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The Gazette from Montreal, Quebec, Canada • Page 46
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The Gazette from Montreal, Quebec, Canada • Page 46

The Gazettei
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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D3 ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT Martin admits it's a gamble i I REPERTORY Continued from Page Dl THE GAZETTE, MONTREAL, SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 199S i ment Just look at the success of Titanic." If Martin has anything to fear, it may i A i If not be coming from the new high-tech, full-service entertainment "destinations" being offered or promised at Quartier Latin, the old Simpson's building or proposed 30-screen Forum monster. It could come from their slipstream. Dennis Kucherawy is vice-president of corporate public relations for the international giant exhibitor Famous Players, based in Toronto His company recently announced plans to help revitalize a blighted part of our downtown core by building a 12-screen megaplex "I've always wanted to offer the big theatrical experience and these rooms have 680 and 440 seats respectively The three at the Pare only hold 600 altogether." Martin admits he's taking a gamble. If pressed hard enough to remember the past "I don't usually think about those things" he said he'll vaguely recall taking his fair share of chances with Cinema a snuffed screenwrit-ing career, consulting at the collapsed I ir -TMrMifm--nnagr and karmically compromised Rialto and the late, relatively un-lamented Cinema du Paris. But he's bullish on the chances for Cinema Decarie and has the success of Pare to offer as proof.

"The Pare opened in 1995 and we had to fight the first couple of years to get up to speed. Now we're rolling along." in Simpson's part of what Kucherawy calls the biggest expansion in the company's 77-year history He echoes Martin's statements about the health of Jeff Bridges deft), Steve Buscemi and John Goodman in The Big LebowskL Bow us over ling Coen brothers score a strike with The Big Lebowski the industry "We're seeing real growth in the numbers of people going to the movies Kucherawy said from Toronto this week. "People want to go out but they need a reason. If all they're offered is small screens and no service, they'll stay home and rent a video. So we're expanding to offer more than movie theatres we call them entertainment destinations.

"It's inevitable when you open up these new complexes that something has to happen to the existing cinemas. "Some will close. But others can diversify." Famous, in conjunction with Vancouver-based programmer Leonard Shine, is already offering a mix of first-run Canadian, American independent and foreign cinema at the Lumiere, the old Cumberland cinema in downtown Toronto, and plans more art-house cinemas as the expansion continues. "They don't really represent competition for us," Martin retorted. "They book 'difficult' first-run films they hope will run on an open-ended "The Pare opened in 1995 and we had to fight the first couple of years to get up to speed.

Now we're rolling along. We saw a lot of things open around us in the mall after we started the Pare. "Maybe, hopefully," he said, swivel-ing to check the "for rent" signs and relatively deserted walkways of the giant Decarie Square, "something like that will happen here." Those who aren't dedicated mall rats will be forgiven for thinking Decarie Square had folded up its storefronts and parking lots years ago and slipped off to that place where shopping centres go to die In fact, there are 45 businesses operating in the space at 6900 Decarie a number Bryant Kligman is happy to see increased by the addition of Cinema Decarie. Kligman is director of leasing for Can pro Investments, the company that runs Decarie Square. "I think it's going to be a huge success," Kligman said this week.

"We just have to get the word out "I live in the neighbourhood, and I'm at all amused. Neither is Lebowski, nor is his daugher, Maude Julianne Moore), a space-cadet painter who has come upon a unique way to create art: suspended by a harness, she flies naked over the canvas and lets colours fly at will These developments, needless to say, distract the Dude from an upcoming bowling bout with his arch-nemesis Jesus Quintana (John Turturro), a veritable rhapsody in lavender polyester on the alley Despite the fact that fashion-statement Jesus is a convicted child molester, both the Dude and Walter have to concede that the man rolls real good. So what does any of this have to do with the flick? Absolutely nothing. Nor do appearances by Steve Buscemi, as a burned-out surfer, or Sam Elliott, as a no-nonsense cowboy philosopher. And even more eclectic than the characters is the soundtrack, which features cuts by Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Debbie Reynolds, Captain Beefheart, Cree-dence Clearwater Revival, Nina Si-mone, the Austrian State Radio Orchestra, and, of course, the Sons of the Pioneers performing Tumbling Tum-bleweed.

It would be a mistake to read anything deep into any of this mayhem. It's simply the Coen brothers unwinding. But you vill laugh -1 command you. Anarchy suits Bridges well, too. He does Woody Allen angst with a splendidly goy Beachboy twist It's different So is loose-cannon Goodman.

On the other hand, he would have certainly imploded had the flick gone a few more minutes. Clearly, years of Roseanne have taken their toll on this big guy The Big Lebowski is playing at the Brossard, CotedesNeiges, Faubourg, Laval, Place LaSalle and Pointe Claire cinemas. Parents' guide: language, nudity, sexual situations, violence. The Coen brothers go bowling. Literally and artistically.

The Big Lebowski, the latest from directorwriter Joel Coen and producerwriter Ethan Coen, is a film-noir Western largely played out in a modern-day L.A. bowling alley that is frequented by 1960s fossils. It is a nihilistic tale of intrigue and deception that involves much ingestion of cannabis and Kalhua. It appears to be taking a stand against German technopop and modern American art and the Eagles. It features Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, a vicious marmot, tumbling tumble-weed, Ben Gazarra and fabulous polyester bowling outfits.

The brothers Coen believe the film is actually an homage to the Raymond Chandler detective classic The Big Sleep, although that's not immediately obvious. Ah, those kooky Coens. Just when you thought that their Oscar-winning Fargo (actress and screenplay) had legitimatized them and that they would join the movie mainstream, they decide to goof off at a bowling alley. The Big Lebowski is a mish mash. It offers the farce of Fargo, but not the cohesive story -line It oozes in mood a la Barton Fink, but it lacks the latter's so-cio-cultural statement.

It is top-heavy with the sort of maniacs who peopled Blood Simple, Raising Arizona and Fargo, but savagery is kept to a minimum and there is nary a hungry wood-chipper to be found here. The Big Lebowski is, simply put, the sort of stylized lark that would land most other film-makers in the gutter (or the asylum) for good. But on the Coen brothers, it looks good. Oh yes, The Big Lebowski is also the best comic blast to hit the neighbourhood Bijou in a long spell. And go figure: Jeff Bridges with bad hair and worse loungewear as a comic policy for months.

Films like Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book. But we're not working on that level at alL We only show films that will play for a week or two at the most. always looking for things to do. "This is special. It's different from first-run.

It's great for the area." It may be great for Decarie Square, but is the city really desperate for another "People still seem to love getting out of their homes and going to sit in the dark with strangers in an old-fashioned big hall." BILL BROWNSTEIN hero for our times. Bridges is cast as the Dude, an aging hippie who now finds bliss bowling for bucks with a couple of wing-nut buddies. But the slacker Dude gets unwittingly enmeshed in mystery and is forced to rejoin the human race when a couple of thugs burst into his Venice Beach hovel and urinate on his carpet The Dude is miffed, because the soiled carpet really tied his place together. The Dude also learns that he was the victim of mistaken identity. The dimwit goons had been dispatched by porno-king Jackie Treehor (Gazarra) to rough up the Dude's namesake, Jeff Lebowksi (David Huddleston), a portly and paralyzed Pasadena tycoon whose bimbo wife, Bunny (Tara Reid), had run up a sizeable, unpaid bill.

The Dude soon confronts Lebowksi and his Bunny The former is repelled by the Dude, but the Bunny is captivated. But no time to get chummy, for Bunny is soon kidnapped. And for reasons he can't comprehend, the Dude is conscripted by Lebowski to make the million-dollar ransom drop to the kidnappers. This is where the Dude gets a little muddled. His bowling partner Walter (Goodman), a short-fused Vietnam War vet, convinces the Dude to keep the cash for himself and drop some dirty underwear instead.

The kidnappers, a gang of nihilistic Teutons with a munching marmot for a pet and a penchant for wretched technopop, are not "There's room for everybody," he said, before offering a typical alternative-universe paranoid reflection. "I hope. "Don't make me nervous." Cinema Decarie is in Dicarie Square, 6900 Decarie Blvd. The phone number is 287-7272. Among the movies being screened there today and tomorrow are Seven Years in Tibet, The English Patient, Ridicule, Kama Sutra, Eraserhead, Contempt, Different for Girls, Devil's Advocate and Amistad.

See Page D12 for details. two-screen cinema complex? This is, after all, a town expecting almost 70 new screens in the downtown core before the millennium. "The more multiplexes they build the better," Martin said. "We're on the side of going to the movies. It's harmless entertainment "In a way, I'm surprised it has survived the assault of new media.

But people still seem to love getting out of their homes and going to sit in the dark with complete strangers in an old-fashioned big hall. "They love larger-than-life entertain- Parents ignore ratings: poll plus or minus 3 percentage points overall and 5 points for parents' responses. Eighty -four per cent of those polled say it's the television industry's job to provide the public with information about whether programs contain violence, sexual situations, coarse language or suggestive dialogue in the ratings system that began Oct 1. TV executives have said they believe parents pay little attention, and top-rated NBC refused to use the letter notations. It airs just the age-based ratings, such as TV-14, introduced in 1996.

The more-detailed labels have been criticized for being impossible to apply consistently Opponents say they could lead to self-censorship by Associated Press NEW YORK -US. parents widely ignore the sex and violence ratings that flash on TV screens but still respect them, according to an Associated Press poll Seven in 10 U.S. adults say they pay little or no attention to such ratings as TV-PG or TV-14 when they appear in program listings and on-screen. Even in homes with children, 51 per cent of parents pay little or no attention. Only 40 per cent of parents said they regularly use the ratings to make view- ing decision for themselves or their children.

Sixty-three per cent use them at least sometimes. AILS, lawmaker who pressed the TV industry to develop the system found vindication yesterday in that finding and the 56 per cent of parents who said the ratings do an excellent or good job of informing them. "The AP poll confirms how much parents crave more information about the content of TV programming, even when it only flashes briefly in hide-and-go-seek fashion at the start of a show," Congressman Edward Markey said. Only 26 per cent of adults in the poll say the ratings are on-screen too briefly They flash in a corner of the screen for 15 seconds at the beginning of entertainment programs. The telephone poll of 1,007 adults was taken Feb.

20-24 by ICR of Pa. The survey had a margin of error of -t4 Brad Pitt stars in Seven Years in Tibet, now playing at Cinema Decarie. Glitches have shaken staff spirit plaints, including "general lack of communication and direction," "too many people in the control room," "general lack of TV TONIGHT Marx Brothers go to the opera TV columnist Mike Boone picks the best of tonight's programs: A Night at the Opera (Bravo at Marx Brothers classic Monty Python Marathon (VPTV-33 at A night of great episodes. All-Star Party for Aaron Spelling (WVNY-22 at 8): Tribute to schlock-meisten Sophie's Choice (History TV at BY. Meryl Streep wins an Oscar in Holocaust story Rough Cuts (Newsworld at 9): The last two weeks of a cop's career.

ABC News Saturday Night (WVNY 22 at 10): Art theft Blowup (Showcase at 11): 1960s classic Saturday Night Live (WPTZ 5 at 1130): Scott Wolf is host with Natalie Imbruglia. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Bravo at 1Z30): Catherine Deneuve stars. PULSE Continued from Page Dl They decided that they wouldn't be buying the technology Wilson told me that the new system was a technological necessity for Pulse CFCF-12 has applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for a license to operate a regional all-news channel (Global also has applied), and digital desktop editing of video that has been transferred to a computer server is required to meet the demands of 24-hour broadcasting. "EditStar is state of the art," a Pulse reporter admitted, "but it has a lot of bugs." leadership for the technical team in studio," "too many department heads in the editing room," "confusion over the lineup" and "rough attitude on the part of who yelled at staff when they weren't getting what they want nificant however, because it is symptomatic of malaise in the Channel 12 news operation. Glitches showing up on air Pulse did not have a clean telecast through three weeks following the introduction of EditStar-have shaken staff spirit 'NEVER SEEN MORALE THIS LOW "The product looks s-t" is a typically brutal assessment It comes from a Pulse reporter, who added: "I've never seen the morale this low, from the anchors down to the researchers." What's doubly disheartening is the fact that Pulse's problems on- and off-air won't hurt its ratings.

CFCF-12 will continue to blow away Newswatch and Global. And without meaningful supper-hour news competition, Pulse remains free to tailor the news to technology, rather than the other way around. memory, baffling error messages, inadequate training, stories that get lost in cyberspace. Anyone who works with computers -and that's just about everyone lucky enough to be working these days -knows that a migraine epidemic accompanies any upgrade to a more sophisticated system. HUGE TECHNOLOGICAL LEAP Pulse has taken a huge technological leap that a staffer compares to "going from a Fred Flintstone car to a Formula One racer." And it's not like Jacques Villeneuve isatthewheeL Pulse technical staff met on Jan.

16 to review the newscast's ice-storm coverage Notes on the meeting begin with a pro-forma acknowledgement of dedicated employees ho left their blacked-out homes to work on storm specials, but the memo goes on to list staff com J) Leslie Roberts: warming up. ed." Ice-storm coverage turned newsrooms into pressure cookers all over town. Yelling and bruised feelings were not confined to Pulse The technical staff's whining is sig- I Editors complain that using the new gizmo doubles the time it takes to pre- pare an item for Pulse. There's also carping about insufficient computer.

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