Cineplex Entertainment’s Great Digital Film Festival is no doubt going to delight geeks, nerds and cinema buffs starting January 30th all across Canada. This year has a lot of comic book properties being played out and that shows where the direction of pop culture cinema has been and will be headed. With movies ranging from Dick Tracy to the X-Men, the latter is going to be a mega-marathon that will start from the latest film, Days of Future Past, and go backwards to the original — all happening on Saturday. For Darkman and Dick Tracy, this year marks their films’ 25th anniversary!
“The best way to see any movie, no matter what hands-down, is to see it in the theatre,” said Canada AM film journalist, Reel to Real co-host and author Richard Crouse. “I like seeing movies on the big screen — the way the director intended it.”
The experience is all in the sound and vision, and to see it in any other way, 3D and IMAX screens included, really depends on what the filmmakers really wanted for the product. Thankfully, no funky glasses are required in this celebration but for folks wondering what to see, Cineplex theatres has 16 films to choose from and 5 days for people to see as many or as few as they want. Tickets start at $6.99 and drop to $6.50 when more films are added.
With a significant chunk of films from the X-men franchise, yes, there’s an X-men marathon this Saturday, Jan 31, and also shown spread throughout the week. Perhaps the biggest question by hard-core fans is why isn’t The Wolverine included? When Xavier and Magneto approached Wolvy after the film’s credits to say dire times are coming that will cause the end of mutantkind, that was a tease to the next movie. The X-men films will be shown in reverse order, from Days of Future Past to X-men to unravel what has been retconned since the timeline is being altered. Fans can think of this chronology as being seen through Wolverine’s eyes. The official reason according to Cineplex is: “Since ‘Days of Future Past’ deals with time travel, we thought it would be fun to start recent and watch the progression back to where it started.”
Another explanation that Crouse provided is that The Wolverine was shown during a previous year. There’s just not that many mutants to feature. Comic book movie aficionados will notice that a few solo movies are coming, namely Deadpool and Gambit. “And it’s possible to do an X-men mega-mix again once when there’s more films added to the canon,” Crouse said.
The wait will be long, but the patient will be thrilled to a day-long X-travaganza. Even under consideration is a complete Hobbit to Lord of the Rings run in a few years time, especially if extended cuts can be offered for theatrical runs.
“It’d be a long day at the theatre.” noted Crouse. “You’re looking at about 18 hours. I guess maybe next year or the year after.”
But programming a balanced schedule is not as easy as some people may think. Crouse sat down with Cineplex director of Event Cinema, Matt DeVuono to figure out a schedule. Through a series of lunches and formal meetings, they worked out a list of films that they are both passionate about bringing back to the big screen.
“Your passion always wins out over anything else because these are films we truly love,” said Crouse.
Back by popular demand is Kill Bill, shown in a way that Quentin Tarantino originally intended, as one big 4 hour-long movie. The team behind the projectors is going to attempt to honour what this filmmaker wanted as closely as they can. As for how the transition will work, only those people attending this screening will know.
For another film, sometimes the difficulty is not just with getting the rights to show a movie again, but also in finding the right edition.
“I know that Matt has been trying to program Blade Runner for years because the company was never able to get rights to the wide-screen final cut. It was put on the back burner for a few years until we were able to program it in this year,” said Crouse.
To find the right balance with all these genre films was more so by happenstance than intention. With the result of comic book titles mixed in with horror, sci-fi and the pulps, the resulting list is no doubt a thrill that any generation will love. The logistics of ensuring all the theatres involved will get a proper digital print (a DCP) is the difficult part, and Crouse and DeVuono worked on this for nearly half a year.
“My involvement took five months from the start to the beginning of this festival. Next year, should we do it again, I think that it’ll have to be a bit longer. We’ll dig even deeper into the vaults to see what else we can come up with that people really haven’t seen,” said Crouse.
With titles like Monster Squad, The Rocketeer and Dark Man — movies people have not seen for a long time — showing in 2015, what’s next will have folks curious in what can be featured in 2016. Who knows, maybe even the definitive Cabal cut of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (i.e. the movie Barker really wanted to make instead of cut up by the studio) might get considered if the demand is there.
For a complete list of films, locations, ticketing information and dates, please visit Cineplex’s website.