Nobody Puts The South-West Silver Screens In The Corner

As Cornwall’s booming cinema industry hangs on the edge of extinction, the Phoenix cinema in Falmouth is fighting back and hoping to rise from the ashes.

The cinema is no longer just a place for film buffs to marvel at the constantly improving picture and sound quality of movies. It is a place where you can go for an evening out with a group of friends, a date or even your family; and it doesn’t even need to be a film that you are eager to watch. It has become a social establishment, such as a pub – minus the drinking – to be enjoyed by a local community.

Unfortunately a construction plan could be put in place which, if passed, could lead to the closure of most of the local cinemas around Cornwall, mainly the ones owned by Merlin Cinemas.

The plan, which was brought up back in December 2013, is to build another ASDA supermarket and a CINEWORLD multi-screen complex in Pool near Redruth, that will consist of various restaurants and retail units. Obviously the building of the multi-screen cinema will cause heavy damage to local cinemas, due to the large competition that will be created. However more competition is the last of the worries that is on the mind of the Merlin Cinemas, as it turns out that film priority from production companies will go straight to the multi-screen.

“The multi-plex will want to forge their own identity.”

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Hard at work at the Phoenix.

One cinema that will be hugely affecting by this plan is the Phoenix picture house in Falmouth, and when talking to manager Alex Jones, who was clearly eager to get his opinion across, the threat of the multi-screen becomes much clearer. Mr. Jones explains how a lot of customers come from outside the area, so they have to travel far anyway, “A lot of people think it won’t mean an awful lot to us because we’re quite far away from where the development is going to be, but currently an awful lot of people come from outside the area to Falmouth so it is relatively possible that they will just turn the car around the other way and go into a different direction.” He goes onto explain how the multi-screen will not only take away customers, but also the films themselves. “We suddenly will have difficulty getting new releases here, as the multi-plex will want to forge their own identity, and suddenly the film companies will probably say ‘you can play it in Falmouth but not until it’s about 3 or 4 weeks old’, and so by default people travel from Falmouth to there if they want to see X-Men which is in at the moment. It’s only going to be at the multi-plex, we can tell people ‘it’ll be here in 3 or 4 weeks time’, but they want to see it now.” By giving the multi-screen priority over the newly released films, the local cinemas just won’t get their business because by the time the films do arrive at somewhere like the Phoenix, they will have already been out for a month or maybe more.

Although this may just come across as the film companies trying to make more money for the bigger cinema organisations, the truth underneath is much darker than you would have thought as this idea of not giving local/small cinemas films at their actual time of release is an illegal act. “It has been legally outlawed that it goes on, and they use different reasons, like we haven’t got enough copies to go around, and of course it’s a hard answer for us to argue against because we don’t know how many copies they produce.”

The plan, which was put into place by Salmon Harvestor Properties Limited, is set to get started in 2014. In a statement to the West Briton in December 2013 from Rorie Henderson, who is the development director at Salmon Harvestor, it has been revealed that the plans for the multi-screen have been in talks for a while. “The scheme has been in limbo for about 18 months or so, but it’s as confirmed as can be. The next nine months to a year will be spent putting forward a major planning application for the site.” The chairman of Carn Brea Leisure Centre Trust, Colin Rowe, also voiced their optimism for the project, “We look very forward to working with them on the next steps of a project that enables the leisure centre to be transformed and the facility to be secured for the benefit of the community long-term.” Although the Leisure Centre Trust are putting a lot of thought into the community, the thoughts of Cornwall’s local cinema trade seems to be going out the window.

“They wanted for so long a cinema to come back to Falmouth.”

If there isn’t an uproar then we could very easily see our local cinema lifestyle crumble. Thankfully Merlin Cinemas have started a campaign called the ‘Save Our Cinemas’ campaign, in an aid to gather enough signatures that town council’s will put their word in to stop the plans for the multi-screen in Looe. It seems that it isn’t just the owners and employees at the cinemas that are supporting this campaign, and it is coming quite close to there being a talk about scrapping the plans. As Mr. Jones explains “Of course we’re running it across all our cinemas, but here in Falmouth it’s being massively supported. Through the cinemas altogether we’ve got 14,000 signatures against it at the moment. And you only need 5,000 to trigger a debate, we’re well above that.” Mr. Jones seems positive about the reaction from cinema goers and Falmouth town council, “The town council have been addressed by the managing director here as well, they’re all unanimously in favour of being against it.

 

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The cinema industry has been an odd one throughout the past century, with attendance constantly going up and down. During the war-era of the 1930s and 40s the attendance of customers in picture houses in the UK was at the highest it had ever been; and has ever been since. Peaking at 1.46 billion admissions in 1946, according to economicshelp.org. Perhaps this was because people needed some form of escapism from the terrors of the war that raged on outside. However through the 1950s, 60s and 70s there was a gradual decrease in the attendance of cinema patrons, and the industry was swept aside. Then the mid 1980s saw the industry begin to get back on its feet, and it has been constantly on rise ever since. With this rise more and more cinemas began to pop up all over the country, and Mr. Jones explains how now local cinemas are a vital part to any community, “It’s grown in vitality in the last 10 years, they like to come out to the cinema again, they like to come and see the big-screen experience, not just films but also live shows from London, so the experience now is massive. It’s not just teens and families, it’s older people as well who will have deserted cinemas in the 1960s and 70s coming back in droves, and they love it. So for the community it’s hugely important, because even if we suddenly close, I can’t see a hundred percent of all our business going to the multi-plex.

“We’ve opened it up ourselves and brought all the people back.”

In a way it has become a kind of vicious cycle for the cinema industry and especially local cinemas such as the Phoenix, which was awarded the best independent cinema in the UK in their opening year by RAAM (national cinema awards). With the industry beginning to gain momentum once again, cinemas began to pop up in towns all over Cornwall, and the big companies saw this and have decided to make a multi-plex to get in on some of the action, hence the vicious cycle.

Vox pops with a cinema fan

“There wasn’t a cinema in Falmouth for over 20 years, and we’ve only been here for 5 years. If it wasn’t for us opening cinemas like this, there’s no way a multi-plex would even look to Cornwall, they’ve seen what we’re doing and thought ‘aha, we’ll have a slice of that’. We’ve opened it up ourselves and brought all the people back.” Alex Jones ends on a rather grim note, as he realises that because cinemas like the Phoenix have brought the industry back to its feet, their own accomplishments could be their downfall.

With the ‘Save Our Cinemas’ campaign signatures greatly surpassing the cause for concern mark of 5,000, and Falmouth’s town council being anonymously behind the campaign, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel yet. These cinemas are a vital part to any community, and to lose one of them would be to lose apart of your town.

For more information on the ‘Save Our Cinemas’ campaign visit the Merlin cinemas website at merlincinemas.co.uk. Or head down to your local, or closest, Merlin cinema to sign the petition and pick up a leaflet.

Channing Tatum To Star As Gambit

As I said in my previous post it seems to be every other day that some new information about a Marvel film comes out, and the X-Men franchise is definitely one that is high on the radar at the moment. Especially with the new X-Men: Days of Future Past being released and the announcement of the already named sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse.

But the most recent piece of ramblings about the world’s most famous mutant force comes in the shape of another new character being introduced, one that is well known throughout the comic books, but rather unknown in the films; Gambit (A.K.A Remy LeBeau). There will be a lot of film fans unfamiliar with the brown jacket wearing X-Man – who can change energy into pink kinetic energy that he usually uses through playing cards – except for his cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, however he is a vital part to the X-Men universe.

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This is great news for fans out there, finally they might get to see a worthy take on Gambit in X-Men: Apocalypse, and then possibly in a spin-off film. Unfortunately the choice for who is going to portray the vigilante has caused quite a stir with fan-boys, it is going to be none other than the usually-cast-in-romantic-films hunk Channing Tatum. Now don’t get me wrong I do love a bit of the Tatum, but as Gambit…I’m not so sure. Although he is shown to be rather buff in the comics, the character still has a slim build, which female fans of Tatum will know he does not.

However saying that, he could tone it down before filming due to the film being set for a 2016 release, and Tatum does have the same country background that Gambit has, so maybe you comic book fans shouldn’t be pulling your hair out just yet.

Marvel Movie News

With Marvel’s Phase 2 now in full swing, with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier already out and Guardians of the Galaxy’s release date fast approaching, it is becoming the norm for a piece of news about the upcoming films to be released weekly. But that side of Marvel is not what this article is about, no there are two pieces of rather exciting news concerning the two Marvel franchises owned by 20th Century Fox and Sony.

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The first being the upcoming reboot of Fantastic Four. Due to the first two attempts at taking the adventures of Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing and Human Torch to the screen failed to dazzle film and comic book audiences alike; even Captain America on fire couldn’t save it. 20th Century Fox have now decided to give it another go, here’s hoping that they do it justice this time; as the Fantastic Four are one of the most famous superhero teams in the Marvel universe and really deserve a great franchise. Josh Trank (Chronicle) is helming the new adaptation, and the film stars a much younger cast than its predecessor, with Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan (Human Torch) and Jamie Bell (The Thing).

Doctor Doom will once again be the main villain for the 2015 film, however it has recently been released that Tim Blake Nelson (whose last Marvel film role was as Samuel Sterns/The Leader in The Incredible Hulk) has signed on to the film, and will be portraying Harvey Elder. A scientist who is shunned by civilisation and eventually becomes the Moleman, who rules over an underground species called ‘Moloids’. Although Nelson will feature in this film, his character is more likely going to be a set up for the next Fantastic Four movie, set for a 2017 release.

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The other half of the big news comes from Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man. If like me you sat through to the end of the credits at the cinema when watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and all you got was a little clip from the new X-Men: Days of Future Past film; you might have felt slightly disappointed. Well it actually turns out that if you have the smart phone app ‘Shazam’, then you can Shazam the end credits song – ‘It’s On Again’ by Alicia Keys – and you will be shown various different images that tease at the line-up for the upcoming Drew Goddard directed ‘Sinister Six’ film.

The pictures, from SuperHeroHype, are shown below:

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From the images it appears that the villains who will be assembling in their own film will be: Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Rhino, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio. Personally I can’t wait to see how the back story of Kraven will be shown on-screen, and what a new-age version of Mysterio will look like.

Big things are coming.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The witty web-slinging masked vigilante returns in a sequel that will have fan-boys trembling with excitement.

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Life hasn’t exactly been easy for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield); first his parents are murdered (which is delved into much more), and then his uncle Ben is gunned down in the street by a criminal. Thankfully though he has the amazing abilities of a spider that help him to get through the day as he saves civilians in New York City. Although things appear to be looking up for the wall-crawler, Peter is still trying to deal with the death of Captain Stacy (his girlfriend’s father), and the promise that he made him in the first film. But pondering over the question of whether he should cut all ties to Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is not the only thing on Spidey’s mind, as a whole host of super-villains are emerging into his world. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) – a nobody who just wants people to notice him – is turned into Electro; an unstable monster that can control electricity and has found a new hatred for Spider-Man. Figuring out his love life and fighting crime might only be part of the threats that Peter is going to face, as his old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) comes into the picture, and is on a mission to prove that his father’s last words about him being a failure were wrong.

Although I was weary going into a new Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, it is definitely clear with the sequel that director Marc Webb is the man for the job. He has cranked everything up a notch from the first film, and not even things that needed to be done, but make the film so much better because they have been. As well as the picture quality, the effects and visuals are just on another level from the previous Spider-Man films; they make the entire movie seem more realistic and it pulls you into the film a lot further.

Along with this, the film improves on Spidey’s costume a little bit further, by adding the classic wide eye pieces to his mask, rather than the thin ones which have been used in every film to date. There was just something about this film that gripped you from start to finish, and made the almost 3 hour running time fly by. From the scenes that depict Peter’s everyday life, to the incredible action sequences, it all slotted together so well and will have you thinking ‘this is a great super-hero movie’.

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Of course with the new editions to the villain side of things – which includes Paul Giamatti as Rhino – there has to be the actors to play them, and the portrayals were dead on. Jamie Foxx’s depiction of the pissed-off-at-society Electro really makes you feel the rage, hatred and electricity that is flowing through his veins. The character of Electro has been re-imagined for the film; instead of a high school student who parades around in his green and yellow spandex when turned into a villain, he is now a grown man who works for Oscorp and his persona as Electro is now a blue-glowing horror that will have your nerves going wild. As both the shy Max Dillon and the enraged Electro he pulls off a stunning performance. This time round the character of Harry Osborn is given to us by the talented young Dane DeHaan, an actor who has been rising on the Hollywood radar ever since his breakthrough role in 2012’s Chronicle. His talents continue to shine as he plays the distraught son who needs to make his father (Chris Cooper) eat his final words and find a cure for a hereditary disease which they suffer from. Unfortunately in doing so he becomes the Green Goblin, once again a very scary one I might add. DeHaan’s role as both Harry and the Goblin are memorable, especially the latter, that chilling evil face will stick in your mind for weeks after viewing the film.

For all of you comic book fans out there, you will have noticed many little Easter eggs throughout the film. But for those of you unfamiliar with the Marvel universe, here are a few things you might have missed. First of all it seems quite possible that, in my opinion, one of the greatest team-ups may actually happen. I’m referring to Spider-Man and Black Cat, as we’re introduced to the character of Felicia Hardy (Felictiy Jones) in the form of Harry Osborn’s assistant. However that is not the only future characters we may have been introduced to. Max Dillon’s boss – Alistair Smythe – (B. J. Novak), if the writers decide to go down this route, is the son of Spencer Smythe, who is the inventor of the Spider-Slayers which are out to catch Spider Man. Probably the biggest hint at what is to come next though is the shady character seen in the end credits scene of the first film, and throughout a lot of this one. He is thought to be The Gentleman, a villain who assembles the super-villain team The Sinister Six; and as we have already heard that this is a route that the films will be going down, it is quite likely that he is him. Plus the fact that we see Doctor Octopus’ arms and Vulture’s wings at Oscorp, and part of the film being set in the Ravencroft institute where many of the villains may already be, is making this theory a reality.

Where Sam Raimi failed in adding too many villains to the story line (Green Goblin, Venom, Sandman), in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man Marc Webb has succeeded and made it work so well.

The future for the Spider-Man franchise is looking bright.