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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cinemark Theatres to Offer Veterans Free Tickets to ‘First Man’

Posted By on Sat, Nov 10, 2018 at 9:47 AM

First Man, the latest film from Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle (La La Land), recounts the story of the first manned mission to the moon. It focuses on Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight that he manned. 

In honor of Veterans Day, Universal Pictures and Cinemark Holdings have just announced that they’ll offer free tickets to Monday screenings of the movie for all U.S. veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses. The film is showing at 10 Cinemark theaters in Ohio, including Valley View.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Punk Rock-Themed 'Crown and Anchor' to Make Its Ohio Debut at Upcoming Ohio Independent Film Festival

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2018 at 3:23 PM

A few years ago, Michael Rowe (Arrow, Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe) and former MUCH and MTV host Matt Wells teamed up to develop and produce Crown and Anchor, a film about a guy (Rowe) who becomes straightedge as a result of growing up with an abusive alcoholic father. His estranged cousin Danny (Wells), however, has become an addict, and when their lives interact, “they each begin to unravel as the past returns with violent and tragic consequences.”

The soundtrack features songs by hardcore acts such as Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits and ho99o9.

The film will make its Ohio debut at the Ohio Independent Film Festival. A Q&A with Wells, who co-wrote, stars in and produced the movie, will follow the screening.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Why Are So Many Horror Movies Set in Ohio?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 5:17 PM

  • New Line Cinema

At the start of the 20th century, German expressionist cinema and the golden-era of black-and-white Universal Monster films ushered in a new genre of film for audiences to enjoy. The early years of horror movies frequently featured old, victorian houses in faraway lands and otherwordly creatures beyond our imagination.

As the genre evolved and adapted over time, big cities like Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles become home to horror, while continuing to provide a majority of audiences the comfortability of suspension of disbelief, knowing that the events of these films would never impact their lives.

Forty years ago today, an up-and-coming filmmaker named John Carpenter set his slasher film Halloween in a sleepy Midwestern suburb and completely changed the trajectory of horror, and altered the way creatives approached instilling fear in audiences.

By placing Halloween in a town "just like yours," horror was brought directly to an audience's doorstep. No longer could we escape to the safety of "this could never happen to me," because horror was now interrupting the false sense of security enjoyed by those living their daily lives in the comfort of suburban Americana. The intrusion of darkness in a presumed bubble of Midwestern safety quickly became a formula "Hollywood Horror" would try to emulate, and continues to do so even today.

When looking at the country as a whole, Ohio is the most idyllic representation of Midwestern life. A seemingly perfect balance of urban and rural sensibilities in one state, we're so "averagely American," we don't even register as having a location specific accent. Politically, we're a swing state, seen as a perfect example of middle-America, so much so that we've become a testing site for new products and menu items. To the rest of the world, there's nothing particularly interesting about Ohio, and that creates the perfect breeding ground for horror.

In real life, Cleveland is known the world over for our "serial killer" problem. While mostly exaggerated, our reputation for birthing murderers is not unknown, and adds a layer of urban legend mystique around the Sixth City.

Cleveland's own Wes Craven had his directorial debut with the ultra-graphic Last House on the Left, a film that was banned in some locations for many years due to its accused exploitative nature, and its painfully realistic portrayals of violence. Craven would go on to write and direct "otherworldly" films like The Hills Have Eyes and Swamp Thing but his response to John Carpenter's Halloween, a little film called A Nightmare on Elm Street, would cement Ohio as the prime location for horror.

The iconic Freddy Krueger says it himself, "Every town has an Elm Street."

This famous quote can be interpreted to mean that every town, city or neighborhood has an evil side and that no matter where we live, or where we are, bad things can and will happen. This point is only further supported by the common belief that Ohio can easily be used as a substitution for Anytown, USA.

Freddy Krueger's roots are even based in reality, inspired by an experience Craven had while living in Cleveland as a child. A man in an overcoat and fedora hat was shuffling and mumbling on the sidewalk outside of his second-floor apartment, so loudly that it prevented him from sleeping. He looked outside to investigate the scene and the man turned around to look directly into Craven's eyes.

Craven ran back into his room, hoping the man would leave but when he looked out his window again, the man was unmoved, still staring directly at him. The man later tried to enter Craven's apartment building but when his older brother ran downstairs with a baseball bat, the stranger was nowhere to be found.

A horrifying experience to be sure, but one that would launch nightmares for generations of film fans, all because someone had disrupted the sanctity of Midwestern safety.

Post-Nightmare on Elm Street other films took note and began treating Ohio as the perfect location for trouble in American paradise. The darkly comedic Heathers and sci-fi monster flick The Faculty use Ohio as a means to dissect the horrors of the American high school experience, and the presumed safety of a fictional university in Ohio during Scream 2 fails to offer any sense of relief for the characters retreating from California.

While most of these films set in Ohio aren't actually shot here, scripts make a note to establish Ohio as a location as an important signifier. By forcing audiences to transport themselves into Ohio and not California (where most of these films are actually shot), they're ensuring audiences cannot disassociate with the setting. It's difficult for most of the country to identify or empathize with someone living in California, a land that seems on another planet to a lot of people, but someone in a state like Iowa or Oklahoma can easily see themselves in a character living in Ohio.

While Nightmare on Elm Street may have planted the flag for Ohio in horror, the anthology film Trick 'r Treat arguably perfected it. In the film, multiple stories around the mythos and urban legends about Halloween are all intertwined by people who break the "rules." Unlike Thanksgiving or any of the winter holidays, Halloween is one of the last, true communal holidays. Trick 'r Treat isn't trying to examine the dismantling of the nuclear family or shine a light on the horrors of coming-of-age, but rather focusing on communal interactions and how our actions impact the community around us.

To the outside world, Indiana appears too rural, Michigan's reputation is plagued with grittiness from places like Detroit and Flint, and given that most people associate Illinois with Chicago (despite the state being predominately rural), it makes perfect sense that Ohio would take the crown for fictional horror settings.

Simply put, Ohio is the heart of American horror.

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Greater Cleveland Film Commission to Host ‘Band of Brothers’ Fundraiser Event in November

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 3:50 PM

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) has just announced that it’ll highlight the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers at its annual Behind the Camera fundraiser that takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Featuring a panel of favorite cast and crew members, the benefit will offer attendees the chance to hear special behind-the-scenes insights about the series.

GCFC President Ivan Schwarz, who served as one of the series’ producers, will moderate the discussion about the series, which won six Emmy awards and a Golden Globe.

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'Mid90s,' Actor Jonah Hill's Directorial Debut, Delivers a Compelling Coming-of-Age Story

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 9:40 AM

In the opening scene of mid90s, the gritty new coming-of-age film from actor Jonah Hill, Ian (Lucas Hedges) tosses his brother Stevie (Sunny Suljic), a little runt of a kid, into a wall and then proceeds to deliver a few good punches before Stevie can scramble into his room and lock the door behind him.

That opening scene sets the tone for the movie, which takes place in, as its title suggests, the mid-’90s in Southern California. A compelling slice of life, the film opens areawide on Friday.

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Power Outage Cut Short Capitol Theatre's 12 Hours of Terror, But Program Rescheduled for Saturday

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2018 at 3:35 PM

  • Cleveland Cinemas
A protracted power outage on Cleveland's west side — the 180,000th such outage this year, thanks to Cleveland Public Power — cut short Cleveland Cinemas' all-night movie marathon at the Capitol Theatre Saturday. The annual 12 Hours of Terror event was canceled after the first film of the night was screened. 

Cleveland Cinemas announced today, however, that the remaining six films will screen this coming Saturday, and that tickets for the rescheduled event have been reduced to $25. 

“The 12 Hours of Terror is not only an annual tradition for the Capitol Theatre, but for hundreds of regular attendees as well,” said Cleveland Cinemas' Dave Huffman in a statement. "I appreciated everyone’s patience and understanding on Saturday when Mother Nature cut our power. I’m happy that we will be able to finish the program this weekend and hope that some new faces will decide to join us this Saturday.”

The rescheduled event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will include the following titles:
  • Bubba Ho-Tep (2oo2)
  • Event Horizon (1997)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1978)
  • The Human Centipede (2009)
  • Candyman (1992)
If you attended this past Saturday, you can still use your wristband for admission this coming Saturday. Attendees are reminded that 12 Hours of Terror is an adults-only event. No one under 18 will be admitted.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Laurie Strode Finally Gets the Final Girl Treatment She Deserves in 'Halloween'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2018 at 12:18 PM

  • Courtesy of Universal Pictures / Blumhouse Productions

When we're first introduced to Laurie Strode, she's an insecure high schooler living in the sleepy suburb of Haddonfield, Illinois, worrying about her schoolwork, whether or not the guy she likes is interested in her and trying to figure out how she's going to keep a little boy hopped up on trick-or-treat candy occupied later that night when she's stuck babysitting on Halloween.

Unfortunately for Laurie, mocking the infamous and allegedly haunted "Myers' House" on her way to school, 15 years after a six-year-old Michael Myers brutally murdered his sister Judith, would make her a target for "The Shape," the fabled Michael Myers who has escaped from Smith's Grove Sanitarium and is out for blood.

Strode becomes the sole survivor of what would later be known as "The Babysitter Murders," as Michael's killing spree racks up an impressive body count, including four of Strode's closest friends. She manages to survive the ordeal, honestly, through sheer luck and determination and was last seen crying, declaring that "the boogeyman is real."

By completely ignoring the ten films that have been released between John Carpenter and Debra Hill's genre-defining classic Halloween (1978) and David Gordon Green and Danny McBride's direct-sequel Halloween (2018), Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode has finally been given the opportunity to shine as the true "final girl" she was always meant to be, forty years later.

Since the events of the original film, (again, we're completely ignoring the brother/sister story line of Halloween 2, the "Cult of Thorn" plot lines of Halloween 4-6, and all of Curtis' returns in the latter end of the pre-Rob Zombie reboot franchise), Laurie Strode has been irreversibly changed. While Michael Myers has been locked away and studied for forty years, Strode has been preparing. Her brush with death and traumatic experience has inspired a life of extensive weapons training, a custom-built compound complete with safe rooms and booby traps. In the process, she has completely isolated herself from the world around her, including her family.

Her obsession with Michael Myers has cost her two marriages and the custody of her only daughter, a sacrifice that causes Laurie immense pain, but one she ultimately feels is necessary for the safety and protection of the people she loves most. It would be easy to dismiss Strode in the same way that society dismisses doomsday preppers as "extreme," or "delusional," but Curtis' revisit to the role that made her famous is one of utmost respect and sincerity.

Strode isn't some basket-case who can't let go of the past, she's a survivor of a trauma so severe and otherworldly, it's impossible for her to escape it, because it refuses to let her go. Haddonfield doesn't want to accept the severity of what happened in 1978, and everyone else around Strode, including her daughter Karen (the always fabulous Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) want her to get over it and get on with her life.

As Laurie has endured since The Babysitter Murders, Michael Myers, not unlike real serial killers, has become something of a mythological creature. Two journalists from the U.K. want to study him for a podcast they're hosting, one that is alluded to being similar to the first season of Serial. Their intrusion on both Michael Myers and Laurie Strode serves as the catalyst for chaos, offering just the right amount of push to bring Myers over the edge, and back on a warpath to Haddonfield.

Green and McBride present Halloween (2018) with just enough fan service to satisfy the naysayers and those upset that they've disrupted the canon of Michael Myers, but offer a new examination on the relationship of Michael and Laurie, ripe for a generation that is now analyzing the relationships between victims and assailants more than ever before. Laurie Strode's entire existence has been defined by Michael Myers and in turn, Myers' relationship with the surviving Strode has overshadowed any death he caused, forcing the two to be intrinsically linked.

As for the rest of the film, there's definite room for improvement. Some of the throwaway characters (especially one particularly insufferable kid in a devil costume) don't feel as realized as they could be, and there's a strange subplot with Myers' post-Dr. Loomis psychiatrist that felt unnecessary and forced. Luckily, the kills are totally brutal and the comic relief scattered throughout really lets the roots of Green and McBride's style shine.

Capturing the magic of John Carpenter and Debra Hill's original Halloween (1978) is impossible, and it's apparent that David Gordon Green and Danny McBride realized this, and instead wanted to expand upon the universe beloved for decades. Strode and Myers' inevitable face-off offers some of the film's most intense moments, and is as satisfying as any fan could hope it to be.

The heart of Halloween (2018) hits all of the right notes, and watching Curtis in action feels like an out-of-body experience. While Laurie Strode, the character, is often held to high regard as this ass-kicking final girl, it's frequently forgotten that Strode was just a teenager trying not to get killed. There was no planning, no outsmarting, just luck and determination.

Forty years later, Laurie Strode's not leaving anything up to chance, and has transformed into the legitimate un-fuck-withable final girl she was always meant to be.

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