Friday, February 09, 2007

Talking Movies with the Globe's Ty Burr!

Pandachews caught up with Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr during a February 9, 2007 chat on Here’s our back and forth on the future of moviegoing, the impact of the iPod, comic book films, and a bit of an online parlor game for movie hounds.

Pandachews: Hi Ty. Did you read David Denby's article about the future of Hollywood in the New Yorker? How do you feel about a generation of movie goers raised watching films on iPod screens or, at best, on home theatres?

Ty_Burr: Good question… I read Denby's article -- we all did -- and I think it's dead on in some respects and simplistic in others. I'm having a lot of fun watching my two kids, 9 and 11, move into the moviegoing sphere, and I'm keeping an eye on how and what and why they watch...

We have a video iPod -- but they never watch anything on it, except maybe on car rides when they're bored out of their heads. But the screen size is an agnostic issue -- they'll accept something on my Mac or the small bedroom TV or the big dad's-office TV or on the screen.

But they intuitively understand that there's something special about GOING to the movies -- sharing the experience with strangers who then get welded into one happy unit (if the movie's good).

Pandachews: Are we witnessing the end of the movies as a group experience? The end of movie theatres?

Ty_Burr: I don't think that will die -- but I do foresee a split between big cinematic circuses (blockbusters with heavy effects, all in 3D, which is coming faster than you think) and smaller, drama friendly theatrical settings. I think the neighborhood theater will become something like a jazz club, for cognoscenti. It's really up to parents to educate their kids in why a movie on a big screen is good and not just leave it to the DVD player and flatscreen. Any of that make sense?

Pandachews: What about the "premium experience" theatres, like AMC Framingham, that combine dinner with the theatre-going experience? Denby LOVES this idea because it makes the movies a destination for a night out. What do you think?

Ty_Burr: Well, that fits in with the jazz-club concept, and I think it's a good idea. You'll definitely see an increasing division between theatrical movies for the masses and movies for an elite, much like what happened in jazz when rock and roll came in. I can't say I'm entirely happy with that.

Pandachews: There's a gorgeous old theatre in my hometown of Quincy--the Wollaston--that's been shut down for a couple years. I have a fantasy of buying it, and turning it into some combination of the Somerville Theatre and--I dunno--The Good Life (former fifties themed restaurant and bar). Would people come?

Ty_Burr: Absolutely -- and I'd flog the heck out of it for you. But it's really tough to make a one-screen theater work these days, just about impossible in fact. Thus the Brattle's problems. I don't know how the Somerville does it, frankly -- must be all those concerts.

Pandachews: Films I'm dying to see: Ghost Rider (for laughs); 300 (for toughs). Should I be prepared for a letdown?

Ty_Burr: Here's something weird: of all the movies opening up next Friday, the one with the best tracking (highest awareness) is "Ghost Rider." And it looks like the dumbest one of all, which is probably why. The director of "Breach" told me that last night, and he's really depressed about it. "300" does have a buzz, though. Don't know anyone who has actually seen it.

Pandachews: Yeah, Marvel seems to be shredding through its characters carelessly. There's a terrific writer named Garth Ennis who could, in his way, do for a Ghost Rider film what Frank Miller did for Sin City. Anyhooo... what's the word on the James Brown biopic. Spike Lee?

Ty_Burr: It's in rewrites, last I heard. The original screenwriters spent time with Brown before he died, so it has his input. No idea when/if it starts filming. Who's your pick to play James?

Pandachews: Ooooo... I liked Eddie Murphy for JB, but I guess he's not interested. Don Cheadle can really do anything, so why not?

Ty_Burr: True enough, but Cheadle's wearing the big hair for a movie coming up about a real life 60s DJ, Petey Green. Movie's called "Talk to Me," due in July. AND he's signed to star in and direct a Miles Davis biopic, so his slate is full.

I say Cuba Gooding Jr to play JB -- he has the energy and, Jesus, does his career need the help.

Pandachews: Most obnoxious experience I had in a theatre last year: at Boston Common, a guy who kept yelling "F&*K Mel Gibson!" throughout the Apocalypto preview. Which begs the question: will Gibson ever eat lunch in Hollywood again?

Ty_Burr: Yes, he'll definitely eat lunch and get taken to lunch in Hollywood again. Because "Apocalypto" was a reasonable commercial success but even more because it was a well-made movie and it showed that he could pull off a creative risk. The town admires that, maybe more than anything.

Pandachews: Fun exercise: George Clooney=Clark Gable; Kevin Costner=Gary Cooper; Kate Blanchett=Katherine Hepburn; Spencer Tracy =(FILL IN THE BLANK).

Ty_Burr: Hm. Tough one. Vince Vaughn with Edward Norton's talent.

Pandachews: I'd say Vince Vaughn is more Cary Grant. Not in manners, obviously, but in terms of pure charisma.

Ty_Burr: Well, even Cary Grant wanted to be Cary Grant. He always felt he was Archie Leach (his real name).

Pandachews: Ken Watanabe=Cary Grant (with subtitles)

Ty_Burr: Reese Witherspoon = June Allyson. And Demi Moore = Joan Crawford.

Pandachews: THANKS for a fun hour Ty! Don't be a stranger!

Ty_Burr: :)


At Friday, February 09, 2007 12:25:00 PM, Blogger PatchesMom1973 said...

very entertaining and enlightening!

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