Friday, December 01, 2006

"Lights, Camera, Confusion!"

The theater I frequent most often is part of the Consolidated Theatres chain, which means I get to see the "Gladiatorial Games of the Concession Stand" policy trailer whenever I watch a major release. Lucky me.

But for the past month, I've had to withstand an incomprehensible Screenvision preshow with the insipid title of "Lights, Camera, ACTION!" According to the company's press release, it was intended as both a "celebration of action movies" and a lead-in to the holiday and awards season, but it fails on both levels.

Hosted by a former MuchMusic VJ named Bradford How (that's him right there, and if you think he looks stupid in a gimme hat, you should see him in a suit attempting to rock the Kramer hair), "Lights, Camera, ACTION!" is one of the most confusing things I've ever seen -- and I've watched Battlefield Earth several times.

The two clips from "the year's best action movies" that I always seem to catch are from X-Men III and The Descent. Each clip is about 10 seconds long, has no context whatsoever and ends abruptly with no apparent resolution. It's like an impatient relative stopped hitting buttons on the remote long enough to figure out what the movie was but not what was going on, then moved on again.

"Here's a scene from X-Men III: The Last Stand," How tells us with a smile. Suddenly we're plunked down into the "Jean Grey's old house" sequence, but for some reason we're focusing on the skirmish between Storm and the Mutant Club Kids (Porcupine-Face, The Blur and What the Hell Power Does She Have, Anyway?). Storm dispatches Porcupine-Face and WTHPDSHA, but has problems with The Blur, who punches Storm twice and slams her head through a glasstop table. And then the clip ends. That's it! That's our glimpse of the film: 10 seconds of meaningless mayhem starring folks in black leather who don't say anything.

Worse still is the clip from The Descent. I'm totally stumped by this one, and not just because I didn't see the movie (mama don't do horror flicks). The 10 seconds we see are so dark and red and drippy that I honestly cannot tell what is occurring onscreen (this pic I manipulated isn't that far off). For all I know, the folks at Screenvision might have swapped out somebody's underlit colonoscopy video and just left the sound from the movie. Not that I could tell in that category, either: all we hear is an unidentified female voice saying, "Okay... okay... that's it...there! That wasn't so bad, was it?" No, it wasn't so bad, but that's only because I have no idea what the hell it was.

Fortunately, that awful preshow quit running yesterday. But now I must brace myself for Screenvision's idea of a holiday preshow, and then what is sure to be an equally confusing awards show tribute. My only consolation is that for the next month, Bradford How's awful hair will probably be covered by a Santa hat.


Glenn Dunks said...

There are two cinemas in my city and they both have one curious advert each. At one there is the ubiquitous ad for the company that provides the inhouse ads. Thing is, the ad is of such poor quality I'm amazed anyone would wanna use them. It's poorly lit and you can't really read what it says.

At the second cinema the screen comes up with a man's groin (yeah) and a bit of his leg (he's wearing jeans) and there's a woman's hand placed on his thigh. At first you think "surely this is an ad for jeans." and then "hmmm, maybe it's an ad for a jewelery company. that rock on her hand is pretty."

But then this sultry call-me-call-me-now voice goes "Have you... turned off your mobile phone? It would be appreciated and saves you from... embarassment during the movie" (or something like that) and it sorta makes me feel dirty cause it comes on as the lights are going down and I query "did i walk into a saucy puppet show*"

*Futurama reference.

Glenn Dunks said...

Also, that was really long. Sorry.