Clinking Glasses & Global Visions: The 2011 Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Feature

Santa Barbara circulates in the stratosphere of the now. The reasoning which motivates it in many circles screams Oscar which gives the arena itself a certain precedence. But while the glitz and glamour of the film festival with such honorees as Christopher Nolan and Nicole Kidman looms heavily, the aspect of smaller and little seen films balances the progression in a wonderfully cathartic and compelling way.

Certain films offer a sense of character study with a voracious entertainment value as was inherently the case with “Good For Nothing” a New Zealand Western with an inherently American bent playing to the ideals of the Spaghetti Western. Anchored by a dark venting portrayal of “The Man” played by Cohen Calloway, the film follows a path of a young British maiden (emblazoned with great strength and texture by Inge Rademeyer) set adrift on the shores of the Old West only to be kidnapped by the cowboy in question. Buoyed by a wonderful balance of humor as well as a distinct brutality of the time period rarely seen in films, the narrative follows Western intentions while remaining remarkably modern distinctly due to a steady hand in the eye of director Mike Wallis. Add to this, the gripping vistas of a New Zealand as America rarely seen as well as a lush score, “Good For Nothing” offers distinct treasures in its future.

On the other side of the metaphoric coin, “Light In Darkness” plays with an abandon that, while at times confusing in terms of narrative, functions as a complete fun and sultry rock n’ roll allegory of a bandit on the loose in the modern decadence of Brazil. Harking back with a bossa nova style but with the inherent coolness of “Last Tango” and Jean Luc Goddard, the emotional adrenalin the film plays with volleys with a sense of liveliness that reflects the very best of early Almodovar riveting a vicious sensuality, a reckless danger and an inherent intelligence that revels in its own manueverability.

Continuing from this structure other films approached with different abilities and textures owing both homage and a sense of identity.

Angels & Airwaves Present Love“, a long gestating would-be music video-like project evolved over a sequence of five years as both director Will Eubank and the band itself (spearheaded by Tom DeLonge) worked on this inherently esoteric but experimental journey. Balanced in quarter spurts between glossy vibrant Civil War set pieces contrasted with the lonely remnants of a ISS astronaut abandoned at his post, the film functions in an almost eerie subsection of a man lost in his mind but unable to succumb to his sense of finite mortality. The world premiere crowd, distinctly younger than most of the rest of the festivalgoers, traveled from hours away to experience the film which is a true testament to the power still of music over the youth.

“Fire Of Conscience” and “Red Light Revolution” populated a cross-section of the “East x West” substructure with less persistence than in recent years. ”

Fire“, a contemporary noir action thriller from the mind of Dante Lam, reflects the inherent commercial possibility of Hong Kong filmmakers with a film that makes many of the new icons in Hollywood pale in comparison. While an auteur like Christopher Nolan still travels leaps and bounds above, the efficiency and dexterity of films like this with an ideal of both drama and action are fewer and farther between. While the ending sequence pushes its credibility, its pace still purveys with an exceptional mirth.

Red Light” by comparison, tries, like last year’s comedy from South Korea: “Daytime Drinking”, to balance the idea of Eastern culturalism with a new conceptualization of Westernism infused by both consumerism and a sense of non-traditionalism. The idea here rests with the idea of a young professional, out of options, fired from his job and thrown out by his wife [who has left him for an actor of all things].

The intersection of much of the rest of the films at the festival perceives in aspects of certain trevails of characters. Unlike however some of the vicious sociological tendencies of last year’s Eastern Bloc pictures, the amount of intensity failed to shine through in an overwhelming fashion.

“A Horrible Way To Die” envisioned, in its wanton way, a psychological viewpoint of a serial killer in transition from an inherently American point-of-view. While the main character is structured as an otherwise obvious proponent, the stylized verite progression seems to clash against its instincts like a horror director overcompensating for a lack of motivation. The revelry needs to rest in the fear of the people attacked. The resolute image of copycat killers is an interesting approach and provides the most interesting of the protagonist’s resolve but it ultimately interrelates to nothing.

“Dance Marathon”, like last year’s entry “Fathers & Guns”, takes a inherently foreign element employed in smaller towns to encourage unity and flips it with a conceptual twist. Using two bumbling thieves trying to take prize money from a dance competition, this would-be comedy tries its hands at magic realism by predicating the two knaves as messengers of God who have no idea of their actual power. Within this structure, a man bent on true love happens upon a singer that it is out of his reach and subsequently beds her. The resolution is romantic if not formulaic lending more to a poor man’s “Strange Brew” than a Hollywood rom-com.

The Double Hour” weathers the fray with an intentionally more intellectual approach wandering for the hook with a bit of intention. Using a woman’s skewed perception of her life and reflecting it within a dream (which might or might not be) shows an intensity of thinking. While the filmmaking style in essence is overwhelmingly subdued, this narrative device (which has been employed in other similar films) still succeeds in its ability to engage the audience without being overwhelmingly original or dexterious.

“Face To Face”, a mediation-based film adaptation from director Michael Rymer: the secret strength behind “Battlestar Galactica” [he directed most of the series] returns the helmer to his indie roots where the intention is not explosions but taking the abilities of actors and moderating tone. Essentially a stage play shot in the same room with cut aways of various emotional outbursts, the key is to moderate the feelings of the different characters changing the perspectives without changing the outlook. In terms of this approach, the success is undeniably visible though, despite its response in a larger theater, seems more appropriate for the small screen.

“The Great Vazquez”, like a similar short seen at the Miami Short Film Festival earlier this winter, uses the possibilities of its lead character as a con man/schemer with a heart of gold. Bounding between women, money and glamour, the shiny almost Faustian frivolity of the character begets a messy ending despite his best intentions to create chaos. What distinctifies the man is his carefree personification of what responsibility should actually be set against a post modern backdrop where the incessant trickery seems to make everything more vibrant.

The next films, incumbent of isolation within the resolute whole, create distinct ideals in their possibilities.

“King’s Road” delivering a vision of village life in Iceland shows a minimalistic trial of errors and eccentricities where the monotony of modern life (without the electronics) has become one of inevitable game. A young man returns from a failed nightclub business with an enforcer on his tail posing as a friend. His would-be father is trying to a be a big shot in a place where no one cares. Grandma, meanwhile, is hanging with hoodlums and smoking weed in a broke old jalopy with a killer sound system. The amount of care taken in generating speeding ticket details the level of intention interspersing the entire country within the camera’s view.

“Limbo” takes a more personalized approach detailing the relocation of a family from Norway to join the father of the household at his oil engineering job in Trinidad. What precipitates is the new texture of family dynamics in the modern world from a perspective in Norway where localization is key. While love still exists for the couple and their children, the difference in the idealogy that pulled them together forces them apart. Another couple on the move for many years, one of them played with exceptional poise by Bryan Brown (of “Cocktail” fame) present the future betrayal of the life that awaits them, cold and aimless but full of baubles.

“Tilt” examines the Russian youth of the late Cold War era with a much more severe tenacity. Under the siege of the Soviet state, they had nothing but being young, their ambition outweighed their mode of responsibility. In pirating pornography for local consumption under the wing of a slightly older and more experienced businessman, they are raided and expunged, not undue for one of the gang falling for a colonel’s daughter. The film in its rawness and simplicity reminds one of a retelling of “Kids” from a slightly more mature point of view. The kids are allowed to sneak out of the country but never to return which betrays a tendency of nationalism when their leader returns home to claim the girl he loves. The reality distinctifies itself when he finds her shacking up with his would-be best friend who betrayed them for success. The resolution, bloody as it should be, reaffirms the identity of true revolutionaries while reflecting the darkness of the resulting beat down.

The opening and closing films reflected more of a linear storytelling method allowing for a texture of wanton moviemaking not necessary for possibility but for form.

Sarah’s Key“, which opened the festival, resides in the fact of a woman created by her situation who ultimately succumbs to her perceived futility in her own survival. The film, offered in an interesting bilingual structure for Kristin Scott Thomas, ultimately frails in its overall believability despite a heavily enthused audience who were ardent fans of the bestselling book.

Carmen 3D” closed the festivities painting to the idea of newfound technology leading the way for more open minds. While the possibilities of seeing a stage performance like this on the big screen are riveting, there is no substitution for the real thing though the discussion made with the filmmakers and exhibitors over breakfast the morning of the premiere drifted into the fractionality that a certain amount of the populace would rather see the performance this way.

Parties reigned both VIP and normal with a sense of vision. The Chopin Lounge before the tributes bathed in a sense of elegant vigor as their new Rye Red introduced at the festival played smooth with lamb skewers and scallop shooters pervading galore.

The Opening Night party within the realms of the Paseo Nuevo Mall continued with a sense of overall community as food from up and down State Street gave way to the inherent photo booths. Within the VIP section upstairs, the art installation reflected in shadows as partygoers peered from room to room.

The Christopher Nolan tribute, heavily attended and buoyed in the director’s accomplishments (especially with his recent “Inception”), reflected in his openness within the asked question of “how to see the vision and then realize the vision” which is always key to accepting what is real and what is simply illusion in the filmmaking process. The VIP after party at Union Ale persisted with a great sense of balance as both Nolan and his wife/producer Emma Thomas stayed until the very end speaking with both fans and board members alike.

Annette Bening in accepting her Riviera Award stood beaming next to her husband Warren Beatty who watched with undeniable pride, his love for her never in question. The process, she spoke in retrospect, reflects in her a confidence but not an arrogance since the aspect of revealing a character is discovery.

Nicole Kidman reflected the most vulnerable in accepting her Vanguard Award while still maintaining her grace and power. Her teasing comments rang true especially upon the viewing of a key scene in “Eyes Wide Shut” which still remains one of her most powerful while “The Hours” she admits she almost backed out of because she was depressed despite its overall vehemence which garnered her an Oscar.

The Vanguard VIP After Party waxed elegant as the wine maintained its poignancy and Kidman received praise with almost Victorian intensity. Swirling away from the moment to the nearby atrium party, the swirling smells of pasta and swordfish steak painted the fountain center with a sense of anticipation which led from shots to the dance floor. Spinning with a flurry of beautiful red dressed mosquitos, the energy continued with a pestilence both exhilerating and exhausting.

The reflective dance floor continued with closing night at Eos which will not as festive and encompassing as long favorite El Paseo in its full Spanish American glory highlighted the persisting vision of keeping the energy both focused and critical as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival should be.

3D Love Affair & Star Spinning: Showest 2010 – Feature

Showest is always about showing the evolution of the movie theater experience. Whereas two years ago, the worry was that home theaters would take away the element of going to movies, the advent of 3D in the past two years has completely turned that angle on its ear. Last year’s argument involved the greater thought of how to afford to fit the current theaters to have 3D capabilities but the realization with “Avatar” is that there is always possibility. This motivated a new level of capital involvement because the films opening now do not have enough screens with audiences screaming for their inclusion. The paradox is quite humorous in its overall irony. This jolt of energy reflects in the intent of the studios and the inclement of star involvement which in recent years had been waning. The business is cyclical as ever.

Toy Story 3, Big 10 Award & Disney Opening Day Luncheon For the opening of Showest proper, Disney brought, through the voice of John Lasseter, the next installment in the Toy Story saga. While not directed by him, but rather by his longtime editor, his thought was that he wouldn’t give the films he made to anyone. After accepting the award from NATO for having 10 successful films at Pixar in a row, Lasseter introduced a new 3D short, “Night & Day”, shown for the first time outside the studio which he is says is the most creative piece he believes they have done to date. After this short, which uses Master Image 3D as an alternative to Real D, the producer and director of Toy Story 3 came out. Reflecting an earlier sentiment from John Lasseter that this screening would be in 2D and not 3D because post still had 5 or 6 weeks to go, illicited some questions. They also spoke that there was still temp score and that some shots near the end were not fully completed. Afterwards Disney held a luncheon in the main ballroom lining up the posters for all the Pixar Films side by side while Nathan’s served hotdogs and an 80s band worked the crowd. Buzz and Woody were present for pictures before the day moved on.

Letters from Juliet & Summit Dinner After a one/two punch last fall with “New Moon” and with a newly minted Best Picture Oscar in the form of “Hurt Locker” only a week ago, Summit is occupying the slot once beheld by Dreamworks. The key now is the types of films they present which is always in a general sense across the industry a crap shoot. This year they brought “Letters To Juliet” starring Amanda Seyfried set in Verona Italy which releases in the next couple months. The dinner following highlighted the Italian essence while the intermittance of Budweiser motivated conversation with theater owners on the pros and cons of restaurant integrated theaters and the hope of their return to major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles.

Lionsgate Reception, Kick Ass & Dinner The essence of Lionsgate this year rests in their progression of “Kick-Ass”, their take on the superhero genre. Lionsgate and the distribution team presented the screening to packed house along with a test consumer audience which allowed for a more organic interaction. It was proceeded by a new trailer of “The Expendables”, the new action movie directed by Sylvester Stallone and starring nearly every action star on the planet. The day before at the Bellagio at a private reception, Stallone interacted with the theater owners which is always important in terms of extending goodwill on the basis of the film. Crown shots and Patron Screwdrivers swirled with fondue as guests could take pictures in a green cape where their heads are photoshopped on top of one of the “Kick Ass” characters. The dinner proceeding the screening featured a great performance by all-female string quartet Phat Strad who played everything from “Moon River” to “Live & Let Die” as the character banners of “Kick Ass” flowed behind. With other films coming this year whose titles flew by on the party screen including “Killers” starring Ashton Kutcher and “Buried” (acquired at Sundance) starring Ryan Reynolds, Lionsgate as evidenced by the speech of one of its executives at the screening, is moving to evolve to the next level but realizes that the motion picture division is still what motivates the entire ancillary market whether it be digital home distribution, on demand or home video.

Back-Up Plan & CBS Films Luncheon CBS’ first foray into feature films plays into the aspect of its strengths but also in highlighting from possibilities in its TV archive. The first film “Extraordinary Measures” showcased Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser but in a structure more suitable to a TV movie. “The Back-Up Plan”, the second outing in more in structuring with a formative genre outlay. This romantic comedy stars Jennifer Lopez in a role both truthful for her but also formative as her comeback vehicle after taking some years off to be with her twins with husband Marc Anthony. Joining her in the film is Alex O’Loughlin who starred in the Joel Silver vampire series “Moonlight” and then the short lived “Three Rivers” both on CBS. It speaks to cross medium interaction which will be key to the introduction of new talent. With Lopez guesting on “How I Met Your Mother” in advance of the film opening, this kind of symbiotic element is in congruence of a new way of reaching audiences.

Post screening at the luncheon, Lopez took the podium, poised and business-like as she has always been, knowing the product that she is selling but also the importance of the business. She indicated her love of the genre and that it was the correct film to return in as she moves back into her movie career after her maternity break. Amy Baer, the head of the film division, seems to understand the aspect of demographic but also the necessary breakdown of different ideas at play.

“Beastly”, CBS’ next film, keys into the teen demographic but understanding that the young population is more adept to needing more stylistic substance as “Twilight” has shown. Stars Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer approached on stage but not to be undone by Neil Patrick Harris, who after hosting the Tonys and the Emmys, knows how to control a room. His humor spoke to the fact that Vanessa was hot but that Alex cannot be denied. In seriousness after showing a clip, Harris says that the key is giving this young person’s story the slickness of an ultra Hollywood production. He enjoyed watching it beyond being in it which speaks to his taste.

Aside from announcing the film adaptation of “Gunsmoke” which has not yet set its cast or director, Baer and her crew brought forth Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton straight from the set of “Faster” which is only two weeks into production. They showed a quick clip reel of what has been already shot which looks like a return to hard action form. Johnson spoke that after doing the family films, it was time to return to the genre he loves. He understands the balance needed. Thornton, a little thinner with dark hair, plays to the fact that these types of films are cool but that having the right studio behind you is necessary.

New Visions & Corner Spots Outside the ballrooms and screening theaters in the corridors of the Paris Convention area, the halls are covered with posters and standups providing trailer looks at new material to entice the theater owners. “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” [Fox] tells of the return of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) as he seemingly draws in the young Shia Laboeuf who is involved with the former magnate’s estranged daughter. The poster is seemingly reminiscent of “Devil’s Advocate”. “Knight & Day” [Fox] by comparison in its trailer has paradoxes that can be effective and interesting depending on how it plays out. There are some feelings of a “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” though Cruise’s performance seems to play a bit broader with his comedy. It is actually refreshing to see him in this form. At one point he places on sunglasses and you see that glint of Maverick. Cameron Diaz is playing more to a bumbling form of physical play but you don’t get to see as much of the character persona in this short look but the action seems less CG motivated and more practical based. “The Other Guys” [Sony] involves a cool teaser where both Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are vaulting through the sky in slow motion but ends with them in the rigging that they use in the actual production so it is uncertain in terms of what the plot will revolve around. “Takers” [Screen Gems] plays to the dealer incentive and boasts an interesting street cred cast including Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Hayden Christensen and recording star TI but gives no true indication of the narrative flow.

When in Las Vegas, it is always nice to get away to essential regulars and a new transition. Hidden on the other side of the 15 on Charleston, Frankie’s Tiki Room shelters itself from the knowledge that it loves what it is. The drinks have a verve of possibility from the Mutiny to the Bender Ender. Off Strip spots cater to the locals and understand the vibe. From the ultra grooved decor to the chilled bartender and specifically the sound appropriate set up, the cool spot to be was here. Not to say, that evenings don’t evolve. Always a place of infinite fun, especially when talking back to the girls behind the bar, Hogs & Heifers is a mainstay in downtown. Michelle Dell’s transplanted roughhouse from New York is the original inspiration for Coyote Ugly. Tequila shots go down every which way and balance especially on top of the bar received applause. With Fremont Street reaching South ever so succinctly, The Griffin Bar shows it dark coolness late into the evening. The Irish purmutation of the night requires Irish Car Bombs post Jameson with the pouring reaching generously into the night even as the signal light remained dim.

Warner’s Big Picture 2010 Warner has always been known for pulling out the stops at Showest. In a return to form, many studios understand the power of bringing talent out to meet the exhibitor since it shows an essence of enthusiasm on the part of stars themselves. This of course is buoyed by some script writing of course but the reality is that you can see when Alan Horn, head of Warner, believes in something. He gave the go ahead to “Harry Potter” when he became the top dog at the studio and the franchise has performed with flying colors.

Dan Fellman begins the presentation by bringing his distribution staff on stage. Warner has always been about making sure the right angle hits the screen. It is a very specific process which has become more and more refined over the years. When Horn comes onstage, he speaks of the record breaking year Warner has had and speaks to the success of “The Hangover” as a good example of cooperation between the studios and the exhibs as the longer it played, the more money it made everyone. He also hails the extreme success of 3D and that most of their films will be upgraded to the format to meet demand. This intrinsically painted the structure for “Clash Of The Titans”.

Director Louis Letterier who spoke of being an inherent fan of the original at the age of 8 also made reference of the man who they would all ask their 3D questions to in the form of Sam Worthington, the star of 2009’s monster hit “Avatar”. The 3D footage of “Clash” shown represents a cross section of what was completed in advance of the film’s anticipated release date. Christopher Nolan then came to the stage, professional, cut in a suit that has become his trademark. He explained that he wanted to give a little more of a glimpse into “Inception” without giving too much away so the exhibitors could have some sense of what they would be playing. He summarized the gist with Leonardo DiCaprio being a type of investigator who is able to enter other people’s dreams. The extended footage speaks to the more noir specifics of this perception.

John Patrick King next unveiled a more worldly approach with “Sex & The City 2” speaking of the essence of Morocco and the absence of Kim Catrall as his lovely ladies approached the stage with finesse in the form of Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and exec producer Sarah Jessica Parker. Catrall he speaks was starring in a production in the West End of London and could not be there. Zack Snyder, deep in post on his new “Sucker Punch” movie, presented his “Guardians” animated family picture. He admits that his kids wanted to know why they never saw his films which motivated him into this space at the motivation of Animal Logic whom he had worked with on “300”. This angle for him seems like a natural extension though the edginess needs to be maintained.

“Life As We Know It” brought director Greg Berlanti to stage in a romantic comedy format starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel in advance of his next directing duties on “Green Lantern”. Heigl spoke of her love of the genre and doesn’t intend to slow down though Duhamel seemed a little uncomfortable on stage rather letting the material speak for itself. Todd Phillips, who brought “The Hangover” to Showest the year prior, precluded the volleying daredevil antics of Zach Galifinakis and Robert Downey they perpetrated their new comedy “Due Date” which keeps the “Road Trip” mentality clear. Zach and Downey’s seemingly easy prankish carefree idealization in no small way helped by the smoked-out coolness of Phillips himself who knows how to keep the ball rolling.

The closer of “Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows” involved some unfinished sequences and shots that showed some of the darkness coming forth buoyed by the fact of Alan Horn’s announcement of the continuation of the 3D proliferation within their biggest franchise. Warner keeps the pace going understanding that the necessary is a nice cross section filled with energy and star power.

Prince Of Persia & Showest Awards Dinner Jerry Bruckheimer, in town to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, introduced his next big screen outing in the form of “Prince Of Persia”, being released this summer starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Post screening, the press interaction before the awards brought through three of the ensuing recepients. Jerry Bruckheimer spoke of “Pirates 4” which is set to start shooting in June but unsure if the film would be done for 3D. The market, he says, is saturated but what allows him to keep going at this level is his executives. In terms of “Persia”, he describes it as a romantic adventure, albeit one set in the 6th Century and says that is the kind of fun “Pirates” was but clarifying that it is much more plot driven. He also spoke of a new project entitled “Horsehunters” set in Afghanistan which was based on a NY Times article.

Comedy Director Of The Decade Jay Roach, best known for “Austin Powers” and whose “Dinner For Schmucks” comes out later this year, says no one knows what is funny. You tend to find it in the uncertainty. Steve Carrell, for example, he says, has a way of playing off-center delusional characters. In the end it all becomes about casting. Next, Katherine Heigl, recently a mother, came out with a new black hairdo which was seen earlier at the Warner function. She says she didn’t understand before what Showest really was about but now realizes that the theaters are trying to keep it current. She says that the hairdo is in anticipation for a role she is hoping to get off the ground which is Stephanie Plum, the heroine of Janet Evanovich’s “One For The Money” which is part of a franchise of books. She doesn’t she doesn’t feel like her native German/Irish with this hair. She also laughingly talks that she is beating comedies to death but that she loves them. She said also her next film which is in the can (“Life As We Know It”  spotlighted at the Warner presentation) allowed her to “learn on the go” for her new role as mother.

With Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” hosting, the dinner sped by with chicken, salad and asparagus leading the way. Jerry Bruckheimer accepted first speaking of the point that the Lifetime Achievement Award is usually given when somebody is approaching the end of the career. He says though that his mother lived to be 104 so by that standard he has over 48% of his career still ahead of him. He also referenced his roots as a Detroit boy. Jay Roach balanced his perception as Comedy Director Of The Decade saying that “comedy is about exagerration so this is a very funny award”. The young in play were highlighted in the stars of tomorrow in Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, both of CBS Films’ upcoming “Beastly”. Hudgens says that in this business she already feels old while Pettyfer gave his props to CBS Films Head Amy Baer who picked him from obscurity though he did have the lead in Weinstein Company’s “Stormbreakers”.

Amanda Seyfried, who received the Breakthrough Star Of The Year Award for her roles in “Dear John”, “Chloe” and the upcoming “Letters From Juliet” which also screened at Showest, maintained a humble structure calling the award “encouraging”. Katherine Heigl, picking up Female Star Of The Year, seemingly set her dress aflutter as one strap came undone as she was walking up to the stage. Billy Bush then became the designated holder as he tried to keep from breaking into a laugh on-camera. Heigl’s first comment revolved around “Thunder Down Under”, the male revue show in Vegas describing that the advertising couldn’t be any more obvious. Drumroll.

Sam Worthington, honored with Male Star Of The Year, said the honor was “embarassing” but also “gives you a shitload of confidence” adding that he has “the best job in the world” despite starting off as a bread maker in Perth Austrailia. Zach Galifinakis, with a newly forming beard collecting his Comedy Star Of The Year Award, seemingly went off script without even knowing the venue he was in which made his act all the more surreal and applause worthy. His “Hangover” director Todd Phillips, who nabbed Director Of The Year, accepted in perpetuity admitting “I am a moron” while simultaneously telling stories of loving movies in youth particularly encouraging movie theater attendees to buy “Ice Pirates” and see “Star 80”.

The darkness of the desert speaks to the evening even as the wine flows beyond the tables. The last year of Showest at Bally’s showed an increasing return to form after years retained of less stars returning to the confab in the desert. The companies realize that especially with the new advent of 3D, the exhibitors are essential to the formula especially with the riveting performance of “Avatar” in 3D. With its translation into Cinecon at Caesars Palace next year, the new decade will begin in earnest, hopefully with many new surprises and advances ahead.