No Cinema for the Covington Star
Sometimes, we lose a little.
Living on the Northshore of Metro New Orleans, there are less than a handful of movie theater options, and it can be rough finding any decent film programming. The local audiences tend to flock around big-star blockbusters and b-star lackluster religious flicks, based on what gets exhibited most frequently. This isn’t to suggest that independent fare is rare - those are more on the safer side - but it does highlight a difference between either side of Lake Ponchartrain, at least when it comes to movie selections.
The further away one gets from Orleans Parish, the further away bold film choices become.
It’s been a nice pie-in-the-sky dream of mine to help program a screening series here on the Northshore, and what better place to do it than the shuttered since Hurricane Katrina theater, The Covington Star.
I pass by the former venue in Downtown Covington often, glimpsing at the dusty but still standing concession counter and the signs on the glass doors asking residents for archival pictures and information to assist in a potential restoration. On that front, nothing new had come about for some time, except for some legal entanglements and minor attempts at putting things together.
Sadly, it seems time waits for no moviegoer, as some renovation will begin soon on the former theater… and a cinema doesn’t appear to be in the works.
According to a nola.com article, plans call to fit into the building an upscale lounge and a “four to six-lane bowling alley,” with the potential for rooftop seating and musical performances. This section of downtown is set to become an “entertainment corridor” of sorts, with the Southern Hotel getting an expansion too.
In two years, the Covington Star may become a bowling alley.
Personally, I don’t have much connection to this past theater other than a general interest in reviving local cinemas and that before Katrina, I had planned on attending a midnight Rocky Horror screening there, and have regretted missing out.
The news is technically good since something will be made of this unused space, and that something will involve a favorite childhood activity of mine. However, it’s still sad to see happen. What could’ve been done with such a theater, is now left to mere imagination.
One more thing: The experience of watching The Take Out Move
When a micro-budget movie comes off as looking and feeling like a mid-lower-budget film, there’s some unexpected and very appreciated talent at play. The Take Out Move, directed by Andrew Simonian, cost around $3,500 to make, and, from observing the minor concept, the one setting, and the very small cast, couldn’t have utilized its budget in a more efficient manner. Still, it’s a challenge to enjoy.
The film, about two young men sent on a mission to “take out” a young woman in many a silly scenario, has the maturity of a polo shirt with a popped collar. Add to that cargo shorts and flip-flops, and the set becomes complete, and the vision is all the grosser. Surely, the jokes could’ve been worse, and the redundancies more apparent, but there’s just too much to cover up with good cinematography and staging.
Yes, The Take Out Move looks really good and has well-timed, well-paced, and well-composed scenes from moment to moment, earning its just barely feature-length duration. And while the few actors are each gung-ho and cutely performing along, the screenplay just reeks of college bro power hour. It’s a story based on a play on words and a set of thematic expectations. Are the two men assassins? Dressed… like they are, I’d say no. What else could “take out” mean?
If this were a thesis film for some course, I’d applaud it. As a directorial debut, I can offer a pat or two on the back. The Take Out Move is a fine effort if exhausting at many a point. But, it’s hard to make a movie. Any movie. Especially to write one, no matter the spark of an idea. This one is thin and wears thinner, but Simonian has the technique and the craft to push through in future filmmaking.
The Take Out Move is now available on-demand.