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Archive for February, 2010

Celebrating the Classics at Celebration! Cinema

February 25, 2010 4 comments

Jeannie DeibisBy Jeannie Deibis
Celebration! Cinema Programming Coordinator

Recall the glamour of classical Hollywood, with its leading ladies and charmingly handsome men starring in some of the best movies ever… now, Celebration! Cinema has them on the big screen!

When our local movie reviewer, John Douglas, retired from the Grand Rapids Press about 3 years ago, he brought us an idea about resurrecting a classics series on the big screen. Celebrating the Classics was born. We now run it with a Winter Series (current), a Spring Series (beginning March 2), a Fall Series and a Holiday Series each year.

Celebrating the Classics

This series brings movies in both black and white and dazzling ‘first time’ Technicolor. We show them using our DLP Digital Cinema projectors, on Blu-Ray (if the movie is available in Blu-Ray) or widescreen DVD.

About the Hosts
John introduces each movie to the audience at Celebration! North, and he includes some great trivia and history that usually ties in with an interview with a star or two who appeared in the movie.  We expanded to Lansing last year and Dr. Michael V. Doyle, MSU professor and film historian, introduces our classics there and provides great history and trivia as well.

The series has found a wonderful audience that enjoys the great classics, and the affordable ticket admission, on the big screen in their original splendor.  They meet their friends and family each week and are treated to film trivia and introductions by our hosts.

The Spring Series (beginning March 2 with West Side Story) expands the theatres in the Classics lineup, as it will play at Celebration! Cinema Benton Harbor and Mt. Pleasant!  Showtimes and days remain the same: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 pm and 5:45 pm.

The Film Lineup
Celebrating the Classics movies generally are chosen utilizing the AFI Best 100 Films list, although we must have permission from the film companies to license their movies, so some are not available to us. We take requests as well and will be launching a new series at our Celebration! Cinema Woodland in late March or early April.  These movies will be more edgy, artsy, diverse – but still fun and worthy!  While we’re still finalizing the lineup, I can say that the original Star Trek and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure are just a couple of those movies hitting Woodland’s big screen in all their awe and wonder this spring.

What movies would you like to see us show for a Celebrating the Classics series?

“Big Brothers Big Sisters” Takes the Stage at Celebration! Cinema

Emily LoeksBy Emily Loeks
Director of Education & Community Partnerships

As a regional, family-owned business, Celebration! Cinema is in a great position to really “know” the cities in which we operate. We’re also in a position to be aware of a lot of the great work that goes on by a whole variety of organizations to keep our cities vibrant and healthy places. This year, we’ve determined to lend circuit-wide support to raise funds and awareness of four different regional organizations, one in each of the following areas:

  1. Children/arts & education
  2. The environment
  3. Urgent needs in the community
  4. Health

The first of our 2010 partners has been Big Brothers Big Sisters. This is likely a familiar organization to many of you, and it has regional chapters in each of the areas that we have a theatre. The objectives of the partnership are twofold: to raise funds for the organization (of course!) and also to raise awareness of the importance of the work & ongoing need for new mentors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nationally recognized mentoring program that matches children from the ages of 5 to 17, mostly living in one-parent families, with volunteer mentors. Many may be considered at-risk and vulnerable, and have limited opportunities to develop their skills and interests. These children will benefit greatly from one-on-one time and attention from an adult friend. All they need is someone like you…

Today is the final day of the box-office fundraising element of the campaign, and we’re happy to have been able to raise close to $12,000! There is still time to make a contribution if you are coming to a movie tonight. Celebration! Cinema has also been promoting Big Brothers Big Sisters in our lobbies and on-screen prior to all movies for the month of February, with hopes of helping to recruit several hundred needed volunteers. If this is of interest to you, it’s not too late! Just go to www.bbbs.org to connect with the chapter nearest you.

We at Celebration! are engaged in a story-telling business. The “story” of the work taking place in our communities through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters is fun and a privilege to tell. We hope — just as the movie ET inspired a whole generation of “Reese’s Pieces” lovers, Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes inspire innovation & creative thinking, and a multitude of other movies inspire everything from romance to careers in aviation — that hearing the “story” of an organization like BBBS will inspire you to spend a little extra time with a kid in your life. It can make a big difference.

Emily Loeks is the Director of Education & Community Partnerships at Celebration! Cinema.

Oscar Race Predictions: Ron Van Timmeren

This week we’ve asked Ron Van Timmeren, our Vice President of Programming, to share his picks for this year’s Oscars!

OSCAR RACE: THIS IS YEAR IT’S TOUGH TO CALL!!

It’s hard to know this year if Avatar has sooooo much going for it that it just can’t be stopped (other than by Dear John at the boxoffice) from winning big at the Oscars – or if The Hurt Locker and Inglorious Basterds really have a shot. Expanding the Best Picture category to 10 nominees really didn’t make a difference in who is actually going to win (District 9? Please!), it only gave several titles a chance to make a couple extra bucks and forever claim they were one of the Best Pictures of 2009.

Normally I wait until the last minute to read all the tea leaves and predict who is going to win, but for this blog I want to give you who I want to win… and, ok, who might win instead.

Best Supporting Actor
Here’s the only “lead pipe cinch” in the major categories: Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds. He has won virtually every other award that’s out there so far… no other actors need to prepare a speech.

Best Supporting Actress
Mo’Nique in Precious. Great role and she was great in it. Once again, she has won lots of post season awards and has the momentum.

Best Actor In A Leading Role
I loved Morgan Freeman in Invictus. He became Nelson Mandela and I forgot it was Morgan Freeman. Jeff Bridges is likely to win, but his role in Crazy Heart was too much like Jeff Bridges as a drunk, washed up country singer. Not a stretch.

Best Actress In A Leading Role
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia. That movie was one of my Top 5 of the year and she was terrific… once again becoming another person and making me believe. But I would be fine if Sandra Bullock wins for the proverbial “body of work” and I believe the Oscar voters actually like her (remember Sally Field?).

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino for Inglorious Basterds. I always put the Best Director and Best Picture together (that’s normally how it works). I think Basterds was bigger than Tarantino (like Pulp Fiction was), but he gets my nod because I liked his movie the best (see below). I actually think Kathryn Bigelow will win.

Best Picture
Inglorious Basterds. This movie did all the things it needed to do to be best, in my mind. Interesting premise/story, smart script, fine acting, some comedy / some drama, well directed, good music, costumes, editing… in short, everything worked. Much of that formula works for The Hurt Locker too, which if you follow my “best director goes with best picture” premise, The Hurt Locker wins. Avatar is nominated for 9 Oscars… screenplay was not one of them. That disqualifies it, in my book, from being Best Picture – even though I loved it!

See ya at the movies!

2009 Service Business of the Year Award

On Friday, January 22, 2010, Celebration! Cinema received The 2009 Service Business of the Year Award, presented by the Wyoming Kentwood Chamber of Commerce. The award was accepted by Celebration’s Marketing Vice President, Steve VanWagoner. Steve used his talent during his acceptance speech by doing a near perfect Bill Clinton impression. This was certainly entertaining and one of the highlights of the evening!

We were nominated for this award by two chamber members. In their nomination letters they cited Celebration’s support of the community, employee development and active leadership in the Chamber as reasons for their nomination, particularly the work of Betsy Artz, Connie Ziebarth and Shawna Myers. They are highly involved with the Chamber, with participation on The Santa Parade Committee, The Business Expo Committee, The Education Committee (Business and Books and The Speech Contest), The Ambassadors Group, The Annual Meeting Committee, and The Grub Crawl Committee.

Some events and organizations that we support include: The Mel Trotter Turkey Drop, Devos Children’s Hospital Radio-A-Thon, a partnership with The Wyoming, Kentwood and Grandville Police on National Night Out, Toys for Tots, Susan G. Komen (raised over $20,000 in 2009), The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life (raised over $3,000 in 2009), The Make A Wish Foundation, Reading is Fundamental, Kent District Library, as well as many area schools.

In 2009, after two years of development, we launched our “Art of Celebrated Service Program.” This is a three hour training class that empowers employees to make the guests happy and want to return. This program helps reinforce our mission statement: “We strive to better our communities by creating a superior shared entertainment experience.”

In addition, we often have contests & incentives for exceptional service, use role playing as a tool for improvement and even have “Mystery Shoppers” that frequently shop the theatres to rate their experiences and employee interactions, all with the goal of making our theatres a valuable asset to our region and community. We have supported our communities for many years and we are so proud to accept this recognition and award for The 2009 Service Business of the Year!