The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Archive for April 19, 2016

Happy birthday to the Palace

palace banner13055556_10153569711327218_8178519285172199579_nIt’s been one of my favorite places in the world since I was a teenager. I still remember the awe I felt that first time as I got just into the lobby. Those antechambers alone are impressive. Further in though, the sprawling ornate expanse of the theatre itself stunned me.

I’ve been there for plays, concerts, and a great many films. It’s where I saw the Star Wars special editions, where I went to see Man of Steel and the Star Trek Reboot. I saw House of Wax with Vincent Price there. I actually headed out there to see Thor – not because I had any interest in the movie, but simply because it was a good excuse to go out and spend some time out at the Palace. In my 20’s I took dates 13001263_10153569710802218_5952734321591005317_nthere, particularly if I wanted to impress them. It’s where I saw barbershop quartets ( I remember going with my parents to see our friends Jim Heath and Rick Asberry sing), as well as plays and community theatre. I saw Brigadoon there. My wife and I picked up our friend’s daughter Dara and brought her out to see High School Musical on stage there (She was obsessed with the film at the time- both the idea of seeing it live and the splendor of the theatre itself blew her mind). When I was younger, I remember peaking around the corner during play intermissions and11222166_1052236374820785_7702178146771162340_n seeing the actors in the courtyard.

This is where my daughter Lydia saw The Wizard of OZ for the first time.

Seeing films on the big screen – particuarly ones that I simply never could have seen when they were originally running has always been one of my favorite things. It’s been fun to see that trend creep over to the palace a bit (and nice to not have to drive out to the Cedar Lee in Cleveland Heights for it!). Psycho. I saw Psycho for the very first time here.

Back in my acting days I always wanted to preform on that stage. I’ve done shows in theatres all around the area from the Middle Ridge theatre with the Workshop Players, to the Old Town Hall theatre to Huntington 12190022_1062983890412700_1466632364814610969_nPlayhouse to Stocker center, but never the Palace. I just never got the chance before I retired from theatre. The closest I’ve gotten was doing a costume contest up there dressed as Freddy Kruger last year. The view from the stage is everything I imagined it would be.

The restoration always seemed to be going on. The platforms and scaffolding almost became a part of the theatre, but when it finally was finished, the walls and the crests and the details along every ridge of the auditorium shone with a color and a light that I had never realized possible.13012849_10153569707412218_2051608072534013857_n12549085_1104892132888542_5771569648120947202_nIt’s easily the equal of the grand theatres in downtown Cleveland. As much as I love the Capitol out in the Gordon Square area and the Apollo in Oberlin, they can only aspire to the grand look and feel of the Palace. A  few months ago I went with a group for their screening of Reservoir Dogs. One of my friends from Lakewood who does charity work in this area was stunned, he’d never know that this place existed.

This morning I saw the following on Facebook, and it was too good not to share.

13007089_10153569716742218_4935698721147044357_n13010763_10153569707367218_3762879178007050550_n88 years ago today the Lorain Palace Theater first opened its doors as patrons flocked into the Palace’s 1720 upholstered leather seats to watch a talking movie for the first time and were treated to a “film resume of world events.” They viewed a comedy and novelty reel, followed by Syd Sampliner and his Palace Concert Orchestra, and three acts of vaudeville. The spotlight then moved to the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ as it rose from below the stage, thrilling the audience with its pulsating crescendos. Finally, the new film – a pre-release of Paramount’s silent comic film “Something Always Happens” starring Neil Hamilton and Esther Ralston – flashed on the screen. The program 12998703_10153569709782218_1542683696906423638_nended with a finale by the Palace Concert Orchestra Theater. The opening night took over eight months to program and was done so by the Variety Amusement Company which owned and operated the Palace for many years.

Now 88 years later – and thanks to the tireless efforts of so many Board members, staffers, and volunteers over the past 40 years – she STILL stands as the Grand Ol’ Lady of downtown Lorain!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORAIN PALACE THEATER – may she live well past 100!!!

13015622_10153569709827218_5601799973783474073_n13062521_10153569711637218_3527685028310096596_n 13062367_10153569711437218_5093149859061841903_n 13043626_10153569706882218_5978176168298928021_n 12991005_10153569707012218_8472791240414222664_n12998589_10153569711972218_7786250475545226014_n 13006588_10153569711672218_1482915051595027469_n 12524172_10153569710817218_1388784579331465301_n 13007307_10153569710652218_7525541347732921180_n 12993347_10153569710207218_7927213873509778609_n 13006698_10153569710137218_4498309500650355961_n 13000157_10153569710037218_6312608255857544653_n 12993494_10153569711087218_1932576352605962457_n 13043546_10153569710797218_4865869997719683605_n 13010786_10153569710477218_3767237399131633897_n 13015693_10153569709832218_7460223821998890193_n 13043676_10153569706817218_3024689281021542724_n


The shining 1997

remakesThe_Shining_(miniseries)The biggest problem with the shining is that there are two distinct entities. The film and the book, and they are connected only by the same title the same setting and a few character names. That’s really where the similarity ends. If I were Stephen King I could see how I could be upset about Kubrick’s handling of the film as well. The Shining film never intended to be the book, and in many ways it lacks the depth and character of the book while being a brilliant film standing on its own. What was Kings solution? It was a six hour miniseries. The television Shining was inevitably going to be compared to the Kubrick Shining, indeed the Kubrick film has reached just as many people if not more than the original novel did. So the TV Shining indexneed to really… shine… to overcome this. The casting of Steve Webber may be a misstep, his face was just too recognizable from Wings. He acquitted himself well however and managed to really showcase that gradual transition between a person who is normal at the begining of the story, into someone completely crazy.

In the TV miniseries we are really MV5BMTg5MjQyNDgxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjE1MDc2MQ@@._V1_treated full on to the villain of the piece. That is to say Horace Durwent. And the problem here is we are really just trading one ghost for another. The absence of Lloyd and Grady(not a complete absence but a reduction in the roles that is) is very keenly felt. Such ghosts were very eerily realized in the film version.  Durwent on the other hand is poorly realized. When he looks normal he’s fine but the story calls for him to become more ghost-like as the series goes on and while it’s an effect of make up rather than CG, it’s poorly made. This should not be in full light and I’m never convinced that he is a ghost but rather he always feels like a guy in a rubber mask which completely undermines his menace. Lighting in general is a problem. This is definitely a studio job, without enough time to really light this set correctly so we miss a lot of the gloom, a lot of the atmosphere thatcourtlandmead the Overlook really needs to be a frightening place to exist.

By far however the greatest detriment to this film is Courtland Mead, who plays Danny Torrance. This bland derelicts runt cannot deliver a convincing line read to save his life and this is a big problem because the film revolves around him. He is the single greatest drag on this film and I don’t have any idea how this kid get cast.

The other real drag on this is the use of pre-matrix CGI. There are references in the book to the topiaries that come to life and sneak up shining-1997-miniseries-jack-torrance-hedge-animals-topiary-steven-webberon you. The concept is  terrifying in the book but they act similarly to the weeping angels, in that they only move when you do not see them. You can hear them but as long as you watdch them you’re okay. In the TV series we see them, and it’s awful. Seriously, this could’ve been far more easily done by creating some hollow topiaries and moving them between camera shots, or if you are in that insisted on using CGI, use still shots overlayed on the frame. No movement – ever. Just sound, it would have been ten times more terrifying.
That goes for the scene with the firehoses well. I realize the fire hose  turning into a snake is one of the images that originally prompted King to write the story but the CGI just looks so poor and ages so badly that it’s laughable. A practical face on the hose on invisible thread filmed in reverse probably would’ve looked equally bad but it would have aged better and would be better accepted today.

Ultimately the problem with Kings shining is one of scope; trying to do too much too fast with two little. If you go back and revisit this reboot it if you still stretch this prehaps even as much as 10 hours but I’d prefer to see one hour per episode instead of two and take more time during production for proper setups and proper lighting and perhaps even better Danny Torrance. It might not bring it up to the same standard as the Kubrick film but it would at least make it worth defending and isn’t that the entire point of these reboots?