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Pick the summer movies at Mirabeau

The city of Spokane Valley has again opened voting for residents to select which movies are shown during the free outdoor movie series at Mirabeau Park this summer. People can visit the city's web site and pick their top three choices from the list or suggest another move that is rated no higher than PG-13. The votes will be tabulated in March. The showings are scheduled for July 21 and Aug. 18.

Here are the choices: Cars 2, Dolphin Tale, Happy Feet 2, Hugo, Kung Fu Panda - The Kaboom of Doom, Puss in Boots, The Muppets, The Smurfs, Soul Surfer and The Zoo Keeper. Voting ends Feb. 3. If you would rather cast your vote by phone, call (509) 720-5408.

Best New Year’s movie scene

"The first thing that popped into my head was Michael giving Fredo the kiss-off in 'The Godfather II'," wrote Tara Leininger. "I am blaming my husband for this as he is the owner of the boxed set — and still will watch it whenever the first two movies on are on TV. (I don't think he's watched No. 3 twice.) I just roll my eyes and do something else. But here I am, thinking of New Year's movies and all I can come up with is Cuba and the revolution."  

‘Barefoot Bandit’ to plead guilty today

In this Feb. 11, 2010 file photo provided by the Islands' Sounder newspaper, chalk drawings of bare feet are shown on the floor of the Homegrown Market on Orcas Island, Wash., after Colton Harris-Moore broke in overnight. (AP Photo/Courtesy Islands' Sounder, Meredith Griffith, File)

By GENE JOHNSON,Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — When Colton Harris-Moore broke into Kyle Ater's grocery store in Washington's serene San Juan Islands — the second time — he drew cartoonish bare feet and a three-letter message in chalk on the floor: "C-YA!"

 Turns out the Barefoot Bandit was right.

Harris-Moore, now 20, will see Ater and other victims today at Island County Superior Court, where he is expected to plead guilty to about 30 state felony charges arising from a two-year, cross-country crime spree in stolen planes, boats and cars.

 Harris-Moore's daring run from the law earned him international notoriety, not to mention a movie deal to help repay his victims, after he flew a stolen plane from Indiana to the Bahamas in July 2010, crash-landed it near a mangrove swamp and was arrested by Bahamian authorities in a hail of bullets.

"I want to see the phantom with my own eyes," Ater said Thursday. "There were so many people affected by his crimes, and probably even some that don't know they were affected. They're still looking for their cell phone, or wondering why their propane bill was so high that month."

Friday's proceedings before Judge Vickie Churchill consolidate cases against Harris-Moore in three Washington counties. He has already pleaded guilty to federal charges in Seattle and will be sentenced for those crimes early next year. He will serve his state and federal sentences at the same time. The federal charges included his theft of an airplane from the Boundary County Airport that belonged to a Bonners Ferry, Idaho, cattle rancher.

State prosecutors plan to ask for a nine-and-a-half year sentence Friday, while Harris-Moore's attorneys, John Henry Browne and Emma Scanlan, are seeking a six-year term, citing his bleak childhood in a Camano Island trailer with an alcoholic mother and a series of her convict boyfriends. They laid out the details of his upbringing in psychiatric and mitigation reports filed with the court.

"Colt blames no one but himself," wrote Pamela L. Rogers, a mitigation investigator who reviewed Harris-Moore's case. "He made bad choices and takes full responsibility and expects to be held accountable for those bad choices. … He desperately hopes to one day have a career and a family and make contributions he can feel good about — and he's willing to work hard for that."

Harris-Moore's first conviction came at age 12, in 2004, for possession of stolen property, and according to Rogers' report, his first experience with burglary came when he broke into the homes of his classmates to steal food because his mother spent most of her Social Security income on beer and cigarettes — something she has denied.

Over the next three years he was convicted of theft, burglary, malicious mischief and assault, among other crimes. At one point he was arrested when a detective posed as a pizza-delivery driver.

In 2007, the boy was sentenced to three years in a juvenile lockup after pleading guilty to three burglary counts in Island County. But he fled the minimum-security facility in April 2008 and was soon back to his old tricks, breaking into unoccupied vacation homes, stealing food and sometimes staying there.

As red-faced investigators repeatedly failed to catch him, his antics escalated: He began stealing planes from small, rural airports and crash-landing them — at least five in all.

"What was characterized by the media as the swashbuckling adventures of a rakish teenager were in fact the actions of a depressed, possibly suicidal young man with waxing and waning post-traumatic stress disorder (following his first plane crash in November 2008)," wrote Dr. Richard S. Adler, a psychiatrist who evaluated him for the defense lawyers.

Waves of burglaries broke out on Orcas Island, where Ater runs his Homegrown Market and Deli, in late 2009 and in early 2010, after stolen planes were found at the airport there. The second time, Harris-Moore left Ater's new security system in a utility sink, under a running faucet. He took cash and a tray of croissants, and Ater's insurance company jacked up his rates.

Mike Parnell, a former owner of the Oakley sunglasses company who lives on Orcas, was repeatedly victimized. Harris-Moore hid out for long periods in the second level of his hangar at the airport, and when Parnell and his family would go on trips in their plane, Harris-Moore would take their car to their house and eat their food. At one point, Harris-Moore entered their home while Parnell was there with his wife and three children and grabbed his wife's car keys off a counter.

"We were all fearing for our lives," Parnell said Thursday. "The kids wouldn't sleep in their own bedrooms. We purchased night vision goggles. I'm glad that day is finally approaching when we will finally know what the consequences are, and I hope it's sufficient for the way our whole island suffered."

Harris-Moore's final spree came after he stole a pistol in eastern British Columbia and took the plane from the hangar in Bonners Ferry, where investigators found bare footprints on the floor and wall. That plane crashed near Granite Falls, Wash., after it ran out of fuel.

He made his way to Oregon in a 32-foot boat stolen in southwestern Washington — stopping first to leave $100 at an animal shelter in Raymond, Wash. From Oregon, authorities said, Harris-Moore traveled across the United States, frequently stealing cars from the parking lots of small airports. In Indiana, he stole another plane and made for the Bahamas, more than 1,000 miles away, where authorities finally caught him in a manhunt that spanned multiple islands.

Fox bought the movie rights in a deal that could be worth $1.3 million, and Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for writing the movie "Milk," about the gay rights activist Harvey Milk, is working on the screenplay. He's met with Harris-Moore several times at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, according to Lance Rosen, Harris-Moore's entertainment lawyer.

Harris-Moore doesn't get to keep any of the money under the terms of his federal plea deal.

Hills alive with ‘Sound of Music Sing-a-Long’

Looking for something fun to do with the family during Christmas week? Dress 'em up in lederhosen and start rehearsing "My Favorite Things."

The "Sound of Music Sing-a-Long" has been booked into the INB Performing Arts Center, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. This is the 1965 movie classic, shown complete with subtitles and audience participation.

Lots of audience participation. Think of it as a kind of clean-cut, well-scrubbed version of "Rocky Horror." The audience helps sing all the songs, and also acts out  in other ways. Every audience member receives a "Bag of Musical Moments," full of props to utilize at key moments in the film.

There's also a costume contest for the most clever and outrageous outfits.

The sing-a-long began in Manhattan in 2000 and then went on to a big Hollywood Bowl event in 2001. It has since swept the country. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30 and will go on sale Nov. 18 through all Ticketswest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).

Movie: Birdwatchers are crowing about The Big Year

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The Big Year, a humorous film based on the more tedious true story (and book of the same name) is flying high at movie theaters across the country. The movie follows birders devoting 12 months to setting a record for logging as many bird species as possible ACROSS NORTH AMERICA.

The flick is getting all sorts of reviews by birdwatchers.  I like this Inland Northwest Birder's comment by  Catherine Albright Temple of Clarkston:

Caught the movie "The Big Year" this afternoon. Very enjoyable, feel good movie. My husband noticing that I was really getting into it leaned over and said " Don't even think about it!" :)

The cast includes Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin.

"The release of this type of film with this type of talent indicates that birders have finally arrived," says Woody Wheeler, a West Side naturalist, on his Conservation Catalyst blog.

"In the last decade, bird-themed films like Winged Migration, March of the Penguins and the Parrots of Telegraph Hill surprised the film industry with their popularity," he writes. "These films demonstrated that there is a large market sector, or demographic, that cares about birds and natural history."

Although its about a special breed of birdwatchers, the film has a potential audience that might surprise the uninitiated, Wheeler notes:

  • According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 48 million Americans consider themselves "birders.”
  • The purchase of optics, feeders, bird guides and other supplies has become a major industry.
  • Birding books have been best sellers, including The Big Year by Mark Obmascikand the Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley.

Northwest birders have zeroed in on where the movie was filmed.   Here's a note posted today by Inland Northwest Birder Thor Manson in Oliver, British Columbia:

…Most of it was filmed in B.C. The inland drier looking scenes were filmed in the Okanagan Valley.  For example, the scene where they are supposed to be at Patagonia Lake State Park in Arizona is actually a place called the Vasuex Lake Nature Center, which is about 5, or 6 miles north of the town of Oliver. 

The pelagic departure scenes were filmed in Tofino, which is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and the scenes that are supposed to represent Attu were filmed around an area called Tombstone Territorial Park, which is located not too far from Dawson City, Yukon. 

The Big Year show times in Spokane:

‎2:20‎ ‎6:40 p.m.‎

‎Here's one of the more favorable reviews by movie critics:

Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

Birders. You call them birders. Calling them "bird-watchers" is insulting, like calling a Trekker a Trekkie. They are aware that some people find …

Oct. 12, 2011 Full Review

 

A ‘Vision Quest’ benefit for Garland restaurants

The Garland Theatre, 924 W. Garland, is hosting a showing on Saturday at 10 a.m. of the 1985 coming-of-age movie "Vision Quest" as a benefit for two restaurants just down the street, Ferguson's Cafe and the Milk Bottle.

Both restaurants were badly damaged in a recent fire. The theater suggests a $5 minimum donation.

The choice of "Vision Quest" is fitting. Both restaurants served as locations for this movie. It stars Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino, but it also features two other performers who were not yet stars, Forest Whitaker and Madonna.

Theories sought

www.traileraddict.com

I've always heard that this movie was wildly popular in Spokane 40 years ago. So I have two questions.

Did you see it?

Why do you think it was a bigger hit here than in many other places?

When did you lose interest in Bond films?

www.compellingfeeling.com

A) When I was 10. B) When I was 30. C) When the stars started being actors I've never heard of. D) When I started acquiring STDs. E) I haven't yet. F) When someone I admire cringed about my announced plan to go see one. G) Other.

Readers’ favorite movies with ice-skating

Dana Freeborn mentioned 1961's "Snow White and the Three Stooges," 1970's "Love Story," 1983's "Curtains," 1996's "Happy Gilmore," and 2005's "King Kong."

And Kristi Kurle wrote, "I think girls will say 'Ice Castles' and guys will say 'Miracle on Ice,' but my favorite is 'The Cutting Edge.'" 

‘River Sorrow’ to open at Magic Lantern under new name

“The River Murders” opens Friday at the Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 W. Main Ave., but you may remember it under a different name: “The River Sorrow.”

This Ray Liotta-Christian Slater-Ving Rhames thriller was filmed as “The River Sorrow” in Spokane last fall. It still carried its old title at the Cannes Film Festival in May when it had its premiere and gala party. Yet sometime between then and now, it had a title makeover.

The director, Rich Cowan (“The Basket”) of Spokane’s North by Northwest production company, said that Sony now owns the movie and they changed the name for marketing reasons. They didn’t consult with Cowan, who is still partial to the original name.

The movie will play for a week at the Magic Lantern, but it won’t have a wide theatrical release.

In fact, the DVD release is scheduled for Tuesday. It features a number of local actors – Wes Deitrick, Nike Imoru, Kelly Eviston and Patrick Treadway, to name just a few.

Barefoot Bandit movie worth up to $1.3M

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The young man dubbed the Barefoot Bandit after a cross-country crime spree brought him folk outlaw status has reportedly signed a movie deal worth as much as $1.3 million with 20th Century Fox. 

The Daily Herald reports that the money will be used to help pay the minimum $1.4 million that 20-year-old Colton Harris-Moore owes in restitution to the victims of his two-year-long crime spree, which included the theft of a small airplane in Bonners Ferry.

Seattle entertainment lawyer Lance Rosen negotiated the deal on Harris-Moore's behalf. He says it's an unusual amount of money to be paid for anyone's life story rights.

Harris-Moore pleaded guilty in June to seven federal felony charges. Sentencing is set for October; he's expected to receive 5 to 6 years in prison He still faces state court charges.

Past coverage:

June 8: Fed balk at sale of Barefoot Bandit story

Check out the great ‘Badassdom’ trailer

"The Knights of Badassdom" trailer debuted at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego two weeks ago — and it makes me more convinced than ever that this could be that most elusive of creatures — a Spokane-filmed movie that might actually be a hit (if only a cult hit). It's funny and loaded with nice touches.

What’s your favorite movie featuring…

…at least one swimming pool scene.

www.366weirdmovies.com

www.cotedetexas.blogspot.com

www.howigit.com

www.swimteamparent.wordpress.com

www.unrealitymag.com

www.doctorlawyerpriest.com

www.coolspotters.com

www.moviereviewland.blogspot.com

www.thismighthurt.wordpress.com

www.giftandhometoday.blogspot.com

Play “The Dirty Dozen” Spokane game

Consider a few of the key characters in the 1967 action feature. What, theoretically speaking, are the chances they could have come from Spokane?

Let's use a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 meaning "Totally plausible that this guy could have come from Spokane."

I'll go first.

Major Reisman (Lee Marvin): 6. Effective, no-nonsense, bit of a swagger. Just like a lot of Lilac City guys.

Joseph Wladislaw (Charles Bronson): 3. That's not one of our bigger ethnic pools. Maybe if he had been Joseph Swenson.

Robert Jefferson (Jim Brown): 3. Same issue. Though it would be great to claim him.

Victor Franko (John Cassavetes): 2. Seemed jaded and streetwise in a non-Spokane way.

Pedro Jiminez (Trini Lopez): 2. Probably not. We don't have many lemon trees. After all, we were even less diverse in 1944.

Archer Maggott (Telly Savalas): 1. Didn't they make a point of having him be from the South? Still, you could almost see someone from Spokane having that name. Would run a pest control service.

Vernon Pinkley (Donald Sutherland): 7. Seemingly a goofball, but not without substance. We produce that kind of guy in spades.

Samson Posey (Clint Walker): 9. Here's a Spokane guy, for you. Big and quiet. The "Aw, shucks" type. Just wants to be left alone. But don't mess with him. "I don't like to be pushed."

OK. your turn. 

www.badbanana.typepad.com

Big buzz for ‘Badassdom’

The Joe Lynch  movie, "Knights of Badassdom," filmed in Spokane last summer, is getting some priceless national publicity.

Entertainment Weekly gave this indie-comedy-fantasy a full page treatment in its "First Look" section in its July 22 issue, with photos of stars Summer Glau, Ryan Kwanten, Steven Zahn and Peter Dinklage.

EW said the cast is "sure to get the fanboy seal of approval." Here's the link to the EW piece and photos.

Lynch, on the film's website, called it "another moment of serendipity for this crazy flick." 

The movie's trailer will be unveiled at Comic-Con this week. The movie still doesn't have a release date, but with this kind of buzz, we can expect some new urgency.

John Wayne mocking leads to assault

 A homeless man was sentenced today to 15 months in prison after he attacked another man with a claw hammer for making fun of John Wayne.

Joel S. Parsons, 42, had been charged with first-degree assault but agreed to a plea agreement for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon enhancement.
 
According to court records, Parsons met Kevin Murphy on Dec. 24 through a mutual friend at the Salvation Army. Murphy allowed Parsons to stay with him at his apartment on West 8th Avenue in Spokane.

They were walking to get beer Dec. 30 when Murphy informed Parsons that he could only continue to stay in the apartment if he agreed to continue sexual relations.

Parsons became angry and said he would not pay for rent with sex, according to the records. The two men returned to the apartment and Murphy put in a John Wayne movie that Parsons began to mock, so Murphy told Parsons to leave.

That's when Parsons struck Murphy in the head with a claw hammer.

Murphy told Parsons he was going outside to get some fresh air but instead went to a neighbor, who called police. Murphy suffered as many as eight blunt force wounds, many of which had cuts from the hammer's claw.

"I lost control of my emotions," Parsons said today. "As soon as I saw the blood, I dropped the hammer. I'm sorry for what I did."

The sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno was the least amount of time available. Parsons had no criminal record.

Spokane-filmed ‘The Ward,’ by popular ‘demand’

John Carpenter's horror flick, "The Ward," which was filmed in Medical Lake and Spokane, became available through various cable on-demand services today. It stars Amber Heard as a woman in a mental institution. And guess what? This mental institution is not what it seems.

This movie has not exactly received stellar  reviews, but so far it has been treated more kindly than many other locally filmed movies. It has a 48 percent positive score among reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian, a British paper, called it a "well-made film, with some finely crafted shocks and a steady pace that almost seems stately in these days of fast-cut horror."

Many of the reviews are from the UK, where it has apparently been released in theaters. Most agreed that it was not Carpenter's best work, but it still had flashes of the legendary Carpenter style.

Here the link to the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on July 8 and will go to DVD and Blu-Ray sometime after that.

Is ‘brain-damaged’ a movie critic compliment?

Here we go again: Another Spokane-made movie, direct to DVD, complete with atrocious reviews.

"The Big Bang," the Antonio Banderas movie shot here in fall 2009, came out on DVD last week and the critics have been merrily brutalizing it.

Andrew Barker of Variety called it  "unintelligible," scattershot" and "a Lynchian neo-noir that takes intellectual and aesthetic risks it has no reasonable attempt at pulling off."

Stephen Holden of the New York Times called it "a low point for Mr. Banderas, who is painfully miscast as a tough guy and whose Spanish accent has never been more of an impediment."

Other top critics called it "trash," "budget-bin" and "bleary."

Leave it to Rex Reed of the New York Observer to muster the most vituperation, calling it "brain-damaged, inept, unsupervised and moronic."

Check out a collection of reviews here, on Rotten Tomatoes.

What? You say you don't trust those snooty film reviewers? The general public hasn't been kind either, with a 2.5 star audience rating (out of five) on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 5.5 rating out of 10 on IMDB.

I would see this movie for myself , except I still haven't recovered from the trauma of watching three other Spokane filmed movies, "Give 'em Hell, Malone" with Thomas Jane , "Wrong Turn at Tahoe," with Cuba Gooding Jr., and "Lies & Illusions" with Christian Slater. 

And that was more than a year ago.

Ever consider booing the audience?

Went to see "Bridesmaids" over the weekend at RPS.

There's a scene where the woman at the center of the story is at her mother's home watching the 2000 Tom Hanks movie, "Cast Away."

She reacts emotionally to a wrenching scene involving the born-of-isolation friendship between Hanks' wreck-survivor character and a volleyball named Wilson. Many in the audience laughed.

Can only assume those folks have not seen "Cast Away."

Photos from ‘River Sorrow’s‘ Cannes premiere

We found an online photo album from Monday's Cannes Film Festival beach party for the premiere of the Spokane-filmed "The River Sorrow,'" directed by North by Northwest's Rich Cowan. It looks like a glamorous event, with stars Sarah Ann Schultz and Gisele Fraga. Here's a link to the photo album.

On a more sobering note, the movie did not get a stellar, to say the least, review from the Hollywood Reporter. The words "amateurish," "lousy" and "quagmire,"are not words you want to see in the review of your movie. Here's the link to the Hollywood Reporter review.

Jack Black to star in film of Jess Walter novel

Spokane novelist Jess Walter's latest book, "The Financial Lives of the Poets," has just been picked up as a Jack Black movie vehicle, re-titled "Bailout."

The screenplay was also written by Walter, and the director will be Michael Winterbottom. Filming is scheduled to begin in August.

This news came of the Cannes Film Festival and was reported by the Hollywood Reporter. Here's the link.

An interview with Spokane-filmed ‘Big Bang’ director

The New York Times ran an interview on Wednesday with Tony Krantz, director of another Spokane-filmed thriller, “The Big Bang,” starring Antonio Banderas. Here's a link

The Times said the movie is “undoubtedly one of the stranger films to make it to theaters this year,” and compared it to some of David Lynch’s movies.

The movie will be released today in New York and L.A. only. That will probably be the extent of the theatrical release. It comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 24