Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Fab Four and Changes

I mentioned the Landmark Film Rewards Club in a December post.  I recently received an email informing me that "Due to limited interest, Landmark is eliminating the program at this time."  Rewards Club cardholders were offered a free single-admission pass by returning their card at a Landmark Theater box office.  That's too bad as I was certainly using my Film Rewards Club card.  The elimination of the Rewards program essentially increases my Landmark admission costs by 10%.

In other Landmark admission news, the Embarcadero Cinemas was offering the 25 pass Gold Book for $200 which is an increase of $7.25 from the price at the time of the December post.  I bought a few additional Gold Books in December which I'm still working through.


June has traditionally been the month when SF Indiefest hosts Another Hole in the Head - a "festival of horror, sci-fi, and dark fantasy that defies convention to bring you the most outrageous genre films from both emerging and established filmmakers." The timing of this festival gave Indiefest a certain symmetry - three festival held four months apart: Indiefest in February, Hole in the Head in June and DocFest in October.

Now Indiefest has moved Hole in the Head to late November/early December (November 29 to December 5). I see it has been cut from two weeks to one week also. DocFest has been moved to November 8 to 21. This is odd scheduling indeed. DocFest ends the day before Thanksgiving which means many people will be out of town during the last 3 to 5 days of the festival.  If I can get away from work, I try to leave town the Saturday before Thanksgiving and return the Monday after Thanksgiving.  At least DocFest doesn't conflict with the Mill Valley Film Festival (October 4-12) anymore.  The schedule must be brutal for the staff at Indiefest.  Between November 8, 2012 and February 21, 2013 (end of Indiefest), Indiefest will produce five weeks of film festival programming in 15 weeks.  However, those 15 weeks include Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

One other festival scheduling change:  I notice that Third I moves from early November to September 19-23.


Earlier this month, I went to the Castro to see Yellow Submarine.  Actually, I'm not sure if the title is Yellow Submarine or The Beatles Yellow Submarine.  It's been screening at several theaters in the Bay Area for past couple months including the 4 Star.  I think it is a newly restored print that is making the rounds.

Yellow Submarine starring The Beatles; directed by George Dunning; animated; (1968)

Although The Beatles (or their animated images) are the stars of the films, their voices were actually that of other people.  Voice actors were hired for the speaking parts.  I thought the actors did a nice job imitating the Fab Four.

I recall seeing this film on television as a boy but could not recall the film very well.  Two weeks after seeing the film, I cannot recall the film very well.  There are some Blue Meanies who turn a music loving, underwater society to stone.  The sole survivor takes his yellow submarine to the surface to find John, Paul, George and Ringo.  He enlists their help to return to Pepperland and overthrow the Blue Meanies.  The Fab Four don the costumes of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the final showdown with the Blue Meanies.

Frankly, it was all a little boring to me.  I found myself waiting in anticipation for the next song...which sounded terrific on the Castro Theatre's sound system ("Nowhere Man" in particular stood out).  The animation was distinct when compared to Disney or Warner Brothers animation but not particularly impressive.  At least, 44 years later the animation didn't impress me.

Yellow Submarine is a vehicle to showcase The Beatles' impressive musical numbers.  I could have simply listened to a "Best of" CD except the sound system of the Castro enhanced the auditory experience.

The Beatles do make a non-animated appearance at the end of the film.  They seem oddly hyperactive (were they on drugs?) as they banter and tell jokes.  Reportedly filmed to fulfill the contractual obligation that they "appear" in the film, the sequence adds little to the film.

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