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June 16, 2015 - 2:09pm
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, movies, business, entertainment, Godzilla: Heritage, films.

“We live in a world of gods and monsters,” Mitchell Lawerence, played by Alexander native, Tim Schiefer, said. “We’re simply here to tell the story.”

What story is Schiefer trying to tell? The story of “Godzilla: Heritage.” 

Schiefer and Director Greg Graves have been working on the film for six years. It’s all coming to fruition. However, to make the movie the way they have always pictured it, the crew needs help raising money.

Rashaad Santiago and Chris Barbis filming the teaser. Photo courtesy of Tim Schiefer

Thirty-Six days remain for the project’s crowd-funded Kickstarter. They have so far reached $10,463 of the $40,000 goal. If the project does not get fully funded, the production will not receive any of the money raised.

This is the second kickstarter campaign following a successful lead. The first time, the crew asked for $10,000 and received almost $20,000. The money that was raised went toward nicer cameras, travel, filming the teaser and the creation of the monster suits.

The suits are being made by season six winner of the SyFy network show "Faceoff," Rashaad Santiago. Santiago moved to Batavia to help with the movie. Godzilla has been a fascination of his since he was a child.

“For me, he was an escape from reality growing up,” Santiago said. “My mom recorded seven or eight hours of a Godzilla marathon when I was younger. I would watch it on loop until the film popped.”

Schiefer and Graves brought several other professionals onto the project. They include Chris Barbis, Kyle Gilmore, Tyler Graves, Billy Rupp and Christopher Bloomer. Bloomer has done visual effects for “Zombieland” and “Dragonball: Evolution.”

The cast and crew need the money to finish making the monster costumes, pay actors, promote the film, for anticipated filming permits and other expenses.

“Eighty to 90 percent of the movie will be filmed in Batavia,” Schiefer said.

Ken Mistler, owner of several local businesses, including City Slickers, has donated the spaces that “Godzilla: Heritage” will be filmed in. Additionally, the movie may need to be filmed outside on a street and permits would be necessary.

The character of Godzilla is not in the public domain. In fact, he’s heavily trademarked. It is for this reason that Scheifer and his team are creating the film as a fan film. No money will be made off of this production. They are making the film strictly for the passion they have for Godzilla.

“As massive fans, we wanted to do something different,” Santiago said.

“We want to make the movie that we’ve wanted to see,” Schiefer added.

There are rewards for financially supporting “Godzilla: Heritage” and any amount helps. Still, the crew is looking for donations of any kind.

“Any local investor is helping local kids do something that has never been done around here before,” Schiefer said.

To financially support the film, visit the Kickstarter and check out their Facebook page.

May 13, 2014 - 10:43am
posted by Trisha Riggi in LeRoy, library, woodward memorial library, art programs, movies.
Event Date and Time: 
May 7, 2015 -
6:00pm to 8:30pm

Thursday, May 7 starting at 6:00 p.m.

Watch Selma, A chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. The movie is shown in our community room on our BIG screen with FREE popcorn!

Registration is required!

Visit us online at www.woodwardmemoriallibrary.org or by calling 585-768-8300.

March 18, 2014 - 12:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, movies, business, entertainment, Godzilla: Heritage, films.

Godzilla's got a new home. At least for a few months. Right here in Batavia, New York.

He'll be hangin' with Rashaad Santiago and Tim Schiefer and their associate from Watertown, Greg Graves, while making a moving staring himself, the King of Monsters.

It's a small budget production -- less than $20,000 -- but much of the filming will be done in Batavia and involve some very talented people, such as Santiago, a costume and monster designer, and Christopher Bloomer, a visual effects expert.

It's mostly a labor of love made for the filmmakers' own enjoyment with an eye toward showing it in Chicago at the 21st annual G-Fest.

That's right, there's a whole festival devoted to the creature who terrorized Japan in the 1954 classic "Godzilla," and went on to star in more than 28 other feature films.

It's that G-loving community that brought Santiago, Shiefer, Graves and Bloomer together.

Right now, Santiago is kind of the star of the show. After signing on to the Godzilla movie project -- the title of the film is "Godzilla: Heritage" (here's the Facebook page) -- Santiago won a sport on the Sci-Fi Channel's reality series, Faceoff.

Originally from the Bronx, Santiago moved to Batavia a couple of months ago, first to work on the Godzilla project, but also because he thought Batavia would be a better place for his two children.

Santiago has had a passion for monsters ever since he saw the original Godzilla for the first time when he was was 5.

"Just seeing something different than a dinosaur, because I was a big dinosaur guy, so seeing something that was like a dinosaur, but different, and the size he was, really got my mind going on monsters," Santiago said.

Already of an artistic bent, Santiago started drawing his own monsters.

And his fascination with monsters grew as movies such as Alien, Predators, Tremors and Jurassic Park, came along.

He went from drawing monsters to building monsters.

People who saw his work encouraged him.

"I didn't know this was a career when I was younger," Santiago said. "As I got older, people would say 'why don't you sell this or why don't you get paid for doing this', and me, being naive and young, I didn't know, and now I'm doing it."

He said he dreams of owning his own monster studio someday.

Faceoff might be a jumping off point to that next career level.

He was selected for the show after an audition in Burbank (where all the filming took place).

The show airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m., and on those nights, Santiago is appearing at City Slickers to watch the show and answer questions from the fans who watch it with him.

Ken Mistler, owner of City Slickers, is giving a good deal of support to the local moviemakers. City Slickers will be a location in the film, as well as other Mistler properties, and his former gym location on East Main Street will be where the filmmakers build their sets and do all of their interior shooting (some filming will also take place in Watertown).

Shiefer said watching Santiago build the Godzilla suit for the movie is truly seeing a master at work.

"After three our four hours he had only the body outline and we're like, 'that's really impressive,' " Schiefer said. " 'This is only the outline. There's not any detail,' he said, and we were like blown away. Then he started detailing the head, making the little grains of the scales with tweezers. It's just the most impressive thing you can possibly see."

Shiefer said that anybody who tunes into Faceoff will be impressed with Santiago's work.

Santiago -- the monster expert -- is also working, appropriately, at Foxprowl, the collectables store on Ellicott Street. So if you want to meet him and miss him at City Slickers, there's Foxprowl on week days.

Photo by the producers of Godzilla being made for the film "Godzilla: Heritage." Used with permission.

December 9, 2013 - 3:54pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in movies, books, talks, film directors.
Event Date and Time: 
January 11, 2014 -
2:00pm to 4:30pm

A Tale for Three Counties, the community-reads project for Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties, is presenting “Northern Borders Movie Screening ” on Saturday, January 11 at 2:00 p.m. at the Stuart Steiner Theatre at Genesee Community College, One College Road, Batavia.  This movie will include a talk with award-winning director/producer Jay Craven.  The movie is based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher, which was the featured book for A Tale for Three Counties in 2004.  Tickets are $15.00 and may be purchased at local public libraries, at the GCC library and at the door.

June 28, 2013 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, movies, entertainment, elba, bill kauffman.

"Copperhead," the movie with the screenplay by local author Bill Kauffman, opens in theaters around the United States today and the film has received mostly positive reviews so far.

A screening in Gettysburg, billed as the world premiere, earned director Ron Maxwell a standing ovation.

Writer James Simpson, in a piece of PJ Media, takes a detailed look at the historical and political context of the movie and concludes,

This is a movie well worth seeing; both for its accurate depiction of the times, its rich narrative, and the unique, rarely discussed subject matter, which was in fact a major component of the days’ controversies. It is also completely family friendly – a rarity in Hollywood these days.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the L.A. Times critic comes off as a bit of a snob and calls the film "lugubrious."

Another Hollywood-based critic says the film is purely for history buffs (while too narrowly constricting the scope of the audience, may be a bit of a left-handed compliment -- this isn't "Fast & Furious 6").

That writer, John DeFore, seems to believe only "Tea Party" types care about the Constitution, writing, "Beech is a dairy farmer who's opposed to slavery but, in language that will resonate with Tea Party-affiliated viewers, argues that Lincoln's war is unconstitutional."

Apparently, one must not color outside of the lines in Mr. DeFore's world.

Though, one of the more favorable reviews has come from Katie Kieffer, writing for the conservative Web site Town Hall.

Copperhead is worth seeing because it re-tells American history with an intimate, engaging and non-textbook approach.

It will be interesting to watch the different reactions to the film from America's various political factions -- especially the simple-minded red state/blue state divide -- to a film that challenges pat answers to questions about the Civil War.

Kauffman has said the movie isn't intended to be preachy or a message movie, except maybe to reinvigorate the lost notion in America of the value of dissent.

In his own lengthy piece about the film for Front Porch Republic, Kauffman writes about the constricting nature of political debate in the country these days.

We live in a time and in a country which finds principled dissent of the sort exercised by Eugene V. Debs and Abner Beech almost incomprehensible. In one sense, freedom of expression knows no bounds: Internet pornography, snuff-game videos, libelous tweets – laissez faire, man. But with respect to politics, art, culture…seldom in American history have the limits of permissible speech been so narrow, so constricting. True, our Eugene Debses aren’t usually thrown into gaols, but nor do they become cause célèbres, like Debs. Their prison is the red state-blue state idiocy under which the limits of acceptable opinion are demarcated by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and writers live in the fear (which, I can tell you as one who has long worked with members of the DC punditocracy, absolutely paralyzes careerists) of saying the wrong thing and running afoul of the hall monitors and tattletales who police American discourse.

In media coverage closer to home, Jay Moran interviews Kauffman for WBFO.

"Copperhead" is playing in Pittsford and Williamsville.

Previously:

June 5, 2013 - 12:59pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, arts, movies, GCC, bill kauffman, GoArt!.

Next week, Hollywood comes to Batavia.

GoArt!, in partnership with local author Bill Kauffman -- author of such books as "Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette" and "Look Homeward America" -- and filmmaker Ronald F. Maxwell -- director of the Civil War epics "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals" -- will host a screening of the movie "Copperhead" on Thursday, June 13. 

This will give locals a chance to see the film before its official release in theaters on June 28.

"Copperhead" takes place in Upstate New York during the Civil War. Kauffman wrote the screenplay, based the novel "The Copperhead" by Harold Frederic, and Maxwell directed it.

Both men will be at the screening, and the movie will be followed by a short presentation by Kauffman and a Q&A session with Kauffman and Maxwell.

In anticipation of the screening, they spoke with The Batavian about the project itself, their collaboration over the years, among other things.

(To Ron): I understand you have been a longtime fan of Bill Kauffman. So this is a two-part question:

A. When and how did you first discover his work?
B. When and how did you two come into contact?

Ron: Actually the second thing happened first. We both attended an event in Washington, D.C. --- at which he spoke -- sometime in the mid-1990s. I was impressed with his wit, with his use of language, his sense of humor, and his insight, and that started a long friendship. I subsequently read his writings, and we stayed in touch over the years. 

Bill: “Copperhead” was actually my second screenplay. The first one was a project that Ron and I started developing several years ago. This was also an historical film, and it almost made it into development but didn't. We still hope it will someday. So "Copperhead" was my second screenplay, but it was the first to be produced.

(To both): What drew you to this material?

Bill: I probably first read the book 25 or more years ago. Harold Frederic was one of the great Upstate New York novelists. In fact his most well-known book, "The Damnation of Theron Ware," was hailed by F. Scott Fitzgerald as the best American novel before 1920.

Edmund Wilson, the great literary critic, praised Frederic's "Civil War Stories" for being unlike any other Civil War fiction. There's no Southern "moonlight and magnolias" romanticism, and there's no Northern "Battle Hymn of the Republic" righteousness; these are hard, unsentimental but very poignant stories of life in the North -- specifically Upstate New York -- on the home front during the war...the people left behind.

And this particular story, "The Copperhead," is about a farmer, a respected man, in a little hamlet in Upstate New York -- he's an old-fashioned Democrat who is against the war. And he is standing up, really, against his community on this. The community is torn apart, his family and the family of his chief rival are torn apart. So these people are casualties of the war in a different way.

The film is also, I think, about the resilience and resourcefulness of the people at home during wartime. It's a rich and complex story about our area, for one, and also about a fascinating time in American history.

Ron: As soon as I read it I thought, "Wow, this would be a terrific subject for a film." And I kind of ruminated for a while until about three and a half years ago, when it came up in conversation with Bill over dinner in Connecticut. I think he mentioned it first, but we both knew the novel and admired it. It was very interesting to me to explore the whole issue of the dissenters in society -- especially within the context of the Civil War, because I had already explored the reasons why good men chose to go to war in the other films, whether they wore blue or gray. Here was a film where you could explore why a good, ethical man chose not to go to war. It's the other side of the coin.

(To Bill): How was the screenwriting process different from the process of writing a book?

Bill: It’s a whole different style of writing. Writing a book is very much a solitary endeavor, although there is give-and-take with the editor. Movies are totally collaborative ventures. Even with the screenplay, Ron and I consulted throughout. Ron has a great sense for how to tell a story. So it was a very harmonious collaboration -- he's a great guy, and we work well together.

(To Ron): You wrote the scripts for both "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals." Why did you choose to have Bill write this one?

Ron: Well, as I said, it came up over a dinner, and by that time he and I had collaborated on the earlier project that he wrote. So I knew that he could do it. And I think part of the dynamic there is that when you write a screenplay, you need to focus big time and stop doing everything else.  At the time we started to talk about "Copperhead," I was totally immersed in something else, so I could not write the screenplay myself even if I wanted to. But I knew he could. So I worked with him, you know, in the way that a director-filmmaker works with a writer. We closely collaborated on it, but he in fact did the writing. A lot of times in Hollywood there are shared credits when a director works with the writer, but I'm a strong believer that the writer gets the credit. Because the writer is doing the work.

So, just as on the earlier screenplay, we collaborated but Bill adapted the novel. And I knew that his sensibilities would be very responsive to it. It takes place, as you know, in Upstate New York. And Bill was not only aware of this novel, but he had read other works of Harold Frederic.

In a sense, Bill is a regionalist. He's very aware of where he lives -- not just of how it is now, but of its history and literary traditions. So he was already connected to the history of this part of the world, and to Harold Frederic specifically. So of all the writers in the world, he was probably the most perfectly adapted to work out the screenplay.

If you know Bill's other work, one of his preoccupations is small town America. He has made the choice to live in small town America because he thinks that that's where American values are embodied and where the "simpler life" can be lived. That's a theme that runs through all of his nonfiction, and is certainly one of the themes of this particular story. One of the things ("Copperhead") explores is living in a rural community. I'm sure it was much more rural, with a much smaller population, back then than it is now. But again, Bill was predisposed to understanding and exploring the values of these people.

(To Bill): Were you a fan of Ron's films before this?

Oh yeah, absolutely. He's the great cinematic interpreter of the Civil War. This is his third Civil War film, but it's on a different scale. ("Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals") had scenes with thousands of extras colliding on the great battlefields -- they were Civil War films set behind the lines.

Were you intimidated by the prospect of writing a script for him after seeing the scope of his previous films?

Bill: Well, you know, I might have been, but we had known each other. We're friends, so in that sense it was comfortable. But it was a challenge. I like challenges, and I have over the years read a lot of screenplays in preparation for this film. I'd read a number of screenplays of films that I like very much -- everything from Paul Schrader's script for "Taxi Driver" to Graham Greene's screenplay for "The Third Man." So I had an idea of how to do it, and Ron was an invaluable guide to picking up the form and grammar of a screenplay.

(To Ron): Had you ever in your life heard of Batavia before meeting Bill?

Ron: No, and I wasn't even sure whether to say Bat-ah-via or Bat-ay-via. But I guess it's like that Cole Porter song, "You say tom-ay-to, I say tom-ah-to."

(To Bill): Are there any local connections in "Copperhead"?

Bill: There is one specifically Batavia reference -- it's a little bit of an inside joke -- early in the film. Some folks will pick up on it. But I can't tell you anymore.

Also, my daughter, Gretel, and the daughter of one of the producers have cameos in the film.  It's during the barn dance scene -- look for the "giggling girls."

(To Bill): Did you have chance to visit the location shoots in Canada? If so, what was this like?

Bill: I was there for about four to seven weeks. I went up a couple different times. I got a real kick out of watching these characters that existed on paper become real. And it's funny, because some of the characters ended up looking very different from how I thought they'd look. But I think the actors really brought to life and enriched the story with their own contributions. They did a lot of studying, put a lot of thought into the roles, and I think it shows on the screen.

(On Ron as a director): You hear stories of these tyrannical, dictatorial directors, but Ron is nothing at all like that. He's very much in control, and the production is well run. But he listens to people, everyone gets along, and it's very harmonious. He does a lot of planning (before production), and that shows in that there's a real efficiency about it. It was shot over about seven weeks, and there were no wasted days. They worked from sunup to sundown. It was very impressive.

(To Bill): I understand the actors were instructed to study your Western New York accent.  What was that experience like?

Bill: (Laughs) Yes, they had a dialect coach from Canada who did a great job with them. We don't have any tapes of what people in Upstate New York sounded like in 1862, so one of the things she did -- unbeknownst to me -- was send them videotapes of speeches of mine. So it was kind of fun on the set when actors would come up to me and ask, "How do you say 'apple'? How do you say 'orange'?" Of course, we're not aware of our accents. To us, we speak normally and everyone else has an accent. And when someone asks you to pronounce something, inevitably a little bit of self-consciousness creeps into you, you know? You exaggerate whatever little accent you might have. But yeah, that was a lot of fun. And fortunately, they do not all sound like me (laughs). They develop their own accents and styles of speaking.

(To Ron): Many of the actors in "Copperhead" are a bit less well-known than a lot of movie stars out there. Was this an artistic decision on your part?

Ron: Yes, very much so, insofar as you want (as a filmmaker) to be able to have the creative freedom to cast the way you want. We made a decision early on that we were not going to chase the movie stars. Because then you're always at the mercy of their schedules, their price tags, and competing for their time with the major studios. So suddenly you're not in control of your own movie. And I've played that game, so I know that game. We wanted to be independent and just cast the movie the best way we knew we could, make the movie we wanted to make, hope that it would stand on its own merits, and get it to the public. 

The reason people get the big stars is because those stars will get the movie financed and distributed. It's a simple formula. So if you think you can have alternate ways of getting the movie financed and distributed, then that allows you artistic freedom.

(To both): How did the upcoming screening/fundraiser come about?

Ron: We thought, as part of our marketing and promotion of the movie, that it would behoove us to do a number of screenings across the country to help generate word of mouth and grassroots support of the film. And we thought, "What better way than to ally with charitable organizations?" So we looked for charitable organizations that we could feel comfortable supporting, and we have about 18 or 19 of these all across the country.

Bill: The producers asked me about having one of the screenings in Batavia, and I of course jumped at the chance. And I thought GoArt! would be a great organization (to support), and they were enthusiastic about sponsoring.

(To Ron): What interests you about the Civil War Era as a filmmaker?

RM: Well, you know, I was drawn to it so many years ago now...it took me 15 years from the time I read (Michael Shaara's) "The Killer Angels" (the book on which "Gettysburg" is based) until the time "Gettysburg" was released in the theaters. I didn't know it was going to take 15 years, and I certainly didn't know I would spend another 10 years making "God and Generals," and then another 10 years before I could make "Copperhead." That's a lot of years altogether -- it's a big chunk of anyone's life to spend on one historical period. It's not like I set out to do that, it just kind of happened that way.

But along the way I came to realize that it has been a deep and abiding interest. It's just endlessly fascinating, and these are stories that have been very compelling to me. I have other kinds of projects I've been working on -- I have a Western I've been working on, a project on Joan of Arc, contemporary films...I'm always juggling them and trying to get them financed like other filmmakers. But it's just kind of worked out that "Gettysburg" led to "Gods and Generals," which led to "Copperhead." A lot of that is my own focus and my own energy, but some of it is serendipitous.

(To Bill): What draws you to writing about small town America?

BK: Well, it's where I've spent most of my life -- it's where I am now. To me, Batavia was always a source of fascination. Every story you could tell was on its streets and in its buildings. 

It's not that people in small towns are better than people in big cities. But I think because of the smallness and intimacy of the scale, it's a place where the individual can matter. In the anonymity of the big cities and suburbs, sometimes the individual can get lost in the crowd. To me, life in a small town seems more real, more immediate. I also think that small towns get the short shrift, both culturally and politically. It's unexplored territory.

(To both): Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for readers who might be aspiring toward successful careers in writing or filmmaking?

Bill: Words of advice for aspiring writers? I guess I'd say Read Read Read Read Read. Persevere. And don't get discouraged.

Ron: Well the most important thing is for aspiring filmmakers to develop and protect their own voice -- and not kind of mimic, copy, cater, pander or be what they think someone else wants them to be, what Hollywood wants them to be, or what any third party wants them to be.  Because then they are wasting their own time and everyone else's. If they can hold onto that little voice inside them that is their unique voice, that's the most important thing. That's what we want to hear and watch.

The screening of "Copperhead" will take place at Genesee Community College's Stuart Steiner Theatre, at 1 College Road in Batavia, and start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for GoArt! members and $25 for non-members.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.goart.org/events.php#Copperhead or call 343-9313.

Supplemental: "Copperhead" trailer

Photo of Ronald F. Maxwell directing courtesy of George Nicholis.

March 22, 2013 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, movies, history, entertainment, elba, bill kauffman, civil war.

A screenplay by local author Bill Kauffman has been turned into a major motion picture and today the official trailer was released by the studio.

"Copperhead," set in Civil War-era Upstate New York, deals with the wars effects on people far removed from the battlefields.

The film opens nationally in theaters June 28.

The subject matter of the film -- a seldom portrayed aspect of Civil War America -- may be well-timed following the box office and critical success of the movie "Lincoln."

Copperhead stars , , and and is directed by . The screenplay is an adaptation of a novel by Harold Frederic. Frederic, of Utica, wrote "The Copperhead" in 1893.

Kauffman, born in Batavia and a resident of Elba, is the author of "Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette" and eight other books.

May 16, 2012 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, movies, entertainment, books, bill kauffman.

It's now official -- local author, historian and localist advocate Bill Kauffman is now a screenwriter, too.

Kauffman wrote a script based on a novel by Harold Frederic, a 19th Century resident of Utica.

The movie, titled "Cooperhead" and set in the Civil War, recently started production in King’s Landing, New Brunswick, Canada.

Actors Jason Patric and Angus MacFadyen are take starring roles and the movie is being directed by Ron Maxwell.

The story centers around a family torn apart by the war between the states.

Kauffman is a native Batavian and currently resides in Elba. No word on when his book about Batavia, "Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette," will be turned into a major Hollywood production.

March 30, 2012 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, movies, sprout film festival.

Donna Saskowski, executive director of Genesee County ARC, told Jay Moran on WBFO that once people experience the Sprout Film Festival, "they'll never forget it."

The festival is Saturday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Genesee ARC Community Center, 38 Woodrow Road, Batavia.

Moran produced a four-minute segment about the festival. Click here to listen.

October 19, 2011 - 5:15pm
posted by Trisha Riggi in movies, library, Le Roy, woodward memorial library, adults.
Event Date and Time: 
May 14, 2015 -
6:00pm to 8:30pm

Thursday, May 14 starting at 6:00 p.m.
Watch Still Alice on the big screen with surround sound and popcorn! Rated PG-13, 101 minutes. This movie stars Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart.

A linguistics professor and her family find their bonds tested when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

Registration Required.

Register online at www.woodwardmemoriallibrary.org

or call 585-768-8300.

August 25, 2011 - 3:08pm
Event Date and Time: 
May 20, 2015 -
6:00pm to 8:30pm

Wednesday, May 20 starting at 6:00 p.m. Watch American Sniper with Bradley Cooper. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

The movie is shown in our community room on the BIG screen with surround sound. Free popcorn is available. Rated R, 134 min.

Registration is required.

March 16, 2011 - 4:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, movies, Richmond Memorial Library.
Event Date and Time: 
March 24, 2011 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm

This month's Reel Discussion movie at the Richmond Memorial Library is "The Secret of the Kells."

It will be shown at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. The library is location at 19 Ross St. in the City of Batavia.

The setting of the film is the Eighth Century, a perilous time when Viking raiders threatened to destroy Irish civilization. Since his parents were killed by Vikings, 12-year-old Brendan has lived within the walled monastery of Kells under the stern eye of his uncle, Abbot Cellach.

April 23, 2010 - 2:04pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, events, movies, Richmond Memorial Libary.
Event Date and Time: 
May 27, 2010 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm

The May "Reel Discussion" will take place from 6 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 27 at the Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St. in Batavia. This month, the library will be showing a family film for all ages.

April 5, 2010 - 8:15pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, events, movies, Richmond Memorial Library.
Event Date and Time: 
April 22, 2010 -
5:30pm to 8:30pm

The April "Reel Discussion" starts at 5:30 p.m. -- a half-hour earlier than usual due to the movie's length -- at the Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St. It will end around 8:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public, Reel Discussions treats people to a feature film from the library's DVD collection. Attendees discuss the movie afterwards.

March 6, 2010 - 7:27pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, events, movies, Richmond Memorial Libary.
Event Date and Time: 
March 25, 2010 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm

The March "Reel Discussion" starts at 6 p.m. at the Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St.

Free and open to the public, RD treats people to a feature film from the library's DVD collection. Attendees discuss the movie afterwards.

Due to the terms of the program's license, the name of the film cannot be advertised outside of the library. For more information and to find out what this month's movie is, contact RML at 343-9550.

February 2, 2010 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in movies, GCC, entertianment, Joe Black.

joeblack_filming.jpg

Genesee County is a long way from Vietnam, both as a matter of time and geography, but for GCC graduate Philip Sacco, it was just the right location to shoot some of his first feature film, "When Soldiers Cry," which will be released on DVD in two weeks.

Sacco, who works professionally as Joe Black, has spent three years on the self-funded project. He said he fell in love with film making after taking a multimedia class at Genesee Community College.

Before that class, he was working on a degree in physical therapy.

joeblack.jpg"I loved photography and film so I wanted to give that a try," Black said. "Five minutes into the program I was hooked."

"Mr. Chow showed me the tools and how to use them, from there it was up to me to bring the tools to life," Black noted. "I think we both sat down one day and said something like, 'don't just take a picture, make one.' To me, that's all you need to start with. Mr. Chow pushed me in media by critiquing my work and projects. He's a tough teacher but also a good friend. He has been my mentor throughout this entire endeavor."

Black wrote the screenplay for "When Soldiers Cry." He also planned the filming, hired the cast, and did the primary shooting and editing.

The movie is based in1965 South Vietnam. Private David M. Church awakes from being rendered unconscious to find all of his squad killed by the Vietcong. During his lonesome journey to the Landing Zone for extraction, Church mistakenly shoots an American Tunnel Rat who is disguising himself as a Vietcong. Mentally broken, Church starts carrying the Tunnel Rat to save his life, fully knowing it may end his own. Trapped in the jungle surrounded by war, the only thing keeping them alive is the promise they made to their families to return home at any cost.

joeblack_movie.jpg"Creating this film has been a tedious process," Black said. "I've learned so much. I've learned that nothing happens overnight, to be cautious each step of the way and that some people make films to make money and some make films to tell their story. I want to tell my story and hopefully the money will follow."

WBTA's Geoff Redick spoke with Black (mp3) who said his biggest goal was securing a good distribution deal.

"You need to go into Best Buy or Walmart so everybody can see it and say, 'this is a piece of crap,' or 'it's pretty good.'"

(Portions of this post rely on a press release from GCC)

June 4, 2009 - 2:40pm
posted by Bea McManis in batavia, movies, civic pride.
Posted by J.D. McManis on June 4, 2009 - 3:03am
Well, Mom has thrown the gauntlet down for the last time. You want Bedford Falls talk? You must mean two other trees. What are they, ducks? So, how did you happen to fall in? Get me! I'm givin' out wings! Why, I only wear this when I don't care how I look. You once called me a warped, frustrated old man. Well, I guess they do those things. Nope, nope, nope, nope - I mean a BIG case! Are you aware that there is a swimming pool under this floor? I said, "Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death?" "...And dance by the light of the moon"

I moved from Batavia to join the Air Force 28 years ago this summer. Not a day has passed that I haven't thought of my home town at least a little. I do miss it, but - like George Bailey - I needed to see the world. Unlike old "Moss Back" George, a military career just about fulfilled that need! There are a few places I haven't been, but I'l get there. Batavia will always be the best place I could have come from. It was a terrific town to grow up in, and a great place to revisit. I heart Batavia.

"I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world." George, you didn't know how good you had it.
 
 
You forgot about putting a rope around the moon and bringing it closer.  It is such a schmaltzy movie, but addicting.
What is Spamalot?
April 5, 2009 - 2:25pm
posted by Arlana Pathammavong in movies.

Another week or so has gone by and more movies have been watched.  This entry will include selections from the "Red Box" as suggested by Tasia in the last review.  Although the first review is a movie that can be found at either Blockbuster, or our own local and friendly Movies in Motion, located next to Wilson Farms on East Main Street.

Battle In Seattle - a movie that actually released in May of 2007.   Directed by Stuart Townsend, and rated R by the MPAA for language and some violence.  Starring Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Andre Benjamin, Ray Liotta and Channing Tatum.  I am sometimes hesitant to watch movies with such a stacked cast, as I've often been disappointed when the movie fails to pull through.  I suppose with a huge cast of superior actors, I tend to expect it should be a great movie!  But this cast of actors was an excellent choice and I was very pleased with the film.  

The film is set in November of 1999, based on true events as thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Seattle in protest of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  It brings together the lives of six different people, who are all united in their common desire to want to make a difference in the world.  The movie goes on to potray the characters lives as their peaceful demonstration to stop the WTO quickly escalates into a violent and horrific riot.  Townsend did an excellent job or merging footage of the real events that took place in Seattle riots with his own story, which I found was one of the great aspects of the film.

I went into this movie not knowing much if anything at all about the WTO, but believe that this is a movie that was well put togeher, and highly recommended.  Its a heart-warming movie that portrays the power of the "human spirit to overcome, to work together and to forgive."

March 11, 2009 - 10:07pm
posted by Arlana Pathammavong in movies.

As the weekend quickly approaches us, and rainy or cold days serve as some of the best movie days, I thought what better time than to leave my movie tracks.

For those of you with an open shedule this weekend, wondering what to see or not to see, I suppose it all leans on what kind of mood you will find yourself in.  So I have broken it down for you piece by piece, movie by movie with hopes you find a direction to travel.

The Top 10 Box Office hits for this past week hold a variety of movies for any interest and pleasure, some being...

Watchmen, starring Malin Ackerman, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, and Carla Gugino.  Directed by Zach Snyder and written by David Hayter and Alex Tse.  MPAA rated this movie R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language. 

Watchmen can be considered another "superhero" movie full of complexities, mysteries and adventure.  IMDb describes Watchmen's plot set in "an alternate vision of the year 1985, the murder of an ex-superhero causes a vigilante to look into the matter, an investigation that reuinted him with his surviving old colleages -- all of them former superheroes themselves -- and gradually unveils a conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future." 

Sounds like it has great potential to be one of this years top superhero movies to compete with, but at a running time of 2 hours and 43 minutes, I can't help but think that may be too much time for a dark, mysterious movie.  I enjoyed "The Dark Knight", but many people felt that it was about a half hour too long.  So maybe its just a trend of superhero movies to run over the 2 hour mark.

User rating on IMDb - 8.2*'s out of 10. 

Although, while on the track of lengthy movies.  I did just recently see, "He's Just Not That Into You" - starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connely, Ben Affleck and Scarlett Johansson.  Directed by Ken Kwapis and written by Abby Kohn and Mark Silverstein.  MPAA rated this movie PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language. 

I'd say this movie is a decent film.  Its a romantic comedy based on an interconnected group of Baltimore singles and one married couple.  I found the film to be full of some very true and some far fetched comparisions to the male and female interactions we all so commonly deal with in real life. But for the most part, although slow at parts, found it witty and true in many regards.  This enabled the audience at the theatre to laugh out loud at many parts and look at their partners in simple awe that, "whatever happened in the movie at that point was quite possible to have happened once or twice in their own relationships."  I find that movies that an audience can relate to on a personal level, whether rated good or bad by critics, are movies that a lot of people favor. 

User rating on IMDb - 6.5*'s out of 10. 

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this movie for children, as there is no common interest to a younger generation.  But for a children's movie, I do recommend checking out -  Coraline (animated) - A story based on a young girl's journey through a very unique and unusual parallel world that she finds in the new house her and her family just moved into.  Starring Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman.  Directed by Henry Selick.  MPAA rated this movie PG for thematic elements, scary images, and some language and suggestive humor. 

User rating on IMDb - 8.2*'s out of 10.

If those movies don't interest you, there are many others to choose from that are out or opening in theatres this weekend.  Some featured movies opening this weekend are: (To read more details, please click on the movies listed below.)

Race To Witch Mountain: Starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Anna Sophia Robb.

Sunshine Cleaning: Starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin.

The Last House On The Left: Starring Garret Dillahunt, Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn. 

For local theatres and showtimes, check out the following cities. RochesterBuffaloBatavia
 

March 7, 2009 - 9:52am
posted by Arlana Pathammavong in movies.

As an avid movie watcher, I find people are constantly asking me if I've seen this, or that, and how was that and are you going to see this.  So I've decided to start a weekly blog for personal reference of movies "To see, or not to see!"  And I may even throw in a recommended watch list from my dvd collection or movies I have seen.

TO SEE: 

Taken - Directed by Pierre Morel, Written by Luc Besson.  MPAA rated this movie PG-13  for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language.

User rating on IMDb - 8*'s out of 10.

Roger Ebert gives it 3*'s of 5.  He states, "If CIA agents in general were as skilled as Bryan Mills in particular, Osama bin Laden would have been an American prisoner since late September 2001."  And I'd have to agree, this is an action filled movie that keeps the "I need to see action, action, action!" movie watchers satisfied as it is non-stop throughout the duration of the movie. 

Liam Neeson who plays Bryan Mills in the movie, is a retired CIA agent, who is struggling to have a good relationship with his daughter.  His wife (played by Famke Janssen) had left him because of his job in the CIA and married another man.  When his daughter (played by Maggie Grace)came to him wanting to go to Paris, he was hesitant to let her go, but he felt that was his one way to hang on to his daughter so allowed her to go. Shortly into their trip, his daughter and her travelling partner end up getting kidnapped.  The movie continues as Neeson uses his CIA skills and goes on a mission to find his daughter in a time period determined by her kidnappers of 96 hours.  There are some real and not so real moments in the movie, but all in all, I believe the movie was satisfying. 

Similar To - The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum, with Matt Damon.

Recommended for Children - I wouldn't suggest this movie for children under the age of 13.  There is a lot of drug reference and portrayl of prostitution and violence. 

__________

RECOMMENDED TO WATCH:

Little Miss Sunshine - Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.  Written by Michael Arndt.  The MPAA rated this movie R for language, some sex and drug content. 

User rating on IDMb is 8.1*'s out of 10. 

Little Miss Sunshine came out in 2006, but I do suggest it for my "Recommend to Watch" list.  It is a movie filled with laughter and simple moments. 

In this movie we follow a very dysfunctional family consisting of a housewife, Sheryl (played by Toni Collette), her husband Richard Hoover (played by Greg Kinnear) who is trying to become successful as some sort of motivational speaker, the suicidal brother Frank (Steve Carell), the heroin addicted grandpa (Alan Arkin) who serves as Olive's coach, the son Dwayne (Paul Dano) who wants to become a jet pilot and who also has taken a vow of silence as a follower of some group, and of course, little Olive (Abigail Breslin).  Who is a girl with one simple dream.  She wants to become "Little Miss Sunshine."

It is a journey following along the lives of the Hoover family and their determination to get Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant.  We get to see and experience with them all of their quirks and mishaps along the way.  It is a journey of a family coming together and learning from each other.  I found this movie funny and heart warming.  Although, I do not recommend this movie for children. 

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