Tag Archives: movies

Number of Christmas movies drops in recent years


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by KC Bailey/Lionsgate Publicity

DIANA DELLACAVA

Many people welcome the winter months with open arms and ready knit hats and scarves.

A traditional activity during this time is movie-going, for you may relax and immerse yourself in a world of candy canes and mistletoe. Now a days, however, options are much more limited than expected.

The presence of Christmas films has declined dramatically, due to the demand for realism in film by the older movie viewers and the demand for horror films by the younger demographic.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, for instance, opens to the public on December 25. In this film, far from a Santa Claus figure, Ben Stiller is a dreamer who delves so deep into his fantasies he spends half of his time daydreaming.

Teens, in turn will be watching other teens fight to the death well into January when may watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

The Hunger Games: Catching fire has reached $186 million domestically and nearly $350 in the worldwide film market by the end of November, according to The Wrap Hollywood News Inc.

The teenage driving force behind the success of first the book trilogy written by Suzanne Collins, and now the Lionsgate films has helped the crude dystopia that serves as the film’s nucleus achieve success in only days after its November 22 opening.

It seems the film industry is trying hard to fulfill the demands of as many viewers as possible in order to increase revenue and attempt to fill theaters in the winter months.

There were 28 films scheduled to release starting on Friday, December 6, according to movieinsider.com. From these titles, 17 are dramas without a holiday theme, thus leaving 11 films in a cluster of thrillers, adventures, documentaries and family films.

Amy Herzog, a Queens College professor and media expert, points out that in the past years some holiday movies have had a darker tone.

“There have been movies like Bad Santa and [more recently] Almost Christmas,” she said. “Which have a very cynical and kind of poignant take on the different experiences people go through during Christmas time.”

In Almost Christmas, released in April 2013, Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd, having moved away from a criminal past, find the Christmas holiday to be the perfect money making machine.

This trend, Herzog said, favored by an older generation, pulls the viewer away from traditional holiday films, disposing of the Santa Claus figure and in addition fostering a fatalistic view of life.

Another way to twist the Christmas story to fit tastes that are more varied is to incorporate horror. The 1974 film Black Christmas for instance, is also available today as a 2006 remake of the same title. In both films, a disgruntled young boy paints Christmas black by murdering his family, and 15 years later comes home for the holidays as a full grown maniac to find his home occupied by sorority girls. The modern version features hot young actors in a film industry effort to follow modern trends in film viewership — thus providing an alternative for horror fans out there.

There are two comedies available: the Ben Stiller film and the only Christmas film: Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas. Aside from the meager number of holiday films available, this film is group specific which defies the scope of a universal holiday films.

Ideally, Hollywood productions for Christmas feature a varied cast as to help the public identify with characters of different backgrounds. This is not to say that someone of a different ethnicity would not enjoy such a film.

Herzog said light-hearted films such as Best Man Holiday, released in November and the upcoming Madea Christmas, are highly appropriate for the holiday season, generally good time to release films.

“From a stark marketing point,” she said. “People try to release films around the holiday.”

The college crowd, in particular does not often plan-ahead when it comes to movie theater trips, often watching what is available, when there is time and if there is anytime. When choosing a holiday film to watch this winter, students will have the choice already made for them.

Not everyone shares the holiday spirit with the same degree of intensity. However, a point of mutual agreement across the generations is the unrequited love for classic holiday films.

In speaking to media professors and students, while some would rather skip the Christmas film altogether, most will find it most enjoyable in the comfort of their own homes and the warmth of their pajamas.

These films are widely available and easily accessible through all kinds of online services such as Netflix streaming, and Amazon or iTunes downloads without having to leave the house.

General audiences and film professionals alike have been turning to the classic holiday films. Titles such as Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life fill living rooms with joy higher than a cupful of eggnog.

While others like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and White Christmas extend the offer of a happier life, which we can accomplish by making better choices.

“Our ideas of Christmas are so steeped in nostalgia,” Herzog said. “It makes sense that we revert to the classics when it comes to Christmas.”

Moreover, childhood favorites such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas can take us back to a time of childlike dependency, regardless of how mature our beloved Peanuts characters can be and how cynical Dr. Seuss’s script is.

These films have become unchallenged classics because less of the genre are produced as time goes by, where in 2011 and 2012 there were only three holiday films released but plenty of drama and horror filled the box office.

The type of comfort, whether it be spiritual, or physical found at home is something the movie industry has virtually stopped trying to recreate inside the theater.

 

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Halloween events in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Here’s your guide to all the Halloween happenings in Queens this October.

Pumpkin Patch
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Thru October 28
Saturdays & Sundays
11:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Haunted House at the Poppenhusen

The Poppenhusen Institute
114-04 14th Road College Point
Friday, October 26-Saturday, October 27
Wednesday, October 31
5:00-6:00 p.m. (ages 6-8), 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (ages 8 and up)

Halloween Haunted House

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Children’s Fall Festival
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Sunday, October 28
11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Dead or Alive
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111 Street, Corona
Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28

Thriller at the Battery
Fort Totten Park
Cross Island Parkway between Totten Avenue and 15 Road
Friday, October 26
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Boo at the Zoo
Queens Zoo
53-51 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Saturday, October 27-Sunday, October 28
11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Halloween Walking Tour
Hell Gate Bridge, Astoria Park (on Shore Boulevard)
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.

Rockaway Canine Festival
Rockaway Freeway Dog Park
Beach Channel Drive at Beach 84 Street, Rockaway Beach
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Family Halloweenfest
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
161-04 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Trick or Treat!
Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107 Street, Corona
Saturday, October 27
1 p.m.-4 p.m.

3rd Annual Halloween Costume Party
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
Saturday, October 27
8 p.m.

Bayside Village Halloween Family Festival

Bell Boulevard

between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue

Saturday, October 27

Noon-5 p.m.

Halloween-Remixed

Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
Sunday, October 28
12:00 p.m.

Halloween on Ice
City Ice Pavilion
47-32 32 Place, Long Island City
Sunday, October 28
12:00 pm.-3:50 p.m.

CenterStage Halloween Concert
Sky View Center
40-24 College Point Boulevard, Flushing
Sunday, October 28
3:30 p.m.

Haunted Halloween Hike
Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston
Monday, October 29
4:30 p.m. (ages 5-7), 6:30 p.m. (ages 8-12)

Shocktoberfest
Playground For All Children
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Tuesday, October 30
4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Queens Zoo Trick & Treating and Halloween Festivities
Queens Zoo
53-51 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Wednesday, October 31
3:00–5:00 p.m.

Jackson Heights Halloween Parade
Line up near P.S. 222  (87th Street and 37th Avenue)
Wednesday, October 31
5 p.m.

Halloween Party! Devil Science Theater 3K
Laughing Devil Comedy Club
47-38 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City
Wednesday, October 31
8 p.m.

 

 

Kaufman Astoria Studios extends lease by 99 years


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

Keep the reels rolling!

Senator Charles Schumer and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney announced the approval of Kaufman Astoria Studios’ 99 year lease term extension under the Historic Surplus Property Program by the National Park Service (NPS). Early this month, Schumer and Maloney requested that NPS approve this application, stating the extension would allow business expansion in the studio by providing long-term investments and make it easier to access the capital Kaufman needs to grow and expand.

“This lease term extension will give Kaufman Astoria Studios the security and predictability it needs to grow, create more jobs and expand its business in Queens,” said Schumer. “This studio is full of history and with New York City’s growing film industry, I am pleased that the National Park Service has said ‘lights, camera, action’ for this new extended lease.”

The legendary studio opened in 1920 and became the home to Paramount Pictures. Stars like Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino have worked on productions at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Sesame Street is also filmed at the renowned studio. Kaufman Astoria Studios was designated as a National Historic District in 1978.

Its extended lease will end in 2099.

What to do this weekend


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Unisphere was lit-up red for American Heart Month

Friday, August 10 

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Come for an evening of music at Grover Cleveland Playground. There will also be face painting for children, a raffle drawing and Latin dance instruction under the stars. All ages are welcome to participate. Seniors will receive a free gift while supplies last.

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Come enjoy Shakespeare’s classic , “The Comedy of Errors,” on the lawn in Sunnyside Gardens Park, presented by Queens-based Hip to Hip Theatre Company. The performance is free and open to all.

8 p.m. – 10 p.m., “Pretty Woman” at Rufus King Park: When millionaire wheeler-dealer Edward enters into a business contract with Hollywood hooker Vivian, he loses his heart in the bargain in this charming romantic comedy. Can the poor prostitute and the rich capitalist live happily ever after? Written by J.F. Lawton. Directed by Garry Marshall.

8 p.m. – 10 p.m., The iconic Kool and the Gang will be at Resorts World Casino and the enjoyment will cost you nothing, but a Resorts World Casino player’s card. Head to Resorts World Casino for your complimentary Genting Rewards card and enjoy Kool and the Gang.

8 p.m. – 10 p.m., Flushing Town Hall presents the amazing Dandy Wellington and His Band. Dandy has quite the following in NYC and it’s a real treat to have him perform at Town Hall. Inspired by the Big Band Era of Jazz, Dandy takes the sounds of the 1930s and 40s and brings them to the present with a ton of style and fun.

8 p.m. – 10 p.m., Officials will join members of the Sikh community for a memorial ceremony for those who lost their lives at the recent shooting inside a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. The terrible tragedy, claimed the lives of seven victims and left the entire Sikh community devastated. The vigil aims to raise awareness of this violent incident and promote tolerance and understanding within the community.

8:30 p.m., This outdoor movie series at Hudson River Park features family-oriented PG movies suitable for all ages. Tonight’s film will be “Rango.” Free popcorn will be provided.

Saturday, August 11

Noon, Forgotten NY walking tour: See the Dyckman Farmhouse, the Seaman Estate Arch, and historic Inwood Hill Park and its rich Native American and colonial history in this tour through Inwood and Inwood Hill Park. Within the park is a secret Revolutionary War relic which is little-known to the general public.

1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hallets Cove free walk-up paddling: Head to Vernon Blvd and 31st Avenue for free kayaking or canoeing. No reservation, no experience needed. All ages are welcome, but under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.Bucket of Junk at NY Hall of Science: Design and build anything your imagination can think of by combining interesting objects you’ll find in our Bucket of Junk. Free with NYSCI admission.

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Come enjoy a summer night with the Bard. Queens-based Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a free performance of Shakespeare’s classic “Hamlet” on the northern lawn of Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City.

8 p.m., Join Amy Leo in her final show of the year before she begins working on the new album. She will be doing a nice blend of originals (some old and some that have never been heard before!) and covers. In true Amy Leo fashion, there will also be some surprise guests.

Sunday, August 12

12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., The Myrtle Avenue Festival, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Glendale Queens and located on Myrtle Avenue between Fresh Pond Road and Forest Avenue, features food vendors, craft vendors, games, rides, Brooklyn Nets “Experience”, North Shore Animal League mobile pet adoption, FDNY Smoke House fire safety exhibition and more fun for the whole family.

1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Astoria Park Shore Fest: A Car-free celebration on Shore Boulevard adjacent to Astoria Park. It will include educational activities, live music, fitness programs and food-tastings with various neighborhood restaurants.

1 p.m. – 5 p.m., The Argentine Tango never ceases to amaze! Enjoy a live Tango concert at 2 p.m. and take a free lesson for beginners at 1 p.m. Also, dancer Mayte Vicens will do a special demonstration before the concert. Free.

6 p.m. – 10 p.m., The Muppets“: Outdoor movie for the family to enjoy at Rockaway Beach. Bring a chair or blanket.

NYC’s Filming Boom


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Silvercup sign

Bollywood produces the most movies in the world. Hollywood is known as the planet’s entertainment capital. But there is a sleeping giant in the entertainment industry — New York City.

Being the biggest city in the world, New York was the setting of a multitude of shows, but not their home: Seinfeld, Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond all shot 3,000 miles away from where they were located. Even now How I Met Your Mother, Mad Men and CSI: New York film in California.

But within the last decade, there has been a New York renaissance in production not seen in a century.

The television boom over the past 10 years has seen the number of series filmed here more than triple. Twenty-three series filmed in New York City throughout the 2011-12 television season, including, Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife and Law & Order: SVU.

Besides the shows that film in NYC exclusively, more than 100 television shows and movies have used the beautiful backdrop of New York City over the past year and the city revels in a entertainment production revival.

“With our beautiful city, talented workforce and the assistance offered by our ‘Made in NY’ program, New York City has surpassed all previous records for film and television production,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

New York is now becoming a first choice when deciding where to film, according to insiders, and at the center of the record boom is western Queens’ Silvercup Studios and

Kaufman Astoria Studios and Brooklyn’s Steiner Studios.

Kaufman originally opened in 1920 as Astoria Studios, and quickly became the mecca of the silent film era. Upon America’s entrance into World War II, the studio was taken over by the U.S. Signal Corps. and became known as the Army Pictorial Center where armed forces training films were shot.

The building eventually fell into disuse and disrepair until 1977’s production of The Wiz featuring Michael Jackson. It was fully renovated and revived in 1980 after the sale of the lot to George S. Kaufman. Since its rebirth, some of the biggest stars have passed through the studios doors. Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Big Bird have called Kaufman Astoria Studio home, while Glengarry Glen Ross, Scent of a Woman and The Cosby Show were filmed there.

Out of a former flour silo rose the next great NYC studio, Silvercup Studios. The Long Island City studio opened in 1983 and quickly established itself as the largest independent, full-service film and television production facility in the Northeast. It has shot such classics as When Harry Met Sally, The Sopranos and City Hall. Currently, the stars of Gossip Girl, 30 Rock and Person of Interest call it home.
The “largest and most sophisticated studio complex outside of Hollywood,” Steiner Studios opened in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2004. It has played host to Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie. The studio’s lot has been used by Sex and the City, American Gangster and Spiderman 3.

The shows may use the studios to shoot much of the show, but filming in the city allows them to use it as a backdrop whenever they see fit. And it’s not just a quick exterior establishing shot of NYC, You no longer have to watch a “New York” show like Seinfeld and see the characters walk down the same fake city street in every episode. Instead, you have Alec Baldwin in Rockefeller Center, or Blake Lively in Central Park, or Zach Galifianakis exploring Manhattan, it gives the show an authenticity that is impossible to reproduce on a set.

Seeing the characters outside a pizzeria that you’ve gone into, brings realism to the show. It’s not Central Perk on Friends, it’s New Roma Pizza on How to Make It in America.
New York isn’t resting on its record breaking laurels, either.

“New York City is a television town, and we’re thrilled that we broke records for television production in 2011,” said Office of Media & Entertainment commissioner Katherine Oliver. “The mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment is committed to working hard to make sure that the industry continues to grow and expand in 2012.”
And it’s not just the sheer number of shows being produced, it’s good television. Last year, city productions earned 110 Emmy nominations, winning 23 awards.
It’s exciting to recognize the locales used during the shows, but even more exciting could be recognizing yourself or one of your friends in the background. In 2011, more than 11,000 extras were hired on the television shows shot in the city.

So, with the productions multiplying exponentially, it may be only a matter of time before you find yourself watching yourself on the screen.

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Yankees’ Joba could be out for year after injury: report

Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain will be out indefinitely after suffering a “very significant,” possibly season-ending injury to his right ankle Thursday after jumping on a “trampoline of sorts” at a play center. GM Brian Cashman said Friday that Chamberlain fell while playing with his son and has an open dislocation of the ankle, meaning the bone broke through the skin. Chamberlain’s son, Karter, was uninjured. Read More: New York Post

‘The Hunger Games’ earns $19.74M at midnight screenings

“The Hunger Games” has already raked in $19.74 million from midnight screenings, according to Lionsgate. The movie now has the biggest non-sequel midnight opening of all time, according to reports. The highly-anticipated film adaptation of the best-selling novel earned more at midnight than “The Dark Knight” did in the summer of 2008. That film opened with $18.5 million at midnight before earning $158 million for the second-highest opening weekend of all time. Read More: New York Post

Burned firefighter heads home

A Brooklyn firefighter who suffered severe burns on the job is heading home after spending three months in the burn center at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Robert Wiedmann suffered burns to 54 percent of his body, including his head, face and back in a December 19 fire in Crown Heights. Wiedmann left the hospital Friday morning in a limo with a police escort. Read More: New York Post

 

Staten Island stabbing suspect arraigned on murder charges, remanded into custody

The man suspected of fatally stabbing a Staten Island groom-to-be at his engagement party was charged today with second-degree murder and remanded into custody. Redinel Dervishaj, 35, allegedly plunged a butcher’s knife into the chest of bricklayer Anthony Lacertosa, 27, during an early-morning melee last Saturday in front of the Espana Restaurant. Dervishaj was nabbed Tuesday hiding out at his aunt’s home in Illinois, police said. He waived extradition and was returned to Staten Island. Read More: New York Post
Police Identify So-Called “Vaseline Bandit”

Investigators with the New York City Police Department have identified the so-called “Vaseline Bandit”. Investigators want to speak with Luis Gonzalez in connection with 14 burglaries in upper Manhattan dating back to September. Police say he covers the peephole on doors with petroleum jelly to obstruct the view, giving himself time to get away if someone encounters him at the door. Police say he’s stolen jewelry, money and electronics. Read More: NY1

 

Police: Man Sexually Abused Two Girls In Brooklyn Laundromat

Police are looking for a man who sexually abused two teenage girls and exposed himself to a third in Brooklyn over the weekend. Investigators say the suspect went into a laundromat located at 481 Knickerbocker Avenue Sunday night and abused two girls, ages 13 and 15. The man then went to another laundromat where authorities say he exposed himself to another 13-year-old girl. Read More: NY1

 

Cops shoot, injure disturbed woman in Bronx after she throws knives at them

A suicidal woman was shot and wounded by police in the Bronx on Friday after she started tossing knives at the officers, sources told the Daily News. The 42-year-old chucked the blades at the cops after they walked into her Lasalle Ave. apartment in Middletown and found her stabbing herself in the stomach shortly before 10 a.m., the sources said. One officer fired at least two times in response, striking the woman in her leg, a source said. Read More: Daily News