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The Suburbanite
  • On the Beat: Movie lengths are getting out of hand

  • I’m all for bang for the buck, but when it comes to movies, more isn’t always better.

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  • I’m all for bang for the buck, but when it comes to movies, more isn’t always better. Almost every film I’ve seen lately has been l-o-o-o-n-g — and could have benefited from some judicious trimming.
    “Lincoln” is two hours, 30 minutes. “Les Miserables” is two hours, 37 minutes. “Django Unchained” is two hours, 45 minutes. “The Master” is two hours, 24 minutes. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (which I haven’t seen) is two hours, 49 minutes. “The Cloud Atlas” is two hours, 52 minutes.
    Last summer’s “The Dark Knight Rises” was a dark and ponderous two hours, 45 minutes. The upcoming “Zero Dark Thirty” is two hours, 37 minutes. Even Judd Apatow’s  current light comedy “This is 40” runs two hours and 14 minutes.
    Coupled with about 20 minutes of intensive in-your-face previews, movie-going is shifting from an impulsive way to spend a couple of hours (or less) into a major time commitment. Commonly, first matinees are starting as early as 11 a.m., and the second evening shows are routinely not starting until 10:15 or later — and letting out after 1 a.m., even on weeknights.
    Just sitting for three hours straight in one spot is challenging, even more so if you’ve consumed a large soft drink from the concession stand. Emerging from a 7 p.m. movie after 10 p.m. is surreal. I want to meet friends for lunch, not breakfast, before watching the poor urchins of “Les Miz” at a weekend matinee!
    Yes, I’m venting here. What are your thoughts?
    FIRST FRIDAY THEATRICS
    The fresh and innovative Parallax Theatre Ensemble will be presenting “The Social Anxiety Hour” every First Friday (including today) at 7 and 9 p.m. at its new storefront space at 534 Cleveland Ave. NW in downtown Canton (two doors north of the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography).
    These monthly shows will be readings of original scripts done in the style of ’30s and ’40s live radio dramas, with sound effects. On tonight’s program, rated PG-13, will be the sci-fi comedy “Maxwell Science: Space Captain” and the soap opera “Desire Under the Mags,” featuring actors Christopher Hisey, Brian Scharfenberg, Melissa Brobeck, and Kathy Boyd. Suggested donation is $5.
    Both Parallax productions I’ve seen to date — the dark comedy “God of Carnage” at the Players Guild, and the radio-style rendition of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at First Friday December — were first-rate.
    PALACE IS CLOSED
    The Palace Theatre is closed for the entire month of January. Repairs and renovations are being done as part of the 86-year-old theater’s $1.35 million capital campaign, now underway.
    Specifically, there will be plaster repair and repainting of the theater’s ceilings, service doors are being replaced for security reasons, and lighting in the lobby and underneath the marquee is being converted to cost-efficient LED. The restrooms are receiving new plumbing and new toilets and sinks, and the number of stalls in the women’s room is being increased from four to six.