick note to say, yes, I know I’m a week behind with the reviews (there’s a Capital Times review from Wednesday of- Christ I can’t even remember what they are now -Irina Palm, Rise of the Footsoldier, Max Payne, something else) but I’ve just sent my last but one assignment for the Massey PGDipBA away via fax and I’ve got one more assignment due this week and then an exam, so- y’know, I’m busy and tired and doing 1.75 jobs at Downstage at the same time. Yeah, poor me.


By Cinema, meta and Wellington

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?

Quiet and Peace

By Asides and meta

The last few weeks have been horrendously busy, what with one thing and another, but I’ve finally got a few hours to myself today. This will mean, I will be able to post a few things that have been sitting in the queue.

For what that’s worth.

And, the [local difficulty about which I cannot speak] looks like dragging on still further until at least early October. <Sigh>

2.5 Upgrade – again with the breaking

By meta

A few weeks ago I got a strange email (apparently from myself) saying that this blog had been hacked and was unsecure. Sure enough, several posts had hidden html code in them and I was linking unwittingly to various unsavoury online gambling institutions.

I have cleaned out the offending code (I think) and changed all my passwords but last night’s upgrade to WP2.5 (otherwise splendid) has broken a fair amount of the sidebar functionality. Oh, ok, all of the sidebar functionality. It’s a conflict with this lovely K2 theme which I am working on fixing. So, please accept my apologies for the big empty space on the right.

UPDATE: K2-RC5 makes it all better.

Upgrade breaks things (as usual) UPDATED

By meta

Note to self: NEVER upgrade anything last thing at night!

Just upgraded WordPress to 2.3.2 and various things have broken including typographical quotes like ’ and ” some of the sidebar functionality. Like the Now Showing in Wellington list of reviews.

For this I apologise.

It is too late in the evening to try fixing it now – and my Capital Times review is due first thing tomorrow.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Update: Good news and bad news. The good news is that the latest version of K2 has it’s own code for three column layout and other improvements which explains why my previous theme hadn’t been updated in so long. So, hello K2RC4. The bad news is that the typographical problems have been introduced by the upgrade and aren’t related to the theme. This means I have to go through, post by post, and correct every instance. This might take a while but my trusty OCD will not leave any apostrophe uncurled.

Everything else is back as it should be and I can re-post last night’s two items that I thought had broken everything.