Screen Shrinkage—Despite the box office bonanza that seems to be going on right now, summertime is looking like a bad time to own a movie theater in Albuquerque. Last month, we abruptly lost our eight-screen art theater, Madstone. To add insult to injury, the venerable Coronado 6 theater shut its doors unexpectedly last Thursday. That's a total of 14 screens Albuquerque has lost during the height of the summer movie season. That's like eight percent of all the screens in our city gone. Needless to say, this is not a good trend. If all you want to do is see Spider-Man 2 on the biggest, loudest, most crowded screen in town, you'll do just fine. Plus, shutting down theaters frees up lots of room in Alibi's Film Capsules section. But if you actually want some sort of variety here in Albuquerque, the loss of movie screens is a deadly blow.
Who is Napoleon Dynamite? Well, fans of Elvis Costello might know him as a one-time pseudonym of the British rocker. But that's not the Napoleon Dynamite we're talking about here. Our Napoleon Dynamite is a creation of the feverishly bored imagination of 24-year-old BYU film student Jared Hess. Napoleon is a painfully awkward high school senior residing in tiny Preston, Idaho (which just happens to be Hess' hometown). He's also the star of the surprise Sundance Film Festival hit Napoleon Dynamite.
During the Great Depression, a contest is held in Winnipeg to determine who makes the saddest music in the world. The prize is $25,000 and the winner of each round gets to swim in an enormous vat of beer. Do you really need to know more? The title alone is so good not even Oliver Stone could screw it up. Thankfully, the director of this absurdist comedy is not some Hollywood artisan but a true artist: Canadian Guy Maddin.
Cops have been a staple since the dawn of the video age. Private detectives run a close second. Firefighters and rescue workers have had their moment in the sun. Currently, medical examiners are on the verge of running their course. So if it weren't for George Bush and the war on terrorism, I don't know what television programmers would have resorted to. (Postal inspectors?) Thankfully (maybe), the concept of Homeland Security has given networks a whole new genre of crime-fighting television to exploit. Whether American audiences want to watch an hour's worth of news about terrorism and then tune into a couple more hours of drama about terrorism remains to be seen.
“Kingdom Hospital” (KOAT-7 7 p.m.) In case any of you are still watching (and, based on the steadily declining ratings, not many of you are), here's the season finale for Stephen King's haunted hospital saga. It's actually the series finale as well, since it won't be returning next season. King implied in a recent Entertainment Weekly article that the show was too smart for TV viewers. That would not be my take.
“Stargate: Atlantis” (Sci-Fi 7 p.m.) A new “Stargate” crew accidentally hops one of the alien portals to the ancient city of Atlantis and find themselves trapped in a waterlogged spin-off series. Think “Seaquest: DSV,” but less sucky.