More Regal Classic Movies – Raiders of the Lost Ark & Godfather Woohoo!

Boy, Regal REALLY doesn’t want you to watch their classic film series. I post on it regularly but it is only lightly advertised. This time I can’t even find the current offerings on their website and one has already been and gone (Back to the Future). They are still listing their Oscar series which has been over for weeks.

Classic films are shown Sundays at 2 p.m. and Wednesdays at 2 and 7 p.m. at select Regal, Edwards, and Cinemark theaters.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

6/1 & 6/4 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

6/8 & 6/11 – Saturday Night Fever

Dirty Dancing

6/15 & 6/18 – Dirty Dancing

The Godfather

6/22 & 6/25 – The Godfather & The Godfather, Part II (I’m not sure how the two will be shown – back to back or The Godfather at 2 and The Godfather, Part II at 7?)

Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls

Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls is currently available on instant Netflix.

One-Line Review: One of Asylum’s worst – I’m holding out for a hero.

Allan QuatermainAllan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008) – Rated R

I loved Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). It was a wonderful homage to the serials of the 30s and was clearly based, at least partially, on H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain novels. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) was a highly successful sequel with wonderful set pieces but a less than stellar plot and somewhat annoying heroine.

Piggybacking on the success of Temple of Doom, Golan Globus hired Richard Chamberlain, king of the miniseries, as Allan Quatermain and made the low budget King Solomon’s Mines (1985) with a pre-Basic Instinct Sharon Stone. This begat Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986) the following year. The Golan Globus productions ape the Indiana Jones material rather than the actual novels.

Unfortunately they had no idea what made Raiders of the Lost Ark work and were dismal failures. The only thing that makes King Solomon’s Mines look good is the sequel, Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986), also starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone.

Spielberg made a nice conclusion to his series with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. There weren’t as many cool set pieces but the plot was great. Unfortunately, when you have the machinery to print money, it is very hard to resist using it. Spielberg returned once more to the well in 2008 with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Asylum, seeing a chance to repeat the Golan-Globus gambit, wrote their own Allan Quatermain story (no more copyright for Haggard) and titled it Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls thus alluding to both the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Temple of Doom. Now you would think that with that title, there would be a Temple of Skulls. Hilariously there is not.

As with this summer’s big budget movie, The Lone Ranger, the titular protagonist is a hopeless, clueless, annoying boob. If you want a heroic Allan Quatermain, either watch the admittedly cheesy The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or go back to the 1950 version of King Solomon’s Mines with Stewart Granger.

I complain about Asylum’s terrible CGI all the time and this film is no different. Still I need to complain about the sound here. Asylum lifts entire native tracks from 1964’s Zulu. According to imdb, Asylum made this movie for less than $50,000. I suppose this is why they don’t have any slumming stars in it.

Side note: Erica Summers made Mister White for less than a tenth of this budget and I really enjoyed that.

One scene has quite a bit of shaky cam as there is an earthquake for no apparent reason. A huge flight of something imperils our adventurers – the CGI was so bad I could not tell if it was bees, birds, or locusts. The train fights are hilarious, second only to the anti-climactic climax in silliness.

You will be thankful that this movie has less than the usual amount of dialogue whenever the actors speak. They are simply dreadful, the script is bad, the movie is deeply anachronistic and idiotic, the CGI is expectedly awful, characters appear and disappear randomly during the movie, etc.

Those Richard Chamberlain films aren’t looking so bad now, in spite of the floating plastic vegetables in the cannibal stew. Sometimes I wish I was making this stuff up.


McKay’s Books & Raiders of the Lost Ark IMAX

Yay! We (my long-suffering wife and I) went to one of our favorite mini-vacation spots, McKay’s Bookstore in Knoxville, TN. McKay’s has three wonderful warehouse-sized used bookstores – one each in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville. The Knoxville and Chattanooga ones are wonderful. I’ve not been to the Nashville one but it claims to be the largest on the planet.

I would love to know the whole sordid history behind McKay’s Books. There are three McKay’s Bookstores in Tennessee. In North Carolina, there is a chain of Edward McKay stores with the same basic concept executed on a much smaller scale. Asheville has a Mr. K’s bookstore which is a sad, anemic knockoff. Virginia has a Richard McKay store in Manassas.

(That’s me in front of the three horror DVD sections)

The Knoxville McKay’s has an upper floor devoted to music (CDs and Vinyl). They have a huge used DVD selection (so much so that just Horror DVDs covers 3 three-foot sections from floor-to-ceiling) and video games galore. The only complaint I have, besides being too far away, is that there is not enough seating. I can’t complain too much about that though because even with a huge warehouse, there isn’t much wasted space.

Unfortunately the amount of credit they offered me this visit was much lower than normal. I’m not sure what happened but it marred an otherwise nice trip.

Yay! To celebrate the release of restored versions of the Indiana Jones movies on Blu-Ray, there is a one week release of Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX. Yes, the tickets are ridiculously expensive but when is the next chance to see Indiana Jones on the big screen? Besides which I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to attend the AMC Indiana Jones marathon in Charlotte on the 15th as that is closing night for Richard II by the Montford Park Players.

* Just got back and I loved seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen. On the other hand, I do have a bit of a quibble with what they are calling ‘IMAX” these days. The Pinnacle Theater in Knoxville, TN’s IMAX is just a smidge larger than our RPX theater at Biltmore Grande.

I had not been in an IMAX theater in maybe a decade but wow have they shrunk. This was not huge at all but merely big or large. The sound system was quite nice and all of the employees were wonderful. When was the last time you got thanked for coming to a movie while you were exiting?

Where does their corporate office get off thinking that it is okay to charge $17 a ticket (a $7 surcharge on their adult price) for a slightly larger screen? We went to the 11 a.m. showing on a Saturday and there were only a half-dozen or so other patrons. Anyway rant mode off.


OMG! The Return of the Man in the Hat

Raiders of the Lost Ark returns to the big screen on September 7th. The catch is that we mean BIG screen – it will playing in Imax theaters for one week only. I am old enough to have seen it on the big screen but it would be nice to see it again. Details on participating theaters can be found here.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (or Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark if you must) has been digitally remastered for Imax.

“When I saw the stunning quality of the picture and heard the enhanced sound in an IMAX theatre, I was quite literally blown away and hope that audiences will enjoy the experience as much as I did,” said Spielberg.

What could be better than seeing the original Indiana Jones movie on the big screen?

How about seeing all four Indiana Jones movies? AMC has an Indiana Jones marathon at select theaters on Saturday September 15th. Movies start at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $25 and each ticket gets you a lanyard and collectible poster. AMC Stubs members get $5 in Bonus Bucks. Participating theaters are listed here. Sadly the closest one to me is in Charlotte – about two hours away.

This brings us to the reason for all the hoopla: The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones is being released on Blu-Ray on September 18th. Currently Amazon has it for $68.99 which seems quite pricey.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones (1992-3) – Rated TV-14

“Excavate the childhood of everybody’s favorite archaeologist with this Emmy-winning, TV series spinoff of the hit movie franchise, alternately starring Sean Patrick Flanery and Corey Carrier as the juvenile Indiana Jones. As young Indy travels the globe in search of adventure and artifacts, he crosses paths with some of the early 20th century’s most notable (and notorious) personalities, including Thomas Edison, Al Capone and Lawrence of Arabia”

While you can’t stream any of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones blockbusters, you can watch The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones on instant Netflix to whet your appetite.