Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #93)


Joe Renteria
Shelly Novack
Deirdre Daniels
Bob Comfort
Carmen Zapata
Ed Faulkner
Fred Lerner
Bob Hoy
Alan Gibbs

Produced and directed
Don McDougall

Story by
Joe Renteria

Screenplay by
Frank Chase

Cinematography by
Al Francis

Assistant Director
Ray DeCamp

Production Manager
Wally Samson

MPAA rating: R

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One-Sheet of the Week: THE SPEARMAN OF DEATH (1982)


U.S. release in 1982 as THE SPEARMAN OF DEATH

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One-Sheet of the Week: BAD (1977)

BAD a.k.a. ANDY WARHOL'S BAD (1977)

Rated X in 1977. Re-edited for an R later that year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #92)

GET ROLLIN' (1980)

"Pat the Cat" Richardson
Vincent "Vinzerrelli" Brown
Inez Daniels

Written, Produced and Directed
J. Terrance Mitchell

Peggy Ann Stulberg

Executive Producers
Stan Plotnick
Irwin Young

Director of Photography
Joseph J. Friedman

Edited by
J. Terrance Mitchell
Peggy Ann Stulberg

Euphrates/Plotnick/Du Art

Get Rollin' Group

Distributed by
Aquarius Releasing Corp.

No MPAA rating
Running time: 85 minutes

A specialty picture as limited as GET ROLLIN', at the Embassy 1 theater, deserves short shrift, and a backhand of criticism, too.

It's half roller-skating, half disco-musical accompaniment. The main trouble is, the music, all 11 numbers, sounds alike. It never stops that blasting beat.

The other trouble is that the roller skating, like porn movies, has only a few variations. Then it's repetition. Splits, whirls, toe-steps, and around and around they go.

I won't say "Pat the Cat" Richardson and Vincent "Vinzerrelli" Brown don't skate well, or that their fellow skaters at the Empire Rollerdome in Brooklyn aren't enjoying themselves.

There's even the nub of a plot when Pat loses his restaurant job when he insists on taking time off for a skating audition with an impresario from London. Pat has arguments with his wife who has to stay home and wonder what he's doing, and where, and what money is going to accrue.

But the plot and character-building of writer-producer-director J. Terrance Mitchell are insufficient to sustain 85 minutes of that same old roll-around skating. In other words, this is a picture that should be confined to roller-skating addicts.

I must add that this is an addiction that does not lend itself to easy selling as entertainment. As a sport, yes. As a means of locomotion during a subway strike, yes. But deliver most of us from having to sit through this picture the whole way.

[New York Post, 4/25/80, p.35]

TOM ALLEN says...
Someone has slipped a promo movie in among the relatively high-minded independent American documentaries that, since BEST BOY, have been seeking a paying audience in commercial theatres. At least, that's one legitimate interpretation of J. Terrance Mitchell's GET ROLLIN', a simulated documentary about the career ambitions of two roller-skating performers. Mitchell's film is based at Brooklyn's Empire Rollerdome, one of the city's pioneer disco skating rinks, where it picks up a local character named "Pat the Cat" Richardson, who dances in a cowboy outfit, and a more ambitious entertainer, "Vinzerrelli" Brown, who aims for an outlandish, funky black image.

According to the film, both men end up being driven off the plantation in an Englishman's limo heading for a string of disco-rink openings in Great Britain. Is this a true story? It's impossible to know. When a documentary is staged with cameras on both ends of phone calls and real people act (or reenact) scenes, the viewer is pitched into a credibility crisis. Richardson, the less talented dancer, is such a forelorn small-time exhibitionist that he would skate off the Brooklyn Bridge to get on camera. Brown, a possibly first-rate dancer, is cagey enough to withhold his best stuff from an effort made for less than one tenth of ROLLER BOOGIE.

GET ROLLIN' is a movie incomparably better in its parts than in its abysmal whole. The basic scenes on the floor of the Rollerdome are technically proficient, but the key concepts of faking cinema verite and choosing amateur hustlers with banal dreams as the main characters extremely limits the interest. To paraphrase Kathleen Carroll in her uncharacteristically harsh review of JOE AND MAXI, I'm afraid that the only person who could gain something from watching GET ROLLIN' is Mitchell's publicist.

[Village Voice, 5/5/80, p.41]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drive-In Review: MIDWAY DRIVE-IN (Minetto, NY)

2475 State Route 48
Minetto, NY 13115
(315) 343-0211

Date of visit: 9/3/2010
Grade: A+

Mr. Rice, our driver’s ed teacher back in high school, used to warn us about becoming “velocitized by the road,” a term we’ve casually dropped in traffic court on more than one occasion to avoid getting points on our license after a guilty plea for speeding. Wellllllll, the Temple crew wasn’t technically speeding down N.Y.S. Route 48 on that Friday night of this past Labor Day weekend, but we were certainly going the limit on a pitch-black country road during a rainstorm and maybe had become slightly velocitized when our car rounded a corner coming off a winding hill and we suddenly found ourselves face to face with a giant cat in a Hannibal Lecter facemask that was flapping its tongue at us menacingly. Once our driver eased up on the brakes and got the car straightened out (and all the screaming stopped), we caught sight of CATS AND DOGS on a theater marquee and realized we had reached our destination.

The Midway Drive-In, so named because of its location midway between Fulton and Oswego on N.Y.S. Route 48, is an exemplary ozoner that has been in business for 63 summers, 24 of them under the present management. Cinema Treasures claims the theater has a 600-car capacity, but the night we attended heavy rains had reduced all but the first 7 rows muddy and unusable. The concession staff did a professional job of suppressing laughter when, 10 minutes before the intermission, Po-Man staggered in soaking wet and purchased a bottle of water.

Because of the lousy weather and our delayed arrival, we missed the whole pre-show vibe and therefore cannot comment on the general attitude of the Midway’s audience. However, we were impressed enough with the Midway to award it an A+ rating for the following reasons:

1. The “Lights Out” rule is strictly enforced. On a night that was pitch black and pouring rain, not once did we see headlights flash across the screen.

2. "Look, mom, it's Herbie!"

We're ashamed to admit that we drove right past the lovable bug and didn't see him during our first dark and stormy visit. Thankfully, we had time the next morning to return and take pictures.

3. In between features, the Midway runs classic concession stand and intermission spots from the 1950s through the early ‘80s.

4. A decent-sized screen with a sharp image

5. Membership in the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association (UDITOA)

6. A nice, clean concession stand with friendly employees

7. The theater offers special deals to their repeat customers by issuing Regulars Cards to both adults and children

8. They also give out a free large pizza with toppings every night during the intermission (Hold on to your ticket stub!)

9. The Midway was the first drive-in to show open-captioned films for the deaf and hard of hearing, and for the past 7 years they have held an Open Caption Show during Deaf Awareness Week.

10. They hand out lots of reading material at the box-office!

Bravo! Now that's an A+ drive-in!

The Midway Drive-In is now closed for the season, but for more information please visit their website.