Category Archives: movies

Gift cards still good at Rave theaters; policy change at The Edge

The Edge 12 BirminghamBack in October we reported on the area Rave Motions Pictures multiplexes being purchased by Carmike Cinemas as part of their exiting the Alabama market. If you’re worried you’ll never get to use what’s left on those gift cards, you can now relax.

According to their website, Rave Cinemas gifts cards and Director’s Tickets will be honored at the Vestavia, Hoover, and Lee Branch locations through May 15.

Over in Crestwood, The Edge recently announced a policy change via their fan page on Facebook that seemed to make many patrons quite happy.

Over the past few weeks, The Edge has had an issue with rowdy and disruptful youth. Due to this fact no patrons under the age of 18 will be admitted without a parent or guardian after 6:00 pm.

The status update went on to say the purpose of the change was to “ensure a safe and great movie experience.” Patrons appreciated the gesture; it’s been shared on the social networking site at least 14 times as of this posting. The Birmingham-based company is also excited about hosting Sunday’s (January 13) slate of screenings for the 3rd annual Birmingham Jewish Film Festival.

Beth Thornley brings magic to movie & TV soundtracks

Beth Thornley.Early into a conversation with Beth Thornley, it’s easy to forget you’re talking to a successful professional musician.

Unprepossessing, enthusiastic, and down-to-earth, the California-based singer exudes a charm reminiscent of the girl next door or down the street, which for some Birmingham residents, she was.

The Magic City native still maintains local ties and appreciation for the musical training she received in her hometown.

“I didn’t listen to the Stones or the Beatles or Dylan until I got out of college,” she said, a nod to the “very classical background” she grew up in as the daughter of a music minister and a classically-trained singer. Earning a music degree from Samford, she had planned to teach college-level choral music until getting sidetracked by pop. The detour took her to Los Angeles, where she initially stayed on a friend’s couch while working to establish herself as a musician.

Almost a decade later, she’s performing at clubs, coffee houses, and pop festivals in Southern California, with three independently-produced albums to her credit. Her self-titled debut was met by favorable reviews, and more than half of its songs have been used in film and television soundtracks. Its follow-up, My Glass Eye (featuring a haunting cover of “Eleanor Rigby,” the bittersweet hometown tribute “Birmingham,” and the Beth-recommended “Beautiful Lie”), earned for her further accolades and more TV and movie exposure.

Moviegoers currently have the opportunity to hear the title track from her third album, Wash U Clean, when they go to see the adult comedy Magic Mike (currently playing in theaters here in Birmingham). Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the firm’s cast includes Matthew McConaughey and Cullman native Channing Tatum.

“I don’t know much about the movie except that my song is in it,” Thornley said recently, adding that she planned to find out with everyone else when she saw the film on opening night. “I don’t even know how the song is going to be used.  It could be featured or it could be barely audible or somewhere in between.”

However the song is used, it’s Thornley’s latest addition to a growing list of movie soundtracks that includes The Perfect Man, Between, Play the Game, and Girl in Progress. Her music has been featured in such television shows as Scrubs, Friday Night Lights, Life, Newport Harbor, Beautiful People, Ringer, Suburgatory, Jack and Bobby, and Paris Hilton’s My New BFF.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to receive phone calls saying, ‘This is what we need. Do you have something or could you write something?’ I love those phone calls. I wish I could get more of them.”

Describing her sound as “The Beatles meet Ben Folds meet Death Cab for Cutie,” Thornley embraces comparisons with such established artists, which frustrate other emerging musicians.

“The music business is so much about marketing. The record companies look to see where the fan base is, which is where they can make the most money. That leads inevitably to new artists being categorized by comparisons to established musicians. But a lot of people like to know who you sound like, and they need to know a little about how you sound. It’s human nature. There’s a comfort in being able to identify someone with a sound you’re already familiar with and knowing right away if it’s your thing or not. If I were famous, I might feel differently, but it can actually give a new artist a helpful foothold.”

So can digital media. “A few years ago, independent artists didn’t have such an effective means of promoting themselves. It’s been very beneficial for us.” Visitors can listen to samples from her albums, buy CDs, and learn more about her music on her website. Individual tracks are also available from iTunes.

Thornley says she gets back to Birmingham a couple or three times a year to visit relatives and friends and stopped by Silvertron Café to hear Libba Walker sing.

“She’s the best. And, of course, I made sure I ate some fried okra while I was there.”

Got plans this weekend? 10.26-10.28

While Halloween isn’t until Wednesday, you can take your costume on a test-run at the Alabama Theatre tonight. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the Rocky Horror Masquerade Ball. You have until 8:15 p.m. to register for the costume contest. And while it would be more fun to dress as Brad or Janet, there is also a general category. After the judging, it’s time to sit back and watch the movie. Actually, you don’t just sit — there is a lot of audience participation. I suggest you read up on the do’s and don’ts. Tickets are $17 at the door.

Definitely if you have children, I think you should check out Art in Avondale Park Saturday. I’ve already written a bunch about it here. In case of rain, the festivities will be on Sunday. The event is free.

This is the last weekend to experience “The Phantom of the Opera” at the BJCC. The show’s run here ends Sunday. I’ve seen several touring products of Phantom and haven’t been disappointed yet. If you at all like musical theater, witness for yourself the power of the music of the night. Tickets run from $25-65.

For something to talk to fellow theatergoers about before the curtain rises, check out this Birmingham News article about Helena native Rebecca Luker’s turn as Christine.

If you can’t get enough Phantom, The Alabama is showing the original 1925 silent film at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for 12 and under. But I think you’ll have more fun if you leave the kids at home.

UPDATED: Sidewalk ’07: Winners list

Updated: 11:22 p.m., 9.30.2007

This is a current complete list of winners from the 2007 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. We will update the list throughout the course of the day tomorrow with links to those films with a web presence.

We are currently awaiting the start of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival awards ceremony. We will update this list of winners throughout the awards ceremony this evening at WorkPlay Theatre.

Features Competition

Best Feature Film
Low and Behold

Filmmaker to watch
Jeremy Saulnier – Murder Party

Last Stop for Paul

Best 1st Feature
August the First

Best Director
Zack Godshall – Low and Behold

Documentaries competition

Best Documentary Film
Darius Goes West

Best Short Documentary
Salim Baba

Shorts Competition
Best Short Film ($1,000 cash prize)
Pop Foul

Best Animated Film ($500 cash prize)
Everything Will Be OK

Best Student Film
1st prize

Caress of the Creature

2nd prize

Kathyrn Tucker Windham Storytelling Award
Death in the Woods

Audience Choice Awards

Feature Film
American Fork

Documentary Film
Darius Goes West

Short Film

Alabama Film

Alabama Awards

Best Alabama Film
I’m Nostalgic

The Ace Awards (Alabama Citations of Excellence)

Excellence of Storytelling
Asclepius Fandango

Excellence in Imagery
Modern Plays: The Music Video

Excellence in Directing
Cup of Joe

Excellence in Originality
Lunch with Lincoln

Excellence in Comedy

Excellence in Comedy Writing
The Little Things

Excellence in Acting
Tallie Medel – I’m Nostalgic

Special Jury Awards

Brilliance in Animation
Bare Circumstances

The Archer House

Brilliance in Imaging
Help is Coming

Best Student Documentary
A Street Divided

Sidewrite Awards
Competition where 10 short screenplays are submitted and judged.

1st prize
Self Addressed – Jim Pihakis

2nd prize
Stuck – Susan C. McCain

Production Award
Julie Pritt – Face Value