New Jack City: ‘Jack Goes To The Movies’ – My Way Or The Highway

When one reviews movies, as I have for more years than I’d like to admit, you get lots of questions—and often pointed comments…

It almost never fails when I get introduced, I get the usual, "Aren’t you that guy that does movies on radio?"

Yes I am, and the German accident is a dead giveaway.

Just to clear the air, the accent is not fake. I AM a former refugee from the East Germany who immigrated to the United States LEGALLY. My home town is Leipzig.

So what is the most frequently asked question? Hard to say, but one of the more frequent ones is where I and fellow local critics view movies?

That’s changed considerably through the years.

When I first got started we saw a good number of them at private 35mm screening rooms. Mostly the Commonwealth Theatres screening room on Old Film Row at 215 West 18th Street in Kansas City and the Midwest Films screening room one floor below the Leawood Theatre at the Ranch Mart Shopping Center in Overland Park.

Today most movies are pre screened at regional theaters, many with recruited audiences for reaction—especially comedies which play much better with a large crowd. The biggest percentage of these showings are evening screenings with probably the # 1 theatre used by distributors being AMC’s Studio 30 Olathe.

After that it’s usually a tossup between AMC’s Town Center and AMC’s Mainstreet theaters. Every so often though the studios select Cinemark’s Merriam complex or Plaza location. Sometimes they even send us out of the way to the Northland for a screening at AMC’s Barrywoods. Thankfully not too often.

And yes, the studios reserve our seats so we don’t have to get to the theatres an hour before showtime. Nice perk.

For daytime screenings the most frequently used venues seem to be the Screenland Crossroads followed by the Mainstreet and Glenwood Arts. Daytime screenings are usually only for critics without an audience.

Following the screenings, studio reps grap us before we can duck out to get our takes on the film we’ve just seen.
We may even volunteer a quote which they then forward to the respective film company and which then could possibly show up in national ads.

Hello, Shawn Edwards!

So do I have a favorite screening theater? Well you can’t beat AMC’s Mainstreet. After all it’s got great digital projection,  perfect seating and plenty of leg room. And for good measure you get the vibrating theater chairs which activate during action sequences.

They’re almost as good as dropping quarters into those old vibrating motel beds- at least that’s what Hearne tells me.

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4 Responses to New Jack City: ‘Jack Goes To The Movies’ – My Way Or The Highway

  1. jon says:

    Time Frame
    Just curious how far ahead of opening do critics get to see the movies?

  2. gene says:

    critics with hands out
    Don’t get me wrong I’ve always enjoyed your reviews and think they’re usually right on the money. But I was wondering if film companies ever try to sway you one way or the other? And how can guys like Shawn Edwards be neutral when he gets free airfare, hotels and whatever else from the studios to interview and publicize their actors and films?

  3. Hearne Christopher says:

    I’ve been to lots of screenings and walked out while the local reps snagged quotes from critics and I’ve never seen anything close to any of them trying to do any swaying.

    Shawn is kind of a special case. Because he has an affiliation with the local Fox station here, it gives him some “national” cred. And because he often finds positives where snootier critics do not, they use him in ads.

    Now, since there are so few newspaper display movie ads anymore, I haven’t seen Shawn quoted for ages.

    Hard to imagine Shawn doesn’t get what he’s doing when he lays down a blowjob quote. That it may well get picked up in an ad for a movie most critics are bashing. As evidenced by the tout graph on Fox 4’s Web site boasting that he’s been quoted more than 300 times. So clearly he’s keeping count and is proud of that notoriety,

    And other local critics hate him for that. But most of his bashes from them appear to be 2008 and before.

    Around the time the big movie newspaper ads started majorly going away.

  4. Rick says:

    Sure he won’t answer
    but what happened to the screening room on Old film row?

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