Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Delayed, delayed, delayed reaction

I often crow about how movies come out far too late in Australia relative to their release U.S. dates. But then I also get my reminders of when the roles are reversed, as when I saw Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo on video months before it was even released theatrically in the U.S. Even last night at the theater, I was choosing between two movies (Frank and Calvary) that don't have their U.S. release dates until August. I went with Frank.

It was on that same trip last night, though, that I was reminded how humorous the delay can be.

Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster was on my list of 2013 movies to try to catch up with, if at all possible, before the end of my ranking year. When I saw neither hide nor hair of it in Australia, though, I didn't think much of it. I was looking forward to it, but not as much as others I didn't get to see until February or later.

Now I know why I didn't see hide nor hair of it: The Grandmaster is not being released here until SEPTEMBER 4TH.

As advertised in its coming soon poster at Cinema Nova.

To give you some perspective on that delay, the movie almost qualified as a 2012 film in China. It received its Chinese release on January 8, 2013. It came out in the U.S. on August 30, 2013. That's a year and five days before its Australian release.

In fact, the Australian release is so late that it doesn't even make it on to the list of release dates on IMDB. The IMDB list leaves off with the April 17, 2014 Brazilian release date.

That's right, we had to go nearly five months longer than cinema-crazy Brazil to see this movie.

It's been a slow realization that I'm never going to be able to recreate the viewing experience of a person living in the United States when I make my year-end lists. I have to be reminded of it over and over again, as though I'm in some kind of denial. Even when I consciously know it, I try to imagine that this year will be the year when all of the great holiday releases somehow have the same international distribution schedule as last year's American Hustle, which actually hit Australian theaters in December.

However, this year at least, I think I do have a plan. To get a couple more, anyway.

As of right now, we are scheduled to go to the U.S. in November. We plan to be there for Thanksgiving and back to Australia by the start of December. We don't have our tickets yet, but that's the plan.

If I'd been able to make such a trip last year, I could have gotten in both 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska -- neither of which played in Australia before January 30th, meaning I couldn't rank them. I don't know which movies I'll be able to grab this way this year ... but you better bet I'll do the research necessary to figure it out.

I need to be the grandmaster of my own movie-viewing fate.

And if that means watching one or more movies on a rare trip home, well, apparently I am willing to do that.

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