August 23, 2003

Press Screening Observations

Occasionally, Cinecultist likes to use our quasi-insider view of the New York film scene to bring you observations of the industry's wheels in motion. This past week, CC attended two press screenings -- our first New York ones -- so rather than offering reviews of Demonlover and Lost in Translation (yet), we bring you reviews of the reviewing process.

Both of the screenings organized by the film's public relations firm (Palm Pictures and Focus Features, respectively) were in high rise office buildings in midtown on Broadway, a block from each other. This is a distinct prestige advancement from the odd places CC previously attended press screenings in Davis, California, where the *slightly* smaller film scene results in passes to radio station promotional screenings, 10 am viewings in sketchy downtown Sacramento theaters or isolated suburban cineplexes. Each of the NY press screening theaters were small, seating about 30-45 and in perhaps the most comfortable chairs possible, short of our own individual barcalounger. We're talking soft velvet coverings, cushy seats and wide arm rests. Also, no sticky floors -- a serious improvement on any Davis area screening space.

Unfortunately, unlike the time CC saw Orgazmo with a crowd of mullet-sporting, flannel-wearing hard rock fans, it was a bit harder to gauge the other viewer's reactions to these movies. Probably because these people are critics. Don't want to tip their hand or something. The elevator ride down afterwards is uncomfortably and unnaturally quiet, provoking us to want to say things like "boy, wasn't THAT a weird movie?" appropos of nothing, just to break the silence. Especially when we rode in the elevator with Elvis Mitchell, a critic for the New York Times. CC will admit, we were a bit star struck with those dreadlocks but a few feet from us. Not because he's our favorite critic ever, but just that he's sort of famous for doing this writer thing.

Reviews of both movies to come closer to their respective release dates, but if this is any indication of the potential reception -- at Demonlover, someone stalked out slamming the screening door 20 minutes before the end and at Lost in Translation, a few people clapped as the credits began to roll. In-teresting. [Ed. -- Thanks to Reverse Shot and Michael for the hook up!]

Posted by karen at August 23, 2003 11:11 PM