Not a Blog

Three Years and Counting

July 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm
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Hard to believe, but we are coming up on the third anniversary of the re-opening of the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Santa Fe’s hometown movie theatre, and first art house, had been dark for seven years when we turned on the lights again and opened the doors in August 2013.

Needless to say, that calls for a celebration… a week-long celebration, in fact!!!

To mark the occasion, we are bringing back three very special films, movies that have a special significance in the history of the JJC, New Mexico’s most eclectic movie theatre.

First up we will have PANDORA’S BOX, a classic of the silent cinema starring Louise Brooks, the first film to play the Jean Cocteau when the theatre first opened in 1984.

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We will also show FORBIDDEN PLANET, the first film shown at the reborn Cocteau three years ago… and also the greatest science fiction film ever made, in my not so humble opinion.

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And finally we will have DARK STAR, our first midnight movie from three years back, a hilarious SF comedy, and the movie that gave Dan O’Bannon and John Carpenter their starts.

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Best of all, admission to all three movies will be FREE! (We will also be holding over a couple other films this week, and offering discount $5 admissions on those).

And, yes, ROBBIE THE ROBOT will be returning to the cinema for the celebrations, along with his friends Altaira, Commander J.J. Adams, and the Iron Giant.

We’ll be celebrating all week… but the BIG party will be on Saturday at 7:00 pm, when we will be adding some cake to the mix. And our friends at Jambo are sending their foot truck around that night at well, for some delicious African treats.

ANNIVERSARY WEEK SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY, JULY 29TH:
2:30 PM: Yarn ($5.00)
4:30 PM: Pandora’s Box (FREE)
7:00 PM: Forbidden Planet (FREE)
9:30 PM: Showcase Karaoke (with Cyndi and Nanci) (FREE)

SATURDAY, JULY 30TH:
2:15 PM: The Fallen Idol ($5.00)
4:30 PM: Pandora’s Box (FREE)
7:00 PM: Anniversary Party (Cake, Costumes, Games, Food Trucks, & More!) (FREE)
7:00 PM: Forbidden Planet (FREE)
9:20 PM: Dark Star (FREE)

SUNDAY, JULY 31ST:
2:30 PM: Yarn ($5.00)
4:30 PM: Forbidden Planet (FREE)
6:40 PM: Pandora’s Box (FREE)

MONDAY, AUGUST 1ST:
4:30 PM: Forbidden Planet (FREE)
6:40 PM: Pandora’s Box (FREE)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 2ND:
4:30 PM: Pandora’s Box (FREE)
7:00 PM: Forbidden Planet (FREE)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3RD:
2:30 PM: Presenting Princess Shaw (FREE)
4:30 PM: Pandora’s Box (FREE)
7:00 PM: Forbidden Planet (FREE)
9:20 PM: Dark Star (FREE)

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4TH:
2:30 PM: Yarn ($5.00)
4:30 PM: The Fallen Idol ($5.00)
7:00 PM: Suicide Squad ($8.00)
9:20 PM: Dark Star (FREE)

So come and join us and help us hoot and holler! We’re three years old! And many more to come!

Maybe You CAN Go Home Again…

November 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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[… at least for a visit.

Last week I returned to my old haunts in Evanston, Illinois, to Northwestern University and the Medill School of Journalism, where I was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award. The honor meant a lot to me, as did the warm welcome I received from the faculty and students at Medill.

I also got to attend a football game at Ryan Field (it was Dyche Stadium when I was there), and witness a thrilling last-minute victory over the Lannister Lions Penn State Nittany Lions. Good game (though Penn State did knock out NU’s starting QB, which could bode ill for the remainder of the season). Not only did I see a win, but I got to hang out with a fellow NU alum, AND was presented with a Northwestern helmet midway through the second quarter. VERY cool.

All that was great… but the best part of the visit was getting to meet some of the students, who turned out in large numbers for all of my public events. For some reason, they all seemed a lot younger than the students I remember from 1970… but just as bright.

I had forgotten what a pretty town Evanston is, especially in autumn. The city has changed a lot since I was last there, however, as has the campus. A LOT of new buildings, everywhere. Fisk and Harris and University were still there, I was pleased to see, but surrounded on all sides by big modern buildings I don’t remember. Deering looked unchanged, though. And Tech… where I took Bergen Evans’ introduction to literature…

A lot of memories. I would have loved to wander the campus a little more and wallow in nostalgia, but alas, I could not walk a block beyond the hotel without being stopped for half a dozen selfies, so I had to put that plan aside.

(I was saddened to see that Evanston has lost all of its old movie theatres. The Varsity, the Valenica, the Evanston up by the stadium, the Coronet down by the Main Street newsstand… gone, every one of them. What a loss).

My thanks to Dean Hamm, President Shapiro, Beth Moellers, the gang at the Nerd Bar, and everyone else who helped to make my visit so special.

Coming to the Cocteau

October 22, 2015 at 1:10 pm
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We have some great stuff coming to the Jean Cocteau Cinema in the weeks to come.

Starting this weekend, when we’ll be showing the classic BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

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Come Tuesday, we’ll have another author event, this time featuring… yes, ME.

A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS came out October 6 and has been riding high on the lists. And Tuesday October 27 is the official release date for both Bantam’s official ICE AND FIRE adult coloring book, and Tor’s reissue of Wild Cards volume five, DOWN & DIRTY.


All three titles will be available for sale at the JCC. MELINDA SNODGRASS will be on hand as well, to interview me. A question-and-answer will follow, and then I will adjourn to the lobby to sign books (but no personalizations, sorry). However, tickets are already half-gone for this one, and we anticipate another sellout… so if you want to join us, contact the theatre (by phone or via our website) and reserve a book and a place now.

Come Halloween weekened, we’ll be showing something old and something new… ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (with a live performance by Rocky Horror New Mexico) and THE CREEPING GARDEN, a film about… wait for it… SLIME MOLD. (Where else but the JCC?)

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Tickets to all of these events can be bought on the JCC website: http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/

November is looking pretty cool as well, with author events coming up for DEBORAH HARKNESS and the WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION, and burlesque with the SUICIDE GIRLS.

See you at the Cocteau!

Movie Magic

May 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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Santa Fe has a new movie theatre.

A brand-new Violet Crown multiplex opens today in the Railyard, with 11 screens, big loungers, gourmet food (including pizza), and beer and wine.

Parris and I attended their “soft opening” yesterday, meeting and mingling with Bill Banowsky of Violet Crown, VIPs from the Railyard Corporation and the local film community, and various dignitaries from the city and state… including former Governor Bill Richardson, whose administration really helped to put New Mexico on the map in television and film.

It was a gala event, and the Violet Crown is a gorgeous facility. They are only two blocks down from the Jean Cocteau, but we’re friendly neighbors, and between us we hope to make the historic Railyard distinct THE place to see a movie in Santa Fe. There are plenty of great movies out there (old and new) for all of us.

The Violet Crown will be opening to the public today with AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

Down the street, at the Jean Cocteau, we will be showing ROAR.

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See you at the movies!!

Opening Tonight

March 6, 2015 at 11:07 am
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Opening tonight at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, we have KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN, an offbeat crime drama based on a true story and featuring the redoubtable Anthony Hopkins.

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We are also holding over the classic Cocteau BEAUTY AND THE BEAST… the film that helped to inspire the TV show that I wrote for in the 80s, and the name of my theatre as well. Last chance to catch that one. If you’ve never it on the big screen, you’re missing something. The film has been beautifully restored.

A Tease from IMAX

January 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm
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If you happen to live in or near a town with an IMAX theater, it may be that you'll be one of the lucky ones who will get to see GAME OF THRONES on the big, big, BIG screen on January 29.

HBO will be screening the last two episodes from season 4 — "Watchers on the Walls" and "The Children" — at selected IMAX theatres for one week only.

Here's a taste:

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Alas, the Jean Cocteau does not have an IMAX screen.  There is an IMAX down in Albuquerque, but last I heard, it was not one of the theatres selected for those promotion, so New Mexicans are out of luck.

But not completely — the Jean Cocteau WILL be doing another free GAME OF THRONES marathon this year, screening all of the episodes from season four on our… alas… modest medium-sized screen.  We do hope to have cast and crew joining us via Skype, however.  So watch this space closely for details, and go to the Cocteau web site and sign up for our newsletter.

And all you folks who have an IMAX near at hand, enjoy the spectacle.

Odds and Ends

January 14, 2015 at 10:57 am
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Saw PREDESTINATION at the Cocteau on opening night, and thought it was terrific… and very faithful to the Heinlein story.  Ethan Hawke was very good, and Sarah Snook was great.  This one will be on my Hugo nominations ballot, for sure.  See it at the Cocteau if you're in Santa Fe, or at your own favorite movie palace if you're not, but see it… especially if you like time travel, SF, and RAH.

We had a great event with Carrie Vaughn on a very cold Monday night, and she signed a ton of stock for us before heading back Colorado way.  If you're looking for an autographed copy of LOW MIDNIGHT, or indeed, any of the Kitty books, we've got them.  They should be up on the Cocteau website "Signed Books" page very soon, and available for purchase.  For the Wild Cards fans out there, Carrie also signed copies of the INSIDE STRAIGHT and BUSTED FLUSH hardcovers with her stories.

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We also expect to be adding some signed Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, and the Spanish language (Mexican) editions of my own Ice & FIre books, so watch the page, you'll see them soon.  Meanwhile, we have autographed books by NEIL GAIMAN, DENNIS LEHANE, JUNOT DIAZ, and LEV GROSSMAN, all currently available at the theatre, or by mailorder.

Twists and Turns

December 22, 2014 at 12:59 am
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Sony's stance on THE INTERVIEW seems to take a new twist every day.

Now we are told that, yes, they are going to release the film.  They are just not sure how.

Of course, this all depends on who you believe.

THE NEW YORK POST says they plan to release it on Crackle, their own streaming internet service:
        http://nypost.com/2014/12/21/sony-plans-to-release-the-interview-on-crackle-for-free/

Other sources say the POST is wrong:
        http://www.slashfilm.com/interview-on-crackle/

Bit Torrent says that it is willing to show the film:
        http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/21/bittorrent-tells-sony-its-happy-to-release-the-interview/

I don't know about any of this.

What I do know is that Sony's statement that it "had no choice" but to cancel the film's release is plainly false.  It had plenty of choices, and still does.

The best of those choices, I believe, is to open THE INTERVIEW in theatres on Christmas Day, as originally planned.  I have been in communication with the owners and operators of other independent cinemas and arthouses, and representatives of some of the smaller chains, and I know that hundreds of these venues would gladly screen this film, if only Sony will make it available.  Regal and AMC and the megaplexes may have caved, but the independents have not.   Sony could have the film on five hundred screens by Christmas, if it wants to.  And I would love for the Jean Cocteau to be one of them.

Sony and THE INTERVIEW, Once More

December 20, 2014 at 11:05 am
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Discussions of North Korea, cyber war, the corporate cowardice of Sony Pictures, and THE INTERVIEW have been taking over the airwaves these past two days, and millions of words have been devoted to the issues.  I won't try to rehash them all here.

The most important words, and the truest words, were those spoken by the big man, President Obama.

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I agree with everything the President said there.

One of the most important bits, in my opinion, is toward the middle, where he talks about the chilling effect the cowardice of Sony and the big movie chains could have on other filmmakers going forward.  This is a point that very few of the talking heads on television seem to be addressing.  It is not theoretical.  THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING. The damage has already extended well beyond THE INTERVIEW itself.  Paramount, a studio that has NOT been hacked, and has NOT been threatened, has already reacted by pulling TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE from all the theatres that wanted to show it as a substitute for THE INTERVIEW.  They have made no public statement as to their reasons, but I think their reasons are plain… they are afraid of drawing down the wrath on North Korea and the hackers.   Meanwhile, New Regency and Fox — neither of them part of the Sony hack, neither of them theatened — have scrapped plans forPYONGYANG,  a Steve Carrell movie about North Korea, based on a popular graphic novle.

 http://www.vulture.com/2014/12/good-north-korea-movie-pyongyang-guy-delisle.html

This a textbook example of "chilling effect."  Nothing could be more clearcut.  Not just one Seth Rogen/ James Franco ( or Flacco) movie has been impacted, but three different projects, one ten years old, one still in preproduction.

 Of course, Sony has taken issue with the president's declaration that they "made a mistake."  (A very mild way of putting it, in my opinion.)  No, no, they did not make a mistake, they are insisting, they had no choice.  Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton instead tried to shift the blame to Regal, AMC, and the other movie chains who announced that they would not not screen the film.   "We have not caved, we have not given in, we have persevered, and we haven't backed down. We have always had the desire to have the American public see this movie," Lynton said.

Sorry, but that's bullshit.  Sony did have a choice.  They still do.   They can release the film tomorrow, if they want.

Sony is correct in one regard: the big movie chains are getting off way too easy here.  All the discussion has focused on Sony, but in fact the cowardice started with Regal, with AMC, and  the other monarchs of the multiplex who decided to bow to the threats and pull THE INTERVIEW from their screens.  But for Sony to suggest that once that happened they "had no place to show the film," is disingenuous.

I have already stated that the Jean Cocteau Cinema will show THE INTERVIEW here in Santa Fe, should it be made available to us.  And yes, we're a tiny little arthouse, only 125 seats… but the crucial point is, we would not have been alone.   According to NATO (the National Association of Theatre Owners, not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), there are 39,662 movie screens in the United States.  Regal, the largest and most powerful of the chains, has 7318 of those.  The other big chains have thousands too, but…

Do the math.  There are still THOUSANDS of screens out there not under the control of the mega-chains.  Smaller chains, regional chains, arthouses, and many many many small independent movie theatres like my own… theatres that would have jumped at the chance to show a big Christmas movie, an opportunity not often afforded them.  Regal may have been intimidated, but I don't think Alamo Drafthouse would have been.  I suspect Quention Tarantino and his New Beverly Theatre in LA would have stepped up, he's no stranger to controversy.  And there are thousands more.  So don't give us this "boo hoo, we have no choice, no one would have showed our movie" okey-doke, Sony, because it's not true.  The INDEPENDENTS would have showed your film.  We still will.  Release it, and see.

Rachel Maddow did an excellent story last night about the parallels between THE INTERVIEW case and the SATANIC VERSES incident, when Iran declared a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, threatening to kill not only the author but also his editors and publishers.  It is worth remembering that, in that case as in this, the big chains were the first to cave.  Waldenbooks, B. Daltons, and Barnes & Noble all responded by announcing that they would not be selling THE SATANIC VERSES.   But… here's the important part…Rushdie's publishers did not flinch, but stood firm for the book, the author, and the principle of free speech.  And who stood with them?  The independent bookstores.   All the shops around the corner, the specialty stores, the mom-and-pop operations came forth and said, almost as one, "We'll sell your book."  And they did, in unprecedented numbers.  THE SATANIC VERSES was a huge bestseller, not because of the chains, but in spite of them.

Maybe Regal is afraid is to show THE INTERVIEW.  The CEOs in the corporate suites are too scared by what their lawyers are whispering in their ears about potential liability.  But mom and pop have more guts, I'd bet.  Release THE INTERVIEW, Sony, and hundreds of small chains and indy theatres will snap it up all across the country.

And hey, Paramount, we'd snap up TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE as well.  So climb out from underneath your desks, and make it available for us to book. 

Corporate Cowardice

December 17, 2014 at 9:27 pm
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This one is surreal.

 In a stunning display of corporate cowardice, Regal, AMC, and  every other major theatre chain in the United States have cancelled their plans to show the new Seth Rogen/ James Franco comedy THE INTERVIEW, because of — yes, seriously, this is not a SOUTH PARK sketch (though I expect it soon will be) —  threats from North Korea.

Not familiar with THE INTERVIEW?  Here's the trailer:

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 I mean, really?  REALLY??  These gigantic corporations, most of which could buy North Korea with pocket change, are declining to show a film because Kim Jong-Un objects to being mocked?

 The level of corporate cowardice here astonishes me.  It's a good thing these guys weren't around when Charlie Chaplin made THE GREAT DICTATOR.  If Kim Jong-Un scares them, Adolf Hitler would have had them shitting in their smallclothes.

 Even Sony, which made the movie, is going along.  There are thousands of small independent theatres across the country, like my own, that would gladly screen THE INTERVIEW, regardless of the threats from North Korea, but instead of shifting the film to those venues, Sony has cancelled its scheduled Christmas rollout entirely.

 I haven't seen THE INTERVIEW.  I have no idea how good or bad a film it is.   It might be hilarious.  It might be stupid and offensive and outrageous. (Actually, I am pretty sure about the 'outrageous' part).  It might be all of the above.

That's not the point, though.  Whether it's the next CITIZEN KANE or the next PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, it astonishes me that a major Hollywood film could be killed before release by threats from a foreign power and anonymous hackers.

For what it's worth, the Jean Cocteau Cinema will be glad to screen THE INTERVIEW (assuming that Sony does eventually release the film for theatrical exhibition, rather than streaming it or dumping it as a direct-to-DVD release), should it be made available to us.  Come to Santa Fe, Seth, we'll show your film for you.

POSTSCRIPT: DECEMBER 20

Not content with pulling the film, Sony has now pulled the trailers as well, so the YouTube video I embedded above no longer works.

Here's a replacement from YouTube that's dead on point:

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