Lots of Special October Theater Screenings

Wow! I love special screenings and there are a remarkable number of them this month. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend most of them due to work and family obligations but YOU, you could go!.

Fathom Events, your source for special if overpriced movies, is showing the RiffTrax version of Miami Connection tonight at 7:30. For those not familiar with RiffTrax, it is very similar to Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) in execution (people onscreen mocking the events in the movie). Tomorrow night (10/7 at 7:30), Fathom presents the extended version of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The extended version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concludes the trilogy on 10/13, also at 7:30.


Turner Classic Movies presents a Dracula double feature on October 25th and 28th at 2 and 7. The original Bela Lugosi version of Dracula will be shown followed by the Spanish version that was filmed at night on the same sets. Finally on October 29th at 7:30, Fathom and SpectiCast are bringing back John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Not movie related but Fathom Events is bringing a filmed live version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet to theaters on 10/15. It is four hours long but I’m going to that with a couple of dear friends.

Back to the Future

Regal Cinemas is presenting the entire Back to the Future trilogy on the big screen one day only, 10/21/15 (naturally, for those who are familiar with the timeline). Strangely, it appears to currently be priced as a single matinee ticket. AMC and other theater chains are also participating so check your local listings. Unfortunately for me, this embarrassment of riches conflicts with a local showing of The Exorcist at Carolina Cinemas, 10/21 at 8.

My Fair Lady

Epic Cinemas is also getting into the trend of bringing back classic cinema to the big screen. On 10/18 at 2 and 10/21 at 7, they will be showing My Fair Lady.

I love that the theaters are doing all of this. My only complaint is that they usually do a terrible job of advertising and the screenings are often close to empty. This of course leads to a cancellation of future showings. Regal used to have a classic cinema series but abandoned it due to poor attendance.


Going Outback for Some Wild Ginger

Obviously I normally just blog about movie, it’s my reason for being. On Sunday I ate so well that I just felt like sharing my the yumminess I savored.

Wild Ginger


For lunch, we went to Wild Ginger, a VietNamese restaurant in Arden. They primarily serve Pho. to which I’m addicted. One of the reasons I love it is because it is so customizable.

“PHO is a Vietnamese Noodle Soup which is generally served with a choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian. The soup includes rice noodles and is often served with fresh basil or mint leaves, fresh lime and bean sprouts.”

The Pho, which is delicious by itself, is served with a bowl of fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime wedges, and jalapeno slices so you can adjust the flavor of the soup to perfection. They also have chili sauce, sriracha, peanut sauce, and hoisin sauce.

The picture above is of the ridiculously diabetic-coma-inducing dessert Halo Halo. It consists of sweet beans, sugar palm, flan, corn flakes, and ice cream. If you have a Pho restaurant in your town, you should try some Pho but share the Halo Halo.

Outback Steakhouse


I typically despise chain restaurants for much the same reasons as I despise buffets: You invariably get lowest common denominator food. Is there any more generic, anti-Italian Italian restaurant than Olive Garden? Can you make seafood any blander than Red Lobster (yes, the biscuits are good but they are easily made at home)?

The exception for me though is Outback steakhouse. The benefit and deficit to a chain restaurant is that whatever you order is pretty much the same no matter which restaurant you order it in. The steaks at Outback are consistently cooked the way I like them (medium rare) and even their cheap steak is fairly decent.

I’d love to say that we went for steaks but my wife needed a drink. Neither my wife nor I are big drinkers (more than one a month, less than one a week). We both love the Wallaby Darned, basically Outback’s version of a Peach Bellini. Although it isn’t usually on the menu, we order it Down Under, which is Outback speak for ‘with an extra shot’.

I can’t speak for your Outback of course but the Hendersonville one is filled with the friendliest staff from the manager on down. We’re always seated promptly and taken very good care of. I normally take care of everyone so it’s nice to be pampered every once in a while and that’s the way I feel at my Hendersonville Outback.

Anyway back to movies tomorrow. Pardon the digression.


I Meet a Fan…sort of…


I stated this blog a number of years ago for two reasons. The first was that I felt I needed to write something, anything as my cognitive skills seemed to be atrophying. My loving wife suggested a blog, something she had done for years.

I took her up on it but was still at a loss as to what to write. She already wrote about our family life, our outings, and life’s little bumps and bruises. My daughter would always complain that there was nothing on television. I pointed out that streaming Netflix has tens of thousands of movies.

I have loved movies all my life. Some of my fondest memories growing up were going to the movies. I saw Star Wars for my 13th birthday party (yes I am that old). My mom took me to see Halloween when it came out (I don’t think she knew what she was getting into). I snuck in with my friend John to see the original Alien.

Obviously I would write about movies. Initially I covered only movies on Netflix (still a primary focus) but I still love the experience of losing myself in a movie theater presentation so I cover that as well. While my blog is available through the Kindle on Amazon (and I am quite pleased that so many people read this), I write primarily for myself.

I was completely flabbergasted this weekend.



Saturday, the family celebrated lunch out. Jenny and I were discussing an embarrassing topic while Els and Dorothy were in the bathroom. The waiter walked up at a particularly opportune time. After looking at me and thinking a bit, he said, “didn’t you write a review of Epic theater?”

I have never encountered someone who has read my blog. It is not advertised anywhere locally and yet he recognized me from the review, presumably because my Netflix shirt looks similar to the one I wear on the blog. Jenny had to get a picture of course. Our waiter was game though he doesn’t look as pleased in the photo.

That, and a similarly gratifying incident that same evening, really made my day.

Off to the Movies I Will Go…

…where I learned everything that I know. (paraphrasing)

No news here today – just a rambling train of thought as I head out for a day at the movies.

I love going to the movies.

Unfinished Mural

I keep trying to make my movie room like a theater. There are movie posters plastering the walls, including some prized ones like an original Last Man on Earth, several Etsy Hammer posters, several signed posters, and one from Mister White, the movie one of my daughters worked on. We’re in the process of having a mural done based on an old poster of Quatermass and the Pit. I love my movie room.

I have the largest television we could afford, a 60″ plasma. We sit just a few feet away from it. Of course everyone wants larger but mine is a good size and does the job well (insert your own joke here). We have comfortable seating for three and can squeeze a couple more in but it is not a very large room.


The latest addition was the popcorn machine and, properly utilized, the popcorn tastes better than theater popcorn and is much better for you. For those of you with a machine at home, use the Great Northern portion packs, available from Amazon. We also bought a case of 500 popcorn bags which we are not quite out of.

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Still even though I love my room, I still love going TO the movies. Once a month or so, I run off for a day at the movies. As I write this I’m about to go to Subway for lunch. followed by Noah, Sabotage, and ‘capped off’ by a Captain America double feature. I was lucky enough to find out that my local theater, Epic, was doing a double feature as I hadn’t seen any advertising for it. Also thank goodness that they have unlimited refills on their, admittedly overpriced, plastic tubs of soda and popcorn. Dare I say that today will be Epic?

So why can’t I stay home and buy the movies when they come out? Honestly, you don’t have to wait that long any more – usually about three months. Purchasing a brand new movie on Blu-Ray is usually about $20 on release week so that’s less than two evening tickets.

I think part of it is the enforced setting. At home, we all watch movies but our electronic devices run non-stop. Interruptions are constant from conversations and phone calls to knocks on the door. We pause the movies to do various things, which is normally a plus but pulls you out of the story. I’m getting up every fifteen minutes or so to refill drinks, provide meals/snacks, use the restroom, help four-year-old, et cetera.

At the theater, the lights go down and the magic begins. If one is lucky, no one ruins the movie by being on their phone or otherwise rude. Two hours later, you return to your normal, drab life (which is probably why I schedule marathon sessions).

So I have the best of both worlds. I can watch movies in the comfort of my home with a fabulous meal and periodically I can go to the theater. My life is pretty blessed.


September This ‘n’ That

Epic Hendersonville* I posted a rather mixed review of the Epic theater in Hendersonville back at the beginning of May. I had detailed a pattern of behavior I had experienced from a particular clerk there and complaining to management had gone nowhere.

I heard back from their manager a few weeks ago and she apologized profusely for the misunderstanding and invited us to come back for a visit on her. She wasn’t there when Jenny and I arrived but her assistant politely got us tickets to Elysium. We purchased soda and popcorn and had a nice evening even though Elysium was not very good.

Netflix* Netflix revamped their instant front page to include customer’s queues. This was a very good idea and encourages queue use. I understand why they took the button off the overhead bar as there is no need for duplication. On the other hand, when you go to search for something and get away from the main page, the queue is no longer there. They should have left a button on the over head banner for non-main screens but I realize I am being picky.

The Netflix web interface is a dream compared to…

YouTube* I heard of the uproar over Miley Cyrus’ grinding on the VMAs and decided to go take a look. Is it controversial? Not really. It is just the same attention getting stuff that Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and so many others before her have gone through. Remember when Madonna would change her look and act every time people stopped paying attention? Remember when Roseanne Barr would come out with a new shocking confession every so often to keep her name in the papers? It’s all just a game and some play it better than others.

What I really wanted to mention was that when I went to YouTube, I was greeted by design hell. Would they ever have gotten ubiquitous if they had started with their page so cluttered?

Epic Cinemas – Hendersonville, NC

Epic HendersonvilleThis is my local big screen theater. I rarely attend it – preferring instead to drive forty-five minutes into Asheville to go to the Carolina (bypassing Flat Rock Cinema, Epic Hendersonville, and Biltmore Grande). Unfortunately every once in a while, I just don’t feel like driving.

Dark Shadows Marc

Epic cinema does live up to its name. The building is huge, the lobby is wide open, there is more than ample seating, and the screens are as big as you could ask for without Imax. Their digital projection is sharp and the sound is good and does not bleed through from the other auditoriums. For visual and aural presentation, Epic and Regal Biltmore can’t be beat in this area. Epic, thanks to the large lobby, often has great displays.

Monsters, Inc

What is wrong with Epic? Let’s begin with their reward program. Like most others it is FREE, you get a point for every dollar spent, and at every forty points you get a reward rotating through large soda, large popcorn, and movie ticket. Sounds good?

To start with, their large is generally equivalent to a medium elsewhere, sometimes a small. Their FREE ticket is not usable on new releases, special events, or 3D movies. Most importantly, you can only earn 12 points per day. Who goes to the theater and only spends $12? It says see refreshment menu for additional points but I’ve never seen any on our board and several of the clerks have not been trained in use of the card.

My other reason is personal. It may not apply to most people but I use various FREE movie tickets found on food and Blu-Ray purchases to get my movie fix. Typically clerks have to be shown how to ring these in, either by me or a member of management. I almost always get the same lady ringing me up. She is almost comically rude, harrumphing her way through the entire process, and never thanking us for our patronage nor welcoming us after I have thanked her for the tickets. She always acts like we are a complete burden to her existence.

I had actually turned this into a comedy routine to amuse myself. After about the eighth time this happened (over several years – like I said we avoid Epic since they don’t care for our business), my wife complained to management inside. They apologized and encouraged us to write Epic about our experience. She did a month ago and NEVER heard back from them. That is how much customer service is valued at Epic. To be fair, the concession staff are always polite but the ticket takers are uneven – sometimes sweet, sometimes sour.

Ice Age Bucket

Concessions are typical. Selection of candy is okay but lacks good chocolate options. A single refill on large popcorn or soda is FREE but their large is Carolina’s medium (and Regal’s small :P). They typically have wonderful promotional plastic cups and popcorn buckets (currently Iron Man 3). Their soft pretzels are the worst I have ever had.

Spider-Man CupsEpic does not have special showings but, on Tuesday, all shows (except Sony and Warner, who declined to participate) are $5. 3D showings only have a $2 upcharge which is really low for our area ($3 is standard).

Still waiting to hear back from management.

p.s. This is precisely why you don’t tell customers to file a complaint online – always handle complaints immediately and with courtesy.

A Tale of Two Cinemas – Epic vs. Carolina

I have extolled the virtues of Carolina Cinemas may times before but once again this week I was reminded of how exceptional they are. The Carolina is about a forty-five minute drive into Asheville for me whereas our local Epic cinema is only ten minutes away.

The Epic has fantastic large screens, stadium seating, and reasonable prices ($6.50-$8.75) with a $2 surcharge for 3D. They even have $5 Tuesdays. You would think that shaving over an hour off a roundtrip and the high tech presentation would have me going local every time.

Unfortunately customer service and follow through are things Epic has apparently not heard of. The last time my wife and daughter went to the Epic, they arrived early for the feature. Because the theater had yet to be cleaned (twenty minutes before feature start), they were not allowed in. The Epic has a series of benches between each of the screens but NONE in the huge lobby. The benches are behind the ticket taker but not only would the ticket taker not take their tickets (since the theater had not been cleaned), he would not allow my ladies to sit on the benches (since it was past his ticket booth).

In case you think this a fluke, my latest visit was to see Monsters, Inc. 3D with my daughter and granddaughter. We used our FREE tickets at the counter. I always apologize out of courtesy when I use one as they have to handpunch the number (other than that they are used just like a credit card for payment). At the Carolina, my customary apology would be responded to with “oh no problem” or even “no worries, Marc” if it is one of the managers. At the Epic, I said “I’m sorry. I know these are a pain to enter.” to which the cashier actually harrumphed at me and said, “they sure are.”

We got inside and ordered a soda and popcorn. The counter staff were very polite and complimented my granddaughter. I got to the ticket taker and gave him our tickets. He informed us with a shrug that they didn’t have any more kids 3D glasses. Are you kidding me? Who did they think would attend Monsters, Inc. 3D? Why wouldn’t the person selling the tickets be made aware of this (especially as once used, the movie vouchers cannot be reused)?

These are only the most recent attempts at the Epic – I would guess that half of all my visits there end in frustration.

In contrast, many of Carolina Cinemas personnel have made the effort to learn my name, one of them even knows my usual food order. They are unfailingly polite, soda refills (any size) are FREE (the machine is self-serve), popcorn refills (any size) are FREE (with an Asheville Film Society membership), and they serve a pretty decent chicken tomato basil pizza. Add to that the rewards program (Epic has one but it is sub-par), FREE movies Tuesday and Thursday evening in the cinema lounge, and $5 Wednesday and you have a superlative cinema experience. They also serve wine and beer for those who partake.

Peter Jackson is Hobbit-Forming

Thankfully my flu had abated by this past weekend so I could go see The Hobbit. I still have the bronchial cough but I kept that at bay with a steady stream of Coca-Cola and throat lozenges. I’m regaining my strength and concentration slowly but the cough just won’t quit.

Just as thankfully, I had a surfeit of FREE tickets from World Market’s Black Friday promotion (first 100 customers on Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday got FREE movie tickets and a Life of Pi totebag). My wife and I went on Saturday and I took my daughter on Sunday.

My daughter was driving us in to my favorite theater, the Carolina, when my car broke down again (second time this month). After I arranged for a tow, my ever-patient wife took us all out to my favorite hamburger joint, French Fryz for lunch. Dining on a juicy cheeseburger and french fries and washing it down with a nice chocolate banana shake (my wife prefers the chocolate peanut butter), I counted my blessings.

After that she dropped us off at our local Epic theater. They had a nice hard plastic Hobbit cup with Thorin Oakenshield on one side and Gandalf on the other. Dropping six dollars to get one was almost a necessity as we have the same type of cups for Amazing Spider-Man, Ice Age, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Men in Black. They make great popcorn cups for the movie room.

The screens at our local Epic theater are newer and bigger than those at the Carolina but the Carolina has a great rewards program, FREE refills on soda, friendly staff, better food, etc. Actually Epic has no food – just candy and popcorn. Nothing like this delicious tray of mini-dogs.

I digress of course (this is a blog after all) but The Hobbit was quite wonderful. Yes, the story is very padded – the book would have more appropriately made two movies. I wonder how much extra padding there will be for the inevitable extended edition home release.

The actors are all wonderful. Martin Freeman is wonderful as Bilbo. Richard Armitage has a lot of gravitas as Thorin, though they do try to make him too Aragorn-esque. Sylvester McCoy is fun as Radagast the Brown, tailor-made to appeal to a younger audience. Ian McKellan is marvelous as always though it should be noted that he plays the humorous Gandalf the Gray here and not the serious Gandalf the White.

The movie is filled with LOTR cameos – Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. They are worked in quite well but a prologue of sorts featuring old Bilbo (Ian Holm) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) is really shoehorned in.

The movie is not nearly as epic as the Lord of the Rings movies but neither is the source material. This is more in the vein of an adventure than an apocalyptic scenario. The sound design is amazing. Special effects are much better and far more prevalent – there are things to watch on the edge in almost every scene.

I did not get to sample the new 48 FPS rate because that is only in 3D and my prescription is bad enough that I can’t do 3D (at least on televisions). One of these days, I’ll have to splurge and try a 3D presentation in the theater but since 3D televisions don’t work for me, I’m reluctant to try the theater.


A Tale of Two Visualists – Timur Bekmambetov & Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

I have been blessed this summer to catch an inordinate number of movies thanks in part to wonderful bargains. Speaking of which I went to Best Buy yesterday and bought Spider-Man 2 on Blu-Ray for $9.99 with a FREE ticket for the new The Amazing Spider-Man movie and The Mummy (1999) on Blu-Ray for $7.99 with a FREE ticket for the new The Bourne Legacy so it looks like my lucky thrifty streak will continue (that and $5 Tuesday at our local Epic theater).

Recently I got to see two incredibly similar films: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter and Dark Shadows. I love vampire movies but both of these left a lot to be desired. The picture above was more entertaining than Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

One-line Review: Funny premise ruined through indifferent acting, poor direction and extremely poor writing.

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (2012) – Rated R for violence throughout and some sexuality.

“At the age of 9, Abraham Lincoln witnesses his mother being killed by a vampire, Jack Barts. Some 10 years later, he unsuccessfully tries to eliminate Barts but in the process makes the acquaintance of Henry Sturgess who teaches him how to fight and what is required to kill a vampire. The quid pro quo is that Abe will kill only those vampires that Henry directs him to. Abe relocates to Springfield where he gets a job as a store clerk while he studies the law and kills vampires by night. He also meets and eventually marries the pretty Mary Todd. Many years later as President of the United States, he comes to realize that vampires are fighting with the Confederate forces. As a result he mounts his own campaign to defeat them.”

I guess the most salient point to bring up is that Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is unabashedly serious. Despite a wonderfully ludicrous premise, there is no tongue-in-cheek here. Honestly there is almost no humor to be found in the movie at all. I thought the movie should have been played as The Princess Bride where everyone seemed in on the joke. There is no problem with a movie being earnest – Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans is an action adventure film transplanted into the French & Indian war era, is deadly earnest and yet works great on an adventure level and on a romantic one.

Timur Bekmambetov’s strengths as a director are in the visual arts. His Nightwatch and Daywatch films are visual marvels and his American debut in Wanted was fun in its visual absurdity (though the narrative suffered from having been severely toned down from the graphic novel). Handing the reins of a vampire tale set during the civil war era to Bekmambetov seems a natural fit, especially since Nightwatch and Daywatch featured supernatural creatures.

The visuals in Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter range from good to marvelous but none of the scenes create a sense of intimacy. There is a spectacular fight in the middle of a herd of stampeding horses as well as an equally spectacular fight aboard a train crossing a burning bridge. That is about all the good I have for Abraham.

The other fight scenes are often done as a blur of movement, presumably to convey the speed of the vampires (some of the vampires just disappear). Unfortunately this is just a variation on the shaky cam action scene so the action ends up being less than satisfying…and this is an action movie.

The vampires themselves are disappointing. For creatures that hide who they are, they attack constantly in full view of crowds during broad daylight and when they attack they don’t look human at all though the CGI effects are very unimpressive – well executed just not well thought out. If you want to see a modern vampire movie with a new variation on vampires, try 30 Days of Night. The 30 Days vampires are scary.

Despite having a whiz-bang premise, the writing is simply dreadful. The ideas are good – Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires is awesome and many of the ideas are simply extrapolated from that so I suppose I should just say the central premise is good. Unfortunately dialogue ranges from flat to obvious to cornball to historical. The script is written by Seth Grahame-Smith who adapted his own novel.

Benjamin Walker is interesting as Lincoln but he has no presence. He comes across as very bland which is neither a good take on Lincoln nor a vampire-slayer. That’s okay though because everyone in the movie comes across as bland. The two main antagonists don’t feel menacing in any way and really just feel an excuse for the two action setpieces. I don’t believe I have ever seen a big budget movie that was so poorly cast.


A Little FREE and a Bit of a Bargain

I love FREE. I talk about it all the time. I give a lot of credit to Carolina Cinemas who often have four or more FREE things a week. Still there are other cinemas in town.

* Cinebarre Asheville has an outdoor fest this summer. All films are FREE. bring a chair or blanket – seating starts at 7 and the movie at dusk. Movies are projected on the outside wall of the theater.

6/5 – The Hangover

6/12 – The Princess Bride

6/19 – Speed

6/26 – The Breakfast Club

7/3 – Raising Arizona

7/10 – Superbad

7/17 – Talladega Nights

7/24 – Ghostbusters

7/31 – The Lost Boys

8/7 – Across the Universe

* Sometimes you can’t get FREE and you have to settle for a bargain. Cinebarre Asheville shows second-run films and Monday-Thursday after 9 PM and all day on Sunday, their movies are only $1!

* Another bargain: Epic Theater in Hendersonville (just south of Asheville and not misnamed – their screens are huge) has $5 Tuesdays. All films any time Tuesday are $5  except for Warner and Sony (boo!), who apparently need a larger piece of pie. There is a $2 surcharge for 3D movies.

* How about a comparison of a real bargain to something completely foreign to a bargain. My wife and I are members of the Asheville Film Society. Asheville Film Society membership is $10 a year. Benefits include:

– $1 off all movie tickets at Carolina Cinemas (which shows both art house and first run titles)

– FREE refills on any size popcorn at Carolina Cinemas. I don’t eat popcorn but our movie buddies take advantage of this every Thursday at the FREE Horror Show

– FREE advance screenings to some very well-chosen films (last year I caught Blackthorn and Point Blank but missed several others).

– They also sponsor the FREE Tuesday night screenings at Carolina Cinema though you do not have to be a member to attend those.

– An assortment of minor retail bonuses: $1 off Asheville Pizza & Brewing’s pizzas, $5 off a subscription at Orbit DVD, 10% off used CDs and DVDs at Harvest Records.

On the other hand, membership to the Asheville Cinema Society is $300 a year ($150 a season, the season is six months)! What do you get for THIRTY times the price of an Asheville Film Society membership? Quite frankly, not much.

Twelve specific movies and six festival movies. If you go to ALL eighteen movies then this averages to $8.33 a ticket (not $8.30 as they list but that is nitpicking). The problem with this is that it is twelve movies that they pick and six movies of your choosing out of the limited pool shown at the festival. Their most recent movie was Sushi: The Global Catch.

From their website: “The average cost per film is now lower than ticket prices at local movie theaters.”

Well sure if you want to ignore Cinebarre pricing ($1-$3), Asheville Pizza Company pricing ($3), matinee pricing at all the cinemas, Tuesday pricing at Epic ($5), student pricing, children pricing, senior citizen pricing, special showing at Carolina pricing (FREE – $7). Not only that but purchasing a ticket at a theater allows you to choose your movie.

I will say that Asheville Cinema Society does have presentation down well. Q&A’s occur after each movie and Sushi was served before Sushi: The Global Catch but it is clear that this price point is meant to keep away the riff-raff. The Asheville Cinema Society recently slashed their pricing in half. Seasons were originally $300! They also continually advertise on their website that they have a limited number of memberships available. 😛

The competing societies are very partisan. The Asheville Film Society events are exclusively at Carolina Cinemas. They are often mentioned in the Mountain Xpress, the leading alternative newspaper in Asheville. This is not particularly surprising as Ken Hanke is a founder of the society and a film critic for Mountain Xpress.

The Asheville Cinema Society meetings used to be held exclusively at the Biltmore Grande theater. They have since added a downtown location (though not the Fine Arts theater). They are often mentioned in the Asheville Citizen-Times, the main local paper.